The first motor show of the year kicks off with EV supercars, SUVs and swathe of hot new ideas.
THE 2016 Detroit Motor Show begins on Monday January 11, 2016, and Wheels will be on the show floor to bring you the behind the scenes action from Motown as the automotive industry competes for your attendtion. Follow us on Twitter (WheelsAustralia), stay tuned to Facebook and www.wheelsmag.com.au for updates, analysis and opinion.
THE second-generation Audi A5 Coupe is tipped to be at Detroit, a two-door version of the all-new 2016 Audi A4 that was revealed in late 2015. It will appear alongside the Audi Q6 H-tron concept which should take its looks from the E-tron Quattro Concept (pictured), packing a hydrogen fuel cell and an electric motor or two rather than a conventional internal combustion engine.
COULD the BMW M2 be the performance car bargain of 2016? Making its first in-the-metal appearance, the 272kW 3.0-litre turbocharged coupe will arrive here in May, priced from $89,900 for the six-speed manual version and $98,900 for the dual-clutch model. Also on show for the first time will be the BMW X4 M40i, which will feature a 265kW/465Nm version of the B58 3.0-litre twin-turbo inline six that gives it a claimed sub-5.0sec 0-100km/h time.
AUSSIES had a big hand in drawing the lines of last year’s Buick Avenir large limousine concept, so the question now is whether the Antipodean outpost of General Motors will also have a hand in the latest concept to wear the Buick badge. The US luxury brand will also bring the Buick Envision, a Chinese-built SUV based on the same platform as the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze, along for its first showing. It could point to a potential Holden Captiva replacement.
HOLDEN has confirmed that the next-gen Cruze will be sold here alongside the Europe-sourced Astra in 2017, as the local arm of GM takes a two-pronged approach in tackling the top-selling Mazda 3 and Toyota Corolla. Whether or not that includes the new hatch, to be shown at Detroit, or a sedan – or both – is yet to be revealed.
MOTOWN'S number three player is expected to pull the covers off a new version of the Chrysler Town and Country people-mover. Even though the new version is expected to seat up to eight occupants, the Chrysler 300-inspired two-box family hauler is classed as a “minivan”, the segment the car-maker invented under Bob Lutz.
CARBONFIBRE, electric power and 0-100km/h in less than 3sec, the FFZero1 brings serious sex appeal to the show, backed with the name of an English scientist you may not have heard of since high school. The electric supercar is design to stop shows, not traffic though – as the company has already said it will not build it. Instead, elements of this car will make production in a more vanilla, everyday machine, with the FFZero1 a mobile billboard for the California-based electric-car start-up, which includes numerous ex-Tesla staff and plans for a Las Vegas factory.FISKER
A FIERCE court battle with luxury car rival Aston Martin over styling still rages, so the Fisker Force 1 concept’s appearance at Detroit is not yet a certainty. If it does show, expect to see an Aston Martin DB9-inspired exterior (see what we did there?) wrapped around a pie-in-the-sky electric drivetrain with eye-popping performance and range claims. Read about the court dispute here.FORD
THE Ford Mondeo is sold in the US as the Ford Fusion, and is expected to gain a mild facelift as part of a Detroit showing that will also introduce a plug-in hybrid version. Don’t expect to see the hybrid here, though, as we have the hypermiling diesel version that isn’t available in the US, and lack the government tax incentives offered in many European markets.
HOLDEN: See CHEVROLET
Honda will unveil a new luxury sports car concept in the US via its sub-brand Acura (the same brand the Honda NSX hybrid supercar will sell under in the US). Known as the Precision Concept, it heralds “the direction for future Acura design; in particular, the next generation of performance-luxury sedans”. Don’t count on it coming here, though.
Hyundai confirmed the creation of its Genesis luxury sub-brand late last year, and part of the transformation is a replacement for the Equus large car called the G90 – which we’ve already spied in Australia. As well as an atmo 3.8-litre V6 that's used in the current Genesis sold here, there'll be a 5.0-litre V8 and a new 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 to the brand.
If Audi’s A5 coupe tickles your fancy, take a look at Infiniti’s freshly-minted rival, the Q60. While it appeared in concept from at the 2015 Detroit show, images of the production version of the second-gen coupe have already been released ahead of its 2016 debut. It uses the new rear-drive FM platform that is shared with Q50 sedan with a 2.0-litre four and all-new ‘VR’ 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 developing up to 298kW. It’s the brand’s best shot yet at the BMW 4-Series, Lexus RC and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.KIA
Kia has confirmed that the star of its Detroit show stand will be the KCD12 concept car, shown in this teaser shot shown at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show. Larger than the Sorento, and with what appears to be enough room for a third-row of seats, the tinsel-wrapped off-roader is most likely a replacement for the Mohave, Kia’s largest SUV that’s sold in left-hand drive US and South Korean markets. That means even if it does make production, it’s unlikely to be sold in Australia.LEXUS
THIS is Lexus’ answer to the Porsche 911. The Lexus LF-LC coupe concept has evolved from virtual from in Gran Turismo 6 to its first appearance at Detroit in 2012 This year, Toyota’s luxury arm is expected to show a production version of the hybrid-engined two-door, four seat rear-drive coupe. We should learn fairly quickly if the showroom version will keep the concept’s jet fighter-inspired tail-lights and flashy quad exhausts as a leg-up on the cheaper RC Coupe.LINCOLN
THIS is the car that saw Bentley’s chief designer, Luc Donckerwolke, use Facebook to publically accuse Lincoln’s David Woodhouse, of copying its design. The 2015 New York Motor Show concept will hardly change when the premium arm of Ford pulls the wraps off the production version of the Continental at Detroit, taking aim at Cadillac and using a stretched version of the new Ford Mondeo platform.MERCEDES-BENZ
An all-new Mercedes-Benz E-Class is big news for the brand, and this one was so important that the German luxury car maker used the US-based Consumer Electronics Show to flash its interior, and Motown to reveal its exterior. Meanwhile, the newly monikered Mercedes-Benz SLC roadster gains a new look, and the Mercedes-AMG S65 loses its top to become the Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet.PORSCHE
Proper nouns have become very important at Porsche. Joining the Porsche 911 turbo (little “t”) range with their global debut are the 397 kW Porsche 911 Turbo (big “T”) and 427 kW Porsche 911 Turbo S (big “T”, big “S”), rounding out the more conventional sports coupe line-up. Read more details about the new sports cars here before they arrive in Australia in May.
The Budd-E was shown at CES, an electric successor to the legendary Combi that’s connected to the smart home of the future. It boasts the next evolution of digital display, with gesture control, autonomous features and connectivity on a scale not seen in a motor car to date. VW boss Dr Herbert Diess says that it could be a reality ‘by the end of the decade’. Also on the stand will be the Golf R Touch, also showing off a litany of future tech.
The second wave of Volvo’s renaissance sees its return to the large luxury segment with the Volvo S90 sedan. Challenging the all-new Mercedes-Benz E-Class, as well as the BMW 5-Series and Audi A6, the Volvo S90 shares its origins with the recently launched Volvo XC90 SUV, and sharing the same modular four-cylinder engines. Spy images already show that we can expect sharp-edges V90 wagon to follow on from the S90.