2014 Detroit Auto Show: Six Sports Cars to See – Forbes

Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2014

It’s time for the scribes and widget guys to clear out so the general public can invade the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit (open Jan. 18-29). And while the aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 pickup and the Alfa Romeo-based Chrysler 200 sedan will attract considerable attention, smart show-goers know that sports cars are where it’s at. Here’s a roundup of the best of Detroit’s eye candy for your viewing pleasure, either here online or when you make it to the show.

2015 Corvette Stingray Z06

Mister Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter, what hath thee wrought? Nothing short of a race machine for the road, powered by a 625-hp, 635-lb-ft supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 hooked to either a seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox. Trick components include a removal carbon-fiber roof, a carbon-fiber torque tube channeling power to the rear transaxle, standard electronic limited-slip rear differential, racetrack-intent aerodynamic features and standard ceramic brakes to slow the beast down. For the performance geek in all of us, Chevy adds a standard performance data recorder that collects telemetry along with GoPro-like video and sound so owners can replay their laps (this is for track use only, right?) to see where they need to clip a tighter apex, brake later, or accelerate earlier. For the greenies, this is General Motors General Motors’ first supercharged engine with fuel-saving cylinder deactivation, dropping out four of the eight cylinders under low-load conditions. Not sure when that might occur with a Z06, but hey, you’re not always nailing the throttle, are you? Even with all these goodies, pricing is expected to stay close to the current Z06 number when the car hits the market in early 2015.

2015 BMW M3 Sedan/M4 Coupe

BMW’s long history of punching out powerful and precisely engineered automotive rocket ships continues with the M3/M4 pair—only this time with a six-cylinder engine that’s more powerful than the fire-breathing V8 it replaces. And though the latest models are bigger in every dimension, they end up lighter by about 200 pounds. Both models run the same powertrain, an inline six-cylinder twin-turbo 3.0-liter producing 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque (vs. 414 hp and 295 lb-ft for the outgoing 4.0-liter V8 model), offered with a either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. After that, it’s just a matter of picking for your personality: an M3 with four doors for those who still need some practicality, and the M4 (previously known as the M3 Coupe) for those who do nothing but toss a few things in the trunk and drive away. Very quickly.

2015 Ford Mustang

The sixth-generation Mustang goes global with the 2015 model, adding independent rear suspension and a four-cylinder engine option. Why IRS? Because if the Mustang is going to be truly competitive with other sports cars around the world, it needs a better rear setup than the long-in-the-tooth solid rear axle it has been fitted with since sometime back in the stoner ages. Ford engineers have gotten a lot of mileage out of the current car, but the tautly reskinned model with a new suspension and engine choices galore will only make the car more of a hit than it already is. Fuel-conscious buyers will be able to choose the 2.3-liter four-cylinder turbo engine. Of course, the 420-hp 5.0-liter V8 will remain for the ’Stang’s performance-oriented buyers. The new car, in hardtop and convertible forms, goes on sale this fall.


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