NEW E-CLASS AT DETROIT SHOW: Mercedes-Benz unveiled its 10th generation E-Class at the 2016 North American International Auto show in Detroit. Image: AP / Carlos Osorio
Detroit - Automakers plan to debut 45 new vehicles at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which opens to the public January 16.
While embattled automaker, Volkswagen, has taken some glean off the event because of its emissions-cheating scandal, the US car market saw record sales in 2015 and motoring sector is in a buoyant mood.
Here are some of the buzz-worthy new cars at the show:
1. Porsche 911 Turbo, Turbo S
Not known for austerity or restraint, the latest Porsche 911 pushes even further: more horsepower, faster acceleration and higher top speeds. The 2017 911 Turbo and Turbo S promise 15kW more than before and both have faster top track speeds - 11km/h faster for the Turbo S, which now clocks in at 330km/h. Porsche says the heightened power and performance comes with increased fuel efficiency, but adds EPA ratings aren't yet available.
Porsche South Africa confirms the new models will arrive locally later in 2016.
2. Mercedes E-Class
Mercedes-Benz was the top-selling luxury brand in the U.S. in 2015. The tenth generation of the midsize E-Class sedan borrows the elongated hood and gently sloping tail of its big sibling, the S-Class. The E-Class gets a new turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol engine with 180kW, up from 145kW in the current four-cylinder diesel.
Inside, the driver can control the infotainment system with smartphone-like swipes of a finger. Semi-autonomous driving capabilities including changing lanes by itself and maintaining a safe distance from the car in front at speeds of up to 209km/h.
Pricing will be announced closer to its local launch in 2016.
3. Volvo S90
Volvo's new luxury sedan makes self-driving technology standard. According to Volvo, the S90's semi-autonomous Pilot Assist software allows the car to "accelerate, decelerate, come to a complete stop and steer on a road with clear lane markings at speeds up to 128km/h".
Three engine choices will be available, including a four-cylinder, 2.0-litre turbocharged and supercharged engine and a plug-in hybrid.
Volvo South Africa confirmed the sedan will be here at the end of 2016.
4. Audi H-TRON Quattro concept, A4 Allroad Quattro
A fuel cell concept car from Audi seeks to offer power and range with the convenience of quick fueling.
The h-tron quattro concept at the Detroit auto show is envisioned as a zero-emissions vehicle with power from electric motors in the front and rear. Audi says it will take four minutes to refill its tanks with hydrogen. Once the h-tron is fueled-up its range, the automaker says, will be nearly 600km.
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The new Audi A4 allroad quattro seeks to combine driving comfort with off-road performance. Available engines in the station wagon produce between 111kW and 150kW, up to 20kW higher than the previous model.
5. Lexus LF-FC Concept, LC 500
A fuel cell concept from Lexus is a "luxury fuel cell sedan of the future." So says Akio Toyoda, chief branding officer and master test driver for Toyota's luxury brand. Toyoda says the goal for the LF-FC Concept, which could see production as soon as 2020, is to achieve a lot of "zeros": zero emissions, zero dependence on oil and zero accidents through advanced technology.
Toyoda also unveiled the new LC 500, a sports performance coupe that hews closely to the LF-LC Concept introduced at the Detroit show in 2012. The LC 500 offers a 5-litre V8 engine with 348kW.
Lexus South Africa confirmed that the LC 500 will be availble in the fourth quarter of 2016 or first quarter of 2017.
6. Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept
Volkswagen hopes the next-generation Tiguan is the hit it needs in the SUV market. The concept version being shown in Detroit has a petrol-electric hybrid drive system and bolstered off-road performance. VW says the five-seat concept has two electric motors that boost total system horsepower to 164kW, pushing the SUV from 0-100km/h in 6.4 seconds.
The Tiguan concept will be able to go 32km's in all-electric mode before the gas engine comes on. It also has the latest safety features such as automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection.
7. New BMW M2
The rear-wheel drive, high performance sports coupe is a first for BMW's famed M line in the automaker's 2 Series. The M2 offers a 3-litre, six-cylinder engine producing 272kW. BMW says it can go from 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds and offers a top track speed off about 250km/h.
Design features include a double-slatted grill that complements the double-spoke style of the light-alloy wheels.
To prove the new M2 maintains the DNA of the brand, board member Ian Robertson rode out to the unveiling in a 2002 Turbo from the 1970s.
Watch: Video of the BMW M2
8. Chevrolet Cruze hatch
A hatchback version of the Chevy Cruze puts GM on equal footing with the Ford Focus and other compacts that come in hatch and sedan versions. The Cruze sedan debuts early this year, with the hatch coming out in the fall.
Both have a new 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine with stop-start technology that can get up to 17km/litre on the highway.
9. Ford Fusion
Ford is adding performance to its midsize Fusion sedan lineup. The Fusion V6 Sport has a twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine.
It's expected to deliver 242kW/474Nm, about the same as the BMW 340i sedan and ahead of similarly equipped midsize cars from Toyota, Honda and Nissan. The V6 Sport has a unique black mesh grille, a rear spoiler and 19" wheels. A new pothole detection system can quickly adjust the shock absorbers to minimize the impact.
Ford South Africa confirmed it will not bring the V6 version to Mzansi.
10. And finally...Honda Civic
The Honda Civic has captured the North American award for car of the year for a second time. The Civic beat out the Chevy Malibu and the Mazda MX-5. The Civic won previously in 2006.
About 55 automotive journalists vote on winners from the list of finalists.
A vehicle must be all new or substantially changed for eligibility. This is the 23rd year for the awards.