Twelve months ago in Detroit Ford stunned the world with a simply gorgeous 600bhp mid-engined supercar to carry the flag of the GT40 forward into the 21st century, both on the road and – in the 50th anniversary year of Ford’s famous Le Mans victory – on the racetrack. We will of course be seeing a lot more of the new Ford GT in the coming months…
The question for today though is: how on earth is anyone going to follow that? What will be the star of this year’s North American International Auto Show in Motown?
One thing for sure: the Americans love a surprise and there will be plenty in store when the doors open in Detroit on Monday (January 11th) even if some big names have decided to give Motown a miss this year.
Lexus, huge in the US, will certainly be at the show and for many its stand will be a must-visit: to see the world premiere of its first Porsche 911 rival. The concept it is based on is a dramatic looker, but the design of the production car is staying secret until the covers come off on Monday. A 500bhp Lexus LFA lookalike at a fraction of its price? Sounds tempting; see more on the new coupe here.
Of other expected debutants, the most significant is the new Mercedes-Benz E-class. Pictures are still under wraps – officially at least – but Mercedes hasn’t been slow in whetting our appetite for the new car with details of its S-class like digital technology and luxury interior. You can read more about that here.
Performance fiends will have their eyes firmly on the BMW stand and the motor show debut of the BMW M2, widely expected to follow in the footsteps of the E30 M3 as a superb driving machine. See all the pictures and info on that car here.
Something more glamorous? Back to Mercedes then and the premiere of the AMG version of the recently unveiled S-class Cabriolet, complete with 585bhp biturbo V8 for 0-62mph in just 3.9 seconds – so scintillating as well as sybaritic. Check the details on that here
A car we are looking forward to seeing in the production flesh is the new Infiniti Q60 coupe that had its UK premiere as a concept at the Festival of Speed in 2015. It’s a real looker, and with 400bhp and rear-drive should be rewarding to drive, too. Click here for more on that car.
Ditto the new Volvo S90 saloon, the Swedish firm’s latest move to establish itself in the executive car establishment. Unveiled late in 2015 but making its public debut in Detroit, the new S90 is distinctively Volvo with a very Scandinavian cabin.
It also comes with new technologies including of course the firm’s latest take on safety. And that is? A ‘large animal detection’ system, so the car can automatically mind that moose! Volvo also says that with its lane-holding steering function the S90 represents another step on the way to full autonomous drive. See more on the S90 here.
Autonomous driving will be a major theme at Detroit this year with several manufacturers set to spring a self-driving surprise in 2016. Alternative fuels will also feature strongly, not least on the Audi stand where alongside e-tron (electric) the company is expected to show off its latest h-tron concept. That’s h as in hydrogen fuel cell.
Then there’s the new car from Henrik Fisker. Or not. The former Aston Martin designer’s attempt to start a new sports car company with something called Force 1, said to be powered by the most powerful naturally-aspirated engine in history, is currently mired in a legal wrangle with his erstwhile employer. The Wall Street Journal reports that Force 1 is alleged to look a little too much like a car that a certain James Bond drives…