Volvo V50 Wagon and S40

Known for stylish transportation and world-class safety systems, the Volvo Car Corporation presented the all-new S40 and V50 wagon at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) along with four new safety systems – two of which are world firsts.
Hans-Olov Olsson, President and CEO of the Volvo Car Corporation said it best: “More people are considering smaller cars. But when it comes to premium car buyers there is one important catch. They don’t compromise. Meaning that they might go smaller, but they don’t want less. The package must still include large-car properties; design, driving pleasure, comfort, technology, and of course in a Volvo, large-car safety.” The new Volvo S40 does just that.

The overall length of the S40 sports sedan has shortened but the height and width has increased allowing for improved interior space. Aerodynamic improvements and an athletic stance are possible thanks to a cab forward design. Also contributing to the sporty appearance is the extended wheelbase that allows for corner situated wheels.
Powered by the new five-cylinder in-line engine with both 2.4- and 2.5-liter aspirated versions, the S40 delivers 140 horsepower and 170 however respectively. The turbocharged T5 engine will also be available offering 220 horsepower and 236 lb.-ft of torque.
The all-new S40 introduces IDIS – the Intelligent Driver Information System. This technology delays certain information to the driver when the driver’s full attention is required, for example, when braking or passing.
The Volvo S40 will be available in spring with an MSRP of $24,190 for the 2.4i and $26,990 for the turbocharged T5.

Also equipped with the Intelligent Driver Information System and set to go on sale at the same time is the volvosportswagon version of the S40, the all-new V50.
The term ‘wagon’ may sound boring and reminiscent of long unavoidable family road trips, but not when Volvo does it. Sophisticated styling and modern lines catch the eye of not only young families but young couples with an active lifestyle and perhaps an equally active dog.
The five-door sport wagon offers a softer design as opposed to the V70 estate model. For power, the same engines available on the S40 are offered with the V50 along with Stability and Traction Control anti-spin system, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, Emergency Brake Assistance and keyless locking system.

In regards to safety technology, Volvo introduced four new safety systems:

  • BLIS – camera-based monitoring system that covers the blind spot.
  • Inflatable curtain, providing improved side impact protection for convertibles.
  • Adaptive cruise control with distance monitoring facility.
  • Warning and brake support if there is a risk of collision.

The Year of the Car

The model is shaping up to be one of the most aggressive and competitive model years for auto manufacturers. Many companies are rolling out large fleets of new, redesigned and concept vehicles in an attempt to capture the attention of an increasingly selective auto consumer. Ford is one company who has spent billions of dollars in order to deliver a large line-up of new vehicles with the hopes of drawing eyes and buyers to them.
Dubbed “The Year of the Car”, will see Ford releasing 40 new vehicles and 1 crossover through their Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands. The hype and media advertising for these new vehicles has been so dominant and ever-present that Ford had the media and the public wondering if they could really live up to their promises.

With the start of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Ford has silenced all doubts. In a press conference that felt more like an extravagant circus event than a vehicle release, Ford proudly displayed the vehicles that are ready to take on the foreign manufacturers and win back the hearts of American drivers.
Cadillac SevilleThe all-new, anniversary Mustang growls onto the scene with a 300 hp, 24-valve MOD v-8 or 200 hp SOHC v-6 engine, improved handling and a completely redesigned interior and exterior. The Freestyle, Ford’s car-based crossover vehicle that provides seating for 7 and all-wheel-drive capability. Ford’s Five Hundred luxury sedan delivers all the characteristics of an SUV with the ride and style of a sedan including command seating, interior size and comfort that competes with the likes of the BMW 7 Series and the Cadillac Seville, and superb driver and passenger safety. The most highly anticipated vehicle from Ford’s fleet is the GT, Ford’s 500 hp supercar. Ford is using this barrage of new, innovative, powerful and incredibly safe vehicles to accept the challenge placed on them by foreign automakers and they look forward to taking command of the American market. And this just from Ford. Lincoln-Mercury has been working to expand their current line-up with the addition of a compact SUV, luxury pick-up and concept convertible.

According to Jim Padilla, Ford Motor Company’s Executive Vice President “These vehicles are game changers that will redefine expectations about cars designed and built in North America”. Ford is delivering an array of product innovations, improved customer conveniences and state-of-the-art new manufacturing technologies.
Adding a new partnership with Volvo is one way that Ford is expanding and increasing its design and manufacturing capabilities. Volvo helps bring large car presence, command seating and all-wheel drive to the midsize Ford Five Hundred and Freestyle crossover while Ford maintained its focus on providing improved performance engines with better fuel economy and lower emissions.

The magic that Ford is making seems to be working. They spent billions on revamping, revolutionizing and reintroducing their already successful F-150 truck. In the few months since its introduction to the consumer market, the F-150 has harvested several awards and accolades. Motor Trend named the F-150 its Truck of the Year and it also took home North American Truck of the Year at the auto show in Detroit. The latest success of this truck is continuing its long running record as the best selling vehicle in America this time for the 22nd year.
Impressive as this many seem, just wait until you see the complete line-up of completely new or restyled vehicles just biting at the bit to hit dealership floors and American roads. Let’s the games begin!

