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Forget all those bad things you read about Detroit these days. The 2009 Detroit Auto Show will be the biggest and best auto show next year. There will be more world premieres of production vehicles and concept cars than Tokyo and Frankfurt combined. Maybe that's why it's officially called the North American International Auto Show. Yes, it's that big.
Unlike last year's display of old-school horsepower, the 2009 Detroit Auto Show is expected to have a more forward-looking theme. A big part of that will be the introduction of the 2010 Toyota Prius. It's been fully redesigned for even better mileage than before and it will be joined by a new Lexus hybrid sedan counterpart. Other notable debuts include the 2009 Audi R8 V10, 2010 Ford Taurus, 2010 Lincoln MKT crossover and 2009 Mini Cooper Convertible. Full coverage starts here January 10.
2009 New York Auto Show Highlights - NYAS Cars and More
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So what does an auto show look like in the midst of one of the worst markets in history? Not so bad, actually. The 2009 New York Auto Show is looking like it will finish the season strong, with a handful of notable world debuts along with a dozen or so North American firsts.
Think SUVs are dead? Well, not quite. Acura, GMC and Land Rover have all come up with what they think are the next generation of SUVs. Smaller, more nimble and less painful at the pump, all-new vehicles from all three manufacturers will be making their world debuts in New York.
If you're still not buying into the efficient, high-performance SUV thing, then look for the new 2010 Subaru Legacy. It'll be shown for the first time in New York and is likely to have all the utility you'll ever need. And for those who couldn't care less about utility, Nissan will display the convertible version of its new 370Z coupe. Coverage starts April 8 with video, blogs and photos from the show floor.
Audi A7 Sportback Concept @ 2009 NAIAS
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Audi plans to unwrap a thinly veiled concept version of its upcoming A7 next month at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show. The production version is expected to make its debut later next year at one of the major European shows, probably Frankfurt, ahead of the official production launch in early 2010.
The A7 is essentially Audi's entry in the rapidly expanding ranks of premium "quad coupes," a segment pioneered by the Mercedes-Benz CLS and joined in the past year by the Passat-based Volkswagen CC.
Speculation in Europe is that the production A7 will sport a variety of powerplants, at least in the European market, including a supercharged 300-horsepower 3.0-liter V6, a 395-hp 4.2-liter V8 and a monster twin-turbo 600-hp 5.2-liter V10 that's said to be reserved for the limited-edition RS7.
Transmission choices are said to include a six-speed manual, seven-speed dual-clutch and eight-speed automatic.
Audi has released only this sketch of the car. More details should follow shortly.
2010 Ford Shelby GT500 @ 2009 NAIAS
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Like the new Ford Mustang GT and V6 models introduced at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2010 Shelby GT500 to be introduced at the Detroit auto show in January is far from an all-new car.
Like its more pedestrian brethren, the GT500 gets a revised look, a vastly improved interior and a bump in horsepower for the 2010 model year. The car goes on sale in early spring 2009.
Unlike the meager 15-hp injection given to the GT, the GT500 gets 40 horses more for a grand total of 540. And no, Ford will not change this car's name to GT540. The 2010 model uses the same, basic supercharged 5.4-liter V8, but it's tuned more like the limited-edition GT500 KR. A new cold-air intake draws air from the upper front grille through its own snorkel, and this piece helps generate the increased power. It's so important that the Cobra emblem on the grille has been moved to the passenger side so as not to block the intake. Along with the 540 hp at 6,200 rpm, the reworked motor now makes 510 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm (a 30 lb-ft increase).
The GT500's increased accelerative thrust will be aided by a new 3.55:1 rear end, in place of last year's 3.31. Even so, Ford says that the 2010 model will get a 10 percent improvement in highway fuel economy thanks to taller 5th and 6th gear ratios in its six-speed manual transmission. Figure it should return about 22 mpg highway.
In truth, the last thing the GT500 really needs is more power; what it needs is a retuned suspension. The 2009 GT500 is just too soft and floppy for track duty, with a noted tendency toward understeer. Jamal Hameedi, SVT chief nameplate engineer, has been aware of this fact. So Hameedi says the 2010 GT500 incorporates lessons learned from the KR development for suspension tuning as well. For example, the 2010 GT500's front springs are 13 percent stiffer and the rears are 7 percent stiffer. The new model also carries the next generation of Goodyear's Eagle F1 Supercar tires, upsized to 19-inchers for the coupe. The convertible version (which arrives at the same time as the coupe and should account for about 30 percent of sales) sticks with 18-inch wheels and tires. Hameedi claims the GT500 should be significantly quicker through the slalom and less prone to understeer. The new car will also come standard with the three-mode traction and stability control system (on, off and sport), just like the new Mustang GT.
Ford also tells us that the new GT500 will have better aerodynamic balance. A pan under the engine reduces front-end lift and a new rear spoiler reduces lift in the back. The GT500 won't be any lighter than the outgoing model due in part to the addition of more acoustic insulation. However, the 2010 GT500 will get a heavy dose of stripes. As Chief Designer Doug Gaffka says, "The car is all about performance, but a lot about design." In all, Ford will offer five different stripe packages, including striped leather seats and a striped cue-ball shift knob. And when we say cue ball we mean it — the shift knob is supplied by a maker of billiard balls.
