North American International Auto Show 2015: European OEMs

European automakers focus on their strengths and prepare for the future



Visitors gather around Mercedes-Benz featured models
Visitors gather around Mercedes-Benz featured models

 The 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) was held from January 12 through January 25, 2015, with the show being open to the public starting January 17. A total of 808,775 people attended the public show, the highest attendance over a twelve-year period.

 European OEMs displayed models that emphasized traits that their brands were known for. BMW debuted its 6 Series model line and M6 performance variants. Mercedes-Benz displayed several models of its AMG performance line, while Volvo showcased variants of its S60 sedan and XC90 SUV.

 However, European OEMs also exhibited models which showed awareness of possible market shifts in the future. Most notably, the Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion concept provided a glimpse of what transportation could be like in the future with autonomous vehicles. Jaguar Land Rover introduced diesel versions of its Range Rover and Range Rover Sport for the US market, and Volkswagen continued the buildup towards its production model SUV with its Cross Coupe GTE concept.

 This report is the second of three reports which focus on the vehicles displayed at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. This report will focus on vehicles showcased by European OEMs including BMW, Daimler, Jaguar Land Rover, Volkswagen, and Volvo. The first report, which focused on US OEM models, was released at the end of January. A third report focusing on models from Asian OEMs will be released at a later date.

Related report:
North American International Auto Show 2015
US automakers display confidence with luxury and performance models (Jan. 2015)

BMW unveils refreshed 6 Series; MINI emphasizes fun driving experiences

 BMW was able to emphasize the theme of an exciting driving experience through the placement of its debuting models that reflected this theme. The BMW exhibit placed its 6-series models on a raised, carpeted area in the center of its display, while MINI showed its John Cooper Works Hardtop in a garage-like area at the back of its display.


2016 BMW 6 Series Convertible, Coupe, and Gran Coupe

 BMW unveiled a range of updates for the third generation its 6 Series line of vehicles at the 2015 North American International Auto Show with the 6 Series Convertible, Coupe, and Gran Coupe. The German automaker also premiered high-performance M6 versions of all three body styles. As a whole, the 6 Series lineup are meant to combine luxury and performance driving.


BMW M6 Coupe BMW M6 Coupe Interior
BMW M6 Coupe BMW M6 Coupe Interior


 Engine choices for the 6 Series consist of a TwinPower Turbo I6 engine with 320 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, or a TwinPower Turbo V8 engine that provides 450 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. M6 models have a 4.4-liter V8 engine which features the company's M TwinPower Turbo technology and provides 560 hp and 501 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard with the 6 Series, while M6 models will have a choice between a six-speed manual and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.


BMW 6 Series Convertible BMW 6 Series Convertible Interior
BMW 6 Series Convertible BMW 6 Series Convertible Interior


 A sports exhaust system and LED headlights are standard for all 6 Series variants. BMW ConnectedDrive systems are also standard for 6 Series models, providing remote services and driver assistance. The M6 models feature a tech-focused interior with an enhanced iDrive Display and black paneled center console with an available color HUD. Other interior options include various leather shades and a full-leather trim variant with black chrome accents.


BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe Interior
BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe Interior


 Stylistic updates for the 6 Series include a redesign of the traditional BMW kidney grille, which now features larger openings to improve engine cooling. The side mirrors have also been changed to improve aerodynamics and now feature side marker lights. The 6 Series will be available in the spring of 2015.


2015 MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop Hatchback

 Seen at last year's North American International Auto Show as a concept car, the 2015 MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop made its debut as a production model at this year's show. As one of the sportiest models in MINI's lineup, the John Cooper Works Hardtop features a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with 228 hp and torque of 236 lb-ft. With the engine, the vehicle has a 0-60 acceleration time of 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 153 mph. Transmission options consist of a standard 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic.

 Other aspects of the vehicle which display the motorsport heritage of the John Cooper Works Hardtop include its Brembo sport brake system, sports suspension, exclusive light alloy wheels, and an aerodynamics kit. Furthermore, the model's exterior utilizes numerous air inlets for engine cooling, as well as a rear spoiler and apron designed to optimize its aerodynamic qualities.


MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop Interior
MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop Interior


 The interior features four John Cooper Works sports seats with additional space due to the model's larger dimensions. Numerous driver assistance systems are available, including active cruise control, parking assistance systems, and a HUD. Standard comfort and convenience features such as dual-zone automatic climate control, automatic headlights, and automatic windshield wipers are also featured.

 Pricing for the John Cooper Works Hardtop starts at USD 30,600. The model will be available at US dealerships starting in the spring of 2015.


