North American International Auto Show 2016: European OEMs

Despite absences, European OEMs showcase new technology to indicate future direction



Crowds in Audi's exhibit
Crowds in Audi's exhibit

 The 2016 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) was held from January 11 through January 24, 2016, with the show being open to the public starting January 16. A total of 815,575 visitors attended the public show, setting a thirteen-year record.

 Several brands that were present at previous Detroit shows were absent this year. Jaguar, Land Rover, Mini, Bentley, Maserati, and Rolls-Royce all did not participate in this year's show. In spite of this, European OEMs unveiled numerous models featuring technology that indicated the future direction of their brands.

 The Mercedes-Benz E-Class hinted at the future of autonomous cars, as the first production vehicle to be licensed for autonomous testing in Nevada. Similarly, Volvo's S90 is the first vehicle to come standard with semi-autonomous technology. Volkswagen continued to reform its image after the diesel emissions scandal with the Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept plug-in hybrid and the Audi h-tron quattro concept FCV. Both BMW and Porsche showcased performance vehicles with models such as the M2 Coupe, and 911 Turbo.

 This report is the second of three reports which focus on the vehicles displayed at the 2016 North American International Auto Show. This report will focus on models showcased by European OEMs including BMW, Daimler, Porsche, Volkswagen, and Volvo. The first report, which focused on U.S. models, has already been released. A third report detailing Asian OEMs will be released at a later date.

Related reports:
North American International Auto Show 2016
U.S. automakers show model variety for both new and old segments

Daimler highlights "dream cars" with E-Class, SLC-Class and two convertibles

 During the Mercedes-Benz press conference, Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche declared 2016 to be "the year of the dream car". This was reinforced by the debuts of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, SLC-Class, and Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet, showcasing strong performance features and advanced technology.


2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan

 Described as the "world's most intelligent business sedan", the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class includes a number of world-first technologies. Notably, the E-Class is the first production car licensed for autonomous test driving in Nevada. Standard driver assistance systems include Active Brake Assist, which can provide emergency braking and detect pedestrians, and Attention Assist, which prevents the driver from losing focus.


Mercedes-Benz E-Class Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Mercedes-Benz E-Class (E300) Mercedes-Benz E-Class Interior (E400 4MATIC)

 An available Driver Assistance Package further highlights autonomous technology in the E-Class. The Drive Pilot system can maintain a set distance and follow traffic at speeds of up to 130 mph. Evasive Steering Assist provides supporting torque when a driver performs an evasive maneuver. The E-Class also has remote parking which can be accessed through a smartphone app, and the world's first integrated V2X communication platform in series production.

 The E-Class will come with a standard 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, mated to a standard nine-speed automatic transmission. Additional powertrain options, including a plug-in hybrid system, will be added after launch. The interior features a 12.3-inch navigation display, along with touch controls on the steering wheel. Ergonomic seats and ambient LED lighting add a sense of refinement.

 The 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class will be available in the U.S. in the summer of 2016.


2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class Roadster

 Twenty years after the introduction of the SLK-Class, the 2017 SLC-Class made its global debut in Detroit, having changed its name to indicate its relation to the C-Class. Two SLC-Class models were shown, the basic SLC300 model and the Mercedes-AMG SLC43 performance roadster.

 The SLC300 has a 2.0-liter turbo I4 engine which generates 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, and has a 0-60 time of 5.7 seconds. The SLC43 uses a 3.0-liter biturbo V6 engine that provides 362 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque, giving the model a 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds. Both models come standard with a nine-speed automatic transmission, and feature a standard Dynamic Select system to adjust the vehicle's characteristics.


Mercedes-Benz SLC300 Mercedes-AMG SLC43
Mercedes-Benz SLC300 Mercedes-AMG SLC43


Mercedes-Benz SLC300 Interior
Mercedes-Benz SLC300 Interior

 The SLC-Class keeps the vario-roof featured on the SLK-Class and enhances it, as the roof can be operated at speeds up to 25 mph. On the exterior, a new front section has an angled diamond radiator grille which enhances the arrow-shaped appearance of the hood. Air intakes and chrome trim further emphasize the SLC-Class's sporty nature. The interior is highlighted with aluminum trim, a multifunctional TFT display and leather seating.

