Archive for January, 2013
At the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, Bentley showed off its 2014 Continental GTC Speed, the high-performance version of its popular Continental GTC exotic convertible.
The GT Speed Convertible is powered by a turbocharged 616-horsepower W12 hooked to an 8-speed automatic transmission. (Non-Speed Continentals with the W12 engine have 567 horsepower). The Speed treatment includes a lowered suspension, a unique black intake manifold, retuned steering, 21-inch wheels (available in silver or dark-tinted), dark-chrome front grilles, and the “Mulliner Driving Specification,” which includes drilled accelerator and brake pedals, diamond-quilted upholstery on the seats and door panels, a knurled gear lever, and optional embroidered emblems in the seat backs. Options include carbon-fiber or wood interior trim, dark-colored machine-turned aluminum panels on the dashboard, and a high-end “Naim for Bentley” audio system.
The transmission shifter is equipped with a Sport mode gate, and it conjures up quicker throttle response, higher-rpm shifts, and faster kick-down shifts. Just like all other Bentley Continentals, the 2014 GT Speed Convertible is all-wheel drive.
All told, this droptop reaches 60 mph from a stop in 4.1 seconds and peaks at 202 mph. Not that Bentley buyers typically care, but the 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible is rated to get 12 mpg city/20 mpg highway.
Hyundai used an opportunity at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show to show off an ultra-premium car called HCD-14 Genesis Concept.
This concept car reflects the carmaker’s aspirations in the high-end car market. The concept has new styling and rear-hinged back doors. They open to an interior divided down the center by a center console that starts at a dashboard that is devoid of a traditional central control panel. All of the driver’s instruments have been incorporated into the instrument panel ahead of the driver and a heads-up display projected onto the windshield. The “passenger comfort” functions are shown in a screen that is tilted toward the front passenger seat.
This flight-of-fancy includes such technological advances as a heads-up display paired with sensors that interpret the driver’s eye and hand movements. It also includes thumb controls to perform most vehicle functions, such as navigation, infotainment, audio, climate control, and the functions of a connected smartphone.
The HCD-14 Genesis Concept is powered by Hyundai’s 5.0-liter V8 engine connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission. It uses an electric-powered steering system and a drive-mode system that changes the characteristics of the suspension and other components. No key is needed to start the vehicle because sensors scan the driver’s eye to identify the driver and then start the car.
We mentioned in our coverage of the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show that Kia is going full steam ahead to push its products up the automotive food chain. At the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, the Korean brand unveiled the next step in that effort.
The 2014 Kia Cadenza will be the company’s first effort at marketing a large car in North America. Positioned above the midsize Optima sedan, Cadenza borrows its drivetrain and key chassis components from the Azera produced by Kia’s corporate parent, Hyundai.
Like the Azera, Cadenza will come in a single trim level. The engine is a 293-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Kia vehicles typically have a more sporting flair than their Hyundai counterparts, and Cadenza is no exception. The car will include a sport suspension. Low-profile 18-inch tires are standard, while 19s are included with the optional Technology Package.
Standard features include a navigation system, Kia’s new UVO eServices infotainment system, a rearview camera, a 550-watt Infinity-brand audio system, leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, pushbutton engine start, a 10-way power driver seat, and a Bluetooth wireless cell-phone link.
Honda’s luxury division gave attendees of the 2013 Detroit Auto Show a preview of what its next-generation midsize SUV will look like.
The 2014 Acura MDX Prototype is a concept in practice, but Honda has an uncanny ability to make such vehicles look remarkably close to their production-ready cousins. Such was the case with the vehicles based on the Accord and Civic concepts from the 2012 and 2011 Detroit Auto Shows, respectively, and the Odyssey concept from the 2010 Chicago Auto Show.
Take away some of the concept-only styling cues, such as the blue LED headlights, and you might wonder what Acura is changing at all with this vehicle. For one thing, the prototype is 1.5 inches shorter than the outgoing MDX, but thanks to a longer wheelbase, room and comfort for the 2nd and 3rd rows is improved.
Under the hood, the prototype uses a new 3.5-liter V6 engine with high-pressure gasoline direct injection and Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management cylinder deactivation. We expect this to be the motor that powers the production vehicle. For the first time, Acura will offer the MDX in a front-wheel-drive configuration; all previous MDX models were all-wheel drive only.
At the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, Toyota showed off the Corolla Furia Concept, a vehicle that forecasts the look of the company’s next Corolla compact car.
