5 stunning cars (and 1 app) unveiled in Detroit designed remake their brands

March 15, 2016

Kia Telluride

 

DETROIT — Utility and luxury were both on display in full force in Detroit for the North American International Auto Show this week. So, too, were vehicles that dared to reshape and reimagine their brands.

Alongside the likes of the tech-savvy Mercedes-Benz E-Class and versatile Honda Ridgelinepickup, there were some companies keen to remake themselves in the Motor City with attention-grabbing concepts and a few daring production cars as well.

 

SEE ALSO: The 5 best luxury cars from the Detroit Auto Show

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Given the fact that the automotive industry is on the threshold of a series of revolutions (Bill Ford Jr.'s words — not ours), it feels like a bad time to feel the need to shake things up and redefine your brand. That said, coming from another angle, maybe it's the perfect time. Either way, here were the cars that stood out to us as real game-changers for their makers.

 

Buick Avista

The Buick Avista concept, as we learned from a bit of digging, was championed by two young maverick designers. Moreover, it's a vision of what Buick wants to be, as it heads into the second half of the decade.

The brand has the fortunate misfortune of being an unknown entity to virtually everyone under the age of 30. That opportunity has allowed Buick to be a bit daring with the Avista. With 400 horsepower and a body that would make a Jaguar envious, the Avista is a youthful reimagining of the Buick brand.

 

Acura Precision

Acuras have long been known as reliable, luxurious cars. They've never been that much to look at, however. The Precision concept aims to change that. More than just a head-turner the Precision concept is designed to show where Acura is going in the next few years — both from a visual but also a conceptual standpoint.

The long-bodied sedan (complete with rear suicide doors) embraces a design theme Acura is calling "quantum continuum." Granted, that might sound like marketing nonsense, but the result is actually pretty compelling. The "jewel constellation" headlights, for example, which look like they could have come of the alien ship in Independence Day, have been constructed with organically arranged elements that don't at all look man-made.

 

The interior includes race-inspired elements as well as handcrafted details. The steering wheel looks cribbed from the brand's NSX supercar, while the speaker covers in the door panels have been carved from exotic wood. Arguably, you might not see either of those in a flagship Acura sedan. It shows the Japanese automaker has plans to darlingly reinvent itself with some choice designs.

 

Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active

The long-bodied sedan (complete with rear suicide doors) embraces a design theme Acura is calling "quantum continuum." Granted, that might sound like marketing nonsense, but the result is actually pretty compelling. The "jewel constellation" headlights, for example, which look like they could have come of the alien ship in Independence Day, have been constructed with organically arranged elements that don't at all look man-made.

 

The interior includes race-inspired elements as well as handcrafted details. The steering wheel looks cribbed from the brand's NSX supercar, while the speaker covers in the door panels have been carved from exotic wood. Arguably, you might not see either of those in a flagship Acura sedan. It shows the Japanese automaker has plans to darlingly reinvent itself with some choice designs.

 

Lincoln Continental

Granted, we already saw the new Continental nose on the Lincoln MKZ at the LA Auto Show late in 2015. Despite that, however, the 2017 Continental is decidedly a new way forward for Ford's luxury brand. Not only does it inspire new shapes and attitudes for the American carmaker, it also harkens back to its finer days — back when a Lincoln was a luxury force to be reckoned with.

 

Behind that chromed grille is a new 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 that produces 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. It's a lot of power but not too much power — it's just right — especially given its newfangled seats.

 

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