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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