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2003 Chicago Auto Show
New Introductions
by Rick Smith and Stephen R. Jones

The purpose of any auto show is for auto manufacturers to "display their wares" and to "strut their stuff" to the car buying public. In addition to the current production models being shown, many daring concept vehicles and exciting new models are being displayed. Many manufacturers unveiled future products at this year's Chicago Auto Show. They were:

  • Acura
  • Avanti
  • BMW
  • Chevrolet
  • Daimler-Chrysler
  • Dodge
  • Ford
  • General Motors
  • Kia
  • Mazda
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Mercury
  • Mitsubishi
  • Nissan
  • Pontiac
  • Porsche
  • Saab
  • Subaru
  • Suzuki
  • Toyota
  • Volkswagen
  • Volvo
  • Ford GT40 Concept

    This Ford GT concept has more muscle in its carved out hood scoops than a dozen muscle cars could muster on a good day. But, if its classic too-fast-for-street looks don't impress, just catch a glimpse of its 500 horses on display under the rear glass.

    GT40 Concept Highlights:

    • mid-mounted American
      5.4-liter V-8
    • six-speed manual transmission
    • fiber-optic headlamps
    • doors cut into the roof
    • rear 19-inch Goodyear tires
    • "ducktail" spoiler
    • all-new aluminum spaceframe
    • analog gauges and large tach
    • limited availability in 2004
    Click to Zoom

    Click to Zoom Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG

    The U.S. debut of new E-Class sedan, the E55 AMG, is a scorcher. A supercharged Kompressor V-8, steering-wheel-mounted gearshift and a fast-acting electronic throttle make this the fastest production Mercedes-Benz ever.

    E55 AMG Highlights:

    • 5.5-liter supercharged V8 engine
    • Formula One style steering-wheel-mounted gearshift buttons
    • LED brake lights and optional bi-xenon headlights with headlamp washers.
    • Adaptive front airbags
    • elegant wood and chrome trim
    • Harman Kardon Logic 7 audio system

    Mercury 2004 Monterey Minivan

    Mercury introduced a brand new minivan platform with some convenience features that you might have seen only in luxury cars a few years ago. But, some of the advanced safety features seem snatched from the future.

    2004 Monterey Highlights:

    • Replaces Villager
    • Same platform as Ford Windstar
    • Power adjustable pedals
    • heated and cooled seats
    • forward and reverse object-sensing system
    • tire-pressure monitoring system
    • Dual powered rear doors
    Click to Zoom

    Click to Zoom 2004 Nissan Maxima Sedan

    The all-new 2004 Nissan Maxima carves some new style into the lines of the mid-size, 4-door sports sedan. Its arched design extends from its roofline to the slightly muscular chiseled arches setting off the wheel wells.

    2004 Maxima Highlights:

    • Skyview Roof (front-to-back sunroof)
    • Engine: 3.5-liter V-6, 265 hp
    • Drivetrain: Five-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel drive
    • EPA (city/hwy): 20/27 mpg
    • Base price: $28,000

    2003 Porsche Cayenne SUV

    Porsche goes out on a limb (or should we say nimbly over one?) by introducing its first sports utility vehicle. But, while you might assume this little hot chili pepper of an SUV would be more sexy "sport" than tough "utility", Porsche worked hard to defy that stereotype.

    So, how can this pedigreed sports car hug the curves in town and not eat rocks in the country? On the freeway, the Cayenne's smart suspension hunkers down over an inch below normal. But, take your new Porsche off-road (gulp!) and its pneumatics jack it up to allow nearly 11 inches of ground clearance. Even better, the self-leveling traction management kicks in to compensate for changing terrain and cargo weight shifts. So your sweet Porsche ride now extends past the edge of the pavement.

    2003 Porsche Cayenne Highlights:

    • 4.5-liter V8
    • new six-speed Tiptronic® S automatic transmission
    • permanent four-wheel drive
    • pneumatic suspension for six different ride heights
    • self-leveling traction management

    Click to Zoom

    This year's Chicago Auto Show is America's Largest Auto Show and is being held in the 840,000 square foot McCormick Place South.

    Dated: February 8, 2003

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