The 2009 Detroit Motor Show will perhaps be best remembered as the event where the usually glamorous auto show lost some of its shimmer and declined instead into a pit of austerity characterised by production cuts, the omission of otherwise big-ticket manufacturers from the show floor and a general slump in the global automotive market.
But the show was not without its stars. We've chosen our top three exhibits shown at the Cobo Centre this year, where the show remains open to the public until January 25.
Audi Sportback Concept
Audi expands into yet another niche with this Sportback concept which previews the highly-anticipated A7 four-door coupe that is meant to slot beneath the flagship A8 sedan in the manufacturer's line-up.
Of particular interest is Audi's re-interpretation of its signature single-frame grille and the use of its new 155-kW 3.0-litre TDI unit.
The production version is expected to be revealed later this year.
Chrysler 200C EV Concept
Chrysler may be in a particularly precarious position in its home market, but this 200C concept had us paying attention.
The Detroit Three had a low-key appearance with very little fanfare, but this reveal required little histrionics. It's styling hints at the next Sebring, and while it may be considered a little late for some, its propulsion via a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain is not unwelcome since this will likely be carried over to production versions.
It also sports one of the most exciting fascias we've seen in a while.
Volkswagen BlueSport Concept
After dwelling in the design doldrums for some time, Volkswagen's styling had been given a leg up with the unveiling of the Golf 6 and Scirocco sports coupe. This striking Golf-based roadster concept is the latest to have us floored - not least because it is powered by a 132-kW 2.0-litre turbodiesel motor.
VW says BlueSport remains a concept and while we're not at all convinced, we'd like to get our paws on that new motor at the very least.