NAIAS 2017: Day Two Wrap-Up

Ever year hundreds of us automotive journalist types visit the North American International Auto Show here in Detroit.  Then we retreat to the media center and all furiously try to tell you what we saw while ensuring that we don’t miss out on the food that gets doled out.  Yesterday we gave you our thoughts on day one – it was exhausting, draining, and by the time we staggered out of here, we barely had enough energy to go to the Toyota after party.  And the Hyundai after party.  OK, this job is awesome, sorry.

Day two was nothing like day one.  After the Uber ride from hell, we strolled into the Cobo Center and made our own schedule.  Screw your press conferences, we’re going to wander around and get into trouble.  As you’ll see with the video content being edited on the laptop next to me, it’s not your typical take on NAIAS.

Mercedes Benz

Someone has to save us from the sea of silver #SOS.  It certainly isn’t Mercedes, although in-house uber-tuner AMG may be our savior.  The new and ridiculously eye-scorching yellow AMG GT S helped to answer our distress call.  Just look at it!

AMG GT S
Honda/Acura

As recent as yesterday, we may have said that Honda didn’t really bring anything to Detroit.  Other than taking the wraps off a new Odyssey, we didn’t actually see any cars in their booth.  They found some overnight. They may have stolen them from the street that our Airbnb is on – it seems like something that would happen there.  Regardless of where they found them, there they were.  A rigid dichotomy separates these two companies that were only separated by an aisle here in Detroit.

Honda, a longtime favorite of ours from our adolescence, has finally been showing signs of life.  A new Civic Type-R is coming, not that we were blessed with it here at Cobo.  But we got to see the new Si “concept” which looks pretty production worthy.  Overall, I like it, save for a few niggles here and there. Just wook at that faceee!

Civic Si Concept

The front is actually pretty aggressive vice cute, with wide air ducts on either side of car.  Only they aren’t. If you look closely, it’s pretty clear that only nine of the slots are actually open to receive fresh air, and only on the left side.

Civic SI concept
I assume that’s where the intake is located, but I feel a little lied to.  Next you’re going to tell me that the big center exhaust is fake.  Thankfully, no, and it’s actually a 2-into-1 setup that looks pretty cool.  Whether that bit makes it into production, we’ll see.

Civic Si concept
I assume this camera on the wing mirror is to help with wheel-to-wheel racing on track?  OK, more like point-by’s.  OK, more like a safety system.

Civic Si concept
But while the Si was cool and all, the real “OMG LOOK” moment came courtesy of Acura, who had their NSX GT3 car sitting out for you to see and touch.  OK, there was a sign suggesting you don’t touch it.  But look at how it’s just lined up against the sea of MPG across the aisle as if saying “you all aren’t invited to my victory party.”  They had a “normal” NSX too, but unlike the Ford GT, you couldn’t sit in it.

NSX GT3
NSX GT3
Acura NSX
Fiat Chrysler America

FCA is the only major manufacturer here at Cobo to not burden us with a press conference.  Either that’s because they already unveiled their big reveal, an autonomous Pacifica, at CES, or they just didn’t want to waste our time talking about sales figures and such.  Some of the other automakers could take note. FCA just sat quietly in their corner featuring probably the highest average horsepower per vehicle compared to any other manufacturer.

Of note, we thought the little Fiat 124 Abarth was neat, especially sitting in front a giant Ram truck.

Alfa 124 Spider Abarth
We also got to take part in a Bondurant Racing sponsored video game setup where you sit in a Challenger Hellcat and drive around a track.  Something all of us can pine for, a real car with a real wheel and pedal setup that works on a screen in front of you.  Well, “works” is relative in this case, as I’m not sure that the wheel or brake pedal were connected to anything, definitely not reality.  I found myself standing on the brakes and still crashing into a wall.  Or maybe it is really analogous to driving a Hellcat on a track?

Hellcat video game
Hellcat video game
Also, Viper.  Oh how we’ll miss you.  #sadface

Dodge Viper
Dodge Viper
Dodge Viper
Mazda

Like last year, Mazda brought us a Speedster Concept, this time the “evolution edition.”  It’s super cool, and unlike yesterday it now sports a “PLEASE DO NOT OPEN” sticker, likely due to our crack photographer Andrew Fails, who got in trouble yesterday for trying to open it.  I would have just jumped over the door.

Mazda Speedster
Mazda Speedster
Nissan

Performance at Nissan is an island.  At least it was here in Detroit.  As with a lot of manufacturers, the focus on performance is hidden behind a veil of autonomy and electricity.  While situated out front, the performance-focused fare at Nissan clearly wasn’t on the same level as the new Rogue, or whatever else was deemed more important.

Nissan

Nissan

Nissan
Hyundai

#seaofsilver

Seriously, look at that!  Next.

Hyundai
Lexus

I’ve had a hard time figuring Lexus out over the last few years, but I think I’ve got it.  They are a fine purveyor or GT cars.  The Grand Tour.  Going fast over long periods in relative comfort.  Having driven a GS F and an RC F recently, I have to say that they are absolutely killing it int he GT market.  I would gladly drive across a continent in a fast Lexus. While the overall lineup here suffered from a little #seaofsilver, their new six-figure LC500 looks like a perfect addition to the top of the range, do I see a little LF-A in there?

Lexus LC500

Lexus LC500

Lexus

VLF Automotive

VLF is gonna rock you!  Wait, that’s KLF.  VLF was an odd place.  With so much high powered, cool shit in their booth, it was a bit dark and empty.  The one person I saw working there avoided my attempt to make eye contact, perhaps because he saw me vigorously shaking the exhaust hanging off of their bright yellow X-series SUV.  I’m still not sure what all I was looking at, although I swear that blue Mustang-based thing was driven by Clarkson in the 1st episode of the Grand Tour.

VLF Automotive

VLF AutomotiveOther Shit

There was a lot of other stuff that we saw, here’s a sampling.  The new Stinger GT is cool.  Audi R8s are real cool.  Non SE model Camry’s are not cool.  Singers are off the fucking charts cool (stay tuned for a mega-gallery of those tonight).

Kia StingerKia Stinger

Audi R8

Audi R8

Audi R8

New Camry

Singer 911