2015 North American International Auto Show - Showin’ Off
New Diesel Cars, Trucks, and Concepts Debut at NAIAS 2015
Attending a "new-car auto show" (as the displays of new-model-year vehicles are generally called...in short form) is a must-do activity on most die-hard, car-and-truck enthusiasts' calendar whenever such events are held in or near a particular city or region.
The shows afford media and prospective car buyers opportunities to not only see debuting vehicles—or current models that have been mechanically and/or cosmetically updated in some fashion—but they also allow us to touch, sit in, and fully assess all the good, bad, and even "ugly" (literally) about the cars and trucks on display.
While major auto shows are held annually in big cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C., the city of Detroit's North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) held in early January is, without question, the proverbial "granddaddy of them all."
The NAIAS literally brings the world to the Motor City each year, as auto manufacturers, press, and buyers from around the globe are on hand to witness the debuts of highly anticipated new vehicles and concepts, and also to hear the latest automotive news and landmark announcements firsthand, from foreign and domestic automakers and industry leaders in attendance.
Our objective at NAIAS was fairly simple: Stay abreast of all diesel-related news and information, while being "all over" the official introduction of Nissan's '16 Titan XD—a brand-new, 5.0L Cummins V-8-powered pickup (which you'll learn more about in our full report on page 64) that enters the scene as a game changer in the light-duty truck segment.
The following photos and captions offer details about the latest in new diesel vehicles, and an insider's perspective of the auto industry's first and most important show of the year.
One of the best ways to describe the North American International Auto Show is to place it on the same level as some of the world's top fashion shows, such as those held in Milan, Paris, or New York.
For two days each January, manufacturers and press converge on Detroit to be a part of the high energy and excitement of NAIAS inside Detroit's Cobo Center, as automakers put their best feet forward with elaborate, classy, and oftentimes entertaining presentations of new vehicles.
Hordes of automotive media reporters (using cameras and cell phones) were on hand to capture the unveiling of Nissan's highly anticipated '16 Titan XD powered by an all-new 5.0L Cummins turbodiesel V-8 engine (top). Titan's diesel debut was one of the major highlights of the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). While gray skies, frigid cold, and snow consumed the Motor City and its surrounding area, the main floor inside Cobo Center's warm confines was bustling with new-car activity (above). The NAIAS, formerly known as the Detroit Auto Show, has been held every year since 1907.
Several manufacturers provided "inside looks" at their latest engines. This cutaway details the direct-injection technology of Audi's 258hp 3.0L V-6 TDI powerplant, which motivates the '15 Q7 e-tron Quattro...
...And here's a peek at said Q7 e-tron quattro, in its proverbial skin. The sharp-looking SUV is the world's first plug-in hybrid with a six-cylinder diesel engine and quattro all-wheel drive. We don't have U.S. EPA figures for the unique drivetrain, but according to New European Driving Cycle (a speed-versus-resistance measurement) data, the new Q7 can pull down approximately 138 mpg and will top out at 139 mph, which is absolutely flying for a diesel hybrid.
A horsepower increase is expected for BMW's '17 G30/5 Series diesel models (535d and 535d xDrive). The sedan's variable-geometry-turbocharged 3.0L I-6 (left) is said to gain a whopping 78 crankshaft horsepower, jumping from 255 hp to 333 hp. While the BMW 5 Series' styling cues remain intact (above) for 2016, the highly anticipated '17 model-year Bimmer sedans reportedly include such features as a lighter chassis, lateral self-parking, radar-operated cruise control, and automated lane changing (with passing). G30 is the seventh generation of the 5 Series, and 535ds are scheduled to hit dealerships in mid-2016.
Jaguar's corporate sibling Land Rover has also elected to bring its diesel SUVs to North America. However, the key difference is, this British invasion starts immediately. Yes, the diesel-powered '16 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport HSE models are headed to the United States. Land Rover says city/highway fuel economy for the luxo-utes' diesel-burning 3.0L Td6 V-6 engine is 32 percent better than the mileage the gasoline 3.0Ls pull down. Along with great fuel economy, the Td6 makes a stout 444 lb-ft of torque at just 1,750 rpm, making either of these Rovers very good SUVs to consider.
When it comes to fresh, slick, and "hip" vehicles that debuted in Detroit, Hyundai's concept Santa Cruz tops the list. The proposed new vehicle (which we really hope they produce), introduced as a crossover sport truck aimed at "Urban Adventurers," features an environmentally friendly 2.0L turbodiesel powertrain that delivers 190 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque, while achieving fuel economy in the high 30-mpg range.
