2006 New York Auto Show, Part VII

April 13, 2006






2006 New York Auto Show Coverage by TCC Team (4/10/2006)



BMW 3-Series Is World Car of The Year


2006 BMW 330i

2006 BMW 330i

Twenty-seven cars were voted on by 46 international automotive journalists before the BMW 3-series was selected as the 2006 World Car of the Year. The award was announced at the New York International Auto Show and accepted by Tom Purvis chairman and CEO of BMW North America.


The other finalists, the Mazda MX-5 and the Porsche Cayman S, were also evaluated based on “value, safety, significance and emotional appeal,” among other things, by the jurors. The BMW 3-Series is built on two continents and the cars are sold in 140 markets globally. Jurors claimed the tradeoffs between performance and practicality are “more perfectly balanced with the 3-Series than is the case with any other make.” The Audi A6 was the 2005 winner. 


Newly created this year were three additional specialty awards created for vehicles in performance, design, and environmental responsibility categories. The Porsche Cayman S was voted world performance car from 29 vehicles that included the Audi RS4 and BMW M5 as the other finalists. The Citroen C4 took design honors for its “stylistic originality that defined the brand’s reputation in the past, without resorting to a retro look.” Other finalists for design were the BMW 3-Series, and the European version of the Honda Civic, culled from an initial list of 27 vehicles. The Honda Civic Hybrid topped 21 other machines for World Green Car.—Ken Zino



MINI Cooper Brings John Cooper Works GP Kit


MINI is extending its line with a John Cooper Works GP kit that removes the rear seats and some insulation for about a 100-pound weight reduction, adds an aero package, offers stability control as a no-cost option, and tweaks the engine to 214 hp and 184 pound-feet of torque at 4600 rpm. Output is enhanced by modifications to the intercooler, the supercharger, and the electronic engine management system. Acceleration times of 6.5 seconds from zero to 62 mph are claimed. The John Cooper Works GP Kit will be limited to 2000 units worldwide with the car number lettered above the driver’s door. TheU.S. market will receive 415 of these cars, which go on sale this fall with a Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price of $31,150 including a $550 destination charge. The car is part of a motoring promotional tour that will start on August 18 at the Monterey historic races – where Cooper is the featured marque – and ends on September 2 at the Lime Rock Vintage festival.  It’s called “MINI takes the States” and MINI owners can join the two-week drive in its entirety or for any part. The company hopes to deliver as many as 80 of the JCW GP versions of the car during the tour. However, with production scheduled to begin in July, that’s just a soft estimate at this time.—Ken Zino



2007 Tokyo Show Reorganizes


The Tokyo Motor Show in 2007 will be held at Makuhari Messe in Chiba as usual, but for the first time in a decade it will combine both commercial vehicles and the passenger car/motorcycle shows instead of alternating them every year. This is a result of manufacturer pressure to reduce costs entailed in a show every year in Tokyo. So it’s back to a more manageable every-other-year schedule for all vehicles, a format that was used until 1997. The theme of the 2007 show is “Catch the News, Touch the Future.” At the 2005 passenger vehicle show more than 1.5 million people attended. Public days for the 2007 show are Saturday, October 27 through Sunday, November 11.—Ken Zino



2007 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B


2007 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B

2007 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B

Following on the limited production run of 500 cars last year, Subaru will offer a regular production run of 2007 Legacy 2.5 GT spec.b models. Changes for the new model year include driver selection of engine output, a version of the six-speed manual transmission from the Impreza WRX, and vehicle dynamics control from the Outback and all-wheel drive, of course. The 2.5-liter, intercooled, turbocharged boxer engine in the spec.B produces 243 hp and 241 lb-ft of peak torque. With the six-speed manual transmission, the viscous-coupling locking center differential is set with a normal 50:50 torque split. Power is transferred back and forth depending on wheel slippage. The new SI-Drive system allows the driver to change engine performance, control, and efficiency by choosing from among three selectable modes – “Intelligent,” “Sport” and “Sport Sharp” – using a rotary dial on the center console. Intelligent mode reduces fuel consumption up to10 percent. The sport mode emulates the performance characteristics of the 2006 model, while the "sport sharp" mode provides faster throttle response and more power sooner than the either modes.—Ken Zino



Impreza WRX STI Limited


Why Subaru would want to offer the acclaimed WRX STI in a Limited, "more refined" version seems to contradict the reason the car was successful in the first place. Nevertheless, the 2007 Limited has been sent to "finishing school" with heated leather seats, a more subdued exterior look, and a power glass moonroof. The Limited delivers the same performance of the standard model with a turbocharged and intercooled, 2.5-liter DOHC boxer engine producing 293 hp at 6000 rpm and 290 lb-ft of peak torque at 4400 rpm and delivered to all four wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. A planetary center differential provides 41:59 torque distribution. Both mechanically and electronically controlled limited slip differentials are used. Automatic or manual modes can vary the split up to 50:50 with the center differential locked. 


"We know some enthusiasts have resisted the temptation to buy one simply because they want more everyday driving comfort and refinement, along with less aggressive styling,” said Fred Adcock, executive vice president, Subaru of America.  “Now, with the STI’s reputation for pure performance unquestioned, we recognized an opportunity to broaden the car’s appeal.”


The WRX STI Limited will be available in the fall in a limited run of 800 numbered units, 400 in Satin White Pearl and 400 in Urban Gray Metallic.—Ken Zino

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