Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The 12 Cars You Must See from the 2016 Detroit Auto Show

Another North American International Auto Show is in the bag, and while it wasn’t as mind-blowing as last year’s event—recall that Ford absolutely owned the 2015 Detroit show after it debuted a trifecta of performance machines—there were still plenty of exciting new-car and concept-car reveals.---Between stunning, brand-redefining concept cars like Acura’s Precision and Buick’s Avista and critical new production cars such as the Chevrolet Bolt, the Lincoln Continental, and the Chrysler Pacifica, there was plenty to talk about. Here we present the 12 must-see premieres from the 2016 Detroit auto show:Infusing its models that aren’t the $150K-plus Acura NSX with passion and personality is a work in progress at Acura, and the latest weapon in the brand’s war on ambiguity is the Precision concept. A sharply hewn four-door sedan that was developed at the maker’s California design studio in preparation for its debut at the 2016 Detroit auto show, the Precision is a design-study model that Acura says “literally will shape the direction of all future Acura products.”Following the NSX’s lead, the Precision concept features large, blocky rear haunches that shroud big—for an Acura sedan, anyway—22-inch wheels wearing Michelin Pilot Super Sport summer tires. (Michelle Christensen, principal exterior designer, and John Norman, principal interior designer of the Precision concept, also worked on the NSX.) At 84 inches wide, it’s nearly eight inches wider than the NSX and, more critically, nearly 10 inches wider than the RLX, the current top dog of Acura production sedans. The profile view features deeply sculpted side surfaces, a low stance, and almost rear-wheel-drive dash-to-axle proportions, although no powertrain details have been revealed as of this writing. READ MORE ››BMW has tried to keep us guessing about a possible M2, but we can't say we’re all that surprised by its debut: The fantastic success of the 1-series M Coupe made such a model an absolute no-brainer. With rear-wheel drive, 365 horsepower, and a standard manual transmission, the M2 represents the essence of what BMW stands for—at least in the eyes of enthusiasts.Whereas the 1-series M Coupe was created as a low-budget skunkworks project, the M2 was included as part of the program right from the beginning of 2-series coupe development. The changes from the 10Best-winning M235i are extensive. READ MORE ››Buick has worked hard over the past half decade or so to erase its stodgy image. With the advent of the 2017 LaCrosse, the maker’s entire lineup looks fresh, even if products like the Enclave three-row crossover and the Regal sedan are nearing replacement. And, yes, some of the products remain unexciting, but nothing the maker peddles now could be said to lack a point of view—a Buick point of view. And Buick just got better, or at least some swagger, with the debut of the elegantly aggressive Avista coupe concept.There’s no way to slice the Avista that doesn’t lop off a tasty piece. While the car isn’t confirmed for sale as-is, the Avista’s powerful grille, wing-shaped head- and taillights, and sinewy character line will serve as signature styling cues for future Buicks. The wait for these new cars won’t be long, as the next-generation Regal mid-size sedan is due within the year, and a new Enclave crossover won’t be far behind. READ MORE ››In a couple of years, Chevrolet may well be chopping big dollars off the sticker of its new Bolt EV and sweetening lease deals like so much Southern iced tea. It probably will have to, in order to move sufficient quantities of a nonpremium compact electric hatchback in order to satisfy both CAFE requirements and zero-emissions mandates. But that time isn’t today. For now, you can purchase a Bolt for a little more than $37,000 before a $7500 federal tax credit—General Motors hasn’t released exact pricing—which will make it one of the priciest small EVs this side of the BMW i3.But no EV at or near this price can match the Bolt’s 200-plus-mile range, which is nearly double that of the longest-legged Nissan Leaf, with its EPA-estimated 107 miles per charge. The Leaf’s figure had been the best in the sub-Tesla all-electric segment, where the Leaf is not coincidentally the top-selling model. The Bolt’s impressive range combined with a production-start date of later this year—which places it about a year ahead of the still-unseen Tesla Model 3—may put General Motors at the top of the class. Unlike GM’s solid first effort, the EV1, and its current Spark EV (which is sold only in California, Oregon, and Maryland), the Bolt eventually will be offered nationwide. Proof: At the Consumer Electronics Show reveal in Las Vegas, CEO Mary