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01/10 2004 NAIAS, TURNING UP THE HEAT*

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Fri, Jan 16, 2004

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

01/10 2004 NAIAS, TURNING UP THE HEAT*

By Contributing Editors CHRISTOPHER MERLO and CHUCK DAPOZ

Part 2 ASTON MARTIN DB9 VOLANTE

Aston Martin DB9 Volante (production) The Aston Martin DB9 Volante is the convertible version of the DB9, which was introduced in Frankfurt in September. The underpinnings of both cars are identical, including the 6.0L V12, which rockets either DB9 to 62 mph (100 kmh) in under five seconds. Aston Martin says the Volante body is stiff because the DB9 was designed as a convertible; in other words, the Volante is not merely a coupe with the top removed. The DB9 goes on sale in the spring at a price of $155,000, followed by the Volante about a year from now at $168,000.

BMW 6 SERIES CONVERTIBLE

BMW 6-Series convertible (production) The "6" is back! Following the introduction of the coupe in Frankfurt in September, this is the first ever convertible in the 6 Series lineup. This is one satisfying design ## but honestly we'll take the coupe. That aside, the new 6 Series' road presence is poetry in motion. The lines flow smoothly around the car to form a harmonious sculpture. Lower the roof and there's an array of advanced technologies that put the fun in open-air driving including Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control and active steering. However, the real fun begins when you press the accelerator. A 4.4L V8 delivers 325 hp and 332 lbs-ft that take you from 0 to 100 mph in 6.1 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph.

CHEVROLET CORVETTE

Chevrolet Corvette (production) The world premier of the 6th-generation Corvette (C6) was one of the most highly anticipated introductions at this year's show. We're struck by the car's elegant simplicity that presents a leaner, more compact, more muscular, more expressive design. Overall, it's shorter and narrower than the current car. This is the first Corvette since 1962 to feature fixed headlamps. The new design achieves a slippery .28 Cd, making this the most aerodynamically efficient Corvette ever. All the better for high-speed stability. One of the hallmarks of Corvette is the legacy of its small-block V8. The new LS2 6.0L small-block V8 is the largest, most powerful small-block engine ever offered in a Corvette. Paired with a six-speed manual and four-speed automatic, the engine pumps out 400 hp and 400 lbs-ft. Yes, the numbers impress, but the C6 delivers more than just raw performance offering a choice of three suspension settings for overall handling refinement and driving precision. Coming to Chevrolet showrooms this fall.

CHEVROLET NOMAD

Chevrolet Nomad (concept) The Chevrolet Nomad wagon is one of two concepts (see Saturn Curve) and one production vehicle (see Pontiac Solstice) based on General Motors' new Kappa architecture. This small, flexible, adaptable platform, developed in just under two years, is the basis for a series of new and future rear-wheel-drive roadsters. It features a rigid structure with a 50/50 weight distribution, ideal for sporty and functional 2+2 designs. The compact, two-door Nomad wagon was inspired by the Chevrolet Nomad concept shown at the 1954 Motorama. The simple yet expressive design features round headlamps mounted on gently curving fenders, a trademark Corvette grille and forward sloping B-pillar. Under the hood, there's a turbocharged 250 horsepower 2.2L Ecotec four-cylinder engine teamed with a five-speed automatic transmission.

CHRYSLER ME FOUR-TWELVE

Chrysler ME Four-Twelve (prototype) The unveiling of the Chrysler ME Four-Twelve was the only one in Detroit that produced a gasp from the press. The reason was a new peak in supercar performance: 0 to 60 in 2.9 seconds, 0 to 100 in 6.2, a quarter mile in 6.0 at 142 mph and a top speed of 248 mph (400 kph). The name comes from its configuration of a Mid Engine with four turbochargers and twelve cylinders. The 6.0L engine, developed with AMG, produces 850 hp; that works out to 142 horses per liter. The ME Four-Twelve is head-turner ## and arguably looks both American and like a Chrysler. Our biggest question concerns how it fits into the Chrysler brand image, and why DaimlerChrysler wants to build a car that competes with the Mercedes SLR McLaren. Lest anyone think this was only a show car, Chrysler executives emphasized, "This is a prototype, not a concept car." Road testing gets underway next month, and test-drives for the automotive press are promised in the summer.

CHRYSLER 300

Chrysler 300 (production) The Chrysler 300 is a full-size sport sedan built on an all-new, rear-wheel-drive platform. It replaces the front-drive Concorde and 300M. Like its sibling, the Dodge Magnum, the 300 rides on 18-inch wheels and has a hulking presence. Engines range from a 200-hp, 2.7L V6 to a 340-hp 5.7L "Hemi" V8 capable of 0 to 60 in 6.3 seconds. A Multi-Displacement System, which Chrysler refers to as "MDS," allows the Hemi to run on only four cylinders while cruising, resulting in a 10 to 20% improvement over Chrysler's current 5.7L powerplant. Prices start at $23,595 for the base V6 model, with the 5.7L 300C at $32,995. The 300 goes on sale in April.

