Top Production Cars from Detroit for 2008
Once again, an auto show comes to a close and it's time to look back and choose the best and worst. Here are the top picks for production cars from the North American International Auto Show or 2008 (In no particular order).
Volkswagen Passat CC
The New 4-Door "coupe" from our good friends at VW. The CC is based on the CLS, but has a sportier look and is slightly shorter. The reason this vehicle is so popular is the introduction of a few new electronic goodies such as "Lane Assist," "Dynamic Drive Control (DDC)," and "Automatic Distance Control." Lane assist, as the name implies, helps to keep you in the proper lane while traveling in a straight line. Dynamic Drive Control is a computer controlled system that changes the suspension characteristics to improve ride quality. There are 3 settings available: Normal, Sport and Comfort. Automatic Distance Control is used in conjunction with the Cruise Control system to ensure that as a vehicle slows down in front of you, you maintain a driver selected distance.
A complete redesign of the Forester caught the attention of more than a few visitors. The wheelbase has been lengthened to 103" and double-wishbone rear suspension has been added. Together, they should improve ride quality and offer a more lively handling experience. Also, it will add some extra cargo/leg room for those off-road excursions. Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive will be standard, as always. Subaru also added a handful of stability and traction control systems to make sure you stay on the road and upright.
Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart
One of the most anticipated debuts of the show, the Lancer Ralliart has (finally) been brought up to par. Under the hood is a detuned version of the EVO 2.0 making 235 horsepower and an undetermined amount of torque. Mitsubishi also decided the new TwinClutch-SST transmission was a "necessary" component to the drive train. A paddle on either side of the steering wheel moves between gears that power all 4 wheels through Mitsubishi's Active Center Differential system. I'm sold.
Ferrari 430 Scuderia
As with pretty much every Ferrari in production, the 430 Scuderia is beautiful. It is also a respectable portion of Ferrari's plan to reduce emissions by 40% for 2012. Under the hood, is a 500 horsepower 4.3 liter V8 that runs on the very familiar E-85 Ethanol mixture. The changes in fuel gave the 430 an additional 10 horsepower (making it a true 500) and increased fuel efficiency by 5% over the original 4.3L power plant. Although it is still considered a concept, Ferrari hopes to put it into production by the end of the year.
Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
GM's most expensive and most powerful Corvette model ever. Powering the ZR1 is the new Supercharged LS9 which is responsible for 620 horsepower and just under 600 ft-lbs of torque to the rear wheels, which is exactly 100HP per liter, hmm. The close ratio 6-speed transmission and clutch system have been redone to hold the additional power. No official performance numbers have been released, but a quick comparison to little brother Z06 leads to an assumption of around the 3 second mark for 0 to 60. The new ZR1 is also the first production Corvette expected the pass the 200mph top speed mark.
This is the 12th generation of Ford's top-selling vehicle and a very important step in bringing Ford back to the top of the auto industry. The exterior went relatively unchanged, but everything else got at the very least, a face lift. The frame was re-designed using hydro-formed and high strength steel side rails, making it lighter but stronger. This also allows for better fuel mileage and increased towing capacity. The interior received some additional space for moving people or whatever else you deem necessary thanks to a 6-six cab stretch. The new SYNC system was also added so you and your crew can listen to your favorite music on your way to work.
The world debut from Audi is a serious modification of the already sporty TT. The turbocharged 2.0L from the TT was used at the starting point upon which new heads, better connecting rods and a few other modifications were added. The intercooler was optimized to achieve cooler temperatures and the intake and exhaust systems were improved. The final result was an additional 72HP and 53 ft/lbs of torque bringing the totals to 272 and 258 respectively. The power goes through Audi's Quattro All-Wheel drive system and makes the sprint to 62 in 5.8 seconds. The top speed is computer controlled at 155mph. All of the up-scale interior features are still standard. The real question is whether it will be able to compete with the Boxster S.
Over the past few years Cadillac has been able to impress us with the ability to make a high performing sports car while still maintaining the same level of luxury. The CTS-V is no different. Boasting 550hp, 550ft/lbs of torque and Ricardo leather buckets. Power goes to the wheels through either a 6-speed manual or an electronically controlled 6-auto. Oversized Brembo brakes will bring the 19-inch wheels to a quick stop. As one would expect, the interior is loaded with buttons and knobs of every shape and size. An in dash NAV system and a Bose Audio System with a 40GB hard drive complete the picture.
All that's left to do is wait for the next big auto show.