Concepts, Future Models & Updates Rule the Day in Detroit
So, today is the first day of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. And, after yesterday’s unveiling of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, many of the other major auto makers are seeking to make an impact of their own with future models, updates and concepts. Based on a select few from Jeep, VW, Tesla, Porsche, Bimmer, Audi, Infiniti & others, they are not going to disappoint. The future is a bright place, indeed, in the world of the U.S. auto market. Let’s take a look at a few of the highlights, shall we…
Over the past several decades, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been the standard bearer of full-size off-road capable SUVs. With models ranging from about $27,000 for a Laredo to $70,000 for an SRT8, the Grand Cherokee can cover a tremendous range of needs with a tremendous range of options, all superbly capable. Now, with the suprisingly ample updates to the 2014 Grand Cherokee model, the daddy of all Jeeps gets even better.
|2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT|
At the top of the hill sits the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. Getting a new eight-speed tranny, the 6.4 liter Hemi V8 powered SRT8 will have a 0-60 run faster than the current 4.5 seconds and have increased mid-powerband performance, as well.
|2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 Interior|
2014 marks the return of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel to the U.S. powered by Chrysler’s 3.0 liter EcoDiesel V6 with 240 hp and a whopping 420 lb-ft of torque. Gotta love a diesel’s grunt. This, along with the 3.6 liter V6 and 5.7 liter V8, get Jeep’s new eight-speed gearbox.
Tiguan too small? Touarag use too much gas? The folks over at Volkswagen have heard your pleas and introduced the VW CrossBlue Concept, a plug-in diesel-hybrid seven-seater. Designed specifically for the North American markets, the CrossBlue Concept is a five-door beast powered by a two-liter turbo diesel four-banger mated to two electric motors. Combined output: 305 horse and 516 lb-ft of torque. This VW SUV could tow your house up a steep hill and get 39 mpg while doing it. Shifting is handled by a six-speed dual clutch box.
|VW Cross Blue Concept|
It’s not slow either. Sixty miles per hour comes in just 7.2 seconds. The CrossBlue Concept can run on battery power alone for about 14 miles at 75 mph. In full hybrid mode, you’ll get 39 mpg average with a max hyper-miler mpg of about 89. Unlike the Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept’s cousin, the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid, this is one serious eco beast.
This year in Detroit, Audi is going big. Big cars with even bigger power and performance. First, the 2013 Audi RS 7 Sportback. Perhaps the only car you will ever need. It has it all. Audi’s big four-door coupe, the A7 Sportback is given a heavy dose of scooty (Hence the RS…Really Scooty) in the form of the RS 7 making it large enough for four adults to sit comfortably and fast enough to make three of those adults very very uncomfortable (read: terrified). A twin-turbo 4 liter TFSI V8 with 560 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque launches the Audi RS 7 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 190 mph. Thanks to cutting edge fuel saving measures, the 2013 RS 7 will sip gas to a tune of 24 mpg.
|2013 Audi RS 7 and 2013 Audi SQ5|
Go a little bigger and bulkier and you run straight into the 2013 Audi SQ5 with a supercharged 3 liter V6 TFSI. At 354 horse and 347 pound-feet of torque, the 2013 SQ5 may not be as fast as the 2013 RS 7, but it is still plenty quick at 5.3 seconds 0-60.
|2014 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S|
“Hello, my name is Porsche Cayenne Turbo, and I am addicted to horsepower. I used to think 500 hp was enough, but for 2014 I wanted more…needed more. 550 ponies to be precise. I know I’ve always been fast, but I just wanted to be faster. Just a bit more. Now, I can run from zero to sixty miles an hour in just 4.3 seconds (I know because I always have my Sport Chrono Package) and keep going all the way to 175. Don’t worry. I’m at least safe about it. I’m sure to always use Dynamic Chassis Control and torque vectoring. Just look at my shiny 21 inch Turbo II wheels and gloss black air intakes. I know I look good. At least I’m not cheap. You need $146,975 to take me home. Whatever, at least I’m not an Infiniti QX!”
