North American International Auto Show 2014: European OEMs
Performance and concept vehicles provide look into Europe's future plans
The 2014 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) was held from January 13 through January 26, 2014, with the show being open to the public starting January 18. The public show attracted a total of 803,451 visitors, the first time since 2003 that the show had over 800,000 visitors.
While global sales had increased in 2013, Europe still struggled, experiencing a decline of 1.7 percent from the previous year. This was reflected in the displays of European automakers at the show. Whereas other automakers were willing to display extreme and futuristic concepts and take more risks, most European OEMs displayed concepts and models that were more practical and showed off steady gains in engineering.
Volkswagen demonstrated its most powerful Golf model yet, while also displaying the Passat BlueMotion and Beetle Dune concepts. Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz marque debuted the C-Class, GLA45 AMG, and its flagship S600 model. BMW unveiled its 2 Series coupe, its M3 sedan and M3 coupe, while Porsche presented another high-performance model in the 911 Targa.
This report is the second of three reports which focus on the vehicles displayed at the 2014lb-ft North American International Auto Show. This report will focus on vehicles showcased by European OEMs, specifically Volkswagen, Daimler, and BMW, with a smaller emphasis on Jaguar, Volvo, and Porsche. The first report detailed models from US OEMs. A third report will be released later highlighting models from Asian OEMs.
|•NAIAS 2014 (part 1): US OEMs|
|•NAIAS 2014 (part 3): Asian OEMs|
Volkswagen debuts concepts; Audi showcases luxury models; Porsche displays Targa
Volkswagen’s exhibit had a very modern tone, with multi-colored lighting contrasting against stark white floors and walls. This fit well with the multiple concepts that the company had on display. On the other hand, Audi’s display was very simplistic while Porsche’s display centered primarily on the all-new 911 Targa.
2015 Volkswagen Golf R 5-Door Hatchback
The most powerful production version of the Volkswagen Golf made its North American debut in Detroit. With 290 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque coming from a redesigned 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged, direct-injection engine, the 2015 Golf R stood out as Volkswagen’s latest flagship model. For the first time, customers can make a choice between a six-speed manual transmission, which can reach 62 mph from rest in 5.3 seconds; and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which goes from 0-62 mph in 4.9 seconds. Even with the additional horsepower, the 2015 Golf R has an estimated highway fuel economy of 31 mpg.
|Volkswagen Golf R|
The 2015 Golf R uses the 4MOTION AWD system, which switches to FWD under certain conditions to save fuel. Another standard feature of the Golf R is the ability to switch between three different Electronic Stability Control modes depending on the type of driving that’s being performed. Additionally, the 2015 Golf R has a specifically tuned sport suspension as well as a new progressive variable ratio steering rack which improves steering response.
In terms of appearance, the 2015 Golf R has a distinguishable front bumper with large air inlets, a radiator grille with the “R” logo, and LED daytime running lights that are integrated into the headlight housings. On the rear, four chrome tailpipes along with the “R” logo on the trunklid can be seen. The interior of the Golf R features sports seats with leather seating surfaces with an illuminated instrument panel and a 5.8-inch touchscreen with proximity sensors.
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf R will be launched in the first quarter of 2015 and is expected to be built in Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant in Germany. Pricing data has not yet been released, but base price for the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R is estimated to be around USD 35,000.
Volkswagen Beetle Dune Concept Compact Car
A concept car which could feasibly be a production model, the Volkswagen Beetle Dune Concept is an offroad imagining of the Beetle R-Line. It shares the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine with direct injection providing 210 hp, and the same six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Both also share the same FWD layout, strut-type front suspension, and multilink rear suspension. The Beetle Dune has an estimated fuel economy of 23 mpg city and 29 mpg highway.
|Volkswagen Beetle Dune Concept Front View||Volkswagen Beetle Dune Concept Side View|
Differences between the Beetle Dune Concept and the Beetle R-Line become apparent in the Dune’s appearance. The Beetle Dune is 2.2 inches wider, half an inch longer, 0.8 inches taller, and perhaps most important to its offroad abilities, 2.0 inches higher off the ground. The front of the Beetle Dune has a new hood which features a raised center flanked by air vents, and a large central air intake. On the rear, a rear spoiler and a roof spoiler both have mechanisms which allow skis and snowboards to be mounted.
The interior of the Beetle Dune is also redesigned. Instead of the traditional “kaeferfach” glove box on the passenger side, the Beetle Dune has a grab handle. Also, the Beetle Dune uses an infotainment system which features a high-resolution 7.7-inch touchscreen.
Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion Concept Mid-Size Sedan
As one of the two concepts unveiled by Volkswagen, the Passat BlueMotion Concept demonstrates how fuel-efficient a non-hybrid, gasoline-engine mid-size sedan could be. The concept vehicle achieves a 42 mpg highway fuel economy while still having 150 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. It uses a 1.4-liter four-cylinder turbocharged direct-injection engine with Active Cylinder Management (ACT). ACT deactivates two cylinders in situations where no or light throttle is used, thus saving fuel.
|Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion Concept||Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion Concept Dashboard and Steering Wheel|
Other fuel-saving features on the Passat BlueMotion Concept are its coasting function and its stop/start system. When the driver releases the accelerator pedal and starts to coast, the transmission decouples the engine, lowering mechanical drag. The stop/start system improves fuel economy by shutting off the engine when the car is stopped. Once the driver releases the brake pedal, the engine restarts.
Audi allroad shooting brake Crossover Concept
The Audi allroad shooting brake concept car combines concepts from Audi’s other models, specifically, the Audi TT, the Audi quattro, and the Audi allroad. For example, the allroad shooting brake concept’s drivetrain delivers performance comparable to a quattro. The concept’s drivetrain consists of a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine along with two electric motors, one that operates with the engine, and the other which is mounted to the rear axle. Together, the system provides a total of 408 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. There is also a lithium-ion battery that provides up to 31 miles of all-electric driving. Combined with a dual-clutch transmission and a drive select management system, the concept has a 0-62 mph time of 4.6 seconds and a total range of 510 miles.
|Audi allroad shooting brake concept|
Sharing some of the allroad’s design cues, the concept car has a large hexagonal grille which is slightly offset towards the rear of the body. Low-profile dual headlights using matrix LED technology are drawn from previous quattro concept car designs. On the rear of the vehicle is a diffuser which integrates two exhaust tailpipes, along with an open roof spoiler. The skin of the allroad shooting brake uses a mix of aluminum and carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP).
The HMI systems in the allroad shooting brake concept are similar to those found in the Audi TT interior presented at the CES. A 12.3-inch TFT-LCD screen displays a range of information, depending on driving mode, while the multimedia terminal in the center console can be adjusted to fit the driver’s preferences.
2015 Audi Q3 Compact Crossover
As one of the two models making its North American debut, the 2015 Audi Q3 is Audi’s first entrant into the premium compact class of SUVs and highlights many of the luxury and technology features found in other Audi full-size models. It comes standard with a 2.0-liter Turbo Fuel Stratified Injection (TFSI) four-cylinder engine which produces 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. The Audi Q3 also has six-speed transmission and front-wheel drive as standard features, with available all-wheel drive and drive select system options.
In regards to the exterior, the Audi Q3 features a low roof line, flat D-pillars and a wraparound tailgate. Its side mirror housings have LED turn signals, while it uses xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, and LED taillights. The Audi Q3 also features a panoramic sunroof with power retractable sunshade as standard equipment.
Standard features in the interior of the Audi Q3 include heated, 12-way power front seats and leather seating surfaces. LED interior lighting is also standard. The 2015 Audi Q3 has safety belt tensioners for the front seats, belt force limiters and Audi’s head restraint system. It also has electromechanical power steering with speed-dependent power assist as well as Electronic Stability Control.
The 2015 Audi Q3 will be available in US markets in the fall of 2014 and will be initially produced either from Martorell, Spain, where the Audi Q3 is currently built; or Wolfsburg, Germany, where the Volkswagen Tiguan is built.
2015 Audi A8 and S8 Luxury Sedan
Refreshed versions of the Audi A8 and S8 also made their North American debuts in Detroit. The 2015 Audi A8 comes in five different trim models, including the sporty S8 version. One difference is that the refreshed Audi A8 TFSI Quattro model’s 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 engine provides and increased 435 hp from 420 hp in the previous model. The S8 model still has 520 hp.
|Audi A8L||Audi A8L Engine Compartment|
Other changes include a new front fascia which includes standard LED headlights and a new hood. The rear also uses a new tail lamp and a trapezoidal tailpipe design. Inside, the Audi A8 features improved acoustic measures for a quieter cabin and optimized trunk packaging for more storage space. The updated Audi A8 also includes a host of new driver assistance systems, such as active lane assist, secondary collision assist, night vision assistant, and a head-up display system.
Both the Audi A8 and S8 will launch in the US in the summer of 2014 and will be produced at Audi’s plant Neckarsulm, Germany.
