See the latest pictures from the Detroit motor show, where big-name reveals from the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Honda, Audi and Infiniti have taken centre stage
Steve Cropley Autocar
12 January 2015

By the time the reporting hordes arrived in Detroit on Sunday to prepare for the opening of the Detroit show - or the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), as they insist on calling it - the local press had long ago decided the theme of this year's event. It made both a nice change from the 'responsible' direction of recent fixtures and a welcome contrast from the -10deg C weather ruling outside.

'Big and fast is back' yelled a big, red banner in the middle of page one of Sunday's Detroit Free Press, and as soon as you started looking at new models, you knew they were right - almost as though the industry had known all along the three-year cycle it requires to make new cars that petrol would be selling at just two bucks a gallon at the exact moment these creations were due to hit the highway.

Mind you, it deserves to be said that every one of this year's powerful cars was claiming enhanced efficiency, too, and with good reason.

General Motors, which grabbed what is often Ford's first Monday launch slot, dived straight into familiar zero-emissions territory with a great-looking second-generation Volt plug-in saloon (its battery-only range enhanced from 35 to 50 miles), then grabbed further plaudits by launching a pure EV concept, a hatchback sized between the Corsa and Astra that offered a 200-mile range and was tipped to cost an affordable $30,000.

GM chief Mary Barra, taking some rare time away from dealing with massive recalls and apologising for the sins of her predecessors, described the Bolt as "a daily driver", and it certainly looked feasible as one.

It looked to me as if GM had really stolen a march on the field with a well-packaged small car with such a range - but it's a comment on the eternal appeal of big and fast that by the end of day one of this Detroit show, most commentators had stopped talking about these notable achievements.

Ford packed people into the adjacent Cobo Arena to reveal its third-generation Ford GT, a 600bhp-plus V6 EcoBoost mid-engined creation which, through subtle shaping and judgement, managed to project a relationship with its father and grandfather without mimicking anything about them.

There were a few rumours of a Ford GT around before the show, thanks to a set of leaked stand plans, but no one knew for sure, which pleased Moray Callum and his Ford design/engineering team, who had done all the work after hours in a specially set up basement studio.

The threatened Focus RS failed to show, probably because the Blue Oval is keeping that one for Geneva in March.

Most British interest surrounded two 'phantom' cars that weren't actually present. Jaguar Land Rover chose a meeting in the 1950s lair-cum-studio of GM design guru Harley Earl (now an educational institution) to do a bit of crowing about its excellent 2014 sales and to reveal that the former C-X17 concept, a Jaguar 'sports crossover', would go into production carrying the name F-Pace. It seemed logical to most of us but proved mildly controversial.

That controversy paled to nothing, though, when Bentley boss Wolfgang Dürheimer revealed that after much consideration, he had dubbed the forthcoming SUV Bentayga, a name meant to honour the company founder, WO Bentley, and to make a decisive break from the saloon/coupé names of the past. We'll get used to it, naturally, but the hubbub has yet to subside.

There was a retinue of ever more fast and well-equipped 'trucks', including a new-generation Ford Raptor, but for me the best of the Yanks was the beautiful and opulent Buick Avenir, a full-size saloon that (a) looked far better than anything European in the bracket, (b) was entirely modern yet reminded me of the unconstrained and vast American cars of my youth, and (c) made me wonder if big saloons might not make a comeback, at least in the US. Going anywhere in this fine car will create an occasion; I do hope they build it.

Honda launched a thoroughly practical and sweetly proportioned hybrid NSX, a car perfectly in tune both with our times and the aura created by the original 1990 edition. Cadillac weighed in with an 649bhp version of the CTS-V that seemed in danger of out-AMGing the C63.

Among other fast cars were a predictable but nice Shelby Mustang GT350R, plus yet-quicker offerings from Toyota and Lexus. And the last thing I saw before leaving was the beautiful new Infiniti Q60 concept, whose concentration on "metal made beautiful" made a nice change from all the torque-to-weight discussion that occupied most of the previous 48 hours.

