Introductions in Chicago


BMW of North America announced that the 2011 BMW ALPINA B7 sedan will join BMW’s North American product range.  The BMW ALPINA B7 represents the second generation of ALPINA automobiles based on the BMW 7 Series to be offered in the US. The first BMW ALPINA B7 was offered as a limited edition for the 2007 and 2008 model years.   

The twin-turbocharged 4.4 liter V8 with electronically-adjustable suspension and active roll stabilization, promises what could be exciting driving experiences. Both short- and long-wheelbase models will be offered. The BMW Alpina B7 made its North American premiere at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show, and will go on sale at BMW dealers in the spring. The 2011 BMW Alpina B7 sedan will retail for $122,875 (standard wheelbase) and $126,775 (extended wheelbase). Both prices include $875 destination and handling.

The B7 sedan is equipped with BMW’s twin-turbocharged 4.4 liter, all-aluminum, direct injection V-8 engine which has been enhanced by Alpina and is capable of producing 500 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque.  This rear-wheel drive performance/luxury Sedan achieves 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. With maximum torque available across an unusually broad engine range, from 3,000 to 4,750 rpm it is mated to a six-speed sport automatic from Alpina.

The interior of the B7 sedan features Alpina blue illuminated door sill trims. Exclusive interior luxury wood trim in the form of Myrtle Burl, a knotted burl of the Laurel only found on the Pacific Coast of the United States, provides a warm and traditional ambience. Optional Alpina Piano Lacquer interior trim with its silver diagonal rhombs, offers a modern alternative. The full complement of BMW 7 Series exterior colors remains available, in addition to the signature ALPINA Blue metallic paint.



Chevrolet debuts 2011 Silverado  Heavy Duty, celebrates 75 years of Suburban

Slated to be introduced in the summer, Chevrolet will debut the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty trucks in Chicago highlighted by a new 6.6 liter Duramax diesel that is B20 biodiesel capable. The Duramax is matched to a new Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission. The new Silverados offer a comprehensive set of confidence- and control-related features, including trailer sway control, integrated trailer brake control, hill start assist, automatic grade braking and intelligent brake assist.

Technology, including mobile WiFi, USB connectivity, Bluetooth connectivity, XM Satellite Radio, OnStar 9.0 and navigation are available on the new 2500/3500 models. The Silverado heavy-duty lineup is broader than ever, with 11 2500HD models and eight single- and dual-rear-wheel 3500HD models – including a new 3500HD Crew Cab with a 6.5-foot cargo box. WT, LT and LTZ trim levels are offered, and popular features such as the EZ Lift tailgate and rearview camera system return. All models bring greater capability, improved ride and handling and a greater feeling of driver control noted Chevrolet.

Chevrolet also showed the new 2010 75th Anniversary Diamond Edition Suburban to commemorate the pioneering SUV’s production milestone. It is the first vehicle in the industry to achieve 75 years in production. (See Suburban at 75 in MotorwayAmerica's Automotive History section). "At Chevrolet we're gratified with the customer acceptance of the Suburban, providing the room and utility they want for 75 years running,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet general manager. “We look forward to many more years of being the vehicle of choice for families and consumers who desire maximum utility.”
The 75th Anniversary Diamond Edition Suburban goes on sale early this summer and is limited to 2,570 units (including 350 for Canada and other export markets). It is distinguished by a White Diamond Tricoat exterior color and Cashmere interior, along with unique 20-inch chrome-clad wheels and new roof rack rails. Special badging adorns the C-pillar sail panel and steering wheel center cap, while “Diamond Edition” lettering is used on the sill plates and is embroidered on the front headrests. The anniversary models are equipped with LTZ content and are offered in 1500 2WD or 4WD configurations.

The LTZ content includes a comprehensive package of safety-minded technology, including an integrated navigation radio and a one-year subscription of XM Satellite Radio with NavTraffic, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a rearview camera system, rear parking assist, remote starting and adjustable pedals. Leather-covered seating is standard, with heated seating for the first two rows. Heated and cooled seats are standard on the first-row seats. Optional equipment includes a DVD-based rear-seat entertainment system, articulating running boards, a sunroof and Side Blind Zone Alert. Mobile WiFi can also be added at the dealership.
The Suburban seats up to nine, while offering 45.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. With the second-row seats folded and third-row seats removed, interior cargo space increases to 137.4 cubic feet. A Vortec 5.3L FlexFuel engine and six-speed automatic transmission are standard in Suburban half-ton models, enabling a maximum towing capacity of 8,100 pounds. Suburban 2500 models offer a 6.0L/six-speed powertrain combination and a maximum towing rating of 9,600 pounds.

“Its capacity to haul passengers, their cargo and trailers all at once is what has made Suburban an institution among families, small businesses and large fleets,” said Campbell. “Time and again they return to the vehicle that meets all their needs — and for the past 75 years, it’s been Suburban.”



