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Monday 7th January 2013


Muscle, and plenty of it: that's the theme of this year's Detroit show

With seasonal revelry now well and truly a distant memory, it's time to get down to business for the world's car manufacturers, and the North American International Auto Show (or simply 'Detroit', as it's more commonly known) is the first big event in the diary.

This year sees over 50 new car launches, and while the vast majority of them will naturally be by US manufacturers and for the US market, there are still some pretty big cars that should get PHers' juices flowing.

Corvette has not yet been glimpsed undisguised
Corvette has not yet been glimpsed undisguised
Arguably chief among those will be the new C7 Chevrolet Corvette. While several renderings and teasers have appeared in the press in recent weeks, the undisguised look of the complete car has thus far remained a fiercely-protected secret. Word is it's going to be a looker, though, and with a choice of two V8 engines and a lightweight chassis that features aluminium suspension components, we're hoping it should deliver the performance those looks promise.

Lest Chevrolet steal all the muscle car limelight, though, Shelby will be bringing two new models to the show. The first will be a wide-body option for the 2013 Super Snake, but the second is altogether more intriguing. So far, Shelby has kept schtum on any detail, but the late, great Carroll speculated before his death that the industry would be moving towards lower-capacity engines with turbochargers, so we can't help but wonder whether it'll be something boosty. Time will tell.

M6 GC one of three German hyper-saloon stars
M6 GC one of three German hyper-saloon stars
It won't be all about the American marques, though. Expect a three-way German hyper-saloon punch-up as Mercedes-Benz reveals its facelifted E63 AMG at the same time as Audi debuts its RS7 and BMW shows the M6 GranCoupe for the first time. It looks likely that there'll be no RS6 saloon, so these three will go head-to-head, pitching twin-turbocharged V8s - 5.5-litre for the Merc, 4.0-litre for the Audi, 4.4-litre for the BM - against each other in a battle of wits.

Somewhat less Teutonic, but still in the fast four-door vein will be the new Maserati Quattroporte. We've already seen full press shots of this, but Detroit will be the first time the general public at large will get to see the big Maser up close. The new car's styling has met with mixed reactions so far, but the word is that it looks better in the flesh - this will be the first chance for people to find out for themselves. Regardless of the Quat's looks, few can argue with the 530hp punch from the top-of-the-range twin-scroll turbocharged V8.

Maserati Quattroporte will debut too
Maserati Quattroporte will debut too
And of course, flying the flag for the UK will be Bentley's new GT Speed Convertible. As we detailed in our piece on the new droptop last week, this will be the fastest four-seat convertible in the world, able to crack 202mph (although you'll need to put the roof up to do it). Available in colours other than the rather sudden purple that's been chosen as the launch colour, it'll make its first appearance at Detroit.

Of course, we'll bring you all the latest updates from the show as they appear, so stay tuned for more as the key stories break.

Author: Alex Robbins
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