Detroit:2015 North American International Auto Show

16 Feb 2015 | 9,615 views | 3 Comments
This year's North American International Auto Show---also known as the Dtroit Auto Show-took a U turn away from hybrids and compact cars--and unveiled a slew of big cars, huge trucks and flashy sport car with blistering performance. Everyone from Ford and Buick------that's Buick's stunning concept car, the Avenir, just above-- to Acura and Lexus unveiled products that represented a huge departure from the sorts of cars seen at the last few Detroit Auto Shows. Just about the only brands introducing products that were  gas sipping hybrids, electrics, or plug in hybrids-- were Chevrolet, Volvo, Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen. Perhaps the biggest surprises of the show came from a make that few people would ever expect: Buick. At a lavish showing that took plce the day before the media events took place was the introduction of the Buick Avenir luxury sedan and the gorgeous Buick Cascada convertible that will be on sale later this year. The Cascada already is sold in Europe by General Motors' Opel arm. The Avenir's sleek lines and flowing style were admired by most of the media on hand to see it. 2015-Buick-Avenir-Concept-021 A long hood, wheels-at-the-corners stance and a sloping, rear deck that pays homage to historical models, such as the Riviera, distinguish the Avenir’s proportion. “Simply put, Avenir is a beautiful piece of sculpture, delivered on a premium proportion that acknowledges the Buick design heritage in a very progressive way,” said Michael Simcoe, vice president of design, GM International Operations. “The vehicle remains unmistakably Buick with a modern take on the traditional Buick cues such as the sweep spear and boattail. The result is a piece of artistry that is precise in its character, beautifully proportioned. It really takes your breath away." ”2015 Buick Avenir Concept The most striking departure from contemporary Buick models is a new grille design that puts a new face on the brand. It features a large opening accented by a return to the three-color – red, silver and blue – Buick tri-shield insignia, accented by wing-shaped elements. The grille is flanked by bold headlamps featuring full LED lighting. And if you think that some of the styling clues look familiar from memorable Buicks of the past, you're right. “The new grille is a modern interpretation of a design introduced on the landmark 1954 Wildcat II concept, which shattered expectations of what a Buick was supposed to be,” said Simcoe. “On the Avenir, it represents a break from convention and progressiveness in technology.” A Buick press release details some of the other features of the Avenir:
  • Personal seating for four
  • Full light-emitting diode (LED) exterior lighting
  • Twenty-one-inch wheels
  • Next-generation direct-injected V-6 engine with fuel-saving Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and stop/start technology
  • Nine-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission
  • Driver-selectable suspension damping
  • Twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system
  • Next-generation Buick IntelliLink infotainment with large, 12-inch-diagonal color touch screen
  • Driver-recognition features that automatically sync infotainment preferences
  • Ionic cabin air filtration
  • Mobile device wireless charging
  • OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot.
The Cascada, on the other hand, is hard evidence that Buick is indeed ready to enter the convertible market as had been rumored for several years. The Cascada will be the first Buick convertible offered in North America in 25 years and the latest globally developed vehicle to join the brand’s growing portfolio. It goes on sale in early 2016. 2016 Buick Cascada Convertible “The new, 2016 Buick Cascada is a beautiful, engaging convertible that represents the very best of the brand’s global development practices,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick. “It’s a car that will delight customers with its fun spirit and help drive the momentum that’s fueling Buick’s success.” The Cascada’s 2+2 configuration offers comfortable room for four adults. Its expressive driving experience is rooted in a rigid body structure, Buick’s sophisticated HiPer Strut front suspension and responsive Watts Z-link suspension in the rear – along with a 200-horsepower (149 kW) turbocharged engine. And when it comes to dropping the top on a whim, it lowers in only 17 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph. When it’s up, superior thermal and acoustic insulation contribute to driving comfort. “Cascada’s driving enjoyment is rooted in technologies that make it more comfortable and refined,” said Aldred. “Its features work harmoniously to provide a safe, connected and confidence-inspiring driving experience.” Technology and safety highlights include:
  • Buick IntelliLink with a seven-inch-diagonal color touch screen featuring Text Message Alerts, Siri Eyes Free for Apple phones with an iOS 6 or newer operating system and navigation
  • OnStar 4G LTE with built-in Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Electronic rear-seat entry system automatically powers the front seats forward by simply pressing the seatback forward. It moves the seats back when the seatback is returned to the upright position
  • Electric safety belt presenters that use telescopic arms to slide the upper front safety belt assemblies from behind the front seat into closer reach for easier buckling
  • Rollover protection bars that deploy behind the rear seats when the possibility of a rollover is detected
  • Lane departure warning, rear park assist, rearview camera and Rainsense windshield wipers.
  • Designed from the outset as a convertible, the Buick Cascada has a flowing, sculpted profile, with fast-raked A-pillars that convey a wind-in-the-hair flair.
  • When lowered, the top folds neatly and completely beneath a hard tonneau behind the rear seats, giving the car a pure open-air aesthetic.
“The Cascada’s design blends the suggestion of speed with sophisticated and uncompromising details,” said Holt Ware, Buick exterior design director. “Most convertibles are designed from existing coupes or sedans, meaning stowage of the top is an afterthought, but not this Buick. It looks handsome and has a premium appearance when the top is lowered – and a perfect, seamless profile when it’s up.” The windswept exterior design is further accentuated with a sweeping body-side line and sleek headlamps that flow into the front fenders, with Buick’s signature wing-shape light-emitting diode (LED) daytime running lights delivering a distinctive appearance. Chrome trim bridges between the wing-shaped taillights, which are also LED-lit. The rear deck lid opens rearward to accommodate the folding softtop. Inside, a thoughtfully trimmed and comprehensively equipped cabin reflects Buick’s renaissance. The instrument panel is wrapped with soft-touch material featuring authentic stitching, while heated front seats and steering wheel offer comfort in colder weather conditions. The Cascada also has plenty of storage space for the trappings of a weekend getaway, including 13.4 cubic feet (380 liters) of cargo room with the top up and 9.8 cubic feet (280 liters) with the top down. The rear seatbacks fold down electronically to expand cargo capability for longer items. Power comes  from a  1.6L turbocharged engine rated at 200 horsepower (149 kW). Direct injection and variable valve timing complement the turbo engine’s performance with efficiency. It is backed by a six-speed automatic transmission. The lower weight enhances efficiency, while the compact design enables the Cascada’s generous cargo room. Steering inputs are executed by a fuel-saving, rack-mounted electric power steering system, while stopping power is handled by standard four-wheel antilock disc brakes. Cascada rolls on standard 20-inch wheels. A rigid body structure features high-strength steel in strategic areas, reinforced side sills and press-hardened steel in the A-pillars. It is the foundation for the Cascada’s driving experience, contributing to steering precision, ride quality and quietness – as well as safety. A 106.1-inch (2,695 mm) wheelbase enhances ride smoothness while enabling greater rear-seat legroom. Infiniti Its' a rough car market out there  and car makers know they have to heavily  revise their product portfolio or risk losing market share. And that's the situation that Infiniti finds itself in with its venerable Infiniti G60 coupe.  though the current model is plenty desirable, a heavy update is long overdue.   . So Infiniti showed off its solution  at the  Detroit auto show. It's the  Q60 Concept, the precursor to a premium sports coupe that will go into production in 2016. Infiniti Q60 Concept Showing a sweeping, angular exterior that underlines its power and performance intentions, the two-door coupe in concept form hints at the captivating dynamics that await premium customers, an Infiniti news release says. Q60 Concept was introduced by Roland Krüger, President of Infiniti Motor Company, Ltd., in his first appearance representing the company on an auto show stage. "One look and it is clear: Q60 Concept is a strong statement from Infiniti designers that the exhilaration is real," said Krüger. "Design is a key driver for developing a strong brand. Q60 Concept is another building block in Infiniti's quest to refresh its portfolio with a strong and consistent design language. And in 2016, we will launch a new model heavily inspired by the Q60 Concept." Infiniti has indicated the expansion of its portfolio into smaller premium vehicles such as the upcoming production Q30, while also showing a tantalizing vision for a full-size sedan in the form of the Q80 Inspiration concept in Paris last October. The striking Q60 Concept signals Infiniti's plans to bolster offerings in the middle of the product lineup. On the outside, the Q60 Concept boasts a road-hugging stance etched out by sharp character creases and deep recesses in the body side. The hallmark Infiniti headlamp gives the coupe a high-tech stare, with fine fiber optics like the lines