Words: Keith Adams Photography: Newspress/HeadlineAuto
The Brits were less in evidence at Detroit as they have been in recent years – an understandable situation given our amazing 2011. Last year was most definitely the year of the concept, with Jaguar Land Rover basking in the limelight of the C-X16 and DC100 concepts, and 2012 will be all about developing these for production (as the V6- and V8-powered Jaguar XT, and an as-yet unnamed new Land Rover). Geneva will see more action for the Brits – as we ramp up for the summer unveils of cars, such as the Jaguar XF Sportsbrake, MG3 and 5 – but we still managed a couple of new product reveals, all the same.
Of course, it’s probably a matter of raised expectations after such an amazing 2011 – and there were still two notable debuts.
AROnline readers have already voted with their mice and keyboards on the MINI Coupe styling, by proclaiming it a little too challenging for their tastes. But at AROnline Towers, we love its individuality and bravery. However, shorn of its roof, and turned into the two-seat Roadster, there’s no denying the latest MINI derivative has considerable appeal.
Detroit was the UK-built Roadster’s public debut, and although we already know it’s going to be available in Cooper, Cooper S and JCW form (122, 184 and 211bhp respectively), and will be followed up by the first press drives in the upcoming weeks. Expect a UK on sale date sometime around the late spring.
Bentley Continental V8
The Bentley Continental GT V8 also had its first public airing at Detroit. It’s a useful engine downsizing (although currently, the V8 will sit below the W12 in the range, rather than replace it), although with 500bhp and 481lb ft from its 4.0-litre engine, it’s far from second-best. Early test drive indications are that the V8 loses nothing to its fuller-sized brother. Bentley claimed a 0-60mph time of 4.6 seconds, and a maximum speed of 188mph.
For the first drive, check out Octane magazine.