2014 Detroit Auto Show: Top 12 Biggest New Car Debuts – Forbes
Performance cars supplanted alternative-fuel vehicles as the main attraction at this year’s Detroit auto show. But just because automakers are busy unveiling fast and powerful machines like the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and Lexus RC F doesn’t mean they’re ignoring fuel economy.
Quite the contrary. BMW gives its new M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe models a downsized engine that is 25 percent more efficient than the outgoing V8 while offering more torque. The Volkswagen Golf R is also impressively efficient for a high-performance model, with its turbocharged four-cylinder engine. And the all-new 2015 Ford F-150 pickup, which is a fuel-chugging powerhouse of a different kind, drops a whopping 700 pounds and adds a new twin-turbo V6 engine to achieve more miles per gallon. Much of the weight savings comes from a body made entirely of aluminum, which is both groundbreaking and controversial.
“For the first time, with this redesign, the F-150 is actually positive to its fuel economy regulatory requirement,” Raj Nair, Ford’s group vice president of product development, told analysts at the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference during the second press day of the Detroit auto show. Until now, Ford has had to sell one small, fuel-efficient car for every F-150 it sold, just to offset the negative impact of the pickup truck on its Corporate Average Fuel Economy. That’s not the case anymore.
Considering that Ford sells millions of F-150 pickups—it is the country’s best-selling vehicle for many years running—this change will have a far greater impact on overall fuel consumption than, say, the relatively smaller number of Fusion Hybrids that sell by comparison.
Other potential game-changing vehicles revealed in the Motor City include Chrysler’s majorly improved 200 and Hyundai’s remade Genesis. Both sedans seek to elevate the image of their respective brands by offering new levels of performance and luxury.
With 61 world debuts at the Detroit auto show—counting both production and concept cars—it’s easy to get overwhelmed. To make sure you don’t miss any of the most significant new cars, here we highlight a dozen models destined for showrooms that promise to have the biggest impact on their companies and the industry overall. (Because it already made a big splash at simultaneous unveilings across the globe, we left off the 2015 Ford Mustang, even though this technically is its first appearance at an auto show.)
2015 BMW M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe
The M3 has been split into two lines for 2015. The sedan continues to be called the M3, while the coupe is now called the M4. Both lose weight and gain torque from a downsized engine that is turbocharged to deliver even more power. Beneath their aluminum, carbon-fiber and steel bodies, these two look a lot like true race cars. The question is: How well has BMW tamed the noise, vibration and harshness that comes from using hardcore, track-oriented technology? (Read our full story on the new M3 and M4 here and see more photos of the two new BMWs here.)
2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe
Cadillac has its sights set on outdoing BMW’s new 4 Series with this two-door version of the ATS sedan. The base four-cylinder turbocharged engine has nearly 14 percent more torque than its four-door counterpart. A six-cylinder is also available. Enhancements like a robust engine cooling system, limited-slip differential and Brembo brakes prove that Cadillac is serious about track performance. The ATS Coupe goes on sale this summer.
2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
We’ve all been waiting for it, and Chevy did not disappoint. This new high-performance version of the seventh-generation Corvette promises to exceed the performance of even the mighty ZR-1 from the previous generation, which thus far has been the most powerful and pricey production ‘Vette in history. The new Z06 features an all-new 625-horsepower supercharged V8 and eight-speed automatic transmission. Look out Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche.
2015 Chrysler 200
Designers made this new midsize sedan so svelte that it actually looks like a compact car in person. Reviews on the show floor were mixed, but there’s no arguing that, inside and out, the new 200 is far more sophisticated than before. Chrysler is hoping that exclusive features like a nine-speed automatic transmission, said to help achieve 35 miles per gallon highway, will help it compete in this highly contested category dominated by Ford, Honda and Toyota. Expect to see it in showrooms during the second quarter.