2014 Porsche 911 Targa Coupe
The 2014 Porsche 911 Targa made its world debut at the 2014 North American International Auto Show. Customers have a choice between two different Targa models. The 911 Targa 4 comes with a 3.4-liter flat six-cylinder engine that provides 350 hp and 287 lb-ft of torque. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds and reach a top speed of 175 mph with the standard seven-speed manual transmission. The 911 Targa 4S has a 3.8-liter flat six-cylinder engine that provides 400 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. Its performance figures using a standard seven-speed manual transmission include a 0-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds and a top speed of 183 mph. Both models have the dual-clutch seven-speed PDK transmission as an available option.
|Porsche 911 Targa 4||Porsche 911 Targa 4S|
Perhaps the most notable feature of the 911 Targa is the automatic roof storage system. With the touch of a button, the soft roof top detaches from the Targa bar, folds in and stores itself behind the rear seats as the rear glass window rotates back. Note that the folding mechanism can only be operated while the vehicle is at a complete stop.
Both Porsche 911 Targa models come standard with AWD and the Porsche Traction Management system, which adjusts for the optimal distribution of drive power for improved traction in any road and driving condition. Bi-Xenon headlights with dynamic range control also come standard for both models. Standard sport seats further emphasize the sporty nature of the vehicle.
Deliveries for both 2014 Porsche 911 Targa models are scheduled to begin in the summer of 2014. The Porsche 911 Targa will have a base price of USD 101,600.
Daimler looks ahead with flagship S600, C-class sedan, and GLA45 AMG
Similar to Audi, Daimler’s display was also very simplistic, with most vehicle models displayed plainly on wooden paneling, allowing them to stand out.
2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan
Called by the automaker as its “most important car”, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class debuted as the successor to the best-selling Mercedes model series. The new C-Class comes in two models: a C300 4MATIC with a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 engine capable of producing 235 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque; and a C400 4MATIC with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 that generates 329 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. The new C-Class also comes standard with a seven-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Through the use of lightweight construction, the C-Class reduced its overall weight by approximately 220 pounds over the previous version, thus cutting fuel consumption by up to 20 percent.
Stylistically, the new C-Class differs from its predecessor through the use of clearly defined surfaces. Drivers will be able to make a choice between two different faces: a sporty grille with the centrally positioned star or the traditional radiator grille with the Mercedes star on the hood. The interior of the 2015 C-Class features high-class materials as well as a roomier cabin.
Advanced technologies available on the new model include Adaptive Brake Assist, Attention Assist system, which detects drowsiness in the driver, and Collision Prevention Assist Plus, which enables autonomous braking in case the driver does not respond to a potential accident. The interior comes standard with a 7-inch display screen as well as a separate touchpad interface.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class will be built at Mercedes-Benz’s facility in Vance, Alabama and will be available to the public in the fall of 2014.
Mercedes-Benz Concept S-Class Coupe
Making its North American debut in Detroit, the Concept S-Class Coupe is meant to provide a clear preview for Mercedes-Benz’s next luxury coupe. The Concept S-Class Coupe comes with an aluminum 4.6-liter biturbo V8 engine which provides 449 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. It is also equipped with “Intelligent Drive” safety technology, which uses two cameras to create a three-dimensional view of the area in front of the vehicle. The data is then used with other safety systems to help the driver monitor the vehicle’s surroundings. Furthermore, this system also works with the “Magic Body Control” suspension system, which automatically adjusts the suspension based on road conditions.
|Mercedes-Benz Concept S-Class Coupe|
One of the notable design characteristics of the Concept S-Class Coupe is the lack of a B-pillar. Combined with the stretched hood and windswept roofline, the Concept S-Class Coupe is given a slim appearance. Diamond-shaped Full-LED headlamps along with a diamond patterned front and lower grille round out the exterior. Inside, dual 12.3-inch high-resolution displays feature prominently on the dashboard of the Concept S-Class Coupe. The use of white calfskin upholstery, hand-woven silk carpet and custom-milled aluminum door panels further emphasize the luxurious nature of this concept.
A production model of the Mercedes-Benz Concept S-Class Coupe is expected to be officially unveiled at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. While the exterior is expected to share some characteristics with the concept version, the interior is believed to be almost completely different.
2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG Compact SUV Crossover
With the unveiling of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG, the company hopes to capitalize on the rapid growth of the compact SUV segment. The compact SUV crossover boasts a 0-60 mph time of 4.8 seconds and a top speed that is electronically limited to 155 mph. These performance statistics are due to the most powerful series-produced four-cylinder engine, the AMG 2.0-liter turbo engine. It produces 355 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque and has been designed for improved fuel economy and thermodynamic efficiency.
|Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG||Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG Engine Compartment|
Another performance feature of the GLA45 AMG is the AMG SPEEDSHIFT Dual-Clutch Technology seven-speed transmission with three transmission modes: manual, sport, and controlled efficiency. The GLA45 AMG also comes standard with four wheel drive, a sports exhaust system, a high-performance braking system, and a sports suspension system with independent front and rear axles.
