2010 Detroit Auto Show in Review

11 Jan 2010 | 3,091 views | No Comment
This year’s North American International Auto Show, while subdued in energy, still popped with unveilings of cars that could figure largely into the upcoming sales year. ford-focus-coupe ford-focus-hb Chief among those cars was the all-new Ford Focus, expected to hit the sales floor in 2011 as a 2012 model.  To say that the new Focus is dramatically different from the current model is an understatement of the first order. The new model is snappy and hip looking, and a good example of Ford’s “kinetic” school of design thought. With a roofline that drops noticeably as the eye moves toward the rear of of the car, dramatic teardrop shaped headlights, and well-placed character lines along its flanks, the new Focus should attract a large audience of style conscious buyers. The new Focus is one of at least 10 new designs that will be based on Ford’s new global “C” platform, and power is expected to come from a new family of Ford EcoBoost engines, including 1.6 liter and 2.0 liter power plants. Inside, it’s clear that Ford wanted to make a big upgrade of materials and finishes; the Focus comes off much more as a premium compact car than ever before. General Motors’ offerings today included the Chevrolet Aveo RS concept car and the Buick Regal GS concept car; both looked production ready, and it would be surprising if GM did not put both into production. They can add some spark to the GM lineup and bring in audiences that normally aren’t thought of as being in the Aveo and Buick camps--- young tuners, performance enthusiasts, and people looking for a Euro sports sedan experience.  For more on this pair, see separate stories on our Automobile Journal web site. volkswagen-new-compact-coupe A big surprise—and a big hit at the opening day unveilings was Volkswagen’s breathtaking Compact Coupe Concept. Done in glittering silver with slate gray interior and chrome wheels, it was all understated elegance, and a overall appearance that suggested strong hints of Audi’s A5 coupe, considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful two doors. Volkswagen says the car will be positioned just below the equally elegant CC Sedan. VW also says it is the first of a number of new models set for introduction this year, and it will include lots of new technology. Power comes a hybrid system comprised of a TSI engine an electric motor, and a seven speed Direct Shift Gearbox. Combined fuel consumption is 45 mies per gallon, and it hits 60 in 8.1 seconds. Volkswagen also says its first hybrid, to be introduced this year will be an SUV  model. bmw-z4-sdrive-35is One of the longest names on a car also belongs to one of  the coolest—BMW’s Z4 sDrive35is.  Once you get past the name, you’ll discover a low slung  sportster with aggressive lines, classic roadster details, and a power train to die for. It’s a 335 horsepower, turbocharged engine that hits 60 in 4.7 seconds.  You can look for it at your BMW dealership this spring as a 2011 model. bmw-740i BMW also introduced two new members of the 740i and 740 Li family, both powered by twin turbocharged 3.0 liter six cylinder engines with 315 horsepower. The first Seven Series to be introduced in the U.S. by the way also had a six cylinder engine, back in 1978.  Both will be available in spring, 2010. mercedes-benz-sls-amg One of the most anticipated cars of the year is the Mercedes-Benz SLs AMG, a gullwing doored beauty powered by a 563  horsepower, 6.3 liter AMG V-8.  You’ll be looking at sixty in just 3.7 seconds in this car, which has a seven speed dual clutch automatic/manual transmission. This car can trace its lineage back to the famous gullwing coupe models that Mercedes produced back in the 1950s, and dome of that car’s styling cues, such as rounded rear ends and “gills” in the flanks, have been carried over to the new SLS AMG.  The car is built around an aluminum spaceframe that weighs just 530 pounds. Altogether, the show certainly was more upbeat than last year’s funeral march, and unlike previous shows, it was largely bereft of any new SUV's or crossovers. The emphasis clearly was on small cars and on alternative forms of power, particularly electric cars, plug ins, cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells and other forms of energy. Stay tuned for complete coverage of the last of this week’s Media Day events tomorrow.

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