In 2010, automakers at the Detroit auto show looked towards a future of reinvention. The companies came out of crisis realizing that, to survive, they would need to become something new, and offer products for the new millennium.
5. Audi e-tron II
Audi continued to advance its electric sports car concept at the Detroit auto show with the new e-tron, the successor to the concept shown in Frankfurt last year. Audi is talking under 6 seconds to 60 mph and 155 mph range--not quite Tesla roadster numbers, but an exciting-looking electric car nonetheless.
Tesla unveiled the Model S last year, but had it on display at the Detroit auto show. The $49,900 price may seem high, but comparable-looking Jaguars and Maseratis cost much, much more. And then there's the Model S's 300 mile range and massive LCD in the cabin for infotainment. The Model S looks like a game changer.
BMW made a number of announcements at the Detroit auto show, including an electric 1-series, but what really caught our eye was this sleeper, a new 740i powered by BMW's twin-turbo inline six. We previously found that this engine delivers plenty of power in the 5-series, so why not in a 7? BMW goes against the trend of ever-expanding displacement with the new 740i.
Human interface development in cars seemed to plateau at different arrangements of knobs and buttons, but Audi broke new ground with the touch pad in the new A8, which lets you enter destinations by tracing letters with a fingertip. The best part? It really works, as we found during a hands-on demonstration.
When Ford announced an open API for its Sync technology last year, we didn't expect to see results so fast. But the company demoed three apps, Pandora, Stitcher, and Openbeak. The beauty of the system is its simplicity: the apps run on your phone but you control them through the car's voice command. Chalk another tech win up for Ford.