of the iris radiating from the pupil. Inside, the high-quality finishes are seen and felt in the smallest detail, from the handcrafted leather-wrapped instrument panel and steering wheel to the premium leather and quilted stitching of the seats, the news release  says. Living up to its sports car image, the Q60 Concept showcases superior power from the next-generation 3.0-liter V6 engine with direct injection and twin-turbocharging – part of a new family of lighter, smaller, more efficient and more powerful engines. "With its striking design, sure sense of performance, and painstaking finish to the last detail, the Q60 Concept paves the way for Infiniti's premium sports coupe to come," the news release says . Nissan Nissan is getting in] on the truck frenzy, too with the introduction of  the all new 2016 Titan, its flagship full size truck.2016 Nissan Titan Pro 4X Here's what a Nissan news release had to say about the new Titan: "The new Nissan TITAN is designed to be a warrior for "warriors" – both in look and in performance. That's according to the team at Nissan Design America (NDA) in San Diego, Calif. that played a major role in its creation. Nissan Design America explored the ancient roots of the name 'TITAN' in creating this vehicle, and both the front end and logo were inspired by the warrior helmets of antiquity. The stance of TITAN is also very warrior-like, with influence from the latest technological advancements, as well as its very powerful engine," the release said. The release adds,"The engine, of course, is not just any engine. It's the new TITAN XD's available Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel, producing 310 horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque. Powerful gasoline V8 and V6 engines will also be available in the TITAN lineup."   "For the TITAN XD model, the design team formed the sheet metal around the volume of the engine bay – creating a design with a scale and honesty to honor the Cummins power and real work heritage. With the available Cummins diesel engine and rugged fully-boxed ladder frame as its foundation, the designers knew that the new TITAN would have to be more grown up, more serious and more imposing in scale than the first-generation Nissan Titan," the release added.. "The front end of the new TITAN sets the tone for the entire design as a powerful, precision tool with its imposing stance, large dramatic light treatment, and on TITAN XD, a combination of TITAN and Cummins badging. The lights, grille, hood, fenders and bumper are intended to project a somewhat technical feel, like the pieces of an interlocking puzzle or even a hint of armor." "Rather than emulating any of the full-size pickups on the market today, including the current Titan, the designers wanted to new TITAN to reflect Nissan's design language – but on a much larger scale than done before. The resulting design is more anatomical, rather than architectural. The front looks like a mask and the sides are shaped, not slabs, with the whole presence anchored by an emphasis on the very large and mechanical-looking wheels, which were inspired by big box-end wrenches," the release says. While the TITAN XD, with its available Cummins diesel under the high, bold hood, is the first of a range of new TITANs to be shown, the same work-truck qualities will carry through to the rest of the future TITAN lineup, which will include Crew Cab, King Cab and standard cab configurations, two frame sizes and several bed lengths," the release  added.   "Special attention in the design process was also paid to projecting a visual sense of the new TITAN's high quality and attention to detail. For example, where the current generation TITAN uses a three-piece front bumper, the new TITAN uses an integrated single-piece design. The bumper is flush with the fascia, the wiper arms and windshield washer nozzles are hidden from sight. Even the rear license plate lamps are inset into the bumper. Like the original, the new TITAN is also designed to move the full-size truck segment forward in terms of pickup bed utility. TITAN is building on its history of innovative bed storage with the spray-on bedliner and cargo tie-down systems, by adding features such as LED bed rail lighting and a more flexible storage box design. The original Titan's bedside storage compartment was rethought, with consideration of how real truck users need more space and flexibility. So the storage boxes were moved into the bed and made more practical for use with camper shells or tonneau covers. The design is waterproof, drainable, lockable, removable when needed, and less obvious to outside eyes – all things owners will really appreciate. Other key exterior design elements include improved aerodynamics (versus the previous-generation Titan) through use of items such as rear tire wind deflectors, bed seals (between the cab and bed) and integrated spoilers for the front, roof and tailgate. The design of the new Nissan TITAN's interior both mirrors the exterior's bold, powerful work truck image and departs from it, with a masculine yet premium quality. The combination of durability and comfort is found throughout the spacious interior, along with a marriage of quality materials and attention to detail. While the amenities and features are targeted at work customers, there is also a sense of sportsman style, such as the available black-and-tan quilted leather appointments that were inspired by the quilting inside of a premium hunting jacket. The wide range of available interior features includes a new ergonomic 4-spoke, steering wheel design, front and rear NASA-inspired Zero Gravity seats, chrome finishers and premium stitched trim and work-scaled knobs with ergonomic grips. The large center console is designed to serve as a mobile workstation, and the previous-generation Titan's gated center shift lever has been moved to the column to free up additional storage space. The wide instrument panel offers a high-tech look and feel with the use of both analog and digital displays. The TITAN's LCD message center display includes a comprehensive list of available text messages to help monitor critical engine temperature and pressure levels while hauling and towing. Thoughtful utility features are also found throughout the TITAN cabin, including a lockable storage compartment under the rear seat for securing small items, even when the truck doors are unlocked. There's also a convenient fold-out rear floor panel, available when the rear seat is folded up, for carrying and securing large items. Using the innovative first-generation Titan as the starting point, the design team really thought through all of the little things that make living with a truck every day more enjoyable. For example, the bottle holders in the doors can hold 20-once cups, the console can hold 32-ounce sports drink bottles and the overhead sunglasses bin now holds a much wider range of sports-styled sunglasses. The design team's goal from the start was to create an authentic full-size truck with a bold and commanding presence. They also wanted to honor Nissan's long truck heritage, which goes back to the very beginnings of the company, while moving forward into today's technology-driven era," the release ended. Lexus Lexus has been making a strong push toward high performance and sporty models over the last few years, and it is now adding another powerful sedan to its portfolio: The Lexus GS-F four door sedan. 2016_Lexus_GS_F_004   “The cars with the ‘F’ designation are meant to generate a very positive feeling when you’re behind its steering wheel, to be something that’s fun to drive no matter who is driving or where it’s being driven,” said Yukihiko Yaguchi, GS F chief engineer. “With the GS F, we wanted to make a special car that not only would exceed the expectations of the most discerning driving enthusiast, but also something that most people can enjoy. In that way, the GS F embraces the virtues of sound, response and power, Under the hood will be a naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8 that produces a sonorous 467 hp (473 PS)*and peak torque of 389 lb.-ft. (527 Nm)* with a 7,300 rpm redline. The powerplant will be mated to a quick-acting eight-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters for manual-shifting capabilities. The GS F also has four different driving modes: Normal, Eco, Sport and Sport S+, the latter designed specifically for the racetrack or your favorite challenging road, a Lexus news release says. As sweet-sounding and powerful as the engine is, the DOHC 32-valve powerplant can offer a measure of fuel efficiency, incorporating the Atkinson cycle in certain conditions. The GS F will feature structural reinforcements and an exclusive suspension system matched to the car’s added power. The newest member of the “F” line boasts a level of handling and agility uncommon in a mid-size luxury sedan that was honed on Japanese circuits such as Fuji Speedway and perfected on the famous Nürburgring Nordeschleife. The company'ss news  release  says that the GS F’s impressive track and twisty road manners are the result of a custom firm suspension, along with wider forged wheels shod with staggered Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires (255/35-19 front, and 275/35-19 rear). The suspension, combined with an enhanced braking system relying on 15-inch front rotors that are available with bright orange 6-piston calipers help give the GS F remarkable high-speed handling and braking capability. Carrying over 300 pounds less mass than key German sedan competitors, the GS F offers a near sports car level of nimbleness and agility, the release says. These features help provide near-neutral handling balance and a high degree of driver control. At the rear of the car, Lexus’ Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD) with two electro-mechanical clutch packs, will be part of a long line of standard equipment that’ll make the GS F’s handling stand out from the crowd. The TVD features three operating modes:
  • Standard (default) provides a balance of agility and firmness;
  • Slalom emphasizes nimble steering response and agility; and
  • Track emphasizes control during high-speed circuit driving.
