Seen at the Detroit Motor Show

Seen at the Detroit Motor Show

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) recently saw the world premiere of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, a concept sport sedan from Nissan, and a striking 2+2 concept GT coupe  from Kia.

Ford also released its lighter and more powerful 2015 F-150 truck and Toyota spearheaded its news global redesign with the release of the FT-1 concept super car.

Best C-Class yet says Mercedes-Benz


Mercedes-Benz says the new C-Class is the very first car in its segment worldwide to come to market with high-tech features from the luxury class, including a chassis with air suspension and the Stop&Go Pilot for partially autonomous driving.

It also says the intelligent application of lightweight materials in the new C-Class is also ground-breaking. This makes the new model up to 100 kilograms lighter than its predecessor and therefore also the most agile and efficient C-Class yet.

Together with best-in-class aerodynamics (cd 0.24) and new, fuel-efficient engines, the new C-Class consumes up to 20 percent less fuel than its predecessor says Mercedes-Benz and it will soon offer two model variants that emit just 99 and 98 grams of C02 – appearing initially in Europe.

A hybrid version with plug-in technology is also in the pipeline.

When it comes to drive and safety, too, the new C-Class also benefits from a raft of intelligent assistance systems from the new S-Class – brought together under the heading Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive.

The new C-Class joins the latest generations of the E and S-Class to create the youngest and most wide-ranging saloon line-up of any manufacturer worldwide says Mercedes-Benz.

Nissan sport sedan concept


The concept sport sedan forms the roadmap of the next generation of Nissan exterior and interior design evolution – and the global design-led renaissance of the brand says the Japanese manufacturer.

Though targeted for specific markets and customers, it says the sport sedan concept has distinctive and memorable design signatures.

The strong front end is marked by Nissan’s “V-Motion” movement, which flows from the front grille through the hood to create an impressive cadence and emotional attitude. The unique boomerang-shaped lighting signature also accentuates the rear designs of each vehicle.

The innovative “floating” roof, gives an impressive sense of lightness and sophistication. The thin, sculpted pillars make the cabins of each concept appear less heavy and help open the greenhouse for an airy, inviting interior environment says Nissan.

The sport sedan concept has edgy muscularity, derived from a low, wide stance with tyres placed far out to the corners. The design also utilises short front and rear overhangs, reduced ground clearances and small gaps between wheels and fenders. The resulting look imparts a sporty and athletic strength, rather than brute and aggressive force according to Nissan.

Inside, Nissan says the concept provides private-yet-connected spaces for drivers and passengers. The high tech, streamlined feel of each interior derives from a combination of magnetic detailing and use of high-contrast interior colours and materials.

Kia GT4 Stinger concept shocks motor city


It’s designed to be noticed and that is exactly the reaction the powerful Kia GT4 Stinger concept vehicle received when it was unveiled at Detroit.

Kia says the GT4 Stinger 2+2 coupe concept vehicle has the grunt to go with its racy looks, thanks to a 235kW (315hp) race-bred engine that relays its power through the rear wheels.

Developed by Kia’s California design team, which also penned the Soul Track’ster concept a couple of years ago, it says the GT4 Stinger underlines the sporting credentials of the Kia brand.

The racing connection can be seen under the bonnet in the form of a tuned version of Kia’s proven 2.0-litre turbocharged direct injected (T-GDI) four-cylinder petrol engine, which powers the Kia Optima race cars that finished second in the Pirelli World Challenge in the US last year.

That power is put to the ground via a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission driving the rear wheels, which are wrapped in 275/35R-20 Pirelli P-Zero performance tyres. Staggered 235/35R-20 Pirelli P-Zeros nestle beneath the front wings. Custom 20-inch aluminum centre-lock wheels feature carbon fibre inserts for strength and weight reduction. Brembo Gran Turismo two-piece 15-inch cross-drilled rotors and four-piston calipers provide plenty of stopping power.

In silhouette, the GT4 Stinger is simple, yet powerful, with the latest iteration of the signature Kia grille low to the ground for maximum engine cooling and cold-air induction. The grille surround glows white and features a multi-layered, satin-black border, a theme found throughout the car. Flanking the grille on both sides are vertical LED headlamps, and front-brake cooling vents intricately moulded into the bumper provide a clean, smooth appearance.

Inside, the GT4 Stinger has moulded leather race-inspired buckets seats and instruments seat into a simple dash. In keeping with the track theme and taking inspiration from sports and competition cars of the past, interior door handles have been replaced by red-stitched pull straps and the carpet is replaced by rubber flooring. There’s not even a stereo, with a Kia executive commenting “the audio system starts under the hood and the speakers are the exhaust pipes”.
Kia says that while there are no plans to put the concept into production, the company does have a history of building vehicle that bear a strong resemblance to concepts.

FT-1 sets the pace for new Toyota design


Toyota revealed a new sports-car concept at the Detroit show that will serve as a spiritual pace-car for the global design revolution occurring within the company.

The FT-1 Concept answers global president Akio Toyoda’s directive for more emotional, exciting designs that display energy, passion and “waku-doki” (translation: a palpable heart-pounding sense of excitement).

FT-1 designers describe the concept as the ultimate expression of a Toyota coupe design – a compelling visual statement that represents a taste of the excitement people can expect to see in future Toyota production models.

Designed at Toyota’s Calty Design Research studio in California, FT stands for “Future Toyota” and the “1” represents the ultimate.

In preparation for pitching the concept to Toyota management, Calty worked with Polyphony Digital, creators of the popular Gran Turismo driving simulator, to bring FT-1 to life in a virtual world that captured the excitement, passion and performance conveyed by the concept model.

Toyota executives were offered the opportunity to take FT-1 for a timed lap around a computer-generated Fuji Speedway.

Behind the wheel of the concept, Akio Toyoda – an accomplished racing driver – completed the virtual circuit faster than his best real-world lap time at Fuji in his Lexus LFA.

From that moment, he was convinced and the concept was approved to be built in model form for the international motor show circuit.

Ford’s iconic F-150 goes on a diet


The Ford Motor Company released the new MY2015 F-150 truck at Detroit, displaying new technologies including a turbocharged 2.7-litre V6 Ecoboost engine and new aluminium body panels.

From nose to tailgate, the 2015 F-150 is an entirely new truck right down to its signature feature – an all-new, fully boxed ladder frame with more high-strength steel than ever to make it stronger yet lighter. For the first time, high-strength,aluminum alloys are used throughout the F-150 body. These alloys make the new truck’s body lighter, stronger and more resistant to dents. Overall, the F-150 is up to 300kg lighter, helping the truck tow and haul more, accelerate and stop faster, and operate more efficiently says Ford.

The FX4 off-road package can be added to most four-wheel-drive models, improving trail capability with an electronic locking rear axle, skid plates and off-road-tuned shocks.

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