2004 Paris Auto Show, Part I Page 2

September 23, 2004
2004 Ford Focus Vignale Concept

2004 Ford Focus Vignale Concept

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At the Paris previews, the automaker also revealed the Focus Vignale Concept, a sleek coupe with a fast-opening, retractable hardtop. The production version of the new Focus will offer some decidedly up-market features, including six airbags and cornering lights. That’s likely why Ford has decided that it will continue producing the older, less expensive version of the popular subcompact back in the U.S., at least for now.

 

 

Mazda5

2005 Mazda5

2005 Mazda5

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Think of the new Mazda5 as “a practical car that can dance,” declared the automaker’s marketing chief, Steve Odell. The vehicle he referred to combines attributes of both a sporty hatchback and a pint-sized minivan. The Mazda5 features dual sliding rear doors — a first in the segment Europeans call MPVs — and a highly flexible interior package that can seat up to seven. There’s plenty of storage space, even some hidden below the second row of folding seats. But for minor changes in bumpers, and a seating package configured for six, the version of the Mazda5 shown in Europe will also wind up in the U.S. sometime in 2005. Initially, Mazda expects only limited sales, explained Odell. “It probably starts out as a niche, but I think there’s an opportunity for vehicles with flexibility in the U.S.

 

Mazdaspeed6

2005 Mazda Mazdaspeed6

2005 Mazda Mazdaspeed6

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“I always wondered what would happen if you cranked up the zoom-zoom a bit,” said Odell, referring to Mazda’s well-known advertising tagline. The answer, apparently, is a new, high-performance version of the mid-size Mazda6. To be launched in Europe in early 2005, the Mazda6 MPS delivers about 255 horsepower through an all-wheel-drive powertrain. It boasts a beefed-up suspension, and oversized disc brakes. A version will be added to the U.S. lineup, as well, under the nameplate of Mazdaspeed6.

 

 

Bentley Continental GT

2005 Bentl;ey Continental GT

2005 Bentl;ey Continental GT

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You’ll need to look close to spot the subtle changes in the 2005 version of Bentley’s sporty Continental GT. They start with new, 20-inch Yokohama tires mounted on specially-designed alloy wheels. There’s a new, anodized aluminum scuff plate, and a variety of interior refinements overseen by the exclusive Mulliner operation. You want choice in a luxury car? No problem, considering Bentley buyers will now be able to choose from 42 exterior colors and 27 interior hues. For those more focused on performance, the transmission electronics have been tuned to deliver quicker, yet smoother, shifts.
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