The 2015 GLA45 AMG will be publicly available in the fall of 2014.
2015 Mercedes-Benz S600 Luxury Sedan
As the flagship model of Mercedes-Benz, the 2015 S600 also made its worldwide debut at the 2014 North American International Auto Show. A 6.0-liter V12 biturbo engine powers the 2015 S600, providing 523 hp and 612 lb-ft of torque. Along with improved power, the 2015 S600 has also improved its fuel economy to 21.2 mpg from 16.7 mpg , thanks to its standard ECO start/stop function. The S600 comes standard with a seven-speed automatic transmission, “Magic Body Control” suspension which adapts itself to varying road conditions, and rear-wheel drive.
Other advanced features that are standard on the 2015 S600 include the LED Intelligent Light System, which adjusts lighting based on outside conditions; Driving Assistance Package Plus, a system of assorted safety technologies; and Collision Prevention Assist Plus, which enables autonomous braking if the driver fails to react to a possible accident. The 2015 S600 also comes standard with a touchpad and a head-up display. To further exemplify its luxurious nature, the model displayed in Detroit featured leather upholstery with wood trim.
The market launch of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S600 will be in March 2014.
BMW shows versatility with sporty 2 series, upscale M3 & M4, electric i3, MINI models
What was most notable about the display that BMW had was the wide range of models packed into a relatively small area. Models shown included luxury models, sports cars, electric and hybrid vehicles, and MINI’s array of small cars in the adjacent booth.
2015 BMW 2 Series Coupe
Replacing the BMW 1 Series Coupe, the 2015 BMW 2 Series Coupe represents an upgrade in performance over its predecessor. With a choice of five different engines ranging in power from 143 hp to 326 hp for five different models, customers can find a model which suits their needs. All models come standard with rear-wheel drive and with the option between a six-speed manual transmission and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 2015 BMW 2 Series features a three-box body with a clearly defined trunk, low-slung silhouette, and doors with frameless windows. Compared to the 1 Series Coupe, the 2 Series is 2.8 inches longer and 1.0 inch wider. It also has a 1.2 inch longer wheelbase and a 0.2 inch shorter height. These changes provide an increase in interior space and better aerodynamics compared to the BMW 1 Series.
All 2015 BMW 2 Series Coupe models will be available by the spring of 2014 starting at USD 32,100. All 2 Series models are built in Germany.
2015 BMW M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe
The 2015 BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe are BMW’s next-generation of high-performance sports cars. Despite losing a liter of displacement in replacing the 4.0-liter V8 engine of its predecessor with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter I6 engine, the new engine outputs 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. These figures are improvements over the previous engine’s 414 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Furthermore, the new engine is 22 pounds lighter.
|BMW M3 Sedan||BMW M4 Coupe|
While the M3 sedan and the M4 coupe are both larger than their predecessors, both models have decreased their weight by approximately 180 pounds. The M3 sedan is 3.6 inches longer, 2.8 inches wider, and 0.9 inch higher while weighing 3,300 pounds. The M4 coupe is 2.2 inches longer and 2.6 inches higher than its previous model while weighing 3,351 pounds. Thanks to the reduction in weight, both the M3 sedan and the M4 coupe can reach 60 mph from rest in 3.9 seconds with the available seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, or 4.1 seconds with the standard six-speed manual transmission.
Both the 2015 BMW M3 sedan and the 2015 BMW M4 coupe will be assembled in Germany and will go on sale in June 2014. The M3 sedan is expected to start at USD 62,950 while the M4 coupe will start at USD 65,125.
2015 BMW i3 Electric Vehicle
One model that attracted a significant amount of attention at the BMW display was the 2015 i3. The 2015 i3 is BMW’s first zero emissions production vehicle and the first vehicle in the market to feature carbon-fiber reinforced plastic. Its electric motor provides 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Under everyday traffic conditions, the 2015 i3 has a range of between 80 and 99 miles, though with the available Range Extender, the range is boosted up to 186 miles.
Beyond its structure and drivetrain, the 2015 BMW i3 contains a host of advanced technologies and features. As part of its safety package, the BMW i3 has a Collision Warning system and Pedestrian Warning system. The model also has an Intelligent Emergency Call function which automatically makes a phone call in an accident while providing location and accident severity.
The 2015 BMW i3 will be assembled in Leipzig, Germany; though its carbon-fiber reinforced plastic body is made in Moses Lake, Washington, USA. It will be available in the US market in the summer of 2014.
