Remember all the teasing Volkswagen did about their new ‘NMS’ sedan – the would-be successor of the Passat in the US - before the 2011 NAIAS?
Turns out, the Passat’s demise in America may have been a little premature.
In what turned out to be a confusing run-around of the car’s name, Volkswagen unveiled the new 2011MY of the Passat at Detroit, dispelling the widely held belief that the Passat would be jettisoning back to Germany.
Now it seems that the Passat is here to stay for the time being. American fans of the car would be happy to know that the mid-size sedan is expected to hit dealerships in August at a rumored price of just under $20,000. Even better is that the car will come in three different variants. There’s the entry-level five-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower; there’s the VR6 six-cylinder engine with 280 horsepower; then there’s the TDI diesel engine with 140 horsepower.
After months of sneaking and peeking, Chrysler finally pulled the covers off of the new 300 sedan. For a model that’s only been around since the mid 200’s, the 300 is now gearing up for the its second salvo into the market with Chrysler’s hope that it would lead the way in reinventing the brand after a tumultuous couple of years.
As for what’s in store for those interested in the new 300, Chrysler is offering a number of engine options, including a base version that will come with a 3.6-liter V6 engine with an output of 292 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Anybody craving more power can then opt for the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine with 363 horsepower. All models of the 300 will come as a rear-wheel drive model with an all-wheel drive option. Likewise, all engine variants of the 300 will be offered with a five-speed automatic transmission.
Even before the 2011 Detroit Auto Show opened its doors, Audi already went ahead and announced the details of the 2012 A6 sedan. Even so, that didn’t dissuade the German automaker from bringing their luxury sedan to Detroit, which ended up being a pretty good idea.
In addition to giving the A6 it’s first face time in US soil, Audi also scooped up an EyesOn Design award for their “Best Production Vehicle”.
The A6 will come with five different engine options – two gas engines and three diesel variants. The entry-level A6 will be powered by a naturally aspirated 2.8 FSI engine that develops 204 horsepower and achieves 280 Nm of torque. The high-end gas version will receive a 3.0 TFSI engine with 300 horsepower and 440 Nm of torque.
Meanwhile, the A6’s diesel line-up begins with a 2.0 TDI engine that develops 177 horsepower and 380 Nm of torque with two higher versions boasting of a newly developed 3.0 TDI - the first one has 204 horsepower and 400 NM of torque, while the second one comes with a 245 horsepower and 500 Nm of torque.
COUPES AND CONVERTIBLES
BMW 650i Convertible
Topless never looked so good on a BMW 6-Series. The new BMW 650i Convertible showed off its new digs in Detroit, further proving that luxury cars can take off their tops and still look pretty darn good. Not that we were surprised or anything, but it just goes to show how convertibles can still command the stage like few other car types can.
It certainly helps too when you have a pretty impressive powertrain lying under that hood. In the case of the 650i Convertible, it’s a 4.4-liter V8 engine with a direct injection and turbo-charging technology that produces 400 horsepower between 5,500 and 6,400 rpm with 450 lb/ft of peak torque between 1,750 and 4,500 rpm.
Not one to sit idly whenever its competitors all try to take center stage, Mercedes-Benz also made its presence felt at the 2011 NAIAS with a few offerings aimed at not only their rivals, but also – and far more importantly – for all those looking to make a luxury purchase this year.
One choice that Mercedes proudly displayed in Detroit is the new C-Class, which is every bit as beautiful as we first thought it would be. But while the exterior and interior styling of the new C-Class are very impressive, a lot of people, including us, are far more interested in what kind of powertrain is slumbering under its hood. In the case of the new C-Class, it’s got a couple of nice options to choose from, including a 1.8-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine with 201 horsepower and a more powerful 3.5-liter V6 variant with 300-something ponies.
BMW 1-Series M Coupe
No BMW model is complete without the company’s M-Division taking a stab at producing high-performance variants of the car’s regular model. In the case of the brand’s new 1-Series M Coupe, BMW hit so many items on their checklist it’s hard to find any fault with the new 1-Series M Coupe.
Even during its time at the 2011 NAIAS, the 1-Series M Coupe still managed to catch its share of attention, thanks in great part because it’s got a mighty impressive twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine with 340 horsepower mated to a six-speed manual transmission. And as an ode to any pure bred racer, the 1-Series M Coupe only comes with a manual transmission, making it a little more difficult for poseurs to get the most out of their car.
