The nine most important cars revealed at the Detroit Auto Show

The swirling circus of horsepower and petrol that is the North American International Auto Show has once again rolled into Detroit. Beneath velvety covers hid power-heavy performance cars, eco-friendly commuters and batty concepts.

Some will soon be touching down in Australia, while others are so joyously unhinged they'll only ever be seen in concept form, but each lit up Motor City in their own special way.

The Lexus LS

The stiff-collared luxury brand has got its mojo back of late, ditching its buttoned-down and boring image and injecting some much-needed aggression into their designs.

The all-new Lexus LS is powered by a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6, feeding that power to the rear wheels via a 10-speed automatic gearbox. The result is a blistering zero to 100km/h sprint time of just 4.5 seconds.

But more importantly, just look at it. That metallic monstrosity of a grille is made up of 5,000 individual pieces, while those 20-inch alloys were inspired by flames. And it looks very, very good in the metal. And very un-Lexus.

The Audi Q8 e-tron Concept

Audi has mastered the art of the not-really-a-concept concept with its Q8 e-tron SUV, with the coupe-styled expected to go into production in 2018 virtually unchanged from the vehicle unveiled at the Detroit show.

Behind that menacing new grille lives a hybrid 3.0-litre V6 while a 17.9-kWh lithium-ion battery pack will deliver about 60kms of all-electric motoring.

Inside, you'll find Audi's awesome Virtual Cockpit (a fully customisable,12.3-inch high-resolution display that lives in the driver's binnacle), while each wheel arch houses a huge 23-inch alloy.

The Kia Stinger

Kia is hoping to fill the spot vacated by the Commodore and Falcon with its all-new, and luxury-focussed, Stinger. The entry-level car gets a piddling 2.0-litre engine, but springing for the GT model unlocks genuine performance courtesy of a 3.3-litre and twin-turbo V6.


Kia reckons the Stinger will knock off the 100km/h sprint in just 5.1 seconds, but it should perform well in the twisty stuff, too, courtesy of its rear-wheel-drive setup, mechanical limited slip differential and electronically adjustable suspension.

The Stinger was sharpened at the Nurburgring, and it promises to be a fun and frugal drive, with a circa-$50k price tag expected when it lands here in the middle of the year.

The Mercedes E-Class Coupe

The German brand has lopped the back doors off its E-Class sedan, creating a stunning, swoopy Coupe version.

Top of the range, for now, is the E400, powered by a turbocharged V6 engine good for 245kW and

480Nm, but expect the Coupe to undergo the AMG performance treatment soon enough.

Also debuting is Merc's autonomous tech, with the E-Class Coupe capable of driving itself, regardless of whether it's on a straight road or going around corners, at speeds of up to 210 km/h, though the police officer is unlikely to believe you. Also very cool is a remote parking function, with owners able to get out of the car before ordering the car to auto-park via an app.

Ford F150

America's best-selling truck has been updated for 2018, including a new diesel engine (a first for the petrol-mad USA). It joins a 3.3-litre V6 and a 5.0-litre V8 in the good ol' boy's line up.

As American as a bald eagle, we're unlikely to see in Australia, though, despite ute sales in Oz soaring.

The Volkswagen I.D Buzz

Diesel scandal? What diesel scandal? Volkswagen's transformation from eco scoundrels to eco-warriors is well underway, and the ID Buzz is the electric-powered Kombi Van that could be leading the charge.

An electric motor on each axle produces around 275kW, enough to push the magic bus to 100km/h in just five seconds. But the really cool stuff lives in the cabin. The days of dragging a mattress into your Kombi are over, with owners not only able to move the seats around the cabin at will, but able to transform them into footrests or bedding.

Cooler still, when you're tired of steering, the fully-autonomous Buzz will retract the steering wheel back into the dash and take over the driving for you.

Infiniti QX50

It might be technically be called a concept, but the QX50 will look almost exactly like this when it goes into production later this year.

And it's a car Infiniti sorely needs, with the Nissan-spawned luxury brand struggling to find traction - or buyers - in Australia. But mid-size SUVs are all the rage in Oz, and this muscular offering is one of the better looking ones available. Not officially confirmed for Australia, but it would be madness for Infiniti to overlook it.

It's also the first vehicle to be fitted with Infiniti's clever Variable Compression engine - a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit that offers the power of a V6, but sips fuel like a diesel.

Nissan VMotion 2.0

Nissan's VMotion 2.0 is on a mission to bring sexy back to sedans. And it is a sexy design, with its powerful front end and a pair of wide-swinging suicide doors on each side.

There's a sea of cool tech inside, too, from the ProPilot autonomous system that will drive for you regardless of whether you're in the city or the country, to a new Bose speaker system that can send specific sounds to the driver's speaker only. The Ultra Nearfield system means navigation directions are sent only to the driver, while phone calls can be made in relative privacy while your other passengers listen to music.

The Toyota Camry

We've saved the best 'til last, Sort of. The humble Camry is actually America's top-selling passenger car, and remains a perennial fleet favourite in Australia. But here's the rub, the all-new Camry will be the first model sold in Australia that is fully imported since the 1980s, with Toyota shuttering its local manufacturing facility.

Click through the gallery above to see nine of the biggest reveals.