Detroit beats winter blues with these hot new models
IT may be chilly mid-winter but Detroit is serving up some hot motoring this week.
And there's a lot of stuff to interest Irish and European buyers, an indication, perhaps, of the increasingly globalisation of car production.
Many on show now will be with us in a matter of months.
Take the new Mercedes C-Class, one the most significant new cars anywhere at the moment, never mind Detroit. It arrives here in the second quarter of the year.
It uses advanced materials and with extra aluminium it is about 100kg lighter than the current motor. You will be able to order air suspension as an option for the first time. They claim it is laden with safety and comfort technology, much of it from the flagship S-Class.
Audi are looking to Geneva in March to reveal their new TT in March before it goes on sale later this year.
They confirmed at Detroit that the Allroad Shooting Brake concept closely previews the look of the new TT coupé. There are also strong hints that the TT range has the potential to take a crossover model on board. Audi has already announced it will build a compact SUV called the Q1 from 2016.
BMW has three models making their public debut: the all-new M3 saloon and M4 Coupé and the new 2-series Coupe (no longer the 1-series coupe). The M3 saloon and M4 Coupe (no longer the 3-series coupe) are the same under the skin and go on sale here in June. The 2-series Coupé goes on sale in March. Revised versions of the X1 SUV and Z4 roadster are also on display.
Lexus shows its new F- model while Ford revisits its 2014 Mustang. Sadly we won't see it for a couple of years on European roads but it looks stunning in the flesh.
MINI's John Cooper Works model is dubbed a "Concept" label but it will emerge from production looking much the same as this.
Volvo's XC Coupé hints at future products, including the next XC90 SUV -- expect it on sale at the end of the year.
One of the really stunning cars on show is Toyota's FT-1 concept. No, it won't get here this year.
But video game players will get a chance to try out a virtual version of it.
The company says "FT" in the red, rear-wheel-drive FT-1 stands for "Future Toyota" and the number represents "the ultimate".
Technical details of the vehicle aren't being released, but it's billed as a powerhouse. The prototype's engine is in the front, with a window in the bonnet to showcase what's underneath.
The car was devised first in the Sony PlayStation Gran Turismo game environment. Starting yesterday the FT-1 is available as a downloadable vehicle for PlayStation 3 Gran Turismo 6.
General Motors' biggest unveiling is a person, not a car.
Mary Barra makes her first public appearance since being named CEO last month. She officially replaces Dan Akerson today.
Nissan unveils a Maxima concept that hints at what the next generation full-size saloon will look like.
A souped-up version of Subaru's WRX pocket rocket small car is always worth a look.
Volkswagen catches the eye with a Beetle Dune Buggy concept.
Grab your snowboard or sandboard and go -- that's the idea behind it.
VW bills it as a 21st Century version of the Baja Bug, which is a modified Beetle that can handle tough off-road conditions, like the deserts of Baja, California.
You can always rely on Porsche to steal a show and its 911 Targa sports car got a lot of the early limelight. There are two new models, the Targa 4 and 4S. As with the original 1965 Targa, these have a roof bar, movable front roof section and wraparound rear window. But the roof of the Targa 4 and 4S can open and close at the push of a button and stow behind the rear seat.
Hyundai unveils a new version of the Genesis luxury car.
KIA's concept the GT4 Stinger sports car will almost certainly find its way into production. The automaker describes it as a "low wedge" with a 315bhp engine.
General Motors rolled out a hot new version of the Corvette Stingray, called the Z06, with a staggering 625bhp supercharged V8 engine. It says the performance of the 2015 Z06 will rival the best supercars in the world.
Mercedes also showed off their S-Class Coupé concept car as well as their S600 saloon with its 12-cylinder, 6-litre twin-turbocharged engine that packs 523bhp.
It's scheduled to go on sale in the spring. Pricing is yet to be announced.