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Some exciting new cars and experimental concept vehicles were unveiled at the North American International Auto Show this week. It opens to the public tonight, NZ time.
HYUNDAI SANTA CRUZ CONCEPT
It's a crossover in front and a pickup truck in back. Hyundai surprised the car show with the Santa Cruz, which brought to mind niche vehicles of the past like the Subaru Baja. The Korean carmaker thinks the Santa Cruz will appeal to "urban adventurers" and women who occasionally haul stuff but don't need the capability of a pickup truck. The four-door concept seats five; the bed can expand to the size of a mid-size pickup if needed. Under the hood is a 2-litre turbocharged diesel with 139 kilowatts. Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai's US chief, says the Santa Cruz could be on the road in three years if the company decides to make it.
Ford stunned the crowd with its new high-performance supercar. The lightweight, carbon fibre GT has a twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 engine that produces more than 441 kilowatts. The two-seater has deep, dramatic scoops in the hood and the sides and advanced aerodynamics, including a deployable rear spoiler.
It's Ford's first GT in more than a decade and one of 12 new Ford performance vehicles coming to market by 2020. The GT honours the 50th anniversary of the original GT40's 1966 victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Pricing will be announced later, but chairman Bill Ford says it will be in the range of other exotic supercars such as the Lamborghini Gallardo.
The production version of Honda's Acura NSX got a boost from Jerry Seinfeld, who was in Detroit promoting the supercar. Featuring a twin-turbocharged V-6 engine and a three-electric motor hybrid system, it promises total power output of more than 404 kilowatts. The NSX can run in four modes that offer different performances, as well as variations in the engine's sound level. A team of 100 workers will build the car in Marysville, Ohio. Acura plans to start accepting orders from mid-year.
ALFA ROMEO 4C SPIDER
A convertible version of the 4C coupe with a removable carbon fibre hard top. It has a 1.75-litre turbocharged engine that puts out 174 kilowatts mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. The Spider and the 4C will be difficult to get. FiatChrysler says only 3000 will be built, by hand, in Italy and fewer than half of those will be convertibles.
PORSCHE 911 TARGA 4 GTS and CAYENNE TURBO S
Porsche unveiled a pair of new offerings, including the 911 Targa 4 GTS that packs 316 kilowatts and promises zero-to-60mph (97km/h) acceleration in 4.1 seconds - a hair faster than the current Targa S model. The sports car maker also showed off a Turbo S version of its Cayenne that it says completes the new range of offerings of the SUV, bringing 372 kilowatts to the table.
VOLKSWAGEN CROSS COUPE GTE CONCEPT
It's Volkswagen's third concept previewing a seven-passenger mid-size SUV. The goal is to start producing it in the US at the end of 2016. Volkswagen says the five-passenger plug-in hybrid Crosse Coupe GTE, with its upscale, muscular design gives the clearest idea yet of the SUV's styling. Among its most prominent features is a wide, aluminum-framed air inlet below a narrow, two-bar grille.
MERCEDES-BENZ F015 CONCEPT
Mercedes is taking the idea of a self-driving car to a new, luxurious level with the F015. The car resembles a silver capsule and made its debut at the consumer electronics show in Las Vegas. Dieter Zetsche, the leader of Mercedes-Benz, calls autonomous cars "the hottest next wave" in the motor industry. The roomy, lounge-like interior is loaded with high-resolution touch screens and offers an adjustable seating system with four rotating chairs.
INFINITI Q60 CONCEPT
Infiniti previewed the design of its upcoming Q60 coupe with a concept car. It's got sharper, more precise styling than the current Q60, along with a more aggressive grille and narrowed headlights. Infiniti says the Q60 that will go on sale next year will be strongly influenced by the Q60 concept. With sales lagging, Nissan's luxury brand could use the boost.
GAC's GS4 SUV and WITSTAR CONCEPT
Chinese carmaker Guangzhou Automobile is showing a fuel efficient small SUV that's close to being sold, along with a self-driving concept car. The GS4 SUV will be offered with a 1.3- or 1.5-litre turbocharged engine. Also known as GAC, the company markets its cars under the Trumpchi brand. It said it plans to sell the SUV in China starting in April and parts of the Middle East, Africa, South America and eastern Europe in late 2015. The WitStar concept is designed to go more than 100km in electric-only mode (about 500km with use of a petrol-powered engine) and would rely on lasers, radar, cameras and GPS for autonomous driving.