Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Detroit Auto Show: the other stuff that caught our eye

Since the 2015 Detroit Auto Show itself is now in our rear-view mirror, it's time to wrap up our photo visit with Monique and me with a quick look at the rest of what caught our eye this year.

The Toyota FT-1 concept car. Dang, this thing looks sleek.

Porsche Panamera. Yeah, half a dozen Porsches and the one that really captured us this year was the four-door hatchback. What can I say? We thought it looks great.

Also from Germany, the VW Beetle is still cute as the Dickens after all these years:

Like most convertibles the VW Beetle looks better with a smokin' hot model in the passenger seat.

Mini brought a very cool concept car of their own to this year's show:

The Mini Superleggera Vision. I can't help loving the useless single tailfin down the middle. But even aside from that detail this car just looked great.

Alfa Romeo brought a strong display this year, featuring their return to North America with the 4C:

Alfa-Romeo 4C Spyder

Alfa-Romeo 4C

And, heck, have a few bonus photos of antique Alfas while we're at it:

Much to our surprise one of this year's hands-down best looking concept cars came in the form of a full-size Buick sedan:

The Buick Avenir. This car was long and lean and looked as if it was going 90 mph just standing there on the turntable. Really, the picture doesn't do it justice. If they built this car I could honestly be tempted and the last thing I need in all the world is a full-size Buick sedan. That's how great this car looked.

This might look like another concept sports car, but it is in fact the production version of the new Acura NSX. The NSX is a hybrid-powered supercar built in the US. It's full of all sorts of supercar goodies and will sticker somewhere around $150K. I look forward to seeing how the Stig does with it on the Top Gear test track.

You might think this is Monique behind the wheel of an Acura NSX...

... but in fact she's behind the wheel of a Cadillac ELR, Cadillac's plug-in hybrid coupe, which is based on the Chevy Volt and has a 30 mph all-electric range before the gas range extender kicks in. To be honest, the ELR didn't really make our hearts go pit-a-pat, but if GM wants to compete with Tesla for California's luxury-car commuters, this is probably the car to do it.

Speaking of Tesla...

Monique sits behind the wheel of an all-electric Tesla Model S: 0-to-60 in 3.2 seconds, up to 270-mile range on a single charge, autopilot, and a five-star crash rating.

And speaking of luxury cars, yes, I can see myself in the back seat of this new Mercedes-Maybach S600. This is the sort of unbelievable ultra-luxury cruiser that could one day be a successor for Big Smoky, my ridiculous Jaguar Vanden Plas Supercharged long-wheelbase saloon. (Chauffeur not included with either, alas.) I couldn't get a good picture of the exterior because so many people kept crowding around to peer inside. It looked smooooooth, both inside and out.

This Mercedes AMG GT S sports car grabbed our attention. It looked faaaaaaast.

Another eye-catching concept car, the Mercedes F 015 Luxury in Motion self-driven vehicle:

Not only did it have a very futuristic outer shell, but they had done some real thinking about what it might mean inside if your car drove itself. And what they decided is that the front seats would swivel, so that you could have a nice chat with your passengers while nobody was at the wheel.

Also from the world of ultra-luxury cruisers, Bentley brought another couple of superfast, superluxurious cars to the show:

The Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible in Azure Purple: 626 hp, 605 lb-ft torque, 0-to-60 in 3.9 seconds, and a top speed of 203 mph. I recommend a strap for your hat if you plan to go more than 200 mph in your convertible.

The ever so slightly more sedate Bentley Flying Spur W12: 616 hp, 590 lb-ft torque, 0-to-60 in 4.6 seconds, top speed of 200 mph. It should get you to the board meeting on time.

Our final stop, something from the opposite end of the scale:

The 2015 Smart all-electric convertible. Its range is only 68 miles, but it's cute as can be, incredibly easy to fit into a parking space, gets 93/122 (city/highway) MPGE, and it costs less than 1/3 the price of the Tesla Model S. This looks like a pretty sweet car for a short city commuter, especially someplace with sun.

Our final installment from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show is coming soon: the thing that (sadly) didn't catch our eye....

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