Did you ever think a sporty little number like this Jaguar F-Type would, or even could ever have a diesel engine under its hood in the United States? Well, it appears that's what's going to happen in 2016. With the announcement of breaking automotive news being a major part of the NAIAS, Jag did its part by declaring the clean-diesel engines, which have powered Europe-sold Jaguars for years, will now be offered for nearly every North America-based model, too. The jury's still out on whether models like this red beauty will get a diesel. But, if they do, we'll be at the front of the line for testing them.
While we hoped we would get to see a real-world edition of the off-road ZR2 Colorado, this Z71 model, which has a Duramax underhood, definitely looks hot with this sharp, unidentified new color.
This is the small-but-mighty 2.8L Duramax engine that powers Chevrolet's new Colorado diesel. The engine makes a very stout (for such a small displacement) 181 hp, with 369 lb-ft of torque.
So, when is an SUV really not an SUV? If you answered, "When it's a '16 Mercedes-Benz GLE350d 4Matic Sport Coupe," you're absolutely correct. NAIAS 2015 marked the unveiling of this all-new, 3.0L diesel-powered coupe, which features the typical attributes of a coupe (sportiness and agility) combined with the versatility and robustness of an SUV.
A venture downstairs to the NAIAS "basement" afforded us an opportunity to check out some pretty impressive Armored Fighting Vehicles the U.S. Army displayed. Among the heavy-duty machines was this gargantuan MaxxPro MRAP: a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle built by Navistar Defense (based on International's WorkStar 7000 truck chassis).
The MaxxPro MRAP is powered by an International MaxxForce 8.7D inline-six turbodiesel engine, which makes 330 hp and 950 lb-ft of torque. The MRAP's MaxxForce also burns JP-8, an all-purpose fuel (used for heaters, stoves, generators, and as coolant in engines) the U.S. military and its NATO allies use as a replacement for diesel in engines of nearly all tactical ground vehicles.
One of the more unique occurrences at the 2015 North American International Auto Show was the two-in-one debut at Nissan's display. As we mentioned earlier in this report, the '16 Titan XD made its first public appearance at the show. However, the unveiling also marked the first time XD's all-new 5.0L Cummins turbodiesel V-8 engine was ever seen installed in a vehicle. All the details on this exciting new rig and engine are included in our cover report, which you'll find on page 64 of this issue.
While Volkswagen's '15 Touareg TDI maintains its 3.0L turbodiesel V-6 engine (240 hp/406 lb-ft), the SUV's exterior and interior surrounds have received significant updates, both functional and cosmetic (like its redesigned 3D grille). Larger, 25W bi-xenon headlights are now standard on Touareg, with a 35W bi-xenon available as an option. Inside Touareg's cabin are such upgrades as suspension controls added to the navigation/radio system and aluminized knobs for its Climatronic HVAC system. Several new colors for seat cover materials were also added for the '15 VW Touareg.
Ever wonder what it's like to have hordes of automotive journalists shouting questions at you about a new truck? We didn't get close enough to hear the barrage of nonstop questions Fiat Chrysler's CEO, Sergio Marchionne, fielded, but this photo gives you an idea of just how frenetic a vehicle's world premiere is.
For those who were unaware, Ram made it plenty clear that its 1500 EcoDiesel pickup is the Green Car Journal's 2015 "Green Pickup of the Year." While the truck itself did not receive any updates, its 3.0L V-6 engine now gets 29 mpg on the highway (for the HFE model), which is said to be the highest rating for 1/2-ton rigs from any manufacturer.
While the winner of Truck Trend's inaugural Pickup Truck of the Year award isn't powered by a diesel engine (congrats, '15 Ford F-150), we would be remiss if we didn't acknowledge the awesome piece of hardware that our sister magazine presents to the manufacturer that earns the high honor. With the new Nissan Titan XD and Ram's 1500 EcoDiesel now in the mix—and more new diesel trucks on the horizon—the "PTOTY" (as the award has come to be known around the Truck Trend Network offices) certainly could be won by a diesel at some time in the future.
HyundaiFountain Valley, CA
Mercedes-BenzMontvale, NJ 07645
VolkswagenHerndon, VA 20171
ChevroletDetroit, MI 48323
Ram TrucksAubum Hills, MI 48321
Land Rover North Americalanham, MD 20706
Audi Of North Americahttp://www.audiusa.com
BMW M Performancehttp://www.shopbmwusa.com
Jaguar USAMahwah, NJ 07430