CHRYSLER PT CRUISER CONVERTIBLE

Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible (production) Chrysler says its PT Cruiser Convertible is more than a quick chop job to renew interest in the retro-styled PT Cruiser. We're told this two-door was designed to be a 150-mph convertible, with exceptional body strength making it quiet and tight. The base 2.4L engine generates 150 hp, and a turbocharged version pumps 180 hp. There are nine seating configurations, and a pass-though trunk opening adds to its versatility. The PT Cruiser Convertible goes on sale in March, with prices starting at $20,585.

CHRYSLER CROSSFIRE ROADSTER

Chrysler Crossfire Roadster (production) One glance tells you the Chrysler Crossfire was meant to run without a top. It takes 22 seconds for the soft top to retract under the hard tonneau. Wheels are 19 inches in the rear and 18 inches up front, accentuating the Crossfire Roadster's wedge shape. Under the hood is the same powerplant as in the coupe, a 3.2L V6 that produces 215 hp, driving the rear wheels. A retractable spoiler extends automatically at 60 mph. The Crossfire Roadster goes on sale this summer.

CHRYSLER TOWN AND COUNTRY

Chrysler Town and Country (production)

Chrysler Town and Country Stow 'n Go System The Chrysler Group holds 38% share of the minivan market, and the Town and Country ## along with its near twin, the Dodge Caravan ## represents an attempt to remain the segment leader. An innovative feature of the new minivan is the Stow 'n Go seating system, available only on long wheelbase models, which allows both the second- and third-row seats to fold into tubs beneath the vehicle floor, providing a truly flat interior floor. Any of the seats can be folded down individually, and the third-row seats can be flipped back into a tailgate mode. Chrysler claims 250 seating configurations. When the seats are up, the tubs become large storage bins with cargo nets. Chrysler claims the Town and Country platform was reworked substantially to accommodate Stow 'n Go. It's a shame the same can't be said about the exterior, which received minimal freshening. The 2005 Town & Country goes on sale in March, with prices starting under $20,000.

DODGE SLING SHOT

Dodge Sling Shot (concept) The Dodge Sling Shot is a low-cost sports car that's both coupe and roadster because of a retractable roof. Powered by a 90-hp, three-cylinder engine that delivers 45 mpg, Dodge claims the Sling Shot is a driver's car due to its light weight and four-wheel independent suspension ## though we're skeptical a 0-to-60 time of 10 seconds meets many enthusiast's definition of sporty. No word on whether it might be developed further, but Trevor Creed, Chrysler Group's senior VP for design, says the Sling Shot was built with off-the-shelf components and can readily be produced.

DODGE MAGNUM

Dodge Magnum (production) Dodge unveiled the 2005 Magnum, which brings a new look built on a new rear-wheel-drive platform to showrooms this spring. Available with traction control as well as an all-wheel-drive option, the design of this low slung, full-size wagon pays tribute to the customized road cars of the Fifties with a distinctive modern interpretation. Like its companion, the Chrysler 300 sedan, the Magnum is aggressively priced and sure to get a second look in the showroom. The SE model sells for $22,495, while the Magnum RT with the 5.7L Hemi V8 engine goes out the door for $29,995 (including destination charges).

FERRARI 612 SCAGLIETTI

Ferrari 612 Scaglietti (production) For the first time in its history, Ferrari has unveiled a car in America, the 612 Scaglietti. This all-aluminum 2+2 is named in honor of Sergio Scaglietti, the famed coachbuilder who worked in Modena when Ferrari was founded. It replaces the 575 Maranello, which Ferrari claimed was the fastest four-seater in the world. The 612 Scaglietti is bigger, faster and stronger is virtually every measurement. The 5.7L V12 produces 540 hp, up from 515 on the 575 Maranello, and can reach 60 mph in 4.1 seconds. Though it's roomier, weight is reduced by 132 pounds because of its space-frame construction, and Ferrari claims structural stiffness has been increased 60 percent. The 612 Scaglietti goes on sale this spring. Prices have not been announced.

NAIAS 2004 Part 3 Ford Mustang (production) Ford Shelby Cobra (concept) Ford Five Hundred (production) Ford Freestyle (production) Ford Bronco (concept) Honda SUT (concept) Hyundai HCD8 coupe (concept) Infiniti QX56 (production) Jaguar S-Type (production) Jeep Rescue (concept) Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (production) Kia Spectra (production)

NAIAS 2004 Part 4 Land Rover Range Stormer (concept) Lexus RX 400h (production) Lexus GS 430 (production) Lincoln Aviator (concept) Lincoln Mark LT (production) Lincoln Mark X (concept) Mazda MX-Micro Sport Concept (concept) Mercedes-Benz GST (production) Mercury Mariner (production) Mitsubishi Eclipse Concept-E (concept) Mitsubishi Sport Truck Concept (concept)

NAIAS 2004 Part 5 Nissan Frontier (production) Nissan Pathfinder (production) Nissan Actic (concept) Pontiac G6 (production) Pontiac Solstice (production) Saturn Curve (concept) Scion tC (production) Suzuki Reno (concept) Toyota Highlander Hybrid (production) Toyota FTX (concept) VW Concept T (concept)

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