A Sneak Peek at the 2012 North American International Auto Show

Another 365 days have flown by, and we find ourselves once again making travel arrangements for the one and only reason to go to Detroit in January: the 2012 North American International Auto Show, otherwise known as NAIAS.

Amid the herd of international journalists pushing and shoving to grab a photo of a vehicle that will never reach their home market, we find ourselves gravitating toward some interesting new products that will continue to stretch the boundaries of physics to keep customers begging for more.

Well, maybe not that intense, but at least we’re setting the tone for the barrage of auto show verbiage that permeates the storied halls of Cobo Center. Scriptwriters, fire up your Thesauruses; only a few weeks left to hone those teleprompter-fueled executive-led speeches that include more flowery adjectives than a game show announcer.

 

Acura ILX Cammo

Acura ILX Concept Compact Luxury Sedan. Photo courtesy Brenda Priddy & Company

Acura NSX, ILX, RDX

Acura has three vehicles to show off: the NSX sports car, the new ILX compact sedan, and the redesigned RDX crossover.

It’s been 22 years since the NSX first appeared in America, where it became an instant hit. Low, fast (for the day) and with Acura precision handling, the NSX was dubbed the affordable Ferrari by many owners and journalists. It was finally laid to rest in 2005, gone but never forgotten. As the flagship for the brand, the NSX showed all of Acura’s design, engineering and technological talents.

While Acura was the first luxury channel spinoff from the Japanese manufacturers, it fell below both Lexus and Infiniti in both styling and execution. We believe Acura is working on climbing up the hill, and the NSX will be the big push it needs to get back to the top.

Rumors are it will still be mid-engine, but that engine might be a V6 hybrid, possibly attached to all-wheel drive and with a 7-speed gearbox. Acura no doubt will be one of the best-attended events at the show because of the unveiling of the future NSX.

The ILX is an entry-level compact luxury sedan concept, captured here in cammo by intrepid spy photographer Brenda Priddy. It’s based on the front-drive Honda Civic platform, and will compete with the likes of BMW 1 Series, new Mercedes A-Class and Lexus CT200h.

Powertrains include Acura’s first ever gas/electric hybrid setup and/or a 2.0L inline four, mated to either a 5- or 6-speed automatic transmission. It also is rumored to have a starting price hovering around the $30,000 range.

The 5-passenger RDX redo is based on the Honda CR-V, but Acura will do its best to move the crossover more upscale, befitting a higher price. It will feature a standard V6 engine with more power than the CR-V’s 185 horses.

 

2013 Buick Encore Crossover

 

Buick Encore headlight

Here’s a glimpse of the new Buick Encore. Go to Facebook.com/Buick to see more as they become available.

 

If you like the Buick Enclave, and we certainly do, you’ll probably take a cotton to its little brother, the soon to be introduced Encore. Look for contemporary styling that is becoming a Buick staple, Quiet Tuning, which keeps the cabin impressively noise free, and comfortable seating for 5 occupants.

Buick is going to show the public teaser reveal photos on its Facebook page up to and including the big reveal in Detroit. To check it out, go to facebook.com/buick to stay in the loop.

For more info on what’s coming, check out the carbuzzard.com news item on the Dodge Dart. More news to come as the manufacturers leak it!