Article and photos by Paul Williams and Mike Schlee
2013 Detroit Auto Show
Mike Schlee and Paul Williams were on the floor at Detroit’s Cobo Hall for all the major reveals at the North American International Auto Show. Here are their picks of the most interesting, significant and just plain hottest cars of the 2013 edition.
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
All new for 2014, the C7 Corvette will be lighter, stronger and more powerful than the outgoing 2013 model. Powered by an all-new 6.2L V8, it produces an estimated 450 hp. The 2014 Stingray will match the Porsche by offering a seven-speed manual transmission, but one-ups the 911 by also offering rev matching technology for both up and down shifts.
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray & Audi RS 7. Click images to enlarge
Audi RS 7
If the already well-endowed 420-hp Audi S7 is just too tame for you, you are in luck; there is now an Audi RS 7. Coincidentally developing the exact same 560 hp as the BMW M6 Gran Coupe, which just happened to be introduced in Detroit as well, the RS 7 upstages its German ‘four-door-coupe’ rival by offering standard all-wheel drive. Like any good RS Audi, upgrades to the sheet metal, brakes, wheels and price will also be included.
No, this is not a new crossover from Infiniti, but rather the replacement of Infiniti’s G Sedan. Although confusing, Infiniti’s new naming convention will have all of its cars starting with the letter Q from now on (and SUVS adopting QX). Like the G of old, there will be the carryover of Infiniti’s ubiquitous VQ 3.7L V6 engine. However, for the first time, Infiniti will be offering a hybrid version of their compact luxury sedan.
Infiniti Q50 & Cadillac ELR. Click images to enlarge
After showing us the Converj Concept for the past little while, Cadillac has made good on their promise to bring this sleek, wedgy two-door car to market; behold the ELR. Based on the Chevrolet Volt, the ELR is a 2+2 coupe that features a larger electric motor than the Volt that boosts power to 207 hp. As would be expected, the ELR will have all the finest luxury trimmings inside and out, and a price to match.
Hyundai HCD-14 Concept
Said to be a styling precursor to an upcoming Genesis, this massive machine seems over the top or bold, depending on your point of view. This was one of the best-attended launches at Detroit, emphasizing the importance and interest generated by Hyundai these days.
Hyundai HCD-14 Concept & Acura NSX Concept. Click images to enlarge
Trying to keep the NSX on a slow boil (the concept was unveiled at the 2012 Detroit show), Acura brought the latest iteration of its upcoming supercar to the 2013 show and it still looks awesome to me. This one had a flash red interior but we’re told two more years before the production model debuts.
BMW 4 Series Coupe
What’s a 4 Series? For the time being, it’s a coupe, but a convertible will appear later. Where’s the 3 Series Coupe? Going, going, gone. The 4 Series is longer and wider than the outgoing 3 Series Coupe, and from all angles it’s a beautiful creation. BMW likens it to a downsized 6 Series Coupe. This car looks ready for the road; expect its official launch later in 2013.
BMW 4 Series Coupe & Nissan Resonance Concept. Click images to enlarge
This is a striking piece of kit. Another concept, it’s likely the next Murano, or something like it. Remember how radical the original Murano looked? The Resonance makes a similar impression. It’s a hybrid with 22-inch wheels, all angles and sculpted surfaces. It has a so-called “floating” glass roof and won a Best Concept Vehicle award at the show.
Ford Atlas Concept
The Atlas Pickup Truck Concept is a technology showcase from Ford that hints at the next F-Series pickup truck. It features a host of smart technologies as well as foreshadowing the future of Ecoboost engines in this best-selling truck. Of course, much of this truck will not make it to production, but it does look cool.
Ford Atlas Concept & Lincoln MKC Concept. Click images to enlarge
Lincoln MKC Concept
The luxury market is growing, and Lincoln continues to find a large role in it. With products like the Lincoln MKC, they may succeed. This is a very appealing mid-size SUV featuring a design that finally seems fully formed. It’s a concept at this point, but this vehicle was a pleasant surprise at the Detroit show. Executive Vice President Global Marketing, Jim Farley says it strikes a “balance between all-out performance and comfort.” Looks good, too!
The Cadenza takes aim at entry level luxury automobiles like the Acura TSX, Lexus ES and Lincoln MKZ. Replacing the long-gone and mostly forgotten Amanti, the Kia Cadenza is based on the Hyundai Azera that is not sold on this side of the border. Power will come from the same 3.3L V6 sending 293 hp to the front wheels.
Although officially designated a crossover to slot in between the Tiguan and Touareg, the CrossBlue Concept is more like a non-sliding-door minivan. With three rows of seats, all-wheel drive and an attractive exterior, the CrossBlue would be a welcome replacement to the ill-fitting and poor-selling Routan in Volkswagen’s lineup.
Oh, did we forget to mention the concept is powered by a plug-in diesel hybrid powertrain? A production vehicle based on the CrossBlue is destined for North American markets, but the concept is powered by a diesel-hybrid powertrain combining VW’s celebrated TDI engine with a couple of electric motors. Apparently it’ll get 2.1 L/100 km, but don’t expect to be able to buy diesel hybrids anytime soon, unless VW can figure out how to make them affordable.
Volkswagen CrossBlue & Cross Coupe. Click images to enlarge
Volkswagen Cross Coupe
This is nice. Nobody was talking about it much, with most of the attention focused on the CrossBlue. Is it a Tiguan replacement (not due here for a couple of years, but you never know), or is it a whole other model? It’s another diesel-hybrid, apparently making 300+ horsepower, although this one has four seats. It looks ready to come to market, and a TDI would suit just fine, thank you very much.