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Oh, the glorious details: Carbon-fiber components. Falcon-wing doors. Plug-and-play powerplants. Here, from this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, your shopping list of luxury conveyances

by CHRISTOPHER WYNN

ALL CHARGED UP: BMW’s sleek and sexy i8 Concept hybrid-electric sports car

BMW i8 CONCEPT

We have seen the future of driving, and it may belong to BMW. The company showed its i8 concept sports car to raves at the Detroit show. The sculptural, organic shape includes transparent surfaces in the doors and roof that visually blur the boundaries of where materials begin and end. The stylish car is part of BMW’s new “i” sub-brand of sexy hybrid gas-electric vehicles in development. The i8 will be able to go 0 to 60 in just 5 seconds — just don’t forget to plug it in at night. bmw-i-usa.com

Cadillac’s ELR hybrid-electric luxury coupe

 

CADILLAC ELR

As the tagline for this angular luxury coupe suggests: “Slip into something a little more technological.” The ELR is Cadillac’s spin on green in the form of a battery-powered sports car — seating is 2+2 — with a small gas engine to increase range. Expect a good share of volts to go into powering an onboard touch screen, Bose stereo system, LED everything and even the industry’s first power-assisted sliding cup holder cover. (Who knew we needed one.) Cadillac says the car will be produced in limited numbers and available in early 2014; pricing has not been announced. cadillac.com

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Black Series

 

MERCEDES-BENZ SLS AMG COUPÉ BLACK SERIES

Mercedes’ high-performance AMG subsidiary takes the gull-winged SLS into full-blown supercar territory with its Black Series upgrades. The 631-horsepower hand-built engine makes it the most powerful AMG high-performance machine in the tri-pointed-star stable. A performance suspension, massive sports tires and bigger brakes mean you’re ready to take on any track — or at least the Tollway. (And since you’re going to stand out anyway, go for the AMG Solar Beam yellow paint.) Prices will begin around $230,000 when the car goes on sale this summer. mercedes-amg.com

Lincoln’s airy MKC Concept crossover

 

LINCOLN MKC CONCEPT

Lincoln has been working hard to reclaim its status in the luxury market by distancing itself from parent company Ford — just witness the elegant new name (The Lincoln Motor Co.), a lofty new ad campaign aimed at a younger crowd and new vehicles such as the MKC crossover, scheduled for 2014. The company is touting the MKC as its first ever “small car,” but this baby SUV is on par with others in its class, such as Audi’s Q5. What’s to love? The MKC will have special touches such as reclaimed-wood trim, hand-sewn French seams in the soft leather and an airy interior where almost the entire roof is made of glass. lincoln.com

Infiniti’s Q50 sports sedan

 

INFINITI Q50

What’s in a name? Everything, according to Infiniti, which is revamping the nameplates on every vehicle in its lineup. (With more diverse power plants required to meet future fuel-efficiency standards, the company’s previous naming convention no longer worked; now every car will begin with Q, and every SUV and crossover with QX.) The curvy new Q50 sports sedan replaces the outgoing G37 and comes with a cultural twist: One of the Q50’s three available engines will be a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder developed by Mercedes-Benz. The gorgeously architectural interior with hand-polished wood — shades of Rolls-Royce? — will be the perfect place to enjoy all that engineering. The Q50 goes on sale this summer; pricing has not been announced.infiniti.com

Bentley’s Continental GT Speed Con- vertible is the world’s fastest four-seat drop-top

 

BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT SPEED CONVERTIBLE

What does it take to be the world’s fastest four-seat convertible? Try two turbochargers within a W-12 engine, making this cabriolet capable of 202 miles per hour. Your bangs will get ruffled, but you will still look utterly composed in the handcrafted cabin, finished with diamond-quilted hide upholstery.

If it’s what’s on the outside that matters to you, then this Bentley fairly shouts “Look at me!” with unique 21-inch wheels, a darkened-chrome grille and air intakes and two oversized elliptical tailpipes with deeply grooved innards. Though offered in screaming Orange Flame or Sequin Blue paintwork, we suggest you order yours in superchic Onyx black. Prices will begin around $240,000 when the drop-top goes on sale later this year.bentleymotors.com

Smart’s movie-projecting ForStars Concept coupe

 

SMART FORSTARS SPORTS UTILITY COUPE

We note Smart’s quirky new concept for an all-electric coupe for one compelling reason: The car’s nose has a built-in media projector that can play movies on any flat surface. Instant drive-in. (And all operated with your iPhone, using Bluetooth.) As for that name, it’s a nod to the car’s glass roof, which affords a view of the sky — or a really good meteor show. No official word yet on production. smartusa.com

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: Chevrolet’s completely redesigned 2014 Corvette Stingray

 

CHEVROLET CORVETTE STINGRAY

The surprise hit of this year’s show was the redesigned Stingray, which shares only two parts — a cabin air filter and a roof panel latch — with the previous-generation Corvette. (There is a nod to the far past, though, thanks to the return of rear quarter windows, not seen since ’62.) The revamped muscle car is lighter and more powerful than before, with many traditionally steel bits now in less-weighty materials such as carbon-fiber (the hood), aluminum (the body frame), even magnesium (the seat frames). How fast can it go? Try 0 to 60 in less than four fleeting seconds, while still achieving an overall 26 miles per gallon or better. Mostly, we like the new Corvette because it looks — no other way to say this — sexy as hell, with its sculpted, aggressive shape, a blend that is, to us, part American, part Ferrari and part Aston Martin. Even better, Chevy brags that the 2014 Vette will have the most elegant, most comfortable interior of any Stingray made to date, complete with hand-stitched leather. (We’re in.) The car goes on sale this fall; prices will probably start around $50,000 and go up, up, up.chevrolet.com

 

HIGHLY DRIVEN: FIVE KEY AUTOMOTIVE TRENDS

AUTONOMOUS TECHNOLOGY. Collision-avoidance systems, blind-spot detection, parking assist, GPS — cars that virtually drive themselves are coming sooner than you think

LOSING WEIGHT. Carbon-fiber, aluminum, even nano-carbon composite parts

MIGHTY LITTLE ENGINES. Four-cylinder engines more powerful and efficient than some previous six-cylinders, thanks to reduced friction and turbocharging

HOT HUE: COCOA. Yes, brown and other earthy colors are increasingly popular in the luxury-car market according to BASF’s last Global Automotive Color Trend Report

LEATHERETTE. Fake leather used to be a no-no, but new technology has made it feel just like the real thing — and it wears better and is easier to maintain

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