Barra said Bolt customers would never need to travel out of state to buy or service their cars. Gee, we wonder which automaker she’s taking a poke at with that remark? READ MORE ››Here it is: the all-new 2017 Chrysler Town & Country! Except it isn’t called the Town & Country—it’s now the Pacifica. Chrysler says it wants this vehicle to dramatically shift how people think about minivans, and the company no doubt felt that Town & Country was synonymous with mom jeans and regurgitated Cheerios.So the Pacifica badge was exhumed after a long dirt nap. You might recall that the name was attached to a three-row crossover a decade or so ago, one that could reasonably be considered as being ahead of its time—no snickering, now—as it was softer and more carlike when America was still obsessed with more-truckish SUVs. But that Pacifica suffered from disappointing sales, and we’d question the wisdom of using its name if anyone outside of Chrysler even cared it existed. As for the T&C badge, we don’t believe this means it’s dead for good; prior to being applied to a minivan in the 1990s, it appeared on all manner of vehicle types over a 75-year run. So we wouldn’t bet against Town & Country reappearing down the line as a trim level, special package, or perhaps a large crossover similar in philosophy to, uh, the original Pacifica. READ MORE ››After a brief, two-year hiatus—although we’re not sure many people noticed—Honda is taking another shot at the pickup segment, introducing its all-new, second-generation Ridgeline at the 2016 Detroit auto show. As did the previous Ridgeline when it was introduced at the same show way back in 2005, the new truck is closely related to the Pilot crossover and shares its unibody platform and 3.5-liter V-6 engine. This time around, however, the Ridgeline not only will be offered with all-wheel drive but also front-wheel drive, making it the only vehicle with a cargo bed thus equipped. (Hyundai is on the verge of confirming a similar vehicle, although the Santa Cruz would be one size smaller.)In contrast to the original Ridgeline, which had somewhat awkward-looking, buttressed C-pillars, a droopy rear end, and a tailgate that looked one size too small, the new Ridgeline looks like a proper, four-door pickup. Compared with the Pilot, the Ridgeline’s front end is considerably more butch, with a low front bumper giving it an appropriately strong and wide visage, though stylists gratefully resisted the urge to slap on an artificially huge grille and drench the thing in cladding and chrome. Indeed, taste has prevailed from stem to stern, with subtle body-side surfaces and fender arches, normal-size mirrors, and simple taillamps with a C-shaped illumination pattern. READ MORE ››Infiniti stumbled out of the gate, as the launch of the original Q45 in the 1980s was marred by an ad campaign featuring images of rocks and trees instead of actual automobiles, and the brand didn’t really begin to develop a proper sense of itself until the Nissan Skyline–derived G35 arrived as a 2003 model. Thirteen years later, the last vestiges of the G will be wiped from the slate with the new Q60 coupe, which goes on sale later this year. When spy photos surfaced last fall, we suggested that the production version was even more attractive than the concept that spawned it. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that the Q60 is the prettiest Infiniti in the brand’s 27-year history.Given that the powertrains have already been previewed in the Q50 sedan, the big news is the Q60’s excellent styling. Yes, there’s a smidge of fussiness involved—the mini-crown at the leading edge of the snout that extends into the chrome grille surround, the exaggerated front-fender vents, and the not-a-Hofmeister quarter-window kink—but the headlights do the angry-eyebrows thing in a pleasing way, the front and rear fenders are all sinew and sex, and the taillights suggest a future Chevy Camaro on afterburner. In a luxurious way, of course. READ MORE ››Although Lexus is careful to avoid using the “sports car” tag to describe the LC500, the car nevertheless is possessed of some very sports-car-like qualities: The engine sits behind the centerline of the front axle, the wheels are pushed out to the corners, the driver’s hip point was “engineered to be as close as possible to the vehicle’s center of gravity,” and the list of materials used in the car’s construction includes highfalutin substrates such as carbon fiber, magnesium, and aluminum. Did we mention that Lexus claims the LC500’s unibody is the most rigid it has ever built, stiffer even than that of the brand’s rolling tribute to exclusive, high-buck one-upmanship, the Lexus LFA? That’s some serious stuff.But where the LFA played in rarefied air (production was limited to 500 units