MotoringFile’s Best of the Detroit Auto Show

Best Concept

The universally praised Toyota FT1 gets the nod here. And as much as the aero-focused design is striking, the how the low the car is that really buckled my knees when I first saw it. Like the Toyota F86 the FT1 looks built from the ground up to be minimal and enthusiast oriented. Just imagine if this platform was the one that BMW and Toyota were sharing for new sports car development.


Best Small Hatch Concept: MINI JCW Concept

The JCW concept looks like the JCW we’ve always wanted. If whispers are to be believed, this will be a 2,800 lbs car with 220 hp, bespoke suspension and enough fast bits to make this to quickest MINI of all time.


Best Production Car: The BMW M3

How can we not choose the new M3. And yes you read that right. Not the M4 but the four door M3. The one with the massive fender flares, better seating position and more classic BMW shape. There’s nothing on the BMW stand we want more than the Yas Marina Blue M3. Except give us one with a stick.


Best 3 Series Challenger: Mercedes C Class

The new Mercedes C Class looks great folks. Proportionally this is the best C Class ever. And the interior is (gulp) so clearly of higher quality than the 3er that BMW needs to take notice. Luckily for BMW the interface and digital typography continues to let down the overall aesthetic of the car.


Best Interior: Porsche 918

This is the future and it’s rare we see it on a super car. It turns out $1,000,000 buys you quite a bit.


Most Lipstick Applied to a Pig: Fiat 500L with Mopar Accessories

We like the Fiat 500 Abarth. And we don’t mind the Fiat 500 itself. But the 500L is an abomination no matter how much flare you throw at it.


Best NAIAS Highway Chariot: BMW E36 328i

Ok this is a blatant attempt to show-off our E36 winter-beater. 64k on the odometer and in vaguely new condition, it’s a a complete mind-trip for those who have forgotten how analog cars were only 20 years ago.


Best use of Animal Hide: Mercedes S600

Yes it’s a bit much but wow. The new Mercedes S600 with Designo interior is simply stunning.


Worst Detailing Job: BMW M4

Sometimes the blocking and tackling of autoshow 101 gets missed. Even by the professionals.

Best Ironic Sign Pointed at Booth Professional: Dodge


It makes even more sense if you saw the front view.


Best Exhaust: Porsche 918

The Porsche 918 is stunning from every angle. But it’s the drivetrain that is perhaps the car’s crowning achievement. And the best visual demonstration of that is the engineering prowess required to route the V8’s exhaust through about everything and out the top of the car.


Best Back to Basics Concept: Nissan IDx Nismo

Is this Nissan concept a precursor to a modern Datsun 510? We hope so.


Worst Quality Entirely New Interior: 2014 Suburu STI

At least Suburu is consistent. The problem is that competitors such as the R32 Golf or the new MINI are leaps and bounds better in terms of places to live in.

In the worst interior overall the winner has to be the F150. It’s cut your hand on the dashboard plastic mold seam bad.


Best Overall: The Porsche 918

Sure it’s old news to many but this was the first time we had a chance to see the car up close and spend quality time in the driver’s seat (albeit it sitting still). The 918 is stunning in person but even more incredible hands-on. The craftsmanship is impeccable and the thoroughness of the design detail is unlike anything I’ve ever seen outside of Pagani. And all in a Porsche aesthetic that is minimally gorgeous.

  • donburnside

    I am really intrigued by the Nissan IDx Concept. Hope it makes it to fully development and that Nissan doesn’t ruin it by making it look like a Renault in the process.

    • Henry Wu

      Agreed. Everything about it just clicks. Homage to the classic Datsun, rear wheel drive, small, light weight and hopefully a low price tag. I’d love to see more BRZ contenders in the market. Bring back the 90s!

    • lavardera

      Yes, love the boxy little sedan.

  • Gene Leeds

    Best = my next car. C7 Z06. Having a Mini JCW and Corvette Z06 is an ideal garage for me…..until I can get my McLaren F1.

  • Bob Hayhurst

    I guess the EU pedestrian standards don’t apply as long as you’re able to suck the hapless victim into the front air intakes rather then bounce them off the hood as obviously the Toyota FH1 is capable of doing…

    • oldsbear

      The 2015 JCW’s grotesque face now has a competitor in the FT1.

  • ConcernedAboutMini

    Sorry but this JCW is just plain ugly. The face is bizarre. It is too sloped at the fender and then all the jutting out grill, mouth parts look strange. I mean this is approaching Pontiac Aztec ugly. I don’t think I could learn to like this look.

  • Jason Rosvick

    Clearly you didn’t sit in the back seat of the Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner they had at the show. That thing easily wins the best animal hide award – it comes with two leather pillows, for god’s sake!

    Also, I wish I could have met you during those press days. It would have been great to meet the amazing Gabe!

    • I sense sarcasm 🙂

      I’ve sat in the Bentley many times. It’s a great place to take business calls on press days. No seriously I think there’s a photo floating around somewhere. I digress… I would agree it wins hands down. But then again it would always win. Integrated iPad with bluetooth keyboard? Mercedes makes due with a pathetic back-seat Command system. Nevertheless you have to hand it to Mercedes with the S600 Designo. The design details are pretty interesting.

  • lavardera

    Best Contrived Categories: Motoringfile!

    • Can you tell we’re a little tired of the normal automotive coverage if NAIAS?