Honda’s luxury division will take its biggest step yet in the brand’s transformation built around “Precision Crafted Performance” with the introduction of a redesigned RDX crossover prototype at the Detroit auto show.
The compact crossover will move to the modular architecture used by Honda’s Accord, Civic and CR-V. Turbocharged engines are likely, as is a liberal use of Acura’s evolving design language and even the brand’s first application of its Precision cockpit design.
Also possible this year: a redesign of Acura’s ILX compact sedan — if the nameplate continues. If the ILX is redesigned, expect it to get many of the advancements on the current Civic, because the ILX is based on that car. Those include a refined chassis, new styling and a turbocharged engine.
— David Undercoffler
Alfa Romeo won’t have a press conference at the Detroit auto show this month, but it plans to expand its lineup in 2018.
The resurrected brand will unveil a new midsize coupe — another derivative of the Giorgio platform that underlies the Giulia sedan and Stelvio crossover. The name of the new coupe has not been announced, but it eventually will compete with the BMW 4-series coupe and the Audi A5. It is expected to be in European dealerships by the end of the year and make its way to North America in 2019.
— Larry P. Vellequette
Aston Martin already has revealed its key 2018 model — the replacement for its best-selling Vantage sports car. Deliveries for this turbocharged V-8-powered coupe start in April, but that’s not all for the U.K. brand in 2018. Sometime in spring or early summer, Aston will launch the replacement for its flagship sports car — the Vanquish. Expect turbocharged V-12 power and similarities with the brand’s aggressive Vulcan hypercar in terms of design.
The current Vanquish provides the basis for two Aston Martin specials for 2018: the Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake and the Vanquish Zagato Speedster. We’ll hear more about Aston’s SUV this year, but it won’t appear until 2019.
Aston is another luxury automaker whose Detroit presence is limited to The Gallery ultraluxury event this week, which features a Vantage model.
— Nick Gibbs
Audi won’t have a press conference at the 2018 Detroit auto show, but the German premium brand plans to boost the top end of its lineup this year.
The Q8 will arrive in late 2018 as a crossover with coupelike proportions and seating for five. The Q8 also will be among the nameplates to get a plug-in hybrid powertrain, with a design based largely on the Q8 fastback crossover concept that debuted a year ago in Detroit.
Also coming to U.S. showrooms in the second half of 2018 will be the redesigned A8 flagship sedan. The A8 will feature Audi’s Traffic Jam Pilot, which Audi claims will be the first-ever Level 3 autonomous driving system. Traffic Jam Pilot allows hands-free driving on separated highways at speeds of up to 37 mph. However, as Automotive News reported, the system will function only in regions of the country where such autonomous driving is legal.
In the first half of 2018, Audi will expand its lineup with the RS 5 Coupe, powered by a 450-hp twin-turbocharged V-6 engine.
— Larry P. Vellequette