With the North American International Auto Show now underway, the first of the large worldwide auto shows of the year, automakers are clamoring for the spotlight as they show off their new products. The show only opened on Monday, but there have already been numerous ground-breaking debuts from manufacturers around the globe.
Chrysler (FIATY.PK) has officially unveiled its newest weapon as it fights to pose a larger threat to its competition; Infiniti (NSANY.PK) has shown off what could potentially become a viable M3 fighter; on the subject of the latter, BMW’s new M3 — the sedan — also made an appearance. Here are eight leading stories from just the first of the NAIAS in Detroit, and there will presumably be far more to come, so stay tuned.
1. 2015 Chrysler 200
Chrysler’s new 200 “is the automotive equivalent of an ugly duckling turning into a swan,” Autoblog noted, commenting on the remarkable transition that the 2015 model has made from its successor. The car now has a far more premium feel, evoking design language akin to that of the Audi A7, the Tesla Model S, and other cars far above the 200′s price point. Power will come from an unchanged 2.4 liter inline-four, with the option of upgrading to the 3.6 liter V6 (which comes standard in the AWD trim).
2. 2015 Ford F-150
Ford (NYSE:F) had some big shoes to fill after the release of the Atlas pickup concept, and relatively speaking, it appears that the engineers stayed commendably in line with expectations. The grille, headlights, and front fascia as a whole can be easily traced back to the Atlas design; more impressively, though, Ford was able to shave — no, drop — roughly 700 pounds from the F-150′s curb weight with the clever and gratuitous use of aluminum. Ford says that the “2015 Ford F-150 is the strongest and most durable F-150 ever,” for those concerned about the durability of the new material, and the company noted that the new model was “torture tested” in lab settings and in the real world for more than 10 million miles.
3. 2015 BMW M3
BMW shuttered the production of the four-door M3 back in 2011, but will be bringing it back to market for next year. Overall, the new M3 isn’t a radical departure from the previously revealed M4, and doesn’t have any notable surprises hidden up its sleeve. A 3.0-liter six cylinder — the same found in the M4 — is good for 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, and 0-60 is dealt with in just a hair less than four seconds. Rest assured, its return is a welcomed one.
4. Corvette Z06
It was only a matter of time after the release of the 2014 Chevrolet (NYSE:GM) Corvette Stingray that its higher-performance cousin, the Z06, would come along. Boasting a healthy 625 horsepower (“at least”), and an equally impressive figure for torque, the new Z06 promises to outperform the last generation ZR1. A 1.7 liter Eaton supercharger ensures that the Z06 will be able to even outperform the old ZR1′s unit thanks to shorter rotors, and Chevrolet’s cylinder deactivation system will help keep the mile up when traveling between tracks.
5. Toyota FT-1
Since the demise of the Supra, Toyota (NYSE:TM) fans have been eagerly awaiting some word of its replacement. It has come in the form of the FT-1, which although still a concept (and largely devoid of any technical specifications), shows — at the very least — that Toyota is keen on returning to the higher performance segment, and what that return could look like. The design, created by Calty Design, draws from Formula 1, the older Supra models, the Scion FR-S, and even the older Celicas, to accumulate into the sleek concept that was unveiled on Monday.
6. Infiniti Eau Rouge
Lexus gave the hot-sedan segment a shot with the IS-F, but Infiniti has remained mostly mute on that segment — until now. The Eau Rouge, based on Infiniti’s new Q50, looks as sinister as any Infiniti ever has, perhaps as to imply that the company is seriously contemplating a go at BMW’s M3, the Mercedes C63 AMG, or the other segment leaders. No specs have been solidified yet, but an Infiniti executive through out 500 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque from a V8 of some kind as possibilities.
7. GMC Canyon
The GMC Canyon is the sister truck to the previously released Colorado, and while the Colorado turned out to be quite different from the Silverado on which its related, the Canyon ended up essentially as a more miniature version of the GMC Sierra — but that’s not a bad thing. The two trucks are a renewal of GM’s commitment to the smaller truck category, primarily dominated by Toyota and Nissan due to a lack of true competitors. The Canyon will come with three different body style options, and a four-cylinder or six-cylinder to start — like the Colorado, a diesel option is expected down the road.
8. Mercedes-Benz S600
The Mercedes S600 is the car to buy if you’re looking for a luxury limousine that is also a rocket ship. Under the hood lives a 6.0 liter twin-turbo V12, a cylinder count that is becoming increasingly rare among more restrictive fuel economy standards, which will provide 523 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque — which peaks at only 1,900 RPM. Of course, it comes with all the accoutrements and trappings that one would expect from the S Class, and for what will likely be a very Mercedes-Benz price tag as well.