2001 Detroit Auto Show, Part III

January 14, 2001


Sponsor of TCC's 2001 NAIAS Coverage

Volvo SUV Concept

Volvo SUV Concept


 

HOW DO YOU SUV IN SWEDISH? This concept car, unveiled at the North American  International Auto Show may be the answer, according to Volvo Cars CEO Hans-Olav Olsson. Based off the same platform as the S80 sedan and the Cross Country wagon, the long-awaited crossover vehicle is due for launch about two years from now. Dubbed the Adventure Concept Car, it’s aimed at blending the best attributes of car and truck, Olsson declared. Among other things, it’s designed to be less aggressive when crashing into a small car. “We want to listen to our customers while there is still time for a change,” said Olsson, noting that potential buyers will be welcome to submit their thoughts on a special Volvo website. How much change might the public bring to the swoopy design? Volvo is still trying to decide on such things as exterior cladding and the final interior layout. Unlike the four-seat Adventure, the production SUV will feature seven seats in three rows. Volvo is also trying to decide whether to offer the final version with a V-6, an in-line five, or offer both engine options. 

2002 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon

2002 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon

WAGONS HO! Mercedes-Benz now boasts a complete C-Class family with the introduction of the new-generation C-Class wagon – which, in the United States, will be a first. The C wagon will go on sale in the States beginning in September of this year. The cargo area is extremely flexible, with a security cover, a series of cargo nets, and folding rear seats. Equipment levels for the wagon will be similar to the sedan, and Mercedes-Benz officials declined comment on the price. M-B also unveiled new high-performance versions of the C-Class and SLK, called the C 32 AMG and the SLK 32 AMG. Both feature a supercharged, "kompressor" version of the familial 3.2-liter V-6, making 354 hp. 

2002 Ford Thunderbird

2002 Ford Thunderbird

WHAT’S THE WORD? THUNDERBIRD. The price isn’t 30 twice, but the ’02 ragtop Thunderbird, even at $35,495 for the base model, strikes us as somewhat of a deal. The Thunderbird is, as Ford division president Jim O’Connor says, “all about optimism.” That optimism might extend to customers trying to get one of the early T-Birds; although production will eventually ramp up to about 25,000 units a year, it’s going to be a slow start. Use the extra time to save some change for the uplevel model, which for $39,795 includes a hard top and traction control.  

2002 BMW M3 Convertible

2002 BMW M3 Convertible

DIAL M FOR MOTOR. BMW’s M3 Convertible has something few other ragtops have: a hotline to BMW’s magical 333-hp in-line six engine. Coupled with the sport suspension and upgraded brakes common to the M3 coupe, the new convertible also features sport seats and a lined power top. With an electronically limited top speed of, gee, only 155 mph and a 0-60 mph time of less than 5.5 seconds, the M3 Convertible should dazzle. The same might be said for the latest X5 variant, the 4.6is, which uses a 347-hp, 4.6-liter version of BMW’s 4.4-liter V-8. BMW estimates the new X, with xenon headlamps and 20-inch wheels, will catapult soccer moms everywhere to 60 mph in about six and a half seconds. 

 

Acura RS-X Concept

Acura RS-X Concept

ALMOST-PRODUCTION RS-X. Acura revealed its RS-X, a prototype car that very closely resembles the Integra's replacement that will go into production this summer. The RS-X has a new-generation i-VTEC 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 200 hp, along with a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission. Sharper body creases and a more chiseled appearance replace the current generation's rounded look. The RS-X prototype sports coupe has 18-inch BBS wheels and Recaro sport seats. Look for a production version of the RS-X to debut at the New York Auto Show in April. In other Acura show news, the brand has introduced a new Type S version of the 3.2 TL. Making 260 hp, Acura boasts that the model has the highest output in its class.

Isuzu GBX Concept

Isuzu GBX Concept

ISUZU KEEPS ON TRUCKIN'. Isuzu went against the industry grain by offering a concept that aims to "revive SUV authenticity." The GBX (the name means "gearbox") is a real truck, with an interesting, exposed frame and modular body-on-frame construction that allows simpler front- and rear-end appearance changes. A water-repellent interior, run-flat tires, a built-in tool box, sliding canvas roof, and external-frame seats enhance the look of ruggedness, but touch-screen-operated controls at a futuristic contrast. The doors open away from each other, suicide style, with the rear doors hinged at the rear. The GBX has a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 engine and Isuzu's Torque-On-Demand system, along with huge 21-inch wheels.

THE NEXT GT2. Porsche introduced the 911 GT2 model for the United States and Canada. According to company officials, the GT2 combines the attributes of the Europe-only GT3 with those of the 911 Turbo. The GT2 uses rear-wheel drive and a modified version of the Turbo's engine, pumped up to 456 hp (with 29 psi of boost!) At only about 3125 pounds, extremely light weight provides blistering performance. Porsche anticipates 0 to 62 mph times of 4.1 seconds, with a top speed of 195 mph. New ceramic composite brakes will provide added braking power with a weight savings of 50 percent over conventional discs. A six-speed-manual transmission is the only gearbox offered.

For all our Detroit 2001 coverage, click here.

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