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Ten top luxury car reveals from the Detroit auto show

Coming straight off the heels of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), automakers quickly turned their attention to Detroit, arguably still the most important auto show in the US. Although this year was light on luxury and sports cars compared with what I saw at Paris and Geneva last year, there were plenty of debuts from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and others — especially in the ultra-hot crossover and SUV segments. (naias.com)

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Mercedes-AMG GT C Coupe

In celebration of AMG’s 50th anniversary, Mercedes’ high-performance division unveiled the AMG GT C Coupe at this year’s Detroit auto show. Sitting performance-wise between the AMG GT S and the line-topping AMG GT R unveiled in Paris last year, the fixed-roof version of the AMG GT C uses a 4.0-litre engine that produces 550hp (410kW) and 503 ft lbs (682Nm) of torque and can rocket the car from zero to 100km/h in 3.6 seconds. The GT C will launch in a special “Edition 50” trim, with Graphite Gray Magno paint, black chrome exterior trim, and a black-and-silver interior color scheme. (mbusa.com)

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Audi Q8 Concept

Audi is following BMW and Mercedes-Benz into the coupe-like SUV segment with the Q8 concept. At just over five metres long, the Audi Q8 concept resembles a chopped Q7, with a sharply sloping roofline and an aggressive front grille with vertical bars reminiscent of Maserati’s new Levante SUV. Flat, wedge-shaped headlamps use digital Matrix laser lights, which illuminate the road better than LED lights. Inside, there is seating for four, along with Audi’s “virtual cockpit” technology, which combines a head-up display with high-resolution touchscreens. The Q8 concept is powered by Audi’s current plug-in-hybrid drivetrain, which combines a 134hp (100kW) electric motor with a 333hp (250kW), 3.0-litre V6 combustion engine. A production version, which would compete with the BMW X6, could be announced later this year. (audiusa.com)

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Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe

The variants keep coming for Mercedes-Benz’s beautifully redesigned mid-size car. This time it’s the two-door E400 coupe, available with either rear-wheel drive or Mercedes’s 4MATIC all-wheel drive. As with the sedan, the E400 coupe is powered by a 329hp (245kW), 3.0-litre biturbo V6 and 9-speed automatic transmission. It’s also equipped with the E-Class’s new semi-autonomous driving features, which can accelerate, brake, steer, and help change lanes at speeds of up to 81 mph (130km/h). The E400 Coupe is expected to arrive in the US this summer, and although no AMG variants have yet been announced, I could see an AMG E43 and/or an AMG E63 version later. (mbusa.com)

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Lexus LS

Lexus’s flagship sedan has been fully redesigned with a new look, a new engine, and new safety features. The fifth-generation LS is longer and lower, with a refined, coupe-like silhouette and a new version of Lexus’s gargantuan, mesh-covered spindle grille. For the first time, the LS drops its naturally aspirated engine for an all-new, 3.5-litre, twin-turbocharged V6 derived from parent company Toyota’s F1 technology. The new powerplant makes 415hp (310kW) and 442 ft lbs (600Nm) of torque, and is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Available with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the new LS uses a lighter, stiffer platform that helps to shave off more than 90 kilograms compared with the previous generation. (lexus.com)

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BMW M550i xDrive and 530e iPerformance

BMW’s redesigned 5 Series sedan made its appearance in Detroit with two new variants. The high-performance M550i xDrive is currently the top-of-the-line 5 Series model and sits between the standard 5 Series and the as-yet unannounced redesigned M5. It is powered by a specially tuned, 4.4-litre turbocharged V8 that produces 456hp (340kW) and 480 ft lbs (650Nm) of torque and sprints from zero to 100km/h in 3.9 seconds. The 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid pairs an electric motor with BMW’s 2.0-litre, turbocharged 4-cylinder combustion engine for a total output of 248 hp (185kW) and 310 ft lbs (420Nm) of torque and is available with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Notably, the lithium-ion battery pack in the 530e iPerformance sits in a new location underneath the rear seats, freeing up the trunk for cargo space. (bmwusa.com)