The GS F features a unique version of Lexus’ trademark “spindle” grille, with a distinctive mesh pattern reserved for F models, and large gaping air vents that have been integrated into the front fascia. Slim canted LED headlights with the signature Lexus L-shaped daytime running lamps complete the car’s aggressive face. The GS F sits noticeably lower and wider than other GS models, resulting in a planted stance that, along with its front fender air outlets, forged 19-in. alloy wheels, and carbon fiber accents make it instantly recognizable as an F model. The rear is highlighted by a subtle carbon-fiber rear spoiler and trapezoidal tailpipes with four chrome exhaust tips that powerfully suggest that this car is meant to be driven hard. Inside the sheet metal, the GS F’s cabin is designed to exude the look and feel of a jet fighter’s cockpit. The interior is styled in an elegant form-follows-function theme, with all controls placed within easy reach of the driver. Residing behind the exclusive “F” branded steering wheel, is an electronic instrument cluster that can be configured among four different displays, depending on the driver’s preferred driving style: Normal, Eco, Sport S and Sport S+. Also, custom front and rear seats have been implemented to provide the vehicle’s occupants with more lateral support while not sacrificing comfort. Along with all the sporty touches, the GS F retains a luxurious feel, thanks partly to the high-grade Alcantara trim on the doors, on the center console and above the instrument panel. An analog clock adds a touch of class to the already elegant dashboard that features a 12.3” central video monitor controlled by the Remote Touch Interface on the center console. The GS F offers the optional 17-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Audio system that will satisfy the most demanding of audiophiles, but when drivers want to listen to the music provided by the engine, they can simply change the drive mode to “Sport” or “Sport S+” to engage the Active Sound Control. The Active Sound Control system is similar to the one found in the RC F but is enhanced with rear speakers. All occupants can enjoy the driving experience complete with robust exhaust note. The GS F will feature an updated suite of standard safety features including Pre-Collision System with automatic braking and pedestrian detection, Radar Cruise Control with full stop from certain speeds, Lane Keep Assist, Automatic High Beam and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert. This package of features is called Lexus Safety System+. Power for this long rumored sedan comes from a  487 horsepower , 5.0 liter  V-8 backed by an eight speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The car has a driver selectable  mode system that allows an owner to choose among default,  slalom, and track settings. Toyota Toyota's big news this year was an all-new Tacoma mid sized pickup truck line. NAIAS_2016_Toyota_Tacoma_001 The Tacoma comes to the plate with a greatly improved, more aggressive and contemporary appearance, as well a upgrades to the truck's interior. It is coming none too soon because the mid sized truck segment has caught fire dramatically with the introduction recently of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon mid sized pickups which have received strong reviews. Toyota's Tacoma had not been refreshed for quite some time and would have had to compete with an old design had not the new model been introduced. The new 2016 Tacoma was primarily developed by the Toyota engineering team at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. Starting with the frame, they added high strength steel to enhance rigidity and overall strength.  Ultra-high strength steel was integrated into the body shell using a new hot stamping process that reduces weight. To create a truck to meet the needs of active drivers on a variety of tamed and untamed surfaces, the suspension was fine-tuned to help deliver a smoother on-road ride, while making it even more capable off-road. The new Tacoma will be powered by a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine and an all-new, segment-first 3.5-liter Atkinson cycle V6 equipped with Toyota’s D-4S technology, featuring both direct and port fuel injection. Both engines will be paired to a new six-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift delivering quick and easy shifting.  The V6 can also be mated to a new six-speed manual transmission. The new powertrain makes the Tacoma more powerful and fuel efficient than ever before. Serious, yet fun!  This is the Toyota truck design DNA.  The Tacoma and Tundra are amazingly capable trucks that are designed to reflect their capability. The Tacoma shares big brother Tundra’s more chiseled face, with a hex grille.  From there, Tacoma expresses its own identity. Inspired by desert racing, CALTY designers in Newport Beach, Calif. and Ann Arbor, Mich. made the new Tacoma all about recreational action and athletic agility. To achieve this, the new Tacoma’s wheel flares are strong and muscular for greater wheel travel and the high-lift image reflects its purposeful capability.  Four new wheel designs range from 16 to 18 inches. The front end portrays an aggressive attitude with its bold upper grille and a taller, more muscular hood.  Mounted high above the clamp-shaped bumper sits slim, high technology headlights that feature projection beam lamps with available LED Daytime Running Lights. From behind, the new locking tailgate emphasizes Tacoma’s wide stance and tough image.  The tailgate features an integrated spoiler for improved aerodynamics and a stamped Tacoma logo. The tailgate also adds an easy lowering feature, which allows it to slowly retract, preventing it from slamming down. For the first time ever, Tacoma is available with a tri-fold hard tonneau cover for securing gear when you’re away from the truck. Tacoma’s tough exterior is complemented by an interior that conveys a sport truck image reflecting an athletic, go anywhere, off-road feel.  Once inside, drivers will notice a “handlebar” design theme in the instrument panel for a more driver-focused experience. Soft-wrapped trim and metallic accents set the stage for a high-quality look and feel that is a starting point for an array of available premium features, including:
  • Work-ready SRconic SR5
  • Athletic TRD Sport
  • Tough-as-nails TRD Off-Road
  • Top of the line Limited
Tacoma buyers will now have the opportunity to capture their global adventures on video as every Tacoma will come standard with a GoPro® mount located near the rear-view mirror. Chevrolet Chevy  bucked the trend at the auto show and presented two economy minded future products-the next generation Chevy of the Chevy Volt, and the  all-new 201 7 Bolt. We at Automobile  Journal, think the Bolt is the more important of the two products  long term. ChevroletBoltConceptReveal02.jpg The Bolt is designed in a way that it takes  Chevy and the whole notion of all electric vehicles into a truly viable  option for consumers.  It is attractive,  has a broader driving range before recharging, and will cost around $30,000. “The Bolt EV concept is a game-changing electric vehicle designed for attainability, not exclusivity,” said General Motors CEO Mary Barra. “Chevrolet believes electrification is a pillar of future transportation and needs to be affordable for a wider segment of customers.” Leveraging the electrification prowess established by Volt and Spark EV, the Bolt EV concept is designed to offer long-range performance in all 50 states and many global markets. Drivers will be able to select operating modes designed around preferred driving styles such as daily commuting and spirited weekend cruising, for uncompromising electric driving. The modes adjust accelerator pedal mapping, vehicle ride height and suspension tuning. The Bolt EV concept is also designed to support DC fast charging. “We have made tremendous strides in technologies that make it easier and more affordable for Chevrolet customers to integrate an all-electric vehicle in their daily lives,” said Barra. “The Bolt EV concept demonstrates General Motors’ commitment to electrification and the capabilities of our advanced EV technology.” A news release said, "The Bolt EV concept also pushes the envelope for crossover aesthetics. Its unique proportion, with practically no front or rear overhang, makes the most of interior space and was designed to create a roomy environment for four that feels expansive. Lightweight materials, including aluminum, magnesium, carbon fiber and even woven mesh, complement the design, while driving down the curb weight to help maximize range. Aero-optimizing features such as vented rear fenders also help contribute to range." “Form and function have never meshed so well together,” said Ed Welburn, vice president, GM Global Design. “No compromises were made when it came to aesthetics and the elements that contribute to the Bolt EV concept’s range, resulting in a unique proportion that’s sleek, efficient and obviously a Chevrolet.” Inside the Bolt, the news release said "The  concept’s airy interior ambience is enhanced with bold use of glass all around – as well as a full-length, frosted glass roof with unique, faceted design elements." A high beltline sweeps upward with the D-pillar, culminating in an integrated roof spoiler, for a lean, athletic stance.  