Next week kicking off the 2017 motor show season, Detroit is stepping it up a gear with 700 vehicles on display and some freshmen arriving all the way from China for the first time. The show floor — equivalent to 10 football fields, so we’ll be sure to pack running shoes — will also host plenty of world premieres from the world’s leading makes. Here are some of the cars we’re most looking forward to in Detroit.
The current-generation Lexus flagship has been plodding along for over a decade with a woefully outdated interior and tech, while rivals from BMW and Mercedes-Benz just about drive themselves. Lexus will fight back with an all-new fifth-generation LS built on the company’s latest GA–L platform (new LC500 is the first application) promising “luxurious appointments and visionary technology drivers expect from a global flagship sedan”.
BMW 530e iPerformance:
BMW’s new F30 generation 530e iPerformance will make its world debut in Detroit as the latest in Munich’s plug-in hybrid performance line. With a 248bhp 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine combined with electric drive the 530e reaches 100kph from rest in 6.2. seconds. Drivers can use the electric motor to run silently in zero-emissions mode for up to 25km, and the 530e will go on sale from this summer.
Ingolstadt is calling this full-size SUV a design study for now, but Americans will no doubt fall for its sheer size (a Q7 is already over five metres long), and Eighties’ Ur-quattro-inspired front fascia styling and individual seating at the rear, making the Q8 an extravagant four-passenger SUV.
Swiss think tank Rinspeed, responsible for the zaniest concept cars ever, is premiering the Oasis runabout, which is the company founder Frank Rinderknecht’s vision of a self-driving city car capable of turning on the spot.
Infiniti’s aging QX50 began life as the EX35 in 2008 and is sorely due an update, due to come in the form of an all-new QX50 based on the Q50 saloon (2.0-litre inline-four turbo and 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 options) and previewed at the 2016 Beijing show by the QX Sport Inspiration concept car.
Kia is counting down the days to revealing its first ever rear-wheel drive GT, honed at the Nürburgring Nordschleife and promising to be, at least, the fastest-accelerating Kia ever. All eyes will be on the design we’ve been waiting for since the Korean brand first displayed the Kia GT concept at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show (and then the smaller GT4 Stinger three years later in Detroit). The production model will pack a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 worth 365bhp for 0-100kph in 5.1 seconds.
The big reveal is finally near, the all-new 2018 Toyota Camry featuring actual styling. Toyota is only giving away a taillight so far, clearly learning a lot from Lexus’ L-finesse design language that’s all chops and slices. The new Camry will debut a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder option for the first time.
In the latest step towards consumer autonomous vehicles, a project between Google and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles known as Waymo is unveiling a self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan, packing an FCA drivetrain and Google brains. FCA builds the cars for Waymo (Chrysler’s already manufactures 100 vehicles) without steering wheels where Google engineers spend millions of miles worth of testing time in a bid to bring autonomous driving to the masses.
Following on from the Budd-e all-electric minivan concept in Las Vegas, and then the I.D. compact EV from the Paris show, Volkswagen is continuing its zero-emissions revolution in Detroit with a retro-modern take on the Microbus on Wolfsburg’s new MEB modular electric platform. The line of cars is scheduled for production from 2020, with VW saying the Group plans to launch 30 electric models over the next 10 years…