This week’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, hot on the heels of the techtastic CES in Las Vegas, still managed to cough up some tantalizing bits of automotive innovation. We gathered the best so that you can Score your fix of the hardware and software to expect in our cars in the coming years.
2020 Mustang Shelby GT500
The Shelby GT500 arrives later this year with more than 700 horsepower, delivered via a supercharged V8 that’s fed air via cooling inlets that are twice as large as those in the Mustang GT350. But the big news is that the company has ditched the conventional manual in favor of a lightning-fast dual-clutch transmission, which will deliver gear shifts in just 100 milliseconds.
Purists can opt for the GT350, which still offers a manual, but… modern cars call for modern transmissions, folks. At the corners, Ford introduces the company’s Magneride shocks. These use iron filings suspended in a magnetorheological goo that can be charged with magnetic pulses to instantly alter the viscosity, and thus resistance levels. This means immediate response to the road and the driving conditions.
GAC Motors Entranze EV
This concept SUV from the Chinese manufacturer – which expects to start selling cars in the U.S. in 2020 – includes a “wave-inspired” instrument panel and OLED center display. Its AI-powered voice control minimizes driver distraction, and the steering wheel includes illuminated touch controls around the perimeter. That bit is inspired by aviation design, as is a storage trolley that slides between the seats when needed.
Infiniti QX Inspiration
This concept vehicle teases the company’s reaction to the recent wave of all-electric SUV’s from Audi, Mercedes and Jaguar. It’ll have four electric motors instead of usual two, which could mean for even more versatile interior space, and it’ll have retractable pedals and a screen-equipped steering wheel in order to accommodate our fully autonomous future, of course.
This is Kia’s full-size SUV, which will seat up to eight. It’s loaded down with technology that’s both familiar and new. The Highway Driving Assist option uses radar and lidar to combine lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control for Level 2 semiautonomous driving capability. This would be one of the first economy brands to introduce this capability, as it’s typically the realm of the premium brands.
When using the adaptive cruise control system, the Telluride will automatically match speeds to the posted limits, helping keep John Law off your back. Safety features include an advanced blind-spot assist system that applies the brakes to keep you from cutting off other vehicles, as well as automatic braking if a rear cross-traffic collision is imminent. Finally, Safe Exit Assist will keep the doors locked if an object – a cyclist, say – is approaching from behind while parked.
The most mysterious tech debut of the show has to be Cadillac’s coy reveal of its forthcoming electric crossover. It didn’t share any details at all – not even the name – and all we know about it is that it’s based on GM’s upcoming BEV3 electric vehicle platform, and thus appears to be the first of many to use it. As for the car itself, the design is promisingly strong and edgy, so we expect it to be a compelling alternative to the Jaguar I-Pace electric crossover, assuming they can deliver the range and performance to match or exceed that terrific product.
We got our first peek at the new Explorer this week, the first in its lineage to include a hybrid powertrain. Like Kia’s Telluride, it will also be an economy brand with semi-autonomous driving tech, indicating that type of tech is finally trickling down. Naturally, the Explorer will also have multiple engine options and will seat seven, making it still one of the most attractive – and now, tech-saturated – family haulers on the market.
For those who like their performance tech of the analog variety, there’s the new STI S209. The new all-wheel-drive pavement shredder will be limited to just 200 copies, with its tech innovations squarely focused on the suspension and engine compartment. The new HKS turbo cranks out enough extra boost to push the flat-four to 341 horsepower.