Story and photos by Jim Robinson
DETROIT, MICH. – Over the more than 25 years I’ve been coming here for the annual auto show, I can’t remember the Europeans staging more world premieres in one day.
But that was the case Monday (Jan 12) at the first day of the North American International Auto Show that runs until Jan. 25.
Power, style, but most all, leading-edge connectivity dominated the European reveals.
Alfa Romeo staged the world debut of the 2015 4C Spider, an open top version of the brand’s halo car.
A mid-engine turbo 1,750 cc four-cylinder engine with direct injection powers it with two intercoolers producing 237 hp and 258 lb/ft of torque for a top speed of 160 mph.
It boasts a choice of three exhaust systems, including the all-new Akrapovic dual-mode exhaust with Alfa Romeo’s signature resonant sound that consists of two center-mounted tailpipes, computer-optimized asymmetrical mufflers with a dual-mode exhaust valve system and link pipe with resonator to eliminate in-cabin droning.
It is expected to start arriving in North America by mid summer.
Making its world premiere in Detroit was the new Q7 SUV that is 325 kg lighter than the current model, making it what Audi claims is the lightest vehicle in its class, even though exterior dimensions are unchanged.
It is also up to 23 per cent more fuel efficient due to enhanced TDI technology.
The Q7 models will be powered by the latest incarnation of the 3.0 TDI engine with 270 hp, which is capable of taking it from 0-100 km/h in 6.3 seconds.
The Audi Q7 also sets standards with respect infotainment, connectivity and driver assistance systems.
BMW bought a bevy of Bimmers to Detroit with the world unveiling of the new BMW 6 Series Convertible and M6 Coupe, as well as showing the new 6 Series Coupe and Gran Coupe and M6 Gran Coupe.
For the 2016 model year, the third-generation of BMW 6 Series receives a range of enhancements that refines the character that is unique to model.
Now offered in three distinct body styles – traditional two-door Coupe, open-air Convertible and unique four-door Gran Coupe – all are again offered with a choice of BMW TwinPower Turbo engines, the 315 hp inline-six in the 640i models and the 445 hp V8 in the 650i models.
Seen for the first time in the world at Detroit is the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, described as a new model in the lineup. It is noticeable by its steeply raked rear roofline.
In the North American market, it will be offered with a choice of engines including the 258 hp GLE 350d 4Matic, the 333 hp GLE 400 4Matic and the GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC Coupe with biturbo V6 engine producing 362 hp and 384 lb/ft of torque.
In addition to the extensive amount of standard equipment on the AMG version, the Dynamic Select handling control system, the Sports Direct-Steer system and the driver assistance systems typical of the brand, the are standard with the 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission.
All versions have 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive.
The new John Cooper Works Hardtop had pride of place on the MINI stand in Detroit.
Power for the new John Cooper Works Hardtop is delivered by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder that was developed based on the latest generation engine with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology.
It generates a maximum output of 228 hp and a maximum torque of 236 ft/lb, accelerating from 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds (Manual: 6.1 seconds).
Marking their world appearances in Detroit were the 911 Targa 4 GTS and Cayenne Turbo S that top the 911 Targa and Cayenne model lineup respectively.
With all-wheel-drive in the Targa GTS, the weight-to-power ratio with the 430 hp engine was improved from 3.9 kg per hp to just 3.6 kg per hp, compared to the S model.
This lets the Targa 4 GTS reach a top speed of over 300 km/h with a PDK transmission, and 4.3 seconds from 0-100 km/h.
The Cayenne Turbo S boasts a re-engineered 4.8-litre V8 biturbo engine now developing 570 hp and 590 ft lb of torque.
The Cayenne Turbo S offers standard Porsche Composite Ceramic Brakes (PCCB) with 420 mm front brake discs and, for the first time, ten-piston calipers. The rear brakes have 370 mm discs and four-piston calipers.
Following up on the V60 Cross Country Wagon, Volvo chose Detroit for the world debut of the S60 Cross Country Sedan.
The S60 shares the same increased ride height of 65 mm (2.5 inches) as the V60 and comes with the same capable All-Wheel Drive underpinnings of its sibling, making it the only truly capable and stylish all-road sedan crossover on the market.
The S60 Cross Country offers both 18- and 19- wheels with high profile tires that add both comfort and all-road aesthetics, reduce road noise, and add increased wheel protection when needed for city or country.
The S60 Cross Country will be powered by the T5 All-Wheel Drive gasoline powertrain delivering up to 250 hp, and is expected to be available on a limited basis this summer.
VW held the world debut of the Cross Coupe GTE, which is actually a cross between a concept and a future model.
The model shown in Detroit is a five-seater, but it’s known than when the Cross Sport GLE comes next year, it will be a seven-seater.
Engine selection is still under discussion.
At Detroit, it was announced that the Volkswagen Golf was named the North American Car of the Year.