Our coverage of the 2012 Chicago Auto Show will kick off Wednesday, but preparations begin tomorrow, as our team, headed up by hizzoner Jack Baruth, makes its way to the Windy City. We’ve got a brief rundown of what you can expect to see from the TTAC team of writers and photographers on site at McCormick Place.
Acura: With Acura having debuted “concepts” (read: barely disguised versions of the production car) of the RDX crossover and ILX sedan at Detroit, the two cars will bow officially at Chicago. The RDX gets a V6 to replace the thirsty but punchy turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which should deliver more power and much better fuel economy. The ILX (which may be re-named the IL, following Acura naming conventions) will also get its debut, and will be crucial to Acura’s plans for picking itself up off the floor and getting the attention of new customers.
Chrysler/Dodge/Ram/Fiat: The Marchionne-ruled conglomerate will show off a few products with minor revisions. Mopar versions of the Jeep Compass, Dodge Dart and Fiat 500 will debut alongside a Ram Laramie Limited Edition pickup. Chrysler will also introduce the Mopar ’12 300, a tuned 300S with some cosmetic changes and slightly quicker acceleration times.
Ford: The droptop version of the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 will debut. No word on whether this car will get the coupe version’s insane 200 MPH top speed rating. The 650 horsepower should be enough to blow the hair transplant right out of most owner’s scalps.
GMC: The 2013 GMC Acadia will show off its all-new design, as the first of GM’s Lambda crossovers to get any changes since their 2006 debut. New sheetmetal, powertrains and interior changes are expected. The Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave will follow later this year.
Hyundai: The Korean automaker continues its imperial deathmarch towards industry dominance with the debut of two variants of the Elantra. A two-door coupe, looking very similar to the sedan, will debut, as well as a 5-door hatchback based on the European i30. This is the car featured in the infamous video featuring VW boss Martin Winterkorn freaking out over the vehicle’s build quality – it’s promising, to say the least.
Kia: Kia will show off the Trackstar concept, supposedly a performance oriented version of the Soul. Early sketches look goofy.
Nissan: A refreshed 2013 model 370Z will bow alongside the NV200 passenger van. Unlike the commercial versions of the NV already on sale, the NV200 will be the next New York City taxi, and can seat up to 12 passengers.
Toyota: Because civillians, as well as UN peacekeepers and medicins sans frontiers workers buy the Land Cruiser, Toyota will show off the refreshed 2013 version in Chicago, with sales starting immediately.
Volkswagen: A TDI powered 2013 Beetle will debut, featuring the familiar 2.0L TDI engine making 140 horsepower, with a choice of 6-speed manual or DSG transmissions.