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Shelby Mustang Cobra GT500, Geneva Auto Show, New York Auto Show, Detailers Paradise, Nissan Titan, Porsche 911 Carrera S, Volvo S40
Issue Seventeen
March 28, 2005
2005 Geneva Auto Show
Photo Gallery:
2005 Geneva Auto Show
2005 New York Auto Show
Photo Gallery:
2005 NY Auto Show
Hot Lap with:
Detailers Paradise
Nissan Titan
Porsche 911 Carrera S
2005 Volvo S40

2005 Geneva Auto Show:
Car Shows European Style
By Max Farrow
Contributing Editor

(March 14, 2005)
Geneva Auto Show Crowd

2005 Mazda MX-5

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

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Geneva Auto Show
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Geneva Auto Show
Now in its 75th year, the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland is perhaps Europe's premier auto event. Big enough to draw high-profile debuts from manufacturers all over the globe, Geneva is one of the must-see events in the automotive journalist's year. The diamond anniversary of this extravaganza featured several important production-model introductions, running the gamut from Kia's Rio5 to the Ferrari F430 Spider-although this year's relative lack of SUVs was a refreshing departure from the norm. Of momentous import to the industry as a whole, the presence of Chinese corporate ventures Ssanyong Motor Co. Ltd. and Pininfarina partner Hafei represented the first time the Swiss floorspace was home to new cars from China. With that addition, Geneva became a truly international auto show-with just as much news for the American market as Europe.

Perhaps the best-looking iteration of the Saab 9-3 line yet, the Sport Hatch (a.k.a. the 'SportCombi') draws upon the sensuous lines of the 9-3X concept that GM's Swedish subsidiary has been teasing us with for years. Trick features like an all-glass roof panel and clear-lens taillights stand out. Clever storage solutions allow for mountain-bike transportation and other active-lifestyle accoutrements-cargo space is a selling point here. Powered by a 250-horse two-liter turbo from the top 9-3 sedan, this wagon promises the same sporty driving characteristics. Although slated to be built in Austria, the Sport Hatch promises to be the most Swedish car among Saab's new lineup (a relief from the TrailBlazer-based 9-7X and the WRX-clone 9-2).

Audi showed several new models wearing the controversial new corporate grille treatment. The Sportback version of the new entry-level A3 is a five-door hatch with its sights set on the VolvoV50. A standard 2.0L turbo and sport suspension promise an engaging drive, and the sub-$25,000 base price should lure new customers. True enthusiasts, however, reserved serious salivation for the RS 4. Shown for the first time in Geneva, this 420-hp monster hits sixty in under five seconds. Wearing an aggressive aero body kit, the RS 4 is no stripper-the lavish interior features all the soft-touch materials and electronic wizardry that Audi is famous for. Emigrating to our shores next summer, the uber-Audi's all-wheel-drive and 8,250 rpm redline should make quite a screamer.

Perhaps most significant to the North American market, Mazda took the wraps off the next MX-5 Miata. Built on a modified RX-8 platform, the newest Zoom-Zoom mini-roadster should have handling this side of bliss. Interior space feels more commodious, although overall growth is negligible. The base motor will be a 2-liter unit with 158 horsepower. Slated to become just the MX-5 (the Miata moniker will be dropped entirely after the car hits showrooms this summer), the drop-top's design is differentiated mainly through more pronounced fender flares, a larger wheel-and-tire set, and tail lamps reminiscent of its RX-8 sibling.

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