It’s that time of year again. The North American International Auto Show in Detroit press days wrapped up yesterday before opening to the public this weekend, and once again there were a series of significant product reveals, sexy, powerful concepts and sports cars, and endless luxury vehicles to entice the senses. After spending a day and a half roaming the halls of Cobo Center in Detroit, we pick our favourite vehicles and some interesting tidbits that stood out from the many worthy debuts.
BEST IN SHOW
Jonathan Yarkony: Lexus LC 500
If this was a concept car, it would have still been a coin flip between Lexus’s new flagship coupe and Buick’s slinky Avista coupe, but Lexus gets extra credit for delivering the LC 500 in production form looking like a wild concept, earning it my vote for best in show. Backing up its outrageous true-to-concept looks is a renewed dedication by Lexus to take the next leap to luxury, with a halo coupe for the brand, and powered by a V8 familiar from the RC F and GS F paired with a new 10-speed transmission and a singular focus on light, low weight and ideal balance for a rewarding driving experience. This is something I desperately need to drive and hear and feel.
Jeff Wilson: Volvo S90
Unsurprisingly, hot on the heels of the XC90 (the freshly-announced North American Truck of the Year, no less), the new S90 sedan is a stunner both inside and out. And it seems I’m not the only one to think so since over the two press days, it was always virtually impossible to get up close to the two cars on display. Both were constantly under the lights and cameras of international media making any meaningful seat time (or photos!) nearly impossible.
Chris Chase: Buick Avista
Who would’ve guessed Buick would be the one to blow us away with a stunning coupe? Naturally, we’ll wait to see how much of what we see in this concept actually reaches production, but a sexy two-door could be a turning point in Buick’s effort to rebrand itself.
JY: Buick Avista
GM managed to keep the Avista under wraps until their private showing on the eve of the show, so it was a nice surprise to reward us for braving the weather to make it down to Detroit. Based on the Camaro platform, there is a familiarity to the proportions, but it is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum from the sharply angled, faceted Chevy, instead opting for liquid curves with organic, pointed accents throughout the exterior and interior. Not only is the shape and form beautiful, but the many subtle design cues throughout kept me fascinated, and the interior was a delight in a light grey, with futuristic gauges that curve in three dimensions with a soft glow that reinforced this dreamy coupe that looks like it should be parked in a garage in Rivendell.
JW: Buick Avista
Not only is Buick’s sexy coupe concept a delight for the eyes from every angle, it possesses enough shared GM components that production of something pretty close to this concept is a distinct possibility. Bravo Buick!
CC: Nissan Titan Warrior
This is Nissan’s answer to the Ford SVT Raptor. We like it. Make it happen, Nissan.