North America has already hosted 2017’s first major automotive show in Detroit and we’ll have the second next month in the shape of Geneva, but before then, we’ll have the Chicago Auto Show to tide us over.
Truth be told, the event’s relevance is largely ringfenced to North America. Many of the cars appearing will only be made available in the US while most cars that will make it to UK roads are usually revealed on European soil. But that it doesn’t always work out that way; 2016’s event saw the global debut of Kia’s Niro crossover, a car that boasts major European appeal, and many brands make some rather significant announcements hinting at their future ventures.
The Chicago Auto Show opens for press previews on Thursday [9th Feb], so what can visitors expect to see in the Windy City?
Chevrolet Lego Batmobile
Not your usual motor show fare and not the kind of thing anyone will be able to test drive at their local showroom, but everyone loves Lego, everyone loves Batman, so this will have no problem gathering the crowds.
Created to mark the release of the Lego Batman Movie, this brick recreation of the Batmobile is 17 feet long, almost seven feet high and just short of nine feet wide.
It weighs 1,695.5 pounds with each tyre ringing in at just over 100 pounds. It is made up of 344,187 Lego bricks and took more than 2,000 hours to build and design.
Lexus LS & LC
Americans love Lexus and although the fifth-generation LS officially debuted in Detroit in January, many will be keen to get an eyeful of the flagship premium saloon in Chicago.
Sitting on the company’s all-new GA-L architecture, the LS’s performance will be more driver-focused, while the interior boasts a greater Japanese influence with lighting inspired by Japanese lanterns.
Meanwhile, the LC 2+2 performance coupe goes on sale in the US this spring before reaching British showrooms in the summer.
This mid-size saloon has been North America’s best-selling car for 15 years straight, so while the name might not mean much to us Brits, it’s a very big deal in the States.
The eighth-generation Camry also debuted in Detroit but the car will still attract a lot of attention. Toyota says it boasts a “more exciting and emotional character, newfound sporty performance and eye-catching style”.
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
We love the Mitsubishi Outlander in the UK, especially the plug-in hybrid version that has led plug-in vehicle sales here with its attractive blend of excellent fuel economy, practicality and rugged SUV looks.
Now, Mitsubishi is adding the Sport Limited Edition to the Outlander range. Based on the entry level ES model, it throws in new tech and updated styling. This means it gets 18-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, an exclusive black fabric and red stitching custom design on the steering wheel, gear shift knob and handbrake lever. There’s also aluminium pedals, heated front seats and a Bluetooth-enabled audio system.
It will cost $21,995 when it arrives in US dealerships this month, but no word if it will be offered in the UK yet.
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