2001 Detroit/L.A. Show Preview Page 3

January 1, 2001

Chrysler Crossfire

Chrysler Crossfire concept car

Chrysler Crossfire concept car

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Though it’s Chrysler that is under fire at the moment —parent DaimlerChrysler is reorganizing its American division and anticipating a billion-dollar loss — the American brand will definitely turn heads at the North American International Auto Show next week with the Crossfire concept, a sort of response to the machined good looks of the Audi TT coupe. Built on an aluminum space frame, the Crossfire’s body is made from one piece of carbon fiber. Big wheels with fat rubber (225/40-19 front, 295/35-21 rear) add to the chiseled appearance. A supercharged 2.7-liter V-6 engine, coupled to a five-speed manual transmission, powers the prototype. With 275 hp and a maximum torque rating of 270 lb-ft, the Crossfire is claimed to be able to sprint from 0- 60 mph in 5.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 148 mph.

Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix

Toyota Matrix front

Toyota Matrix front

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Ever wonder what would happen to Toyota/GM’s joint venture in California, once it stopped building Prizms and Corollas? Here’s the hot tip: Toyota has released some preliminary photos of its concept car that will be shown at Detroit, called the Matrix. The Matrix, according to Toyota product news spokesman Sam Butto, "...will closely resemble an upcoming Toyota product that's about a year away." A Toyota teaser describes it as an affordable, compact vehicle that will have high levels of utility and image. Pontiac uses similar words in describing the Vibe, its rumored version of the same platform. All you Buffy fans will have to check back later this week for more.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

2001 Mercedes C Class Coupe

2001 Mercedes C Class Coupe

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Part of the family affair that began last fall with the introduction of the new Benz C-Class sedan, the C-Class Coupe is just a touch shorter and lower than the fab four-door already on sale. Observers may be surprised by some of the very non-traditional design cues, such as the coupe’s rear end, which reminds some picky folk of a Japanese sports car. The new two-door features an optional "panoramic" sliding roof that’s about a third bigger than a conventional sunroof, and which can be operated by remote control. There will be four engines available in the European edition, though likely only two will make it to the States. Look for a spring ’01 rollout and a price about $1000 below that of the new C-Class sedan.

MORE DEBUTS

Los Angeles: Ford 49er retro rod...Ford Mustang Bullitt....Daewoo U100 concept

Detroit: Ford “Truck Concept”...Land Rover Freelander for U.S...Volvo SUV Concept and Safety Concept Car...BMW M3 Convertible, M Roadster with new M3 motor, high-performance X5, and Z3 Coupe concept...Subaru Impreza/WRX...Mitsu concept

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