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2000 New York Auto Show, Part II


Lexus SC430

Lexus SC430

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LEXUS GOING TOPLESS. While trucks dominated the debut list at the 2000 New York International Auto Show, Lexus took another route to luxury, rolling out its first-ever ragtop. The SC430 convertible will be "the jewel of Lexus," boasted General Manager Brian Bergsteinsson. The styling is meant to suggest elegance and performance, added designer Storos Kovos, who noted the "big bulge" on the hood meant "to express the power of the engine." That’s a big, 4.3-liter V-8, to be precise, pumping 300 horsepower out to the SC430’s 18-inch wheels. Among the many creature comforts, the Lexus features a custom-designed Mark Levinson audio system, which automatically adapts itself according to whether the top is up or down. Lexus expects to sell about 10,000 ragtops a year, and at least for now, the SC430 will be sold only in the U.S. No coupe is planned, nor is there a six-cylinder engine in the works. Look for a price in the mid-to-high-$50,000 range. Look for the SC430 to reach showrooms about a year from now.

Audi Allroad

Audi Allroad

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AUDI’S ALLROAD WARRIOR. That’s the Audi All-Road, which made its U.S. debut in the Big Apple. Audi’s answer to the booming sport-utility craze, this muscled-up machine is unmistakably derived from the automaker’s basic Avant wagons. It features a beefy biturbo engine which, at 2.7 liters, produces 250 horsepower. Buyers will get a choice of a five-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission or a six-speed manual. And in a surprise to Audi, the stick version is running 0-60 times of just 6.8 seconds. Meanwhile, Audi soon plans to add a couple more "S" performance vehicles to the line-up. The S4 Avant will feature the same engine as the All-Road, while the ultra-luxury S8 will get a 40-valve, 360-horsepower V-8. Look for more products to fuel Audi’s growth, hinted its U.S. sales chief, Len Hunt, possibly including some more All-Road-style crossover vehicles.

Subaru Outback  LL Bean Ed.

Subaru Outback LL Bean Ed.

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G’DAY MATE TO SUBE’S NEW FLAT SIX. While Paul "Crocodile Dundee" Hogan was nowhere to be found, Subaru delivered a couple more models from the Outback. The Legacy Outback VDC features the automaker’s new Vehicle Dynamic Control system, a slick Subaru take on stability control — which helps a driver maintain control even at steady speeds. The VDC also gets an all-new H6, horizontally opposed, or "Boxer" engine, pumping out 212 horsepower — or 30 percent more than the old H4 it replaces. Then there’s the L.L. Bean Edition Outback, which is tailor-made for those who wouldn’t dream of going off-road without the right equipment custom-ordered from the Maine outfitter. The L.L. Bean Edition shares the H6 engine, and adds eight-way power seats, a dual moonroof and a no-cost, three-year scheduled maintenance program.

 

CREATING THE VIRTUAL VOLVO. For those who feel safe in cyberspace, the Swedish automaker has launched its new VolvoNet Web site. VolvoNet goes several steps beyond the company’s old site — indeed, beyond most other automaker-owned Websites. It not only gives you a way to spec out your own car, then get a dealer quote — but as it gears up to speed in the coming months, consumers will be able to go online and buy their Volvo without ever setting foot in a showroom. After purchase, dealers will deliver a customer’s car to home or office. "This is a total buying experience for the customer," explained Hans-Olav Olsson, CEO of Volvo Cars North America. While barely one percent of new car consumers complete a deal entirely online today, Olsson estimated that within the next couple years, between 15 percent to 20 percent of Volvo customers may shop that way.

isuzu axiom

isuzu axiom

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