Nissan brings its revived supercar, the GT-R, to the U.S. in 2008. It gets an astonishing 473 horsepower from a 3.8-liter twin turbo V-6, while its dual-clutch transmission was developed specifically for the car. It is expected to hit 60 mph in 3.5 seconds.
BMW launched its 1 series a few years ago in Europe, as its 3 series has outgrown its entry-level roots. For the U.S. version, BMW turns it into a performance monster. The heart of the beast, a twin-turbo, 3-liter, straight-six-cylinder engine, puts out 306 horsepower and 295 ft-lbs. of torque. With its coupe styling, the 135i looks to be a real sleeper, a car you can blast off the line, surprising any number of gaudier sports cars.
The Evo gets a brand-new engine for its 10th edition, in the form of a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder plant with Mitusbishi's MIVEC valve timing that puts out 295 horsepower and 300 ft. lbs. of torque. There are no official figures on the Evo's 0-to-60 credentials, but unofficial tests clock it at about 5 seconds flat.
The STI version of the WRX makes use of a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder boxer engine assisted by an intercooled turbocharger, which makes 305 horsepower and 290 ft. lbs. of torque. All those figures add up to a 0-to-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds.
Mini's long-anticipated stretched Cooper is finally here, and it's called the Clubman. Its squarish rear has double swing-out doors. Beyond the body style, the Clubman is the same as the Cooper, using the same engines and dashboard layout.
Lincoln's new flagship sedan communicates a new design language that takes cues from historic Lincoln Continentals, and it comes with a slew of futuristic cabin technology such as the new Microsoft-developed Sync system and THX-designed audio.
Feeling the need to come up with a car somewhere in between the big Touareg and the Passat, Volkswagen designed the Tiguan as a small SUV crossover. With its sharpened nose, the Tiguan looks like it has real off-road clearance. It comes standard with Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, and all of its engine choices are turbocharged.
Not only does the Malibu get an all-new body style for 2008, it also gets an available hybrid power train. Unlike the two-mode hybrid system that GM is using in its full-size trucks, the Malibu gets GM's Belt Alternator Starter system, found in the Saturn Vue and Aura Green Lines.
Green Car Journal's Green Car of the Year award was given to the 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid. The newly introduced Tahoe Hybrid uses a dual-mode hybrid system developed by GM, Daimler-Chrysler, and BMW. The Tahoe Hybrid uses a 6-liter V-8 gas engine in conjunction with electric motors for propulsion. The motors get electricity from a battery pack that gets charged by the engine and through regenerative braking.
The Aspen Hybrid is motivated by a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine, which is mated to a two-mode hybrid transmission. Thanks to its low- and high-speed electronically continuously variable transmission and two AC synchronous electric motors, the Aspen can be run at low speed solely on electric power. At higher speeds, the electric motor can be used to assist the combustion engine for acceleration or towing.
Honda is driving the hydrogen highway forward with the release of its FCX Clarity fuel-cell vehicle. The four-door sedan features a compact fuel-cell stack and a lithium ion battery pack, to drive the car with zero emissions. The Clarity will be produced in small numbers and leased to retail customers in 2008.