The 2019 North American Auto International Auto Show (NAIAS) is in full swing in Detroit, and while a little quieter than previous years that still means eye-catching concepts, hotly anticipated debuts and a mouthwatering taste of the future of automotive design. Here we take a look at the highlights from the show floor, where one particularly spectacular return drew its fair share of attention.
With the contingent of crazy concepts and transport technologies at CES seeming to grow year on year, the fanfare surrounding the Detroit Auto Show just a week later perhaps isn't what it once was. In fact, next year organizers will host the event in June rather than January, hoping that some summertime vibes can reinvigorate the event.
It is also promising brands that wish to debut their shiny new vehicles at NAIAS 2020 "substantial cost savings" through cheaper, non-holiday-season labor and reduced build times for their stands. Many of these will be outside and scattered around downtown Detroit, turning it into a festival of sorts.
"The potential to create a month long automotive festival in Detroit starting with the Detroit Grand Prix, going through our show and concluding with the nationally-celebrated fireworks on the river, will provide an unmatched festival-like experience for all attendees," says Rod Alberts, Executive Director, NAIAS.
That's not to say the 2019 edition wasn't without some big plays from some big names. Here are a few examples to catch our interest this week.
Toyota 2020 Supra
Toyota chose the event to finally pulls the covers off its 2020 Supra, the first version of the iconic race car to enter production since 1998. The sports car returns with a turbocharged 3.0-liter engine producing 335 hp (250 kW) and a 0-60 mph (96 km/h) time of 4.1 seconds.
Aesthetically, the reborn Supra features all the hallmarks of earlier versions, with a stretched out low-lying hood and fastback coupe design, and careful attention also paid to performance. The exterior features motivated by aerodynamics include a double-bubble roof and integrated rear air fin, both borrowed from Toyota's 2000 GT.
The 2020 Toyota Supra will enter production in Austria and go on sale late this year, with prices starting at US$49,990.
2020 Ford Explorer
The brand new 2020 Explorer has been reinvented from the ground up and stylishly walks the increasingly fuzzy lines between a typical SUV and crossover. New powertrain options start with a 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine generating 300 hp (224 kW) and a 10-speed automatic transmission, with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 producing up to 365 hp (272 kW) available as an upgrade.
It can pull a lot more weight, with towing capacity now topping out at 5,600 lb (2,540 kg) with the upgraded engine. Inside there's a flash new infotainment system with a 10.1-inch screen and Ford's latest safety features like Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Speed Sign Recognition and Evasive Steering Assist.
The 2020 Ford Explorer will hit showrooms in North America in the middle of the year.
Subaru STI S209
Subaru's new STI S209 is its latest S-line performance vehicle and is very much built with racing in mind, with the company to only produce it in small numbers to meet the criteria for competition in the US. It looks aggressive but, like Subaru's line of WRX STI models, is actually a street-legal race car.
With a wide stance, big tires and bigger fenders, the STI S209 is said to offer improved ventilation for better cooling of the company's trusted EJ25 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder opposed-piston "Boxer" engine. As an STI model it has been souped up with a new HKS turbo to output 341 hp (254 kW).
Pricing will be announced closer to launch in 2019, but we do know that Subaru will produce only 200 units.
For a full look at highlights from the show floor of NAIAS 2019, jump on into the gallery.
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