10 best cars at Detroit Motor Show 2014

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler picks his favourite cars from the North American International Auto Show 2014 in Detroit

The 2014 Detroit Motor Show has thrown up some fantastic new cars and concepts but which ones were the best? These are our top ten NAIAS star cars in reverse order.

Do you agree with our list? Tell us your top 10 Detroit Motor Show cars in the comments section below... 

• Detroit Motor Show 2014: round-up• 10 Detroit Motor Show cars we wish we had in the UK

Detroit Motor Show 2014: top ten best cars

Infiniti Eau Rouge concept - Detroit Motor Show 2014

10 - Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge 

Infiniti occupies 10th place in our list, not for the Q50 that attempts to rival the likes of the BMW 3 Series but has received an indifferent reaction so far. Instead, its the Q50 Eau Rouge concept, a car that’s supposed to stir excitement in the brand ahead of a model onslaught that includes five new cars arriving in the next four years.

The Eau Rouge itself is mainly a styling exercise with some tasty body add-ons that liven up the otherwise uninteresting Q50 design. It aims to build on Infiniti’s relationship with F1 world championship winning team, Red Bull Racing. No doubt, if the Eau Rouge makes it into production, Infiniti’s Director of Performance, Sebastian Vettel, will have a hand in how it drives. 

Infiniti Eau Rogue concept 

Mercedes C-Class

9 - Mercedes C-Class

It feels like we’ve known about the new C-Class for a while now, but this was actually its world debut. Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland serenaded the new C-Class on to the stage, with all the talk being about advanced technology that’s rolled down from the S-Class and the high quality interior.

Refreshingly, the only reference to putting a smile on the driver’s face was when economy was mentioned – Merc is majoring on comfort. But the highlight is undoubtedly that beautifully styled and built interior, spoiled only by Merc’s now familiar add-on infotainment screen that sits on top of the dash like an afterthought.

In spite of two versions being shown, we only get the sportier looking of the pair models – a luxury version with a stylish, larger grille and the three-pointed star on top won’t be coming to the UK.

Mercedes C-Class 

8 - Subaru WRX STI

Here’s another blast from the past brought bang up-to-date – a new STI Subaru. It’s based on the standard WRX but with the traditional treatment of big wings, beefy wheel arches and the must-have accessory for every Subaru wannabe rally car: gold wheels.

The UK was a successful stomping ground for the STI until it started to get watered down into a more mundane hot hatchback, so Subaru is hoping the new car can revive its fortunes. Much will depend on whether the price is right, hopefully under £30,000. But Subaru won’t have it all it’s own way as the STI’s arch nemesis is on the way back in the form of a new Mitsubishi Evo!

Subaru Impreza WRX STi 

7 - Lexus RC-F Coupe

Lexus is turning into a genuine rival for BMW, Mercedes and Audi – first with the ingenious new IS and now with the stunning RC coupe. The RC F is the range-topping V8 version boasting well over 450bhp and a 0-62mph time of just over four seconds.

The RC is already a great looking coupe but the F adds a more aggressive body kit and active rear wing to take the fight well and truly to BMW’s new M4 (which also received its world debut in Detroit).

The RC-F may have followed its lesser brethren onto the scene but it will actually arrive first. Expect it around the end of this year with a price pretty close to the M4s at around £57,000.

Lexus RC-F coupe

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 – You can get a standard 'Vette in the UK but not this supercharged Z06, producing at least 625bhp

6 - Chevrolet Corvette Z06

The Detroit motor show wouldn’t be complete without a bit of Detroit iron – or in this case, plastic. While the standard Corvette Stingray was being named North American Car of the Year, GM was busy unveiling this race-bred Z06 version with around 625bhp from its supercharged V8 engine.

There’s a choice of seven-speed manual or eight-speed auto and three different aero packs, one specially aimed at track use. The Z06 will be coming to the UK but, like the Stingray, it’ll only be available in left hand drive.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 

Volvo Concept XC Coupe at Detroit Motor Show 2014

5 - Volvo Concept XC Coupe

The Volvo XC90 is due for replacement later this year after 12 years in production, and this concept gives us big clues as to how the new big SUV will look. It follows o from Frankfurt’s Concept Coupe and, like it’s lower, sleeker forebear, sits on Volvo’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA).

