Europeans have some surprises in Detroit

With a top speed of 202 mph, the Bentley GT Speed Convertible is claimed to be the fastest four-seat convertible in the world.

Story and photos by Jim Robinson,
Metroland Media/ -

DETROIT, Mi.: The European manufacturers were quiet at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit as if they were saving their big reveals for the Geneva Motor Show during the first week of March.

But there were several debuts of note starting with Mercedes-Benz which had the most sizeable presence by showing the entire 2014 E-Class model lineup.

The E-Class family includes sedans, coupes, wagons and convertibles with a host of gasoline, diesel and hybrid engines in four-, six- and eight-cylinders ranging in power from 190 to 577 hp.

They all will include a new blend of comfort and safety features borrowed from the S-Class called Intelligent Drive.

Mercedes-Benz staged the debut of the entire 2014 E-Class at Detroit featuring sedans, wagons, coupes and cabriolets with gasoline, diesel and hybrid engines.

It includes systems and technologies that, among other things, avoid accidents with pedestrians or crossing traffic. Another is called Active Lane Keeping Assist that actually prevents collisions with oncoming traffic.

Sedan and wagon buyers will be offered a choice of two different front-end styling treatments.

Standard equipment will include mbrace2 that combines infotainment, safety, personal assistance and vehicle care into one system. It offers open internet access and custom versions of popular apps like Facebook, Yelp and Google Local Search.


Making its global debut in Detroit was the Volkswagen CrossBlue mid-size SUV concept.

It is aimed directly at buyers in the U.S. and Canada and seats six in three rows. If it were ever produced, it would slot in between Tiguan and Touareg.

It features a plug-in hybrid powertrain that combines a TDI diesel engine with two electric motors, a DSG transmission, and an electric all-wheel-drive system dubbed “propshaft by wire” that offers fuel economy of 2.1L/100 km.

The CrossBlue has two “fuel doors” – one for the diesel tank on the passenger side, and one covering two electrical sockets on the driver’s side.

The first socket is to charge the lithium-ion battery and the second can be used to connect electrical devices.

Detroit saw the world premiere of the 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe with a 560 hp twin turbo 4.4-litre V8 and a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 4.2 seconds.


Detroit saw the world premiere of the BMW M6 Gran Coupe with a 560 hp twin turbo 4.4-litre V8 that sees it accelerate from 0-100 km/k in 4.2 seconds.

Taking care of power transfer is a seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission with DRIVELOGIC. The transmission’s electronic management system ensures the right gear is selected for optimum traction.

It also offers the driver a Launch Control function for maximum acceleration as well as Low Speed Assistance for extra comfort and the Auto Start-Stop function to enhance efficiency.

Shown for the first time in Detroit, the BMW Concept 4 Series Coupe is expected to replace the current 3 Series Coupe when it goes on sale later this year.

Also on the BMW stand was Concept 4 Series Coupe that was shown in Detroit as a very thinly disguised form of the car that is expected to go into production by the end of this year to replace the 3 Series Coupe.

The full production version of the 4 Series will probably bow in Geneva in March.


Also making its world debut in Detroit was the Audi RS 7 Sportback with twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 with 560 hp and a 0-100 km/h time of 3.9 seconds.

The RS-specific engine management and unthrottled intake system contributes to the engine’s dramatic response.

Switchable flaps in the exhaust system can make the sound even fuller at the touch of a button, and customers seeking an even more dramatic drive can choose a sports exhaust system from the options list.

How does MINI get turning out new variations on the theme? This is the MINI John Cooper Works Paceman touted as the first Sports Activity Coupe in its class.


Leave to MINI to find yet another way to create yet another new car out of the same box.

The MINI John Cooper Works Paceman is billed as the first Sports Activity Coupe in its class with its 218 hp four-cylinder turbocharged engine and standard ALL4 all-wheel-drive system.

Lowered sports suspension and an aerodynamic kit also play their part in bringing an irresistible feeling of race competition to the driver and passengers in their four individual seats.

The drivetrain is hooked up to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard or a six-speed automatic as an option.

With either transmission, it reaches 100 km/h from rest in 6.9 seconds with an average fuel consumption of 7.4/7.9L/100 km (manual/automatic) in the European cycle.

Billed as the fastest four-seat convertible in the world, the Bentley GT Speed Convertible combines the sensory pleasures of roof-down luxury touring with the shattering performance of a 616 hp twin-turbocharged 6.0 litre W12, while delivering a 15 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency.

Sitting at the top of the Bentley Continental range, the new GT Speed Convertible has a top speed of 202 mph (325 km/h).

As the flagship of the Maserati product range, the new Quattroporte is larger, lighter, more luxurious and more practical than the car it replaces.
With a 307 km/h top speed, it’s also as fast as most two-door supercars.

The newly developed direct-injection engine family boasts a 3.8-litre V8 and a 3.0-litre V6, both of which are twin-turbocharged, designed by Maserati Powertrain and assembled by Ferrari at its plant in Maranello.

All versions come equipped with the latest eight-speed automatic transmission developed with ZF.

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