Detroit Auto Show 2012 (3): Korean and European OEMs

Numerous HVs, PHVs, and EVs exhibited



 The 2012 North American International Auto Show (Detroit Auto Show) was held in Detroit, Michigan on January 9-22, 2012. The exhibition report has been broken down into three reports. This is the third report that covers concept cars and commercial models (planned to be launched) exhibited by Korean and European OEMs. Korean OEMs such as Hyundai and Kia, and European OEMs including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volkswagen (VW), Audi, Volvo, and Porsche showcased multiple eco-friendly models such as new gasoline-powered vehicles and hybrid vehicles (HVs).

Related reports: 

Detroit Auto Show 2012: Japanese OEMs (Feb, 2012)
Detroit Auto Show 2012: US OEMs (Feb, 2012)
IAA - Frankfurt Motor Show 2011 (1): VW, BMW, and Daimler (Oct, 2011)

Hyundai and Kia: exhibit Elantra, the 2012 North American Car of the Year, Genesis Coupe, a high-performance coupe, and Elantra EV

 In 2011, Hyundai and Kia Group (Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors) increased sales volume in the US by 26.5% year-on-year to about 1.1 million units and boosted their market share. They showcased a total of 35 vehicles at this Detroit Auto Show.


Hyundai Elantra has won the 2012 North American Car of the Year

 The Elantra is a compact sedan that is in the same class as Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. The model comes with a high-output and fuel-efficient 1.8-liter engine and a 6-speed AT (or a 6-speed MT). As the Sonata (a one-class higher model) does, the Elantra adopts a modern design in which the front/rear door handles are positioned on the line of the side of the body, which flows from the front wheel to the rear tail lamp.

Comparison of specifications of the Elantra and Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic

Elantra Toyota Corolla Honda Civic
Overall length (inch) 178.3 180.0 177.3
Overall width (inch) 69.9 69.4 69.0
Overall height (inch) 56.5 57.7 56.5
Engine displacement 1.8 liter 1.8 liter 1.8 liter
Max. output 148hp 132hp 140hp
city/hwy fuel economy (mpg) 29/40
(6-speed AT,6-speed MT)
27/34(5-speed MT)
26/36(4-speed AT)
28/36(5-speed MT)
28/39(5-speed AT)
29/40(HF grade)
Price range ($) 16,445-20,445 16,130-18,820 15,805-23,455

Hyundai Elantra, which is the 2012 North American Car of the Year
Hyundai Elantra, which is the 2012 North American Car of the Year


2013MY Hyundai Veloster Turbo

 Hyundai adds a turbo engine model to the Veloster compact coupe and will start marketing it in the summer of 2012. The Veloster has a unique style with only one rear door (right) and comes with a 1.6-liter direct-injection engine (138hp/123lb-ft) and a 6-speed DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission). The Veloster Turbo is characterized by a large front grille. By adding a twin-scroll turbo and inter-cooler to a direct-injection 1.6-liter engine, the performance is improved to 201hp/195 lb-ft.

Veloster Turbo
Veloster Turbo


2013MY New Hyundai Genesis Coupe

 For the Genesis high-end model, a 4-door sedan and a coupe are available. Hyundai showcased a coupe version that it plans to remodel at the beginning of 2013. In the rear-wheel-drive 2-door sports coupe, the design around the front grille is significantly changed to give a strong image. The output of a 2-liter turbo engine and a 3.8-liter engine are boosted significantly from 210hp and 306hp to 274hp and 348hp, respectively. The optional AT is changed from a 5-speed AT (2-liter engine model) and a 6-speed AT (3.8-lliter engine model) to an 8-speed AT for each model. Comparison of specifications with the Infiniti G37 Coupe (Japanese name: Skyline Coupe), which Hyundai Genesis Coupe is said to compete with, is as follows:

Genesis Coupe Infiniti G37 Coupe
Overall length (inch) 182.3 183.1
Overall width (inch) 73.4 71.8
Overall height (inch) 54.5 54.8
Engine 2.0 liter
(Turbo charger with
Inter cooler)
Direct injection 3.8 liter 3.7 liter
Max. output 274hp 348hp 330hp
Max. torque 275lb・ft 295lb・ft 270lb・ft
city/hwy fuel economy (mpg) 21/30(6-speed MT)
20/31(8-speed AT)
18/27(6-speed MT)
18/28(8-speed AT)
19/27(7-speed AT)

2013MY New Genesis Coupe
2013MY New Genesis Coupe


Hyundai Elantra EV

 Hyundai also showcased the Elantra EV - an EV version of the Elantra, which is the 2012 North American Car of the Year, - and an EV system mock-up. An electric motor and reduction gear, and a control unit are housed in the front part of the vehicle body while a battery is placed under the floor of the middle part of the vehicle and trunk room. There is no charging port flap on the vehicle exhibited, which is why it seems to be a concept model. Yet, this is the first time Hyundai has showcased its EV concept at the Detroit Auto Show. Much attention is paid to Hyundai's future progress.

