Mazda didn’t debut anything at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, but that doesn’t mean there was nothing to see at the Mazda stand. We couldn’t wait to spend some time snooping around the upcoming 2016 MX-5 Miata. It’s dimensions feel like they are tidier than ever with a truly small scale making it feel almost comical when standing next to it. But sink into that simply bolstered seat, tile the wheel into adjustment and you can imagine the backroads unwinding in front of the impossibly low hood on a beautiful summer morning. It’s 2.0-liter four cylinder still doesn’t have final power figures but it’ll be enough to push this lightweight package around with haste. Just how lightweight is something else we don’t yet know. Keep checking Automotive Trends for our full review as soon as we can get our hands on one later this summer.
Corvette enthusiasts who want the ultimate in performance can now choose to drop the top on their Z06 and the best news is they don’t have to sacrifice any of the hardcore extras available on the new Z06. If you want the Z07 package or the 7-speed manual or the giant Carbon Ceramic brakes go right ahead and check the appropriate boxes. You’re still treated to the same 650-hp 6.2-liter supercharged V8 and you’re even more likely to enjoy the ferocious exhaust yowl in the Convertible. Just do enthusiasts everywhere a favor and pass on the available 8-speed automatic, which seems to us like the fastest way to ruin a great car.
Audi’s distinctive all wheel drive sports car continues to mature with the introduction of the TTS for 2015. The TTS offers up aggressive acceleration by means of a 2.0L 265 hp. four cylinder that cranks out 258 lb.-ft. of torque for a 54 hp. gain over the standard TT with no change in torque. 60 mph is achieved is a brief 4.9 seconds as the car makes its way to a top speed of 155 mph. That’s not all that much quicker than the base TT which passes the 60 mph mark in 5.3 seconds but tops out at a mere 130 mph. One can enjoy all that power and still achieve 31 mpg on the highway, though stop and go city conditions will muster a truck-like 22 mpg. Sadly the TTS is only available with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission which is likely plenty enjoyable if you can settle for the car shifting its own gears. The extra speed, power, and badging costs the TTS owner an extra $8350 over the lesser TT.
Premium cars are all about exclusivity and Porsche appears to understand that. How many versions of the 911 can they offer? It seems the German manufacturer knows no limitations and has introduced the Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS. For the uninitiated, this is Porsche’s iconic 911 with a retractable roof panel (Targa), all wheel drive (4), and a host of track-oriented features (GTS). The retractable targa roof allows for rollover protection not offered in a conventional convertible and is automatically stowed. It additionally maintains the 911’s silhouette, just as the oringal 911 Targa did back in 1965. Power output is 430 hp. which provides the 911 sufficient thrust to reach 60 mph in 4.1 seconds and eventually top 186 mph. Porsche boasts that the GTS is no less fuel efficient that the ‘standard’ 911 Targa 4 S. Other features of the GTS include a stopwatch integrated to the instrument panel, four-way adjustable Sport Plus seats, and lightweight Alcantara seat coverings. All of this comes at a price premium of $132,800 which probably means any buyer can have the satisfaction of having the only one in their neighborhood.
It’s been a long time coming, but the Acura NSX finally left the concept world behind and became a real deal production car at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. It doesn’t happen often, but we think the final product actually looks better than all the show cars that came before. Bathed in deep red paint the NSX looks impossibly low, dramatic and futuristic with beautiful wheels at the far corners and floating C-pillars to cap it off. The mid-engine V6 is turbocharged for more than 550 hp and combines with electric motors to drive all four wheels for precise handling. Acura left the interior relatively traditional with only colorful leather work and a red starter button to set it off. Acura is leaving a lot of details unannounced until closer to the NSX’s launch later this year but we’re glad to finally know it’s a looker and a welcome return to a sports car atop the brand’s lineup.
We didn’t expect a follow up to the mighty GT supercar at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, but that is exactly what we got thanks to Ford’s heavy emphasis on performance and nobody on the AT Staff is complaining. With a far more expressive and modern design this time around the new GT looks ready to line up next to anything from Lamborghini or Ferrari, and with a twin turbo V6 making 600+ hp sitting midship, the performance should be exceptional. Large carbon ceramic brakes and performance tires from Michelin are also included and the best part by far: Ford is building it next year.
It was a little surreal to be watching a full blown Alfa Romeo press conference at the North American International Auto Show, but there we were bearing witness to the storied manufacturer’s American return. And amid all the history and beautiful old race cars was the realization that the brand is starting off with a bang thanks to the stunning 4C coupe and now Spider. The Spider shares the same 1.75-liter turbo four with 237 hp sent through a 6-speed dual clutch paddle shifted transmission to the rear wheels. Alfa was proud to announce that the curb weight remains about 2,500 pounds providing a significant savings compared to rivals from Audi, Porsche and BMW. As for pricing, we’d expect a starting point in the mid-$60k range.
There aren’t many surprises in the world of auto shows these days but Toyota managed to keep the FT-1 sports car concept off the radar better than most. Drawing heavily on F1 design, the FT-1 (for Future Toyota, we were tantalizingly informed) aims to inject some passion back into a lineup that current boss Mr. Toyoda has deemed too vanilla. Although the concept isn’t a runner and the engine sitting under the windowed hood is just a styling piece, we can imagine a great Supra reincarnated with the 5.0-liter V8 serving in the Lexus IS F. In person the concept is an absolute stunner with classic proportions but completely modern surface detailing and an interior that is all business. We haven’t been this excited about a future Toyota in a long time and we were reminded today how sometimes surprises can be worth the wait.
The only people not happy to see the C7 ZO6 roll onto the Detroit Auto Show stage today are owners of the once-mighty ZR1. Corvette engineers have forgotten all about model heirachy and brought the new ZO6 model to market with even more power and performance than last year’s $120k range-topper. What makes that news even harder to hear is that the much-improved ZO6 will almost certainly cost tens of thousands less than the previous flagship. Chevrolet expects true supercar performance with regards to road holding, acceleration and braking. All of the aggressive body additions are the result of intensive wind tunnel testing to improve downforce at speed and the car looks downright menacing in person. Oh yeah, one more fact to wrinkle ZR1 drivers’ noses: the ZO6 broke the Milford proving ground track record on the first go-round. You’ve gotta love the march of progress. We do!
We don’t get to write about a new Corvette very often and the proof is in the math where it’s taken 60 years to finally deliver up a seventh generation. The wait has always been worth it and this time looks like no exception. The most dramatic changes are with the styling where lines get sharpened and a new quarter window adjoining the door glass takes the greenhouse in a daring new direction. The rear is also emboldened with dramatic LED lights, new vents and quad exhaust. In person the Corvette Stingray (that name returns to denote the base model) comes off as lithe and athletic but not overly refined or timeless. We do expect great things from the 450 hp LT1 V8, which finally features Direct Injection and should pay dividends in fuel economy, especially when paired with the new 7-speed manual transmission. Yes, seven speeds, just like the Porsche 911 only Chevrolet has engineered in a rev-matching system that should be a hoot. The C7 is 99 pounds lighter than the outgoing car and boasts a stiffer chassis thanks to hand-me-downs in the form of the aluminum frame from the ZO6 and ZR1. The interior is one area where we didn’t want to see any sharing from the outgoing car and we’re glad to report the new interior looks and feels leagues better. There are even two styles of seat for those who want even more aggressive bolstering. With as promising as the C7 looks we might not have to write about the next generation Corvette for a long time. Read more…