2005 Frankfurt Auto Show Preview Page 3

August 7, 2005

 

 

Maserati Upgrades the Quattroporte

 

2006 Maserati Quattroporte

2006 Maserati Quattroporte

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Maserati’s four-door Quattroporte (was there ever a more logical model name?) was introduced at Frankfurt two years ago and immediately established the Italian company as a meaningful competitor in the luxury sedan market. This year the show will see two new versions, the Executive GT and the Sport GT. The Executive (was there ever a less logical model name?) is all about comfort and style, with chrome exterior accents and more wood and leather in the interior. The Sport GT boasts little in the way of performance modifications apart from 20-inch wheels, modified suspension software, and a gearbox that provides shifts that are 35 percent faster. The exhaust system is modified, but not for more horsepower; Maserati claims it delivers “an even more sporty sound.” The specification, which features as improvements “sporty steering wheel and handbrake grip, aluminum pedal covers,” may disappoint Maserati traditionalists but the bling aspects will attract new customers who have never heard of Fangio.

 

 

 

 

Fiat’s Fight Back Continues

 

2006 Fiat Punto

2006 Fiat Punto

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Fiat is still struggling for sales and market share in Europe, and Frankfurt will see the unveiling of its latest model in the effort to re-establish itself in what the company itself calls “the crucially important European hatchback market.” The Grande Punto follows in the wheeltracks of the original Punto, which has sold over six million since its introduction in 1993. The Grande Punto, as its name implies, has been designed to be a larger vehicle than is typical for the class. The car was designed by Italdesign-Giugiaro in partnership with Fiat’s Centro Stile, and has an undeniable Italian feel to its interior and exterior looks. Power will come from two gasoline engines and no less than four turbocharged diesel power units. The newcomer will not replace the original Punto, which will continue in production.

 

 

Fast Czech

 

2006 Skoda Octavia vRS

2006 Skoda Octavia vRS

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Škoda, VW’s company in the Czech Republic, has been building cars for a hundred years, and Frankfurt will see the public debut of the fastest road car it has ever built. The Škoda Octavia vRS, available as a hatchback and a wagon, is powered by a 200-hp 2.0-liter turbo engine with direct fuel injection that pushes it from zero to 62 mph in 7.3 seconds and will take it on to a top speed of 148 mph. Skodas used to share the reputation of all cars from Iron Curtain countries, and the idea of one that would flirt with 150 mph would be met with laughter twenty years ago. Now, under VW’s ownership, the company is regaining the reputation for quality and affordable prices that it enjoyed before the Second World War.
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