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10 Interesting Concepts Revealed at NY Auto Show

USA- New York, NY | Apr 5 2012 | (01:01:07 - EDT)

In one of the first announcements of the New York International Auto Show, Fisker automotive has unveiled the Atlantic. The Fisker Atlantic is the latest iteration in Fisker's goal of creating a luxury electric car that people can actually afford.

The Atlantic is the second vehicle to be debuted by the California-based automaker. Their previous model was the Karma, another high-performance hybrid released in 2008. The Atlantic shares many similarities with Fisker's first car. Both are plug-in hybrid vehicles that can switch from gasoline to electric power at the flip of a switch. Both have an emphasis on offering extended-range travel using only electric power.

Another interesting model revealed was the plug-in i8 Concept Spyder, which BMW claims, go from zero to 62 miles per hour in 5 seconds. It gets about 94 miles per gallon, according to the automaker.

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It's essentially a two-seat topless version of the BMW i8 which was introduced last year. It has a 131-horsepower electric motor powering the front wheels while a 223 horsepower gasoline engine turns the rear wheels. In case the weather turns ugly, BMW plans to add a two-piece folding roof.

Mercedes-Benz unveiled its new SL roadster at the Detroit Auto Show back in January. This is the twin-turbo V12-powered 621-horsepower version. It's equipped with a 7-speed transmission with four different driver-selectable shift programs.

Besides being much more powerful, the AMG SL is also 245 pounds lighter than the current AMG SL Roadster thanks largely to an all-aluminum body.

The SL65 will go on sale in May. Later in the summer, it will be joined by the somewhat less muscular SL63 AMG. That version will be powered by a 530 horsepower twin-turbo V8 available with optional equipment to boost that car up to 557 horsepower.

Lincoln MKZ marks a new beginning for Lincoln, according to the luxury brand's parent company Ford. For one thing, this is the first car designed in Lincoln's new dedicated design studio. Even though the MKZ still shares its engineering with the redesigned Ford Fusion, this MKZ looks very little like its Ford relative.

Among the unique technology in this car is a panoramic sunroof that actually opens all the way from the windshield to the back glass. (It slides back and stows over the rear window.)

Subaru XV Crosstrek, the new compact crossover is based on the recently redesigned Impreza car. This version has 8.7 inches of ground clearance which, Subaru boasts, is more than most other crossovers.

The Crosstrek is powered by a 148 horsepower 2.0-liter engine and it's available with either a five-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission. It should get EPA estimated 25 miles per gallon in the city and 33 on the highway, Subaru says.

Don’t Miss on the Ford Explorer Sport. This is Ford's first high performance version of the famous Explorer SUV. In a boast that seems almost oxymoronic, Ford calls this the most fuel efficient high performance SUV available.

The all-wheel-drive SUV will be powered by a turbocharged V6 engine producing at least 350 horsepower. It is expected to get 16 miles per gallon in city driving and 22 on the highway. That's one mile per gallon less than a standard all-wheel-drive V6 Ford Explorer but still considerably better than the Jeep Grand Cherokee or Dodge Durango equipped with Chrysler Group's 5.7-liter Hemi engine.

Sure the list is incomplete without the X1, BMW's smallest SUV, has been selling in other markets for a while but it's expected to do well here in the U.S. where SUVs are still popular but gas prices are rising.

It will be powered by a choice of two engines, a 6-cylinder and a four-cylinder, both turbocharged. Base prices will range from about $32,000 to $40,000.

Porsche Cayenne Diesel is Porsche's first diesel product in the U.S. It will go from zero to 60 miles per hour in as little as 4.4 seconds while getting 20 miles per gallon in city driving and 28 on the highway. Prices start about $56,000.

That's just one mile per gallon less in highway driving than the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid S -- city fuel economy is the same -- at a starting price that's $13,000 lower. Even with the high price of diesel fuel, that should be an attractive option for a lot of buyers.

Nissan Altima also deserves a mention. For the 2013 model year, America's second-best-selling car gets updated in a significant way. Along with a new four-cylinder engine, automatic transmission, chassis, suspension and interior, the 2013 Altima also marks Nissan's first soiree into the world of fully integrated multimedia systems and advanced safety technology, such as blind spot monitoring. No word yet if there will be a new Nissan Altima coupe.

And interestingly the list ends with a mention of a taxi design. Yes, at NY Auto Show, Nissan unveiled its winning design for the first new taxi (excluding the new Priuses and Ford Escape hybrids that have been adapted as cabs) to hit New York streets since Ford won the contract decades ago with the Crown Vic. It certainly doesn't look like a Crown Victoria, and, as one other journalist wondered aloud while we waited in line to step inside: Why did Nissan even bother entering the market with the NV200, a commercial/contractor style van that wasn't likely to appeal to the 600,000 New Yorkers and tourists who ride in cabs each day?

Once we got inside, though, the answer was obvious: exposure. Nissan expects to sell New York 3000 to 4000 cabs each year for a decade, starting in 2012 (the cab hits the streets in late 2013), and the carmaker was exceedingly careful about building this vehicle not only to meet the demands of drivers, but to create a unique customer experience. And considering the media blitz during Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn's respective speeches about the NV200, you would've thought they were announcing that the taxi fleet had been turned over to Ferrari.


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