General Motors comes up with four concepts along with a hot rod coupe at the Detroit Auto Show

GM made simple

Here at we note that the new leaner General Motors does have its advantages. For one, it means fewer divisions to visit on the auto show floor. For another, this results in a sort of Readers Digest condensed version when compared to past auto show articles about The General.

With that being said, it should be noted that all four remaining divisions managed to field a concept car, although, technically speaking, both the Chevrolet Aveo RS and the Buick Regal GS are merely thinly-disguised upcoming production vehicles (in the case of the Regal GS, a bad-engineered version of a current Opel).

Actual production vehicles included the stunning 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe and the much more proletarian, but equally, if not more important, 2011 Chevrolet Cruze.

The concepts

In alphabetical division order the concepts are:

Buick Regal GS Concept

Just as the standard Regal shares its underpinnings and most of its body panels with the European Opel Insignia, the Regal GS shares much of its architecture and a goodly portion of its skin with the Opel Insignia OPC.

In addition to sheet metal, the GS also retains its European twin’s Opel-designed High Performance Strut (HiPerStrut) front suspension as well as being the recipient of the OPC’s FlexRide adaptive suspension which, when fitted to a Buick, is called Interactive Drive Control System chassis technology (IDCS, for short).

Interestingly, the kissin’ cousins part ways when it comes to what’s nestled under the hood. Where Insignia OPC owners find a 2.8-liter 325 horsepower V6 sourced from the Saab Turbo X parts bin, the Regal GS makes due (perhaps due to GM’s vow not to exceed 4 cylinders with the Regal) with a high-pressure version of the 2.0-liter direct-injection Ecotec turbocharged engine that will be available on the Regal CXL this summer. With an estimated 255 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque, the GS is expected to launch itself from naught to sixty in the sub-6 second range.

Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept

The XTS Concept not only portends the possible replacement for both the DTS and STS models in Cadillac’s lineup, it also introduces what appears to be the division’s new delineation between its sporting V-Series and those vehicles intended to deliver a softer ride with an emphasis on more interior luxury.

Featuring an all-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid powertrain, the XTS Platinum “was designed to deliver an engaging driving experience without compromising the functional features, space and comfort customers seek in a luxury car.”

At 203.5 inches in length, the concept falls between the current STS (196.7”) and DTS (207.6”), while its 111.7 inch wheelbase is shorter than both (the current DTS is 115.6” and the STS is 116.4”).

Chevrolet Aveo RS Concept

Eighty-six the exaggerated nose, fender flares, exposed headlamps, flush door handles, narrow “show” rearview mirror and the oversized wheel/tire combo and you have what is, for all intents and purposes, the Aveo destined to hit dealer showrooms sometime in 2011.

Interior features include black surfaces accented with gloss black, metallic and blue accents and is highlighted by the column-mounted instrument cluster – a design element that’s sure to be missing from the production version. Fortunately, the dual-cockpit dash, minus the show car glitz, appears to be feasible – as are other elements found in the cabin that reflect The General’s new attention to interior detail fit and finish.

GMC Granite Concept

If comments overheard by us at the auto show are any indication, the Granite, winner of this year’s EyesOn Design award for best concept vehicle, is also in the running for “most polarizing concept design.” You either love it or, well, you get the picture.

Drawing inspiration from what GM describes as an “industrial look” and possessing what the company hints at “the automotive equivalent of an urban loft apartment”, the Granite takes GMC in a decidedly new direction.

With a length that is a full two feet shorter than the newly-minted GMC Terrain, the Granite is closer in DNA to a Scion xB than anything currently residing in the GM Truck division’s stable. As far as how the overall design looks in person – think Honda Fit meets “Sky Captain”.