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2004 Detroit Auto Show Preview Page 3


Buick, Saturn Unveil "Crossover Sport Vans"

2005 Buick Terrazza

2005 Buick Terrazza

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General Motors is replacing its current range of minivans with new vehicles it calls "crossover sport vans," with minivan virtues and SUV styling cues. On Thursday in Detroit, GM showed a brace of the new vans, the Buick Terrazza and the Saturn RELAY, both 2005 models due to be shown at this month's L.A. auto show.

The Buick version joins the brand as its third truck (Rainier is new for 2004; Rendezvous has been in the lineup since 2002). The dramatically styled nose incorporates Buick's trademark badging with a silhouette familiar to the other vans in the GM family. Offered in CX and CXL versions, the Terrazza will offer a 200-hp 3.5-liter V-6, standard 17-inch wheels, and available Stabilitrak stability control and Versatrak all-wheel drive.

2005 Saturn RELAY

2005 Saturn RELAY

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The Saturn RELAY is the brand's first seven-seater, the company says. Available in two trim levels, the RELAY offers a 200-hp, 3.5-liter V-6, standard 17-inch wheels, a three-spoke steering wheel, power heated mirrors, windows and door locks, and an AM/FM/CD player with MP3 capability. Anti-lock brakes are standard; Stabilitrak and Versatrak are available.

GM Goes "Sport" With Minivans (12/5/2003)
But can it shake the "soccer-Mom" message?

Volvo Shows V50 Wagon

2005 Volvo V50

2005 Volvo V50

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The new Volvo V50 wagon is out — well, at least in pictures. Volvo promises revolutionary interior design, class-leading safety, powerful five-cylinder engines and all-wheel drive for its new compact wagon, which gets the new alphanumeric designation in its second generation. Previously the Volvo small wagon was the V40. The new Volvos are expected for display at the Detroit auto show. The V50 goes on sale in the U.S. next summer.

2004 Volvo C70 Convertible by Eric Peters (11/17/2003)
Swedish virtues at a sub-German price.

DB9 Droptop for Detroit

2005 Aston Martin DB9 Volante

2005 Aston Martin DB9 Volante

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Aston Martin will show a convertible version of its DB9 at the Detroit auto show in January. It will be called the DB9 Volante and will be built alongside the DB9 Coupe, which was launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Both models will be hand-built at Aston Martin Gaydon with the Coupe being delivered to customers in Spring 2004 and the Volante in Autumn 2004. It is expected that more than 2000 DB9 models will be sold next year, of which around 50 percent will be the Volante model. Pricing will be announced at a later date.

Dr Ulrich Bez, CEO of Aston Martin said: "From the outset of the DB9 programme we knew we wanted a convertible model. So the Volante has been designed, engineered and built from the outset as a convertible — it's not a Coupe with just the top taken off.

"The DB9 Volante has all of the traditional styling cues you'd expect from a convertible Aston Martin. It's very elegant and perfectly proportioned from every angle, while subtle embellishments help create a powerful-looking sports car."

The top retracts within just seventeen seconds. When down, it folds behind a hard tonneau cover, which then electrically closes flush with the DB9's bodywork. In the event of an accident, sensors in the DB9 Volante detect the risk of a potential rollover and two roll hoops are deployed from the rear seat headrests, while front-seat passengers are protected by the windscreen A-pillars which can withstand twice the total weight of the car. —Ian Norris

Hyundai HCD Gets 8

2004 Hyundai HCD8 concept

2004 Hyundai HCD8 concept

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Hyundai is scheduled to debut the HCD8 sports coupe concept vehicle at the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The coupe is the first vehicle to be introduced from the new $30 million Hyundai Design Center in Irvine, Calif and features what the design team calls stylish utility.  The HCD8 is powered by a supercharged version of the company’s 2.7-liter V-6 engine.

BMW 6-Series Cabrio Coming to Motown

2004 BMW 645Ci

2004 BMW 645Ci

BMW will use the upcoming Detroit auto show to showcase the ragtop version of its new 6-Series coupe, the company said this week. The new The 645Ci convertible shares its 4.4-liter V-8 with the 645Ci Coupe, and makes 325 hp through any of the three transmissions BMW will offer on it: a six-speed manual, a six-speed Steptronic automatic or a six-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG) with Formula 1-style shifting. The convertible will hit 60 mph in roughly six seconds on its way to a top speed of 155 mph. A DVD navigation system will be standard.

Ferrari Scaglietti Bound for Detroit

2004 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti

2004 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti

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Ferrari has unveiled its 612 Scaglietti, a 2+2 coupe with a 540-hp version of the 5.7-liter V-12 engine from the 575 Maranello.

The 612 got its name in honor of coachbuilder Sergio Scaglietti, who worked in Modena at the start of the Ferrari company. He was a master in sculpting aluminum forms, so Ferrari dedicated the all-aluminum 612 to his memory.

The 612 is designed by Pininfarina, and it has elements of a sporty berlinetta but with room for four. It replaces the 456M and is larger and roomier, but with an aluminum space frame and body it actually weighs 132 pounds less. Structural stiffness, however, has been improved by 60 percent. The mid-front layout puts the engine right behind the front axle, and the gearbox and differential in unit at the rear ensure a low-as-possible center of gravity.

The 515 hp of the previous Maranello engine has been boosted to 540 hp for the 612 Scaglietti, which accelerates from zero to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds and can reach a top speed of above 195 mph. The engine works together with a six-speed mechanical gearbox with either a conventional manual shifter or a new-generation electro-hydraulic set-up, known as the F1A. It has been designed for fast manual shifting with a comfortable automatic mode, too.

Good weight distribution (46/54 percent front/rear) is enhanced by a performance-oriented handling setup, with active damping and the special CST stability and traction control system used here for the very first time on a Ferrari.

The 612 will debut at the Detroit auto show in January and will go on sale in the spring. —Henny Hemmes


 
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