At the beginning of the week, we covered some of the high profile debuts that — as of Monday morning — were already beginning to pour out of the event center in Detroit where the North American International Auto Show was being held. Big news was uncovered — a new, powerful Corvette, the redesigned Ford F-150 pickup, and Toyota’s long anticipated following act to the Supra all surfaced on the first day. However, the show was just getting underway, and since then, a lot more has happened.
The following few days proved to be rather eventful as well, as Audi, Acura, Nissan, and others all put their newest wares on display. Design has taken front and center this year, as automakers are looking for increasingly bold ways to differentiate their vehicles from the competition. Here are eight notable highlights from the last couple of days at the Detroit auto show; you can read our coverage of our first day here. The following are not ranked in any particular order.
1. Acura TLX
The Acura (NYSE:HMC) TLX is the vehicle charged with replacing both the TL, and the TSX. Firstly, off the bat — the TLX already looks like a great improvement on Acura’s current model range. It appears more firmly rooted, and the Jewel Eye headlights look positively smashing on the refreshed front of Acura’s sedan. Though the design isn’t a giant departure from the older generation, the TLX looks cleaner, crisper, and has a whole different attitude than the Acuras past. Buyers will be able to choose from a brand-new, direct-injected 2.4-liter four-cylinder, or a 3.5 liter V6.
2. Mercedes-Benz C Class
The Mercedes-Benz C Class has — shall we say, matured in a big way. Taking no subtle hints from its big brother the S Class, the new C Class sedan now boasts the brand’s more ovular lights, and the overall shape of the S Class, but shortened to dimensions more fitting of a compact sedan. Autoblog asserts that the new C Class will be “the most luxurious and innovative compact sedan the world has ever seen from the German automaker,” as it features more options at the entry level that have previously been only seen on the upscale models historically – air suspension and head-up displays, for example.
3. Kia GT4 Stinger Concept
Kia has a wide array of models in its stable, but a small performance coupe isn’t one of them. Enter the Kia GT4 Stinger concept — though Kia said it’s not planning on building the model, it also noted that it ”has a history of delivering production vehicles that bear a strong resemblance to the concept that preceded them.” If that’s the case, Kia fans can expect a 2+2 format performance car, potentially with a detuned version of the 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that is found in the Optima GTS racer.
4. Audi Allroad Shooting Brake
Though its cleverly disguised behind some body cladding and a raised chassis, the Audi (VLKAY.PK) is reportedly the template for ”a host of visual elements of future sports car models.” However, the Allroad’s allure goes well past its exterior appearance; its gas/electric powertrain can reportedly churn out 479.42 pound-feet of torque, along with 123.8 miles per gallon on the U.S. cycle thanks to an electric motor mounted on each axle and an 8.8 kWh battery pack that can move the car 31 miles on electricity alone before the 2.0 liter turbo-four kicks in.
5. Subaru WRX STI
Subaru WRX fans are still fuming about the decision to axe the hatchback model from the lineup, but the new Launch Edition WRX STI might help soften the blow. The traditional blue point and gold rims have made a welcomed return, and active torque vectoring makes this perhaps the best-handling WRX STI to date. With only 1,000 units slated for production, the Launch Edition model will feature the WR Blue paint, some special interior trim, those gold colored forged-alloy BBS wheels, and a short-throw shifter for quicker gear changes.
6. Honda Fit
Honda’s beloved hatchback has seen a full redesign for the U.S. market come next year, and with the new look, it injects perhaps the most technology that the subcompact market has seen yet. Standard features now include Bluetooth and a rear-view camera, in addition to the already-standard USB jack, ExtremeTech reports, while the smartphone-based HondaLink navigation is just $60 away. The Fit will also achieve 41 miles per gallon on the highway, and 33 miles per gallon in the city, thanks to Honda’s new 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which also generates 13 horsepower more than its predecessor.
7. Nissan Sport Sedan Concept
Like most concepts, Nissan’s (NSANY.PK) killer looking Sport Sedan Concept isn’t meant for production, but rather to showcase Nissan’s future design language that will show through its actual production cars. That’s a good thing, as the 2015 Nissan Maxima is coming around the bend. The concept is reportedly still front-wheel drive — counter-intuitive to its looks — though its 3.5 liter V6 will put out in excess of 300 horsepower. Powertrains aside, we can only hope that the Sport Sedan’s ethereal presence and floating, flowing lines will live on through Nissan’s future models.
8. Volvo Concept XC Coupe
Following on the heels of Volvo’s greatly acclaimed Concept Coupe, the XC Coupe offers some more insight into Volvo’s design strategy. However, this model is especially important, as it points to what a successor for the now 10 or so year-old XC90 SUV might look like. We would imagine that the replacement would feature four doors, but the concept bears features that are unmistakably trademark Volvo; the rear light structure, and the overall shape are reminiscent of the current XC60.