EyesOn Design revealed the finalists for the Best Concept Vehicle and Best Production Vehicle awards before the Tuesday, January 13th award ceremony at the North American International Auto Show.

Detroit Auto Show

Even if you’re into the whole winter sports thing – skiing, snowmobiling, et al – living in Michigan between November and April (May?) is not much fun day-to-day. Commuting through snow, ice, sleet and freezing rain is bad enough, but to top it all off, the sky often remains grey and overcast for weeks on end with no sight of the sun.

Fortunately, just as many of us at LotPro.com are ready to reach for the kitchen drawer containing the sharp utensils, the second week of January rolls around and, with it, the Detroit Auto Show.

Industry Preview

This year, press days began on Sunday, January 11th and will continue through the end of today. And while clawing your way through thousands of journalists might seem like fun, it really isn’t. So this year we decided to wait until all the parades, press conferences and theatrics were over and trudge on down to Cobo Hall on Thursday of this week. Wading through all the hoopla, we came up with today’s story:

EyesOn Design

While much is made of the North American Car of the Year (won this year by the Hyundai Genesis) and the North American Truck of the Year (garnered by the new Ford F-150), there is another award based solely on vehicle design excellence.

Founded by former Chrysler design chief Thomas Gale, EyesOn Design supports the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology. The purpose is to honor the most outstanding designs for both production vehicles as well as concept cars. This year, Chief Judges Chris Bangle of BMW, Willie G. Davidson of Harley-Davidson and Larry Erickson of the College for Creative Studies were joined by 16 other designers as they narrowed down a 13 car field of production and concept cars to pick 2 winners in each category.

The finalists were as follows:

Audi R8 V10
Audi SportBack Concept
Cadillac ConverJ Concept
Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon
Chrysler 200C Concept
Fisker Karma
Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Ford Taurus
Lincoln C Concept
Mazda3 5 Door
Volkswagen Concept BlueSport Diesel
Volvo S60 Concept

And the winners are:

Concept Vehicles

Audi SportBack

Audi SportBack

A 4-door sedan with a coupe-like roofline similar to its Volkswagen Group cousin the Passat CC and the Mercedes-Benz CLS, this design study may very well come to market in some form as the 2010 Audi A7.

Cadillac Converj Concept

Cadillac Converj

An electric concept vehicle based on the same Voltec platform used by the Chevrolet Volt, the Converj is backed up by the same range-extending engine that allows it to cover up to 40 miles without consuming any fuel other than the energy stored in its lithium-ion battery pack.

Production Vehicles

Audi R8 V10

Audi R8 V10

The newest R8 iteration is equipped with a 5.2-liter ten-cylinder engine that produces 100.9 hp per liter, for a total of 525 – 105 more than the V-8. Thanks to a difference of only 68 pounds, the V10 launches it occupants to 62 mph from a standstill in a mere 3.9 seconds and to a top speed of 196 mph. Maximum torque of 390.91 lb.-ft. is reached at 6,500 rpm, while redline is a lofty 8,000 revolutions per 60 ticks.



With styling that’s more evolutionary that revolutionary, the latest Z4 does sport a new two-piece retractable hardtop fashioned from aluminum that retracts and deploys in a mere 20 seconds per. Available with either a naturally aspirated or twin-turbocharged 3.0 liter inline 6-cylinder engine, the second-gen Z4 is 5.8 inches longer (necessitated by a much-needed increase in trunk space) and slightly wider and taller than the previous model.