This has been quite a big week for the auto industry, as manufacturers unveil the first lines of their 2016 portfolios at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The annual auto show has a long history of being one of the most pivotal events of the year for auto manufacturers. This is the time of year to get excited. This is when we begin to have a sense of what is to come in the next 11 months of automobile production and when we get to see in what direction the industry will head. This is one of the biggest events in the auto industry for a reason.
Detroit offers the opportunity for automakers to show the first taste of their 2016 lineups, and they certainly took advantage of the press and hype surrounding the event to unveil some exciting new and refreshed vehicles. There have been both some relatively predictable and some completely unexpected announcements made, and it has been hard not to get excited about most of them. So here’s our list of cars debuting in Detroit that most caught our attention. There are some very exciting cars on this list.
10. The 2016 Buick Cascada made its North American debut this year at Detroit, rebranded from its sister, the Opel Cascada (from Germany). Looking a bit more nimble than traditional Buicks, the Cascada brings a 200-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder engine to the 4-seater convertible. It’s clear that this is Buick’s attempt to attract a younger market than the one they currently hold. And bringing over a successful, powerful, and stylish European convertible may be a step in the right direction. Bringing over Opel models has historically been a good move by Buick (see the Buick Regal).
9. The 2016 Toyota Tacoma looks a lot like, well, a Tacoma. Long overdue for a facelift, the current Toyota Tacoma will say its final goodbyes this year in order to make room for its very familiar successor. In redesigning the Tacoma, Toyota decided not to change a winning formula all that much. Since hitting the market back in 1995, the Tacoma has dominated the small pickup truck market, with the current generation seeing particularly impressive success. What the current generation hasn’t had, however, is a good competitor. That will not be the case for the 2016 Tacoma, thanks to a pair of twins recently brought back to life: the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. New for 2016 is a direct/port-injection 6-cylinder engine, which should help increase fuel efficiency, something that’s been a black mark on the Tacoma’s record in the past. We can wait to see how the new Tacoma fares when it goes head-to-head with its new competitors.
8. BMW highlighted its presence in Detroit by unveiling the newest version of its luxurious BMW 6 Series. The 2016 6 Series offers as many choices as ever, coming in a variety of styles from the traditional coupe to the 4-door Gran Coupe all the way up to the prolific convertible. BMW has made, overall, subtle changes from this year’s model. Most of the cosmetic changes occur on the front end of the vehicle, and BMW has stocked all its 6 Series models with LED lights, from the interior to the headlights. The new 6 Series may seem like just an incremental yearly upgrade, but BMW’s higher-end models always grab our interest.
7. The 2016 Nissan Titan will go somewhere no previous Titan has gone before. Well, that may not be true, but it will get there with a powerplant no Titan has had before: an 8-cylinder Cummins diesel engine. In a bid to stay relevant in the full-size pickup game, Nissan has decided to directly challenge the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. While Nissan’s diesel-powered Titan is all about toughness, Ram’s is focused on fuel efficiency. So far, EcoDiesel Rams have flown off dealer lots, with customers buying them up as fast as Ram can produce them. While we don’t yet know whether Nissan will be able to match Ram’s success, we sure are happy to see another automaker take the gamble of putting a diesel engine in a light pickup.
6. According to Porsche’s Bernhard Maier, the 2016 Porsche Cayenne S Turbo will be “a proper sports car.” Credited with making Porsche the brand it is today, the current Cayenne is an exceedingly important car for the company, and it only seems right that Porsche should instill a little more of its sports-car pedigree in the SUV. No one quite knows how the new Cayenne S Turbo will drive, but there is one fact about it that’s hard to ignore: It will be the fastest SUV on the road when it goes on sale.
5. The Alfa Romeo 4C made some pretty big waves coming into the North American market this last year, and this year Alfa Romeo hopes to continue to ride the hype wave with the announcement of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider. Not much has changed between the 4C and the 4C Spider. It is still a lightweight carbon fiber sports car with a 237-hp 1750cc engine, but the Spider comes with a soft top that can be stored on board (a removable carbon fiber hard panel is also optional). The only other difference between the 4C and Spider is the exhaust; the Spider moves away from the dual exhaust pipes of the coupe and instead sports a center-mounted exhaust system.
4. Lexus is working hard to shed the image its cars have of being placid and sterile, and the Lexus GS F is the latest in the line of rabid, fire-breathing F cars from Nagoya. First, the IS 350 got the F treatment in the form of the IS F. Next came the RC 350‘s time with the RC F. Now, it’s time for the GS 350 to take advantage of all that the hooligans over at Lexus F have to offer. While you sit there salivating, waiting for the GS F and its downright sexy looks to hit dealer lots, keep this in mind: Lexus has promised the GS F will be a “track-ready, road-devouring beast” and will make everyone jealous as you lay its 476 ponies on the tarmac.
3. The Ram 1500 Rebel joins the ranks of trucks hoping to take on the famed Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. As pickup trucks become bigger and bigger business, the off-road subset of the pickup market has gained serious steam. While the Raptor focuses on being a high-performance truck that does well off-road, the Rebel will look to be a particularly good off-roader first and foremost. The Rebel will boast a different bumper than the regular Ram 1500, giving it a better approach angle. Additionally, the Rebel will sit an inch higher than other 1500s and will come with tow hooks and a skid plate standard. And yeah, it’s available with a Hemi V8 (or a 6-cylinder, your choice).
2. The Acura NSX has finally been resurrected. The 10-years dead, midengine sports car will again see the light of day with the 2016 hybrid-electric Acura NSX. Following years of concept cars and prototypes, Acura revealed the production model just this week. So what do we have to look forward to after eight years of talking and teasing? How does a twin-turbo V6 generating 550 hp sound? Yeah, we thought it sounded pretty good, too. There’s plenty about this supercar that will generate excitement. Even the price tag seems almost reasonable, which Acura notes may fall in the $150,000 range. We’re just glad to finally see this beauty back in production.
1. The day Ford announced the third iteration of the Ford GT supercar was an exciting day for the American auto industry. The GT could quite possibly be the most beautiful car debuted at the show this year, and it is as powerful as you dreamed it would be. This second homage to the legendary Ford GT40 has a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 that generates a mouth-watering 600 hp—that’s quite the step up from the 550 hp generated by the 2005 GT. Ford also took the opportunity to announce the 2016 Shelby 350GT and a new 2017 Ford Raptor, but the GT seems to have captured everyone’s attention.
What car that debuted in Detroit are you most excited to see in person?
-jharrington and zwaller
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