Which cars will be Detroit stars?

  • AFP
  • Updated: Dec 30, 2014 12:25 IST

The 2015 North America International Auto Show is less than a month away, and while it is usually the flagship event for the unveiling of new cars from Ford, GM and Chrysler, European carmakers are planning on muscling in.

As well as a specially designed show car -- Audi can always be relied upon for a great concept car at every major motoring event -- the company will officially unveil its new range topping, seven-seat Q7 SUV. There's also a good chance that it will be launching a new entry-level sub-compact off-roader, too, the Q1.

But new SUVs are going to be in plentiful supply at the show. Mercedes will be showing off the GLC Coupé -- the off-roading equivalent of a fastback -- and a car designed to compete directly with the BMW X6. There's also a strong possibility that a near-production version of Maserati's first SUV could put in an appearance.

An off-roader infused with Maserati's Milanese style could well turn heads but if the rumors are true, it will be Ford that stands the biggest chance of giving attendees whiplash with an all-new GT supercar.

But if a new Ford GT fails to materialize, Cadillac has something up its sleeve in the form of the CTS-V that might well make up for the disappointment. The most powerful car in the company's 112-year history, it has 640hp on tap, a 200mph top speed and its makers have made absolutely no secret of the fact that it was built specifically to run rings around everything from the BMW M5 to the Bentley Continental GT V8.

There is a long history of muscle cars and super sedans making their debut at Detroit, but the world's supercar makers like to keep their latest editions under wraps until Geneva (the motor show for the 1%) in March.

However, Honda will be breaking that tradition by officially unveiling the long-awaited replacement for its original Ferrari-baiting Acura NSX.

The new car, which has been in development for more than three years and which will be built in the US, will boast two electric motors and a twin turbocharged V6 sending power to all four wheels and promises to be a serious driver's car.

Chevrolet is also taking the wraps off its latest hybrid in Detroit but unlike the NSX, the second-generation Volt will be focused on sustainability and lowering harmful emissions. Expect a better range on electric-only power and a higher level of cabin trim.

Other potential highlights of the 2015 show include the hottest version yet of the new Mini -- the John Cooper Works edition. It promises to be the fastest and most potent production Mini in history but one that offers all of that extra power without stripping down the cabin to the bare minimum. It will be as comfortable and high-tech as it is sporty.

Mini's parent company, BMW has also confirmed that it will be unveiling a facelifted version of its entire 6-Series range, which is quite a brave decision. BMW, like all German car makers, prefers to launch one model variant at a time, often over a period of one-to-two years. But at the Detroit show the coupe, Gran Coupé, convertible and M6 versions will all be launched simultaneously.

The North American International Auto Show opens its doors to the public January 17-25, after five days of previews.

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