2015 Detroit Auto Show Highlights: Media Day 1, Part 2

This is Part 2 in a four part series covering the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.
See AlsoPart 1, Part 3, Part 4

If it is eye candy you want, the North American International Auto Show serves it up in spades. This morning, the Ford GT was unveiled, representing perhaps the most noteworthy vehicle from the new Ford Performance division we will see over the next few years.

Ford GT Supercar

Ford GT Supercar
Ford serves up a sketch of the next generation Ford GT supercar.

The all-new Ford GT goes into production in 2016 and will join other blue oval performers, including the Focus RS, F-150 Raptor and a pair of Shelby GT350 models. It is just one of at least 12 new models that Ford Performance plans to reveal through 2020, over-the-top models that will crown the Ford brand.

The Ford GT supercar utilizes advanced lightweighting, especially evident in its carbon fiber construction. The rakishly aerodynamic sportscar will be powered by a twin turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 engine with an output of at least 600 horsepower.

The rear-wheel drive GT features a mid-mounted engine, a two-door coupe body shell, and aluminum front and rear subframes. Its lighter overall package is enhanced by its carbon fiber wrap.

Ford says that the GT will feature a state-of-the-art, port/direct dual fuel-injection arrangement to boost engine response, in addition to a low-friction roller-finger-follower valvetrain. Ford will pair the twin-turbocharged V6 with a seven-speed dual-clutch transaxle for expeditious gear changes and unprecedented driver control.

Ford GT Supercar.
The upcoming Ford GT supercar

Ford F-150 SVT Raptor

Another Ford product also received much attention at the NAIAS. Ford unveiled the F-150 SVT Raptor, its performance pickup truck. The new truck, slated to arrive in Fall 2016, will have a high-strength steel frame and light weight aluminum body, trimming some 500 pounds off of the current edition.

The 2017 SVT Raptor will receive a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine, tuned to surpass the 411-horsepower that the current 6.2-liter V-8 engine delivers. Ford will pair this potent engine with its all-new 10-speed automatic transmission.

Enthusiasts will likely be enraptured by the next generation Ford F-150 SVT Raptor.
Enthusiasts will likely be enraptured by the next generation Ford F-150 SVT Raptor.

The four-wheel drive system in this beast will offer a multi-setting terrain management system to include normal, street, weather, mud and sand modes. Moreover, it will offer Baja and rock modes. The Raptor’s new transfer case has been designed for both full-time off-roading and features a locking unit for crawling.

Next Generation Acura NSX

2016 Acura NSX.
2016 Acura NSX

Another super car that has been receiving an appropriate amount of buzz is the 2016 Acura NSX. This model is a mid-engine sport hybrid, powered by a twin turbocharged V-6 engine paired with a 9-speed dual clutch transmission. The new model will feature three electric motors — two up front and one to the rear.

The Acura NSX is enhanced by a Sport Hybrid Super-Handling All Wheel Drive (Sport Hybrid SH-AWD) system, what provides articulate response time for steering, braking and throttle. Moreover, it will enhance vehicle stability, control and launch performance of all-wheel drive.

The NSX’s Agile Handling Assist (AHA) makes use of brake torque to further enhance yaw response and dynamic stability control.

Notably, the NSX will be built solely at the Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) in Marysville, Ohio, with approximately 100 highly-skilled workers tasked with conducting full body construction, paint, and final assembly.

Next Generation Toyota Tacoma


Another significant unveiling in Detroit today was for the 2016 Toyota Tacoma. That pickup truck is new from the ground up as well as inside and out. It will come to the market just as GM fights for position with a pair of new models of its own. The Nissan Frontier is another segment competitor.

In the 2016 Toyota Tacoma, enthusiasts will see a new powertrain and enhanced suspension tuning. Its Michigan engineers made numerous changes to include the addition of high strength steel to the frame and ultra-high strength steel to the body shell, providing a more rigid body as well as an important weight-saving measure.

The base motor is a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine; an all-new, 3.5-liter V-6 engine that runs on the efficient Atkinson cycle will also be available. The new engine will feature both direct and port fuel injection.

Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Moreover, a six-speed manual transmission will be available with the larger engine.

The Tacoma’s exterior look provides for a pleasing, evolutionary update, one that features a striking upper grille along with a taller, more brawny hood. Front projector beam headlamps can be paired with available daytime running lights.

The new model also features a locking tailgate and an integrated spoiler to improve vehicle aerodynamics. The tailgate also comes with an easy lowering feature for a slow retraction. For the very first time, the Tacoma will also offer a tri-fold hard tonneau cover.

Upgraded Interior, Improved Extras

Inside, the cabin features several upgrades to help convey a more premium atmosphere. This model receives soft-wrap trim and metallic accents.

Premium upgrades bring in a smart key with push button start, leather-trimmed seats, Qi wireless charging, a power moonroof, dual-zone climate control, an embellished touchscreen audio, a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert and other enhancements.

Five vehicle grades will be offered: SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road and Limited. Both TRD grades were developed by Toyota Racing Development, the same performance arm that is behind Toyota’s motorsport endeavors.

The TRD Off-Road edition features a multi-terrain system, what permits the driver to select different modes to handle a variety of terrain to include sand, mud or loose rock. Wheel spin is accordingly regulated, adjusting throttle and brake pressure to enhance terrain traction.

2016 Toyota Tacoma
The interior of the 2016 Toyota Tacoma
Matthew Keegan

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