Elantra EV mock-up
Elantra EV mock-up

Elantra's EV system model
Elantra's EV system model


2012MY New Kia RIO

 In 2011, Kia fully remodeled the RIO - a small car with a direct-injection 1.6-liter engine. There are two versions of the RIO - a 4-door sedan and a 5-door hatchback. As compared to the previous model, the new model adopts a rounded, more modern design for its entire vehicle body. The output and fuel economy of the engine are improved. A start-stop system will also be available beginning with the 2012MY model. The comparison of the main specifications with Japanese competitors is as follows:

Kia RIO 5-door Honda Fit 5-door Toyota Yaris 5-door
Overall length (inch) 159.9 161.6 153.5
Overall width (inch) 67.7 66.7 66.7
Overall height (inch) 57.3 60.0 59.4
Engine displacement 1.6 liter 1.5 liter 1.5 liter
Max. output 138hp 117hp 106hp
city/hwy/comb fuel economy (mpg) 30/40/33(6-speed AT) 27/33/30(5-speed AT) 30/35/32(4-speed AT)

Kia RIO 5-door hatchback
Kia RIO 5-door hatchback


VW unveils Jetta HV and also showcases an EV concept that is based on the Beetle

 VW built a new plant in Tennessee, USA and started production of the Passat in 2011. In the same year, the car maker boosted sales volume in the US by 26% year-on-year to 320,000 units; it is currently stepping up its presence in North America.


Jetta HV

 At the Detroit Auto Show, VW announced and displayed a HV (hybrid) version of the Jetta. This New Jetta HV is produced at the Puebla plant in Mexico, which has been manufacturing the Jetta. The car maker plans to start marketing the model in the US at the end of 2012.

 While the gasoline-powered model comes with a 2.0-liter/2.5-liter engine and a diesel-powered model with a 2.0-liter engine, the HV version adopts a 1.4-liter gasoline turbo engine; it is equipped with a motor (27hp) and a Li-ion battery (1.1 kWh) with a system output of 170hp. The weight gain due to the adoption of the HV system is minimized to 221 pounds (about 100Kg). VW has made public only the combined fuel economy of 45mpg, which is about the same as that of Honda Civic HV (44mpg). The Jetta HV can run at a maximum speed of 44mph (70km/h) and up to 1.2 miles (about 2km) in EV mode (on battery only). The model adopts a 7-speed DSG (Dual-clutch) AT. In addition to the HV version, VW showcased the Jetta TDI (2.0-liter diesel) that boasts city/hwy fuel economy of 30/42mpg.

Jetta HV
Jetta HV

Engine room of Jetta HV
Engine room of Jetta HV



 VW showcased a concept EV that is based on the Beetle. The model is dubbed the E-BUGSTER. It is a 2-seater model with a removable roof. It comes with a 28.3kWh Li-ion battery and can run up to 180km on a fully-charged battery. The front and rear windows are more steeply-raked. The height of the E-BUGSTER's roof is lower than that of the Beetle. The E-BUGSTER is supported by 20-inch wheels, boasting a design that gives a sense of "speedster".



Audi exhibits 2013MY New A4, S4, and A3 e-tron

 Audi, which is under the umbrella of VW, showcased the 2013MY A4, which is scheduled to be launched in the summer of 2012. The model's front mask including a large front grille and LED daytime running light are similar to that of the New A6, which was released in 2011. The current 2.0-liter turbo engine is also used in the new model.

 Audi also displayed the e-tron, which is an EV based on the A3. The model comes with a water-cooled motor (85kW/199lb-ft) and also a water-cooled Li-ion battery (26.5kWh). It can run 92miles/147km on a full charge. The doors and the engine hood of the model exhibited were locked.