MINI Superleggera Vision Concept Convertible

 MINI's Superleggera Vision concept, first seen at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, was on display in Detroit. The Superleggera Vision represents a fusion of a minimalistic experience focused on driving with modern technologies, specifically its electric drivetrain.


MINI Superleggera Vision Concept MINI Superleggera Vision Concept Instrument Panel
MINI Superleggera Vision Concept MINI Superleggera Vision Concept Instrument Panel


 The exterior of the Superleggera Vision features balanced proportions with a stretched bonnet, long wheelbase, wide track and short overhangs. Traditional MINI design cues can be found in the circular headlights and hexagonal grille. Meanwhile, the interior of the vehicle emphasizes a simple appearance, using untreated aluminum and leather throughout the design. A three-spoke steering wheel and center instrument panel with an analog clock further highlights the basic design. Despite its outward appearance, the instrument panel has touch-sensitive elements and controls for a camera placed between the driver and passenger seats.



Daimler shows F 015 concept, C350 plug-in hybrid, and AMG performance line

 Through its Mercedes-Benz display, Daimler was able to showcase its versatility in its model lineup. Its more notable models were separated from the brand's main display by a short metal railing that visitors would often line up across.


Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion Autonomous Concept Sedan

 After its premiere at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the F 015 Luxury in Motion made an appearance in Detroit, signaling a possible vision of the future in transportation. The F 015 combines a relaxing atmosphere with innovations in technology.

 One of the more notable features of the F 015 is its exterior appearance. The bodyshell was created using CFRP, aluminum, and high-strength steel and is 40 percent lighter compared to current production vehicles. Rear-hinged rear doors and the lack of a B-pillar allows for easy entrance to the vehicle. Interlocking elements connect the front and rear doors to improve safety. LED modules replace traditional headlights and taillights and indicate whether the vehicle is driving autonomously by glowing blue, or manually by glowing white.


Mercedes-Benz F 015 Concept Merecedes-Benz F 015 Concept Interior
Mercedes-Benz F 015 Concept Mercedes-Benz F 015 Concept Interior


 The interior of the F 015 also contains several unconventional features. A wheel base of 3.61 meters (142.1 inches) combined with short overhangs helps maximize interior space. This is further emphasized by the F 015's variable seating system, in which the four chairs can rotate to face each other. Six display screens are integrated into the instrument, side, and rear panels. These display screens use sensors to track passenger movement and offer adaptable interfaces to interact with. The use of leather, organic materials and glass surfaces add a degree of luxury.


2016 Mercedes-Benz C350 Plug-In Hybrid Sedan

Merecedes-Benz C350
Mercedes-Benz C350

 Mercedes-Benz continued its hybrid offerings from the previous year by displaying the C350 Plug-In Hybrid. An I4 engine works with an electric motor to produce 275 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid system is paired with a standard seven-speed automatic transmission, capable of a top speed of 130 mph with a 0-60 time of 5.9 seconds. With a battery capacity of 6.2 kWh, the C350 has an electric range of 20 miles.

 One system standard to the C350 Plug-In Hybrid is a haptic accelerator pedal, which uses varying resistance to inform a driver when they exceed the performance given by solely the electric motor. Drivers can also choose between five transmission modes and four operation modes. Other standard features include an air suspension system, Pre-Entry Climate Control, Attention Assist, which alerts drivers to fatigue, and Collision Prevention Assist Plus, which engages autonomous braking.

 The C350 will be available in the US starting in the fall of 2015 and will be built at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Alabama.


2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC Coupe SUV

 Featured in the upcoming "Jurassic World" movie, the Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG is the first AMG sports model released by the brand. Featuring a biturbo V6 engine capable of 362 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque, the GLE 450 is aimed at customers seeking additional style and performance in an SUV. A nine-speed automatic transmission, 4MATIC all-wheel drive, and Dynamic Select handling control system with five modes are all standard features.


Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG Merecedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG Interior
Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG Interior


 The GLE 450 AMG has styling characteristics of both an SUV and a coupe. Its large wheel arches and tire options, and high ground clearance are all aspects that the model shares with SUVs. Coupe characteristics can be seen in its sloped hood, low greenhouse, and a rounded rear window. Inside, AMG sports seats combine with leather trim and an infotainment system to reflect the blend of function and style.

 Production of the GLE 450 AMG will take place in Vance, Alabama. The GLE 450 AMG will be available in the late summer of 2015.


