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Friday, January 18, 2008

2008's Hottest New Vehicles by Automakers company


Lincoln MKS

Bracing for a tough 2008, automakers are trying to make the most of their best new products, which is why they're unveiling more than 50 new production-ready models and concept vehicles at the Detroit North American International Auto Show, opening Jan. 19.

The 2008 Detroit auto show, the nation's largest and most significant, will have a little bit of everything: "green" cars, rubber-burning super-cars, workhorse pickup trucks and innovative family haulers. Technology-laden concept vehicles like the Cadillac Provoq offer a glimpse of the future, including many that are powered by fuel other than gasoline.

In another sign of what's to come, five Chinese automakers--the most ever--will have cars on display in Detroit, hoping to gain valuable insight into the minds of United States consumers even if the Chinese cars won't be sold here for years.

Futuristic cars are fun to see, but what about the vehicles that will be going on sale in the next 12 months?

Vroom! Vroom!
If it's power you crave, you're in luck. Gas might be above $3 a gallon, but that hasn't stopped automakers from rolling out some powerful new sports cars, including the Chevy Corvette ZR1 and Nissan's (nasdaq: NSANY - news - people ) GT-R. General Motors (nyse: GM - news - people ) says the ZR1 is the fastest and most powerful car it has ever produced, but new technology gives it a silky, smooth--not jarring--ride. Its new LS9 supercharged 6.2L V-8 engine kicks out 620 horsepower and has a top speed of 200 miles per hour. "Chevrolet's goal with the new ZR1 is to show what an American super-car can deliver, at a price that trumps exotics that cost two, three or four times as much," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager.


The GT-R, known to many Americans only through videogames and movies, will be sold in the U.S. for the first time in June. It features a new, 480-hp, 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 engine, and will start at around $70,000.


Mother Earth-Friendly Models
Cadillac hopes a new high-performance version of its highly acclaimed CTS sedan, the CTS-V, will boost Caddy's image among consumers who still aren't sold on the brand's comeback.

Lincoln is also making a comeback, based on the strength of new models, including the MKX crossover. Next up is the Lincoln MKS, its new glass-roofed flagship sedan. The MKS is the first Ford model to come with Ford's new EcoBoost system, a gasoline, turbo-charged, direct-injection engine. Ford figures smaller, turbo-charged engines are the way to make meaningful fuel-economy improvements across its entire fleet without sacrificing performance. The company says the new engine technology will deliver up to 20% better fuel economy, and 7% to 15% fewer emissions. EcoBoost will be offered on half a million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles annually in North America within the next five years.

There are other ways to be green. GM's new two-mode hybrid system lets a monstrous Chevy Tahoe achieve the same 21 miles per gallon as a four-cylinder Toyota (nyse: TM - news - people ) Camry. The company will now sell a smaller Saturn Vue crossover with the same system. Clean-burning diesels are also making a big splash at the Detroit show. BMW is introducing diesel versions of its X5 sport-utility and its popular 3-series sedan. Mercedes, Volkswagen (other-otc: VLKAF - news - people ) and Audi also have diesels heading to the U.S. in the second half of the year.

Among luxury brands, Japanese makers are unusually quiet at this year's show--with nothing new from Lexus, Infiniti or Acura. BMW continues to broaden its portfolio with two highly anticipated new models, the entry-level 1-series, and the X6 "sports activity coupe." The 1-series, available in a coupe or convertible, slots in below BMW's mainstay 3-series and goes on sale in March.

BMW calls the X6 a segment-buster, combining the agility of a coupe with the versatility of an SUV. Scheduled to go on sale in the spring, it has five doors, four sculpted seats, a higher ride and loads of cargo space. Two engine choices--a 400-hp, 4.4-liter V8 or a 300-hp, 3.3-liter inline six-cylinder--give the X6 its zip, while BMW's new dynamic performance-control system improves agility by adding torque to either of the rear wheels when necessary. The X6 will be manufactured at BMW's Spartanburg, S.C., factory. Pricing has not been announced.

Pickup truck sales have softened in the past year, along with the economy and the housing market. But already cutthroat competition promises to intensify as Ford rolls out an array of its market-leading F-150 pickups and Chrysler readies a mean-looking new version of its Dodge Ram.


Nissan GT-R
This car might be the best-known car never sold in the U.S. Known to many Americans only through videogames and movies, the GT-R delivers 480 horsepower and 430 foot-pounds of torque from its new 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 engine. Price: $69,850 for the base model; $71,900 for the premium version, which includes a Bose stereo, heated seats and side airbags.

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