2009 Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC Diesel SUVs
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2008 New York International Auto Show

2009 Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC Diesel SUVs

Mercedes-Benz rolled out a trio of diesel-powered SUVs wearing the brand’s BlueTEC badge: the ML320 BlueTEC, GL320 BlueTEC and R320 BlueTEC. They all are equipped with AdBlue, a new type of exhaust treatment system that uses a urea-based additive and extra catalytic converters to make these some of the lowest-emissions diesel vehicles available anywhere.

Unlike the company’s first BlueTEC vehicle – the E320 BlueTEC sedan, which did not have the AdBlue system – all three of the new SUVs meet the country’s most-stringent emissions limits and will be sold in all 50 states later this year.

The M-Class SUV also has been refreshed for the 2009 model year with a broader stance in the front and rear, and new technology features including improved audio and video systems.

– Robert E. Calem (Daniel Acker/ Bloomberg News)
Maserati GranTurismo S

The new Maserati flagship wants to be driven fast. Its software-controlled six-speed transmission selects a new gear in 40 milliseconds and upshifts in just 100 milliseconds, but only when the engine is revving above 5,500 rpm in Manual Sport mode and the throttle is at 80%.

A new 433-hp, 4.7-liter V8 engine propels the car from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds and to a top speed of 184 mph – on 20-inch rims featuring seven spokes that resemble Maserati’s Trident symbol.

– Robert E. Calem (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News)
2009 Acura TSX

Acura rolled out the all-new 2009 TSX sports sedan, which offers more power and amenities in a larger overall package.

A new 201-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine offers 5% more torque across a wider range of engine speeds, allowing this TSX to be faster out of a stoplight and also out of a corner. The car’s body is 3 inches wider and 2.4 inches longer overall, with a 2.6-inch-wider track and 1.3-inch-longer wheelbase, resulting in improved handling and a more comfortable ride as well as more passenger room.

New standard amenities include a power front passenger seat, Bluetooth connectivity and a seven-speaker audio system with XM Satellite Radio.

– Robert E. Calem (Stan Honda / AFP / Getty Images)
2009 Honda Fit

Honda’s subcompact Fit has been revised with better interior appointments, a performance boost and new technology features.

The all-new 2009 Fit features an improved rear “Magic Seat” – which folds flat even with its headrests in place and the front seats pushed all the way back – now with “one-motion dive-down functionality.” In addition, the suspension, steering and body rigidity have been improved for an “enhanced sporty demeanor,” Honda says.

A new 1.5-liter four-cylinder i-VTEC engine can be paired with either a five-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic transmission, and Fit Sport models have steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The base Fit rides on 15-inch wheels, and Fit Sport models roll on 16-inch wheels.

In addition, on the Fit Sport, a USB audio interface is standard and a navigation system with voice-recognition functionality is optional.

– Robert E. Calem (Stan Honda / AFP / Getty Images)
2009 Nissan Maxima

Heralding the return of the “four-door sports car,” Nissan staged the world debut of the all-new 2009 Maxima.

Styled to look more like a coupe than a sedan, Nissan says, it is wider at each fender than its predecessor and features new wraparound L-shaped headlights and 12-LED L-shaped taillights. Overall, the car is 1.5 inches wider and 2.6 inches shorter, with a 1.9-inch-shorter wheelbase.

The new 3.5-liter, 24-valve V-6 engine offers 290 horsepower, or 35 more than the 2008 Maxima offered. But Nissan estimates that fuel economy remains virtually unchanged at 19 miles per gallon city and 26 mpg highway.

– Robert E. Calem (Jonathan Fickies / Getty Images)
2009 Infiniti FX

Three versions of the completely redesigned second-generation Infiniti FX debuted. The new top-of-the-line FX50 features a 390-hp 5.0-liter 32-valve V8 engine, while the FX35 and FX35 AWD (all-wheel drive) are powered by a V6. A new optional Sport Package includes a Continuous Damping Control suspension, rear-active steer and 21-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.

Sales are scheduled to begin in June. Pricing has not been set yet.

– Robert E. Calem (Nissan)
2008 Porsche Boxster RS 60 Spyder

Recalling its 1960 racing victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring with a silver-painted Type 718 RS 60 Spyder, Porsche unveiled the limited edition Boxster RS 60 Spyder clad in GT silver metallic paint.

Compared to a standard Boxster S, a redesigned front end and 19-inch wheels placed more prominently in the wheel arches are the main exterior changes, which also include a black windshield frame and red taillight lenses. Inside, the race car theme is evoked by a coverless instrument cluster, with the gauges – also wearing GT silver metallic paint – set more widely apart.

The limited run of 1,960 cars worldwide echoes the victory year. Fewer than 800 will be available in the U.S., starting March 22, for a suggested price of $64,900.

