The Toyota Motor Corp. 2018 Camry XSE vehicle sits on display at the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. Last January the 2016 NAIAS featured 61 vehicle introductions, a majority of which were worldwide debuts, and was attended by more than 5,000 journalists from 60 countries.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The Toyota Motor Corp. 2018 Camry XSE vehicle sits on display at the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. Last January the 2016 NAIAS featured 61 vehicle introductions, a majority of which were worldwide debuts, and was attended by more than 5,000 journalists from 60 countries.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The 11 Hottest Debuts at the Detroit Auto Show

Although many automakers sat out this year, more than 5,000 journalists from 60 countries converged in Detroit for the 2017 North American International Auto Show to see the best new efforts from the global marques that did attend. Major themes were unsurprising to industry insiders: autonomous cars; small, luxury crossover SUVs; plug-in electric and hybrid technology; and that dreaded, overused phrase, “auto mobility.” There was one virtual cockpit, too, so that was fun. Here are the best things we saw.
2018 Kia Stinger
2018 Kia Stinger

In a surprise hit of the show, Kia showed a sport sedan called the Stinger, the culmination of a concept first unveiled in 2011. Kia executives are calling it “a different level of Kia,” and they may be right. Expect to see it in showrooms late this year, priced at around $50,000.

 

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

2018 Kia Stinger
2018 Kia Stinger

The car is meant to compete against the likes of the BMW 4 Series: It’s a five-passenger, five-door coupe with a 252-horsepower, inline-four engine; an eight-speed automatic transmission; and a zero-to-62-mph sprint time of six seconds (the higher-end, 365-hp V6 GT version will do that in five seconds). Driving enthusiasts will love that it’s available in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C
2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C

Mercedes-Benz introduced a lot of new AMG GT variants this year, and sitting between the GT S and the more aggressive GT R is the GT C—celebrating the high-performance division’s 50th anniversary. 

The GT C has the same Panamericana grille as the others and a front bumper with large air intakes, too, as part of an “AirPanel active aerodynamic system” that changes air intake paths depending on how much cooling is needed to help efficiency. It also has the wide body and rear-axle steering of the GT R. But the growling 550-horsepower engine with 502 pound-feet of torque is all its own. 

Only 50 of these will be made, all with a special edition trim package: matte paint, black-chrome trim highlights, unique badging, and a black-and-silver interior motif. Previous models cost $111,200 to start.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Audi Q8 Concept
Audi Q8 Concept

Audi’s new, large, luxury SUV runs on a plug-in hybrid system and is the basis for a production model that will hit the market in 2018. It forms part of the company’s renewed goal to push deeper into the high-end luxury SUV category. The rig will compete with such vehicles as the BMW X6 and Porsche Cayenne.

Under the hood, the Q8 has both a 333-horsepower combustion engine and a 100kW electric motor on an eight-speed transmission. The complete system will get 330kW and be able to reach 62 mph in 5.4 seconds. Top speed is 155 mph. It’s interesting to note that the Q8 uses the same platform as the Q7 SUVs but has only four seats instead of seven. With its flat roofline, it looks wider and squarer than the Q7 and the smaller, best-selling Q5, with equally flared shoulders above the front and rear wheels that evoke the 1980s Ur-Quattro.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Cadillac Escala Concept
Cadillac Escala Concept

This is the vehicle that hints at Cadillac’s future. (The name means “scale” in Spanish.) We saw it in Pebble Beach and at the L.A. Auto Show, but Caddy saw fit to show it again—and it’s still one of our favorites.Inside, Escala has American walnut wood, leather trim, and linenlike textiles inspired by men’s suiting. There are curved OLED digital screens in front of the driver, computer screens in the back of the front seats, and a huge panoramic ceiling that spans the top. The whole thing is powered by a twin-turbo, eight-cylinder engine.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Cadillac Escala Concept
Cadillac Escala Concept

Escala comes with 22-inch rims and “monkey-spoke” wheels, a milled aluminum grille, LED taillights, and clean, streamlined curves from front to rear. The side windows run uninterrupted by the typical body pillar between the front and rear of the car.

It remains to be seen whether Cadillac will actually make this car, but the company does have a small SUV planned for 2018. We may see some similar design cues when that debuts. 

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

2017 Bentley Continental Supersports
2017 Bentley Continental Supersports

Bentley didn’t have a stand on the convention show floor, but it still unveiled a car in Detroit: the Continental Supersports. This is the third iteration of the Supersports model the company first produced in the 1920s and reintroduced in 2009, and it’s the fastest production car Bentley makes.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

2017 Bentley Continental Supersports
2017 Bentley Continental Supersports

The $293,300 four-seat coupe comes with a 6-liter, twin-turbocharged W12 engine that gets 700 brake horsepower and 750 pound-feet of torque. It’ll hit 60 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds, an improvement by 0.3 seconds—pretty fast for a four-seat chariot that weighs 5,027 pounds. Top speed is 209 mph, beating the previous figures by 5 mph.

