Every year, the North American International Auto Show offers a bright spot in the middle of a cold winter, fanning the flames of automotive passion for those lucky enough to attend. Held at COBO Center in Detroit, NAIAS is an industry showcase for the latest products to be seen in a showroom near you. The show welcomes 6,000 members of the global automotive media, employees of the many automotive entities based in Southeastern Michigan and beyond, as well as hundreds of thousands of visitors during public show days.
The show has seen some changes over the past several years. This year, some key luxury brands were absent from the show floor: Jaguar, Land Rover, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Tesla, Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini and Bugatti. Brands chose not to show up in Detroit either due to the show's shared focus on the local market, where their presence is weak, or due to their lack of newsworthy items to share with the global media.
Some brands of interest debuted new vehicles of interest to our Auto Vault clients and here are the ones that caught our eye.
2017 MERCEDES-BENZ E-CLASS
They are calling this the tenth generation of the E-Class. It's lineage is long – dating back to 1953 with the W120. This new W213 E-Class arrives with styling now aligned with the C- and S-Class, a high level of technology throughout the vehicle, and advances towards self-driving. The latter is intriguing, as these new technologies include Drive Pilot, which combines all current Mercedes-Benz active safety technology into a bundle with new features to emulate actual driving conditions, allowing the vehicle to respond accordingly as a normal driver would. Drive Pilot is really the tip of the iceberg with additional features enabling a new generation of sensors, cameras and radars to fully read the road, traffic, weather and other obstacles to keep the vehicle incident-free.
The first model to arrive this fall will be the E300, with the first four-cylinder engine offered in an E-Class or its lineage since the 1970s. The turbocharged four-cylinder will have 241 horsepower on tap. Additional engine and propulsion options will arrive well into 2017, with no specific details given.
2017 PORSCHE 911 TURBO AND TURBO S
Last fall's announcement of the updated 991.2 Carrera models would eventually lead to additional models in the 911 family. For Detroit, Porsche added the 911 Turbo and Turbo S to Carrera for this round of updates. The visual updates are on top of what was seen on the new Carreras, though with distinctive elements defining the Turbo and Turbo S models. These elements include larger ducts front and rear - including a three-port engine cover vent design – newly recessed door handles and cleaner aerodynamic aids for improved down force to work with the improved chassis.
Power is up on both the Turbo and Turbo S – 540 and 580 horsepower respectively. The result is a 0-60 MPH time of 2.8 seconds in the Turbo S Coupe with a top speed of 205 MPH. The Turbo was clocked at 2.9 seconds from 0-60 MPH and a top speed of 198 MPH. Additional engineering, technology and communication features have been added to both models in line with the new Carreras and the 918 Spyder. Coupe and Cabriolet body styles will be available when the new Turbos arrive in April. Pricing for the 911 Turbo Coupe start at $159,200 with the Turbo S Coupe starting at $188,100.
2017 BMW M2
Once upon a time, the M3 was a small and mighty powerhouse that carved up roads and tracks wherever it landed. There are enthusiasts who miss the old E36 M3. In its place is a spiritual replacement – the long-awaited M2. M Power is now housed in the smaller, lighter and more concentrated 2-Series coupe.
The heart of the M2 is a 365 horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged in-line six. An overboost function is added sending the standard 343 pound-feet of torque up to 369 between 1,400-5,000 RPM. The only transmission to be offered at the start is the DCT dual clutch gearbox. Deliveries start in April with a base price of $51,700.
2018 LEXUS LC 500
For Lexus to play with in the luxury car sandbox, there has to be a halo model that showcases everything the brand can offer to the most discriminating customer. In the LC 500, Lexus not only achieved such aspirational benchmarks, they also won over all in attendance at NAIAS. The word from Detroit was how much Lexus was able to take the essence of the LFA supercar and put into a more attainable package.
