As the Detroit North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) winds down, we look back at our favorite job as bloggers, photographing the beautiful models and booth professionals that grace the show floor at each event. This year, however, was the first time where I found most of the girls on the floor to be camera shy. At some booths, such as VW, the girls were borderline rude. The girls at Porsche continue to be elusive, and is a recurring theme that they do not want their pictures taken whatsoever.
So with that being said, here’s our much smaller than usual gallery of the booth professionals that work so hard at the shows, looking beautiful, and providing us with product knowledge for our work. Big shout out to the girls at Audi, who are always super friendly, professional, and most of all, sexy as hell. Enjoy!
Click through for the Gallery
The Fisker Karma you got from the factory came with the 2.0L turbo Ecotec engine found in the Cobalt SS and Solstice GXP. 260 horsepower into a 5,300 lb vehicle. Of course that little guy was helped along with 300hp worth of electric motors, but those only lasted 51km at full rip. Fisker went bankrupt and production stopped, but there are still quite a few Karmas out there. Some of them never purchased, presumably collecting dust. What’s a car enthusiast to do?
Well the guys at VL Automotive asked themselves, “Why don’t we buy a Fisker Karma, rip out all the electric junk and shave a bunch of weight?”. But VL, if you remove the batteries and motors how will you replace the missing 300 electric horsepower?
The answer comes from GM’s 6.2L supercharged LS9 motor. And it’s quite the answer. 638 horsepower and 604 ft/lb of torque power are sent through a GM 6L80E automatic and 3.42 rear axle. The curb weight on the models at the show were down to 4,100lb but they assured us that more weight reduction was incoming. Even with the existing figures, the Destino has a better power to weight ratio than a Ferrari F430 F1.
The rest of the car includes all the features you’d expect from a sports car, like coilover suspension all around, hydraulic power steering and Brembo brakes, while also including standard comfort features like dual-zone climate control, 10.2″ screen and accommodation for child seats.
VL says they’ve already begun sales of the Destino and plan to produce about 100 per year, but it’s based completely on orders. With a $500,000 deposit required to secure the base Fisker Karma, they won’t be building any vehicles they don’t need to.
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Today the Audi Q3 made its North American debut at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It marks Audi’s entrance into the premium compact SUV market along with the Mercedes-Benz GLA, Porsche Macan and BMW X1.
Some of the standard equipment on the American market Q3 includes:
• 200 hp 2.0L TFSI engine with 6-speed Tiptronic automatic
• Panoramic sunroof with power retractable sunshade
• LED DRLs and taillights
• Heated, 12-way power front seats
• Leather seats
• Audi advanced key
On the styling side, it really just looks like a smaller Q5. There’s nothing striking or new about it.
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Acura has decided that it’s got too many boring cars, so it’s merging two boring cars into one boring car. The TSX and TL will both be phased out by the end of 2014 in favour of the all new 2015 Acura TLX. Their latest mid-size sedan will slot in between the smaller ILX and flagship RLX to round out the new 3-sedan lineup. They call it a prototype, but that only seems to be while they finish the interior. The styling and drivetrains have been decided and both are pretty much what you’d expect from a new Acura. That is, more of the same.
Acura tried really hard to make the TLX sound sporty and fun and elegant and “red carpet athlete”, whatever the hell that means. To me, “red carpet athlete” brings up images of Mike Ricci and Jeremy Roenick standing awkwardly, surrounded by attractive people. The elephant faces in the room. Lucky for Acura, the TLX doesn’t remind me of Mike Ricci. No, it reminds me of seeing the guy I buy coffee from walking down the street. I recognize him, I know his name, but seeing him elicits no emotion from me, same as him seeing me. We pass by each other quietly and without a second thought, immediately resuming whatever was running through our heads prior to the encounter.
It’s been half an hour since the Acura presentation. I haven’t been to another presentation since, but I can’t remember what the TLX looks like. I can picture “a mid-size Acura sedan”, though, and I know that my vision will be 80% correct. The 20% that has changed isn’t significant enough to be called bold or fresh or new. It’s just different.
Continue Reading: More Info and TLX Race Car
We missed the facelifted 2014 Lexus CT 200h when it was unveiled in November during the LA Auto Show, but Lexus has brought one here to Detroit for us to check out and shoot. In keeping with the latest Lexus hourglass/spindle design, the 2014 CT 200h gets the updated front fascia with the newer grill along with updated headlights and an updated rear bumper. Lexus says they are using a different paint process on certain panels to better resist rock chips. Moving inside, Lexus has given the CT 200h a new steering wheel and revised shifter. The optional navigation screen is now fixed and thinner than the previous one.
The CT 200h F Sport sports a contrasting black roof for the 2014 model as well as a unique rear spoiler. Even with the new standard features pricing remains the same when it goes on sale next month.
