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2004 Geneva Motor Show, Part IV


2004 Geneva Motor Show Index by TCC Team (2/22/2004)

 

Maserati Feeding Need for Speed

2004 Maserati MC12 Stradale

2004 Maserati MC12 Stradale

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Even as it prepares to launch the third new model in its lineup, the Quattroporte sedan, Maserati has rolled out a fourth product, though getting one won’t be easy. The MC12 is the name chosen for both the new Maserati race car, and a street-legal version featuring a 6.0-liter V-12, dubbed the MC12 Stradale. It’s rated to top 205 mph, and will launch from 0-100 km/h (0-62.5 mph) in 3.8 seconds. Company officials report they’ve already sold all 25 Stradales, each at 600,000 euros. But Maserati insiders report there’s a good chance a second batch of MC12s will now be offered up. Though street legal in Europe, the road-ready racers will not pass federal standards in the States. Even so, several Americans are believed to be among the buyers.

 

Lambo Raises the Roof

2004 Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster

2004 Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster

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Lamborghini’s new Murcielago Roadster is likely to provide the ultimate rush for those who like the feeling of the wind in their hair. The two-seater is being billed as the world’s fastest open-top roadster, with a top speed of precisely 200 mph. Officials at the Italian automaker insist they were also able to avoid making trade-offs in body stiffness — which translates into handling and road stability. With the addition of the new car, the Italian-based division of Audi becomes a three-model company, and “We think the roadster will account for 50 percent of the sales in the Murcielago range,” predicted Lamborghini’s Dr. Giuseppe Greco. That should mean about 200 or so cars annually, with an estimated price of around $315,000. Look for the first of the roadsters to be delivered to the U.S., “the most important market in the world for this type of automobile,” according to Greco. Sales will begin by late this coming summer, with rollouts to follow in Europe, Japan, and then other parts of the world.

 

Female Chauvinists at Volvo?

2004 Volvo YCC concept

2004 Volvo YCC concept

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“If a man designed a car like this, they’d call him a male chauvinist,” declared our esteemed colleague at Car and Driver magazine, Csaba Csere. What got him so worked up? The YCC, or “Your Concept Car,” delivered to the Geneva Show by a team of women designers and engineers from Volvo. The mission might have seemed reasonable enough, asking them to come up with a prototype particularly attentive to women’s needs, but not likely to alienate men in the process. The YCC certainly got a lot of attention on the display stand, though also a fair share of criticism from both sexes. Said one female journalist of the ding-resistant body, “Basically, they’re telling us exactly what men used to say, that we women are lousy drivers, and likely to slam into the wall of the garage.” Then there’s the hood, which cannot be opened by the owner. Instead, there’s a warning system to remind women when to head for the shop when the oil needs changing — apparently another issue the YCC team found difficult for typical female drivers to cope with. And a special place was provided in the floor, right ahead of the shag carpet, for high heels, so women drivers don’t cause accidents wearing frilly and impractical shoes. It’s not the first time an automaker approached the idea of developing a car tailored to the distaff motorist. Dodge’s ’50s attempt, dubbed the La Femme, had swiveling seats to preserve modesty during entry and exit. It’s not clear how much the Volvo show car helps advance the idea of equal driving.

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