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QUIET STORM

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 Sat, Jan 13, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

2007 DETROIT AUTO SHOW: A SUBDUED AFFAIR Words by Christopher Merlo, Mark Dapoz & Chuck Dapoz; Pictures by Mark Dapoz

Major auto shows are exciting. Music, videos, lights and elaborate staging entice show-goers to hundreds of cars and trucks. Particularly exciting for auto enthusiasts are world premiers - the first public unveilings of new vehicles. The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit holds more world premiers than any other U.S. show. This year's show, running through January 21st, showcases 35 all-new production and concept vehicles. That should make it one of the world's most lively and interesting auto shows. And usually it is. But this year the Detroit show feels subdued. Maybe it's because the designs are not as innovative or radical as usual. Or maybe it's because no segment busters were introduced, such as the first Porsche and BMW high-performance SUVs. Or maybe it's because no manufacturer is entering a segment, such as Nissan and Toyota with their full-size SUVs and pickups. Or maybe it's because super-star executives, such as Nissan/Renault's Carlos Ghosn, weren't out front. (Carlos was nowhere to be seen this year.) Or maybe the show is subdued this year because of the black clouds hanging over Detroit and its hometown automakers. (See accompanying articles, Panic In Detroit and Variations On A Theme From Detroit) Or it could be a combination of these factors and others. Whatever the reason, the buzz at the Detroit show is muted this year. Though the sizzle may be lacking, NAIAS is still the premier auto show when it comes to unveiling all-new production and concept vehicles. Here's what the world's auto manufactures are showcasing in Detroit. ACURA ADVANCED SPORTS CAR CONCEPT (concept vehicle)

This is Acura's vision of its planned exotic, high-performance sports car and successor to the NSX. Behind the slit LED headlights is a powerful V-10 driving the rear wheels. The car features a carbon fiber underbody. No word on horsepower, other specs or planned production date. AUDI Q7 V12 TDI (concept vehicle)

What do you get when you drop a Le Mans race-proven diesel engine into to a tame SUV? Your get sports car performance to the tune of 500 horsepower and 737 foot-pounds that accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 5.5 seconds. 2007 BMW 3 SERIES CONVERTIBLE (production vehicle)

For the first time, BMW is offering a hardtop convertible. About 20 seconds are needed for the lightweight steel roof to open or close fully. The 3 Series Convertible goes on sale at the end of March. 2008 CADILLAC CTS (production vehicle)

The second-generation CTS represents a dramatic step forward for Cadillac. The direct-injection, 3.6-liter V-6 produces 300 horsepower, up from 210 horses in today's 2.8-liter engine. The interior is all new. A notable exterior feature: the windshield glass is free of visible rubber seals and joints. A new suspension geometry promises significantly improved driving dynamics. 2008 CHEVROLET MALIBU (production vehicle)

GM may finally have a car capable of going head to head with Camry and Accord. The all-new Malibu is built on GM's global midsize platform. It's noticeably larger than the current model. In fact, the wheelbase has been lengthened six inches, making it three inches longer than Toyota Camry's. Engines are a 164-horsepower, 2.4-liter I-4 and a 252-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6, both available with a six-speed auto trans. A lot of attention was put into the interior. CHEVROLET CAMARO CONVERTIBLE (concept vehicle)

This 400-horsepower instant classic goes on sale in late 2009 (unofficially). No pricing info has been released. CHEVROLET VOLT (concept vehicle)

The four-seat Volt runs on lithium-ion battery that can be recharged through a standard 110-volt household outlet or by the onboard, turbocharged, 1-liter, three-cylinder, constant-rpm engine. The engine is used only to recharge the batteries and doesn't drive the wheels. Running purely from the battery, the Volt has a 40-mile range. The engine extends the range to 525 miles. The Volt is a dream machine because the battery doesn't exist yet. General Motors says the technology to produce the battery might be ready for production by 2012. CHRYSLER NASSAU (concept vehicle)

The Chrysler Nassau is a four-door, four-passenger luxury coupe with a large trunk. Driving the rear wheels is a 425-horsepower, 6.1-liter V-8. The cabin offers a feeling of spaciousness due to two front-to-rear, full-length windows in the roof. 2008 DODGE GRAND CARAVAN / CHRYSLER TOWN & COUNTRY (production vehicle)

Chrysler's minivan twins boast 35 new and improved features. Perhaps the most notable new feature is the Swivel 'n Go seating system. It's a combination of second-row captain's chairs that turn 180 degrees to face the third-row seats and a removable table that installs between the two rows. The dual-DVD system allows passengers in the second and third rows watch different videos. Other features include stability control, a second-row integrated child booster seat and a back-up camera. The new Grand Caravan and Town & Country go on sale in the fall. 2008 DODGE AVENGER (production vehicle)

The all-new Avenger brings aggressive styling to the mid-size segment. It also offers aggressive performance, through optional all-wheel drive combined with a sport-tuned suspension and stability control. Three engines are offered, the largest being a 235-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6. The Avenger arrives in dealerships in the first quarter, with prices starting at $18,895. To go to Page 2 of this report, click here To go to Page 3 of this report, click here

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