An advanced nano-composite rear hatch and wraparound rear window give the Bolt EV concept a distinctive appearance and flood the interior with more natural light. High-intensity, efficient light-emitting diode (LED) headlamp and taillamp elements are housed behind jewel-like faceted lenses in which translucent elements illuminate evenly to create the signature lighting effect. Airy, intuitive interior Inside, the Bolt EV concept has a large feel reinforced by generous headroom and legroom dimensions. A flat, flow-through floor adds to the roominess, while a contemporary, light color scheme adds to the feeling of an open, airy cabin and conveys warmth. The cabin’s airy, high-tech environment is reinforced with lightweight, slim-architecture seats mounted on exposed aluminum pedestals that create a floating effect. The minimalist center console “floats,” too, suspended from the front seats. “The Bolt EV concept’s interior is intended as a sanctuary, with materials and technologies that reinforce the airy ambience and help contribute to the vehicle’s overall efficiency,” said Welburn. “It also incorporates technology in a subtler and simpler manner, for a more soothing driving experience – particularly in busy, urban environments.” Chevrolet’s signature dual-cockpit interior layout incorporates easy-to-use technology designed to make the driving experience easier and more enjoyable. It wraps into the door panels and features a frosted and translucent appearance – and a subtle glow at night. The concept’s technological intuitiveness can be accessed via a smartphone with the concept Bolt EV Connect app, which is designed to:
  • Allow a smartphone to perform as the key fob
  • Allow ride-sharing management, including reservations, vehicle location, digital key and even payment processing via the smartphone
  • Incorporate the concept automatic park-and-retrieval technology, which enables the driver to exit the vehicle and tell the Bolt EV concept to park itself – and when errands are completed, the Bolt EV concept can be summoned to return to the owner’s location.
A large, color 10-inch-diagonal capacitive-touch screen, with interface features, complements the concept Bolt EV Connect app. It even allows the projection of all the application and other smartphone data onto the screen.   Most important, the Bolt, in concept form at the show, has already gotten the go signal for production. Here is the announcement, just made last week, by GM: "Chevrolet this morning confirmed production of its next-generation pure electric vehicle, based on the Bolt EV concept. It will be built at General Motors’ Orion Assembly facility near Detroit. GM North America President Alan Batey made the announcement ahead of the Chicago Auto Show. The Bolt EV concept was introduced last month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. “The message from consumers about the Bolt EV concept was clear and unequivocal: Build it,” said Batey. “We are moving quickly because of its potential to completely shake up the status quo for electric vehicles.” Leveraging the industry-leading battery technology found in the Chevrolet Volt and Spark EV, the Bolt EV concept was developed as a game-changing, long-range pure electric for all 50 states, designed to offer more than a GM-estimated 200 miles of range at a target price of around $30,000. The progressively styled concept vehicle features selectable driving modes for preferred driving styles, such as daily commuting, and it was designed to support DC fast charging. “We’re proud that Chevrolet has decided to produce the Bolt EV here in Michigan at the Orion Assembly facility,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “Michigan unquestionably remains the global automotive leader. Chevrolet is tapping a skilled workforce that includes some of the most talented and hard-working people in the world for this cutting-edge vehicle. Chevrolet is an important part of our state’s automotive history, and Michigan-made products like the Bolt EV point to a bright future as well.” Start of production and additional details will be announced later. $200-million investment GM’s Orion Assembly, home of the Chevrolet Sonic sub-compact and Buick Verano luxury compact,  and Pontiac Metal Center facilities are receiving a $200-million investment to support production of the next-generation electric vehicle. Orion will receive $160 million for tooling and equipment, and Pontiac will receive $40 million for new dies. “As one of the most environmentally progressive facilities in GM’s global network, Orion Assembly is uniquely suited to build this game-changing electric vehicle,” said Doug Hanly, Orion Assembly and Pontiac Metal Center plant manager. “In partnership with UAW Locals 5960 and 653, we’re committed to building the highest level of quality into it.” Located approximately 30 miles north of Detroit, Orion Assembly is powered by gas from two nearby landfills, which saves more than 6,300 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere annually. It is also home to a 350-kilowatt solar array that produces the energy equivalent to power 165 homes and sends enough energy back to the grid to power about 45 homes. “This is very exciting for our members who were facing the possibility of losing that plant during the auto crisis,” said UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, director of the union’s GM Department. “Our members are also proud to have their plant chosen to produce what is sure to be another popular and dynamic Chevy product rolling off the line at the Orion Assembly Plant.” The other important reveal  at the  show for Chevy  was the next generation Chevy Volt. 2016 Chevrolet Volt The Volt’s new, efficient propulsion system will offer a General Motors’-estimated total driving range of more than 400 miles and with regular charging, owners are expected to travel more than 1,000 miles on average between gas fill-ups. “The 2016 Chevrolet Volt provides our owners with a no-compromise electric driving experience,” said Alan Batey, president of GM North America. “We believe our engineering prowess combined with data from thousands of customers allows us to deliver the most capable plug-in vehicle in the industry.” Here is what Chevy's 2016 Volt news release said: The 2016 Chevrolet Volt’s technology and range advancements are complemented by a design that blends sculpted, muscular proportions with aerodynamic efficiency, and an all-new interior with seating for five and improved functionality. Everything from charging the battery and checking the charge status, to the intuitiveness of instrument panel controls were designed for easier use. “According to independent surveyors, Volt owners are the most satisfied in the industry and they were our compass for developing the next-generation model,” said Batey. 2016 Volt highlights:
  • New two-motor drive unit is up to 12 percent more efficient and 100 pounds lighter (45 kg) than the first-generation drive unit
  • Two-motor design enables 19 percent stronger zero-to-30 mph acceleration
  • Battery capacity has increased to 18.4 kWh using 192 cells (96 fewer than current generation) with weight reduced by more than 20 pounds
  • Regen on Demand™ feature enables driver control of energy regeneration via a convenient paddle on the back of the steering wheel
  • New 1.5L range extender, designed to use regular unleaded fuel, offers a combined GM-estimated fuel efficiency of 41 mpg (EPA estimate pending)
  • Stronger body structure and quieter ride
  • New braking system with improved capability and blended Regen feel
  • New, five-passenger seating with available rear heated seats
  • Location-based charging capability
  • 120V portable cord set has a simpler, compact design with more convenient storage location
  • Available illuminated charge port
The 2016 Volt goes on sale in the second half of 2015. Ford The blue oval gang arguably stole the show with the introduction   of the second generation,  all new Ford GT and the  equally new Mustang GT 350R.   Ford-GT-at-NAIAS-02
  • All-new Ford GT supercar sets new standards for Ford innovation through performance with advances in light-weighting, aerodynamics and ultra-efficient EcoBoost® engine
