NEW cars, both concept and production, made their debut at the North American International Auto Show held in Detroit last Jan. 13 to 26. Here are my thoughts on some of the cars:
SUBARU 2015 WRX STI. Subaru launched its 2015 WRX STI. The focus of the new STI is handling. They have improved handling by introducing what they call Vehicle Dynamics Control Active Torque Vectoring to compliment their Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD) to give more driver control on fast corners.
Suspension geometry has been reworked to give 16 percent less body roll and the chassis is stiffer by 41 percent for more lateral grip. The steering has also been improved with a lightning fast all-new rack and pinion with a 13:1 ratio.
While all the new model Subaru cars have switched to the more fuel efficient F series engines, the STI still has the same old EJ257 turbo engine that produces 305 hp. Retaining the old engine is actually good news to me. Most of the STI owners upgrade their engines. The EJ series engines have been around since the mid nineties, which means tuners and aftermarket high-performance parts companies have done a lot of research and development on improving this engine.
There are so many high performance upgrades in the market for the EJ engine that are priced well and have been proven through the years to work well. Thus, upgrading this engine to 450 hp will not cost an arm and a leg. I cannot wait for this car to arrive in the Philippine market and test it.
KIA GT4 STINGER. Kia introduced a very interesting concept car called the GT4 Stinger. This car is powered by a 315 hp 2.0 turbocharged engine mated to a close ratio six-speed transmission, and it weighs only 1,300 kg., which would make this car very quick. It has the traditional front engine rear-wheel-drive layout, which would mean this car will be fun to drive. It has a very aggressive look and stance that one will either love or hate. Sadly, Kia has no plans yet of bringing this great concept into production.
TOYOTA FT-1. Toyota showcased its FT-1 Concept, and this car is rumored to be the next generation Supra. The Supra was the flagship sports car of Toyota. They stopped producing this car in 2002. The last generation of the Supra had Toyota’s legendary 2JZGTE twin turbo engine. This engine came stock at 280 hp, but with just a little tweaking it was easy to bring it to 500 hp.
I really hope that Toyota will bring the FT-1 concept into production. It is one of the most beautiful cars that I have ever seen with its F1-like styling.
PORSCHE TARGA 911. Porsche brought back its traditional Targa version of the 911. The Targa was first introduced in 1965 amidst fears that full convertible cars were going to be banned for safety reasons. The Targa design is a cross between a coupe and a convertible. In 1989 Porsche discontinued its traditional Targa line up and had a new Targa concept, which was just like having a huge sunroof. I am glad that the traditional Targa design of Porsche is back, as I like the look of it.
VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE DUNE. Volkswagen unveiled its Beetle Dune Concept, a car that looks to be aimed at the crossover market targeting a person with an active lifestyle. It looks good but it has one downside: it is only front-wheel-drive. To me a crossover should be four-wheel-drive. Thus, it is nothing but a beetle with a higher ground clearance. It will have the active lifestyle look without the active lifestyle performance. Rumor has it that this car will be in production soon. (Images from the Internet)