Detroit auto show: Porsche 918 RSR is AutoWeek's Best In Show winner
Cars from Porsche, BMW, Chrysler and Ford have been named by AutoWeek editors as being the standouts at this year's Detroit auto show--led by the Porsche 918 RSR concept being our Best In Show honoree.
“The 2011 Detroit show had more than two dozen new models and reinforced the new normal in the automotive business,” executive editor Roger Hart said. “There were no fancy, pie-in-the-sky, dreamlike concept cars. Nearly everything billed as a concept looked as if you could buy one tomorrow at your local dealership and drive it home.”
The awards were presented on Thursday during the AutoWeek Design Forum.
The 2011 AutoWeek Editors' Choice Award winners for Detroit are:
BEST IN SHOW: PORSCHE 918 RSR CONCEPT
Porsche marked its return to the Detroit auto show with a bang by unveiling the motorsports-inspired 918 RSR concept, and--like the 918 Spyder concept revealed last year in Geneva--it was the undisputed star of the show.
The advanced gasoline-electric-powered coupe previews a production-based race car under development at Porsche Motorsport, which is eyeing a return to Le Mans in 2012. In addition, the 918 RSR provides clues to the production coupe version of the 918, set to be built alongside the open-top model in 2013.
The RSR has a mid-mounted, 4.5-liter, 563-hp V8 powering the rear wheels, enhanced by a kinetic-energy-recovery-system (KERS) flywheel first seen on the 911 GT3 RS hybrid race car, instead of the full-mode hybrid system in the 918 Spyder. The flywheel sits in the passenger area of the cabin and creates energy under braking to power a pair of electric motors integrated into the front axles. At the push of a button, an additional 204 hp is available for eight-second bursts, making the concept four-wheel-drive-capable.
The RSR is a successor to the Carrera GT and is based on a carbon-fiber monocoque.
MOST FUN: 2011 BMW 1-SERIES M COUPE
Sometimes it's an imaginative concept that wins our Most Fun award, and sometimes it's a vehicle that gets the driver in us excited. Here it's clearly the latter, as the BMW 1-series M coupe receives the award.
We like the 135i with 300 hp, but the M coupe with the twin-turbocharged, 335-hp version of the 3.0-liter I6 takes it a step further. The engine has an overboost function to increase torque briefly from 332 lb-ft to 369 lb-ft, and with the car's relatively light 3,296-pound curb weight, it's good to hit 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph.
A revised suspension has more aluminum components, a wider track and a lowered ride height, and it rolls on 19-inch wheels, with brakes borrowed from the M3. Visual changes include heavily flared wheel arches, a deep front bumper with larger intakes, unique side sills and side mirrors and a subtle spoiler. What's the price for fun? Try $47,010 to start. The car will be available this spring.
MOST SIGNIFICANT: 2011 CHRYSLER 300
It's hard to overstate the significance of one car to one company, but in this case, the 300 is essential to the survival of Chrysler. Rarely do economics and enthusiasm intersect, but with Hemi power and potentially hefty sales, the 300 carries Chrysler's banner in all of the areas that matter.
The car is vastly improved from the strong first-generation model. Power is upgraded with the 3.6-liter, 292-hp Pentastar V6 and the 5.7-liter V8 cranking out 363 hp. It comes in rear-wheel- and all-wheel-drive configurations, and an eight-speed transmission will be added later.
The 300 has one of Chrysler's nicest interiors ever, with comfortable, supportive seats and pleasing materials from the headliner to the dashboard. The grille was the most controversial change, but the old-style grille is available through Mopar.
At a glance, this car is still unmistakably the 300, yet if you look closely, you'll see the pronounced wheel arches and accentuated beltline. The headlights are sharper and offer an angry bird-of-prey stare, while the taillights are upright and austere, as though from a bygone era when mighty American sedans ruled the roads.
Obstacles remain for the new Chrysler, but this redesign is evidence of its potential. The 300 is a car to be feared.
BEST CONCEPT: FORD VERTREK
When Ford designers feel like it, they can craft a pretty sexy concept. The thing is, the company has been so focused on serious matters, such as small cars and fine-tuning production models, that it hasn't had a lot of time to make concepts capable of turning heads at auto shows. Enter the Vertrek.
Extending the lineage of the gutsy Interceptor and Super Chief concepts, Ford designers unleashed their full fury on this show car, which blends European styling with the practical needs of Americans.
The best part? Ford design boss J Mays says that this concept is very close to the look of the next Escape and its European counterpart, the Kuga. The trapezoidal grille is borrowed from the new Focus and is divided into three parts. The roofline is sleek, and the beltline rises toward the back for an athletic demeanor. Hood and fenders are creased, and it's all topped off with a panoramic sunroof.
There are large vents in front, accented chrome molding, stretched headlights and wraparound taillights. The sheetmetal is designed to house 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter EcoBoost engines along with a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-four. Wink and nod, that's probably the powertrain lineup for the next Escape. If indeed the Escape looks similar to the Vertrek, that crossover is suddenly on our shopping list.
Others considered: Honda Civic coupe, Mini Paceman, GMC Sierra All Terrain HD, Toyota Prius c.
Content provided by AutoWeek.
What would you call a uber Euro PORSCHE 918 RSR CONCEPT, just another grocery getter for Mom. I love fast cars, big horse power, loud exhaust, but to label this car as anything but out of reach for 99.999999999999999% percent of the world is a bit off putting.
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