 Both the Mercedes-Benz SLC and the Mercedes-AMG SLC43 will be available in the U.S. in late spring 2016.


2017 Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet

 During the Mercedes-Benz press conference, the 2017 Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet was called a "combination of cutting-edge technology and head-turning appearance". The S65 Cabriolet combines the power and performance of a V12 engine, with an open-top driving experience of a convertible.

 A key feature of the S65 Cabriolet, the 6.0-liter biturbo V12 engine delivers 621 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque, enabling a 0-60 time of 4.0 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. The engine is paired with a standard seven-speed automatic transmission. Weight reduction measures include a lithium-ion battery which replaces the starter and backup battery, and a bodyshell which incorporates aluminum and magnesium.


Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet Interior
Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet Interior

 Exterior features include chrome trim elements, a twin-blade radiator grille, front splitter, and air intake grilles. The soft top can be opened and closed in 17 seconds and stores itself above an automatically extending luggage compartment partition. Inside, the performance nature of the S65 Cabriolet is seen in the three-spoke steering wheel and AMG instrument cluster. Leather sport seats add a sense of luxury and provide support at high speeds.

 The Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet is produced in Sindelfingen, Germany and will be available in the U.S. in late summer 2016.


2017 smart fortwo cabrio

 After being unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt International Motor Show, the smart fortwo cabrio made its North American debut at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. Introduced as the world's most affordable convertible, the fortwo cabrio demonstrated its application as a city vehicle by performing multiple U-turns on stage during the press conference.

 The fortwo cabrio's roof has three different configurations, changing the car from a closed vehicle, to one with a sliding canvas sunroof, to a convertible with an open soft top. Other exterior characteristics include a honeycomb grille, short overhangs, and rhombus-shaped headlamps. Engine choices include a 1.0-liter I3 with 71 hp and 67 lb-ft of torque or a 0.9-liter turbocharged I3 with 89 hp and 100 lb-ft of torque. Both engines can be paired with a five-speed manual and an automatic dual-clutch transmission.


Smart Fortwo Cabrio Smart Fortwo Cabrio Interior
smart fortwo cabrio smart fortwo cabrio Interior

 The smart fortwo cabrio is manufactured in Hambach, France, and will be available in the U.S. in summer 2016.



VW shows green vehicle concepts with Tiguan GTE Active and Audi h-tron quattro

 With the consequences of the diesel emissions scandal still impacting their operations, Volkswagen offered several apologies at the 2016 North American International Auto Show. During the 2016 show, Volkswagen unveiled electrified concepts including a plug-in hybrid and fuel cell vehicle. Furthermore, Volkswagen's exhibit included interactive panels detailing various powertrains used in their lineup.


Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept SUV

 The Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept made its world premiere in Detroit to demonstrate a possible future for its SUV lineup. The GTE Active Concept is a plug-in hybrid with off-road capabilities. In all-electric mode, the vehicle has a range of 20 miles. With a full fuel tank and full battery charge, the GTE Active Concept has a range of 580 miles.

 The GTE Active Concept utilizes a turbocharged direct-inject TSI gasoline engine which provides 148 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, paired with two electric motors. The electric motors provide 54 hp to the front wheels and 114 hp to the rear, for a total system power of 221 hp. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission designed specifically for hybrid use is mated to the powertrain. Using the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, the GTE Active Concept can provide power to the front, rear, or all four wheels.


VW Tiguan GTE Active Concept VW Tiguan GTE Active Concept Interior
VW Tiguan GTE Active Concept VW Tiguan GTE Active Concept Interior

 As a vehicle designed for off-road use, the GTE Active Concept has additional exterior features such as a front skid plate. The front bumper, matte aluminum shield, and underbody guard are all equipped with polymer protectors. Safety features include front assist with autonomous emergency braking and an active hood for pedestrian protection. The interior has a 9.2-inch touchscreen, gesture control system, and a heads-up display.


