The 2017 Detroit Auto Show has wrapped up, and, as usual, the premier venue for car shows has set the tone for the global automotive industry for the coming year. And, while we already previewed some of the big news and announcements expected out of Detroit this year, we thought it would also be worthwhile to spotlight the hottest cars that were featured at the auto show. The cars that turned heads, generated buzz, and have people talking. Some of the cars are updates of well-known nameplates, while others are entirely new to the automotive world. But every one of these vehicles, for one reason or another, has the car world buzzing. Here are the 10 coolest cars shown in Detroit this year.
10. Audi Q8
Audi presented the Q8 as a concept car in Detroit. But don’t be fooled. Audi plans to put this extremely stylish SUV into full production in 2018. With North American buyers increasingly opting for SUVs over sedans, Audi is banking that the Q8 will have a robust market. And why not? This SUV has all the features of a luxury sedan but with more leg room. Furthermore, the Q8 looks really cool with flared wheel arches and a body that hearkens back to the Ur-Quattro of the 1980s. The interior is pretty sick too, featuring a lot of angular brushed metal and haptic feedback “black panel” displays that are perfectly integrated rather than appearing as an afterthought. The fact that the Q8 will be offered as a plug-in hybrid vehicle, which goes against the worst stereotypes of the big SUV, is also pretty awesome. Keep this vehicle on your radar.
9. Ford GT
If you’re a fan of sports cars or muscle cars, than you’ll want to check out the latest Ford GT unveiled in Detroit. Built to celebrate Ford’s first Le Mans win in 1966, the new GT on display in Detroit was a pure work of art – both inside and out. The interior seating positions might remind you of a McLaren, while the steering wheel is reminiscent of a Ferrari. There’s also a pair of really cool metal paddle shifts. Under the hood is a 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine that is good for more than 650 horse power. Ford executives said they originally planned to build just 500 of these cars, each with a price tag of around $400,000. But it turned out there was plenty of demand for this GT despite that hefty price tag — more than 6,000 people entered the online application process to secure one before they were even in production. As a result, Ford announced it was extending production by an extra two years, doubling the run to 1,000 cars, and starting a wait list for possibly more vehicles in the future.
8. BMW 5 Series
Facing growing competition in the luxury sedan market from the likes of the Kia Stinger and Toyota Camry, BMW decided to use Detroit to premiere its latest 5 Series sedan, which did not disappoint. Featuring equal measures of aluminum, magnesium, and high-strength steel, the new 5 Series is nearly 140 pounds lighter than before despite growing ever so slightly longer than the previous generation of this car. The new 5 Series is also available in an all-wheel drive version with a potent 465 horse power, 480 pound feet of torque, and a 4.4 litre twin-turbo V8 engine. BMW also announced that this will be the first 5 Series hybrid that comes in either rear- or all-wheel drive. It combines an electric motor with BMW’s 2-liter turbocharged inline four engine for a combined output of 248 horsepower. Impressive!
7. Chevrolet Bolt
We already told you that the Chevrolet Bolt won “Car of the Year” in Detroit, a fact that surprised many people. However, after seeing the newest model of the Bolt up close, it is hard to argue against this all electric vehicle. It is kind of impressive that the Bolt is the first long-range electric vehicle from a company other than Tesla. Famed Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak – aka The Woz – even took delivery of a Bolt at the beginning of January, and announced the fact on Facebook, giving the car some serious nerd cred.
At $37,495 (before tax credits), the new Bolt will be the cheapest long-range battery electric vehicle on the market, at least until Tesla starts pumping out the Model 3. Its battery gives the car a range of 238 miles (about 380 km), and performance should be peppy with 266 pounds of torque on offer. The one-box body style is compact, but attention to detail on the interior (notably the very thin seats) maximizes interior space. If the new all electric version is as competent as the Volt plug-in hybrid predecessor was, it should prove to be a winner with car buyers.
6. Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe
The latest Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe garnered attention largely because it is truly a two-door coupe version of the tech-heavy E-Class sedan — and it’s much larger than before. The wheelbase alone is more than four inches longer, and that should translate into a coupe that’s much better for backseat passengers. When available, the new coupe will come exclusively as an E400. And that means a twin-turbo, 3.0-liter V6 engine featured under the hood, capable of 329 horse power and 354 pounds of torque. People in snowy environments will appreciate that the E400 will be available with all-wheel drive. On the inside, the E400 has the same gorgeous and tech heavy interior as the similar E-Class sedan. A true Mercedes in every sense.
5. Honda Odyssey
The new Honda Odyssey likely won’t shatter the minivan stereotype, but it’s a sexier take on the tried and true people mover. Critics applauded the new Odyssey as a positive step forward in the world of minivans. Indeed, the all new Odyssey features a 280 horse power, 3.5-liter V-6 engine that is a considerable upgrade over past models. There’s also a new nine speed automatic transmission that impresses. Of course, there are also new features a plenty inside the minivan, including new “Magic Slide” seats that allow the second row to slide forwards and backwards, plus the option to completely remove the center seat. Honda also has some cool new tech on board to help keep families happy. The CabinWatch system is like a nanny camera system for the vehicle where front seat occupants can watch the kids in back on the eight inch dash display. Parents can also speak with their kids when they are wearing Honda’s rear entertainment headphones. Speaking of the rear entertainment, the Odyssey’s new system includes a 10.2-inch HD monitor and 4G LTE Wi-Fi. And, the in-vehicle vacuum cleaner that has become a hit is being retained too. Hooray!
4. Kia Stinger
Kia went to Detroit this year with one mission – to introduce its new Stinger sedan. Of course, Kia isn’t known for building high-performance vehicles, so few industry analysts expected a production car to materialize. But Kia proved them wrong, showcasing a high-performance rear-drive sedan that is built to take on much more expensive European models. The Stinger rides on a 114.4-inch wheelbase, so it’s longer than competing cars such as the Audi A4 and BMW 3-Series. A 255 horse power, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine comes standard in the Stinger. This car is available in all-wheel drive, but even rear-drive models get a standard limited-slip differential. Pretty cool all around from Kia.
3. Infiniti QX50 Concept
It may still be a concept, but Infiniti turned a lot of heads in Detroit with its QX50 sport utility vehicle crossover. Infiniti has a track record of creating ground breaking crossover. The company’s radical 2003 FX charted a course for other sporty crossovers to follow. The new QX50 looks to bring that excitement back to the Infiniti brand. It looks good, and it points closely to the direction of the next production QX. That model should incorporate Infiniti’s turbo four-cylinder engine that can infinitely vary its compression to suit power and fuel economy needs. Infiniti executives announced in Detroit that the QX50’s engine can improve fuel economy up to 27 percent over a standard V6 engine, and that can be a viable alternative to more expensive hybrid and diesel technology. Infiniti again looks to be charting its own path.
2. Nissan Vmotion 2.0 Concept
Another cool concept vehicle shown at Detroit was Nissan’s Vmotion 2.0, which is a supped up version of the auto manufacturer’s sedan. Nissan executives say the Vmotion 2.0 points to where the company wants to take its entire sedan line. Expect to see elements of this car on the next-generations of the Altima and Maxima. The Vmotion 2.0 utilizes an evolution of Nissan’s “V-motion” grill design. On the concept, the lighting around the Nissan emblem glows, which hints at the need for future autonomous vehicles to “communicate” with pedestrians at night. Interior copper paint is beautiful, as are the massive planks of Zebra Wood on the doors. It may only be a concept car for the time being, many automotive critics singled out this car as their favorite design at the show in 2017.
1. Chevy’s Lego Batmobile
Sure, it was a publicity stunt to promote the upcoming Lego Batman movie, but the fact that Chevrolet unveiled a life sized Lego Batmobile in Detroit is worth a mention here. The 17-foot long scale model was actually built by students at a Detroit area public school, with the help of professional Lego engineers. Chevrolet went all-in on this concept car, developing a website that features all the specifications of a real life car. The specs note that the Batmobile is powered by rocket fuel, can tow more than 120,000 pounds, has bullet proof glass, and is immune to rocket fire and other projectiles thanks to its armor plated side panels. Priced at only $48 million, it is easy to see why this car attracted crowds of gawkers in Detroit. What will they think of next?