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2007 North American International Auto Show

Motoring in Motown


Production Cars L - Z

Lexus IS-F
BMW has M, Audi has S, Mercedes-Benz has AMG and now Lexus has F. No, luxury carmakers aren't buying the rights to the alphabet; these are their respective high-performance divisions. This first Lexus F model has been dropped by a full inch versus the regular IS, and sports more aggressive front and rear fascias. A 5.0-liter V8 resides under the hood, making an impressive 400 horsepower and going from 0 to 60 mph in an estimated 4.9 seconds.

Mazda Tribute HEV Hybrid
This is Mazda's first gasoline-electric model and utilizes Ford's "full-hybrid" system that, like its close cousin the Ford Escape Hybrid, can run solely on electric power at lower speeds. It is a Partial Zero Emission Vehicle and should get fuel mileage in the low 30s. The body and interior are also nearly indistinguishable from the 2008 Escape that debuted at the LA Auto Show, making the Tribute an odd duck compared to Mazda's other SUVs.

Mitsubishi Lancers
At left is the new Evolution X, the wild, rally-inspired all-wheel-drive super sedan that makes 320 horsepower with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The look is attractively aggressive, which trickles down to the regular Lancer (right) that will compete with other small sedans like the Honda Civic and Mazda 3. With a chassis stiffer than the reinforced underpinnings of the outgoing Evo, expect the Lancer to provide good levels of driving excitement. Power comes from a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter, 152-horse inline-4.

Nissan Rogue
Already being dubbed as the mini Murano, the new Rogue will compete with compact SUVs like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV-4. It is based on the new Nissan Sentra's front-wheel-drive platform, with all-wheel drive as an option. The only engine available will be a 170-horsepower four-cylinder. Like the Sentra, a full complement of luxury features will be available like Bluetooth phone connection, heated leather seats, premium stereo and keyless ignition.

Pontiac G6 GXP Street
Just when you thought Pontiac had outgrown its 1990s penchant for slapping on tacky body work to make their cars seem sporty, they go ahead and do this to the classy G6 Coupe. The elongated twin grille and goofy tacked-on hood scoops come on the Street package version of both the sedan and coupe. The absurd "hammerhead" spoiler is exclusive to the coupe, though, and doubles as a landing strip for F14 Tomcats. The Street package is for looks only; the regular GXP offers the same 252-horse V6, six-speed auto and interior.

Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe
From amazingly tacky to stunningly elegant, Rolls-Royce unveiled its Phantom Drophead Coupe (or convertible). Looking similar to the Phantom sedan but with a softer front grille, the Drophead Coupe shares the big Rolls' 453-horsepower V12. Note in the above left photo the rear-hinged suicide doors (Rolls prefers "coach doors"), that makes exiting this gorgeous four-seater as graceful as the Spirit of Ecstacy on its grille—which has received a facelift thanks to computer modeling.

Smart ForTwo
The all-new, second-generation ForTwo is finally coming to the States. At the heart of its tiny body (three feet shorter than a Mini), is its rigid Tridion safety cell (the silver part) that allows it to withstand impacts from cars vastly larger. Power comes from a 71-horsepower diesel engine and should get upwards of 70 mpg. Pricing will start at $11,000 and orders will be taken starting in mid-January at Roger Penske's United Auto Group dealerships across the country. For pictures and specs on the old ForTwo, click here.

Production Cars Honorable Mention
Several car companies unveiled freshened or special editions to existing models, including the following:
Dodge Viper SRT-10
Power upgraded by 90 horses to Earth-shaking 600; new colors
Dodge Magnum SRT-8
New hotrod version of the Hemi wagon; special smaller grille
Ford 500
New Fusion-like grille; much-needed 60 additional horses
Infiniti QX56
Slight exterior tweakings; revised, more luxurious dash design
Lamborghini Murciélago LP460 Roadster
Wildest Lambo now offered in convertible form
Pontiac Torrent GXP
More power; sportier styling pieces


See our coverage of the 2008 Detroit Auto Show

For more information, visit www.naias.com


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(Updated: 12/09/11 NW)

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