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2015 Detroit Auto Show: Motor Trend Editor Favorites

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 1/14/2015 Motor Trend Editors

The North American International Auto Show was dominated almost from the outset by Ford and its GT supercar, Raptor pickup, and Shelby GT350R track car. But Acura and other automakers brought impressive vehicles and concepts. Here were our favorites:

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Ford GT

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image As pure concepts go, Buick's Avenir stole my heart, primarily because it was such a surprise. But my favorite production car has to be the Ford GT. It's a pure race car with a carbon-fiber tub and body panels, fully inboard, active suspension, and a turbocharged 3.5L V-6 making north of 600 horsepower. Just look at the fuselage design, how it pulls in at the rear wheels; that's for the aerodynamics of racing. And make no mistake, you'll see this Ford GT racing -- likely at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016, the 50th anniversary of Ford's 1, 2, 3 finish in the original Ford GT40.
-Ed Loh

Acura NSX

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image My favorite concept car of perhaps the last 25 years is Ford's scrumptious GT, which is about the only car imaginable that could reduce the Acura NSX sitting across the aisle from it to "that also looks nice, but " status. Still, the technical director is fascinated by the NSX's unique three-motors-and-a-75-degree-V-6 take on bringing 550-plus horses' worth of "F1 KERS" technology to the street. I'm also quite willing to take it on faith that this NSX will give me that same feeling of being as one with the car as the original did. My inner geek will revel in feeling those petrolectric horses routing themselves from side to side and front to back as I tear up a twisty road, but my inner 5-year-old will be freaking out at an altogether more primal level if/when I first shinny under the wheel of that sexy GT.
-Frank Markus

2016 Ford Raptor

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image Specifically, the aluminum Raptor based off the new F-150. The Rapor has long been one of my personal favorite motorized machines, and I still claim its ability to perform 50-foot jumps fresh off the dealer lot makes it the most impressive production vehicle of all time. This new one looks to be better in every way.

First of all, Ford's claiming that we'll see a 500-pound weight reduction. Some of that de-larding is due to the new Raptor's aluminum body panels, though a good chunk is from the sinking of the old boat anchor 6.2-liter V-8 in favor of a tuned up EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6. Ford was being oddly tight-lipped about the power output. That's probably because, like the GT, the 2017 Raptor is a ways away from being final. However, they're claiming more output than the current truck (411 horsepower, 434 lb-ft of torque). So you know, the current most powerful EcoBoost V-6 resides under the hood of the Lincoln Navigator and makes 380 hp and 460 lb-ft of twist. Whatever the final numbers are, all that grunt is routed through a 10-speed (yes Virginia, 10!) automatic transmission. With paddle shifters, too. There's six different driving modes and a whole bunch of stuff inherited from the new F-150.

But I dig the looks. I've long said that all SUVs should either look like something Gen. Patton would ride in while invading Sicily or a moon buggy. The massively grilled Raptor fits the latter. Yes, I know it's a technically a truck but, come on, with the exception of the AMG 6x6 nothing else on Earth epitomizes the phrase Sport Utility Vehicle as well. I'm so looking forward to time in this handsome beast.
-Jonny Lieberman

Shelby GT350R

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image The Shelby GT350 is barely out of the bag, and Ford's already got an even more radical car. How cool is that? Unfortunately, it got lost behind the Ford GT announcement, and it deserves more attention than it's getting. Magnetic shocks, flat-plane crank V-8, less weight, better tires, better brakes, better aero, and on and on. This car is going to be fantastic, and we're truly blessed to be living in an era when manufacturers (plural!) are building cars like this. And seriously: carbon-fiber wheels!
-Scott Evans

Buick Avenir concept

2015 Detroit Auto Show: Motor Trend Editor Favorites

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image Everyone likes surprises, and Buick pulled off the first big one in Detroit on Sunday night when they unveiled the Buick Avenir concept. It is a stunning sedan that you'd expect to see from Audi or Mercedes. Buick? No way. But there it was. A rear-wheel-drive big luxury sedan with long lines, big hood, and a very useable second row. It has the promise of something really special. While this will remain just a concept vehicle, I do hope it becomes the base for future vehicles. Another big surprise was on the Hyundai stand with its Santa Cruz Concept, the most recent attempt at an El Camino. Forever I have wanted to see a true small pickup return to America and have always thought Hyundai might be the brand to bring it. I still hope they do.
-Scott Burgess

Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible in Azure Purple

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image You don't see purple cars every day, and with Bentley offering 150 colors on the Continental line, the automaker didn't waste an opportunity at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show to go vibrant. And that's exactly what this Continental GT Speed Convertible does inside and out -- finished not in silver, white, or red like so many other show-floor cars, but in Azure Purple.
-Zach Gale

Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck concept

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image Most trucks are big. Most trucks don't cost entry-level money. Most trucks are overdesigned for what many owners do with them. Enter the Santa Cruz, what you might call a baby Honda Ridgeline: a car-based, multi-use small pickup that will seat four adults. The heavy creases wouldn't make production, but a lot of people are already hoping this striking urban utility wagon will get built.
-Chris Clonts

2016 Nissan Titan

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image Dubya was getting re-elected the last time the Nissan Titan was eligible to compete for our Truck of the Year award. A long time coming, we're thrilled the (finally) completely overhauled Nissan full-sizer is going all anti-establishment with its tweener size and light-duty Cummins diesel V-8.
-Benson Kong

2016 Toyota Tacoma

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image I particularly liked the Tacoma because, even with new styling, it still looked like a Tacoma. Designers didn't get super crazy with the form, which is why it managed to look different while still looking the same. It looked beefier on the outside, while the inside was surprisingly nicer than what you'd expect in a midsize pickup.
-Karla Sanchez

Infiniti Q60 concept

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image The G37 Coupe is all grown up. The new Q60 concept features a much more aggressive exterior than its predecessor, and thanks to its aluminum and carbon-fiber body, it should provide a boost in performance and fuel economy. Better yet, we hear this concept is very close to the production model.
-Kelly Pleskot

Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image I've always loved Targa-topped 911s, especially the classic air-cooled models with the distinctive roll bar that disappeared starting with the 993 911. That classic look returned on the 991, and it's nice to see Porsche showing some love to the new Targa. This time around it's the 911 Targa 4 GTS, which gets all the familiar GTS goodies like more power (430 hp) and center-locking hubs.
-Erick Ayapana

Lincoln MKX

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image Whether you're looking at it from afar or from behind the wheel, there's much to like about the 2016 Lincoln MKX. Lincoln has classed up the interior with premium features and materials, and it kept true to the original design of which we were fans. We can't wait to get behind the wheel and see what else this new model has to offer.
-Megan Stewart

2015 Ram 1500 Rebel

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image While the 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel isn't a direct competitor to the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor, it may be the most off-road-oriented Ram models offered -- even more than the Ram 1500 Outdoorsman. The Ram 1500 Rebel rides on 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 33-inch Toyo tires. Engine choices include the 305-hp Pentastar V-6 or 395-hp 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 backed by an eight-speed automatic and a 3.92 rear-end gear ratio. Oh, and who can forget about the bold new face, available two-tone paint, and red interior trim. Rebel indeed.
-Jason Udy

2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV concept

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image Build it, GM! Why? Because it's been stuffed with the General's latest electric propulsion technology, it (hopefully) won't be prohibitively pricey and, plus, it's the size of a Trax. Hustling metropolitans abound will love it. And with an anticipated 200-mile range, they'll be more inclined to take in the countryside.
-Nate Martinez

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