Toyota's answer to the Smart ForTwo, the dinky iQ is set for production sometime next year. The car uses a number of design tricks to keep its overall length under three meters, including an underfloor gas tank, a repositioned steering system, and an "asymmetrical" cabin, which pushes the front passenger slightly forward of the driver. The iQ is likely to be powered by a Yamaha-sourced motorcycle engine.
Volvo calls the new XC60 crossover its safest car ever, and to back up the claim, it points to the model's new active safety technology called City Safety. The radar-based system is designed to mitigate the effects of front impacts at low speeds by monitoring the distance to the car ahead and intervening with the brakes if it detects that a collision is imminent. The XC60 also features some of Volvo's other recent safety-tech innovations, including blind-spot detection warning, lane-departure warning, and Driver Alert Control, which monitors the car's driving pattern and notifies the driver if it is erratic or uncontrolled.
Based on the Ford iosis X concept car, the slick-looking Kuga crossover is another example of Ford's European design team's handywork. Powered by a two liter diesel engine, the Europe-only Kuga is available in two or four-wheel drive variants, which both get an average gas mileage of about 36 mpg.
VW's classic nameplate makes a comeback in style for the 2009 model year with this sporty two-door hatchback. The new Scirocco is available with a 2-liter, 200-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, giving it plenty of guts to back up its good looks. Sadly, the Scirocco won't be making it to the U.S. either.
The second-generation runt of Mazda's litter gets a stylish new 3-door body style complete with a dynamic rising beltline. An available "sports appearance package" adds to the style quotient with a special front bumper design, side sills, and a rear roof spoiler. The hot-looking hatch is powered by either a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine producing 75 horsepower or 86 horsepower, or a 1.5-liter plant taking the output up to 103 horsepower.
Following in the tire tracks of the M3 coupe and sedan, the hard-top convertible of BMW's road rocket will take a bow in Geneva. The car's steel retractable roof and related mechanism will add 450 pounds to the weight of the fixed-roof model, but that shouldn't slow it down too much. Like its siblings, the M3 cabriolet is motivated by a 4-liter V-8, good for 420 horsepower, and it has a dual-clutch transmission for superslick shifting.
In contrast to the U.S. model, the Euro Accord comes in both sedan and station-wagon versions and is available with a choice of either gasoline or diesel engines. The Europeans also have the option of some advanced technology on their Accord, including a Lane Keeping Assist System, Adaptive Cruise Control, and the Collision Mitigation Braking System, which is currently only on Acura's flagship RL sedan in the United States.
Audi's updated all-wheel drive wagon is six inches longer than its predecessor, giving it more than 50 cubic feet of storage space. The new Avant comes with a choice of two direct-injection gasoline and three diesel engines: the top-of-the-range V-6 is good for 265 horsepower. Inside, the Avant comes with a new MMI interface as well as an available 505-watt Bang and Olufsen audio system with 14 speakers.
Another stylish Ford that won't be making it to U.S. shores is the four-seater Coupe Cabriolet. This Pininfarina-designed addition to the European Focus lineup comes with an arsenal of new tech toys including a new audio connectivity module for external devices, Bluetooth, USB and SD-card support for audio, and touch-screen navigation. It will also come with three engine choices (two gasoline and one diesel) when it goes on sale later this month.
The new Fiesta supermini is already being touted as a possible global savior for Ford. The Euro-designed Fiesta comes with many of the features associated with Ford's higher-end models, including keyless entry, push-button start, and USB connectivity for hooking up portable audio players to the car's audio system. It also gets the cell phone-inspired HMI center stack from Ford's Mondeo and S-Max models. Following its initial release in Europe, the new Fiesta will be making its way to China and then the United States at the end of 2009.
The AMG version of Mercedes' newly-updated roadster differentiates itself from the standard SL with a distinctive hood, larger cooling air intakes, and unique fog-lamp assemblies. The SL63 AMG is motivated by a 6.3-liter, all-AMG V-8 engine that shares no parts with the engines of the regular SL. it also gets an all-new, seven-speed transmission with multiclutch technology, unique to the model.
As an entirely new model line, the CLC becomes Mercedes' entry-level coupe. The new baby Benz sports a wedge-shaped profile with a cropped rear end and a high trunk deck lid. It will be available in Europe with a choice of six engines, including two V-6 variants, one of which will get Mercedes' seven-speed automatic transmission.