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A QUIET STORM - PAGE 2

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 Sun, Jan 14, 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 Page 2 2008 FORD FOCUS (production vehicle)

The Focus has been redesigned inside and out, and a two-door coupe has been added to the lineup. The DOHC, 2-liter engine comes in two versions, with one qualifying as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle for California and other green states. The Focus will be Ford's first vehicle to use Sync, a communications system developed with Microsoft that offers voice-activated control of audio systems and mobile phones, including a synthesized voice that reads mobile phone text messages. 2008 FORD FIVE HUNDRED (production vehicle)

The Ford Five Hundred has been reskinned and given a revised interior. A new 260-, horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 replaces the current 203-horsepower, 3-liter engine. Ford says more than 500 changes were made to the Five Hundred, including making the car as quiet as many luxury cars. FORD INTERCEPTOR (concept vehicle)

Take a Mustang GT, give it four doors, a low cabin, a high beltline, 22-inch wheels and an aggressive front end. You end up with the Interceptor, Ford's version of an American muscle car. The engine is a 400-horsepower, 5-liter V-8 mated with a manual six-speed gearbox. The roomy interior is thoroughly modern, with four bucket seats and retractable headrests that deploy from the ceiling. FORD AIRSTREAM (concept vehicle)

One of the more unusual vehicles in Detroit is the Ford Airstream. Ford calls it a crossover SUV, though it may be more appropriately categorized as a minivan. It's powered by a plug-in hydrogen hybrid fuel cell called the HySeries Drive. That means the Airstream is an electric vehicle that can be recharged by household current - or by onboard fuel cells. The spacious interior features front seats that can swivel to the rear, forming a conversation pit with a tubular video screen in the center; you've got to see it to understand it. 2008 HONDA ACCORD COUPE (concept vehicle)

Honda calls this a concept vehicle, but it's our first glimpse of the all-new, eighth-generation Accord that goes on sale this fall. Honda says this sleek, new Accord will be the roomiest car in its segment. A revised V-6 will use Honda's next-generation Variable Cylinder Management technology to provide more power and lower emissions. Only the coupe was shown in Detroit. Expect to see the Accord sedan at the Chicago auto show next month or the New York auto show in April. 2008 INFINITI QX56 (production vehicle)

Infiniti says the QX56 has undergone its first major revision since the launch of this full-size SUV in 2004. We see the changes as cosmetic, and Infiniti didn't even hold a new conference at NAIAS to tout the changes, which include new fascias, new fog lights and a new one-piece roof rack. This doesn't qualify as show-stopping news. The 2008 QX56 goes on sale in April. JAGUAR C-XF (concept vehicle)

The C-XF is gorgeous, and it points to the design direction for future Jaguar sedans. The grille is recessed into the body, similar to the air intake of a jet engine. Behind the grille is a 420-horsepower, 4.2-liter, supercharged V-8. Inside are four bucket seats, with a tall transmission tunnel, giving occupants a sense of sitting deep within a cockpit. The seats are covered in non-grain leather with no visible stitching, making them look like molded neoprene. JEEP TRAILHAWK (concept vehicle)

"You might wonder if this is what happens when you leave a Wrangler and a Grand Cherokee parked alone together for too long" quipped Trevor Creed, Chrysler Group's senior vice president-design. That's a good description of the Trailhawk's open-air design with near-luxury comfort. The engine is a 3-liter Bluetec, producing 215 horsepower and a whopping 376 foot-pounds. KIA KUE (concept vehicle)

The Kue is a high-performance Crossover Utility Vehicle designed in the U.S. It has a muscular appearance, with sheet metal that looks like it's stretched taut and 22-inch wheels pushed to the corners. A 4.6-liter, supercharged V-8 pumps 400 horsepower and 400 foot-pounds to a full-time all-wheel-drive system. Kia calls the Kue purely a concept vehicle, but the company also says it hints at future styling directions for the company. 2008 LEXUS IS-F (production vehicle)

The IS-F luxury sedan launches Lexus into the world of super-high performance. Its 5-liter V-8 generates 400-plus horsepower and 350 foot-pounds and is mated to the word's first eight-speed sport-shift transmission. Zero-to-60 time is less than 4.9 seconds. Behind the 19-inch alloy wheels are heavy-duty Brembo brakes with huge, 14.2-inch, perforated front disks and six-piston aluminum calipers. Look for the IS-F to arrive in showrooms next January, and then to be followed by other Lexus F models. LEXUS LF-A (concept vehicle)

Two years ago, Lexus introduced its concept LF-A supercar at NAIAS. This year we're seeing an updated version. The powertrain is the same, a high-revving, 500-horsepower V-10 of less than five liters, with a front/mid placement, rear-mounted transaxle and rear-mounted radiators. Lexus is careful to note that the version introduced in 2005 was purely a concept vehicle and notes, "This latest concept is much closer to a vehicle that we would bring to market." This new LF-A was produced by a skunkworks team. There's no hint of when it might come to market, but this car makes clear Lexus' plans to enter the world of super-high-performance exotics. LINCOLN MKR (concept vehicle)

The first feature you first notice on the Lincoln MKR is the large, double-wing split grille, which was inspired by the 1941 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet. Behind it is a 415-horsepower, 3.5-liter, turbocharged, direct injection V-6 that's supposed to perform as well as a V-8. The MKR is an exercise to showcase the design elements of future Lincoln models. To go to Page 3 of this report, click here  To go back to Page 1 of this report, click here See accompanying LA Car articles, Panic In Detroit and Variations On A Theme From Detroit

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