The Continental Supersports also comes in a $322,600 four-seat convertible option, which has a zero-to-60-mph sprint time of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph. That makes it the fastest four-seat convertible on the market.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

2018 Lexus LS 500
2018 Lexus LS 500

Lexus has had a few misses in recent years, but this latest sedan looks great, with obvious design cues from the LF-FC Concept. The fifth-generation version of the flagship sedan will have a premium rear-wheel drive and “a more dynamic experience” on the road than its predecessors, according to the carmaker. Performance has been significantly improved, with a 415-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V6 engine paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and max torque of 442 pound-feet. It can hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

2018 Lexus LS 500
2018 Lexus LS 500

The LS 500 also has a lot of new technology—think advanced safety features, an optional 24-inch color heads-up display—new interior trim inspired by Japanese Shimamoku wood patterns, and an ultra-quiet cabin lined with an optional Mark Levinson surround-sound system. It’ll hit dealerships later this year, likely in the $72,000 range.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

2018 Audi SQ5
2018 Audi SQ5

All signs point to this car being a blockbuster hit: It sits in the most dynamic category in the car industry today.

The SQ5 has a 3.0-liter V6 engine that can get 354 horsepower with a whopping 347 pound-feet of torque. It’ll reach 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, with a top speed of 155 mph. Huge, 21-inch wheels are optional, with black S-branded six-piston, fixed-caliper brakes and 13.8-inch discs. On the inside, S-branded logos are everywhere, along with leather and suede accents, plus adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist for speeds under 40 mph, lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, parking assist, and pedestrian detection with automatic emergency braking.

Expect the SQ5 to be a worthy competitor to the Porsche Macan, Mercedes-AMG GLC, and BMW X6 M. Previous models cost $53,300 starting.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

BMW 5 Series Sedan
BMW 5 Series Sedan

BMW showed off the seventh generation of its 5 Series line in Detroit, which included world debuts of the 540i, the 530e iPerformance, and the M550i.

Each is more powerful and fuel-efficient than its predecessor. The BMW 540i xDrive, for example, has a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder 335-horsepower engine (35 hp more than its predecessor) that accelerates from zero to 60 in 4.7 seconds. The BMW M550i xDrive has a 456-hp eight-cylinder gasoline engine and an eight-speed advanced transmission, and it can hit 60 mph in 4 seconds.

 

Photographer: Geoff Robins/AFP/Getty Images

BMW 5 Series Sedan
BMW 5 Series Sedan

On the inside, many of the design cues in the 5 Series come from the excellent 7 Series sedan, including tight leather trim, a broad, minimal dashboard, BMW iDrive, and autonomous driving features. There are six new powertrains total: turbocharged four-, six-, and eight-cylinder engines, two diesels, and a plug-in hybrid. The new models, priced $53,700 up to $72,100, plus destination and handling, will be available starting in February.

Photographer: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe

Mercedes is adding subtle upgrades to the E-Class line this year, and it was obvious on the E-Class coupe.

Overall, it looks much sleeker than its predecessor, with a sloping roofline and a refined front fascia and grille. It’s 4.8 inches longer and 2.9 inches wider than the 2017 model, with flattened LED taillights at the rear and four engine options, including a four-cylinder, 194-horsepower diesel. The other variants include the E220 coupe (four-cylinder engine with a top speed of 150 mph); E200 and E300 (also four-cylinder gasoline engines); and E400 (V6, 333-hp engine).

The coupe comes with the most progressive technology in its class, including a Remote Parking Pilot that allows the car to move into parking spaces and garages via smartphone app. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but the car will go on sale later this year.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

BMW X2 Concept
BMW X2 Concept

BMW showed yet another take on the all-consuming crossover and light-SUV segment: the X2 Concept, which will compete against the smallest, sportiest crossover SUVs from Audi, Porsche, and Mercedes. It’s an exciting group.

The company touts the X2’s “distinctive design,” and it does have a noticeably different roofline and front bumper, but don’t worry—nothing is ever touching those kidney grilles. The X2 is closer to the ground than the X3, with a stance more like a coupe; it has oversize wheels with a long wheelbase, a stretched roofline, and a very forward-slanted stance. It’s all meant to make the car look sporty. In fact, the X2 shares a platform with the X1, so it’s a front-drive model with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It’ll go on sale in 2018.

Source: BMW

Lexus LC 500
Lexus LC 500

In another hot offering from Lexus, the LC 500 comes in two versions: the LC 500 and LC 500h. Both are four-seat performance coupes that show great improvement from the brand.

The standard-version LC 500 ($92,975) has a 10-speed automatic transmission and 5-liter V8 engine that gets an impressive 471 horsepower. The hybrid version ($97,485) uses a 3.5-liter V6 engine along with two electric motors. Total output is equivalent to 354 hp.

Inside both, a heads-up display, park assist, lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control are available. Touring and Sport packages, each filled with cosmetic, comfort, and technological enhancements including sound systems, carbon fiber, and Alcantara headlining, are optional. The 2018 Lexus LC goes on sale in May.

Photographer: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images