  • Ford GT features the most powerful EcoBoost production engine ever – a new twin-turbocharged Ford EcoBoost V6 producing more than 600 horsepower
  • Ultra-high-performance supercar is Ford’s most extreme offering, infused with race-proven technology engineered to keep company with exotics when it goes into production in 2016
The all-new GT, an ultra-high-performance supercar serves as a technology showcase for top EcoBoost® performance, aerodynamics and lightweight carbon fiber construction. The GT is one of more than 12 new Ford Performance vehicles coming by 2020. It joins Focus RS, F-150 Raptor, Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT350R in the growing Ford Performance lineup. Beginning production late next year, the GT hits the road in select global markets to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford GT race cars placing 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. The all-new GT supercar features rear-wheel drive, a mid-mounted engine, and a sleek, aerodynamic, two-door coupe body shell. It is propelled by the most powerful EcoBoost production engine ever – a next-generation twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 producing more than 600 horsepower. The GT makes extensive use of lightweight materials, including carbon fiber and aluminum – enabling outstanding acceleration and handling with improved efficiency. These include advanced active aerodynamics, such as a deployable rear spoiler, and a host of material and technology innovations to help better serve the driver, such as SYNC® 3 – the latest version of Ford’s advanced connectivity system. Few innovations provide a more wide-ranging performance and efficiency advantage than reducing weight. All factors of a vehicle’s capabilities – acceleration, handling, braking, safety, efficiency – can improve through the use of advanced, lighter materials. The all-new GT features advanced lightweight composites, which will help serve Ford’s entire product lineup moving forward. With the broad application of structural carbon fiber elements, the GT will exhibit one of the best power-to-weight ratios of any production car. Anchored by a carbon fiber passenger cell, the GT features aluminum front and rear subframes encapsulated in structural carbon fiber body panels. Carbon fiber is one of the world’s strongest materials for its mass – enabling an ultra-stiff foundation for chassis components, while creating a lighter overall package for increased dynamic performance and efficiency Power comes from  the next-generation twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, which in the GT features a wide powerband with impressive time-to-torque characteristics. The engine demonstrates remarkable efficiency – a key attribute of its endurance racing-derived powertrain, where exceptional performance combined with efficiency is a critical competitive advantage. Ford’s twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 raced to three wins in its first season of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2014, including a win in the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring, along with seven podiums over more than 15,000 endurance racing miles. The GT features an all-new, port/direct dual fuel-injection setup to improve engine response, plus a low-friction roller-finger-follower valvetrain. The twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 will be paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transaxle for near-instantaneous gear changes and exceptional driver control The other big player at Ford's auto show presentation was of course,  the new Shelby® GT350R Mustang, the most track-ready road-going production Mustang ever built, according  to a company news relea 20150113_TWN_Shelby GT350R   In 1965, Ford and Carroll Shelby developed a road-racing version of the popular Ford Mustang – the Shelby GT350 Competition model. Lighter, more powerful and with a highly developed suspension, it is one of the most iconic racing Mustangs ever produced. Arriving later this year, the new Shelby GT350R has been designed and engineered in the same spirit, delivering never-before-seen track capability from a Mustang – thanks to innovations in aerodynamics, chassis engineering and light-weighting.   “The Shelby GT350R Mustang is a no-compromise car in the pursuit of maximum track capability,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “It is a thoroughbred street car making use of technology and ingenuity to deliver performance few enthusiasts have ever experienced.” The car features the first-ever production V8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft – the most powerful naturally aspirated engine Ford has ever produced – plus a specially tuned suspension. It is fitted with revised spring rates and antiroll bars, lower ride height, unique track-tuned alignment settings, revised bushings and jounce bumpers, cross-axis ball joints in the front suspension, and revised calibration controlling the MagneRide dampers. “The Shelby GT350R Mustang is a car with the nimbleness and power delivery you want on a road course,” said Nair. “This isn’t just about horsepower. The Shelby GT350R is an all-around balanced athlete – one that is extraordinarily precise and agile.” Lightweight carbon fiber wheels are standard on Shelby GT350R, making Ford the first major automaker to introduce this innovative wheel technology as standard equipment. Carbon fiber wheels have been offered on only a handful of exotic supercars and will benefit Shelby GT350R performance by shaving critical unsprung weight and reducing rolling inertia. The 19x11-inch front and 19x11.5-inch rear wheels provide approximately 13 pounds of unsprung weight reduction per wheel and offer higher levels of stiffness than equivalent aluminum wheels. The lightweight wheels will be shod in Michelin’s top-shelf Pilot Sport Cup 2 high-performance tires with rubber compound and a construction unique to Shelby GT350R. This combination of incredibly stiff and light wheels with bespoke tires offers customers exceptional steering feel and levels of performance. Ford engineers delivered against aggressive targets for weight reduction on the Shelby GT350R. If a part did not make the car faster around a road course, it was considered for deletion. Items removed include air conditioning, the stereo system, rear seats, trunk floorboard and carpet, backup camera and emergency tire sealer and inflator. Exhaust resonators also have been removed for weight savings with the benefit of creating a sharper exhaust tone. Shelby GT350R is more than 130 pounds lighter than the Shelby GT350 Track Pack model, which has proven its durability in multiple 24-hour racetrack tests. For customers seeking more comfort in their Shelby GT350R, Ford is offering an optional Electronics Package. Included is dual-zone air conditioning, 8-inch touch screen with navigation, seven-speaker audio system, turn signal mirrors and more.  The new 5.2-liter dual-overhead-cam V8 engine is the first-ever production V8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft – an architecture typically found only in racing applications or exotic European sports cars. Unlike traditional V8s, where the connecting rods are attached to the crankshaft at 90-degree intervals, this design evenly spaces all crank pins at 180-degree intervals to optimize high-speed engine breathing. It is the most powerful naturally aspirated production Ford engine ever, with more than 500 horsepower and more than 400 lb.-ft. of torque. An air-to-oil engine oil cooler typically found only on race cars maintains engine temperatures under the most severe conditions, as does a standard cooler for the six-speed manual transmission. A Ford-tuned limited-slip Torsen differential with 3.73 axle ratio is optimized for cornering grip and straight-line traction, while an electronically modulated rear-mounted air-to-oil differential cooler maintains ideal temperatures during track driving. Aside from carbon fiber wheels, larger front splitter and rear wing, Shelby GT350R features distinct design details. Exterior touches include red painted brake calipers, red pin striping at the edges of the optional over-the-top racing stripes and Shelby GT350R badging. Inside is high-contrast red stitching, Shelby GT350R badging and the D-shaped steering wheel fitted with a red center mark at the top. Acura If you want to know how important Acura's new NSX is to the auto industry, all you had to do  is look at the  huge crowd its unveiling, competing for a look at it. Next-Generation Acura NSX Exterior   enty-five years after the debut of the original, paradigm-shifting NSX supercar, Acura revealed the production version of its highly anticipated successor—the next-generation Acura NSX, developed and produced in the U.S.