Detroit, otherwise known as Motor City, has hosted a vehicle trade show every year for the majority of the past century. However, in 1989 the event was officially called the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), which made this year’s get together of car enthusiast the 25th anniversary of the show.
More than 30,000 people attended the motor event over its two week period and it was the stage for 50 vehicles to enjoy their global debut. Some of these vehicles were simply concepts, whilst other manufacturers revealed actual production dates. Despite the show being the launch pad for a lot of manufacturers and design studios’ to showcase their latest creations, there might not be too much for prospective buyers and astute drivers to get overly excited about.
Some of the vehicles on show included the BMW M4 Coupe, which is a lighter and faster version of its M3 brother. The M4 Coupe represents the German manufacturer’s first attempt to reduce some weight from the model and significantly increase the power of the new M-series model. The M4 features an impressive turbocharged 425 horsepower (hp) inline 6, which fanatical M-series lovers will adore and E9X M3 fans will want. BMW now boast that the M4 is the most fierce and eye-catching model of the M-series to date, with dealers expected to receive the new car this summer, with an estimated price starting at $65,000.
The new Stingray Corvette Z06 was launched with the models first performance injection, bringing all the power and grace of the Chevrolet Corvette ZL1, but combining the superb flair of a sports car. Stingray Corvette Z06 has been equipped with a 6.2-litre Eaton-supercharged engine, which is powered by 625 hp and 635 ft lbs of torque. An automatic eight-speed dual-clutch transmission means the vehicle can shift quicker than a Porsche 911 as it is equipped with the acclaimed PDK gearbox. Complimented by carbon-fibre improvements, racetrack-proven suspension and an exhilarating exhaust sound, this stunning motor could be the US answer to the best supercars from Germany and Italy.
Following the release of the Lexus LFA in 2011, the launch of the Lexus RC F Coupe this year is proving that the carmaker does know how to produce luxurious high-performance vehicles. The RC F Coupe is equipped with a 5.0-liter V-8 engine, which is able to produce more than 450 hp and 383 ft lbs of torque. There is a freshly calibrated eight-speed transmission, which means that the car can move quickly through the gears at a rate that a GT champion would be proud. Lexus hope their RC F Coupe will hit the showrooms of the world later this year as a 2015 model, although no pricing has yet been announced.
The Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG is a crossover SUV that is fitted with a turbocharged 2-litre 360 hp engine. This impressive piece of machinery sits behind a cavernous front air dam, which has seemingly been pulled straight from the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters race car. With a 4Matic all-wheel-drive, dual-clutch, seven-speed automatic drive train, the vehicle should be able to make light work of both dusty trail roads and those annoying city centre potholes in equal measures. Mercedes, the world renowned car manufacturer, estimates that 2015 GLA 45 AMG will be available to customers later this year. Although pricing is yet to be announced, it is expected that the cost will range from $40,000 to $50,000.
Concepts that were on show at the NAIAS included the Cadillac Elmiraj Coupe concept, which has been unveiled with features not seen from the manufacturer in a generation. The sweeping lines and precision detail of this model evoked the days when Cadillac was seen as the most luxurious car on the road. Although the company has not divulged any production information for the Elmiraj Coupe concept, or shown any intention to manufacturer its predecessor, the Cien concept, fanatics of the ‘Caddy’ will definitely be excited and raise the expectation levels of this flagship concept becoming real.
The Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge concept showcased extreme aerodynamics and performance that boasted over 500 hp and 600 ft lbs of torque. The vehicle would use technology borrowed from Infiniti’s championship winning Formula 1 accomplishments, which would mean that if the Q50 Eau Rogue concept ever made it into production, it would probably give the best cars that Jaguar and BMW produce a run for their money in the competition stakes.
Volvo has been the proud winner of two NAIAS design awards and their Concept XC Coupe was revealed to be an impressively evolved version of the Volvo Concept Coupe, which the Swedish manufacturers unveiled last year. If the new XC concept came to production, it would fuse elements of a two-door sports car with a crossover SUV. Despite the previous design awards, Volvo is yet to say if either of the proposed concepts would ever make it to the market.
Although the name Kia is not normally associated with high-performance vehicles, the Kia GT4 Stinger concept is hard to ignore. The Korean manufacturer’s Stinger left the NAIAS crowd in amazement and certainly took them by surprise thanks to its refined design language and dramatic 70/30 make-up, which was similar to the Mercedes SLS and Honda S2000. Currently, Kia does not have any production plans for this impressive 315hp turbocharged rear-wheel-drive sports car, but it is certainly one to look out for.
Toyota’s FT-1 (Future Toyota-1) concept has seen the world’s motor journalists go into social media hyper-drive, despite the Japanese manufacturer not yet releasing specifics. However, reports do seem to indicate that it is a rear-wheel-drive vehicle with a turbocharged 6-cylinder engine, meaning the FT-1 is showing just what Toyota is capable of. The car maker has borrowed some design ideas, such as the nose being reminiscent of that of a Formula 1 car and the lower side-intake valances from the Lexus LFA. But this is a super-car for a super-future.
After the show wrapped up, the 30,000 people who attended over the two weeks will surely have gone home with plenty to get excited about and reflect on.