The new Ford Mustang Bullitt tops the list of cars we want but can’t have that are making their debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week.
Every motor show features new cars restricted to certain markets, but the US has more than most. Many we wouldn’t want of course…but a new 50th-anniversary special-edition ‘Stang to mark the best car chase in the world ever? Yes, please.
Ford managed to track down Steve McQueen’s original 1968 GT Fastback from Bullitt the movie to star alongside the newcomer on the Ford stage at Detroit. Two identical cars had been used for filming, one went to a salvage yard, the other was sold and until last year its whereabouts were unknown, says Ford. In fact, it had been in the same family for most of its life, now owned by Sean Kiernan who inherited the most famous Mustang of all from his father in 2014. Now it’s back in the spotlight again.
The new and the old were shown together in Detroit. Both are Dark Highland Green, devoid of stripes and badges, have burbling V8s (the new one’s upgraded 5.0-litre pumps out 474bhp for 163mph), feature manual gearboxes with white cue-ball shift knobs, chrome accents around the grille and front windows, and classic ‘torque thrust’ 19-inch aluminium wheels.
One thing the old car doesn’t have: a 12-inch LCD screen which displays a unique Bullitt welcome logo when you fire it up.
It’s the third time Ford has offered a Bullitt special edition Mustang. But while the rest of the new Mustang range goes on sale across Europe later this year, this coolest of all special editions is for US customers only.
Remember Honda’s first hybrid? It came out around the same time as the Toyota Prius but against that car was seriously quirky – odd looks and compromised three-door practicality – but in handling terms it was a sporty little number that could run rings round any Prius. Now there’s a new one (actually the third go at getting the Insight formula right) and this time it’s a plush sedan – though still with the 1.5-litre hybrid drivetrain. And, we hope, good handling. Made in the US for a largely US audience, that’s something we will never know.
The Veloster – claim to fame: weird asymmetrical doors – briefly flickered in the UK after its 2011 unveiling but has since been dropped from the range and it’s unlikely we will see the second-gen version just launched in Detroit. Which might be a bit of a shame because it’s had a makeover and comes now in N (for Nurbürgring) sporty form with 275bhp as a true hot hatch rival. You (or Americans at least) still get the weird door arrangement but the purple and yellow wheels-on-fire paint job is just a show special.
Here’s another one we used to get but don’t anymore. The original booted Golf was a bit-player here – but across the pond, an all-new version unveiled in Detroit is “key to our future success in the United States” according to VW. It is already the number one selling Vee-Dub over there. A sexy Jetta is bit of an oxymoron, and true to form the new one stays as a mid-sized four-door sedan with conservative looks – but some very grown-up features such as all digital dash and eight-speed automatic. It is reported there are no plans for a European version.
Ford Edge ST
We get the Edge mid-size SUV over here but we won’t be getting this Edge: it’s the new ST version for Americans only, boasting a healthy 335bhp from its 2.7-litre twin-turbo V6. In the US they are saying it’s the most powerful SUV in its class. It should handle too with ST-tuned sport suspension and what’s said to be a far more dynamic demeanour; in Detroit Ford’s bumpf calls it “a new animal with a track mentality.” It’s the first of the revamped Edge range which goes on sale here later this year – with diesel engines. Thin end of the (w)edge we reckon.
And one they can keep...
No shortage of pickup trucks at Detroit this year – that’s one American love affair that shows no sign of ending. And the bigger, stronger and more powerful and accessorised they are the better. Few find a natural home on this side of the pond, including the mighty GMC Denali. At Detroit, it was shown as the All-Mountain concept, with half-tracks and a 6.6-litre turbodiesel boasting 440bhp and over 900 lb-ft of torque. Not quite the best school-run special…but as an alternative to a chairlift on the ski slopes probably pretty impressive…