2016 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Coupe 4MATIC SUV

Merecedes-AMG GLE63 S
Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S

 Whereas AMG contributed to the development of the GLE 450 AMG, the performance division designed and built the Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Coupe independently. Its sporty nature is highlighted by an AMG 5.5-liter V8 biturbo engine with 577 hp and 561 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated with a seven-speed automatic transmission that helps the model to a 0-60 time of 4.2 seconds.

 The GLE63 has a Dynamic Select handling control system, which adjusts the vehicle's driving characteristics depending on which mode is selected. A specially designed transfer case works with the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system to provide a 40:60 power ratio to the front and rear axles, for better handling on high-speed curves. The Active Curve System reduces the GLE63's roll angle while turning for improved performance. Lateral air outlets and a spoiler lip on the tailgate all enhance the vehicle's aerodynamics.

 As with the GLE 450 AMG, the GLE63 S will be available in the late summer of 2015, with production also occurring in Vance, Alabama.


2016 Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG Sedan

Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG
Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG

 The second AMG sports model that Mercedes-Benz unveiled in Detroit was the C450 AMG. A 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine supplies 362 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque and is combined with a seven-speed automatic transmission with the capability to shift into a manual mode. The C450 AMG has a 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds and can reach a maximum speed of 155 mph.

 As with other AMG models shown at the North American International Auto Show, the C450 AMG features the Dynamic Select driving mode system. The C450 AMG also features technology used in the Mercedes-AMG C63 with its all-wheel-drive system and AMG Adaptive sports suspension. A 2:1 rear-to-front axle power ratio in the all-wheel-drive system improves the model's agility, while a sports braking system features vented brake discs for increased stopping power.

 The C450 AMG will be available in the US in the fall of 2015 and is being produced in Vance, Alabama.



Jaguar unveils XE sedan; Land Rover explores diesel potential with Range Rover Td6 SUV

 Jaguar Land Rover used a basic display in the North American International Auto Show, lining up Jaguar models on one side, Land Rover models on the other, and notable unveilings in the center of the shared display. The simplicity of the exhibit reflected a sense of focus in goals that Jaguar Land Rover wanted to accomplish in the US market.


2016 Jaguar XE Luxury Sedan

 Making its North American debut in Detroit, the Jaguar XE is the first model that Jaguar has developed using the company's new JLR modular vehicle architecture. A front-mounted supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine, also used in the Jaguar F-TYPE, provides 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, resulting in a 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds and a top speed electronically limited to 155 mph. An eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF with paddle controls is linked to the engine.

 Jaguar's modular architecture opened up design opportunities that were previously unavailable. This is evidenced in the Jaguar XE with its short overhangs and a cab-rearward stance. The low, sleek profile enables the XE to achieve a drag coefficient of 0.26. Meanwhile, a spacious interior features a large amount of personal space for each passenger.


Jaguar XE Jaguar XE Interior
Jaguar XE Jaguar XE Interior


 Features unique to the XE include the heavy use of aluminum in its body, as well as 101 pounds of recycled plastics and renewable materials. The XE is the first Jaguar to have electric power steering. An all-new traction system called All Surface Progress Control adjusts the brakes and powertrain in slippery conditions. Other systems available include a stereo camera system for driver assist systems, and a new infotainment system featuring an eight-inch touchscreen.

 Sales for the Jaguar XE begin in 2015 in global markets and 2016 in the US. Production of the Jaguar XE will take place at Solihull, England. Additional production will take place in Changshu, China for sales in the region.


2016 Range Rover Td6 and Range Rover Sport Td6 Luxury SUV

 The North American unveiling of the Range Rover Td6 and Ranger Rover Sport Td6 marked Jaguar Land Rover's introduction of diesel models to the US. The 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 diesel engine featured on both models offers 254 hp and a torque of 440 lb-ft. While both diesel models have slower 0-60 acceleration times than their gasoline counterparts, (Td6: 7.4 vs 7.1; Sport Td6: 7.1 vs 6.9) both diesel models have a 32 percent higher combined fuel economy with 25 mpg combined. Both Td6 models boast a range of 658 miles which represents an 8.0 percent increase for the Range Rover Sport and a 3.3 percent increase for the Range Rover.


Range Rover Td6 Range Rover Sport Td6
Range Rover Td6 Range Rover Sport Td6


 Improvements were made to the Td6 models prior to their US introduction to achieve an additional eight percent increase in fuel efficiency. A water-cooled turbocharger, new ball bearings, vanes and nozzles were installed in the Td6. A new low pressure EGR system was used instead of a high pressure system to reduce NOx emissions.

 Both Td6 models will go on sale in the US in the fall of 2015. Both models are produced in Solihull, England.



