Press access is over for the much talked-about Detroit Motor Show, so we thought we’d share some of our favourite highlights…
Honda (or Acura for the Detroit Motor Show) has confirmed that the NSX Supercar is going to be reborn, with a launch date planned for three years time. It’s because of this that the unveiling of the concept was so widely talked about, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The end result was undeniably stunning, making use of the typical Honda styling points that were never used to their full advantage in cars such as the reworking of the Civic. As well as the distinctive looks the NSX will feature that Honda petrol-electric hybrid powertrain that the brand keeps harping on about, as well as the SH-AWD (Super Handling All Wheel Drive) – essentially a V6 for the rear wheels (with direct fuel injection) and two electric motors mounted at the front.
The Q3 Vail is one of those cars that will only excite you if you’re heading off to do some skiing with the family and want to buy a car specifically for the occasion. OK, so that’s a little harsh, but the winter-sports theme to the Audi concept is impossible to ignore. As for the car itself, it’s nothing we haven’t seen versions of before – 2.5-litre, 310bhp five-cylinder petrol engine, seven-speed S tronic transmission and 295lb-ft of torque, enough to deal with the snow on its off-road tyres. It’s stylish, just the right amount of powerful, and targeted at a specific audience – so there seems very little doubt that this will do well when it is released onto the market.
Well, you won’t miss the Lexus LF-LC in a crowded room. Staying with the brands recent movement in the direction of stylish superconcepts with a distinctive brand to them, the LF-LC has a curvy front grille and the sort of concept headlights that you just know will be watered down for any future Lexus models. Either way, it’s the sort of wow car that elicits an immediately passionate response in most people upon first viewing (whether love or hate is up to you), and the FR setup–front engine, rear-wheel drive makes use of that now-familiar hybrid drive. It’s a wave themed beaut that will be interesting to watch for clues of upcoming Lexus models and styling, albeit hopefully without the tacky looking plasticky styling.
The Beetle has got a big year coming up, what with the release of the most controversial Beetle redesign since they relaunched all those years ago. We’re massive fans of the new look here with that low down sporty sweep and the upping of the aggression ante, but we can’t help feeling like the e-Bugster hot rod concept that VW were raving about is little more than a nod in the direction of all the environmentally friendly critics that were hating on the brand in 2011. That said the battery-electric E-Bugster has a range of 110 miles, and will accelerate from 0-60mph in 10.9sec, planting it securely in the range of current electric cars if it ever makes it to market.
Sticking with the (predictable) electric and hybrid themes at this year’s Detroit Auto Show was the Volvo XC60 Hybrid Plug-in. The super safe plug-in hybrid is an indication of the route Volvo are looking to move in with regards to the US market, and their stats make for some interesting reading – a 35-mile all-electric range, and a recharging time of 3.5 hours from a 220V outlet. That’s 7.5 hours charging for most 110V outlets, but even so they are starting to make moves to correct the issues that the American consumers are most likely to be concerned about for hybrid drives. Other than that this is yet another safe and kind of attractive Volvo, expected on the marketing in 2014-2016.
Our final pick is the Toyota NS4 concept, a plug-in hybrid that ties in with the brands existing eco-friendly credentials. I perhaps would have liked to see something more different from the Japanese Automaker, but the styling is certainly sleek-yet-Toyota, and the attitude more pronounced. Aerodynamics is the name of the game here (note the lack of wing-mirrors), and the shape is tailored to reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency. As for the tech, the NS4 boasts an advanced plug-in hybrid powertrain that is being kept strictly under-wraps, but which we would hope to exceed the current Prius offering of 135mpg and drop the fuel emissions down another notch.
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