Audi h-tron quattro concept Crossover

 Closely related to the Audi e-tron quattro concept shown in Frankfurt, the Audi h-tron quattro concept debuted in Detroit. The h-tron quattro concept uses fifth-generation fuel cell technology developed by Audi and Volkswagen. The concept looks to accomplish the goal of zero global emissions, as its fuel is produced with green power sources.


Audi h-tron quattro concept
Audi h-tron quattro concept

 The powertrain of the h-tron quattro concept uses a fuel-cell system and lithium-ion battery. The fuel-cell system outputs 148 hp, and stores the fuel in three tanks underneath the passenger compartment. The lithium-ion battery, also stored underneath the passenger compartment, outputs 134 hp. Combined, the system generates 406 lb-ft of torque, and provides a 373-mile range on a full fuel tank. An integrated roof solar panel supplements the system's power needs and adds about 621 miles of range per year.

 Another purpose of the h-tron quattro concept is to serve as a technology study for the future Audi A8 luxury sedan. This is highlighted by the central driver assistance system (zFAS). Utilizing radar sensors, ultrasonic sensors, a laser scanner, and a new video camera, zFAS develops a model of the car's surroundings and feeds the information to assistance and autonomous systems. These systems are able to perform driving tasks at up to 37 mph.


2017 Audi A4 allroad quattro Crossover

 Resembling a fusion of a wagon and a crossover, the Audi A4 allroad quattro provides a combination of driving comfort with off-road capabilities. Compared to the A4 Avant, the A4 allroad quattro increased its ride height by 0.9 inches and ground clearance by 1.3 inches, thus enhancing its ability for off-road driving.


Audi A4 allroad quattro Audi A4 allroad quattro Interior
Audi A4 allroad quattro Audi A4 allroad quattro Interior

 A number of engines are available for the A4 allroad quattro, with outputs ranging from 150 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, to 272 hp and 442.5 lb-ft of torque. Available transmissions include a six-speed manual, seven-speed dual clutch, and eight-speed automatic. All-wheel drive, and five-link suspensions for both the front and rear axle are standard. The A4 allroad quattro features increased cargo space with a 17.8-cubic-feet luggage compartment. Flared fenders, a new rear bumper, underbody guard, jagged headlights, and roof rails highlight a more rugged appearance.

 While details on U.S. availability and pricing are currently unavailable, the Audi A4 allroad quattro will be available in Europe in summer 2016 starting at EUR 44,750.



BMW emphasizes performance with M2 coupe and X4 M40i crossover

BMW M2 Coupe Display
BMW M2 Coupe Display

 While BMW had its standard lineup of vehicles available at the Detroit auto show, its display focused on the world debut of the M2 Coupe. The model stood alone on a partially enclosed stage area with a two-story screen in the background. The emphasis on the M2 Coupe reinforced the company's focus on high-performance cars.


2016 BMW M2 Coupe

 The BMW M2 Coupe reflects BMW's commitment to a compact, high-performance sports car. Its exterior indicates its part in BMW's M performance line, with a low front apron, large air intakes, and characteristic M gills. The low, wide rear has the signature twin-tailpipe exhaust system. Inside, the M2 mixes Alcantara and carbon fiber trim and features sports seats, and an M sports steering wheel.

 The engine in the M2 is a 3.0-liter turbocharged I6 which provides 370 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque with overboost. Transmission options include a standard six-speed manual with a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds, or an available seven-speed dual-clutch with a 0-60 time of 4.2 seconds. The M2's top speed is electronically limited at 155 mph.


BMW M2 Coupe BMW M2 Coupe Interior
BMW M2 Coupe BMW M2 Coupe Interior

 The M2 contains other systems which enhance its drivability. The M Servotronic system assists the driver by adjusting the amount of steering assistance needed depending on the speed of the vehicle. An active differential system optimizes traction and stability. For track driving, activating the dynamic stability control system's M Dynamic Mode minimizes the effect of traction control, thus allowing the vehicle to drift due to wheel slip.

 Assembled in Leipzig, Germany, the BMW M2 Coupe will be available in April 2016 starting at USD 51,700.


