We’re not even a month into 2015 and while the weather might be cold and snowy outside, the news coming from the car makers is all hot, hot, hot.
That’s because the first big motor show of 2015 has kicked off in motor city itself – Detroit.
So what was making the news Stateside? Here’s my pick of the hottest models from the North American International Auto Show:
Audi’s previous ‘big’ SUV was launched way back in 2005 and despite being considered by most as too big, heavy and expensive to run, customers thought otherwise. Sales were strong till the end.
With the new car you won’t miss that massive Audi family grille at the front of the new Q7 and with its slimmer LED headlights and that tapered roofline, there’s no doubt it looks far sportier than before.
Smart styling apart, the fact that the new Q7 sits on a lighter weight platform (41 per cent is aluminium), means there’s a 325kg weight saving (trust Audi to have got to the gym first in January!). Which adds up to big car with better fuel consumption. Audi reckons it’s a 23 per cent improvement.
Prices are expected to start at £45,000. The last Q7 was a monster hit; can the successor do the same?
It’s a case of a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ face-lift for the whole BMW 6-Series range, which debuted at the Detroit Show.
Look closer and you’ll see that all Coupe, Convertible and Gran Coupe versions of the 6 now get new LED head and fog lights, a nine bar kidney grille, a sleeker front apron and mirrors and BMW’s ‘ConnectedDrive sat-nav system, which is fitted as standard.
Of more interest to you fleet buyers, is that as a result of the fitment of the more slippery front apron and mirrors, fuel consumption has improved slightly.
In fact, the 640d diesel now officially returns 54.3mpg and still has the lowest emissions in the range at 139g/km. Not bad when it can still sprint to 60mph in just 5.5 seconds.
Ford is revving up its performance appeal again. We’ve recently had the announcement of the return of the RS badge to a Focus – which is a pretty good start – but then Ford caught everyone looking in the wrong direction with the return of an all-new GT.
And how! My car of the show. Definitely.
With a 600bhp twin-turbo V6 engine, 0-60 acceleration in just 3.0 seconds, over 200mph top speed, plus plenty of carbon fibre in the chassis components, Ford has proved it’s serious about Ferrari 458 and Porsche 911-baiting with the GT.
On top of the performance and lightweight chassis, the sleek exterior styling looks great.
Due here in the spring of 2016 I’d love to see this sitting in the Fleet Alliance car park. If I can find the £250,000 purchase price…
Putting my fleet head back on, Mazda launched this great baby SUV – think Nissan Juke and Vauxhall Mokka rival – called the CX-3 crossover.
With its distinctive styling – especially at the front, with the large grille and small, sleek headlights, I think this new Mazda will make its mark against established rivals.
Largely based on the underpinnings of the forthcoming Mazda2 supermini, the CX-3 is actually wider, equalling a more spacious, classy interior and 264-litre boot.
A choice of economical 1.5-litre diesel and petrol engines will power the CX-3, while they’ll be two- and four-wheel drive.
Despite the taller driving position, Mazda are promising a low centre of gravity and sportier driving experience.
Like the current MINI, but feel it needs a bit more go against rivals? Well, who wouldn’t want this: the hottest MINI yet – the John Cooper Works (JCW).
MINI claims it’s their most powerful production car ever: on top of the 228bhp 2.0 litre turbo engine (no, truly), there’s upgraded suspension, steering, 17 inch alloys and Brembo brakes.
You’ll need those stoppers – acceleration to 62mph takes just 6.3 seconds if you change your own gears, dropping to 6.1 seconds for the optional Steptronic auto.
Could you sneak it on your fleet? Try this: despite all that performance, fuel consumption is a reasonable 42.2mpg, CO2 emissions just 155g/km and the price £22,865 – a fleet shoe-in!