HATCHBACKS AND WAGONS
After years of whispers and unconfirmed rumors, Hyundai’s three-door sports hatch finally showed its mug at the 2011 NAIAS. Inspired by what looks to have been a sports bike, the Veloster is poised to invade its segment locked, stocked, and ready to rock.
The 2012 Veloster will be powered by an all-new Gamma 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine - it’s the smallest Hyundai engine to use Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) - that delivers a mighty impressive 138 horsepower and mated to either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an all-new, six-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT).
The Chevrolet Aveo’s last days finally ended at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show when it’s replacement was officially unveiled to the public. Despite being an existing model, the higher-ups over at Chevrolet decided to bury the Aveo name and replace the model with a hipper sounding name, to say the least. So say adios to the Aveo and welcome your hearts to the Sonic.
Chevrolet is looking into putting in a number of different variants on their (new) old hatch, including four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines with variants ranging from 1.2-liter versions with 70+ horsepower all the way up to 1.6-liter versions with 115 horsepower. It’s not the fanciest or most powerful car to go to Detroit, but for anybody looking at an affordable vehicle - it’s only $12,115 - that can take them from Point A to Point B, the Chevrolet Sonic just may be the car that’s destined to be in their garages pretty soon.
Porsche 918 RSR Racing Lab
The crown jewel of the Detroit Auto Show is arguably the Porsche 918 RSR Racing Lab. Months of waiting and speculation culminated in the debut of a stunning concept that completely stole the show at the 2011 NAIAS.
The 918 RSR is a hybrid racing car that combines a V8 motor with a direct petrol injection engine and two electric motors on the front wheels. Each of these motors delivers an additional 75 kW, adding up to 150 kW. The whole engine setup delivers a total of 767 HP. The engine is mated to a six-speed constant-mesh transmission with longitudinally mounted shafts and straight-toothed spur gears.
Honda Civic Si Concept and Sedan Concept
This really shouldn’t have been designated as a concept considering that the car is already being penciled in for a spring sales date later this year. Then again, any chance for Honda to receive more attention should be a well thought-out plan.
Together with the new Civic Sedan Concept, the Civic Si Concept signifies a new beginning for Honda’s most successful model. Performance numbers are still being kept under the blanket, but we do know that in addition to the sedan and the "Si" versions, the new Civic will also have a coupe version, a hybrid version, and a natural gas alternative-fuel variant.
Kia KV-7 Crossover
The South Korean contingent went to the 2011 NAIAS with a big full of offerings, including Kia’s latest crossover concept wonder, the KV-7. Featuring gullwing doors - on a crossover, no less! - the KV7 Concept is the latest example of Kia’s new aggressive and out-of-the-box approach to building their future models. The interior also offers a ton of space that matches well with the diner-style swivel seats on the back. Out in front, the most striking feature of the KV-7 involves the configuration of the headlights, which looks to have been designed using teeth as an inspiration. Yep. Teeth.
Another South Korean concept that was featured heavily at Detroit comes from Kia’s sister brand, Hyundai. Calling it the Curb concept, the crossover is defined by the brand’s new "Fluidic Sculpture" design language, featuring a mighty impressive exterior design to go along with all the Jetsons-like features inside. As for powertrain, the Curb comes with a turbocharged 1.6-liter Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) four-cylinder engine that delivers 175 horsepower and 169 lb-ft of torque. The engine is then mated to a Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) transmission and Idle Stop and Go (ISG) technology.
MINI Paceman Concept
Coming from MINI, the word ’concept’ should be used a little more loosely. As a brand that has steadily gone out of their comfort zone in the past few years, it didn’t come as a surprise that MINI brought along a new concept vehicle at the 2011 NAIAS. Dubbed the ’Paceman’, the new crossover coupe is going to be outfitted with a John Cooper Works 1.6-liter twin-scroll turbocharged engine that produces 211 horsepower and 192 lb/ft of torque.
As for the design, we’re still treated to the same front fascia that seems to adorn all MINI models these days. The Paceman, on the flip side, does come with a larger profile than that of the Countryman, including what looks to have been a bigger tailgate.
