2000 Mazda 626 MPS concept
2000 Ford Galaxy concept
2000 Ford Galaxy Interior concept
COMING TO AMERICA As often happens with the Geneva Motor Show, the event provides a hint of things to come in the U.S., as well as in Europe. Ford and Mazda offered two examples on their show stands. The Japanese automaker unveiled the high-performance 626 MPS. Short for Mazda Performance Sedan, it’s a brutish, 280-horsepower remake of the more mundane Mazda 626 sedan. Under the hood? A 24-valve, twin-turbocharged V-6 mated to a five-speed gearbox and 18-inch wheels. "Very doable," says a Mazda executive. For a hint of what’s to come from Ford, meanwhile, it helps to look inside the second-generation Galaxy minivan. Jointly engineered with Volkswagen and built on a VW assembly line, the Galaxy is one of the continent’s most popular people carriers. But the 2001 edition is noticeably more refined, especially inside, where Ford makes extensive use of aluminum trim and suave, carbon fibre-style finishes. "You’ll see this look in the U.S.," a top Ford design official promises, starting with the next-generation Contour.
MORE MUSCLE If you just can’t get to work fast enough in the Porsche 911, don’t lament. You’ll cut some time off your commute with the reborn 911 Turbo, the latest update of the automaker’s long-lived sports car. With twin intercooled turbos developing 420 bhp, you can launch from a light and hit 60 in just 4.2 seconds. If you have enough open space on that morning drive, you just might top out at 189 mph. Porsche also made a few new pronouncements on its upcoming SUV, being developed as part of a joint venture with Volkswagen. A projected 20,000 copies of the as-yet-unnamed SUV will be built each year at a new plant in Leipzig, Germany, noted Porsche Chairman Wendelin Wiedeking. Expect the first to roll off the assembly line in spring 2002.
2001 Opel Speedster 2001 Opel Agila
2001 Opel Speedster
2001 Opel Agila
CONCEPT TO CUSTOMER Only a year after making its debut at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show, the Opel Speedster is back, but this time in production trim. It’s one of four new vehicles General Motors’ German division is showcasing this year. Expected to come into the "affordable" range of roadsters, the Speedster should still stand up against some high-performance competition, delivering 0-60 times of "under 6 seconds," according to GM officials. Among Opel’s other offerings: the miniscule Agila, Opel’s first in a new class of microvans. Agila measures just 3.5 meters nose to tail — about 11.5 feet, for metric-challenged Americans — but it offers a surprisingly roomy interior capable of comfortably seating four adults.
2001 Ferrari 360M Spider
PRANCING PONIES "Formula One is our advanced research operation," said Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo, as he lifted the covers on the company’s latest prancing pony, the F360M Spider. The new sports car borrows much of its technology, including its aluminum engine, transmission and other key components from Ferrari’s winning F1 team — which captured the Constructor’s Trophy last year after a decades-long dry spell. The Pininfarina-designed Spider is designed to appeal to those who know the heart of any Ferrari is under the hood. This rear-engine super car fits a transparent cover over its massive powertrain. Montezemolo described the Spider as "the biggest technological project we have ever done."