A few weeks ago, BMW introduced the 4 Series Concept, a beautiful four-door coupe concept roughly the size of the 3 Series. Now, in Detroit, Bimmer has unveiled the 4 Series Coupe Concept. And, oh what a concept it is. There is still a lot we don’t know about the 4 Series Coupe, except that its about 1.7 inches wider, half an inch shorter and has a two inch longer wheelbase than the 3 Series. It will likely get the same powertrain options as the current 3 Series. Could this be the 3 Series replacement? Or, is it just another model threatening to bloat the BMW line? We’ll have to wait until later this year to find out.
|BMW 4 Series Coupe Concept|
TESLA MODEL X:
Oh, Tesla, Tesla, Tesla… You keep teasing us with prototypes, updated prototypes and updated updated prototypes of your Tesla Model X. But, still this sub-5 second 0-60 electric SUV with its oversized iPad-looking center console info stack and very cool gullwing doors wins my vote for most coveted eSUV in Detroit this year. Look for the “Beta Version” to pop up sometime in 2014.
|Tesla Model X|
The Infiniti G is out and the Q50 hybrid is in. The Infiniti G has been the standard bearer for Infiniti for some time. Now, however, Nissan’s luxury arm is demonstrating their new direction in terms of styling and technology with the 2014 Infiniti Q50. The 2014 Q50 will be powered by a choice of a 3.7-liter V6 (328 hp) or a 3.5-liter hybrid (354 hp). On the technology front, Infiniti’s new Direct Adaptive Steering, Active Lane Control and Infiniti InTouch next-gen smart connectivity will be showcased on the Q50. Drivers will also be able to customize their digital environment and various driver settings to their i-Key.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the 2014 Mercedes CLA-Class. Based on the A-Class, the new CLA-Class is a sleek, sleek car. So sleek, as a matter of fact, with a drag coefficient of 0.23 the Mercedes CLA-Class is the most aerodynamic series production vehicle in the world. About the same size as the C-Class, the CLA-Class is definitely a rival of the BMW 4 Series Concept. When the CLA250 hits the States this fall it will come powered by a 1.8 liter in-line four-cylinder with 208 horse and 258 lb-ft put through the front wheels. To get 4Matic, you’ll have to shell out a bit more than the $30,000 starting price. CLA-AMG likely to come some time later.
|Merceded CLA-Class and 2014 E63 AMG|
The 2014 E63 AMG rumbled onto the stage today in Detroit. The baddest of all Benz sedans comes in your choice of sedan or wagon. Now, you also get your choice between the “standard” E63 AMG 550 hp 5.5 liter Biturbo V8 or the up-tuned 577 horse S-Model. All E63 AMGs come with Mercedes’ 4Matic AWD system.
FISKER VL AUTOMOTIVE:
|VL Automotive Destino|
Jealous of the Tesla Model S’ 4.4 second zero-to-sixty time and don’t care about its eco-ness? Think a big-ass American V8 is the key to world peace? Well, do Bob Lutz and Gilber Villereal have a car for you! The VL Automotive Destino. VL Automotive (V=Villereal, L=Lutz) took the Fisker Karma and made it awesome by dropping the 638 horse supercharged LS9 V8 from the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 into it. No more plug-in hybrid. Just an American V8 super sports sedan to compete with the Porsche Panamera, the Aston Martin Rapide and the Maserati Quattorporte. Performance? About mid-3 seconds to 60 mph and up to about 200 at the top. Full efficiency? Don’t ask. Probably less than 20 mpg combined. The major changes to the Karma’s styling make the Destino an undeniably beautiful car. Different front fascias, real exhaust tips coming out of the rear of the car and a higher hood holding back the huge V8 make it a very, very enticing vehicle. Built in Auburn Hills, Michigan the VL Automotive Destino will begin deliveries this summer and will set you back about $180,000.
Lincoln is in the midst of complete brand transformation. The Lincoln MKC Concept is the latest step in redefining the brand. With no official news on the drivetrain on the MKC Concept, odds are it will come with the 2 liter EcoBoost four-banger from the Ford Escape. With no real crazy design features, the MKC Concept hints rather strongly at the production version to come later this year. If this is the direction Lincoln is heading (with the current MKZ, MKX and MKS, it obviously is), the brand is headed for a Cadillac-style resurrection.
|Lincoln MKC Concept|
The 2013 Hyundai HCD-14 Genesis Concept gives us a sneak peak into the design of the forthcoming next generation Hyundai Genesis sedan. Hard-edged body lines, 4-door coupe styling, heads-up display and a drive select vehicle settings system will likely show up on the next Genesis. The five-liter direct-injection V8 with an eight-speed trans will probably carry through, as well.
|Hyundai HCD-14 Concept|
Toyota has unveiled the 2013 Toyota Corolla Furia Concept in Detroit. Pay close attention because this is a good clue as to the styling of the next generation Toyota Corolla. Compared to the current production Corolla, the Corolla Furia is about two inches longer and wider with a four-inch longer wheelbase. It’s also a shorter car, overall.
|Toyota Corolla Furia Concept|