By Eric Yang
on 1.12.12
Photo by EY

Good news: we were on the ground at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show (aka North American International Auto Show). Bad news: our luggage wasn’t.

Trying to put together any editorial on an auto show without photography can be, well, a challenge and the last time we checked, our court-room sketching skills weren’t really up to snuff. So instead, we reached for the one device on our person, the iPhone 4S, fired up our favorite camera app, Camera+ ($1), and started shooting. The result is this post, which yes, is all about the cars but also a testament to just how far we’ve come with iPhoneography. Nothing will ever beat a trained eye with steady hands behind the lens of a traditional SLR, but for a phone? Things sure have come a long way.

This year, motor city saw an avalanche of new cars. Some new, some recently released, some conceptual. One facet, however, was immediately prevalent. Awesome design. The companies boasted it. The cars evidenced it. And at the end of the day, the Detroit Convention Center became a grandstand of not just people passionate about cars, but also amazing designs and incredible engineering. We’ve put together a list of our 20 favorite vehicular picks from NAIAS, which range from the highly-anticipated, to the revamped, to the clever, to the flat-out stunning.

Our picks, and iPhone photos, after the jump.

Acura NSX Concept

Because hearing Honda Motor Company’s CEO speak nostalgically about designing the original NSX’s body actually felt genuine. It’s the stunning mid-engine beast we’ve wanted ever since it disappeared in 2005 and this time around, the plan is to build it right in Ohio.


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2013 Audi Allroad

Because we still miss the original, chunky Audi Allroad. The new one is based on the A4 instead of the larger A6, but that just means it’s better proportioned as the refined Colorado/Vermont luxury whip.


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2013 Bentley Continental GT V8

Because the all-new torque rich V8 engine makes the latest version of the modern-day classic a totally different athlete. A beastly one, both sonically and dynamically.


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2013 Audi TT-RS

Because small and fast never looked this fun.


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Smart For-Us

Because even though Smart has really never taken off in America, we like the idea that one day it might — at least in big metros.


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1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL

Because its value — this particular gem sold for $5 million — outpaces the Dow Jones Industrial average, and last we checked, looks infinitely better too.


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2013 Mercedes-Benz SL

Because the latest flagship continues the tradition of its aforementioned forefather: defining the term “luxury roadster”. And Rodeo Drive needs a something to drive to humble the masses.


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1934 Edsel Ford Model 40 Special Speedster

Because this is what Detroit could make 75+ years ag,o and it looks better than 95% of what’s on the road today.


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2013 BMW 3-Series

Because even though we’ll always love and cherish the E36, the latest 3 shows BMW still knows how to pull-off a fine looking, well-proportioned sport sedan — even 6 generations deep.


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Volvo Concept You

Because the designers at Volvo want bigger wheels, not just airbags.


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2013 Ford Escape

Because somehow, Ford took a car that already looked pretty good, made it totally different, and bested its older brother.


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2013 Toyota Scion FR-S

Because Scion needs to grow-up, and we still miss the Supra.


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Volkswagen E-Bugster Concept

Because men will still have a hard time saying they “drive a Beetle”, even if it’s sinister black and turbo. And despite the contrived, yet still clever name, the E-Bugster just looks awesome.


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2013 Ford Fusion

Because if somehow Aston Martin decided to make a sedan for 20-grand, this might just be it. And you can get one that gets triple digit gas mileage.


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Chevrolet Miray Concept

Because even though the concept has been out for some time now, we want it now more than ever.


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2013 Porsche 911

Because the 911 is an icon, yet somehow Porsche continues to find ways to make it even better.


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2013 Cadillac ATS

Because the Cadillac CTS needs a smaller brother, and lawyers and MBA-grads need an American option to burn their bonus checks on. We can’t wait to see the V-spec’d version.


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Falcon F7

Because this All-American boutique supercar is utterly bonkers. Just the way we like our American muscle.


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2013 Dodge Dart

Because the pundits never believed that Fiat buying Chrysler would work. Also, Dodge needs to make good for the Neon years.


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Chevy 140S Tru Concept

Because if GM can actually build this “affordable exotic” at a pricetag of $20,000 then we may, for once, have the Europeans lusting after one of our hot hatches.


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Photography by EY