The 5 Most Anticipated Cars At The Detroit Auto Show

Popular Science is covering the 2015 North American International Auto Show. Here's a taste of the big news we expect.

a blue Lexus GS F sedan
Lexus GS F Sedan Lexus

The North American International Auto Show—”Detroit” in auto-journalist shorthand—kicks off this week with a string of press and industry previews before the doors open to the public on Saturday, Jan. 17. We’re as eager as anyone to replace winter’s bitter chill with visions of clean, shiny sports cars and convertibles, those heralds of warm-weather fun.

More than a mid-winter relief, however, Detroit has become a critical show. It provides crucial insight into the health of the automotive industry worldwide, particularly in the wake of recalls, disruptions, and other hits the industry has withstood over the past 10 years. Is there true innovation anywhere? Are the cars exciting enough? Are manufacturers letting too many dogs slip through to the dealer lots?

We’re here to see if car companies are making smart decisions about their products and strategies and being as progressive and open-minded as other industries—or even next-gen startups, like Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors. As public knowledge and expectations rise, tolerance for dated, backward thinking sinks. The spotlight’s on you, car people: Show us what you’ve got!

Of course, every auto show has its own character. Tokyo is all about high-tech. Los Angeles focuses on being green and efficient. Frankfurt is overwhelmingly performance-oriented. Geneva espouses design. Detroit is all about muscle—power, energy, and a healthy dose of mischief. But times have changed; we want to see all of these qualities at the show. Popular Science will be providing blanket coverage from the Motor City, and we decided to whet your appetite with the five key stories (and their cars) we’re chasing down this week.

Popular Science is trawling the 2015 North American International Auto Show floors for the sexiest, most exciting new auto advancements and car concepts. Follow our complete Detroit auto show coverage all week long.

Acura NSX

Technology: Acura’s long-awaited NSX supercar is at the very top of our list of things we’re excited about this week. We’ve seen the concept, and now it’s time for the production car to bow. It will come packed with innovation, including a slick hybrid all-wheel-drive system with two electric motors in the front and a powerful V6 engine in the back. This means it will have computer-controlled power vectoring, so it will be able distribute thrust between the left and right side of the car, depending on the conditions. Plus, it’s gorgeous—easily one of the most dramatic cars of the year. The NSX comes out later this year, and we can’t wait to climb inside this beast. (Check back later for a full tech breakdown after Acura officially unveils the car.)

Electric Grill

Efficiency: Chevrolet is expected to debut their new, economical electric car: the Bolt. Possibly a crossover, the concept car will have a 200-mile range and cost about $30,000, which is huge for EV fans who can’t afford the pricier competition. Unlike Chevy’s similar-sounding and now-familiar Volt—also due for a reappearance this year in Detroit—the Bolt will be pure EV, not a range-extended EV with a gasoline engine on board to charge the battery, as the Volt is. We liked the styling of the Volt when it debuted about 5 years ago, and hope the new model continues the trend of a cool new look to go with a cool new car. It’s slated for release in 2017.

Lexus GS F Sedan

Performance: Lexus has a four-door counterpart to its RC F coupe lined up, the GS F sedan. The car’s got a 5-liter, 467-horsepower V8 engine, and tons of tech to help harness the horses, included three selectable modes to optimize its handling characteristics. You can choose between “slalom,” “track,” and “standard” modes, all of which tune the suspension, steering, and throttle response to different levels.

Lincoln MKX

Design: Lincoln will continue honing its new look with its redesigned 2016 MKX. We drove the new compact crossover, the MKZ, last fall and loved the look and the interior quality. We expect this year’s model will be a slightly larger, pricier SUV that continues the trend. Photos released before the show suggest it’s a looker, and will have plenty of techy gewgaws to appease the new generation of Lincoln aficionados the company hopes to hook. It’ll have 360-degree camera for tricky parking maneuvers, and Ford’s new Sync 3 driver interface and infotainment system, which should effectively silence the Sync-haters for good. Another high-grade design we’re excited about: The new Infiniti Q60 coupe, which is also a beauty.

Cadillac CTS-V

Muscle: Cadillac is roaring into Detroit with a 640-horsepower, 6.2-liter CTS-V sedan. It’s basically the new Corvette Z06 engine stuffed into an already capable Caddy. This car will produce a staggering 630 lb-ft of torque, good for a zero-to-60 time of 3.7 seconds. The car will get a high-tech transmission that adjusts responsiveness based on how you’re driving—or in this case how many of your passengers you want to make throw up