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Showing Yanks how to go green.

Byline: By Steve Hughes

INNOVATION and the environment are the main thrusts of this week's North American motor show, with the lead being taken by European talent.

Clever cars that can change lanes and park themselves, run on thin air and offer Formula One-style performance are among the stars of the show.

They include stylish newcomers from Land Rover, Volvo, Volkswagen, Ferrari, Saab, Audi and Maserati.

British company Land Rover is showing its LRX concept crossover, a lightweight model powered by a two-litre turbodiesel hybrid engine capable of running on biodiesel fuel.

Audi and Ferrari are demonstrating that performance can be achieved by supercars that are environmentally-friendly. Audi unveiled a 185mph oil-burning version of its R8 coupe.

Rival Italian firm Ferrari has developed a road car based on the F430 Spider that is powered by biofuel E85. Determined to cut emissions by 40% within four years, Ferrari says its cars can already run on 10% ethanol.

While Swedish company Saab has taken another important step towards the introduction of a new crossover vehicle for the premium sector of the market.

The firm is displaying its 9-4X BioPower concept car, which will form the basis of its new crossover model destined for the rapidly-expanding European market.

Optimised for bioethanol E85 fuel, the four-cylinder, two-litre BioPower turbo engine generates 300bhp and torque of 295lb/ft.

Compared with petrol, E85 produces less CO2 emissions because it is a combination of just 15% petrol and 85% bioethanol, even when using the vehicle's four-wheel drive system.

Italian supercar company Maserati is showing what it can do in the style stakes with its Quattroporte called the Collezione Cento. It is a real show-stopper with gleaming ivory paintwork, Wenge-coloured wood and mother of pearl interior touches plus sumptuous Cuoio leather.

German mass manufacturer Volkswagen may not boast the same exclusivity, but the latest offering is a show-stopper nonetheless.

The sleek new coupe version of the Passat is set to become a highly desirable four-seater when it arrives in summer, having made its world debut at Detroit.

Also arriving at the motor show from the opposite side of the world are Japanese newcomers from Lexus, Mazda and Toyo ta.

Lining up alongside the rotary-powered coupe is a concept car called the Furai, which is deigned to run purely on ethanol.

Looking more like a high-octane track racer, it uses fuel that comes from plants grown in fields rather than fossil fuel excavated from the ground.

The Americans are not renowned for preserving fuel or natural resources, but with the eyes of the world focused on their motoring extravaganza, they are making a show of persuading others to do likewise.


Looking ahead: Right, the Mazda Furai, a concept car, which is designed to run purely on ethanol. Left, Italian supercar company Maserati is showing what it can do in the style stakes with the Maserati Collezione Cento.; Stylish: The Maserati Collezione Cento
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Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 19, 2008
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