Volkswagen shows Cross Coupe GTE; Audi shows Q7; Bentley displays Mulsanne Speed

 The Volkswagen models were spread out across several brands, each with its own theme that it wanted to convey. Volkswagen was looking to build anticipation for a future SUV with its Cross Coupe GTE concept. Audi presented its new Q7 with a variety of new features. Porsche emphasized performance with upgrades to models that were highlighted in previous shows, while Bentley displayed its flagship Mulsanne Speed as a vehicle to represent the pinnacle of luxury.


Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE Concept SUV

Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE Concept
Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE Concept

 Volkswagen's Cross Coupe GTE is the brand's third of three concept SUVs that was displayed prior to the release of their production model SUV. While the production model will be a seven-seat mid-size SUV, the five-seat Cross Coupe GTE presents many features that will carry over to the production model, especially in the exterior.

 The Cross Coupe GTE is a plug-in hybrid with a 3.6-liter engine and two electric motors. Combined, the drivetrain provides 355 hp and a torque of 280 lb-ft, which provides a 0-60 time of 6.0 seconds and a maximum speed of 130 mph. A 14.1 kWh lithium-ion battery gives the Cross Coupe GTE an electric range of 20 miles.

 The Cross Coupe GTE has a length of 190.8 inches, a width of 79.9 inches, and a height of 68.3 inches. The radiator grille has two aluminum bars stretched across it, with LED headlamps and turn signals merged into the structure. A ridgeline stretches from the front of the hood over the front fenders and below the windows to the tailgate, while another ridgeline integrates the door handles and is formed over the wheel arches. Large wheel arches accentuate the power of the vehicle.

 Volkswagen's production model SUV will be assembled in Chattanooga, Tennessee starting at the end of 2016.


2016 Audi Q7 Crossover SUV

 The second-generation Audi Q7 contains a number of new features and upgrades over its predecessor. Engine choices include a 3.0-liter V6 TDI which produces 272 hp and 442.5 lb-ft of torque, or a 3.0-liter V6 TFSI engine with 333 hp and 324.5 lb-ft of torque. On average, the engines consume 26 percent less fuel than the first-generation Q7. All-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters come standard.

 Despite a decrease in its exterior dimensions, the Audi Q7 has increased its interior space and has become the most spacious vehicle in its class. The Audi Q7 is also the lightest vehicle in the segment, weighing only 4,398.2 pounds, a decrease of 716.5 pounds from the previous generation. This decrease in weight was achieved through the use of aluminum and new manufacturing methods.


Audi Q7 Audi Q7 Engine Compartment
Audi Q7 Audi Q7 Engine Compartment


 The Audi Q7 features a range of standard driver assist systems including a rear parking aid, adjustable speed limiter, and collision warning and mitigation at low speeds. Optional driver assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control, active lane assist, and cross-traffic assist are featured on certain trim levels. Available infotainment options include smartphone integration, a touch control unit for the center console display, and a voice recognition system.

 Sales for the Audi Q7 will be begin in the spring of 2015 for customers in Germany with pricing starting at approximately EUR 61,000. The Audi Q7 will arrive in US market in early 2016.


2015 Bentley Mulsanne Speed Luxury Sedan

Bentley Mulsanne Speed Twin-turbo V8
Bentley Mulsanne Speed Twin-turbo V8

 While Bentley announced its plans for the Bentayga SUV in Detroit, its display highlighted its flagship model, the Mulsanne Speed. With a 6.75-liter twin-turbo V8 engine producing 530 hp and 811 lb-ft of torque, the Mulsanne Speed has a 0-60 time of 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 190 mph. The engine also features a cylinder deactivation system which works a new gearbox control system to improve fuel efficiency. An automatic eight-speed transmission with paddle shifters is standard.

 As Bentley's flagship model, the Mulsanne Speed emphasizes both luxury and technology. Standard interior features include hide door panels and seats, indented hide headliners, and drilled alloy sports foot pedals. In terms of technology, the Mulsanne Speed features a 60 GB hard drive, on-board Wi-Fi, a Rear Seat Entertainment system with two eight inch screens and Bluetooth headphones, and electrically operated tables fitted to the front seats.


Bentley Mulsanne Speed Bentley Mulsanne Speed Rear Interior
Bentley Mulsanne Speed Bentley Mulsanne Speed Rear Interior


 The Mulsanne Speed has a starting price of USD 335,600 and is produced at Bentley's plant in Crewe, England. Deliveries are set to begin in early 2015.


