Motown Zingers, Stingers, and Harbingers
It was an oddly subdued Detroit Show this year, absent any earthshattering announcements the home team brands. In fact, without a slew of high-profile product and concept reveals from the Germans, Japanese, and Koreans—Audi, BMW, Honda, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Volkswagen pulled the covers off vehicles making international debuts in Motown—it would have been downright dull.
But it wasn’t and we know because it certainly got you excited. Your visits and clicks set traffic records we haven’t seen in a couple of years, and it is clear you were most curious about the all-new 2018 Toyota Camry, Kia’s BMW-challenging 2018 Stinger GT, and the aggressively styled 2018 Lexus LS 500.
After walking the show floor and seeing all of the debuts in the metal, our editors came away with favorites as well:
“Built on the super-high tech new E-Class platform, it’s beautifully styled, with room in the gorgeously detailed interior for four adults. Under the hood of U.S.-spec E400 models is the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 with 329 hp, and 4Matic all-wheel drive is standard. The best E-Class Coupes have always been a beguiling combination of restrained elegance, quiet competence, and surprising practicality. This new one is right on target.” – Angus MacKenzie, International Bureau Chief
“I’m always a sucker for concepts at auto shows, because I think that’s we have them (both concepts and auto shows.) I liked the stance of the Q8 and the way the C-pillar drops down. I like the aggressiveness of it—the whole ‘X-design’ of the front grille. Inside, I really dug the virtual cockpit and MMI. Audi has really taken it to the next level, but we’ll see if all the fancy touch surfaces and displays make it to production. “ – Cory Lutz, Video Producer
“Volkswagen’s latest microbus concept, the I.D. Buzz, is just fun eye candy: a bright yellow romper room with a bench in back and front seats with a track to travel to the party in the back while a Buddha gnome dances on the minimalist dashboard. Like the many concepts before it, VW is unlikely to put this autonomous electric bus into production but it adds whimsy to auto shows that have it in short supply.” – Alisa Priddle, Detroit Editor
“This might have been a slightly quieter show, but the winner in my view was the I.D. (Isn’t Diesel) Buzz. I’m smitten by the modern reinterpretation of this iconic design, and I’m hopeful that this time VW’s Lucy won’t yank the football away from my Charlie Brown longing for a modern microbus. That’s because A) the pure-electric MEB platform uniquely suits the mono-space windshield-at-the-front design; and B) electrified people movers are looking like the darlings of the automated ride-hailing future. Build it already, VW!” – Frank Markus, Technical Director
“I heard more than a few showgoers murmur, ‘Wow. What a great name for a car,’ in reference to Kia’s sporty fastback world debut, and indeed, Stinger is a catchy name for such a remarkable marriage of vehicular design and packaging. Kudos to Peter Schreyer and Gregory Guillaume for massaging such a slinky, sexy shape out of their sedan platform. I usually loathe swoopy coupe-like four-doors for trading passenger comfort for style, but having sat ’behind myself’ in the Stinger, I can confirm it’s the real, comfortable deal. And, we confirmed it will drift.” – Edward Loh, Editor-in-Chief
“Its exterior styling may be a tad overwrought in an effort to avoid the dreaded ’boring vanilla appliance’ tag, but there is no argument that Camry is the most important car of the show. Many carmakers brag at their reveals that theirs is an ’all-new‘ car, but the Camry truly is. The new platform will underpin most of the rest of the Toyota lineup, there are new four-cylinder and V-6 engines, a new eight-speed transmission, and a changed-out double-wishbone rear suspension. Inside, the redesigned instrument panel may set the benchmark for midsize sedans. You have to give Toyota credit for going all-in.” – Mark Rechtin, Executive Editor
“Lexus is sticking with the Spindle grille and that’s a good thing. The controversial grille makes its latest appearance in the next-gen Lexus LS flagship sedan and it’s the best iteration of it thus far. The grille pattern is eye-catching and the overall look is sharp and premium. When it comes to the interior, I have to wonder if the infotainment touchpad is an improvement over the current version. Other than that, the interior looks pretty stellar.” – Erick Ayapana, Associate Online Editor