GM Concepts

Based on GM’s new and innovative KAPPA platform, the manufacturer showcased two new and exciting concepts, along with the launch of a new production model that created a stir when first introduced at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.

The foundation for all these new vehicles lies foremost in a new cost-effective rear-wheel-drive vehicle architecture that took a mere twenty-seven months to develop and is known as KAPPA. The basis of development came from the need to maintain the aggressive stance of the Pontiac Solstice concept. To do this, GM joined its global design partners at their Advanced Design Studio in Great Britain and developed a chassis that would sustain the short overhangs, long wheelbase and wide stance of the Solstice.

“Convertibles are typically less stiff than vehicles with a fixed roof, so we set out to create the stiffest possible platform for a vehicle this size,” said Lori Queen, vehicle line executive for GM’s small cars.
Successful completion of this new platform allowed GM to happily announce the official unveiling of the eye-catching Pontiac Solstice Roadster; the vehicle is expected in dealer showrooms in fall.

Equipped with a 2.4-liter Ecotec DOHC four-cylinder engine displacing 170 horsepower, some may be disappointed with its lack of power. The Solstice will initially be offered with a close-ratio Aisin five-speed manual transmission.

The interior is sleek and clean.
In the words of Bob Lutz, GM vice chairman of product development and chairman of GM North America, “the production Solstice is all about being a ‘back-to-basics’ roadster with gorgeous lines and fun-to-drive characteristics.”

New concepts introduced at the North American International Auto Show include the Saturn Curve and Chevy Nomad; both built on the same adaptable KAPPA platform.

The new Saturn concept is a 2+2 sport coupe with a contemporary shape and expressive curves making the name ‘Curve’ an obvious choice. The design of the Curve is almost comforting with rounded edges and graceful lines.
Blonde wood, charcoal-colored leather and terracotta inserts adorn the interior creating a sophisticated feel amidst floating design elements in the console, door inserts and roof panel.

Thanks to GM’s new KAPPA architecture, the Curve sits on rear-wheel drive, independent front and rear suspensions with a supportive chassis built with full-length hydroformed frame rails. Power comes from a 2.2-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine producing more than 200 horsepower.

Moving in design style from the roadster and sport coupe, GM also introduced the Chevy Nomad concept. Again based on KAPPA architecture, the Nomad takes its influence from the 1954 Nomad concept.

A type of sporty wagon, the Nomad rests on a 107-inch wheelbase and is powered by a turbocharged Ecotec 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine that turns out 250 horsepower. A Hydra-Matic 5L40-E electronically controlled five-speed automatic transmission is offered with finger-operated tap shifting.

Inside and out, the Nomad is retro with cool colors like Ice Blue Metallic and Cove Blue evoking a sense of peace along with pure style. Additional accents include blue aluminum gauges, black leather trim and blue lighting.
According to Jose Gonzales, the lead interior designer, “Wherever you look or whatever you touch in the Nomad, it creates a satisfying emotional reaction. There are cars that offer more room and amenities, but the Nomad’s environment has soul. It’s a car you want to get in and drive.”

All three vehicles: the Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Curve and Chevy Nomad, along with the Hummer H3T revealed at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, hint at an innovative and sophisticated growing line-up that will catapult General Motors into a more urban market as opposed to that of their past.

Audi’s A4

LAS VEGAS, Nev.
— A straight-arrow stretch of U.S. 93, smooth blacktop shooting across the Nevada desert out of Las Vegas without a trace of on-coming traffic, serves as our launch pad to experience the high-speed capability of the souped-up and low-slung S4 Cabriolet by Audi of Germany.

This bullet-shaped convertible, derived from Audi’s A4 compact series, skews toward that rare and sporty realm of refined European muscle cars with its big V8 engine aboard and a six-speed gearbox.
Pushing the pedal to the floor reveals that it can run with bedrock stability as if rooted to the road with not a twitch of doubt that it can handle uber-speeds of an autobahn racer.
We push it up to twice the legal limit before nerve backs us off the throttle, but still it shows there’s more in reserve, feeling like the swiftest sled on the planet.

Yet this car is also acts wicked when sent into a snaky set of turns because S4 stocks weight-saving aluminum components in the suspension, as Audi’s Quattro system for traction grip on every tire sets up a curve-craving machine which seems to defy the inertial laws of physics.
The roller-coaster route on Nevada 168 through scarlet sandstone canyons in the Valley of Fire becomes a playground for S4 as it zigs and zags in tune with each corner as four high-performance tires hold a firm grip around the tightly constructed curves.

So much strength, such corner-cutting agility and the ability to virtually fly across the land — all of these vaunted traits apply to the S4 Cabriolet.
However, the car camouflages well to all but educated eyes, as it looks like a conventional convertible, rather roly-poly round in form, with the four-seat cockpit — lined in fine leathers and rigged with power-motivated equipment — of a fancy luxury vehicle.