Top 10 Hottest Cars at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show
The automotive world has made its annual convergence on Motown in the form of the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. And as has been the case with many recent major auto shows, the lineup of production and concept vehicle debuts is an ecclectic mix of technologically-advanced green machines and high horsepower (albeit increasingly responsible) speedmongers.
So which of these shiny new driving devices are the ones that can't be missed? Click on through to see our 10 favorites.
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
The Hyundai Veloster is a fresh, funky take on the small sport coupe genre, though 138hp engine and additional door on the passenger side make it hard to call it "sporty" or "coupe-like." Though a remedy for the former is on the way in the form of the Veloster Turbo. The addition of a turbocharger to the direct-injected 1.6L inline-four boosts output to a that's-more-like-it 201hp, which will be piped to the front tires through your choice of a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. If you listen closely, you can hear the Mini Cooper S, Honda Civic Si and Volkswagen GTI quaking in their tires.
2013 Cadillac ATS
The last time Cadillac offered a properly small car (Both generations of the CTS and the Opel-built Catera occupy the no-man’s land between compact and midsize.), it was basically a first-gen Chevrolet Cavalier with leather seats and a roughly 95% markup. Mercifully, the new ATS couldn’t be any less Cimarron-ish. Less than a foot shorter than the current CTS (which will grow to A6/E-Class/5 Series size when the third evolution arrives) but about 600 lbs. trimmer, the ATS will be offered with a pair of inline-fours (normally aspirated 2.5L or turbocharged 2.0L) or the CTS’s 3.6L V6, 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmissions, and a choice of rear- or all-wheel-drive. Did we mention Cadillac says the standard-shift RWD turbo will have perfect 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution and 270hp? On paper at least, it may be the closest shot ever fired across the BMW 3 Series’ bow by any manufacturer.
Lexus LF-LC Concept
The first generation Lexus SC was a stylish luxury coupe. The second generation Lexus SC was a retractable hardtop convertible that didn't get much love from the motoring press or the buying public. Now it appears Lexus has coupes on the brain again, as it has unwrapped the LF-LC Concept and parked it in Cobo Hall. The bold styling of this 2+2 (which closely mirrors that of the mighty LFA) was penned at Toyota's CALTY studio in Newport Beach, California. And there's a hybrid powertrain and luxurious, tech-packed interior underneath that snazzy red sheetmetal. We're probably not alone in rooting for it to reach production status.
2012 Porsche 911 Cabriolet
The 991 generation Porsche 911 is the biggest, most powerful and most civilized 911 yet (though it is lighter than the outgoing 997). That's a major bummer for a lot of purists, but the new 911 Cabriolet may help ease the pain. It's got the same flat-six engines (350hp 3.4L in the Carrera, 400hp 3.8L in the Carrera S) and the same 7-speed transmissions (manual and twin-clutch PDK) as the coupes, but the roof is of the folding fabric variety. (It would be kinda hard to fit a very-much en vogue folding hardtop to a 911 since the trunk is already full of, you know, engine.) Excuse us while we get our nonessential organs appraised.
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Not about to let little brother Veloster steel the limelight, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe is getting refreshed for 2013. The most apparent change is the installation of Hyundai's new "corporate snout" on the business end, but that's end where you'll also find the other big change for '13: The engines. The base 2.0L turbo four gets boosted from 201hp to 274hp, while the optional 3.8L V6's output balloons from 306hp to 348hp. The 6-speed manual transmission is unchanged, but the automatic is now Hyundai's own 8-speed unit with paddle shifters. New colors, steering and suspension tweaks and the availability of Hyundai's Blue Link telematics service round out the changes that should keep the Genesis Coupe atop the Korean pony car segment. Not exactly difficult, since it's a segment of one, but still…
2013 Ford Fusion Energi
Sure, it’s big news that Ford’s bread-and-butter midsize sedan, the Fusion, is all new inside and out, is now a twin of the rest of the world’s Mondeo (which is also new for ’13, and gives us a faint glimmer of hope for a Fusion 5-door and/or wagon becoming a reality), packs two new EcoBoost turbo four-bangers (a 1.6L and a 2.0L), and will offer a hybrid model that Ford says will trump the fuel economy numbers put up by the gas-electric versions of the Hyundai Sonata and newly-renovated Toyota Camry. But all that is put in the shade by the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid. The Blue Oval bunch is being coy about this puppy’s electric-only range for now, but expects it to score 100 mpge (miles per gallon equivalent) on the EPA test and go about 500 miles on a combined full charge and full tank of gas. For reference, the Chevrolet Volt is rated at 92 mpge. Suddenly those new CAFE standards look a bit less impossible.
Acura NSX Concept
It seems like the program to develop the second generation Acura NSX has been killed and resurrected more times than Kenny on South Park. But now it appears to be back on, and then some. Like the legendary original, the rear wheels are spun by a mid-mounted V6. Unlike the original, the front wheels also have power going to them, courtesy of a trick hybrid system that is able to apportion differing amounts of torque to the left and right front wheels, which helps squelch understeer. We're really hoping this new NSX happens, not least of which is to drive prices of the originals down to levels we could almost kinda afford.
2012 Bentley Continental GT V8
We've known V8 versions of the Bentley Continental GT and GTC were in the pipeline since the redesigned 2011 models were unveiled. Now they're finally here, and we like what we see. What we see is exterior and interior styling identical to that of the W12-powered variants, which is good. What's even better is that the new "small" is hardly a weakling: It's basically the same 4.0L twin-turbo V8 that's in the new Audi S6, S7 and S8, though in Bentley form it produces a nice, round 500hp. Throw in an 8-speed automatic, AWD, a claimed 21 mpg and 188 mph top speed and you have a thoroughly attractive package.
Scion FR-S Drift Car
The Scion FR-S (and its Subaru twin, the BRZ) aren't even on sale yet, but Scion is already gearing up to campaign its rear-drive runabout in Formula Drift competition with driver Ken Gushi. The vivid graphics, Botts dots-mauling stance and gutted interior make it clear that this baby isn't intended for the street, but the heavily-reworked 600hp engine (We're guessing it's the production flat-four with eleventy-billion pounds of turbo boost.) drives the point home. We can't wait to see this thing in all its flame-farting, Hankook-cooking glory.
Chevrolet Code 130R Concept
We like the current Chevrolet Camaro, but we don't love it. The fact of the matter is it's a) chubby and b) the coupe's interior is claustrophobia-inducing. To the pleasant surprise of many, Chevrolet has rectified both of these issues with the petite, perky Code 130R Concept. It's rear-wheel drive like its big brother, but instead of a stonking V6 or V8 under the hood, there's the same turbocharged 1.4L four-banger that's offered in the Cruze and Sonic, GM's eAssist "mild hybrid" system. While we're not totally sold on the styling, we're categorically gaga for the idea of a compact, light, nimble RWD sport coupe from Chevy. However, we must insist on a more soulful name if there's a production model; Nova gets our vote. (Vega and, to a slightly lesser extent, Monza are probably better left dormant…)