The annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit can induce serious sensory overload. For a true car nut, it’s like being a kid in a candy store – drooling over all that tasty sheet metal. I asked Jody Victor to tell us about 12 of them (in 3 instalments) from an article by Kirk Bell of MSN Autos, and msn.com.
Jody Victor: Hey Joe, can’t wait to see and drive some of these fantastic vehicles. Here’s the first batch.
Acura NSX Concept – The original NSX was the everyman’s supercar. The car, sold in the U.S. from 1990 to 2005, wasn’t overly powerful, but handled like it was on rails thanks to a low curb weight, ideal weight balance and a low center of gravity. The all-new NSX, which is due out within the next three years, will rely on technology to achieve the same — or, hopefully, better — results in the twisties. The concept’s midmounted V6 engine is connected to a dual-clutch automatic transmission with a built-in electric motor that sends power to the rear wheels. An additional pair of electric motors sits at the front axle to provide all-wheel drive. This new setup can shuttle torque from left to right just like in Acuras equipped with current SH-AWD, although in the NSX it’s done electrically.
2013 Audi S4 – The Audi S4 doesn’t get an appreciably new look for the 2013 model year, but it does retain the traits that have made it one of our favorite sport sedans. It’s still well-balanced, and handling is still aided by lightweight aluminum suspension components and the Audi drive select system, which includes adjustable shock absorbers. The 333-horsepower 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine offers plenty of willing power and decent fuel economy. Our only concern is the new electric-assist steering. Let’s hope it has as much road feel as, or more than, the outgoing hydraulic system.
2013 Cadillac ATS – When an automaker is serious about developing a car with world-class handling, it sends a group of engineers to test that vehicle on Germany’s famed Nurburgring road circuit. Cadillac did just that with the 2013 ATS compact sedan. Designed to compete with the BMW 3-Series, the ATS has true sport sedan credentials: low mass (it will be the lightest car in the class), extensive use of high-strength steel, rear- or all-wheel drive, Magnetic Ride Control suspension and Brembo brakes. We are looking forward to both the turbocharged 2.0-liter 270-horsepower four-cylinder and the 3.6-liter 318-horsepower V6 engines.
2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS – The Chevrolet Sonic was one of the pleasant surprises of 2011. Its solid structure gives the car a dynamic character unmatched in its segment. The 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, while a bit underpowered in the Chevy Cruze, is right at home in the lighter Sonic. The RS is a sportier version of the likable subcompact. With a lower stance and stiffer suspension, the RS will be even more agile than the base car. Revised gearing should make it slightly quicker, and some exterior modifications make it look a little meaner. We’ll go so far as to say the Sonic RS could be the poor man’s GTI.
Thanks, Jody! More next time!