The start of the automotive show calendar, the North American International Auto Show, traditionally held in the motor city of Detroit, provides a look at what to expect in 2016 and ahead.
1. Audi H-Tron Quattro Concept
The Ingolstadt firm is the latest to enter the alternative powertrain world, with hydrogen fuelling. The H-tron sits on an enhanced MLB platform that houses three hydrogen tanks. To go with the 210 kW power output (there’s a constant 110 kW on tap, but a 60 kg lithium-ion battery provides an extra 100 kW on demand), and 550 N.m of torque, the H-tron boasts a 600 km range and takes just four minutes to refuel.
2. BMW M2
After the seriously limited 1M left tongues wagging, particularly those of the performance driving purists, the M2 is a sort of spiritual successor and BMW expects to build thousands. It uses the same kind of technology featured in its big brothers, the M4 and M3, including the turbopetrol six-cylinder motor (propulsion by a single turbocharger in this model, though), sophisticated suspension set-up and limited slip differential fettled by the company’s M division. The 272 kW and 500 N.m of torque on tap in a short wheelbase rear-wheel driven car will require steel cojones to drive, though. Customers can opt for a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
3. Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback
A more premium-looking Cruze is set to challenge the might of the VW Golf in the C segment with striking styling that is a natural progression of the outgoing generation’s. Thanks to 60:40 split folding rear seatback, utility space increases to
1 198 litres from 524. It also features the GooglePlay infotainment system that will gradually be employed in the rest of General Motors’ products.
4. Mercedes-Benz E-Class
The new E is even more “mini-S-Class” than the C-Class, which is not a bad thing at all. Interestingly, it boasts nearly as wide a range of technologies as its big brother’s. The company’s wide-screen infotainment system/instrument panel also makes an appearance in the E-Class, as do rear seatbelt airbags, 84-LED adaptive headlamps and remote controlled parking via a smartphone app (for a detailed report on all of this tech, see our February 2016 issue).
5. Genesis G90
Launched late last year as Hyundai’s luxury division, Genesis takes on the likes of Lexus and Infiniti. The G90 will be the brand’s range-topper, replacing the Hyundai Equus. Befitting of its premium, the G90 will feature a vast range of technologies, including Autonomous Emergency Braking, Active Blind Spot Assist, rear-view camera with 360-degree around view monitor, and optional adaptive suspension damping. The G90 sends drive to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
6. Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept
It looks ready to tackle the great outdoors, with striking LED headlamps and spotlights, chunky off-road tyres and protective cladding around lower edges of the body panels. The Tiguan GTE Active is a plug-in hybrid that uses dual electric motors to primarily drive the rear axle in E-mode. The 12,4 kWh batteries allow for a range of 30 km in the electric phase, but can be recharged through regenerative braking. VW’s 1,4-litre turbo-petrol motor works in conjunction with the electric motors to produce a total of 165 kW. Most impressive is the 900 km range – ideal for overland adventures.
7. Lexus LC500
Knife-edged design that’s matched by a normally aspirated V8 motor, the LC500 is the production version of the wild LF-LC concept from last year. The designers have stuck to much of the Concept’s visual cues and the LC500 commands eyeballs thanks to its 3D mesh spindle grille, bold character lines, 21-inch alloys, active rear wing and functional diffuser. Its V8 makes 351 kW and 530 N.m of torque, and the rear wheels are driven through a 10-speed automatic transmission.
8. Kia Telluride Concept
The Telluride marks a significant departure from Kia’s design language in that it looks boldy utilitarian and boxy – evident in its dimensions (two metres wide, 1,8 metres tall and five metres long) – which goes against the urban styling of its recent products. Its clamshell doors open to a cabin that seats seven. The rear seats house sensors that read the occupants’ vital signs to administer therapeutic lighting effects (through LEDs mounted in the door panels) to counter fatigue. The Telluride is powered by a hybrid powertrain that consists of a 3,5-litre V6 engine and electic motor.
9. VLF Force 1 V10
The second product from VLF Automotive, the Force 1 was penned by the hand of none other than Henrik Fisker, former design director of Aston Martin and known for starting his own brand of hybrid auto-mobiles. Petrolhead and former GM vice chairman Bob Lutz has no doubt had a say in the placing of a 8,4-litre V10 (borrowed from the SRT Viper) under the bonnet. Thanks to its 555 kW and 865 N.m of torque, the Force 1 hits 100 km/h in just 3,0 seconds.
10. Volvo S90 sedan
Is the S90 the first real alternative to the likes the Teutonic executive three? Its austere, typically Scandinavian styling houses a technologically advanced product that includes Pilot Assist, a semi-autonomous driving aid and a large-animal detection system. The Swedish firm will continue the use of its new 2,0-litre turbopetrol motor available in T5 (178 kW), T6 with added supercharger for 225 kW and T8 plug-in hybrid with 3 00 kW.
This article was originally published in the March 2016 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine.