Performance cars take center stage at Detroit show
Higher-end brands, such as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and BMW are keeping the performance cars coming. BMW’s two-door, four-seat, rear-wheel drive 2 Series Coupe packs up to 322 horsepower. And BMW’s new 2015 model M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe both offer lighter, more-powerful engines that produce 425 horsepower while cutting fuel consumption and emissions by nearly 25 percent.
Small SUVs are a growing part of the market, stealing sales from midsize cars. Mercedes is showing off the GLA45 AMG, a small SUV that uses a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 355 horsepower. The engine promises acceleration from zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph.
All these vehicles mean that consumers will be able to soup up their rides, helped by an improving economy. Economists surveyed last month by The Associated Press forecast that growth will average 2.9 percent in 2014. That would be the healthiest annual pace since 2005.
"As we come out of recession ... you see more performance cars," said Jack Nerad, editorial director for Kelley Blue Book. "More people are comfortable with buying sports cars and luxury."
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Associated Press writers Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher contributed to this report.