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North America ushers in new concepts


The North American International Auto Show has been on the go since Tuesday with many major manufacturers displaying a wide array of interesting concept vehicles. We take a look at some of the highlights of the show so far.

Audi showcased the Shooting Break version of its all-terrain crossover, the allroad. The concept features hybrid drive along with the familiar 2.0-litre TFSI powerplant. Combined with the electric motor, the vehicle is said to produce 300kW and 650Nm. Performance figures are impressive too, with 100km/h coming up from standstill in 4.6 seconds and a top speed of over 250km/h. The consumption is around1.9 litres/100km with CO2 emissions pegged at just 45g/km.

Toyota showed off a possible future Supra when it unveiled the FT-1 concept. The coupé hints at a front-engine rear-wheel-drive sports car. It has a wrap-around windscreen that harks back to the iconic 2000GT as well as race-car inspired aerodynamics along with a large air intake, retractable rear wing and big exhaust. The vehicle is part of Toyota’s goal to make vehicles that connect with drivers on a deeper level. For instance, the A-pillar has been moved back to increase visibility when cornering. The concept has a Formula 1-style steering wheel, as well as a colour head-up display.

Volkswagen unveiled a special version of the latest Beetle, called the Dune. Differences over the standard car are a body that is 50mm higher, wider and with a track that has been increased by 29mm. There are also five-spoke 19-inch wheels with large tyres. The front bumper has been completely redesigned with a honeycomb intake along with inserts with semi-circular LED fog lights. The interior features the familiar dash-mounted glove box and 7.7-inch touch-screen display.

Japanese manufacturer Nissan brought its Sport Sedan Concept along to the show. The vehicle has been produced to showcase the brand’s new design language. The four-door sedan takes design aspects from the Resonance and Friend-ME concepts, such as the front end, known as the V-Motion, the ‘floating’ roof and the boomerang-shaped headlights and taillights. The concept is powered by a 3.5-litre V6 coupled with a CVT transmission. The suspension also features performance dampers.

The new-generation Honda Jazz was revealed in Detroit. The model features a new front- and rear-end design. Larger 16-inch wheels are standard as are the LED taillights, chrome tailgate and rear diffuser. The interior gets a 7-inch screen and Bluetooth as standard. The 1.5-litre V-Tec engine is 11kW up on the outgoing model and now produces 97kW. The new Jazz is also 25kg lighter and more rigid thanks to a revised suspension set-up and new rear dampers.

The Kia design studio has been hard at work producing the GT4 Stinger concept. It is a 2+2-seater with a 235kW 2.0-litre turbocharged motor mated with a six-speed manual transmission. The vehicle has been made with enthusiasts in mind and features 20-inch aluminium wheels with carbon-fibre inserts along with Brembo Gran Turismo two-piece 15-inch cross-drilled rotors and four-piston
Improved Performance, Efficiency and Safety

Subaru’s latest WRX STI made its debut at the show. Underneath its hood lies a 225kW/393Nm 2.5-litre turbocharged engine along with a six-speed manual transmission.There are also Brembo performance brakes with a Super Sport ABS system.The suspension has been retuned with revised spring and damper rates to provide better ride quality and improved body control.

The symmetrical all-wheel-drive system works in conjunction with the vehicle dynamics control and active torque-vectoring system.The exterior design features a diffuser with an integrated bumper and twin-exit exhausts with STI badges on the front grille and wings. There are also newly designed 18-inch alloy wheels, as well as the inclusion of LED lighting in the head and tail lamps.

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