The Chrysler 300C was the brand's savior when it went on sale back in 2005, but six years is a long time to stand behind a boxy, gangsta-looking sedan with a grille ripped off a Bentley. Team Pentastar finally got around to overhauling the 300 for 2011, with changes that include a new powertrain, sleeker sheet metal, a vastly superior interior, fancy LED-encrusted headlamps and a lowered (thankfully) belt line.
Porsche 918 RSR Racer
Porsche has rolled out a race-bred version of the company's 918 Spyder Concept from last year's Detroit Auto Show. Packing the same drivetrain as the track-proven 911 GT3 R Hybrid racecar, Porsche says that the 918 RSR will bring a whopping 767 combined horsepower to the party when it shows up in the paddock. A total of 563 of those ponies are provided by a 6.2-liter V8 that revs to an atmospheric 10,300 rpm.
Ford Vertrek Concept
It may look like the strange lovechild of the 2012 Ford Focus and the European-spec Kuga crossover, but the Blue Oval's new Vertrek crossover concept is indeed a visual upgrade compared to current small CUV offerings. The Vertrek, which makes its world debut here at the Detroit Auto Show, previews what's in store for Ford's new global small crossover, set to replace both the Escape here in North America as well as the Kuga abroad.
2012 Buick Verano
If you were wondering how General Motors was planning to differentiate the 2012 Buick Verano from its Chevy Cruze counterpart, wonder no more. According to Buick, its newest addition will offer the quietest ride in its segment thanks to heaps of laminated glass, triple door seals and a host of other muting technologies. Buick calls the cabin "library quiet," though there's no word as to whether the interior smells of old books. They've also made sure to throw in the same levels of refinement as found in the likes of the Lacrosse.
2012 Volkswagen Passat
If your first thought about the Passat's design is "big Jetta," you aren't alone. The last-generation Passat wasn't exactly a looker, but at least it stood out within Volkswagen's lineup. The new Passat honestly and truly looks like a longer, wider, taller Jetta, and the nondescript design language makes it look extremely unforgettable. It isn't bad looking, but it doesn't spark much emotion.
2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe
BMW's latest introduction to the U.S. market bowed today at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, and it's a machine that's meant to light the true enthusiast's heart aflutter: the 2012 1 Series M Coupe. We must say, it looks rather striking in the metallic orange hue you see here. Even more importantly, the 340 horsepower put out by its 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine is said to "capture the soul of the original M3."
Kia KV7 Concept
Kia certainly knows a thing or two about embracing the box design. After all, the styling of the Soul is certainly a perfect interpretation of the good things boxy shapes can create. With that in mind, Kia has set to reinvent the van with its new KV7 Concept here at the Detroit Auto Show. But we aren't talking minivan – this is pure, boxy conversion van hotness.
2012 Audi A6
Audi has unveiled its mid-range 2012 A6 sedan, and as we learned from advanced photos, it follows closely in the mold of its big brother, the A8. As the range-topping sedan is a pretty piece, that's not a bad thing, but Audi seems to be channeling BMW's old "One sausage, three sizes" design mantra of decades ago. In this case, that means a massive single-frame grille, available LED headlamps (as shown), and a relatively simple and unadorned profile that lends the A6 a premium look that will likely wear well over the years.
Toyota Prius V
The 2012 Prius V is packing all the hybrid goodness of the standard Prius but with 34.3 cubic feet of space for your stuff, 38 inches of rear leg room and the fuel economy most vehicles can only dream of. The V is five inches longer and an inch wider than the O.G. Prius with the same 1.8-liter four cylinder hybrid power source, so it won't match little brother's 50 miles per gallon efficiency. Sill, the roomy MPV will net 42 miles per gallon in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.
Hyundai Curb Concept
Hyundai's Curb concept moves the automaker's "Fluidic Sculpture" design language in a more youthful direction. While we've seen plenty of urbanized concepts and production vehicles that use the traditional box-like design pioneered by the original Scion xB, Hyundai chose to create something substantially more curvaceous and sleek. "We wanted the Curb to be urban tough without looking like a Brink's truck," Hyundai designer Jason Brown, says.
2012 Hyundai Veloster
Hyundai's funky, tech-packed Veloster debuted at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, and at first blush, the unconventional three-door looks like a winner. In the metal, the Veloster is a funky thing, with a longer-than-expected wheelbase thanks to its third front-hinged door on the passenger side. We had a chance to sample the rear seat room, and while getting in was a bit awkward, we found it more useful than the clamshell-style doors on vehicles like the Mini Clubman.
Mini Paceman Concept
Mini's model line is expanding at an exponential rate, and according to BMW's smallest division, the Paceman Concept will form the basis of its eighth production vehicle. What we have in the Paceman is basically a Countryman that’s been relieved of its two rear doors and granted a gradually sloping roofline. Yes, that will indeed limit the machine's versatility, but it also adds a sporty vibe to the somewhat high-riding crossover.
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell
Mercedes-Benz brought along a fleet of green-leaning vehicles to this year's Detroit Auto Show. While the German automaker displayed its hydrogen B-Class F-Cell alongside a flotilla of BlueTec diesels, the SLS AMG E-Cell stole the stage. Aside from wearing the world's most eye-searing matte-yellow paint, the electrified supercar boasts 525 horsepower and 649 pound-feet of torque thanks to four synchronous electric motors.
2012 Chevrolet Sonic
General Motors seems intent on banishing all memories of the unloved Aveo – so much so that it's gone and renamed its entry-level fighter in the States. While we're still not 100-percent in love with the name (we can't get visions of spiky-haired hedgehogs out of our heads...), all three flavors of Sonic do appear to be vastly improved over the machines they replace, though one of them, the Z Spec, is still in the concept stage.
2012 Ford C-Max
Small MPVs are all the rage in Europe, but here in North America – the land of "bigger is better" – these moderately sized people-haulers have never quite sold in droves. Ford firmly believes that it's time to bring the small MPV segment back to North America, and the 2012 C-Max is its first foray into offering this sort of pint-sized family-hauling package here in America with this three-row, seven-passenger mini-minivan.