– Robert E. Calem (Business Wire)
2009 Volvo XC60

Volvo launched the XC60, its first entry into the small premium SUV category, slated to arrive at dealerships early next year.

Staying true to the brand’s promise, Volvo packed it with cutting-edge safety technology, including City Safety, a laser-guided system that detects an impending slow-speed collision (below 19 mph) and automatically applies the brakes if the driver fails to react.

But Volvo didn’t neglect styling. The XC60 also boasts a fashion-forward aesthetic, with unusual interior and exterior color choices. Upholstery can be ordered in Lemon Green, and the paint palette includes metallic Lime Green Grass.

– Robert E. Calem (Jonathan Fickies/ Getty Images)
2009 Mini John Cooper Works Clubman and Hardtop

Mini presented two fast and agile new models derived from the company’s purpose-built race car, the John Cooper Works Challenge Mini Cooper S.

The 2009 John Cooper Works Hardtop and John Cooper Works Clubman both feature the race car’s 208-hp turbo-charged 1.6-liter, 16-valve, four-cylinder engine – which thrusts the Hardtop from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 6.2 seconds, and the Clubman in 6.5 seconds. Their light-alloy wheels, upgraded brakes, the exhaust system and modified six-speed manual gearbox also were taken directly from the race car.

Scheduled to go on sale this summer, the JCW Hardtop will be priced at $29,200 and the JCW Clubman at $31,450.

– Robert E. Calem (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg News)
2009 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

Mitsubishi introduced the 2009 Lancer GTS, which is powered by a new 168-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. A new touring package adds extra-bright high-intensity discharge headlights that can be leveled manually, active stability control with traction control, and rain-sensing windshield washers.

The interior appearance and amenities have been updated too, with new high-contrast gauges and a standard MP3/auxiliary audio input jack, for connecting an iPod or other portable digital audio player to the car’s audio system.

– Robert E. Calem (Mitsubishi)
Mitsubishi i MiEV

Mitsubishi’s four-seat i MiEV electric minicar is made for in-city driving or commuting. A 330-volt lithium-ion battery under the passenger compartment floor powers a 47-kilowatt electric motor that sits above the rear axle, and the layout – based on the design of the gasoline-powered i minicar sold in Japan since 2006 – yields a surprisingly roomy interior.

The battery’s range is about 80 miles on a charge, Mitsubishi says. Also, with all of the battery’s power instantly available at all times, the i MiEV actually accelerates faster than the gasoline-powered i.

Mitsubishi plans to start selling the i MiEV in Japan next year but so far has signaled no intent to sell the electric vehicle in the U.S. That could change, though. Mitsubishi will use the car’s appearance in New York to help gauge its marketability nationwide.

– Robert E. Calem (Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)
Subaru R1e

Subaru shone its spotlight on the R1e, an electric minicar aimed at city dwellers. Based on Subaru’s R1e gasoline-powered minicar sold in Japan, it is powered by a high-density lithium-ion battery and will travel up to 50 miles, at a speed of 65 mph, on a single charge.

Plugged into a standard electrical outlet, the R1e will be fully charged in eight hours, or a specially designed quick charger will juice the battery to 80% of its capacity in only 15 minutes.

Sales of the R1e are scheduled to begin in Japan at the end of 2009, and then possibly in the U.S. But first, the R1e will be tested by the New York Power Authority – the largest state-owned electric utility – in a New York City government fleet. (So far, which fleet has not been determined.)

– Robert E. Calem (Stan Honda / AFP / Getty Images)
2009 Dodge Challenger

Dodge revealed the all-new Challenger, a modern interpretation of the 1970s muscle car, 35 years after the debut of the original.

Three versions will arrive at dealerships next fall: the Challenger SE, powered by a 250-horsepower 3.5-liter high-output V-6 engine; the Challenger R/T, powered by a 370-hp 5.7-liter hemi V-8 engine; and the Challenger SRT8, powered by a 425-hp 6.1-liter hemi V-8, which can be paired with a new-for-2009 six-speed manual transmission.

Styled like the original, the Challenger has a classic muscle car profile and design elements, including an engine cover with twin raised air scoops, a recessed front grille with four round headlamps and dual rectangular exhaust outlets.

Modern technology features include hill-start assist, which helps with launching manual transmission models uphill; and remote engine start, activated with the key fob.

– Robert E. Calem (Daniel Acker / Bloomberg News)
2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

One year ahead of its on-sale date, Hyundai unveiled the all-new 2010 Genesis Coupe – a performance-oriented rear-wheel drive sports car intended to rival premium performance coupes such as the Infiniti G37.

The base Genesis Coupe is outfitted with a 212-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and the step-up model features a 306-hp DOHC 3.8-liter V-6 engine. Both cars have six-speed manual transmissions standard and ride on 18-inch alloy wheels or optional 19-inch wheels.

Both cars arrive at dealerships in the spring of 2009.

– Robert E. Calem (Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)