—to the world's auto media at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. The production model, in a scintillating NSX Red finish, took the stage with a growl from its twin-turbocharged engine. The next generation NSX showcases the production styling, design and specifications of Acura's mid-engine sports hybrid supercar, and Acura announced key details of the all-new vehicle's design and performance. The company will begin accepting custom orders for the new NSX starting in the summer, with customer deliveries expected later in the year. Specifically created to bring a "new sports experience" to the supercar segment, the NSX challenges conventional beliefs about supercars — much as the first generation did a quarter century ago. T he approach is realized through an all-new power unit—a twin-turbocharged 75-degree DOHC V6 engine with a 9-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) and three-electric motor Sport Hybrid system—integrated with an ultra-rigid and lightweight multi-material body with world's-first material applications and manufacturing processes. Developed under the concept of a "human-centered supercar,” a car that puts the driver first in every aspect of its design, the next-generation NSX will leverage its state-of-the-art hybrid supercar power unit, body and chassis to deliver exceptionally intuitive and immediate response to driver inputs. "Our commitment was to create an all-new NSX that is true to the heritage of NSX—a supercar that delivers a new driving experience, one where every part of the vehicle is respectful of the smartest part of the car, the driver," said Mike Accavitti, senior vice president and general manager of the Acura division. "The soul of a car is the emotional connection it makes with the driver. With the NSX, that connection will be intense and immediate." As the pinnacle representation of Acura performance and prestige, the NSX was introduced at the auto show under the theme of "Precision Crafted Performance." The theme was the original tagline for the Acura brand, a guiding force behind the development of the original NSX and a critical component of its launch. The development of next-generation NSX, driven by precision crafted performance, has resulted in a clean-sheet design, which involved nearly three years of intensive development effort by a global design and engineering team led by engineers at the company's development center in Raymond, Ohio. "The NSX reflects Acura's American roots and makes a powerful statement about the strong role being played by our North American operations in envisioning and building the future of Acura," said Erik Berkman, executive vice president of the Acura Business Planning Office. "Our global team embraced the challenge to create a new sports car experience, leveraging new technology to deliver incredibly vivid performance in a vehicle that responds intuitively and immediately to the will of the driver," said Ted Klaus, chief engineer and global development leader of the new NSX. "The NSX delivers pinnacle supercar performance, with zero-delay acceleration and exhilarating, confidence-inspiring driving dynamics." "The new NSX is a product of what we term 'Interwoven Dynamic' design," said Michelle Christensen, NSX exterior design project leader. "It represents the ideal blending of exotic sports car form and supercar function." The NSX body features classic low and wide proportions married to modern and alluring surfacing, an aggressive front design, and tail lights that pays homage to the original NSX. The signature side intake and floating C-pillar collects air to feed the mid-mounted engine and directs airflow over the rear deck to increase downforce. To accommodate the new longitudinally mounted twin-turbo V6 and 9-speed DCT, the production vehicle was lengthened (+3 inches) and widened (+1 inch) with a slightly more cab-forward package, compared with the proportions of the NSX Concept shown in 2012. Every element of the exterior body design has been carefully fashioned for total airflow management for both stability-enhancing downforce and vehicle systems cooling. The NSX has undergone extensive testing at the company's state-of-the-art wind tunnel in Raymond, Ohio, leading to a number of significant changes from concept to final body design, including modified hood vents, new front fender vents, modified side air intakes, and an optimized deck spoiler. Lincoln Lincoln, which has been hitting the rebound road hard with the popular MKC, now has another reason to be optimistic aboutr its future: the all new MKX luxury crossover. 2016LincolnMKX_02_HR     Designed to compete with models such as the Lexus RX, Cadillac SRX, and Acura MDX, the new MKX has a new, more understated and sophisticated look, and is brimming over with new luxury and technology features. Here is what a news release from Lincoln says about its  new MKX: "The MKX is designed to attract a wide range of customers in the United States and beyond by offering more technology, engine choices and personalization options. Lincoln MKX offers the first high-end Revel® audio system in a vehicle, an available advanced 2.7-liter EcoBoost® engine and two all-new available Lincoln Black Label limited-edition designer themes." “We are focused on delivering engaging and refined luxury vehicles with innovative and thoughtful technologies,” said Kumar Galhotra, president of Lincoln. “The all-new Lincoln MKX reflects that focus.” "The all-new Lincoln MKX goes on sale first in the United States this fall, followed by other markets including China, Canada, the Middle East, Mexico and South Korea. The Lincoln MKX further strengthens Lincoln’s position in the global midsize premium utility segment, which represents 11 percent of the global automotive luxury market and is expected to grow to 12 percent by 2018.* It is the one of the largest luxury segments in the United States, representing about one-quarter of the retail luxury automotive market. More power, greater agility Leading the engine choices for the new Lincoln MKX is the available advanced 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged Ti-VCT EcoBoost V6. It is projected to deliver more than 330 horsepower and more than 370 lb.-ft. of torque, based on preliminary test data. The standard engine is a 3.7-liter V6, projected to deliver 300 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque, based on preliminary test data. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with push-button shift and SelectShift®. Front-wheel drive is standard, with Intelligent All-Wheel Drive optional. The addition of the integral link rear suspension, upgrades to the body structure and chassis components, make the new model the best-handling, best-riding and quietest Lincoln MKX ever. Available Lincoln Drive Control, a suite of ride-enhancing technologies, optimizes performance and offers three distinct modes: Normal, Sport and Comfort. The Lincoln MKX has standard electric power-assisted steering and is the first Lincoln to offer adaptive steering. “The new 2.7-liter EcoBoost adds a new level of performance to the all-new Lincoln MKX,” said Chief Program Engineer Elaine Bannon. “The focus is on delivering a total personalized luxury experience for our client: performance, quiet ride, power and technologies that make life easier, all in an environment wrapped in rich materials.” A host of helpful driver aids and technologies are available, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping system, blind spot information system, cross-traffic alert and a height-adjustable hands-free power liftgate. 