Smaller, smarter cars to star in Detroit
Cars are shrinking and shedding weight to save fuel, but automakers aren't neglecting good looks and speed.
For instance, at the Detroit auto show next week Audi may show the RS7, a high-performance version of the A7. And Chevrolet will unveil a redesigned Corvette.
BMW has redesigned the 3-series coupe and has given it a new name, the 4 series.
And expect a high-performance SRT version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Here is a roundup of world production and concept debuts along with other offerings planned for the show.
Audi plans to show two high-performance production models. Unconfirmed reports suggest one of the vehicles is the 2014 RS7, a performance version of the A7 sedan.
A concept of the upcoming 4 series, BMW's new name for the redesigned 3-series coupe, will be shown for the first time. The new coupe is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, with more curves in the body and roof line. BMW also is showing a high-performance M version of the 6-series Gran Coupe. The automaker says the new M6 Gran Coupe has the most powerful engine ever put into an M car, a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 with 560 hp. The car goes from 0 to 100kph in 4.1 seconds.
Cadillac will unveil the ELR, the second vehicle featuring General Motors' Voltec plug-in hybrid powertrain, which debuted on the Chevrolet Volt. The coupe borrows styling cues from the Converj concept that GM showed at the 2009 Detroit show.
Chevy will unwrap its seventh-generation Corvette, the C7. The new model features evolutionary styling and lightweight materials such as hydroformed aluminum and carbon fiber. The sports car gets a new V-8 overhead-valve pushrod engine.
The new Transit will replace the E-series van. The North American Transit will be offered in three roof heights, including a low-roof version that will not be sold in Europe. The low-roof Transit is virtually the same height as the outgoing E series. The Transit will offer two wheelbases and three engines, including a 3.5-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder, a 3.7-liter V-6 and a 3.2-liter Power Stroke five-cylinder diesel.
Hyundai will reveal a luxury sedan concept. Details are scarce, but the design could suggest the next-generation Genesis sedan, which is due for a restyling later this year.
Infiniti launches its global Q naming system when it unveils the new Q50, a redesign of the current G37. Infiniti's larger M sedan will become the Q70. An early teaser glimpse of the G37 replacement showed little more than a cat's-eye headlight, but the Q50 promises significant changes in performance and technology. The G was last redesigned for 2007.
Jeep is expected to show a restyled and re-engineered Grand Cherokee. Jeep's flagship SUV is scheduled to get an eight-speed automatic transmission. Spy photos have shown new exterior styling and a new electronics package.
Expect Chrysler's Street & Racing Technology group to showcase its own restyled and re-engineered version of the Grand Cherokee SRT, with refined interior electronics and new styling.
The 2014 CLA, a front-wheel-drive compact, is a new sedan with coupe-like styling similar to that of the larger CLS. The CLA will have all-wheel drive. Mercedes also will show a restyled E class with revised sheet metal and radar-based collision warning system that can brake the car to reduce the severity of an impact.
Dealer sources expect a seven-seat SUV concept -- a vehicle Volkswagen wants to add in the United States. Volkswagen also will show a Passat concept with a more powerful engine.
You can reach Charles Child at firstname.lastname@example.org.