Report from Detroit – Highlights from the 2015 North American International Auto Show

By Christian Stampfer on 13 January 2015
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New Models Include Diesel Hybrid Plug-In SUV, Jaguar Diesels


DETROIT — The 2015 North American International Auto Show kicks off the international car show calendar every January. With the exception of the years 1943 through 1952, the show has been held since 1907 in Detroit, Michigan and was originally known as the Detroit Auto Show.

Regardless of name, the Detroit show remains one of the industry’s most important events and is followed by other international shows in Geneva, in March, and Frankfurt in September. This year, the Detroit show, held at the Cobo Center in Detroit, will be open to the public from January 17 through January 25.

Here’s a look at the key announcements and premieres from the show floor on day one.


Audi is celebrating the world premiere of the all-new Q7 in Detroit. The 3.0 TDI Quattro, powered by a V6 diesel engine producing 272 horsepower, accelerates from a standstill to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 6.3 seconds with fuel economy figures of 41.3 mpg (5.7 l/100 km) Thanks to less weight and the updated diesel engine, Audi claims an improved fuel economy of 23% compared to its predecessor.

The greenest model in the Q7 range will make its debut later in 2015. The Q7 e-tron Quattro will be the world’s first diesel-powered plug-in hybrid SUV. The 3.0-liter TDI engine powers the car alongside a 94 kW electric motor, which is integrated into the eight-speed automatic transmission. A combined power output of 373 horsepower with a torque of 516 pound-feet and a fuel economy of 138 mpg (1.7 l/100 km) sets a new fuel efficiency benchmark in the premium SUV market.

All Q7 models use an eight-speed tiptronic to transfer the engine power to the permanent Quattro all-wheel drive system. Numerous additional technology and safety features, such as LED lightning, a new MMI cockpit controller system, the Audi virtual cockpit, and radar-based adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist are being introduced as well.

Audi also unveiled the updated version of its compact SUV, the Audi Q3. The Audi Q3 features a sharper exterior design, mainly focusing on the single-frame grille and new headlights. The most environmentally friendly model in the Q3 range is the diesel powered Audi Q3 2.0 TDI clean diesel ultra with a fuel economy rating of 53.5 mpg (4.4 l/100 km).


BMW presented an updated line-up of the BMW 6 Series, including the Coupe, the Convertible and the Gran Coupe. The refresh focuses on interior and exterior design updates and introduces several new engines. A new design of the BMW kidney grille is introduced alongside several new exterior colors and new interior trims.

In addition to two petrol engines for the 640i and 650i, a redesigned turbocharged six-cylinder diesel engine that develops 313 horsepower and 464 pound-feet of torque will see its unveiling in the 640d. This engine makes the 640d the greenest and most economical in the 6 Series with a fuel economy of 40.5 mpg (5.8 l/100 km). In addition, BMW has improved fuel consumption in the 6er’s other engines, while maintaining power output.

According a spokesman from BMW of North America, there are no plans to bring the BMW 640d to the States.


Hyundai presented a hybrid version of the Sonata, the company’s mid-sized sedan. The new hybrid will go on sale in the first half of 2015 in major markets outside Korea and Hyundai aims to sell a total 55,000 units in 2015. The Sonata Hybrid is powered by a 2-liter GDI petrol engine, producing 156 horsepower and a 38 kW electric motor. A six-speed automatic transmission comes standard with every Sonata Hybrid. Hyundai rates the Sonata Hybrid with a fuel economy of 42.7 mpg (5.5 l/100 km).


At a pre-show event on Sunday, Jaguar Land Rover announced its new XE sedan and plans to offer diesel-powered versions of its current U.S. models.

The new Ingenium diesel engine will be available this year in the Range Rover Td6 and Sport Td6 SUVs and, in 2016, in the new XE.

Jaguar says that the Ingenium engine will allow the Range Rover to get 25 mpg (9.4 l/100 km) combined, a 32% improvement over the petrol-powered supercharged V6.

“We are joining the diesel game in the U.S. in a big way,” said Joe Eberhardt, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, at the event. “We intend to roll out fuel-efficient diesel-powered vehicles across Jaguar and Land Rover lineups on virtually every model over the next three years. I think it’s the powertrain of the future,” he added.


Mercedes-Benz is following in the footsteps of the BMW X6 and unveiled the all-new GLE coupe in Detroit. At launch, the automaker will offer the new SUV coupe with two engine variants, the GLE 350d and the GLE 400. The diesel engine of the GLE 350d produces 258 horsepower and offers a maximum torque of 457 pound-feet. All GLE models are fitted with Mercedes-Benz’ 4Matic all-wheel drive system and 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission.

After Mercedes-Benz premiered its hybrid technology in the S-Class in 2014, the hybrid technology now debuts in the C-Class. The Mercedes-Benz C350 Plug-In Hybrid is powered by both a four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor. Together, the engines offer a combined power output of 275 horsepower with a maximum torque of 443 pound-feet. The Hybrid accelerates from a standstill to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.9 seconds, and can cover a total distance of 20 miles (32 km) in all-electric driving mode.


Nissan celebrated the world premiere of its all-new 2016 Nissan Titan XD heavy-duty truck. The Nissan Titan XD is a purely American truck, designed in California, engineered in Michigan, tested in Arizona and built in Canton, Mississippi. The Titan XD can tow up to 12,000 pounds (5,443 kilograms) and is powered by a 5-liter V8 Turbo diesel engine. Alongside the diesel-powered version, Nissan offers V6 and V8 petrol engine powered models. All Nissan Titans will hit the salesrooms in the United States and Canada in late 2015.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)