2013MY New A4
2013MY New A4

A3 e-tron
A3 e-tron


BMW showcases ActiveHybrid models of 5 Series and 3 Series

 At the Detroit Auto Show this year, BMW exhibited HVs following 2011. Since the fuel economy regulations in California encourage the introduction of electric vehicles, BMW's exhibition, in comparison to the previous two years, reflects the transition of eco-friendly technology in North America from the introduction of diesel engines to HVs and EVs.


ActiveHybrid 3 and ActiveHybrid 5

 At this Detroit Auto Show, following a HV based on the BMW 535i, the ActiveHybrid 5, and the ActiveHybrid 7 (which has already been marketed), BMW announced and showcased the ActiveHybrid 3, which is based on the 335i. The ActiveHybrid 3 uses the same hybrid system as the ActiveHybrid 5. The main specifications are as follows:

ActiveHybrid 7:mild-hybrid
Engine 3.0-liter inline 6 twin-scroll turbo Direct injection 4.4-litter V8 twin turbo
System max. output 335hp 455hp
System max. torque 330 lb・ft 516 lb・ft
Engine max. output 306hp 440hp
Engine max. torque 295 lb・ft 475 lb・ft
T/M 8-speed AT
(with built-in motor)
8-speed AT
Motor 40kW/210N・m 15kW/210N・m(motor/generator)
Battery Li-ion 675Wh, 317V Li-ion 400Wh,120V
Weight :59.5 lb or 27 kg
Fuel economy ActiveHybrid3:
6.4L/100km:EU mode (=36.7mpg)

 Each of the above-mentioned ActiveHybrid 3, 5, and 7 comes with a start-stop system and a regenerative braking system. The three models are also equipped with Air Vent Control, in which the vent inside the radiator grille is closed in cold-start and is opened when the temperature rises. When the vent is closed, the air does not flow from the radiator grille to the engine room, which reduces air resistance to improve fuel efficiency.

ActiveHybrid 3, which debuted
ActiveHybrid 3, which debuted


i3 concept and i8 concept

 BMW exhibited the i3 concept, which is a 4-seat EV, and the i8 concept, which is a plug-in hybrid, both of which it had showcased at the Frankfurt Motor Show and Tokyo Motor Show, drawing large audience. (For further details, see Report on Frankfurt Motor Show, Report on Tokyo Motor Show). BMW used about 600 units of EV (MINI E) and conducted test-runs by monitors in the US, Germany, and the UK. As a result, the car maker found that the cruising range of the MINI E (about 160km) covers approximately 90% of the frequency of traveling in the market, but, in order to satisfy 100% of the users who purchase EVs, it makes available the Range extender that is equipped with a compact gasoline engine exclusive for power generation as an option.

 The output of the motor used in the i3 concept is 125kW/250Nm, which is the same as that of the MINI E; the motor is made smaller by 25%.

i3 concept that is being charged
i3 concept that is being charged


Mercedes-Benz exhibits the New SL high-end model and a HV that is based on the E-Class


New SL sports coupe

 Mercedes-Benz announced and exhibited the 2013MY New SL550 ROADSTER. The model is a 2-seat high-end sports coupe; by using aluminum for more than 90% of its body, the new model weighs 275 pounds (about 125kg) less than the current model. It comes with a V8 direct-injection 4.6-liter twin-turbo engine. The output and torque is improved by 47hp/125 lb-ft than the current model to 429hp/516 lb-ft. The model features a power retractable hardtop, whose material can be selected from three types - lightweight magnesium, transparent glass, and Magic Sky roof, which switches from being transparent to black instantly as photochromic lens glass does. The fuel economy is not made public. The model is scheduled to be launched in the US in the spring of 2012.

2013MY New SL550, which debuted
2013MY New SL550, which debuted

SL300 racing car and the rearview of the New SL550
SL300 racing car, an early model made in 1952 (near side) and the rearview of the New SL550 (far side)


Two E-Class HVs: E300 BlueTEC HYBRID and E400 HYBRID

 Mercedes-Benz showcased the E300 BlueTEC HYBRID with a diesel engine and the E400 HYBRID with a gasoline engine. The E300 BlueTEC HYBRID was unveiled at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. Since HVs with diesel engines generally cost high, they have been used in trucks and buses, and trains. At the Frankfurt Motor Show last year, PSA showcased three diesel HVs that it plans to market (Reference). Mercedes-Benz says that it also plans to market the E300 BlueTEC HYBRID diesel HV in Europe in the future. The car maker plans to sell the E400 HYBRID in the US, Japan, and China. The main specifications of the two HVs are as follows:

