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 third batch.
Lexus LF-LC Concept – Though the LF-LC is just a concept, the hybrid sports coupe signals a new design direction for Lexus. If the luxury car brand gets positive response here in Detroit, it might be inspired to build the car, which would be super. Ideally, we’d like it to possess the handling prowess of the automaker’s celebrated LF-A, come in a rear-wheel drive platform and have the turbocharged V6 hybrid powertrain pump out between 450 and 500 horsepower. Now that would be a world-class sports car.
2013 Mercedes-Benz SL – In Mercedes parlance, SL stands for Super Lightweight. But the SL roadster hasn’t stuck to that philosophy in recent years. The 2013 SL550 gets back to those roots. With a body and structure rendered in almost all aluminum, the new SL is 242 pounds lighter than its predecessor, the equivalent of a good-sized middle linebacker. That should translate into improved handling for this grand tourer, as well as make the new turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine’s 429 horses all that more effective. Add in Mercedes’ responsive Direct Steer variable steering ratio and available active body control, and the new SL should be sportier than ever.
Mercedes-Benz E300 BlueTec Hybrid – Hybrids aren’t usually the objects of passion for auto enthusiasts. They are, after all, usually underpowered and bland in the handling department. But we appreciate the compatible technologies involved in the E300 BlueTec Hybrid. Diesel engines offer great highway fuel economy and hybrids do the same for city efficiency, so combining the two is only natural. Mercedes has said the E300 BlueTec Hybrid will be offered only in Europe, at least initially, so U.S. fuel-economy numbers aren’t available, but we expect 50-plus mpg. Hopefully, Mercedes will see fit to bring this efficient car to these shores in the future. It’ll offer Prius-level efficiency in a fun-to-drive luxury package.
2012 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet – The last generation of the Porsche 911 was a model of precision and agility. With its longer wheelbase, wider track and lighter weight, the all-new 911, code name 991, is even better. We’ve driven the coupe and it is more refined, more efficient, more luxurious and even more agile than the outgoing model, which was outstanding. The 2012 Cabriolet, shown here, gets a lighter top thanks to a new design that incorporates magnesium bows. Give us the 400-horsepower 911 Carrera S Cabriolet with the 7-speed manual transmission, a winding road and a clear summer day, and we’ll be in automotive heaven.
Thanks, Jody! We can’t wait to check ’em out!