Best five production cars of the 2017 Detroit motor show

13 January 2017
 by 
, CarsGuide

America's biggest motor show was like a Donald Trump nightmare, with all the biggest noise emanating from the foreign brands' stands, contrasted by deafening silence from America's Big Three.

There were none of the headline-stealing, horsepower-heavy muscle cars we've come to expect, and no forest-culling jumbo trucks, either. But the gap was more than filled with important releases from the international brands that, while not always overflowing with excitement, will prove absolutely critical to their individual success in coming months.

So without further ado, and in no particular order, here are our best five production cars from the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).

1. Kia Stinger

If you think the accessible rear-drive sedan market will die along with the Falcon and locally-produced Commodore, then Kia's got news for you. 

Its all-new Stinger will arrive in Australia in two trim levels: an entry-level model powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and a top-spec GT powered by a far more enticing 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 good for 272kW/500Nm that will be fed through an eight-speed automatic.

The latter is good for a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 5.1 seconds, and will top out at a licence-shredding 270km/h. But it's not just straight-line speed that's been worked on: every Aus-spec Stinger will be a rear-drive proposition, and will arrive with a mechanical limited-slip differential and electronically adjustable suspension as standard kit. Every car arrives with fully adjustable drive modes, too, a first for the Kia brand.

Kia honed the Stinger at the Nurburgring, and we've got high hopes for it when it arrives here in the middle of the year. Expect pricing to start at around $40k for the entry-level model, and jump to $50k for the GT.

2. Mercedes E-Class Coupe

The G3 (Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz) is clearly dedicated to Coupe-efying every model in their respective ranges, and this time it's the stunning E-Class Coupe; officially unveiled at the NAIAS, despite pictures of the car having done the internet rounds for a while.

The two-door looks every bit the premium stunner in the metal, from its planet-sized three-point star and raked roof line, to the drop-away rear windows and shapely behind.

Very cool is the ability to auto-park the car via a phone application.

The top-tier model, the E400 4MATIC, gets a turbocharged V6 engine that will deliver 245kW/480Nm, but deep-pocketed petrol heads can expect the Coupe to get the AMG treatment before too long.

Expect the usual autonomous trickery, but also very cool is the ability to auto-park the car via a phone application. So if you're approaching a tight spot or garage, you can climb out of the car and order the vehicle to park itself. It's an optional system overseas, and Mercedes tells us the technology is on its way to Australia.

3. Lexus LS

There's something in the water over at Lexus, and it's possibly alcohol. Whatever the reason, the luxury brand has shed its dowdy image and embraced a new and aggressive design language and driver-focused engineering philosophy.

What started with the mean-looking LC Coupe has continued with its flagship model, the LS sedan, unveiled in Detroit and scheduled for an early 2018 release in Australia.

The all-new Lexus LS debuts a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 that will generate 310kW/600Nm, feeding drive to the rear wheels via an industry-first 10-speed automatic transmission. The result is a brisk 0-100km/h sprint time of just 4.5 seconds. More, and lesser, engine options will be revealed over the coming months.

But just as importantly, it looks the absolute business. That mean front end (made up of 5,000 individual pieces, initially hand-placed by designers), 20-inch alloys and muscular guards are all so very un-Lexus.

While Lexus Australia is yet to reveal pricing, we've been told it won't be straying far from the current price list, which kicks off at $182,326 for the 'entry level' LS460 F-Sport.

4. Infiniti QX50

The best looking Infiniti in some time is not officially confirmed for Australia, but the local bosses would need their heads - and business plans - examined if they didn't launch the QX50 into one of Australia's most popular segments.

It debuts the much-hyped, and undeniably clever, Variable Compression engine.

Technically a concept, but oh-so-close to the final version due to go into production in the next few months, the QX50 is possibly the best example of Infiniti's bold design language we've seen, with its muscular shoulders, huge grille and chromed-out blingyness all over.

It also debuts the much-hyped, and undeniably clever, Variable Compression engine, with the new turbocharged 2.0-litre designed to offer the performance of a traditional petrol engine, but with the fuel economy of a diesel.

5. Toyota Camry

The word 'Camry' rarely inspires excitement, but Toyota has transformed the all-new model - to be the first all-imported Australian Camry since the 1980s - adding purpose and athleticism into what was a fairly bland offering.

So much so, in fact, that global Toyota boss Akio Toyoda told the assembled press in Detroit's Cobo Hall that customers could choose between "sexy and really sexy" when ordering the new car. That, of course, is madness: the Camry remains as sexy as a bumbag. But there's no doubting it is streets ahead of its predecessor on the cool scale.

Toyota has revealed plenty of under-the-skin changes, too, thanks to a new and more dynamic platform, a technology injection and three new engine options for America's best-selling passenger car.

Check out the best concept cars of the 2017 Detroit motor show here

Chesto ranked these cars "in no particular order." Do you have a favourite? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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