Detroit officially celebrated the 100-year anniversary of its autoshow as the media gathered for the opening ceremonies Sunday morning Jan. 7th, Toyota, Honda, Acura, Mitsubishi and Scion in particular all showed up to the party displaying impressive models or concept vehicles to mark the occasion.
On Sunday night as part of a invite-only gala, Toyota presented the impressive FT-HS sports car concept – significant because it’s been almost 10 years since Toyota has had a flag-ship sports coupe in its ranks … hopefully foreshadowing things to come from the company. The FT-HS, designed at Toyota’s Calty Design Studio, is being billed by the company as the sportscar for the 21st century – one that combines all the necessary attributes of a top sports car (powerful, nimble handling, bold, sleek exterior) while addressing the emerging concerns of today’s drivers about safety, ecology and social responsibility. The striking FT-HS is a front-engine, rear-drive, two-plus-two sports car with an ultra-high performance, ultra-fuel-efficient and ultra low-emission 3.5-liter V6 hybrid electric powertrain (Toyota mentioned the engine was capable of 400 horsepower). The concept’s beautiful features included carbon fiber accents on the wheels and rear valence, a scalloped hood channel exposing the engine, and an impressive automated retractable hardtop for open-air driving. We can only hope that Toyota moves forward and produces this vehicle.
Mitsubishi unveiled the all-new 2008 Lancer and Prototype X (a concept vision of the next-gen EVO) to applause from the throng of media in attendance. Both the Lancer (available at dealers in March) and the next-gen Evo are built on the all-new performance-engineered global platform that Mitsubishi debuted with the 2007 Outlander. The new design features a shark-nosed front end with jet fighter like air intakes. Of specific interest, the next gen EVO showcases an all-new 2.0-liter DOHC MIVEC turbocharged engine (Mitsubishi did not release power numbers but stated that it will have the highest power rating for an EVO model) and Super-All Wheel Control (S-ASC), a new high performance all-wheel drive system. As well, the Prototype X included a new paddle-shift automated manual transmission – the first time the company has done so on the EVO (for stick purists the company will also offer a conventional 5-speed manual transmission). The impressive new EVO also included a premium 650-watt Rockford-Fosgate audio system, HDD navigation system with music server, and Bluetooth capability. While the base Lancer goes on sale in March, no specific date for the EVO was released but a first quarter of 2008 date is planned.
Honda presented its stylish and sporty Honda Accord Coupe concept that the company stated will closely resemble the next-generation production Accord set for sale in fall 2007. The two-door, five-passenger coupe will get a more powerful V6 engine, but Honda did not give any details on engine power.
Acura released its Advanced Sports Car Concept – which company officials confirmed will replace the NSX. The rear-wheel drive two-seat concept, designed by Acura’s Los Angeles studio, features a front-mounted V10. No horsepower numbers were released but Acura stated that the engine will be the most powerful ever offered by the company. The car’s sharply angled exterior resembles that of the MDX, and it rides on 19-inch tires up front and 20-inch rubber in the back. As well, the car features Acura’s super-handling all-wheel-drive system (SH-AWD). Honda president and CEO Takeo Fukui said that a more complete version of the car will be on hand at the Tokyo Auto Salon in the fall. We can’t wait!
And Scion, preparing to release new xB and xD platforms in the spring showed off their 2007 tC Release Series 3.0 that comes in Blizzard Pearl White complete with KenStyle front and rear ground effects. Only 2,500 of the units will be sold starting in mid-February. The car also features darkened headlights, a custom wide intake-style upper grille, Scion clear LED taillights, black Alcantara seats, a blizzard pearl RAZO weighted shift knob and a Pioneer six-inch subwoofer mounted in an under-floor storage area.
Get yourself to Detroit to get a closer look at these cars – public viewing days are from January 13-21. Can’t get there? Click on our extensive photo gallery for all the images from the show.