The 2016 North American International Auto Show was buzzing with world debuts of significant production vehicles and interesting concepts that previewed future designs and technologies that may be coming to a showroom near you. Chrysler brought us its next-generation minivan in hopes of making waves in a segment it invented 30 years ago, while Lincoln and Volvo rolled out new flagship sedans with plans on becoming more serious contenders in the luxury car game.
While there wasn't really a big underlying theme of this year's show, there was a healthy number of new performance vehicles uncovered from the likes of BMW, Infiniti, Lexus, and Porsche, which is good news for car enthusiasts. If you can't make it to Detroit to check out the show for yourself, take a look at a few highlights we've rounded up for you below. For those who will be going, take notes and make sure to see these vehicles in person.
A compact coupe with a chassis tuned by the BMW's M division? It has 365 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque coming from a twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine bolted to either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. More aggressive styling? What's not to like? Nothing if you're a BMW performance fan or a fan of performance cars in general. Well, maybe the price is a bit steep for such a small coupe. It will start at $51,700 when it hits dealers in April.
Lexus continues its performance push with the LC 500 with sporty looks that appear to have some Toyota Supra inspiration sprinkled in, which isn't a bad thing at all. The 2+2 seating coupe gets the same 5.0-liter V-8 with 467 horsepower from the RC F and GS F and powers the rear wheels through a 10-speed automatic gearbox. To help keep weight in check, the doors are made from aluminum and carbon fiber. The addition of the LC is yet another promising performance step for Lexus that should help shift its brand perception toward the younger set.
Porsche tinkers with the 911 Turbo and 911 Turbo S for the 2017 model year with some styling revisions and giving them even more power. Each model gains 20 horsepower from the twin-turbocharged boxer six-cylinder engine thanks to new turbochargers with larger impellers. This brings output on the Turbo to 540 horsepower, and 580 horsepower in the Turbo S. The engines now also feature a dynamic boost function to improve throttle response. Both coupe and convertible body styles continue to be available and will reach Porsche showrooms in March. The Turbo will carry a base price of $159,200, and the Turbo S will begin at $188,100.
I know what you're thinking. A minivan? Really? Yes, because even though a vast majority of people are suffering from crossover SUV fever, minivans remain good business with roughly 500,000 finding new homes every year because they are so darn practical with those rear sliding doors. Chrysler's new van gets a sleeker, more crossover-like appearance, an interior packing plenty of entertainment options including a Uconnect Theater rear seat system, available built-in vacuum, and new a plug-in hybrid model estimated to have an all-electric driving range of 30 miles. Chrysler says all the changes warrant the new Pacifica name, which replaces Town & Country.
Honda returns to the mid-size pickup truck segment with the second-generation Ridgeline, which thankfully looks like a normal truck. With a unibody structure shared with the Pilot, the Ridgeline should provide better on-road ride quality against its competition. A 3.5-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic provides power with front- and all-wheel-drive versions now being available. Trick features like the dual-action lift gate and in-bed trunk return, with new options joining the party including a 500-watt in-bed audio system, and rear 400-watt AC power outlet to help power tailgate parties. The 2017 Honda Ridgeline goes on sale this spring.
Lincoln wants to be taken serious as a builder of luxury automobiles, and the new Continental flagship sedan is pivotal in making that happen. To do that, it's given the Continental subtle but distinctive styling with door handles integrated into the belt line and plenty of interior goodies like available 30-way power front seats that are heated and cooled and feature massage functions. The rear passengers can enjoy many of the same niceties as those in front with available reclining outboard seats that are heated, cooled, and with massage capabilities. Lincoln says it's hoping to poach sales from the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6. I think it certainly has a shot at winning over customers who value comfort above all else.
What's also hoping to steal some thunder from the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6? That would be the new 2017 S90 sedan that will replace the forgettable S80 in Volvo's lineup. The "Thor's Hammer" daytime running lights are here, along with the available T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain that combines a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors for a net output of 400 horsepower. That cabin packs plenty of safety and infotainment tech including Volvo's Sensus Connect system. Volvo is making waves with the XC90 crossover SUV, and it looks like it will be doing so with the S90, too.
Buick stole the show with its Avista concept, a stunningly beautiful rear-wheel-drive 2+2 coupe with a 400-horsepower twin-turbo V-6 engine and GM's magnificent Magnetic Ride Control suspension. Interestingly, the Avista's wheelbase is 110.7 inches, which also happens to be the same as the latest Chevrolet Camaro, naturally has us assuming the Alpha platform is underpinning the Buick concept. With enough positive feedback, maybe a production version of the Avista wouldn't be too far off? With Buick still trying to change its brand perception of being for old people, a production version of a vehicle like the Avista would certainly help draw younger traffic into showrooms.
With the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor the only factory-built, off-road truck game in town, the Nissan Titan Warrior Concept sure does make a lot of sense as a production vehicle. As product planners build their case for the production green light, we'll just have the concept to look at with its Transformers-like appearance and higher stance to imagine what could be. With the runaway success the SVT Raptor is for Ford, I think it's a no brainer for Nissan to build this thing.
Detroit Auto Show 2017
Roadshow covers the new models and concept cars shown off at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in blogs, photo galleries, and video.
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