The new floating grille and T-shaped LED lights are likely to feature, as will a large iPad-sized infotainment screen using Volvo’s Android-based Sensus Connected Touch system. We’ll see the new XC90 in all its glory at the Paris motor show in October.

Volvo XC Concept

Porsche 911 Targa

4 - Porsche 911 Targa

It’s in with the old at Porsche with the 991 model 911 Targa harking back to the original 1965 model, but with a modern twist. The Targa roof panel is stowed in the boot electronically, through a theatrical manoeuvre where the glass rear screen lifts up and back, the Targa hoop reveals a mechanical lifting device and the cloth panel (which is identical to that on the cabrio) is lifted into the boot.

The new 911 Targa is based on the new 911 Carrera 4 and there’s a more powerful S model, too. First deliveries of the new Targa will be in April this year and you can order one now at your local Porsche centre with prices starting at £86,281. 

Porsche 911 Targa 

Audi Crossover Concept

3 - Audi Allroad Shooting Brake

From the pictures, you might think this would be a teaser for 2016’s Audi Q1 SUV. But up close, it’s clear this car is the new Audi TT due later this year. It’s lower and wider in the flesh, with clear TT styling cues like the more chiselled front end, updated rear lights and signature crease running down the side of the car.

The concept car’s dash is likely to feature pretty much unchanged with Audi insiders promising an advanced full colour TFT screen in place of traditional dials. We’ll see the finished TT at the Geneva Motor Show in March and it’ll be on sale in the UK in September. And Audi hasn’t ruled out a shooting brake version of the TT, which would be pretty close in design to this concept.

Audi Allroad Shooting Brake concept 

Kia GT4 Stinger main

2 - Kia GT4 Stinger

Kia’s stunning GT4 Stinger came close to being our star of the show, giving clues to the affordable, enthusiast’s rear-wheel drive sports car Kia’s been teasing us about for the past couple of years.

Those stacked LED lights and see-through A-pillars might not make it into production but there’s a strong chance we’ll see a car like this from Kia within the next couple of years – let’s hope they decide to do it in right hand drive for the UK.

Kia certainly has the bits available to make the car – the concept features the company’s 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine, while the platform could come from the rear-drive Hyundai Genesis

Kia GT4 Stinger concept 

Toyota FT-1

1 - Toyota FT-1

The undoubted star of the show is Toyota’s front-engined, rear-wheel drive FT-1 Concept. FT stands for ‘Future Toyota’ and the good news is that Toyota hasn’t ruled out making it a reality – possibly as a new Supra.

The even better news is that you can drive it now… but only if you’re a gaming fan – the FT-1 features as a download on Playstation game Gran Turismo 6.

There’s no word on what power is underneath that sensational bodywork, other than it’s a traditional internal combustion engine rather than a Hybrid. Want Toyota to build the FT-1? We certainly do but let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Toyota FT-1 concept

• 10 Detroit Motor Show cars we wish we had in the UKDetroit Motor Show 2014: round-up 

Get all the latest from Detroit as it happens - follow Auto Express on Twitter and join us on Facebook.


Steve Fowler has been editor-in-chief of Auto Express since 2011 and is responsible for all editorial content across the website and magazine. He has previously edited What Car?, Autocar and What Hi-Fi? and has been writing about cars for the best part of 30 years. 

Most Popular

Car Deal of the Day: Land Rover Defender looks the business at £324 per month
Defender Hard Top - downhill off road

Car Deal of the Day: Land Rover Defender looks the business at £324 per month

The current Defender is a fantastic SUV van for businesses and is our Car Deal of the Day for 20 February
20 Feb 2024
“The £16k Dacia Spring is an electric car game-changer”
Opinion - Dacia Spring

“The £16k Dacia Spring is an electric car game-changer”

With many people claiming electric cars are just too expensive, editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks the Dacia Spring’s arrival in the UK is exactly wh…
21 Feb 2024
Car Deal of the Day: big-selling Nissan Qashqai with hybrid power for only £194 a month
Nissan Qashqai - front static

Car Deal of the Day: big-selling Nissan Qashqai with hybrid power for only £194 a month

A UK favourite with Nissan’s unique hybrid system, the Qashqai e-Power is a great family SUV and our Car Deal of the Day for 22 February
22 Feb 2024