The 2011 Mustang Shelby GT500 with new 550-horsepower V-8

Ford uses Chicago for four introductions

Using the opportunity afforded by few major introduction at this mid-winter fest to the automobile in the huge venue of Chicago’s McCormick Place Ford had four introductions that while not new to the media will be seen by the public for the first time.
Top on the list is the 2011 Mustang Shelby GT500. Getting snake bit by this Cobra is like going to nirvana for pony car enthusiasts. Muscle-a-plenty under the hood with outputs of 550-horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque that can also be dressed up with an SVT track package to add to the excitement. While buyers of GT500’s rarely worry about the price of gas or miles per gallon they will be happy to learn that they won’t have to shell out an extra $1,000 in gas guzzler taxes. Shelby American president Amy Boylan tells MotorwayAmerica that the iconic Carroll Shelby owned company headquartered in Las Vegas has already created a version with even more muscle for Shelby dealers.

Ford also debuted the 2011 Edge with three trim levels and three engine choices all matched to a six-speed automatic transmissions. Joining the 285-horsepower 3.5 liter V6 is a new 3.7 liter V6 with 305-horses and 280 lb.-ft. of torque and the first application of the new I4 2.0 liter turbo EcoBoost engine. The 3.5 or the 2.0 will be offered on the SEL and Limited trim models while the 3.7 is standard on the new Sport model that also comes with paddle shifters. The EcoBoost four-cylinder will be available toward the end of the year and will also be used in the redesigned 2011Ford Explorer.

The 2011 Edge with V-6 engines will be launched this summer.

The 2011 Edge gains more traction with the addition of multitudes of the latest Ford technology including the recently introduced MyFord Touch driver connect technology and industry-first HD Radio technology with iTunes Tagging capability, and Ford’s popular industry-exclusive conveniences such as MyKey and Easy Fuel cap-less fuel-filler system are standard. Additional available technologies include Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning with Brake Support, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) with Cross Traffic Alert, and Intelligent Access with Push-Button Start.

Also debuting in Chicago are two versions of the NA Truck of the Year, Transit Connect. One an all electric service vehicle and the other a CNG Taxi. Both offer attractive alternatives for city use without burning gasoline especially effective in congested areas.



Honda Odyssey Concept shows direction of new 2011 production Odyssey

The Honda Odyssey Concept, on display at the Chicago Auto Show, introduces a sleek and distinctive exterior styling direction for the next generation of the industry's best-selling minivan, set to debut this fall, American Honda announced on Wednesday.

Honda says the Odyssey Concept dramatically departs from conventional minivan styling with its low and wide stance, highlighted by a "lightning-bolt" beltline that further distinguishes the vehicle's profile. Compared to the current Odyssey, the Concept's slightly lower roofline (-1.0 inch) and wider stance (+1.4 inch) contribute to a sleeker, stronger and more dynamic presence with improved aerodynamics that help increase fuel economy.

Forthcoming improvements to the production Odyssey's interior are designed to further enhance the current model's accommodating space for people and cargo.

"The Odyssey established its reputation by providing families with what they most want in a minivan - great functionality, an emphasis on safety and good fuel economy," said Vicki Poponi, assistant vice president of American Honda product planning. "Odyssey then further delighted customers with its surprisingly engaging, fun-to-drive and dynamic nature. The next-generation Odyssey promises to take these strengths to a higher level while adding more style and personality."



Refreshed 2011 Azera makes debut at auto show

A refreshed 2011 Azera made its debut in Chicago. The 2011 model adds power and efficiency with an all new advanced six-speed automatic transmission and other powertrain refinements raising the bar on fuel economy in its class, while still gaining horsepower. Azera offers a choice of two engines including the 283-horsepower 3.8-liter DOHC Lambda V6 engine with 263 lb.-ft of torque or the 260- horsepower 3.3-liter with 233 lb.-ft. torque for improved power and fuel economy. Estimates include 20 mpg city / 28 mpg highway with 3.3-liter engine and 19 mpg city / 27 mpg highway with 3.8-liter engine.

The most noticeable exterior upgrade is a new sleeker front bumper fascia, with a number of subtle design tweaks. Design updates up-front also include redesigned headlamps, new chrome grille and round fog lights. A high-gloss window trim treatment is used on Azera's profile. The rear of the 2011 Azera features new LED tail lights, a redesigned bumper with integrated chrome tailpipes and a matching decklid. Modernized 17-inch alloy wheels finish the exterior treatment.

Inside, Azera offers a spacious cabin that provides not only roomy comfort, but a luxurious look with a new attention. These details include a new brushed metal-grain finish applied to the gear shift indicator area, cup holder cover, ashtray cover and center console cover. A one-touch triple turn signal stalk has been added to long list of standard equipment. Slight movement of this new turn signal stalk will cause the turn signals to blink three times and then automatically go off mimicking a system long available on premium luxury cars.

