By David A. Hakim
North American International Auto Show
The Motor City Muscles Up
The 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) provided a look at the latest vehicle creations auto manufacturers are developing or introducing during the year.
The 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) provided a look at the latest vehicle creations auto manufacturers are developing or introducing during the year. For the specialty-equipment industry’s manufacturers, industry influencers and opinion leaders, seeing the car and truck introductions provides an idea of what OEM product strategists think will attract consumers in dealer’s showrooms.
Here is a snapshot of the cars and trucks on display at this year’s NAIAS that members will want to keep an eye on for potential upgrade opportunities. We can foresee a number of recent introductions showing up at cruise nights, track days, road courses, dragstrips and off-road venues in the near future.
’15 Dodge Hellcat Charger SRT
The Dodge 707hp 6.2L Hemi Hellcat Challenger got out of the cage last year and has been considered a powerful success. The award-winning engine has also found a new home in the ’15 Charger SRT, and now that nameplate has earned the honor of being the fastest production sedan in the world at 204 mph.
The Hellcat-powered Charger SRT has the performance edge over its Challenger cousin. Even with a little more heft and four doors, this Charger is a very capable track car, albeit more for a dragstrip than a road course.
’15 RAM 1500 Rebel
The new ’15 Ram 1500 Rebel is Chrysler’s (FCA) latest entry into the off-road market. The unique blacked-out, non-“cross-hair” grille with massive “Ram” badging demands attention. The standard 33-in. tires, increased ride height, skid plate and tow hooks are intended to attract customers who might consider trail use.
Standard power comes from the 3.6L, 305hp Pentastar V6, but buyers can opt for the optional 5.7L Hemi V8 with 395 hp and 410 lb.-ft. of torque. Both engines feed power through the new eight-speed automatic transmission (TorqueFlite 8).
Even though it’s not a BAJA 1000 contender and isn’t as over-the-top as the Ford Raptor, this is a platform that could end up in the hands of a buyer who would be a candidate for upgrades and upfits.
’16 Cadillac CTS-V
The ’16 Cadillac CTS-V will now have the honor of being the most powerful product in the iconic brand’s 100-plus year history. Its power comes from the supercharged 640hp LT-4 from the ’15 Z06 Corvette Stingray.
The 630 lb.-ft. of torque going through the paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmission featuring launch control will also help propel the CTS-V to a top speed of more than 200 mph. The CTS-V will launch in late summer, and with its small-block Chevy residing under the hood.
’16 Nissan Titan XD
Nissan rolled out their new ’16 Titan XD pickup, marking the first time the all-new Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel engine has been seen installed in a vehicle. This new engine is rated at 310 hp and more significantly, 555 lb.-ft. of torque.
The mission of Nissan’s new partnership with Cummins was to compete directly with the new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel V6 and Ford 150 2.7L EcoBoost V6.
Even with lower fuel prices, truck buyers still want good mileage with high payload capabilities. The ’16 Titan XD was designed in California, engineered in Detroit and will be built in Mississippi.
’16 Shelby GT350R
With a new flat-plane crankshaft 5.2L V8 pushing more than 500 hp and more than 400 lb.-ft. of torque, the ’16 Shelby GT350R emits intoxicating sounds from its quad-tip exhaust pipes. Ford Racing and Mustang specialists are already gearing up to provide parts that will extract even more power.
Ford is also setting new trends, as the GT350R will come standard with lightweight carbon-fiber wheels.
’17 Ford GT
Ford announced its reentry into the supercar arena with the new GT, which features lightweight carbon-fiber body components wrapped around a mid-mounted twin-turbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost V6 producing more than 600 hp. The heart of this new supercar is bolted to a seven-speed all-clutch transaxle.
Ford’s designers and engineers have developed every slope and shape to minimize drag and optimize downforce. There’s also an active rear spoiler in which the height and/or pitch angle can reactively be deployed and adjusted depending on conditions.
The suspension uses an adjustable torsion-bar style setup and an active spring-rate change that can lower the car. Ford’s mission for the GT is to harken back to the days of the mid ’60s when Ford was a dominant force at Le Mans.
’17 Ford Raptor
When Ford brought the Raptor out in 2010, off-road enthusiasts finally had a fast, capable and cool truck that could handle trail duty and pre-running right out of the box, yet remain street-legal and passenger-friendly.
The next-generation ’17 model promises to stay the course and keep the Raptor a truck to be reckoned with. Just like its bestselling brother, the Ford F-150, the Raptor utilizes high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy in its body and bed, knocking off more than 500 lbs. of weight compared to outgoing Raptor.
The big news is what’s under its lightweight louvered hood, as the 6.2L V8 has been replaced an all-new high-output 3.5L EcoBoost engine. Ford claims the V6 will make more horsepower and torque than the previous Raptor.
The ’17 Raptor comes equipped with many familiar aftermarket parts, such as FOX Racing Shox and standard 17-in. BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires. All of these have been tuned and designed specifically for the new Raptor.
Ford wasn’t the only automaker to unveil a supercar, as Acura revealed its production version of the next-generation Acura NSX. Like the Ford GT, the new NSX is powered by a twin turbocharged V6 engine, but that’s where the similarities in the power plant department end.
The Acura engineers have also added a three-electric-motor Sport Hybrid system that allows the front wheels to be driven by twin independent high-output electric motors delivering instantaneous torque response with left-to-right torque distribution.
There’s also a rear direct-drive electric motor, housed between the engine and transmission. The transmission used in the hybrid exotic sports car is an all-new nine-speed DCT that provides quick gear changes and rev-matching downshifts.