Car News: New 911 Turbo, VW Concept A

February 10, 2006

 

Geneva Brings New 911 Turbo

 

The upcoming Geneva Motor Show will be the setting for the launch of Porsche’s sixth-generation 911 Turbo. The new Turbo model will show up at the Palexpo in March, powered by a 480-hp version of the classic Porsche flat-six engine, up 60 hp in this edition. Porsche says the new model will zip to 60 mph in less than 3.9 seconds when also outfitted with the standard six-speed manual transmission — and even quicker with the six-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission, in 3.7 seconds or less. With either transmission, top speed is limited to about 190 mph. The Turbo will be available in Europe in the summer; U.S.plans and prices have yet to be announced.

 

CarGirl: What Real Women Drive by Carol Traeger (2/13/2006)
Our battle of the sexes takes place on wheels.

 

 

VW Has Concept A for Geneva

 

Saturn Logo

Saturn Logo

When you think “child of a new era,” do you think Britney Spears or Volkswagen? VW wants you to believe that child is its new Concept A, a crossover coming to the Geneva Motor Show as a concept vehicle that could give away some details of the upcoming Marrakesh ute. The Concept A blends sport-ute with sportscar, VW says, from its chrome-framed grille on back. The four-door (the back doors are rear-hinged) has a sleek roofline that ends in a hatchback that’s split into tailgate and liftgate sections. A soft top pulls back to open the cabin to the elements, and the Concept A rides on massive 20-inch wheels. Power for the concept comes from a 150-hp version of VW’s new Twincharger four; a six-speed manual gearbox puts power through all-wheel drive. The concept could host a turbodiesel engine or the 200-hp FSI turbo four, VW admits. Inside, four bucket seats are surrounded in black patent leather; the console sports a Multi-Media Interface (MMI) like those on some Audi models. Stay tuned for more Genevapreviews next week from TCC.

 

2006 Volkswagen Jetta TDI by TCC Team (1/16/2006)
Tight handling, 40 mpg and the world’s best economy cabin.

 

 

 

Pontiac Losing Minivan, Getting Base Coupe

Pontiac dealers at the National Auto Dealers’ Association convention in Orlando are being told they’ll get a new entry-level coupe to sell, and at the same time have been informed they’ll lose the Montana SV6 minivan, Automotive News reports. The coupe will be stopgap product based on the Chevy Cobalt, to be sold until GM comes up with a better strategy for getting younger buyers into the Pontiac showrooms. The model, the News reports, will be a 2007 model and will be priced from about $20,000 like the similar Chevy Cobalt SS.

 

 

 

Spy Shots: 2008 Scion xB

2008 Scion xB

2008 Scion xB

Scion’s hot-selling xB is due to be redesigned soon, and the replacement vehicle is expected to be larger than the current model.  This photo captures a prototype mule, obviously based on the current xB, but stretched, which seems to confirm that the new xB will be at least a few inches longer than today’s car. —Antoine Guilbaud/Hidden Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spy Shots: 2007 Ford Escape

Dinah Shore Chevrolet

Dinah Shore Chevrolet

These photos of updated Ford Escapes show that a thorough freshening is in the works for Ford’s crossover. The biggest change comes at the front end, where new large headlamps, which closely mimic those on the Ford Edge and restyled Expedition, sit atop a chunky new front bumper that looks significantly more square-jawed than today’s Escape. The grille appears to shy away from the clean three-bar design of Ford’s Edge and Fusion, in favor of a trucky look more like the F-Series pickups.

 

Spy Shots: 2007 Ford Escape by KGP Photography (2/14/2006)
Smoother flanks and an Edge-ier grille.

 

 

 

 

 

Spy Shots: 2008 Ford Freestyle

2008 Ford Freestyle

2008 Ford Freestyle

Rumors in Detroit had held that the Ford Freestyle would be killed off for 2008 and replaced by a Mercury version similar to the Meta One show car. But now Ford’s planners have decided to keep the Freestyle, and give it a design update for the 2008 model year. 

