Friday, January 17, 2014

Events: 2014 North American International Auto Show

Though I was not able to attend the North American International Auto Show in person, I did try to keep up with some of the debuts as they were happening. We have already posted a full article about our thoughts on the 2015 Acura TLX prototype, but here are some of the other cars I found to be interesting.

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 

C6 ZR1 beating performance in a Z06? Yes please! It seems like the Chevrolet engineers behind the all new C7 Z06 made it their goal to beat the C6 ZR1 in power, handling, and Nürburgring lap times. While we wait for the automotive press to get their hands on this car and prove Chevrolet's claims, this certainly bodes well for the C7 ZR1. The C6 ZR1 was already considered a beast with the capability to hang with the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini at 1/3 the cost. If the C7 Z06 is capable of beating the C6 ZR1, one can only imagine what Chevrolet has up their sleeves for the C7 ZR1.

Porsche 911 Targa4

I like targa tops. The idea of having the open air benefits of a convertible but with a solid rear windshield and pillars, and a removable hard top that can be stored in the car without complicated motors has always seemed cool to me. The last generation of the 911 Targa amounted to little more than a giant sunroof, but Porsche has taken the Targa to a whole new level with this all new automatic targa top. From what I saw, it looks like the entire rear hatch lifts up, and the targa top slides into the back of the car in one of the most complex mechanical dances seen yet in the pursuit of open-air motoring. Sure, it could be more expensive thing to fix if something goes wrong, but it is still pretty cool to watch.

Toyota FT-1 Concept


Rumors have been swirling around for some time now, that Toyota has been working on a successor to the much loved Supra. Naturally, many people are expecting the FT-1 concept to be the next Supra. Honestly, I would be pretty excited if the FT-1 did come to fruition as a Supra in some way, shape, or form. It is definitely one wicked looking car. It is also nice to know that Toyota is really starting to get back to their sports car roots, starting of course with the already on sale Scion FR-S. Maybe now people will remember that Toyota actually had some excellent sports cars back in the day, and is not the sad, road appliance building company they are today.

2015 Hyundai Genesis

My brother and I really liked the first generation Genesis. Sure, it had its share of problems, and probably did not sell quite as well as many Hyundai fans would have wanted it to. Nonetheless, the fact that Hyundai was able to build a sedan and coupe that could actually compete on some level with established luxury heavyweights was no easy feat. This second generation Genesis looks to be even more promising. Personally, I am not a fan of the front end of the car, but the rest of it looks quite nice. Still, the one major obstacle Hyundai needs to overcome, with both the Genesis and Equus, is to get buyers to get over spending luxury car money on a Hyundai.

Audi Allroad Shooting Brake Concept

OK, I admit that I do not know much about this car. The reason why it made it on to this list was because of all the hype surrounding it. While watching our Twitter feed, it seemed every other post was about this car. After doing some digging around, I found a lot of hearsay about how this car will probably end up being the next TT Coupe. Obviously, the TT will not have the same ride height, hatchback, roof rails, and grey paint stripe as this concept. If you remove those elements though, and replace the hatchback with a more traditional coupe form factor, I think I can see it as the new TT. The Shooting Brake here has a hybrid drivetrain, but will most likely end up with more conventional gasoline and diesel options in TT form. While this concept certainly looks pretty neat, I am still not totally sure what all the hype was about. Maybe someone can fill me in?

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

The Cadillac ATS coupe may not seem all that exciting at first. When you consider how well the ATS sedan has done against its German rivals though, the introduction of a coupe version of the ATS does become a lot more exciting. My brother and I have both test driven the ATS sedan, and while it could use some work, it still does a pretty decent job against its primary rival, the BMW 3-Series. It is pretty obvious that Cadillac designed the ATS coupe to compete with the new BMW 4-Series, and I hope that it puts up a good fight. Also, have you noticed that Cadillac has changed their badge?

2015 Subaru WRX STI

Admittedly, I am a sucker for the Subaru WRX. I claimed it as champion in our hot hatchback comparison, and was heavily considering one when I was looking for a car. With Subaru already getting plenty of praise for the standard WRX, which made its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November last year, Subaru decided to up the ante with the STI version. Though the engine is seemingly a carry over from the previous model, there is plenty of new electronic wizardry under the hood to make the new WRX STI faster. This car does make me wonder if Mitsubishi has something up their sleeves for the next Lancer Evolution.

Real Time Racing Acura TLX GT

This will be the car that Peter Cunningham of Real Time Racing will be campaigning with in the Pirelli World Championship GT class, racing against cars like the Audi R8 LMS, Chevrolet Corvette, SRT Viper, and Nissan GT-R. What makes this car stand out to me is what is going on under the hood. The TLX GT is still powered by the same 3.5 liter V6 that powers the road going version of the TLX, but with two turbochargers strapped to it. Yes, you read correctly: two turbos. This is exciting because it brings about the possibility of Acura de-tuning the engine for possible street use. A TLX with the ability to compete against the BMW M3, Mercedes C63 AMG and Audi RS4? Sure, why heck not!

2015 Honda Fit 

My fiancee's Honda Fit Sport is a car that I drive on a fairly regular basis, so when Honda announced that the 2015 Fit would be revealed at the NAIAS this year, I was curious what changes they would make. The 2015 Fit looks like it retains the same general shape as the current Fit, but looks a bit more sleek and sporty. In our drawing board feature about a possible Fit Si, I wrote that I had hoped for the next generation US market Fit to take on the look of the Japanese RS version. While it seems my wishes were not fully realized, it does look like Honda decided to at least use the wheels from the Fit RS, which give it a sporty flair. Horsepower has been bumped up to 130 hp, and torque up to 114 lb./ft. with your choice of 6-speed manual or CVT. The 2015 Fit is roughly 1.6 inches shorter than the current one, but passenger volume has been increased by 4.9 cu.ft. MPG figures are expected to far surpass the current Fit. This will also be the first car to be manufactured at Honda's new Celaya, Mexico plant.

For more coverage of the North American International Auto Show, please visit the official website.
http://www.naias.com/