Toyota Prius ’c’ Concept
Years after standing on its own in the Toyota pecking order, the Prius is finally getting a new off-spring. One of the models Toyota brought to the 2011 Detroit Auto Show is the new Prius c Concept. The ‘c’ in the designation stands for ‘city’-centric, which could very well mean that Toyota will begin to promote the trusty Prius line to a much-younger and more outgoing clientele, while doing so without compromising the model’s eco-sensitive roots.
Speaking of its roots, the Prius ‘c’ Concept will also be given the same 1.8-liter Atkinson cycle petrol engine that all other Prius models have. This powertrain is capable of delivering 98 horsepower combined with an electric motor, for a total output of 134 net horsepower. The Prius c will also deliver an estimated EPA fuel economy rating of 42 mpg city/38 mpg hwy/ 40 mpg combined.
The Detroit Auto Show is arguably the one where Ford brings out all its new guns and predictably so, that’s exactly what the Blue Oval did.
The first concept from Ford is the Vertrek – it means “departure” in Dutch - crossover concept, which could very well become the next-generation Escape here in the US market.
Under the hood of the new Vertrek concept, Ford has placed a 1.6-liter four-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engine that can produce about 160-180 horsepower. On top of that, Ford will also be giving the Vertrek a 2.0 liter EcoBoost engine and a 2.4 liter four cylinder engine. The rest of the world, sans the USA, will also get a 2.0 liter TDCi engine. All of these engines will be combined with an Auto-Start-Stop system that helps reduce fuel consumption by 5%.
Ford C-Max Hybrid and Energi Concepts
Two new C-Max models were also unveiled by Ford at the 2011 NAIAS - the Hybrid Concept and the Energi Concept. Both models have very similar styling features with the only difference being the powertrains.
The C-Max Energi comes with a high-voltage lithium-ion battery, an electric motor, and a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine. The Energi operates primarily in electric mode with certain conditions - when the battery is depleted for instance - allowing the MPV to switch to a "charge-sustaining hybrid mode for continued optimal fuel efficiency."
Meanwhile, the C-Max Hybrid will operate much like today’s hybrid vehicles, which means that it will come with the lithium-ion battery, electric motor, and a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine, except without the plug-in component that comes with the C-Max Energi.
GMC Sierra All-Terrain HD Concept
The 2011 NAIAS wouldn’t have been the same without the hulking presence of GMC. To our good fortune, the General’s performance truck brand brought out their new gargantuan bad boy, the Sierra All Terrain HD Concept.
With a menacing 6.6-liter Duramax turbo-diesel V-8 engine that produces 397 horsepower and 765 lb/ft of torque, the new Sierra is all business all the time.
It wasn’t really all that surprising then that at an event full of glitzy unveilings and shiny new concepts, one mastodon of a pick-up with a five-foot, eight-inch Crew Cab/short box body configuration loomed larger than life over everybody else.
From the lavish to the...well...unfinished products, the Detroit Auto Show certainly had it all.
Taking up space at the event was the Wikispeed SGT01, a racing prototype that was displayed in body/chassis/interior/suspension form without any sort of powertrain on it.
The SGT01 was originally developed for the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize competition and has since taken shape, albeit in small, baby steps. The biggest hurdle facing company founder, Joe Justice, is the lack of necessary funding to further progress the project. From what we’ve heard, the company is looking for an investor or, at the very least, obtain a loan of about $750,000 to get the project up and running.
So if you happen to be interested and have the moolah to financially support the project, be an angel and try giving these guys a hand.
Mach7 Motorsports Falcon
The latest American supercar was finally given its turn in the spotlight at Detroit, and it sure made an impression on everybody who saw it live and up-close.
The Mach7 Motorsports Falcon may not be as popularly recognized as its American rivals, the SSC Ultimate Aero and the Saleen S7. but give it some time and soon enough, you’ll be hearing about this red rocket that’s powered by a 6.2-liter LS3 Corvette V8 engine that produces around 500 horsepower with an upgrade option for either an LS7 or LS9 supercharged engine with 640 horsepower on it.
Test estimates done on the Falcon’s LS3 engine show a net 0-60 mph time of just under four seconds with the optional LS9 supercharged engine hitting the same speed in 3.5 seconds with a top speed of well over 200 mph.
Welcome to the show, Mr. Falcon. Strap on your seatbelts and enjoy the high-speed ride.