2008 Geneva Motor Show: The attack of the Crossovers

Editors of Motor TrendMar 4, 2008
The annual cavalcade of cars that is the Geneva Motor Show is under way and 2008 has shaped up to be no different from any other year. This year's Geneva Motor Show, one of the bigger international auto shows, is just started with a bang. Even though it's usually a mix of design studies, concept vehicles, limited-production supercars, and tuners, this year's event will also include some cool SUVs and crossovers.
Highlights of some of the models you can expect to see are the Audi Q5, the second-gen Infiniti FX45 and FX37, and the Volvo XC60.

Featured vehciles•2008 Subaru Outback Diesel
•2009 Ford Kuga
•2009 Infiniti FX
•2009 Volvo XC60
•Audi Q7 V12 TDI Quattro
•BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept
•Kia Soul Concepts
•Magna Steyr MILA Alpin
•Renault Koleos
Audi Q7 V12 TDI Quattro
Audi's gone and done it. After cramming its V-12 TDI diesel powerhouse engine into concept versions of both the Q7 (2007 Detroit show) and R8 (2008 Detroit), the automaker has decided to forge ahead with a production version of the Q7 called the Audi Q7 V12 TDI quattro.
At the heart of the matter is Audi's amazing, twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter diesel producing an eye-popping 500 horsepower and 757 lb-ft of torque. Not surprisingly, all that power translates to 0-62 mph times around 5.5 seconds for the Q7 according to Audi, an impressive sprint for an SUV of its size. Top speed will be limited to 155 mph. Despite its sizzling performance, Audi says the V12 TDI is also fairly fuel efficient, achieving just short of 20 mpg in the Q7-equipped model.
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BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept
BMW is talking up its Vision EfficientDynamics concept, which is hitting the automaker's stand at the Geneva Motor Show this year, as having the highest fuel economy ratings and lowest emissions of any four-wheel-drive SUV on the market.
The diesel-powered, X5-based concept reportedly delivers 43.5 mpg on the combined European cycle yet still scoots from 0 to 62 mpg in 8.9 seconds -- a time that's comparable to a similarly-equipped X5 as well as other competitors on the market, according to BMW. What makes the concept even more interesting is that most of its technology sounds production-ready.
The story starts with the 2.0-liter, twin-turbo diesel four that makes 204 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque between 2000 and 2250 rpm on its own. The engine is supplemented by a compact generator that is flange-mounted directly to the gearbox -- an new eight-speed automatic unit developed by BMW in cooperation ZF that we suspect will be finding its way into other Bimmers in short order. This mild hybrid arrangement, which employs a 120-volt lithium-ion battery beneath the rear storage area, is good for an extra 20 horsepower and about 155 lb-ft when accelerating, according to the automaker. BMW says the batteries could also be used to power systems such as air conditioning and is designed work in tandem with the vehicle's conventional 12-volt battery setup.
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Kia Soul Concepts
Typically known for producing wallet-friendly cars, Kia has decided to take a different approach to the automotive market: Fun.The Korean automaker will display three concept versions of its upcoming Soul crossover at the Geneva Show on March 4. The Soul, which first appeared in concept form at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show, is set to join Kia's lineup late this year as a 2009 model. Pictured is the rear end of the Soul Burner concept, which Kia calls the "Bad Boy" of the three it will show. The Burner comes complete with dragon tattoos. Yep, tattoos, sounds like fun to us...
We'll have much more on the Soul concepts and the rest of Kia's Geneva offerings during the show press days.