Essential: Infiniti Essence @ 2009 Geneva Auto Show
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Yes, Geneva is a Swiss show, traditionally well attended by the Italian design houses and German tuners. But at the 2009 Geneva Auto Show, a Japanese designer is the talk of the Palexpo — thanks in no small part to his new Infiniti Essence.
Nissan's upscale brand would have us believe this sensational coupe concept is "the essence of Infiniti." In fact, it is the essence of Shiro Nakamura, Nissan's senior vice president of design, not to mention a glimpse into the future design direction of Infiniti.
Nakamura's team has crafted a sleek two-seater with a panoramic glass roof that is all but devoid of ornamentation. Japanese cultural cues abound inside and out.
The designers drew inspiration from, among other things, Japanese calligraphy, traditional lacquerware, even the kanzashi, a hairpin used by women when wearing a kimono. The aim, according to Nakamura, was "to merge all existing Infiniti design cues with fresh design language."
The sinuous, sculpted shape is wrapped around a traditional front-engine/rear-drive sports car layout. But the Essence is hardly traditional in its powertrain, safety technology and even its post-modern minimalist cabin.
Nakamura's team created a stunning asymmetrical cockpit with staggered seats, separated by a curving console that sweeps into the dash. The driver's "cocoon" is finished in black, while the passenger is swathed in red. The cabin is trimmed in leather, Alcantara and hand-painted wood and features chronometer-type dials, an aluminum gearshift knob, a red engine-start button and a flat-bottomed steering wheel flanked by paddle shifters.
Nissan chose a powerful gas-electric tandem, configured as a parallel hybrid so the two power sources can work independently or together. The 3.7-liter direct-injection V6 is fitted with twin turbochargers and makes 434 horsepower, while the electric motor adds another 158 hp, providing total output of nearly 600 hp. Energy is stored in a lithium-ion battery pack.
Advanced safety technologies include distance control assist, lane departure prevention, side collision prevention and back-up collision prevention.
The pièce de résistance is a collaboration with Louis Vuitton — a bespoke three-piece luggage set that's fitted to the trunk of the Essence. Naturally, each piece carries the initials of the owner.
Guess what "SN" stands for.
Tokyo's 2009 Custom Car Show
Enjoy the ultimate bass thumping experience with this custom RX-7.
Put together by Super Autobacks TODA, this ride is custom fitted with ten Panasonic Carrozzeria X speakers and twelve monitors. Created for audiophiles, the dashboard actually sits unnoticed behind the driver.
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[Daisuke Sonobe, Super Autobacks TODA]:
The speakers create superb audio, but it needs to be smartly designed to fit all of it into this small car.
All of these gorgeous rides are fully customized from the inside out; with no details left out.
This custom fiber-design is made by Honda Net Nara. Takahiko Izawa from Honda Net Nara explains his design.
[Takahiko Izawa, Honda Net Nara]:
First we take off the original body color then we use a grinder to make lines one by one creating this pattern. Once the design is set over the entire body, we smooth it over then candy coat it.
These two gold and silver Mercedes Benz SL600s are studded with 300,000 Swarovski crystals. It took D.A.D. six months to put on all the crystals on both cars, which cost ¥40,000,000 and ¥50,000,000 each.
[Yoshiaki Suzuki, D.A.D]:
The exterior is completely jeweled with Swarovski crystals. Its a dream car and only two have been produced.
In the U.S., import-tuning is a billion-dollar industry according to AsianWeek.
Yukichi Negishi, NTD, Tokyo, Japan.
Audi's CLS - Audi Sportback Concept - 2009 Detroit Auto Show
Audi takes aim at the Rapide, Panamera, and CLS with it's Sportback Concept. Editor-In-Chief Angus MacKenzie has the lowdown at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.
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Goodbye Gallardo - 2010 Audi R8 V10 - 2009 Detroit Auto Show
One of the best gets even better, as Audi introduces a monster V10 engine for its already stunning R8. Editor-In-Chief Angus MacKenzie has all the details.
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2009 Dub Auto Show
For the past nine years, DUB has put car culture on the map with our yearly car and concert tour, and this years Monster Energy 2009 DUB Show Tour L.A. kickoff on Sunday, March 22 at the Los Angeles Convention Center proved that even through a recession, automotive enthusiasts and DUB fans, alike, wouldnt miss out one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. More than 26,000 show goers experienced the excitement and entertainment that the Tour offers each year. A BlackTree Media Production Thank you for watching!
2009 Ferrari California @ 2008 Paris Auto Show
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Pulled out of its secret workshop and displayed on the grounds of the Ferrari factory just for us, the 2009 Ferrari California stops us all in our tracks. We all just stand there. Mouths open. Like high-schoolers in the presence of bare breasts for the first time.
This is a gorgeous car. With Pininfarina bodywork created under the direction of Donato Coco, Ferrari's new design chief, the California is a real stunner, particularly with the roof up. Roof down it loses a trifle of that extraordinary well-balanced beauty, but only a trifle. Unlike other cars with a retractable hardtop, the proportions remain intact when the passengers expose themselves to the sun.
For instance, the fender vents are a welcome homage to the car from which the California takes its inspiration, the powerfully evocative Ferrari 250GT SWB Spyder California introduced at the 1960 Geneva auto show. And the long, hollow grooves in the sills have a function, as they direct air to ducts that cool the rear transaxle.
No question about it, the newest Ferrari is a looker. Full-figured, but a looker still the same.