It’s that time of year again– time for a bunch of grumpy car journalists to shake off the mirth of the holidays, in exchange for the cold and dreary backdrop of Detroit. It is once again time for the North American International Auto Show. Sure, forward-thinking journalists and the international automotive community put more stock in NY and LA shows, but Detroit will always be the leading show for American automakers and Detroit-based apologists for the domestic car industry. But NAIAS still is a big deal– want more proof? Just look to the following debuts from the 2014 Detroit Auto show. 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Here it is folks. We can finally stop fawning over the Camaro ZL1– the thing handles like a pig. The Corvette Z06 is the car that deserves attention. Not much is known yet, but according to Chevrolet, “It will be the most track-capable Corvette ever, designed to deliver supercar levels of performance through unique powertrain, chassis and aerodynamic features.” Oh yeah, 620 horsepower can’t hurt either.
2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe
Nothing yet on this car, but the ATS has been the darling of the motoring press. Considering the buzz generated when Cadillac rolled out a coupe version of the CTS, you can imagine how nuts folks are going to get over a two-door version of the ATS. The sedan version has been likened to the BMW 3 Series from a handling standpoint. To have that available in a coupe package will be quite an asset for Cadillac on the world stage.
BMW M3 / M4 Coupe
Speaking of BMWs and coupes! It has been a long time coming, but the M3 is being replaced. The coupe version is being split off as the M4. Both will be powered by a twin-turbo straight six, making more than 430 horsepower. Consider our collective interest piqued.
2014 Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept
Infiniti is looking to get more involved in delivering hardened performance vehicles. The Eau Rouge was developed in collaboration with Infinit’s Formula 1 partner, Red Bull Racing. This version of the Q50 is lower and wider, and features revised aerodynamics. According to Executive Design Director Alfonso Albaisa, “The design has a number of distinctive Formula One inspired touches. In particular, the sculpted front wing assembly and the rear aerodynamic packaging take their cues from the RB9 race car.” Sounds groovy.
2014 Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG
Aside from being a mouthful to say, the GLA 45 AMG is the answer to the question no one asked, but we can’t help feeling a vehicle like this is immensely fun. Sure, a four-door, high riding compact hatchback sounds about a sexy as slow dancing with your grandmother, but a 2-liter turbocharged inline-4 making 360 horsepower might change your tune. power is sent through a seven-speed DCT transmission to 4MATIC all-wheel drive. This car is set to handle like a boss.
2015 Subaru WRX STI
Everyone’s favorite rally-bred runabout is back for 2014. The real all-wheel drive compact master is the WRX STI, and for 2014, it will likely be receiving a turbocharged 2.5-liter flat four, making somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 horsepower. Compare that to the 2.0L turbo four in the standard WRX, which makes 268 hp. The STI will also have a more advanced all-wheel drive system which could pretty much allow it to rally race on the moon.
2015 Ford Mustang / GT / Convertible
A great deal has already been written about the new Mustang, but we’ll finally get to see it in person. The base engine is a 300-horsepower 3.7-liter V6. The next engine up is a 2.3-liter turbo inline-4 expected to make about the same power. The GT will get Ford’s venerable Coyote 5.0L engine, delivering 420 horsepower. Where do we sign up?
2015 Chrysler 200
If there was a car that was in serious need of a replacement, it was the Chrysler 200. Finally that replacement has arrived. The new Chrysler compact sedan is based on the attractive Dodge Dart. Unfortunately, its hard NOT to make such a vehicle look like the Dart, and the 200 looks somewhat badge-engineered from the exterior. We expect the 200 will get a more unique interior– and Dart-like or not, it is a vast improvement from the vehicle that it replaces.
Volvo Concept XC Coupe
The final two vehicles here are both concepts, but they each have us particularly giddy. The first is this high-riding Volvo shooting brake. Volvo is touting the high-tech gear within and the XC heritage, but all we care about is the prospect that this could foreshadow a return of the C30 hatch. (Or even a turbocharged, all-wheel drive XC30!)
Audi Allroad Shooting Brake Concept
With these concepts, its all about reading between the lines, and considering which vehicles are due for replacement that might resemble the concept at hand. With the Allroad Shooting Brake, we might actually be looking at design cues set for the next Audi TT. We doubt it will be all-wheel drive or a hatch, but look to the front clip, and imagine the rear without the upper half, and we may very well be looking at the next TT
Other Cars to watch for in Detroit:
2014 Mini John Cooper Works Concept
2014 Volkswagen Beetle Dune Concept
2014 Kia GT4 Stinger Concept
2015 GMC Canyon
2015 Lexus RC F Coupe
2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
2015 Volkswagen Golf R