Mo­town with a bul­let

Tasty teases from the 2014 show point to the chart-top­ping sport­sters of years to come

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@cars­ twit­ter @paulward­gover

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

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