For starters, the design pushes current Lexus design elements further than before. The spindle grille is recessed and integrated with the front clip, despite a chrome surround. Power comes from the 5.0 liter V8 with 467 horsepower – the same engine found in the RC F and GS F. In all, this coupe is shooting for an exclusive club that includes the Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupe and BMW's 6-Series. Pricing is said to be around $100,000 with the first examples to arrive by 2017.
2017 INFINITI Q60
With styling inspired by the Q50 sedan, the Q60 is ready for action. Formerly known as the G Coupe, the Q60 now has its own identity. This includes signature Infiniti lines and curves, along with a long hood/short deck fastback styling. New to the Q60 is a three-engine range, including a 208 horsepower 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder, the new VR30 3.0 liter V6 and a twin-turbocharged version of the VR good for 400 horsepower.
The new Q60 will offer a greater leap in engineering and technology than its predecessor. Dynamic Digital Suspension and Direct Adaptive Steering are designed for precision driving using the latest technologies in driving dynamics. Infiniti's InTuition infotainment system will drive many of tech functions inside the car. This includes adjustments to the driving dynamics technologies and an array of an around view camera for better vision around the car. Infiniti states that the new Q60 will arrive in showrooms later in 2016.
2017 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL
Since the concept that was unveiled last April in New York, this vehicle has caused quite a stir. Such that Bentley accused Lincoln of intellectual property violations on design. With all things settled (or swept under the rug) Lincoln rolled out the production-ready version of the Continental flagship sedan.
Underneath this flagship lurks a 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged V6 with an estimated 400 horsepower on tap. Lincoln will emphasize the all-wheel drive system, complete with Dynamic Vectoring Control and driver settings for a wider mix of driving dynamics never before seen in a big Lincoln. The interior features a 30-way driver's seat that can be controlled from the infotainment screen. Front and rear seats also get recline, heating, cooling and massage functions as well. The Continental should arrive in showrooms this fall.
2017 GENESIS G90
In 2008. Hyundai introduced the Genesis sedan in America to show it can play in the tight confines of the luxury car market. It has been proven successful enough for the eventual spinoff of the luxury car business onto its own brand. The second generation Genesis sedan – to be called the G80 – will be joined by a new flagship, the G90. The G90 replaces the Equus, but it does so by taking a few steps upwards towards relevance and prominence.
At first glance, it may look like the G80 (the Genesis sedan), but the rear sections of the car contain some very distinctive elements that emulate the Equus along with other vehicles it aspires to compete with. Though the Equus had a thorough list of features, the G90 adds more active safety technology than currently seen on the Genesis/G80 sedan and promises a higher level of quality. Power will come from either a twin-turbocharged 3.3 liter V6 or a 5.0 liter V8. The V8 has 420 horsepower available. All-wheel drive will be available with both the V6 and V8, funneled through an eight-speed automatic transmission. No time frame has been given on arrival of the G90 for Hyundai dealers selected to sell the new luxury brand.
2017 VOLVO S90
The big Volvo lives! The S90 made its second debut in Detroit, announcing more details for its new flagship sedan. It will take a lot of its cues from the award-winning XC90 SUV, including a higher powered Drive-E 2.0 liter turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine, the T8 plug-in hybrid version of the same engine and the large tablet-sized Sensus screen that controls most of the electronic functions of the S90.
The S90 will be the first Volvo to feature Pilot Assist, designed to keep the steering locked in-between the lane markers to avoid lane creep. Pilot Assist is part of the new standard IntelliSafe Assist system. This will add to the legacy of Volvo safety innovations already seen throughout its current lineup. There is no word on when the S90 will arrive in showrooms in the U.S.
The North American International Auto Show is open to the public from January 15 to January 24. If you are heading to Detroit, stop by COBO Center to see these magnificent machines yourself. Otherwise, you could see some of these vehicles at the Twin Cities Auto Show from March 12 to 20 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. If you make the Twin Cities Auto Show, be sure to look for Auto Vault.