Automakers plan to debut 45 new vehicles at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which opens to the public January 16. Here are some of the buzz-worthy new cars and trucks at the show.
Porsche 911 Turbo, Turbo S
Not known for austerity or restraint, the latest Porsche 911 pushes even further: more horsepower, faster acceleration and higher top speeds. The 2017 911 Turbo and Turbo S promise 20 horsepower more than before and both have faster top track speeds - 7 mph faster for the Turbo S, which now clocks in at 205 mph. Porsche says the heightened power and performance comes with increased fuel efficiency, but adds EPA ratings aren’t yet available. Oliver Blume, board chairman of the German automaker, says one in three 911s are sold in America. The 911s go on sale stateside in April. The Turbo starts at $159,200 and the Turbo S at $188,100
Mercedes-Benz was the top-selling luxury brand in the US last year. The tenth generation of the midsize E-Class sedan borrows the elongated hood and gently sloping tail of its big sibling, the S-Class. The E-Class gets a new turbocharged, 2.0-litre four-cylinder gas engine with 241 horsepower, up from 195 in the current four-cylinder diesel. Inside, the driver can control the infotainment system with smartphone-like swipes of a finger.
The E-Class has the latest semi-autonomous driving capabilities: it can change lanes by itself, maintain a safe distance from the car in front at speeds of up to 130 mph and stay in semi-autonomous mode even if lane markings are obscured. For fun, there is ambient lighting system with 64 colors to choose from. Pricing wasn’t announced, but the E-Class currently starts at $52,650. US sales of the new E-Class start this summer.
Volvo S90 Sedan
Volvo’s new luxury sedan makes self-driving technology standard. The semi-autonomous Pilot Assist software on the S90 allows it to accelerate, decelerate, come to a complete stop and steer on a road with clear lane markings at speeds up to 80 mph. An earlier version on the XC90 SUV worked at speeds up to 30 mph and required a vehicle in front to act as a guide. Three engine choices will be available, including a four-cylinder, 2.0 litre turbocharged and supercharged engine and a plug-in hybrid. The S90 displayed at the Detroit auto show goes on sale this year in the US
Building a crossover in China and shipping to the US was a somewhat controversial decision by GM. The Envision has a sculpted exterior design and a dashboard that wraps into the doors. It is powered by a 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 252 horsepower. The crossover comes only with fully automatic all-wheel drive and has a “whisper quiet” cabin on the road, GM says. US sales start in the second quarter of this year, filling a gap in Buick’s SUV lineup between the subcompact Encore and the large Enclave. GM says it wasn’t economically feasible to build the crossover outside of China at current sales projections. GM expects to sell three quarters of the Michigan designed crossovers in China.
The sleek, low-slung Avista coupe is a concept car with a mean-looking front grille, thin LED headlamps, 20-inch wheels and aggressive flared rear fenders. The Avista has a 400-horsepower twin-turbo V6 engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Buick says it will have the next-generation of its “Quiet Tuning” suspension, advanced noise cancellation technology, air purifiers and even aroma therapy. GM says the Avista harkens back to the Buick Y-Job from 1938, which the company says is recognized as the auto industry’s first concept vehicle. Now, GM has to decide whether to build it.
Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept
Volkswagen needs a hit in the key SUV market and turns to the next generation of Tiguan. The concept version being shown in Detroit has a gas-electric hybrid drive system and bolstered off-road performance. VW says the five-seat concept has two electric motors that boost total system horsepower to 221, pushing the SUV from zero to 60 in 6.4 seconds. The Tiguan concept will be able to go 20 miles in all-electric mode before the gas engine comes on. It also has the latest safety features such as automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection.
Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback
General Motors rolls out a hatchback version of the Chevy Cruze, putting it on equal footing with the Ford Focus and other compacts that come in hatch and sedan versions. Chevy says the hatchback will have 18.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat. The Cruze sedan debuts early this year, with the hatch coming out in the fall. Both have a new 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine with stop-start technology that can get up to 40 mpg on the highway. Price for the hatch wasn’t announced. The sedan starts at $16,620 excluding shipping. The problem for both: small cars aren’t selling well in the SUV-crazy US with gas around $2 a gallon nationally.