Driver's News: 9/10/01

September 10, 2001

GM TO DEBUT MAJOR V-8 IN FRANKFURT has already given an extensive preview of the highlights of the upcoming Frankfurt auto show, including the Opel Signum II, a General Motors concept car based on GM’s Epsilon architecture. And it is relatively common knowledge that the Epsilon platform will be shared by the next generations of the Chevrolet Malibu, Pontiac Grand Am, Saab 9-3 and Opel Vectra. Digging a bit deeper into the story, however, has unearthed some significant details about the all-new 4.3-liter V-8 that gets its first showing under the hood of the Signum II in Frankfurt. The 75-degree-vee pushrod V-8 is a world-market-ready direct-injection gasoline engine. It features three valves per cylinder and GM’s cylinder deactivation system. The engine uses the gas/pneumatic direct-injection setup developed by Orbital Engine and Siemens. And while the V-8 is mounted transversely in the Signum II, its design allows for longitudinal placement as well.
'01 Frankfurt Show Preview by Henny Hemmes (8/13/2001)
Frankfurt Show Preview II by Ian Norris (8/27/2001)



The Cadillac XLR roadster—the production version of the Evoq showcar—will be appearing late next year or early in 2003 as a 2003 model. General Motors has confirmed that the two-seat XLR will be powered by GM’s venerable 4.6-liter Northstar V-8 driving the rear wheels via a 5-speed automatic transmission. The General hopes that the XLR will bring Cadillac back into favor with affluent U.S. buyers who have of late been leaning toward sporty luxury cars from Europe and Japan. In 1997, Cadillac was the top luxury brand in America; today, it is struggling to make the first-tier cut. The 2003 Cadillac XLR roadster will be built at the same Bowling Green, Kentucky facility that produces the Chevrolet Corvette.
Preview: 2003 Cadillac CTS by TCC Team (8/20/2001)


Almost as a calculated response to Chrysler’s recent model and pricing announcements for its fleet of 2002 minivans, Honda’s recent launch of its 2002 Odyssey van appears destined to add fire to an already competitive fray in family haulers. Already recognized as a smart buy by industry watchers like J.D. Power and Associates and IntelliChoice, and by publications that range from Car and Driver to Consumer Reports, the Honda Odyssey is already a solid household name. For 2002, Honda comes to the competition with a 240-horsepower V-6, a standard 5-speed automatic transmission, and front and side airbags for the driver and front-seat passenger. Honda also reports that the 2002 Odyssey is the first minivan available with a factory-installed DVD player.
2001 Honda Odyssey by Dan Carney (6/18/2001)


Consider this: The Mercedes-Benz three-pointed-star logo doesn’t carry enough cache to do the company’s new Maybach model justice. According to a report in Automotive News, Mercedes plans to launch the Maybach—a largely hand-built, no-expense-too-great, uber-luxury sedan along the lines of Rolls-Royces and Bentleys (and then some)—as a brand unto itself. Not even the three-pointed star hood ornament of Mercedes-Benz—after Coca Cola logo, probably one of the most recognizable symbols in the universe—will appear on the car. Instead, the company has chosen to adorn the Maybach hood with a double-M logo inside of a triangle, a historical reference to Maybach Motorenbau, a small carmaker from the early part of the 20th century with deep ties to Mercedes. The Maybach, due for launch in 2003, will feature a 500-plus-horsepower V-12 inspired by two turbochargers. It will ride on a new type of adaptive, electronically controlled air suspension. Stopping power will be provided by a quick-response brake-by-wire system. And the price? Mercedes-Benz spokesman Fred Heiler speculated, "…double, triple, I don’t know how much more it’s going to be over a current Mercedes product, even a high-end Mercedes product." Thus the need, according to Heiler, for giving the Maybach a brand all its own.
Benz: What's In A Brand? by TCC Team (3/12/2001)

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