Detroit Motor Show 2018: key cars and news round-up

The 2018 North American International Auto Show is kicking the year off with a bang in Detroit. Here's all the latest news and pictures

The 2018 edition of the Detroit Motor Show has delivered its cargo of new cars and car news. The most influential car show in the US attracted the great and the good of the global car industry to Motor City and the big brands performed their usual scrabble for the limelight. 

Known formally as the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), the Detroit Motor Show has been hosted by Detroit annually since 1987. Many of the new models that took to the stage at Detroit 2018 are geared towards the American market, but not everything on show will be exclusively for the locals and there were some exciting new additions that are (or could be) coming to the UK. 

The highlights of Detroit 2018 included the new G-Class and CLS 53 from MercedesHonda’s new Insight, and the new Volkswagen Jetta. Then there was the revised 2018 Jeep Cherokee, a new look Ford Ranger pick-up and the facelifted MINI. On the concept car front, Lexus showed us the LF-1 Limitless by way of a prelude to its forthcoming luxury SUV flagship and Infiniti lifted the lid on a whole new design direction in the form of the Q Inspiration concept. 

As always, the Auto Express team were on the ground in Detroit bringing you the latest news as it happened. We picked up stories on the forthcoming Ferrari SUV, Jeep’s latest push into the European market and BMW’s possible i8s supercar. Plus, of course, the best insight and images of all the key cars at the show.  

Scroll down to find out about all the Detroit Motor Show 2018 highlights and hidden gems and click the links for the full story on each car…

Detroit Motor Show 2018: live gallery

Click below for all our images from the 2018 Detroit Motor Show

Detroit Motor Show 2018: key cars

The key cars and concepts from the show...

• Mercedes G-Class - the legendary G-Wagen in all-new guise with the same retro lines hiding a high-tech cabin.• Ford Ranger - Ford improves its pick-up offering to better challenge the L200 and Navara.• Jeep Cherokee - a new look 2018 Cherokee from Jeep.Honda Insight - the return of Honda's sporty hybrid.• Lexus LT-1 Limitless - concept car points to a future luxury crossover flagship.

Detroit 2018 news headlines

All the big news stories that came out of the show...

• Ferrari SUV confirmed for late 2019: fastest SUV crown targeted• Jeep to attack UK and European markets in 2018 after doing “lousy job” in 2017• Ford Mach1 performance SUV to launch in 2020• Higher performance BMW i8s supercar under consideration• BMW iNEXT SUV concept to debut later this year• New Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 coming in 2019• Electric Ferrari supercar is under consideration

Detroit 2018: manufacturers A to Z


Acura RDX Prototype - Detroit front

• Acura RDX prototype 

Cars from Honda's Acura premium brand aren't sold in the UK but they're popular in the US and the production version of the RDX SUV prototype is designed to raise the brand's profile further. Built on a platform exclusive to Acura, the prototype is said to be the “most extensive Acura redesign in more than a decade”. It’s powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged VTEC petrol engine that replaces the existing model’s 3.5-litre naturally aspirated V6 and gets a 10-speed gearbox.


BMW i8 Coupe - Detroit front

BMW i8s supercar under consideration• BMW iNEXT SUV concept to debut later this year• BMW X2

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Speaking at Detroit, Head of BMW i Product Management, Alexander Kotouc revealed that an even higher performance version of the BMW i8 hybrid supercar, dubbed the i8s, could be on the cards. The German brand showed off its i8 in coupe and roadster guises while also treating us to another look at its X2 SUV.

Sitting in between the X1 and X3 and making use of the UKL2 platform found underneath the MINI Countryman, the X2 has a selection of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, though plug-in hybrid technology could be on the cards later in the X2's lifespan. First UK deliveries are expected in March. 


• Ford Ranger• Ford Edge ST• Ford Bullitt Mustang GT• Ford Mach 1 performance SUV due in 2020

Unsurprisingly, Ford was busier than most at the 2018 Detroit Motor Show. We were treated to a hot ST version of the Edge SUV that gains the usual sporty ST trinkets and badges dotted around the car. More importantly, there's a 2.7-litre twin-turbo V6 engine producing 335bhp and 515Nm of torque. Power is fed through an eight-speed gearbox and four-wheel-drive. The only catch is that it’s not coming to the UK and will only be available in the American market. A facelifted Edge is set to make its way to Britain however, with a revised front end and slight performance tweaks.

What we will get is the facelifted Ford Ranger. It's another refreshed version of the Blue Oval's mid-sized pick-up with an updated design and an optional FX4 Off-Road Package that includes a Terrain Management System with various off-road driving modes. 

The Ford stand wouldn't be the Ford stand without a Mustang and, sure enough, Ford wheeled out the Bullitt Mustang GT. The new model is designed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Steve McQueen blockbuster and goes on sale in the summer. It’s powered by a tuned version of the Mustang GT’s 5.0-litre V8 engine with ‘at least’ 475bhp and 569Nm of torque. It’s not yet known if it will be made available in the UK. 

Finally, Ford has an eye on the future, revealing its plans for a high performance electric SUV with a 300-mile range called the Mach 1. 



GAC Enverge - Detroit side

• GAC Enverge

Chinese manufacturer Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) unveiled the Enverge, an electric concept crossover SUV, at this year’s Detroit Motor Show. The Enverge is said to preview a future production model for the North American market and is aimed at ‘young consumers’ with bold styling and features such as scissor doors and a complete lack of side windows. 


Honda Insight Prototype - Detroit front

Honda Insight

Honda made a public showing of its new Insight saloon at Detroit, with the marque set to reintroduce the hybrid to its line-up in the near future. While the technical details remain secret, what we know so far is that a 1.5-litre petrol engine will be used in conjunction with an electric motor for power. 


New Hyundai Veloster N - Detroit front

 Hyundai Veloster

Hyundai’s quirky Veloster coupe never quite resonated with the UK market, but that hasn’t stopped the Korean manufacturer from developing a second-generation model. 

Tailored for the US market, the Mk2 Veloster comes in standard, Turbo and hot N guises. The base Veloster is powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre engine, while the Turbo model gets a 1.6-litre engine and 198bhp.

It's the flagship Veloster N that attracted the most attention at Detroit though, with a 2.0-litre turbo motor producing 271bhp.


• Infiniti Q Inspiration concept

Infiniti showcased a new design direction in Detroit with a fresh concept car called the Q Inspiration. It’s the first project to be overseen by new design director Karim Habib, formerly of BMW.

As seen at the show, the Q Inspiration has four-door coupe bodywork and a striking front end. On top of this, Infiniti has hinted that it could feature an all-electric powertrain and will influence a new generation of models from Nissan's premium brand. 


Jeep Cherokee 2018

• Jeep Cherokee Jeep to attack UK and European markets in 2018

A new Jeep was revealed in Detroit - a facelifted Cherokee no less. The compact SUV gets a new, cleaner design and a new, more efficient engine plus lots of tech upgrades inside. 


Kia Forte - Detroit front

Kia Forte

The new Kia Forte was launched with styling that takes insipration from its bigger brother, the Stinger. The third generation Forte is a US exclusive and is set to enter the North American market in 2019. Under the bonnet there is a 2.0-litre four cylinder petrol engine pumping out 145bhp and 179Nm of torque. Furthermore, it can be mated with either a six-speed manual or new 'Intelligent Variable Transmission'.


Lexus LF-1 Limitless - header

• Lexus LF-1 Limitless

Lexus revealed a new LF-1 Limitless SUV concept at Detroit. It is being pitched as a 'flagship crossover' and based on its dimensons you can think of it as an SUV equivalent of the Lexus LS limousine. The Japanese brand’s CALTY design studio in Southern California is to thanks for the looks, having created the swooping coupe design and imposing front end.


• Mercedes G-Class• Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 / E 53

Mercedes has only just taken the wraps off the new CLS but already the brand has an AMG performance model in the pipeline. The hot version of the four-door coupe will introduce a new AMG 53 moniker, which will be exclusive to models using a performance focused hybrid system; it will feature a more powerful version of Merc’s new 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six engine. 

The other big debut from the German brand was the all-new version of the G-Class SUV. It’s based on a new platform with the aim of increasing practicality and comfort. The tough 4x4 has gained a more modern and spacious interior but little has changed with the classic exterior shape. Read our ride review here.


MINI hatch facelifted - show front

• Facelifted MINI hatch

MINI's 2018 display in Detroit gave patriotic British observers a buzz. Aside from the Union Jack taillights, other kit, including standard-fit LED headlights, a dual-clutch gearbox and 6.5-inch infotainment screen, is being showcased. All will be fitted on the facelifted MINI range, which includes the three and five-door hatchback and MINI Convertible.

More leather interior options can also be specified on the 2018 MINI, while the engines have been tweaked to increase performance and efficiency ahead of its UK on-sale date of 17 March 2018.


Nissan Xmotion - Detroit front

• Nissan Xmotion

This year Nissan revealed the Xmotion Concept, which showcases the company's lastest Human Machine Interface (HMI) and ProPilot autonomous technology. It followed on from a teaser video released prior to the show, which conveniently revealed next to nothing about the design.

The six-seater SUV looks like an evolution of Nissan's new design language, a point proven by the use of ‘boomerang’ headlamps. The HMI and accompanying screens, which Nissan claims are "very simple" to use, take a prominent position inside, and are designed to allow drivers to switch from manual to ProPilot autonomous mode with ease.


VW Jetta revealed - side

• Volkswagen Jetta

Volkswagen may have axed the Jetta from its UK line-up, but the German marque still launched a seventh-generation version of its compact saloon at NAIAS. The car will be introduced into the US market in the second quarter of 2018 and will be assembled on VW Group’s MQB platform, which it shares with the Golf and Arteon. Only one engine has been announced so far, a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol unit that produces 148bhp and 250Nm of torque. It’s mated to a six-speed manual as standard but an eight-speed automatic transmission can be specified. 

Which car from Detroit are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below...

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