2016 BMW X4 M40i SUV

BMW X4 M40i
BMW X4 M40i

 Called a sports activity coupe, the BMW X4 M40i mixes performance capabilities inherent in the M Performance line with an SUV. The X4 M40i contains traditional M characteristics such as a twin-tailpipe exhaust system, large air intakes, gills, sports seats, and the M gearshift lever.

 The debut of the X4 M40i also introduced a new 3.0-liter twin-turbo I6 engine providing 355 hp and 343 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a standard eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission with launch control, the X4 M40i features the best acceleration in its class, with a 0-60 acceleration time of 4.7 seconds. Its top speed is electronically limited at 155 mph.


 A tuned sports suspension improves the driving dynamics of the X4 M40i. Changes to the standard X4 such as stronger springs, anti-roll bars, new specifications for the adaptive dampers, and the xDrive all-wheel-drive system improve the steering response and make the vehicle more fun to drive.

 The BMW X4 M40i will be manufactured in Spartanburg, South Carolina, U.S. and be available in February 2016, starting at USD 57,800.



Volvo continues brand resurgence by unveiling flagship S90 sedan

 In contrast to many of the other displays at the 2016 North American International Auto Show, Volvo's display was fairly simple and open, primarily featuring its XC90 and S90 models. The quiet nature of the display added to the sense of luxury that the brand wished to convey.


2017 Volvo S90 Sedan

Volvo S90
Volvo S90 (T8 Twin Engine Version)

 Having won the 2016 North American Truck of the Year award with the XC90, and achieving an all-time global sales record in 2015, Volvo looked to continue its momentum with the unveiling of the S90. The S90 uses the same Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform and shares many of the same features as the XC90, such as powertrain options and semi-autonomous technology.

 Like the XC90, the S90 offers three 2.0-liter I4 engine choices: a turbocharged T5 with 240 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, a turbocharged and supercharged T6 with 320 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, and a T8 twin-engine plug-in hybrid which combines the T6 with a 9.2 kWh battery for 407 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque. All engines can be paired with a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission.


 The luxurious interior of the S90 revolves around four core elements: a chrome spine along the dashboard, vertical air blades that flank the center stack, a four-tiered central touchscreen, and wood trim. The IntelliSafe Assist system is standard, and includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Distance Alert, and Pilot Assist. Pilot Assist provides steering input to keep the car aligned within lane markings at speeds up to 80 mph, making the S90 the first car in the U.S. with standard semi-autonomous technology.

 Competitors to the Volvo S90 will include the BMW 5-Series and the Audi A6. The 2017 Volvo S90 will be available in late 2016.

Porsche sets benchmarks for refined power with 911 Turbo and 911 Turbo S

 Similar to previous years, Porsche placed the unveiled 911 Turbo and 911 Turbo S on a slightly enclosed stage area, separating the two models from the rest of their lineup. The background of the stage contained a two-story screen, which highlighted the two debuting models.


2017 Porsche 911 Turbo, 911 Turbo S Coupe and Convertible

 As the U.S. is the world's largest market for the 911 series, it felt appropriate for Porsche to unveil the newest models of the lineup in Detroit. The 911 Turbo and 911 Turbo S showcase the power and performance that the brand is known for. Both models will be available in coupe and convertible body styles.

 The main highlight of the two new models is the updated engine. The 911 Turbo features a 3.8-liter bi-turbo flat-six engine which produces 540 hp and a maximum torque of 524 lb-ft with overboost. The 911 Turbo S also has a 3.8-liter bi-turbo flat-six engine capable of 580 hp and has a maximum torque of 553 lb-ft with overboost thanks to new turbochargers. Both engines are paired with a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission and provide 0-60 times of under three seconds.


Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet
Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet

 Standard equipment on both 911 Turbo models enhances the driving experience. A Sport Chrono Package provides a GT sport steering wheel and driving mode options between Normal, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual. The Porsche Stability Management system allows the driver to push the limits of the vehicle, or bypass the limits completely.

 Both the 2017 Porsche 911 Turbo and 911 Turbo S will be available in April 2016 in the U.S. The 911 Turbo starts at USD 159,200, while the 911 Turbo S starts at USD 188,100.


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