Music lovers will also welcome the inclusion of standard iPod/USB and auxiliary input jacks to accommodate and charge audio devices such as iPods as an addition to the
AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system. Navigation and a higher end sound system is available.

The 2011 Azera will be available this spring.



Kia says its Ray concept has 746-mile range

Kia’s plug-in hybrid concept vehicle made its debut Wednesday at the Chicago Auto Show. The front-wheel-drive Kia Ray, which theoretically could be pitted against such vehicles as the Nissan Leaf all-electric and Chevy’s plug-in Volt has a driving range of 746 miles, says Kia. It is designed to reach driving distances of more than 50 miles on a single charge of its electric motor and is said to have a fuel economy rating of "more than 202 miles per gallon," according to Kia.

The Ray is equipped with an all-aluminum 153-horsepower gasoline direct-injected 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, linked to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and used in combination with a 78-kilowatt electric motor.

The hexagon is used liberally as a design cue on the Ray. Hexagonal rooftop solar cells embedded in the glass roof panel power extra lighting and climate-control systems. The custom-designed low-rolling-resistance tires repeat the hexagonal pattern. Other exterior styling cues include a flowing profile, a pronounced rear shoulder and a high deck lid. Kia stripped away sideview mirrors and door handles on the concept, replacing them with motion-detector cameras that are mounted flush with the body to help with door opening and lane changing.

Inside, white tones dominate, "reducing the use of air-conditioner energy," said Kia. The seats are mounted on side sills to create a floating effect. These design cues are "all possible indicators of future technology from Kia," the automaker said.

Production plans if any where not revealed.



Special 40th Anniversary 370Z shown in Chicago

Nissan introduced its 40th Anniversary 370Z at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show, a special edition version of the latest in a long line of sports-cars. The limited edition 2010 Nissan 370Z 40th Anniversary Edition will start at $38,860. That represents a premium of about $1,200 over Touring Coupe with Sport Package on which it's based. 
That's okay, we guess, as the Touring is already a hot car and the Sport package.

For the money the anniversary Z gets a unique "40th Graphite" paint job, red leather interior, a "high-luster smoke wheel finish," red brake calipers and 40th Anniversary badges on the rear hatch and the front shock tower brace. There are also additional changes inside, like red door panel inserts, 40th Anniversary logos in the seatbacks and on the floormats, red stitching on the center stack, shift boot and kneepads, red-stitched leather on the steering wheel and a 40th commemorative plaque. It even comes with a commemorative "premium satin car cover."

Beginning later this month, the limited edition of 1,000 units will start making their way to dealer showrooms. In Europe, the car will be dubbed Nissan 370Z Black Edition, and only 370 copies of the coupe will be produced for the European market. Powering the commemorative Z is the familiar 323-horsepower 3.7-liter V6, with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.



Special edition Scion tC to reach dealers in March

Scion has announced its tC Release Series. A 6-speed manual RS 6.0 starts at $19,290 including $670 in destination fees; an automatic adds $800 to the sticker price.

Auto show attendees can get up close to the bespoke Speedway Blue paint and matte-black vinyl that runs along the beltline. The motif continues inside with seats wearing black fabric and blue highlights, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with blue stitching. Alpine supplies the 200-watt audio and navigation system, with a 4.3-inch touch screen, USB connectivity, RCA outputs, and HD radio. The Scion tC Release Series 6.0 is limited to 1100 units, while each wears an individually numbered stainless steel badge.

The RS 6.0 is due to hit dealers in March.



Toyota introduces redesigned 2011 Avalon

Toyota introduced the redesigned 2011 Avalon today at the Chicago Auto Show.  Evoking a time when travel was sophisticated, elegant and comfortable, the new Avalon possesses a distinctive new exterior style while offering a restyled interior rich with premium touch points and practical new technologies.
Even with numerous refinements inside and out, the Avalon remains true to the idea that comfort is honest and uncomplicated, and “Traveling Avalon Class” is rich in simple, familiar pleasures.
The new Avalon has dynamic and expressive lines, and an infusion of comfort, safety and technology advancements that enrich the driving experience.  Upgraded equipment and technology features, such as a touch-screen navigation system with real-time traffic, and Bluetooth® hands-free phone capability with music streaming to the audio system are among the improvements that enhance the 2011 Avalon’s excellent blend of spaciousness, comfort and technology.

The 2011 Avalon is powered by a 24-valve, dual-overhead cam 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 268 horsepower at 6,200 rpm. The engine is equipped with the latest dual VVT-i electronic valve-control mechanism that provides a broader powerband, while requiring less fuel and generating fewer emissions.  It is mated to a multi-mode six-speed automatic transmission.
The 2011 Avalon is an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV), EPA-estimated to deliver 20 mpg in the city, 29 highway, and 23 combined, as good as or better than any V6 model in the segment.