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The new ATS Coupe is an ATS but with 2 doors and a lower roof line. Same engines (sans the 2.5L), same transmissions, same optional AWD, same suspension, same exterior, same interior. It’s a little lighter, and the 2.0L engine from the sedan has gotten a bit of a torque bump, up to 295 ft/lb, dropping the 0-60 down half a second to 5.6s. So it’s got that going for it, which is nice. Also, as noted earlier, the base 2.5L from the sedan is not available on the ATS Coupe but you’re going to want to go with the 3.6L V6 anyway.
Oh wait. Sorry guys, my bad. There is another key difference here. New logo. The ATS Coupe is the first Cadillac to sport their new, mildly different, wreath-less logo. Smashing.
Photo Gallery: Cadillac ATS Coupe
In addition to bringing the us-spec 2015 Golf R to Detroit for the 2014 NAIAS, Volkswagen brought the all-electric e-golf which has made several appearances on the auto show circuit already as well as a couple concept vehicles. The e-Golf will be available later this year in select US states (it’s not coming to Canada) and will be powered by a relatively small electric motor that pushes out 115 horsepower and just under 200 lb-ft of torque rocketing (hah!) the car from 0-100km/h in 10.4 seconds. It’s funny that VW is quoting a performance figure of 4.2 seconds for the e-Golf to reach 40km/h. Will this be a start of a new performance metric for smaller alternative fuel vehicles? Range for the e-Golf is up to 145km in ideal conditions and the battery can be charged in about four hours using the 220-volt charger but up to 20 hours if using a standard household 120-volt plug.
Continue Reading: VW Beetle Dune Buggy Concept / Passat BlueMotion
What do you do when the S65 AMG is too hardcore, but yet ache for V12 power for your executive sedan to impress your clients? Look no further than the Mercedes-Benz S600, which was introduced at the North American International Auto Show here in Detroit.
Powered by a new 6.0L V12 twin turbo engine, the S600 pumps out a smooth 523hp and 612 lb-ft of torque, which peaks barely above idle at only 1900rpms. Much like its S550, S63 and S65 siblings, the S600 is loaded with MAGIC BODY CONTROL suspension which allows drivers to power through speed bumps without feeling it at all. The massive V12 powerplant is mated to the tried and true 7G-Tronic Plus seven speed automatic, providing effortless shifts.
Other standard features include Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, BAS PLUS, DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist, and PRE-SAFE PLUS, allowing the S600 pretty much drives itself, allowing you to enjoy the finer things in life during your drive, such as the fragrances provided by the Air-Balance system, or the hot stone massaging seats.
The S600 will go on sale as an early 2015 model sometime this spring. No word on pricing at this time, but if you have to ask…
Click through for the Mercedes-Benz S600 gallery
The Volvo Concept XC Coupe, inspired by the design of modern sports equipment and demonstrating the safety capabilities of Volvo’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), is a sophisticated and capable car for people with an active lifestyle. With the extensive use of high-strength boron steel and structures with new, ingenious decoupling, Volvo can make SPA cars more compact and safer at the same time.
The Concept XC Coupe shares design philosophies with the Volvo Concept Coupe, but has been made more aggressive thanks to its larger 21 inch wheels, more aggressive wheel arches, and taller roofline to give it a more capable look. The use of orange details and graphics, along with matte rubber mouldings add to the highly functional design. Traditional SUV elements such as side moldings and skid plates adds to its ruggedness.
Volvo Concept XC Coupe Gallery
When the 2015 Subaru WRX was revealed at the LA Auto Show, I think you can group all the reactions into two groups: There were some people that were incredibly disappointed that it was not even close to the WRX Concept that was shown at the New York Auto Show. The other group were those that kept the expectations low when the WRX Concept was unveiled because they knew it was simply too good to be true. Then, the leaked photos last week of the new 2015 WRX STI showed up and those in the latter group were actually okay with the design. It’s a bit safe, but with the rally blue paint and gold wheels it seems to work and the design appeared as though it would stand the test of time.
However, at the unveiling when Subaru drove a silver WRX STI out on stage with gunmetal wheels, it just didn’t do it for me. It looked really bland and not as differentiated from the regular WRX as I think it should be. But then, following in AMGs footsteps, Subaru also introduced a WRX STI Launch Edition which was the World Rally Blue STI with gold BBS wheels that was in the leaked pictures. Only 1000 Launch Edition WRX STI will be built so if you want one, you better put your order in.
A one-inch longer wheelbase on the new WRX STI helps provide a roomier cabin in the 2015 model. The windshield is more raked than before, with the A-pillar pulled forward nearly eight inches at the base for better forward visibility, aided by a lower dashboard and narrower A-pillars. Rear seat legroom is increased by nearly two inches, and trunk capacity is now 12 cu. ft., up from 11.3 cu. ft. in the previous WRX STI. Subaru claims that with the completely re-tuned high performance suspension–which reduces body roll by 16%, the 2015 WRX STI is best handling, best performing WRX STI. Ever.
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