2015 Porsche Targa 4 GTS Sports Car

Porsche Targa 4 GTS
Porsche Targa 4 GTS

 As the debut of the Porsche 911 Targa at the previous year's show drew a significant amount of interest, Porsche decided to unveil the 911 Targa 4 GTS at this year's show. Keeping its signature fully automatic targa top, the Targa 4 GTS has an upgraded rear-mounted 3.8-liter flat-6 engine that provides 430 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. Combined with a higher power to weight ratio than the S model, the Targa 4 GTS has a 0-60 time of 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 186 mph. The Targa 4 GTS has a standard PDK seven-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive

 Interior features standard to the 911 Targa 4 GTS include four-way adjustable Sport seats Plus. Alcantara, a material with half the weight of leather, is used heavily within the interior. The exterior features tinted Bi-Xenon headlights which use the Porsche Dynamic Light System that automatically adjust the range of the beam based on speed. Twenty-inch matte black wheels are also standard.

 Pricing for the 911 Targa 4 GTS starts at USD 132,800. The model will be available in the US starting in late April of 2015.


2015 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S Crossover SUV

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

 Another model that Porsche unveiled was the Cayenne Turbo S. It features a new 4.8-liter V8 twin-turbo engine which provides 570 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 20 hp and 37 lb-ft. The Cayenne Turbo S can accelerate to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and has a top speed of 176 mph. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. LED headlights using the Porsche Dynamic Light System, 21-inch wheels and a full leather interior are standard on the Cayenne Turbo S.

 The Cayenne Turbo S starts at USD 157,300 and will be available for US customers in late April of 2015.


Volvo reaffirms US presence with S60 sedans and XC90 R-Design SUV

 Similar to last year, Volvo's exhibit had a very relaxing and natural atmosphere, featuring ergonomic seating and the use of wood-like materials in its display. This emphasized both a sense of luxury and a sense of adventure, something also reflected in its showcased models.


2015 Volvo XC90 R-Design SUV

Volvo XC90 R-Design
Volvo XC90 R-Design

 After the debut of the Volvo XC90 at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, the XC90 R-Design made its North American debut two months later. A choice of 2.0-liter I4 powertrains will be available for the XC90 R-Design, providing power ranging from 316 hp to 400 hp. All engines will be paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

 Interior features include R-Design sports seats with Nubuck textile and perforated leather. A touch screen and 12.3-inch display will be on the center console. The exterior includes styling such as silk metal window trim, integrated dual tailpipes, and matte silver mirror covers. The XC90 R-Design has standard 20-inch alloy wheels with available 22-inch alloy wheels.

 The XC90 R-Design is available starting in the second quarter of 2015. Pricing for the XC90 R-Design starts at USD 52,900.


2016 Volvo S60 Cross Country Sedan

 The debut of the S60 Cross Country sedan represents Volvo's attempt to duplicate the success it had in introducing an all-road variant to its wagon lineup. The S60 Cross Country has a 2.5-liter I5 engine which provides 250 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. Six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive capabilities are both standard.


Volvo S60 Cross Country Volvo S60 Cross Country Interior
Volvo S60 Cross Country Volvo S60 Cross Country Interior


 One of the keys to the S60 Cross Country's all-road performance is a ride height increase of 2.5 inches over the conventional S60 for a total ground clearance of 7.9 inches. Customers will have a choice between standard 18-inch and available 19-inch wheels with high-profile tires. The S60 Cross Country will also have standard navigation, connectivity and telematics features.

 Orders for the S60 Cross Country will begin in the early summer of 2015. Production of the S60 Cross Country will take place in Ghent, Belgium.


2016 Volvo S60 Inscription Sedan

 While the S60 Cross Country focuses more on travel across different types of terrain and roads, the S60 Inscription emphasizes luxury. Based on the Chinese S60L, the S60 Inscription will be one of the first models built in China and exported to the US. Customers have a choice of engines between a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 with 240 hp, 258 lb-ft of torque and front-wheel drive, or a 2.5-liter turbocharged I5 with 250 hp, 266 lb-ft of torque and all-wheel drive. Both choices are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.


Volvo S60 Inscription Volvo S60 Inscription Interior
Volvo S60 Inscription Volvo S60 Inscription Interior


 The main highlight of the S60 Inscription is its 3.4 added inches of rear-seat legroom, giving the S60 Inscription best-in-class rear accommodation. Other standard luxury features include interior accent lighting, silk metal detailing, and Linear Walnut trim. Safety features such as traction control, electronic stability control and a City Safety collision mitigation system are also standard.

 The S60 Inscription will be made at Volvo's plant in Chengdu, China. Sales will begin in the US starting in the second quarter of 2015.

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