The North American International Auto Show – also known as NAIAS or the Detroit Motor Show – is a funny one because it simply doesn’t muck about. Christmas decorations are still up in some homes and yet here we have the first major car show of the year.
The first week of 2017 isn’t over yet but Detroit just wants to get on with it, so come Friday the 6th, the doors will swing open to the hottest new cars coming our way in 2017 and beyond.
So what can we expect to be in attendance?
Audi Q8 Concept
It may technically be a concept but this new coupe-like SUV will appear in Detroit in a near-production state. Audi’s Q range of SUVs have been criticised for looking too similar to each other in the past, being slapped with the ‘Russian doll’ label. So the Q8’s design will take a different direction to set it apart from the rest of the range.
These sketches reveal an imposing front-end with a more aggressive front grille, while Audi’s head of design has said the Q8’s overall look “strongly evokes sportiness and prestige”. With just four seats, the car will be incredibly spacious and comfortable.
BMW 5 Series
We told you all about the seventh-generation 5 Series back in October, but the E-Class rival will make its world premiere in Detroit, ahead of its arrival in UK showrooms in February.
Also rivalling the Jaguar XF, the executive favourite is more refined than ever before, significantly lighter, safer and more fuel efficient.
It sits on the same new lightweight chassis as its 7 Series sibling and uses the same clever self-driving system that combines sensors, cameras and radars to drive by itself on motorways up to 130mph.
Prices start from £40,120 for the 530i, reaching up to £43,835 for the 530d.
BMW Concept X2
Okay, this was revealed in Paris, back in September, but this will be the first time that BMW’s new compact SUV will appear in public on US soil.
As with the Q8, the word ‘concept’ is tacked in there but don’t expect many drastic changes to this show car when the finished X2 production car appears in showrooms late 2017/early 2018.
Prices are set to start from just under £30,000, slotting it nicely between the X1 and X3. More on the X2 here.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe
In case you missed our in-depth look at the new E-Class Coupe in December, the swoop-backed two-door cruiser is based heavily on the original saloon-shaped E-Class, which Merc claims is the world’s most intelligent executive saloon, due to its raft of active safety systems. The car goes on sale here in April.
Hands up, who fancies a self-driving two-seater city car with solar panels and a small garden on the dashboard?
This wacky concept originally surfaced online in December but it’ll appear in Detroit after its debut at Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show in the same week.
The car’s front wheels can turn on their own axis, which means next to no turning circle in a bizarre homage to Star Wars’ R2D2.
Rinspeed reckons that ‘the ultimate eye-catcher is the small garden with enough space for growing radishes or even little Bonsai trees’. What every motorist wants surely…
One of the outcomes from VW’s emissions-cheating scandal in 2015 was a heavy focus on electric cars, so from around 2020, the brand will offer a new family of battery-powered cars, based on its new MEB modular platform.
We already know that the first family member will be a Golf-sized hatchback, as revealed at 2016’s Paris Motor Show, but in Detroit, we’ll meet the second – ‘a multi-functional vehicle for a new era’.
It is believed to be a minivan, not that you can tell from these teaser shots…
The North American International Auto Show opens to public between January 8-22 in Detroit’s Cobo Center.