Looking back, it was probably Mary Barra and her daily-driving Chevy Bolt that most deserved to be named twin stars of the show, but I doubt they'll get quite the plaudits they deserve.

What's your star car from Detroit? Let us know in the comments section below, and read more Detroit motor show news here

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Comments
11

12 January 2015
Hi Darren

I'm sorry for hijacking your comments section but, from what I've been reading recently on this site, if you're going to ask people for their comments then you need a darn site better website.

Again and again people have commented about the flaws on this website and number one is that unless your comment is on the first page then you might as well not have bothered. It may show that there are multiple pages of comments but no one can see them.

PLEASE could this get sorted out because you've got a loyal and enthusiastic bunch of people who would love to contribute and express their opinions but, quite frankly, why should they continue to care if Autocar don't.

Like i said, my apologies for hijacking your article. But can i just say how refreshing the Ford GT is. Not just for the absence of hybrid tech, the composites, the balls to do it but mainly becuase it was a surprise. And even though i like scoops, i really love surprises!

PS. AND HOW DO YOU DO PARAGRAPHS?!?!?

 

 

You're not stuck in traffic - you are traffic!!

13 January 2015
Unfortunately the website is woeful, and seems to be getting worse. I used to enjoy seeing hi-res images, now even that has gone.

13 January 2015
simon_ingram wrote:

Unfortunately the website is woeful, and seems to be getting worse. I used to enjoy seeing hi-res images, now even that has gone.

Please bring back the hi-res pics as that in todays world of HD quality monitors, is a must. To offer these really bad low res images and expect car fans to oooh and aaah at them is bad news for a magazine website that aims to be the best at what it does.

Do the manufacturers dictate image size and quality?? I have always enjoyed having the latest wonder car as my desktop image for a few days, if not weeks if I was blown away by what was launched. Now? My smart phone is higher res than your images... Shame.

13 January 2015
I fully agree with the two comments above! Please fix the paging problem (as Harf says the Next button no longer works so you can only see the first page of comments) and please let us see decent sized images - 450px is not good enough! (Although you can right-click -> open in new tab to see slightly bigger versions).

By comparison though, the excellent auto blog dot com website now allows full-screen mode for images, which looks stunning...

13 January 2015
comments regarding this website. Could the school work experience student currently in charge have a bit of help from a professional asap please?

13 January 2015

Hi harf, simon_ingram, March1 and chilly,

Thanks for your comments. Traffic on Autocar.co.uk has been steadily growing month on month and to accommodate all of our users in December we moved to a new, fully responsive website.

However, that move has thrown up some gremlins, including the picture formatting and comments issues you've described. Please rest assured that we are aware of the problems, and are in the process of getting them fixed.

We are aware that our users like debate and have valid opinions to share, and we anticipate that the problem with displaying comments will soon be fixed.

In the meantime, thanks for your continued patience.

Regards,

Darren

13 January 2015
Worst looking car is.......Ford GT,best new car,which is sold out already is..........?,that'll be the new NSX then.

Peter Cavellini.

MrJ

13 January 2015
I know that car design is a fashion-driven industry, so I expect a lot of lookalikes.

But what seems to be missing in most of these is some simple old-fashioned elegance.

For example, it's good to see the Ford GT and Honda NSX, but neither is as handsome as its predecessor.

14 January 2015
MrJ wrote:

I know that car design is a fashion-driven industry, so I expect a lot of lookalikes.

But what seems to be missing in most of these is some simple old-fashioned elegance.

For example, it's good to see the Ford GT and Honda NSX, but neither is as handsome as its predecessor.

The infinity is a good looking car, it somehow reminds me of old BMW 6s and 3s coupes when they were handsome vehicles. Perhaps with the Mercedes RNA tie up, some Infinity designers can go over to Mercedes and sort out their over fussy styling.

13 January 2015
thank you for taking the time to come on this blog with an honest acknowledgement of the problems and an explanation of why they have occurred and informing us that they are being addressed.

Although having said all that this posting will be probably on page 2 and you won't be able to see it anyway!

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