2014 Detroit Auto Show: The Cars

RelayRides blogger and automotive expert, Trent Fletcher, shares some of the most exciting automotive announcements from the Detroit Auto Show.

Big performance, cutting edge technology, and high efficiency took the spotlight at this year’s North American International Auto Show. Along with many top-spec performance models making their debut appearance, many automakers chose NAIAS as the venue to unveil their newest concept vehicles, giving us a sneak peak at what designers at the biggest manufactures have in mind for the automobiles we’ll be driving in a few years time.

2015 Subaru WRX STI

Subaru’s sports sedan has already been widely acclaimed for its remarkable handling prowess and upmarket interior, as first seen in the new standard WRX, and with the STI variant Subaru brings even more of that winning formula to the table. Packing a 2.5-liter turbocharged boxer four-cylinder engine, the STI cranks out 305 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque, which in turn gets sent to all four wheels via a six speed manual transmission – the CVT automatic is not an option on this hardcore WRX. Those in love with the iconic Subaru blue and gold paint and wheel package seen at Detroit better hurry, as this Launch Edition of the WRX STI will be limited to just 1000 examples.

2015 Chrysler 200

Chrysler’s mid-size sedan has come a long way from the days of the Sebring. Based on an Alfa Romero platform that the 200 will share with the Dodge Dart and the new Jeep Cherokee, the 200 will be offered with a choice of two powertains: a 3.6-liter V-6, with 295-horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, or a 2.4-liter inline-4 that produces 183-horsepower and 173 lb-ft of torque, both of which will send power to a new 9-speed automatic transmission which promises to provide both significantly increased power and better fuel economy as well.

Nissan Sports Sedan Concept

Nissan’s hot-selling Maxima sedan got a thinly veiled preview in Detroit by way of the Nissan Sports Sedan Concept. From a size standpoint, the concept seems to indicate that the Maxima may be getting bigger, as the Sports Sedan Concept expands on the current Maxima in every measurement aside from height. The performance-themed design sports a high beltline and “floating roof” which gives the concept a coupe-like profile. An aggressive front fascia with a prominent V-shaped grill helps to complete the Sports Sedan Concept’s athletic motif.

2015 Corvette Z06

With the introduction of Chevrolet’s new top tier C7 Corvette, companies like Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini and BMW have every reason to be concerned. Taking the place of the ZR1 as the new top dog in the Corvette pack, the Z06 comes packing a new supercharged LT4 V8 engine, which generates over 625 horsepower and 635 lb-ft and can send that power to the rear wheels by either the seven-speed manual which was introduced on the phenomenal standard C7 Corvette last year, or an all-new GM-built 8-speed automatic, which Chevrolet says can perform upshifts even faster than Porsche’s vaunted PDK tranmission. When GM took the first Z06 prototype car on its initial test outing on Milford Road Course test track, the new Z06 quelled any concern about its abilities versus the outgoing ZR1 by immediately setting a new course record. Look for the 2015 Z06 to be setting hair on fire by the end of this year.

Toyota FT-1 Concep

Toyota has been threatening to bring the Supra back for years now, and with the introduction of the FT-1 Concept, we’re seeing some very compelling evidence that it absolutely needs to happen. Appearing like the lovechild of a TVR, an F1 car, and the classic Toyota 2000GT, the supercar concept is awash in sex appeal. But the beauty isn’t only skin deep, as Toyota’s “Future Toyota 1” is designed to be the ultimate expression of best of what the Japanese automaker has to offer not only in style, but in performance and technology as well.