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2005 Frankfurt Auto Show Preview Page 2


 

 

Allroad again for Audi

 

2006 Audi allroad

2006 Audi allroad

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Audi was somewhat surprised at the fact that the allroad, its version of the off-road station wagon pioneered by Subaru with the Forester, has sold 90,000 examples since it was launched early in 2000. That car will cease production in mid-2006, but the German company has confirmed that the second-generation version is already being prepared for production.

 

The new car will closely follow the lines shown in the allroad concept shown in Detroit at the beginning of the year. Based on the A6 sedan with permanent all-wheel drive and adaptive air suspension, the concept showed how the sleek sedan can be modified to provide the cross-country clearance that few of its buyers will ever use. Audi hasn’t said as much, but it’s pretty certain that the allroad concept that will be shown in Frankfurt will be even closer to next year’s production model.

 

 

 

GM’s Tin-top Coupe is a Twin Top

 

2005 Opel Astra Twin Top

2005 Opel Astra Twin Top

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GM is the latest convert to the popular European sales niche that is the retractable hardtop. Frankfurt will see the appearance of the Astra Twin Top, sold as an Opel in mainland Europe and as a Vauxhall in Britain . Based on the popular Astra sedan, the Twin Top is unique in that its disappearing hardtop is in three pieces. It folds away into the space ahead of the trunk to provide a full four seats, which can be in the open in the sun and covered by a strong metal top in inclement weather.

 

Power will come from 1.6-, 1.8-, and 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engines, the latter turning the Twin Top into a real sports car thanks to a power output of 200 hp. GM says that the car was designed from the outset as a convertible, making the body more rigid than convertibles that have merely been “chopped” from the basic sedan bodyshell.

 

 

Honda’s Civic: Old Name, New Car

 

2006 Honda Civic

2006 Honda Civic

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Honda showed a concept of the new eighth-generation Civic sedan at Geneva, and to no one’s surprise Frankfurt will be the launch pad for a production car that is little changed from its precursor. The styling is along the same lines as other current small Hondas, and the Civic project was in fact led by Mr. Matsumoto, who led the team responsible for the much-lauded Jazz small sedan. The shape is futuristic and the interior is designed to make the most of the space available and to offer clever responses to the problems presented by designing a small sedan that will offer the ultimate in space and comfort for its occupants.

 

Power for this European-built car will reflect local tastes, with two diesel engines (1.4-liter 83 hp and 2.2-liter 140 hp) and a 1.8-liter 140-hp gasoline unit. Honda claims the Civic will be the first car in its class to offer a six-speed manual gearbox. The company is aiming the car at the top end of its market segment, and equipment levels will be set accordingly.

 

At a time when each new car tends to be bigger than its predecessor, it may come as a surprise that new Civic is smaller and lower than the current model. Overall length is now 167.3 inches (1.4 less) and overall height 57.5 in (1.4 less). But in order to create a more dynamic silhouette and a better handling car, Honda has increased the overall width to 57.5 inches (2.6 more) and the front and rear tracks to 59.2 inches (1.3 more) and 59.5 inches (1.8 more), respectively.

 

Currently, the Civic is produced in eleven countries and sold in approximately 160 countries. The new eighth-generation model will be built at Honda’s European car plant, in Swindon, Wiltshire — with the five-door exclusive to Europe. The Civic currently accounts for roughly one-third of all Honda sales worldwide.


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