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Porsche 911 GTS

Although Porsche didn’t actually reveal any new cars at the North American International Auto Show, the company did make its own announcement during the show’s first press day that it would offer a GTS version of the 911 in Coupé, Cabriolet, and Targa body styles. All 911 GTS models will produce 450hp (335kW) — an increase of 30hp over the Carrera S — thanks to bigger turbochargers on the 3.0-litre flat-six, and will be available with a manual transmission or Porsche’s PDK dual-clutch gearbox. Most variants are all-wheel drive and come standard with Porsche’s adaptive sport suspension. For those who like to throw the tail out, a rear-wheel-drive GTS coupe will also be available. All GTS models will get the wider body found on Carrera 4 models and a more aerodynamic front end. (porsche.com)

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Bentley Continental Supersports

Also not officially part of the Detroit Auto Show, Bentley announced its fastest-ever production four-seater just ahead of this year’s NAIAS. With 709hp (528kW) and 750 ft lbs (1017Nm) of torque coming from a redeveloped W12 engine, the Bentley Continental Supersports coupe can run from zero to 100km/h in just 3.4 seconds on its way to a top speed of 335km/h. A soft-top convertible version does the same dash in 3.7 seconds and has a top speed of 330km/h. That is no small feat for cars that weigh 2280 and 2455 kilograms, respectively. The Continental Supersports also gets big carbon ceramic brakes and can be fitted with an optional titanium exhaust for an even bigger sound. (bentleymotors.com)

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Mercedes-Benz GLA

It’s a more grown-up look for the redesigned GLA-Class, Mercedes-Benz’s smallest SUV, scheduled to go on sale this summer. It gets new front and rear bumpers, new optional LED headlamps, and a new exterior color: Canyon Beige. Inside, the GLA boasts better interior materials, including new seat covers, chrome trim, and a refreshed instrument cluster. Performance-wise, the new GLA achieves better aerodynamics, and a new optional off-road suspension raises the ride height by 30mm. Two models of the GLA-Class will be available in the United States: the GLA250 (with or without 4MATIC all-wheel drive), powered by a 208hp (155kW), 2.0-litre inline-4, and the Mercedes-AMG GLA45, with a 375hp (280kW), turbocharged inline-4. (mbusa.com)

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Infiniti QX50 Concept

Making its world premiere in Detroit, the Infiniti QX50 concept shows off the brand’s vision for a future midsize SUV. Building on Infiniti’s “Powerful Elegance” design language, the QX50 has a tall, wide profile, with taut and muscular lines. Designers are quick to point out the hood, which is shaped like a snake’s head, and a crescent-cut D-pillar that improves rearward visibility. In the cabin, the QX50 concept uses a three-tone colour scheme with different leathers and open-pore ash wood trim. Semi-autonomous driver assistance systems are also found on the car, including laser scanners, radar, and cameras to read the car’s surroundings and to manoeuvre accordingly. Although the QX50 is still in concept form, I expect Infiniti to introduce a production version of a new midsize sedan in the not-too-distant future. (infinitiusa.com)

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Audi SQ5

Now in its second generation, the Audi SQ5 — the performance-oriented version of the midsize Q5 SUV — gets a new look and more power for 2018. A refreshed design sets itself apart with a unique, platinum-grey front grille, aluminium side mirrors, and a rear-roof spoiler. Under the hood is a new 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 that generates 354hp (264kW) and 369 ft lbs (500Nm) of torque paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission that propels the SQ5 from zero to 100km/h in 5.1 seconds. Driving dynamics are improved thanks to more precise steering and a revised front and rear suspension; an adaptive sport suspension is optional for the first time. The new Audi SQ5 is expected to arrive in dealerships this spring. (audiusa.com)

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