Detroit 2008: Five Significant Concept Debuts

January 18, 2008
Here's a list of the concept vehicles from the 2008 Detroit auto show that we think are significant. Read our reasoning and then click the links at the end for full coverage of what we chose.
0801 07 Z+2008 Cadillac CTS Coupe Concept+front Three Quarter View
Cadillac CTS Coupe
A unanimous decision. We like that Cadillac is taking some risks and also looking to fill out the CTS lineup. This is the first step in building a true BMW 3- or 5-series competitor. The styling is bold and aggressive, even if the rear end looks a bit heavy. We have a feeling that something like this will soon be available in Caddy dealerships - hopefully with the CTS-V's engine as an option.

0801 01 Z+2008 Ford Verve Concept+side View
Ford Verve
We will finally get a proper small Ford in America come 2010. After lamenting the absence of the European Focus for years, this might be the car to shut us up. This is the small car that Ford needs now, not two years from now. Its significance lies not only in the fact that it is an attractive small car that makes the current Focus look like a toad, but also because it will be the first product that Ford will build for the USA off a global platform. This is another one we all agreed on.
0801 05z+2008 Audi R8 V12 TDI Concept+birds Eye View
Audi R8 V12 TDI
No surprise here, we gave the R8 our Automobile and Design of the Year awards. We like diesel, and we like the torque that it can serve up - in this case, 738 lb-ft of it. A true example of racing technology being directly applied to a street vehicle, not to mention the first instance of a diesel in a supercar. Looking at it has been nice, but this is one concept we really want to drive.

0710 01 Z+2010 Fisker Karma+side View
Fisker Karma
Sure, this vehicle is intended for production, so it kind of straddles the concept/production line. We're filing it under concept since 2010 is still a long way off, and we expect some changes to the design. It's an $80,000 coachbuilt plug-in hybrid, an unlikely combo to be sure. The design is gorgeous like just about everything that comes from Fisker's pen. We hope the tech can back up all of that style.

0801 02z+2008 Mazda Furai Concept+side View
Mazda Furai
As Robert Cumberford so eloquently explained in his February essay, the Furai completes the five-vehicle exercise that proves that Mazda is the Japanese manufacturer with the most design mojo. It's a beautiful car based on a real race chassis.


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2008 Cadillac CTS

Base RWD 4-Dr Sedan V6
starting at (MSRP)
3.6L V6
Fuel Economy
17 City 26 Hwy
2008 Cadillac CTS