360-degree camera, enhanced park assist "Several available technologies, starting with the 360-degree camera, a first for Lincoln in the MKX, help make all kinds of low-speed parking situations easier. The available front camera deploys from behind the Lincoln Star badging between the two front grilles. The camera system also offers a 180-degree split view, which can be helpful in looking out in cross-traffic situations. The 360-degree view shows up to 7 feet all around the vehicle. Lincoln MKX has an ultrasonic sensing system with 12 sensors enabling the full range of available parking-assist features: front rear side sensing, perpendicular and parallel parking assist and park out assist. Key driver assist and safety innovations added The all-new Lincoln MKX adds pre-collision assist, which may help avoid or lessen the severity some frontal crashes with another vehicle or pedestrian in certain situations and conditions. If the system detects another vehicle or pedestrian, the system will first provide a collision warning and then the system will automatically apply braking if the driver has not taken any corrective action. Also new is the Auto Hold feature, which relieves the driver from having to press the brake pedal continuously to keep the vehicle stationary in traffic. Auto Hold releases the brakes when the accelerator pedal is pressed." First for Lincoln, to enhance driver visibility, available LED headlamps include a feature that adapts when accelerating from 0 to 35 mph by adding width to the low-beam pattern through the use of additional LED reflector elements. Elegance in motion The exterior design is dramatic, with a modern, contemporary silhouette and well-balanced proportions. Available adaptable full-LED front headlamps are subtly executed as blades, rather than projectors, aligned with the horizontal orientation of the split-wing grille. The interior design language creates an open yet cocoon-like environment that is as quiet as it is beautiful. The push-button gear shift creates a dramatic open suspension bridge that flows from the instrument panel to the center console, providing two tiers of open space. Elevated personalized luxury experiences "New available 22-way adjustable front seats with active motion help reduce muscle fatigue in the upper legs and lower back through six adjustable air bladders in the cushion and five adjustable air bladders in the lower seat back. Further adjustments can be made through the four-way power head restraint and the power thigh extender. The thigh bolster deflates to make exit easier and reinflates after entry to the previous setting. Always-on, built-in connectivity is provided through an available embedded modem. Via a smartphone app that communicates with the vehicle, the available MyLincoln Mobile™ app gives owners the ability to start, lock, unlock and locate their vehicle, as well as schedule a remote start.** Exclusive Revel sound system Uncompromising acoustics and award-winning home theater audio quality comes to the Lincoln MKX through the available Revel audio system. The Revel Ultima system is standard on Lincoln Black Label editions and available on Reserve models. It features 19 speakers with point source architecture, positioning the tweeter and midrange speakers close together for superior audio quality. Further performance and refinement is provided by QuantumLogic® Surround Sound technology, which offers three listening modes – stereo, audience and on stage; patented Clari-Fi™ technology offering advanced, real-time music reconstruction for all compressed audio sources; and a 20-channel high-voltage hybrid amplifier for class-leading dynamics and optimized transparency. A 13-speaker Revel system designed for the ultimate audio quality experience is available on the all-new Lincoln MKX Select and Reserve." Two new Black Label themes "Lincoln Black Label will be available at launch with four designer themes – two of which are all-new. One is inspired by the fashion, lifestyle and art scene of 1920s Paris, while the excitement, passion and pageantry of high-stakes thoroughbred horse racing create the vision for the second new theme. Modern Heritage and Indulgence also will be available on the new Lincoln MKX. Upgraded Lincoln Experiences When the driver with key fob is within approximately 9 feet, the lower LED daytime running lights gently brighten, while “welcome mat” is projected on the ground from the folded mirrors. Door handles are illuminated, too, tuned to the exterior color. Interior sequential lighting begins at the footwell, then illuminates the cupholders, pass-through, instrument panel, front door handles, front map pockets and rear doors. The lighting goes off in reverse order."     Volkswagen At the end of 2016, Volkswagen will start production of one of its most important new models in the past five decades in Chattanooga, Tennessee: a seven-seater mid-size SUV. As a preview to this vehicle, Volkswagen showed the five-seater Cross Coupe GTE at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. cross_coupe_gte_4512 This stylish and upscale SUV uses a plug-in hybrid system with a maximum output of 355 horsepower and an all-wheel-drive system that uses an “electric driveshaft”. The hybrid has a manufacturer-estimated fuel economy rating of 70 MPGe. Klaus Bischoff, chief designer at Volkswagen says: “The Cross Coupe GTE is the ambassador of a new design language developed by Volkswagen for the U.S." And he continues, "The concept car has a commanding presence; it is powerful with a look that could almost be described as aggressive.” He added, “Numerous details hint at how we envision a future production SUV model for North America. The underlying concept combines German engineering and design with a vehicle that suits the American lifestyle. That means high efficiency, clear and powerful design, logical operation and supreme quality—combined with lots of space, superior performance, and outstanding comfort.” The GTE acronym generally applies to all sporty Volkswagen models with a high-tech plug-in hybrid drivetrain. They offer the driving characteristics of a grand tourer (Gran Turismo or GT) and, thanks to one or more electric motors and a battery (E as in Electric), they also offer zero-emissions driving. The Cross Coupe has a zero-emissions range of up to 20 miles and can reach 60 mph from rest in just 6.0 seconds. The car has various operating modes: E-Mode, GTE, Hybrid, Off-road and Battery Hold/Battery Charge. The Cross Coupe GTE is the third concept car presented by Volkswagen on the way to the production version of the mid-size SUV. Together, all three concepts—the CrossBlue presented in Detroit in January 2013, the CrossBlue Coupe most recently shown in Los Angeles in November 2013 and the Cross Coupe GTE—represent just a part of the wide spectrum of SUV variants that can be produced off Volkswagen’s modular transverse matrix (MQB) architecture. The Cross Coupe GTE, which is painted in Grand Pacific Glacier blue, has an even stronger presence than the concept cars unveiled in 2013. Although all three SUVs were based on the Volkswagen design DNA and have styling features in common, the Cross Coupe GTE’s detailing marks a break with the previous concept cars and thus increases the momentum towards series production. The concept car now presented in Detroit is 190.8 inches long, 79.9 inches wide and 68.3 inches high. Klaus Bischoff says: “The car makes a visual statement from every angle. Regardless of whether you imagine the Cross Coupe GTE in Manhattan, driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in California or in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, this SUV looks upscale everywhere.” The powerful exterior design is characterized by a very clear and logical line structure. The precise edges of the long hood look like they have been cut with a laser. The headlights, turn signals and the radiator grille merge together seamlessly, with two aluminum bars (polished at the front, brushed on top) forming the basic structure of the radiator grille. The design of the lower air inlet is just as striking as that of the radiator grille. The outside is framed by high-gloss black trim, with a polished aluminum insert on the inside that mirrors the corresponding elements on the radiator grille. The LED dual headlights are a particularly striking and distinctive feature, with the outer modules generating the low beam, while the inner ones provide the high beam. The distinctive Daytime Running Light signature will also be seen in future production models. This consists of the four LED headlights and four "LED light wings", two of which are in the radiator grille and two in the lower air intake. The sharp front ridge of the hood forms a line that extends over the front fenders and below the windows to the tailgate. Another strong character line is formed at a lower level between the wheelarches and incorporates the door handles. Like the entire car, the side profile itself has powerful proportions and an upscale appearance. The combination of an A-pillar that is set a long way back and emphasizes the raised hood, the strikingly sloped C-pillar, and the short overhangs give the design a sporty yet rugged appearance. The overhangs also give the vehicle very competitive ramp breakover, approach and departure angles for excellent off-road performance. The wheelarches emphasize the power and the physical presence of the SUV, and give it an extremely confident stance, a news release  says. The wheel arch on the driver's side houses the service flap for the charging plug for the lithium-ion battery and the passenger side has the fuel filler flap. The 22-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, shod with 285/40 tires, have 10 highly polished spokes. At the rear, the side character line feature merges into a polished aluminum trim strip, above which are trapezoidal LED taillights. The Cross Coupe GTE also follows the new Volkswagen design