Hot and interesting, all-new or fully redesigned
By Marc Lachapelle
The Geneva auto show was again replete with gorgeous European cars that will sadly not cross the Atlantic but thankfully also several that will, in addition to new entries from Asian brands making their world début at Palexpo.
The Audi RS5 rolled in, powered by a 450-hp, direct-injected version of the excellent 4.2-litre V8 that is bound to find its way under the glass rear hatch of the R8, along with its 7-speed dual automated clutch gearbox. No date set for RS5’s arrival on this continent, though. As well, the A1 compact hatch was shown in Geneva with a hybrid powertrain but is unfortunately not yet ready for prime time in North America.
The all-new BMW 5-Series sedan will be here this spring and took an official bow in Geneva. The 535i model will offered first, powered by the new 300-hp, turbocharged, direct-injection 3.0-litre inline six. The 528i version and xDrive models will come later this fall.
Ford’s all-new Focus Wagon made its world début in Geneva but it has not yet been confirmed for our market. So we make a point of mentioning and showing it, convinced that the Blue Oval will quickly make the right decision in this matter. Enough said.
Ready for its Canadian market début is a fully-revamped Mazda5. The sleek compact van retains its familiar profile, in refreshed form, with Mazda’s wide-smile front grille and a thorough interior redesign that includes a ‘karakuri’ seat that morphs into additional storage space in the second row. The new Mazda5 also gets upgraded to the current 2.5-litre engine.
The compact sport-ute class is one of the hottest in the market at the moment and it keeps getting hotter. Nissan is making sure of this with the Juke, a production model that has kept much of the jazzy and quirky styling of the Qazana concept that inspired it.
In such company, the all-new Mini Countryman might carve out its own niche. It’s a slightly jacked-up version of the Mini Clubman with five doors and five seating spots. We’ll need to check out that fifth perch in the middle of the second row before calling it a 5-passenger.
The Mitsubishi ASX prefigures another compact crossover that will play the smaller, sportier brother to the current Outlander. The all-new Kia Sportage, on the contrary, is a bit longer, lower, wider and lighter than the previous model.
The platform-sharing Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg have been redesigned for 2011. The Cayenne’s styling is more elegant than its controversial forebear’s and the Touareg more mundane, with its Golf-like front fascia. Both lines are more crossover and less SUV-like but, more crucially, have shed about 200 kilos. Both lines will include hybrid-powered versions but the Touareg Hybrid will come to Canada later.
Volvo finally has an all-new second-generation S60 sedan for 2011. Under a sleeker, smoother skin it packs a full array of Volvo’s signature safety systems and an upgraded version of the 3.0-litre, turbocharged T6 engine that now delivers 304 hp (up from 281) with a 10 percent improvement in fuel economy. Later this year, Volvo will introduce a V60 ‘sports wagon’.