 

This artist’s sketch gives an idea of what the 2008 Freestyle may look like, complete with Ford’s new corporate front-end styling as now seen on the Ford Fusion and on the recently shown Ford Edge.

Power for the 2008 Freestyle will come from a new 3.5 liter V-6, giving the crossover improved performance versus the 3.0-liter engine used currently. —Antoine Guilbaud/Hidden Image

 

Daily Edition: Feb. 15, 2006 by TCC Team (2/14/2006)
New 911 Turbo, Pontiacgetting coupe, Ford Escape spied.

 

 

 

 

CarGirl: What Real

Women Drive

 

Last November, TCC ran a column by Douglas Flint entitled “What Real Men Drive,” in which he claimed real men don’t drive macho HUMMER H2s or diesel Ford F-350s; they drive International Scouts and Chevy El Caminos. And if they can’t get their hands on one of those out-of-production models, other real-man options include:

 

Any convertible (the Mazda Miata excepted) as long as the top stays down whenever it’s not raining or snowing

 

Any plain-Jane American four-door sedan (think Ford Crown Vic or Buick LeSabre)

 

The Jeep CJ series (“pre-Eighties wussification”)

 

Anything with a plow on it

In response to his column, TCC reader Erin Mays wrote a letter to the editors praising Flint on his choices and concluding with, “I’m just eagerly awaiting ‘What Real Women Drive’ by TCC’s CarGirl.”

So this one’s for you, Erin, albeit three months late.  

 

CarGirl: What Real Women Drive (2/12/2006)
Our battle of the sexes takes place on wheels.

 

 

 

Talking and Driving — Sans Phone — Still Dangerous

 

Cellphones aren’t the only distraction for drivers. A new report suggests that in-car conversations can be just as dangerous as using a cellphone while driving, researchers at the University of Michigansay. The school’s Transportation Research Institute equipped 36 cars with video cameras and studied the footage while comparing it to vehicle movement. What they found was that more than a third of the time, drivers were talking (15 percent of the video clips observed), grooming themselves (6.5 percent), using a cell phone (5 percent), or eating and drinking (2 percent). And compared to observations of drivers talking on cell phones, the study found that proper steering and lane discipline were about the same for drivers talking to a passenger or talking on a phone. All forms of “non-driving” behavior had some negative impact on safety, the researchers report, mostly in steering inputs. Women and drivers younger than 30 were more likely to engage in distracting behavior than other subjects, the study also said.

 

 

 

Great Drives: Maui, Hana, and Haleakala

 

1999 Chrysler Concorde

1999 Chrysler Concorde

Ana kapuana — it means “so the story goes.” You hear it chanted in native Hawaiian songs that infuse antiseptic AM waves with floral scents, and from the locals who slow down and wave to other drivers through rolled-down windows at the few roadside stops on the 52 miles from the airport to the eastern tip of nowhere. At the 90-minute mark, give or take, you figure out that the phrase also applies to the “hour or so” you were told it would take to get from the Maui airport to one of the many visions man has held of paradise.

 

The hour or so becomes nearly two and a half hours, during which the lilting music on our car’s radio begins to dissolve away any connection to the mainland or even the more populated center of Maui, about 300 sharp turns and dozens of one-lane bridges back. BlackBerries lose signal at roughly the same point where only the road ahead indicates any sort of civilization has dawned somewhere nearby. Waterfalls cascade on the veering road, and deluges and sharp-edged rays of sun fence atop the pavement while the ocean keeps languid score.

At some point — is it nap time already, or time for a carsick bag? — you arrive in Hana, where the Hawaiian blessing mahalo (“may you be in divine breath”) parts from the lips of everyone in the village and at the Hana-Maui resort, almost a mantra. It’s a local inflection, we soon learn — mahalo, as in manana, only less urgent.

 

Great Drives: Maui, Hana and Haleakala (2/12/2006)
Twists, turns and the occasional bout of carsickness.

 

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