Engine 2.1-liter inline 4 with twin turbo inline 3.5-liter V6
Engine max. output 204hp/150kW 306hp/225kW
Engine max. torque 396 lb・ft/500N・m 273 lb・ft/370N・m
T/M 7-speed AT 7-speed AT
Motor 27hp/20kW
184 lb・ft/250N・m
184 lb・ft/250N・m
Battery Li-ion
Capacity 0.8kWh, power 19kW
Capacity 0.8kWh, power19kW
Fuel economy/CO2 4.2L/100km: EU mode (=56.3mpg)

 The above two models are equipped with a start-stop system and a regenerative braking system. Mercedes-Benz dubs the E300 BlueTEC HYBRID "The world's most economical luxury-class model".

E300 BlueTEC HYBRID and the inside of the engine room
E300 BlueTEC HYBRID and the inside of the engine room


Daimler's subsidiary, smart exhibits an EV concept

 Smart showcased an EV concept, smart for-us, at the Detroit Auto Show. The smart for-us is a compact 2-seat pickup. It can accommodate two smart ebikes (electric motorcycles) on the cargo space, which can be recharged using a battery charger of the smart for-us. The model comes with a motor (55kW (74hp)/130Nm (96lb-ft)) and a 17.6kWh Li-ion battery. A base gasoline model and an EV version are available to the smart that is currently being marketed. In the US, the EV version is leased.

Daimler smart for-us
Daimler smart for-us


Mercedes-Benz CL63AMG with matte finishes

 At the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai exhibited models with matte finishes - CLS550 and CL63AMG, and the Veloster turbo, respectively. Each model looks textured, when it is seen from a distance, but the surface is clear coated and is smooth. There have been some interior/exterior plastic parts with matte finishes so far, and if consumers find matte finishes cool, more models will use matte finishes for the painting of the body.

(matte silver) CLS550

Body surface of (matte silver )LS550
CLS550 (matte silver) Body surface of CLS550 (matte silver )

Lamp head of (matte white) CLS550

Roof of (matte grey) Veloster Turbo
Lamp head of CLS550 (matte white) Roof of Veloster Turbo (matte grey)

(matte blue) Audi R8GTSpyder
Audi R8GT Spyder (matte blue)



VOLVO showcases the XC60 Plug-In Hybrid Concept

 Volvo exhibited the XC60 Plug-In Hybrid Concept. The concept car is the XC60 with a direct-injection 2.0-liter turbo engine, a motor, a starter-generator, and a Li-ion battery. The EPA combined fuel economy is 50mpg. It is a four-wheel-drive model; the engine drives the rear wheels while the motor drives the front wheels. The cruising range in an EV mode (powered by the motor alone) is 35 miles (56km) on a full charge. If the driver would like to drive quietly in an EV mode in the urban area later, press the "Save" button and the engine charges the battery, which can store electricity equivalent to the cruising range of about 12 miles (20km) in an EV mode. Main specifications are as follows:

XC60 Plug-In Hybrid Concept
Engine Direct injection 2.0-liter turbo,
System max. output 350hp
System max. torque 111 lb・ft
Engine max. output 280hp
Engine max. torque 280 lb・ft
T/M 8-speed AT
Motor 70hp(50kW)
Battery Li-ion 12kWh
Battery charging time 3.5h (220V)
7.5h (110V)
Starter-generator 45hp(34kW)
Fuel economy EV mode:105mpge
EPA combined:50mpg (HV mode)
NEDC mode:2.3L/100km(=102mpg)
CO2 EV mode:83 CO2g/mile
EPA combined: 175 CO2g/mile (HV mode)
NEDC mode :53 CO2g/Km

XC60 Plug-In Hybrid Concept
XC60 Plug-In Hybrid Concept


Porsche exhibits 911 Carrera Cabriolet

 Porsche showcased an open car of the New 911. The 911 Carrera Cabriolet has a soft top and comes with a 3.4-liter horizontally-opposed direct-injection 6-cylinder engine (350hp). The maximum speed is 176mph (286km/h). The 911 Carrera S Cabriolet comes with a 3.8-liter engine (385hp) with a maximum speed of 188mph (300km/h). The fuel economy is not made public.

Porsche 911 open car - 911 Carrera Cabriolet
Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet

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