and the price tag was a whopping $375,000), the LC500 is poised to mingle with the rest of the Lexus lineup, where it will serve as a demonstration of what the brand can do with its front-engine, rear-wheel-drive architecture. At 113.0 inches, its wheelbase is almost an inch longer than that of the GS sedan, but the coupe is nearly five inches shorter overall. READ MORE ››When the Lincoln Continental concept made its surprise debut at the New York auto show last spring, it wowed showgoers (with the notable exception of then Bentley design chief Luc Donckerwolke). Having dropped the bombshell concept with little advanced warning, Ford did not play coy with its intentions. The Continental, it said, was headed for production. Thus, the question immediately became: How close would the production version be to the impressive—if admittedly Bentley-esque—show car? Now, we have our answer: very close indeed.The Continental is the most recent in a slew of new or redesigned Lincoln models (note the MKZ, MKC, MKX, and Navigator). The Continental is a new entry that steps in for the MKS. As Lincoln president Kumar Galhotra notes, “It’s our flagship—it is the most significant step so far.” READ MORE ››When Nissan unveiled its all-new Titan full-size pickup at the Detroit auto show last year, there were many who took one look at the new truck’s styling and diagnosed a case of Ford’s F-series envy. Whether or not that’s fair, Ford’s F-series has been America’s bestselling vehicle for what seems like forever, and it therefore makes an almost inescapable point of reference for any manufacturer designing a new full-size pickup. This year, Nissan takes the wraps off a concept version of the Titan called the Warrior, and one can’t help but see the reflection of another F-series: the Ford F-150 Raptor.Like the Raptor, the Warrior has been optimized for off-roading. The look, which Nissan characterizes as “adventure-ready, desert racing–inspired design,” is transformative. The concept stands almost three inches taller than the standard Titan XD and is some six inches wider. Wider, flared fenders accommodate massive, 37-inch off-road tires on 18-by-9.5-inch custom wheels. READ MORE ››With the revised 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera and Carrera S models revealed and reviewed in recent months, we knew it wouldn’t be long before the mighty 911 Turbo models got their own updates. And those would arrive, we surmised, with particular urgency now that the standard 911s are powered by turbocharged engines of their own. Well, the not-very-long wait for official images and information on the updated 2017 Porsche 911 Turbo and Turbo S models is over.As with the Carrera and Carrera S, both the Turbo and Turbo S models are up by 20 horsepower, to 540 and 580. The Turbo models retain their 3.8-liter engines, thank you very much—no engine downsizing here, at least not yet. Aided and abetted by their standard seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic transmissions and all-wheel drive, the cars’ stated zero-to-60-mph acceleration times are down to 2.9 seconds for the Turbo and 2.8 for the S, according to Porsche. We wouldn’t be surprised to see those times drop by a tenth or two when we test them ourselves, given that we saw a 2.8-second time in a 2014 Turbo S Cabriolet, which tipped the scales at more than 3700 pounds, making it the heaviest of the 911 variants. READ MORE ››The Swedes know long, dark winters, and Volvo has just come through an epic one. Starved from investment toward the end of its previous ownership by Ford, then sold off to Chinese automaker Geely, Volvo has seemingly spent more time in the last few years dropping models than introducing new ones—particularly in the North American market. Earlier this year, the bright, warming sun of spring finally arrived for Volvo in the form of the 2016 XC90, the extremely well received new range-topping SUV that is the first of a new generation of vehicles. Proceeding with its from-the-top-down model-line rejuvenation, Volvo now has unveiled its new large sedan, the S90.The S90 originally was due to appear before the XC90, but Volvo management decided to push out the SUV first, a wise move given the market’s unquenchable thirst for crossovers and sport-utes. Naturally, the two models share their architecture (Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture, or SPA) and their powertrains; their electronics interface and design language also mark them as siblings. The newer sedan, however, pushes a bit further in the areas of autonomous driving and collision avoidance. READ MORE ››
from Car and Driver Blog http://www.caranddriver.com/flipbook/the-12-cars-you-must-see-from-the-2016-detroit-auto-show

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