Here we are again with day two of our series on The Chicago Auto Show (February 9th through February 18th). Let us quickly begin with Cadillac, which had plenty to show off. This is not to be contrary, but Cadillac has gotten plenty of press lately – surely you have seen it. I’ll be brief but concise: Cadillac Is Amazing Again! The new ATS is the BMW fighter it claims to be with a nicely laid out (but it would take some getting used to) interior and clean, fresh styling. The only drawback is the rather tight back seat- even for such a small car. I got acquainted with the XTS through the show floor and the Ride-Along activity that Cadillac is having for the show. Here, you get to drive or ride along with as many as three friends and get a hands-on tour as you drive through the nearby Museum Campus. The drive climaxes with a test of the new All-Wheel Drive system that Cadillac is equipping its cars with. On a slippery set of pads placed along a 1000-ft strip, you are encouraged to “floor it!” The result is the feel of the system thrusting the car forward and refusing to let it slip. You can feel the car fight the forces of physics with Zeus-like power. I and a fellow journalist repeated the process in the SRX with the help of our hosts Kelly and Barb who were part of the cordial crew (see video).
Cadillac XTS Test Drive
Cadillac SRX Test Drive
The Cadillac stand upstairs was fully stocked as well with the ELR taking the high ground. Imagine a Volt with style – there you go; same electronics, same drivetrain, and same platform. The V-Series cars sat on the outskirts of the display. The beauty and the power was evident but I would have much rather have had them placed in a more high traffic area. However, I can understand the need to showcase more profit- marginable cars.
Cadillac at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show
No NSX? Nope. Acura felt that the RLX was to be featured in Chicago because the NSX was getting prepped for another show and they felt the RLX was appropriate for this market. They are correct. Luxury sedans do sell well in Chicago, but we still want to see the NSX. In tribute, I snapped a few shots of my favorite Crossover, the ZDX. This is the last year for the ZDX as the RDX (3.5 liter V6 with 273 horsepower) grows up and the MDX ventures on to higher ground. Speaking of the MDX, this new facelift has made it the best looking version to date. The 3.7 liter V-6 renders 300 horsepower can pull up to seven passengers in comfort and speed.
Acura at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show
I was fooling around at the Porsche stand trying to figure out if the Panamera was pregnant or not and then, I turned around and saw it: The Lexus LF-LC. It was a beautiful blue, not the red it is in press photos. Huge shiny wheels and razor sharp edges lured me to the Lexus booth, dumbfounded. Dual touch screens, programmable dash, and aluminum accents make this one of the most futuristic looking interiors extant. Lexus’ presence was felt but understated with the exception of the LFA, dramatically placed on the center floor of the display and the all-new IS-F, the latest iteration in the F-Performance Family of Lexus. Starting at $61,750, the IS-F features a 5.0-liter V-8 with 416hp and 371 lb-ft of torque – a jump of almost 100 horsepower and 100 lb-ft of torque compared to the IS 350 model. Lexus wanted to do more than show off on the show circuit, they want to perform at the race circuit as well. Yes, the G-series was present in all its glory. A Darth Vader black GS-F Sport stared me in the face with ominous squinty eyes. This is the new bad boy’s car in terms of looks
Lexus at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show
Ford and Honda had concepts than must be mentioned. Ford’s Atlas pickup truck concept is a huge statement both literally and figuratively. This is an imposing truck. The size was emphasized by it being placed on an elevated, rotating stand. However, you could see that even if it were on the floor, Atlas would still give you the shakes if it was next to you. As imposing as the outside is, the inside seemed delicate and well-crafted; you sort of feel like you could be driving a world destroying robot from the comfort of your steel accented control center. It is an indication that the next generations of Ford trucks are going to be game changers and that Ford is aiming to keep the best-selling truck title for a little while longer. Honda had the EV-STER sitting at the corner of its display almost as if it were welcoming you to the gates of Honda city. Tiny in person (just 59.1 inches wide), the show car lacks any sort of roof. A production version would certainly have at least a fabric top. Beyond that, Honda is being hush-hush about production intentions and powertrain possibilities. The future of Honda designs is evident with the front fascia’s integrated headlights and grille.
Ford at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show
Honda at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show
Wrapping up today’s article, I must discuss polar opposites. The main exhibit hall is expansive and stretches over one million square feet (at least 20 blocks long). Somehow, a sparkle of light shone from each corner. On one end were the high-end cars. Comcast sponsored a stand that featured the McLaren MP4-12C Coupe and Spyder, The Aston Martin Vanquish, The Fisker Karma, Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe and Ghost Long Wheelbase Sedan and the so-black-it’s-scary Lamborghini Aventador among so many others (see photos). I knew that when the show opened publicly, this was going to be the go-to spot for anyone under 40. Leave the Comcast stand and walk clear across the show floor. All the way to the far reaches, past Toyota, past Nissan, past, Jeep. In the far corner is a treasure: a stand simply titled: “Drive Chicago Classics”. Imagine each generation of Corvette, the famous 64 Mustang, A deep black 67 Caddy Eldorado, every Camaro up to the last IROC Z, The mighty AMX, post-war classics from Cadillac and Chrysler and so many more. I guess that’s what makes The Chicago Auto Show so great. There’s something for everyone and it has to be revealed in layers. Every time you go, you see something you didn’t see the last time or something you want to see again. We will wrap this up and let you get to the show so you can see it for yourself.