Renault Koleos
Renault will be unveiling its first crossover, called the Koleos, at the Geneva Motor Show. A product of the alliance between Renault and Nissan, the Koleos is based on the same C 4x4 platform that underpins the Nissan Rogue and X-Trail and carries a shape similar to that of the Rogue.
At 178 inches long and 72.8 inches wide, the Koleos is shorter but wider than the Rogue. Sold in FWD or AWD configuration, the Koleos will be primarily available with a 148 horsepower 2.0-liter diesel mated to a six-speed manual or automatic transmission or a 169 horsepower 2.5-liter gasoline engine mated to either a six-speed manual or a CVT -- the same engine that powers the Rogue. A 170 horsepower version of the 2.0-liter diesel will be available on AWD models only with a six-speed manual. The Nissan-developed AWD system sends all power to the front wheels under normal operation, with as much as 50% of the power sent to the rear wheels when necessary.
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2008 Subaru Outback Diesel
Subaru finally has a diesel -- and it's the first boxer turbodiesel in a passenger car. Ever. The diesel option not only gives the company a real presence in Europe, but the engine's excellent fuel economy -- near an estimated 50 mpg on the highway -- will make it easier to comply with the upcoming CAFE legislation (even though it won't be sold in America for another two years).
Powering the Legacy sedan/wagon and Outback trio is a 2.0-liter DOHC horizontally opposed flat-four common-rail diesel putting out 148 horses and 258 pound-feet of torque. (VW's 2.0-liter turbodiesel, coming later this year, provides 140 horsepower and 235 pound-feet.) Its acceleration won't break any records, but its excellent torque, available at a measly 1800 rpm, ensures that this car effortlessly goes up grades in fifth gear and has no trouble merging at freeway speeds. The boxer layout provides the same advantages as in Subaru's gas-powered offerings: lower center of gravity, reduced vibration, lighter weight.
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2009 Ford Kuga
The 2009 Ford Kuga is based on the same C1 platform that underpins the S-Max compact minivan and European Focus. Only one engine will be offered, a 2.0-liter common rail diesel rated at 134 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. Only one gearbox too, a six-speed manual. FWD will be standard, with a Haldex AWD system available as an option. The Kuga rides on a 105.9 inch wheelbase and checks in at 174.4 inches long, 72.5 inches wide, 67.3 inches high, which is almost the same size as the U.S. market Escape. The only notable size difference between the pair is the Kuga's wheelbase, which is 2.8 inches longer than the Escape's, though it's also a bit heavier. In FWD form, the Kuga weighs in at 3468 lbs, 101 lbs more than the FWD V-6 Escape. AWD models weigh 3556 lbs, 34 pounds heavier than its U.S. counterpart.
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2009 Infiniti FX
After almost 20 years as Nissan's luxury arm, primarily in the U.S., Infiniti is finally entering the Western European market, and is using the Geneva show as the launch pad. As part of the brand's debut on the continent, Infiniti will also use the show to unveil the second generation of its V-8-powered FX crossover, which marks the first time an Infiniti has made its world bow outside of the U.S. The automaker is also displaying its G and EX vehicles, with both the EX and G sedan getting the automaker's 3.7-liter V-6 that made its stateside debut in the G coupe.
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The X5-sized FX, in fact, ditches its 4.5-liter V-8 for an all-new 5.0-liter engine, rated at 390 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque in Europe (U.S. power figures are not yet final). The FX50's new engine features an infinite variable valve lift that Infiniti says puts BMW's spring-actuated Valvetronic to shame. This is part of Infiniti's European launch, four years in the making, that aims to put G37s, EX and FX models on the road (Europe will have to wait for the next-generation M35 and M50, thanks to problems fitting Euro-compliant engines in the current car's engine bay) where only Bimmers don't fear to tread. Anyway, the G37 sedan and coupe's V-6 redlines at 7500 rpm, and the FX50's V-8 spins to 7000 with the new variable valve system.
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All engines here are mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission, another key to meeting European crazy-strict CO2 standards. The FX50 features sports car touches, such as paddle shifters on the steering column and automatic rev-matching throttle blips on downshifts, via Infiniti's Adaptive Shift Control. The ATTESA E-TS (Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All Electronic Torque Split -- yes, that's a mouthful) four-wheel-drive system is also fitted, allowing up to 100 percent of the FX50's power to be sent to the rear wheels when all-wheel drive is not needed.
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Other new features include the EX's wacky Around View Monitor, plus intelligent cruise control, intelligent brake assist, four-wheel active steering and Scratch Shield paint. A Bose stereo and 21-inch wheels are standard equipment. The new FX50 will hit U.S. roads this June, with a 3.7-liter V-6-powered FX37 to follow.

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Magna Steyr MILA Alpin
Magna Steyr's MILA Alpin is the company's attempt at creating a compact, attractive off-roader with emissions under 100g CO2 per kilometer. The mid-engined SUV has a "low-cost" all-wheel drive system and can climb grades up to 45 degrees.
Despite the MILA Alpin's claimed capabilities, Magna Steyr designed the concept to be relatively low in cost to appeal to manufacturers that may want to work with the company to produce the brand-neutral SUV. The MILA Alpin can be fitted with a CNG drive, a hybrid, or even a supercharged engine. Visibility is excellent from the high seating position.
Magna Steyr comically describes the MILA Alpin as having lines "as clear as rock and ice." Check out the photos below and decide for yourself.
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2009 Volvo XC60
Volvo's 2009 XC60 compact luxury crossover will do battle against the likes of other premium segment offerings such as the Land Rover LR2, Acura RDX, and Infiniti EX35.
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The U.S. model of XC60 will be offered at launch with just one engine, the T6 inline-six used in the S80 sedan, which is rated at 281 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. European models will be offered with a pair of diesel five-cylinders rated at 185 and 163 horsepower. AWD with Volvo's Instant Traction feature will be standard in both markets, though a front-drive model powered by a 2.4-liter, 163 horsepower diesel will be offered in Europe sometime in 2009.
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