language for the U.S. at the back, with a focus on clearly defined horizontal line structures. The striking design of the rear lights, the strict horizontal look of the tailgate and an aluminum panel extending right across the bumper follow this language. The Cross Coupe GTE not only previews future Volkswagen SUV exterior design—it also shows how Volkswagen designers envision a mid-size SUV interior of tomorrow. This look ahead reveals the consistent further development of two key features of Volkswagen interiors. The first is the clear, horizontal orientation of the interior architecture, especially the control panel. The second characteristic feature of every Volkswagen interior is the self-explanatory and intuitive operation of all elements and systems. Volkswagen will retain this in the age of interactive information and control systems. In the Cross Coupe GTE, the combination of gloss black applications with the seamlessly integrated displays and chrome elements creates a striking new interior design language that is clearly influenced by the German Bauhaus movement. Under the windshield, the concept car features an Ink Blue Nappa leather border that matches the Grand Pacific Glacier exterior paintwork. Like a wing, the information and control level extends across the whole width of the car. On the outside of the instrument panel, there are two horizontal polished aluminum air vents. The 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen, which is integrated in the middle of the control panel, is framed by two sets of vertical air vents on either side. The whole area boasts a completely new architecture so that the infotainment and instrument panel appear to be a single unit. All functions are controlled via touchscreen. This high-end digital world is capped by an Active Info Display, with displays that can be individually set by the driver. The driver and front passenger can manage all infotainment functions and the basic vehicle configuration via the 10.1-inch touchscreen, using proximity sensors and gesture control. Gesture control is a completely new feature, and allows occupants to swipe over a playlist from some distance away to browse and play tunes. The layout of the graphics changes depending on the selected driving profile—Snow, Sport, On-road and Off-road. Furthermore, navigation data can be displayed in a two-dimensional or three-dimensional form. In the 3-D view the user can configure the display individually at three or even more levels that float above one another in a virtual space. They all show the map with the position of the vehicle but with different information: if the driver has configured the Points-of-Interest (POI), the middle level has geographic information such as the current altitude while the bottom Car level has the route and position. The levels can be freely moved from the top to the bottom, but individual settings are always made on the top level. The 12.3-inch instrumentation screen has a conventional shape, but all the information shown is digital. The 1,440 x 540 pixel resolution gives extremely high-quality interactive graphic presentation of all details. Individual interactions/graphics are allocated to different basic functions. The graphics change, for example depending on the drive mode selected, such as E-Mode or GTE, and information such as driving, navigation and assistance functions can be integrated in the area as required. A brushed aluminum horizontal strip runs across the whole width of the interior below the infotainment screen and instrument cluster. A touchscreen below this strip is used to control the climate control, including the heated and cooled seats. The shift lever for the 6-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission always remains in a central position, like a joystick. A quick click activates the R, N and D modes; a separate button, integrated in the lever, switches to P. The rotary driving profile selector for the On-road, Off-road, Sport and Snow profiles is housed behind the shift lever and uses lightpipe elements (transparent, perfused with LED light) that are fully in keeping with the modern look of the interior. Black hard keys take care of the ESC, E-Mode and GTE-Mode, while aluminum is used for the start/stop button. The seats feature elegant bi-color semi-aniline Nappa leather surfaces, with perforated leather in the center that creates a visual link to the aluminum covers on the high-end speakers in the doors. The rear seat bench has a two-third/one-third split fold, resulting in a continuous cargo floor. The rear-seat climate control is also controlled via a touchscreen. Attachments for tablets are incorporated in the headrests of the rear seats and the Volkswagen Media Control app enables them to access the radio, media sources, and navigation via Wi-Fi. Powertrain Thanks to the modular transverse matrix (MQB) architecture, Volkswagen can not only offer a vehicle with conventional gasoline and diesel engines, but can produce them as plug-in hybrids, with natural gas powertrains, and as zero tailpipe emissions electric and fuel cell vehicles. This means that the Cross Coupe GTE, too, can be produced with every conceivable powertrain. The SUV concept is powered by a 3.6-liter VR6® gasoline engine and two electric motors. The six-cylinder direct-injection engine (FSI) delivers 276 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The two electric motors produce 54 hp and 162 lb-ft (front) and 114 hp and 199 lb-ft (rear). They are powered by a compact lithium-ion battery housed in the center tunnel, which is rated at 14.1 kWh. The total output of the drive system adds up to 355 hp and 280 lb-ft, enough to power the Cross Coupe GTE onto a top speed of 130 mph and accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.0 seconds. The Cross Coupe GTE features a number of driving profiles: On-road (with Comfort and Eco sub-modes), Off-road (with Rocks, Sludge & Sand and Gravel), Sport and Snow. The profiles change the setup of the SUV. There are also five drive modes: E-Mode; Hybrid; GTE; Off-road; and Battery Hold / Battery Charge. E-Mode. Thanks to the lithium-ion battery, the Cross Coupe GTE can travel up to 20 miles as an EV. In E-Mode, the 114-hp rear electric motor drives the vehicle and the VR6 engine is shut down and decoupled from the drivetrain by disengaging the clutch. As soon as the gasoline engine needs to be restarted due, for instance, to the battery charge status, it re-engages smoothly in a fraction of a second. Power electronics manage the flow of high-voltage energy from and to the battery and to the electric motors. The 12-volt electrical system is supplied by a DC/DC converter. The battery is charged via external power sources or while driving. Hybrid. The concept car starts in Hybrid Mode by default. The Cross Coupe GTE is then a classical full hybrid that charges the battery via regenerative braking and automatically uses the VR6 engine and/or the electric motor depending on the drive situation. In this mode, the battery state of charge is kept constant; the driver can actively influence this by using the battery hold function.
  • Coasting: As soon as the driver takes his or her foot off the accelerator and the battery is sufficiently charged, the gasoline engine and electric motors are shut down and disengaged from the drivetrain.
  • Recuperation Mode: If the driver removes his or her foot from the accelerator or brakes when the battery is not sufficiently charged, both electric motors work as generators and feed the energy generated during braking to the lithium-ion battery. In this case, too, the VR6 engine is shut down and disengaged.
  • Driving with the VR6 engine: When the gasoline engine alone is powering the vehicle, the concept car is purely front-wheel drive to achieve excellent fuel economy.
GTE. The driver uses the GTE button to switch to the most dynamic side of the vehicle. This makes the throttle, transmission and steering characteristics even sportier. In addition, the VR6 engine and the electric motors work together to deliver the full system output and the maximum system torque. All four wheels are powered as soon as the driver activates this mode. In this case (and when the battery charge is low), the front electric motor is employed exclusively as a generator that is driven by the gasoline engine in order to provide the power for its counterpart at the rear axle. As the power to drive the rear axle flows electronically, the all-wheel-drive system is referred to as an “electric driveshaft”. Since the VR6 engine drives the rear electric motor via the front motor in Off-road Mode, all-wheel drive is available even when the battery has a low state of charge and the car is running as a plug-in-hybrid.

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