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2019 Detroit Auto Show preview

The car world kicks off 2019 by introducing a handful of new PH-worthy models in the US. Tokyo adds a few more...

By Sam Sheehan / Thursday, January 03, 2019

As guilt from the Christmas binge fades, attention in the automotive world quickly turns to the Detroit Auto Show, which will introduce a handful of ultra-hot new models to the world later this month. This year's Detroit show dates clash with the Tokyo Auto Salon, although that does at least leave that event to focus on JDM models including some very quirky kei cars. We've run through the most PH-worthy models to expect from both shows below, starting in the west...

Detroit Auto Show

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

The Blue Oval will launch its most powerful Mustang yet, the GT500, in Detroit, with a supercharged V8 producing an anticipated 700hp. The hot 'stang's 5.2-litre motor will be an extensively re-engineered version of the GT350's heart, and could come coupled to the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox of the GT supercar. Sadly, it probably won't be released in the UK - although that hasn't stopped us from importing its little brother...

Lexus RC F Track Edition

Toyota's luxury division has chosen Detroit to launch a more focused version of the RC F, appropriately named the Track Edition. As a rival to the BMW M4 CS, the car will get a motorsport-inspired overhaul including a fixed rear wing and other more aggressive aerodynamic features. Lexus might squeeze more power from the car's naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8, although with 477hp in standard tune, it's already more potent than the German.

Subaru WRX STI S209

Another Japanese car to be revealed away from home is the WRX STI S209, because it's a US-only variant of the Impreza's renamed offspring. Developed by Subaru Tecnica International in Tokyo, the reworked flat-four model will outpunch the 330hp S208 - although exactly by how much is yet to be confirmed. Like the S208, it could also get a quicker steering rack and adjustable Bilstein damping.

Toyota Supra

It's been a very long time coming, but finally, we'll get to meet the production-ready Toyota Supra this month. It'll first be revealed in Detroit - well, we say revealed; it's been leaked onto the internet twice already. PH drove a prototype of the BMW Z4's brother from another mother last year, so we know it'll come with a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six engine and around 340hp.

Tokyo Auto Salon

Honda S660 Neo Classic racing concept

No Japanese motor show is complete without Kei cars, and Honda will step up to the mark with several on display in Tokyo, including an S660 racer. The concept is based on the Neo Classic variant of the firm's 660cc two-seater, but gains wider arches, new bumpers and a rear spoiler, along with retro features like leather bonnet straps and covered headlights. Want!

Honda Trip Van

The next Kei car from Honda that might stir excitement among PHers is the Trip Van, which is designed for the sort of active lifestyle folk that like to drive to the beach and go surfing. This cute little van gets a roof rack to hold your boards, as well as steelies and bare plastic bumpers to enhance its ruggedness. Inside, there's a more classic theme with a wood-rimmed steering wheel to match the wood trim on the dash and doors.

Suzuki Jimny Survive and Sierra Pickup Style

Suzuki's bringing two special versions of its Jimny to Tokyo that will steal your heart. The first, the Survive, is based on the JDM Kei car Jimny, which uses a 660cc three-cylinder turbo. It gains a winch and tow hook, knobbly off-road tyres, a sump guard and an external roll cage. The Sierra Pickup Style is a more powerful 1.5 four-cylinder, like the UK car. It looks the part, although its bed-space is rather tiny...

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