I’m looking out of my 6th floor hotel window right now at gray skies and white ground. I’m definitely not in Arizona. This week, I put away the car key and hopped on a Delta Flight to Detroit for the 24th annual North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). This marks my fourth trip to Motor City for NAIAS, and prior write-ups are here:
On the docket this year were some significant world debuts.
Once again as with the Los Angeles Auto Show, I joined forces with the crew from Redline Reviews to prepare content for their ever-growing YouTube channel of car reviews (now at over 180,000 subscribers). It was an action-packed few days and I’ll share just a few highlights with you. Between Monday and Tuesday’s “Press / Media Days,” I walked about 18 miles throughout the COBO Convention Center. And they were miles well spent! I was surrounded on all sides by some of the most technologically-advanced, innovative, and stylish vehicles on the planet today. The goal for our visit was to capture short “first look” video segments on about a dozen of the most revolutionary new or substantially changed models.
The moment I landed at gate 74 of DTW airport, I knew it was frigid outside. But even as an Arizonan, it didn’t phase me too badly as I was prepared with a heavy coat (which I use once a year for occasions like this). My white Toyota Corolla rental car (yawn) blended right in with its snowy surroundings.
Both Monday and Tuesday consisted of super early wake-up calls – especially taking into account a 2-hour time difference between Michigan and Arizona. The convention hall was full of bustling energy and I quickly forgot about how tired I was when I saw the glistening sheetmetal under the spotlights. The cars, the people, and the social events kept me fully entertained and the days flew by.
I helped the Redline crew by hosting segments on the following new or updated models:
- Acura Precision Concept: This creation of the design studio (with Dave Marek at the helm) comes to us as a glimpse at the new styling direction for the brand. While this car as a whole won’t end up as a production model, certain design elements will. The new grille, dubbed “Diamond Pentagon” does away with the previous “shield,” and the long front end / short rear deck exude rear-drive proportions. The concept is pretty exaggerated, with suicide doors and a massive information screen on the instrument panel. What were formerly known as Jewel Eye headlights have now become Jewel Constellations.
- 2017 BMW M2: This 365-horsepower M-car comes at us as an aggressively styled and tightly packaged performance coupe. An available 6-speed manual is perhaps my favorite feature, but I’m a huge fan of the overall design and I can see myself owning something like this.
- 2017 Ford Fusion: Ford’s bread-and-butter midsize sedan gets a refreshed front & rear in an attempt to retain its market share against competitive rivals from Japan (Accord, Altima, Camry). Higher trim models now have a rotary dial transmission selector and a new 2.7 liter twin turbo V6 puts power at the lead of its class.
- 2018 Lexus LC500: This car is so “out there,” it’s hard to believe it’s a production model and not a concept. It’s powered by the same motor as the current RC-F model, its smaller sibling. LC500 sets its sights on Mercedes S-Class Coupe buyers and is likely to have a pricetag at or near the six-figure mark. I can tell you from sitting in the driver seat: It felt worth it.
I’ll include links to these videos as soon as Redline has them available, but for now just enjoy the rest of the photos from my trip below!
First, a video segment from the Acura press conference:
My first time to a “Big Boy” restaurant, near Detroit airport in Romulus. Apparently, these are a “thing” in Michigan.
Acura booth with the Precision Concept under a cover (day before the press conference)
With Sofyan Bey, host of Redline Reviews
Chrysler has ditched the “Town and Country” name and called its new minivan the Pacifica (resurrecting an old name)
Volvo’s handsome new S90 sedan was turning more than a few heads.
Mercedes’ new E-class carries over the design elements from the larger S-class
Honda debuted an all-new (2nd generation) Ridgeline pickup truck. It shares an engine with the newly launched Pilot, and carries over its unibody construction which is unique for this segment. Neat feature: an in-bed stereo speaker system. Perfect for tailgating.
Hanging with the Honda man himself, HondaPro Jason (in the green Honda hoodie, of course)
Networking with a few other industry professionals, including Matt Landish (AutoWeb) and Jason Cammisa (Motor Trend).
Infiniti’s new Q60 picks up where the G37 coupe left off. I quite enjoy this design!
A few photos from the networking: First with Derek Powell and Davis Adams (Honda).
Steve Siler (Car & Driver) and Brian Gurney (Mercedes-Benz)
Acura’s press conference gives homage to the original 1986 Legend from the brand’s 30-years-ago beginning.
Few shots of the Precision
Front 3/4 is the best angle, I think.
The taillights are “scooped out” in a sense. Wide rear haunches there.
The steering wheel is NSX-inspired.
Closer look at those “Jewel Constellation” headlights.
Spy photog and all-around awesome person, Brenda Priddy.
Downtown Detroit showing a little blue sky as I left Cobo Hall after day 2.
Dinner with a few local friends: Mike, Dave, and Waseem
Thanks for coming along!