15/01/2013 Detroit Rock City: The Best of NAIAS 2013
As one would expect from a Stateside motor show, Detroit 2013 has its fair share of American muscle on display – including a brand new Corvette. But the European manufacturers also brought their various interpretations of ‘muscle’ to the show; Classic Driver now guides you through the highlights.
The Stingray Returns
Since 1976, Chevrolet has avoided the use of the legendary ‘Stingray’ moniker for its Corvette models, such is the legendary status of the earlier C2 and C3 generations. But for the 2014 model year, the 450bhp C7 has not only been redesigned from the ground up (introductions include cylinder deactivation and significant use of aluminium and carbonfibre), but the reinterpretation of the original Stingray's styling cues also means it inherits the iconic title once again.
From the stables of the German quartet come several cars that’d be happy to wrestle the Corvette. Mercedes brings the facelifted range of E-Class saloons and estates to Detroit, headed by the brawny E63 AMG – available in 549bhp or 577bhp ‘S-Model’ guise. In certain markets the option of rear- or four-wheel drive is available, though the UK will be restricted to the traditional format.
Bavaria’s entry to the automotive arm-wrestling competition comes in the form of the
BMW M6 Gran Coupé. With 552bhp, four doors and a sleek profile, it could be the only modern car you ever need – but not if Audi has any say in it. The Ingolstadt marque has brought its own contenders in the form of the
RS6 and RS7, both of which coincidentally (or not) have exactly the same power output as the M6 GC. As far as Porsche goes, there’s the new 542bhp Cayenne Turbo S which claims to reach 62mph from standstill in just 4.5 seconds.
Below that heady performance stratosphere lie several other interesting German offerings. Audi has handed a debut to a petrol-powered SQ5 SUV (for sale outside Europe only), while other roundel-wearing cars include the
4 Series concept and a facelifted Z4 – although we would have liked to see the latter adopt more cues from the
Z4 Zagato Coupé showcased at Villa d'Este last year. Finally, Mercedes’ CLA follows the four-door coupé recipe of the
CLS, albeit in a smaller portion size. It’ll later be crowned by a CLA45 AMG version with somewhere in the region of 350bhp.
That’ll do Nichely…
Two product lines which never seem to stop expanding are Bentley’s Continental range and BMW’s MINI sub-brand – and, true to form, both have conjured another new variant for Detroit. Bentley’s debutant is the
convertible version of the Continental GT Speed, which is given a fettled 616bhp version of the familiar W12, as well some minor styling tweaks. In contrast, the John Cooper Works edition of the
MINI Paceman promises hot-hatch performance from within the body of a two-door SUV. If the Gaydon bean-counters needed any further reason to sanction a sporting Evoque variant, then this is it.
A Current Affair
Developments from the two manufacturers supposedly pioneering electric technology were disappointingly minimal; Tesla’s only debut was a mildly tweaked version of the
Model X SUV (still very much in the concept stage), while Fisker didn’t even have a stand. It was left to the Bob Lutz-backed Via Motors to hold the electric torch, displaying two range-extended vehicles which ride on existing GM off-road architecture – one of which (the X-Truck) can achieve up to 100mpg, despite its astonishing combined output of up to 800bhp.
Fantastic Four: The new Quattroporte
Maserati is offering a first viewing of the Quattroporte to the American market, which will no doubt be a vital one if the Italian company wants to realise its intended eight-fold sales increase within two years. It’s the first model in a plan which includes a new Ghibli (mid-size saloon), the Levante sports SUV (aimed squarely at the Cayenne), and possibly a 911 rival based on the mid-engined Alfa 4C platform.