The Furia Concept is a compact-size vehicle. The concept is about 2 inches longer than the current Corolla, and the wheelbase is about 4 inches longer. To achieve that wheelbase, the wheels were pushed to the corners.
The exterior of the Furia Concept boasts 19-inch wheels, a blacked-out grille, and LED headlights and taillights. It also has some very odd body parts. Those include carbon fiber body panels in the wheel wells, rocker panels, rearview mirror covers, and sections of the front and rear bumper, with metal exhaust outlets integrated into the bumper.
Since the Corolla Furia is a concept vehicle, it will not go on sale. Also, Toyota did not announce pricing or an approximate on-sale date for the next Corolla, but expect prices to be in line with those of other compact cars.
So far, this has been a mild winter in Detroit. But a cold snap just in time for press days at the 2013 Auto Show reminded everyone in town just what January normally feels like.
And like this cold snap, after half a decade of industry turbulence, this year’s auto show has a refreshingly normal feel—albeit normal in a very new sense.
Superficially, nothing. But let’s dig a little deeper.
The new Corvette is more powerful and arguably better looking than its predecessor. But, it’s not that much more powerful. Chevy could have shot for the moon and brought us a 500-horsepower base ’Vette, but the car we’ll see on lots later this year boasts a more modest 450-horse rating. Instead, thanks to a new all-aluminum substructure, the new Corvette is 100 pounds lighter than the car before it. It’s also more aerodynamic. This careful balance of power and restraint proved to be a theme woven throughout this year’s show.
Would they or wouldn’t they? That was the question regarding whether or not General Motors would give the green light to producing a car based on the seductive Cadillac Converj concept. As you can probably guess, that answer is a resounding “Yes.”
Enter the 2014 Cadillac ELR. The production-ready model you see here doesn’t actually look that much different than the Converj show car, which debuted at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show. Even what’s under the sloping hood isn’t changed much.
Its underpinnings are basically those of a Chevrolet Volt. It has the same 1.4-liter 4-cylinder internal-combustion engine that serves as a generator for the 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Power gets to the ground via the Volt’s single-speed transmission. GM projects the ELR will offer 35 miles of all-electric driving range and more than 300 miles of total range when you factor in the gas engine. Owners can charge the battery from a standard household outlet or a 240-volt charging station. Using the latter, Cadillac claims a charging time of about 4.5 hours for a fully depleted battery. The included OnStar RemoteLink app for smartphones allows owners near-complete control over the charging process.
Toyota’s Lexus division continues its onslaught of updated products. Hot on the heels of significantly updated versions of its flagship LS and midsize ES and GS sedans, the company debuted the freshened 2014 IS premium-compact car at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.
The 2014 Lexus IS sports a front-end design that mirrors the appearance of its larger siblings. Since this is a sportier car than the LS, ES, and even the GS, the look is a bit more angular and aggressive. Under the skin, Lexus claims that new welding and adhesives improve body rigidity and stability. Those wanting an even meaner look can order the IS F Sport, which includes a unique grille and front bumpers.
The car will return in base IS 250 and sporty IS 350 trim levels, each with the choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. A gas/electric hybrid called the IS 300h will be available, but not in the U.S. (at least not right now).
Much like the famous statue of Atlas holding Earth, the Ford F-150 carries the weight of being the brand’s (and America’s) best-selling vehicle. A new F-150, therefore, is a big deal, and Ford gave fans a sneak preview of the next generation with the Atlas Concept.
Though the truck is a concept at this stage, the vehicle rolled out for press and public consumption looks nearly production ready. The company was mum on specifics, but officials did say the Atlas features a next-generation EcoBoost engine. EcoBoost is basically Ford-speak for small-displacement engines that employ turbocharging and high-pressure direct fuel injection to increase power while decreasing fuel consumption.
Other fuel-saving measures in the Atlas Concept include an engine-idle stop/start system that shuts the engine off at a stop and instantly restarts it when the driver releases his or her foot from the brake pedal. The truck employs additional sensors that can detect if there’s a trailer attached; if there is, the stop/start system is automatically disabled. The Atlas Concept employs active grille shutters, a drop-down front chin spoiler, and power running boards, all of which improve the truck’s aerodynamics.
With the Detroit rollout of its updated G37 compact sedan, Inifiniti puts in motion the wheels of what it hopes represents a new era of simplified model naming. See, the new G37 isn’t a G at all. It’s a Q—a Q50 to be exact.