Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Misc stuff from the New York Auto Show

The 2009 Pontiac Solstice coupe is set to hit dealerships in early 2009. Pricing hasn't been revealed, but the current Solstice starts at $22,785.

The roof panel is removable for drivers who still want the convertible experience. The panel's frame is made of lightweight magnesium and weighs 31 pounds.

The coupe has a standard 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine with 173 horsepower. A high-performance GXP version has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 260 horsepower.

More of Dodge Challenger
The 2008 Dodge Challenger won't be in showrooms until May, but Chrysler LLC is already taking the wraps off the 2009 version.

Only one model of the updated pony car -- the SRT8 -- is available in 2008, but the 2009 Dodge Challenger will come in three versions: the SRT8, SE and R/T. All go on sale this fall.

The 2009 SRT8 has the same 6.1-liter HEMI V8 engine with 425 horsepower that the 2008 SRT8 has.

The SE has a 3.5-liter V6 with 250 horsepower, while the R/T has a new-generation 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with 370 horsepower.

Ethanol-powered speed
Troy-based sports car maker Saleen unveiled a concept coupe that could become an ethanol-powered sequel to its S7 supercar.

The S5S Raptor on display this week boasts a 650-horsepower supercharged V8 engine that burns 85% ethanol fuel. Tied to a six-speed manual, and with a light aluminum chassis and composite body, Saleen said the mid-engine S5S can hit 60 m.p.h. in 3.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 200 m.p.h.

If it decides to build it, Saleen said the S5S could be on the market in about two years with a price tag of $185,000.

Fresh look for taxis
Ford, the leading provider of taxis in North America for decades, is offering a fresh take on the urban transportation for the New Yorkers who flag them down every day.

While the Ford Crown Victoria is the most popular taxi vehicle in America, Ford is now showing a new people-hauler: the Transit Connect Taxi concept.

The vehicle has a vertical stacked design to accommodate three rear-cab passengers and 75 cubic feet of cargo. With its standard, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission, Transit Connect delivers an estimated fuel economy of 19 m.p.g. in the city -- an improvement of more than 30%. Tailpipe emissions would be nearly 90% lower than many of today's traditional taxis.

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