No one was quite expecting the world’s fastest-accelerating car to be announced in Detroit, and fewer still would have imagined such a device coming from Chrysler. But that’s what the 850bhp ME Four-Twelve is (pictured), and it’s badged Chrysler despite being propelled by a quad-turbo Mercedes AMG V12 and possessing a little bit of Pagani in its genes. This was one of the more mystifying beasts at the show, since Chrysler has little tradition in supercars, the ME’s presence driven more by the thirst for publicity than any direction change at Chrysler. Certainly it’s hard to see how its appearance might make anyone more likely to buy a Voyager.
Still, horsepower is something Detroit has long been about, and there was plenty of muscle around, 400 horses-worth to be found under the bonnet of the sixth generation of America’s favourite domestic sports car, the Corvette (pictured, gallery). A disappointingly unadventurous evolution of the familiar formula, the new ’Vette gets the next-generation Chevy small-block V8 – it displaces a mere 6.0 litres – fixed headlights instead of the pop-ups that have been a trademark since 1963 and a vastly improved interior with, yes, upgraded cupholders. Whatever you think of its looks it will be quick, and it’s also admirable for being smaller – and presumably more nimble – than the car it replaces.
Another rejuvenated American favourite was the Mustang (see gallery), this new version an impressive homage to the ’67 Fastback, if not quite as perfect as last year’s concept. A 200bhp V6 or a 300 bhp 4.6 litre V8 are the engine options, and they drive a live – yes, you read that right – rear axle. The Ford stand’s vast video screens presented a Mustang getting sideways in a magnificent video filmed on the emptied streets of Detroit, the ’Stang in company with a Ford GT and the results of Ford’s latest trawl through its history, the Shelby Cobra concept. This has 605bhp, all the brutality of the original - and none of its sensuality.