Motown with a bullet
Tasty teases from the 2014 show point to the chart-topping sportsters of years to come
AN unlikely alliance between BMW and Toyota is expected to rock Motown next week with a new-age sports car.
The new axis powers have worked on future development since 2011, collaborating on diesel and hybrid power initially before shifting up to the sports car program.
Nothing concrete about the car has emerged in advance of the Detroit motor show preview on Monday but both brands promise something special at the first major motoring event of 2014.
It’s likely to be a major leap from the Toyota 86, developed in another partnership with Subaru. The latter’s BRZ twin shared the 2012 Carsguide Car of the Year award.
The media blackout at the alliance is a sharp contrast to Infiniti, Nissan and Kia, which cannot resist early teasers for Detroit. The Asian brands have trumped the hometown Big Three — Chrysler, Ford and General Motors — with preview pictures of their show stoppers, stealing the spotlight from the all-new Ford Mustang that‘s making its public debut.
Mercedes-Benz has teased its new C-Class with preview pictures but it, too, will only be out in the open at Detroit.
The first of the Detroit show cars is the Infiniti Q50 “Eau Rouge”, which the Japanese brand claims is influenced by its link to the Red Bull grand prix team and points to more punch from its flagship sedan.
The Q50 launches in Australia at the end of February, becoming the fifth model in the local line-up and the trigger for a dealership expansion in 2014.
The Detroit car takes its name from one of the fastest corners in Formula One (on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium) and there is also some F1 technology in the aero work and carbon-fibre body panels.
The Eau Rouge shares only the roof and door profiles with the production Q50, as the car sits lower and considerably wider. New body bits run from a huge front splitter to a rear diffuser and side skirts, carbonfibre roof and door mirrors, 21inch alloy wheels and a twin-pipe sports exhaust.
Kia has produced a proper concept car for Detroit, tapping its California design studio as styling chief Peter Schreyer continues to push the limits for the South Korean brand.
Early news on the GT4 Stinger is all about the latest development of Kia’s signature “Tiger Nose” grille, though the car could be much more significant.
It is powered by the 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine already in the Sportage in the US. It’s expected to share its rear-wheel drive chassis with the Hyundai Genesis sedan that’s coming to Australia later this year.
“I would be very surprised if it’s not going to be a production car. There will be changes of course, but …,” Kia spokesman Kevin Hepworth tells Carsguide. “The exciting thing is that it’s a 2.0-litre turbo with rear-wheel drive. So it’s an acknowledgment that the turbo engine can go into cars beyond Kia’s SUVs.”
The only preview picture of the GT4 Stinger shows a car with a glowing while grille surround, vertical LED headlamps and giant cooling ducts feeding air to 20-inch alloy wheels.
The Nissan concept at Detroit, which follows the youthful IDx coupes previewed at Tokyo last year, is a solid hint at a sports sedan potentially based on the Maxima.
Where the IDx double act is all about a successor to the Silvia coupe, just as Toyota tapped its Corolla AE86 for its new-age 86 two-seater, the Detroit car is something different again.
“The company hasn’t confirmed what model it could be, but it is a very clear indication,” says Nissan Australia spokesman Peter Fadeyev. “We saw a hint at the Nissan 360 event last year, where there was a tease for a future sports sedan.”
Detroit wheels: (main picture) Infiniti‘s Eau Rouge headliner; Nissan’s IDx twins from Tokyo (above) might influence a sports sedan, as might the Nissan concept (left); and Kia GT4 Stinger