MINI John Cooper Works Concept Hatchback
The MINI John Cooper Works Concept shown at the 2014 North American International Auto Show is based off of MINI's extensive motor sport experience and provides a glimpse of the next-generation sports model. Characteristics such as a longer wheelbase, wider track, weight savings have enhanced the concept's driving characteristics.
|MINI John Cooper Works Concept|
Large air intakes in the front of the vehicle replace the fog lights that are found in all MINI production models. With contoured side skirts, a rear apron with flaps and a diffuser element, and a roof spoiler, the MINI John Cooper Works Concept is designed for optimal aerodynamic performance. Its appearance features traditional John Cooper Works hallmarks such as red highlights for the roof, roof spoiler, and exterior mirror caps. The Bright Highways Grey exterior paint provides a lustrous sheen which contrasts nicely with the red paint used elsewhere.
2014 MINI Cooper S Hardtop
As the third generation of the MINI Hardtop, the 2014 MINI Cooper S Hardtop includes features and advanced technologies previously available only on luxury vehicles, while still maintaining a classic MINI design. The 2014 MINI Cooper S has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine which provides 189 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. With the standard six-speed manual transmission, the Cooper S can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. The available six-speed automatic transmission allows the Cooper S to go from 0-60 mpg in 6.4 seconds.
|MINI Cooper S Hardtop|
The 2014 Cooper S features three driving modes: a standard MID mode, a SPORT mode, and a GREEN mode. Not only do these modes affect acceleration and steering characteristics, they also affect transmission characteristics and ambient lighting to conserve energy or deliver racing performance. A suspension system featuring the combination of a single-joint spring strut front axle with a multilink rear axle provides handling that resembles the feeling of a go-kart.
Technologies that are standard on the 2014 Cooper S include Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), electronic brake force distribution, and a multifunction sport leather steering wheel. Available options include a head-up display, a Driving Assistant system with rear view camera and parking assistant system, and first-in-segment LED headlights.
The 2014 MINI Cooper S Hardtop will enter US markets in the spring of 2014 and will be built in Plant Oxford in Cowley, England. According to recently released pricing data, the 2014 Cooper S will have a base price of USD 23,600.
Jaguar flexes performance muscles with F-Type; Volvo unveils XC Concept Coupe
Jaguar’s display showed an almost single-minded focus on their high-performance vehicles, most notably the F-Type. On the other hand, Volvo’s exhibit area provided a more soothing ambience that highlighted the design aspects of their vehicles.
2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe
First unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the all-new 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe features a body that is almost entirely made out of aluminum. There will be three available models, each with a different engine. The F-Type Coupe will have a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine which provides 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. The F-Type S Coupe will have a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine that provides 380 hp and 339 lb-ft of torque. Finally, the F-Type R Coupe uses a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine that outputs 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque. All three models come with a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.
|Jaguar F-Type R Coupe|
In order to save weight, the side body of the F-Type Coupe is made from a single piece of stamped aluminum. By using only a single piece, the model is able save weight on multiple panels and joints. Furthermore, the only piece of the body that isn’t made from aluminum is the tailgate, which is made up of composite materials. The F-Type also features a hidden rear spoiler which not only adds to the appearance but also automatically rises at high speeds to reduce lift. These features allow the F-Type Coupe to reach a top speed of 161 mph while still having a highway fuel economy of 28 mpg.
Other standard features for the F-Type Coupe include HID Xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights, retractable door handles, sport seating, and a 3-spoke leather steering wheel. All three F-Type Coupe models also include an Intelligent Stop/Start system and a choice of two Meridian audio systems.
The 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe will be available in the spring of 2015 and will start at USD 65,000. It will be built in Castle Bromwich Assembly in Birmingham, England.
Volvo Concept XC Coupe
The Volvo Concept XC Coupe is the second of three planned concept cars used to highlight Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform, and indicate Volvo’s future design direction, specifically with the XC90 SUV due later in 2014. The concept car itself was “inspired by modern sports equipment”. With 21-inch wheels, emphasized wheel-arches, and a taller roofline, the Volvo Concept XC Coupe provide a fuller look compared to the Volvo Concept Coupe.
|Volvo Concept XC Coupe||Volvo Concept XC Coupe Interior Cutaway|
Another point of emphasis in the design of the Volvo Concept XC Coupe was the vehicle’s stance. The new, elongated hood and beltline only serve to highlight the model’s stance. Headlights with T-shaped daytime running light guides flank a grille which appears to be “floating” in the front of the vehicle. The uniquely shaped LED taillights adds another distinct visual element to the Volvo Concept XC Coupe.
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