Highlights From the 2012 Detroit Auto Show

Somewhere, Harley Earl is shaking his head in disbelief. The undisputed king of automotive style in Detroit might have looked at the 2012 Detroit auto show entrants and thought, “Wow.” This year’s highlights of the Motor City show are at once a stunning example of the automotive designer’s art, but equally an homage to the past.


The New Mercedes SL was expected to be a contentious car from the moment it was unveiled. Although some consider the design less attractive than one would expect from Mercedes, viewers were overwhelmingly drawn to the interior. Luxury abounds, but the design is simple and thoughtful. Controls are right where they’re supposed to be, just as you would expect from a luxury car.


To be available in either “S” trim or base trim, the new Carrera Cabriolet features a slightly wider stance, lighter overall weight, and the presence of mind to look like a Porsche (As if anyone would expect otherwise.) Perhaps most attractive about the new Cab is that with the roof up, the car has the same roof line as the 991-series 911 coupe.


Chevrolet debuted two new concepts at the Detroit show this year, the Code 130R and 140S. The 140S features exotic-car styling that although attractive, still somewhat resembles the Mitsubishi Eclipse of just a few years ago. The 130R looks to be a more practical car, but has an unmistakeable styling essence that just might be a hit if it finds its way to dealership floors.


The Volkswagen E-Bugster concept continues in VW’s path of making the new Volkswagen Beetle a more masculine automobile. Sporting what appears to be a hot-rod chopped roof, it’s likely that the E-Bugster is a precursor to the next convertible Beetle, expected sometime next year.


Supercar fans have long lamented the demise of the popular NSX, and it seems that Honda has been listening. The newest NSX features a hybrid powertrain that is nothing short of stunning. In order to offer all-wheel drive, the NSX’s V6 engine drives the rear wheels, while a pair of electric motors power the front wheels. This allows the car to apply additional speed to either of the front wheels in a turn, sharpening the responsiveness of the car considerably.

North American International Auto Show: 2012 Detroit Auto Show: www.naias.com
Motor Trend: 2012 Detroit Auto Show: www.motortrend.com

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