KIA GT4 STINGER CONCEPT: Kia's latest concept car forgoes an audio system, with the idea that the sound from under the hood and the exhaust will be music to the driver's ears. The four-seat GT4 Stinger made its debut in Detroit and features a version of Kia's 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline four-cylinder engine, with a six-speed manual transmission that packs 315 horsepower. Designers gave the sports car what they described as a shrink-wrapped appearance with a bright, orange-yellow hue. Kia Motors America notes that it often ends up making vehicles that closely resemble concept versions.
LEXUS RC F COUPE: Lexus is marking its 25th anniversary with some power. The RC F coupe is based on the RC coupe unveiled in November at the Tokyo Motor Show, but it's produced for high performance. The hood on the RC F is higher to accommodate a 5.0-liter, V8 engine that produces more than 450 horsepower. The automaker said the rear-wheel drive RC F also features a speed-sensitive, active rear spoiler that deploys at about 50 mph and retracts below 25 mph. The wing helps maintain traction and stability at higher speeds. Lexus expects the RC F to go on sale in early fall. Pricing hasn't been announced.
VOLVO XC90: Volvo teased its new XC90 seven-passenger SUV, slated to hit the market later this year. The XC Concept Coupe has design elements that will be on Volvo cars going forward, including an oval grille with Volvo's distinctive logo, daytime running lights shaped like a narrow, sideways "T" and a band of taillights curling down from the roof. A first-time plug-in hybrid version gets an estimated 400 horsepower. The two-door concept doesn't exactly mimic the future XC90, which will have four doors.
SUBARU WRX STI: The 2015 WRX STI features a four-cylinder, 2.5-liter turbocharged engine with a 6-speed manual transmission that puts out 305 horsepower. The four-door, all-wheel drive STI version of the WRX aims to offer top-of-the-line performance along with comfort. Starting in April, Subaru plans to offer a WRX STI Launch Edition for three months, limited to 1,000 units and featuring special blue paint and gold-color forged alloy wheels. Pricing will be announced later.
ACURA TLX: The Honda luxury brand plans to beef up its sedan line-up with a mid-season enhancement. Acura unveiled its 2015 TLX prototype, which it describes as a "performance luxury sedan," to join its ILX compact and RLX performance models. The sporty side comes through with a low and wide stance, rigid and lightweight body, and shortened front and rear overhangs. The car will come with a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine or more powerful 3.5-liter V6. The carmaker says that high performance won't compromise luxury, with the TLX offering "vault-like quietness" in all driving conditions. The TLX was designed and developed in the U.S., where it will also be produced.
PORSCHE 911 TARGA: Porsche is dialing up the 911 with two new models, the Targa 4 and 4S. As with the original 1965 Targa, the new models feature a roof bar, movable front roof section and wraparound rear window. The new roof can open and close at the push of a button and stow behind the rear seat. Porsche said they are aiming for a "sporty and low-slung profile." The Targa 4 accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, the 4S slightly quicker with an optional package. The Targa 4 has a sticker price of $101,600 and the 4S is at $116,200. Deliveries are scheduled to start this summer.
CORVETTE Z06 General Motors rolled out a hot new version of the Corvette Stingray, called the Z06, with a staggering 625 horsepower supercharged V8 engine. The company says the performance of the 2015 Z06 will rival the best supercars in the world. The car gets a new 6.2-liter engine and a new eight-speed automatic transmission. A seven-speed manual also is available. The standard corvette has a six-speed automatic. The Z06 and the Corvette Racing CR7 gets an aluminum frame. The car also has a removable top. No performance times or prices were released. The standard Corvette starts around $52,000.
MERCEDES-BENZ S600, GLA45 AMG: The top model from Mercedes-Benz is getting an upgrade. The S600 sedan features a 12-cylinder, 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged engine that packs 523 horsepower. With the look and feel expected from the highest tier of the luxury brand, it seats four or five and features touchpad controls that allow letters, numbers and special characters to be entered in handwriting in nine languages. It's scheduled to go on sale in the spring. Pricing is yet to be announced. In addition, Mercedes is showing its GLA45 AMG, a small SUV from its AMG performance division that's so low profile it looks more like a sporty car and seats up to five. It has a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 355 horsepower. The engine promises acceleration from zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. It's scheduled to go on sale this fall and likely will be priced just under $50,000.
BMW 2 SERIES COUPE, M3 SEDAN, M4 COUPE: The two-door, four-seat, rear-wheel drive 2 Series Coupe the replacement for the 1 Series Coupe will come in a 228i version, which features a 240 horsepower, 2.0-liter V4 engine, and the M235i version, which features a 322 horsepower, 3.0-liter V6 engine. Scheduled to go on sale starting in March, BMW plans to sell the 228i for $33,025 and the M235i for $44,025. BMW also is showing its new 2015 model M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe. Plans call for the cars to go on sale in early summer, with pricing and options announced in the coming months.
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF R: The compact Volkswagen Golf is getting a powerful boost. Its latest incarnation packs a 290 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that improves on past fuel efficiency. The all-wheel-drive Golf R promises zero to 60 mph acceleration in 4.9 seconds with the automatic transmission version. Sporty touches include a leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel, as well as a two-branch exhaust with four chrome tips. Volkswagen estimates highway fuel economy around 31 mpg with the six-speed manual transmission, up from 27 mpg. The Golf R is scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. as a four-door model only in the first three months of 2015. Pricing will be announced later.
TOYTOA F-1: This vehicle's development started two years ago, and the car was devised first in the Sony PlayStation Gran Turismo game environment. Starting Tuesday, the automaker says FT-1 will be available as a downloadable vehicle for PlayStation 3 Gran Turismo 6. The physical car is designed to stir emotions and push limits with Toyota design, according to Kevin Hunter, president of Toyota's Calty Design Research facility in Newport Beach, Calif.