GENEVA - Low on doors but loaded with speed, style and price, high-profile coupes grabbed all the attention at last month's see-and-be-seen Geneva auto show.
With journalists pushing each other out of the way to grab a picture and press kit, Ferrari Automobili SpA unveiled its new 360 Modena. Filling the huge shoes of the F355 - Ferrari's most successful model - the 360 is bigger and roomier yet lighter than its predecessor, thanks to its all-aluminum body construction. A heartier V-8 also gives it more power and speed.
Ferrari plans to concentrate 65% of its 3,500-unit total production on the new car with hopes of a sellout. In the U.S., Ferrari's largest market, sales start in June.
Even more exclusive than a Ferrari,'s new DB7 Vantage and DB7 Vantage Volante join the DB7 family. "Vantage always has meant power and performance," says Aston Chairman and CEO Bob Dover. The Vantage tops out the DB7 line with the automaker's first 12-cyl. engine. The 6L, 420-hp V-12 powerplant was developed with 's Research and Vehicle Technology Group and Cosworth Technology.
Slightly more affordable and practical but just as beautiful, Mercedes' new CL coupe is unveiled in the forefront of fireworks and Irish dancers. U.S. sales start early next year. Mercedes will build 8,000 CL500 and CL600s yearly; 3,000 are destined for the U.S.
The CL600 is Mercedes' most expensive model and will feature an all-new 6L V-12 that produces 367 hp and can automatically run on just six cylinders when 12 aren't needed.
"An athlete in fine clothes" is howAG describes its new 3 series Coupe. On sale in Europe this month, the coupe will be offered with 4- and 6-cyl. engines with 118 to 193 hp. The 323 Ci and 328 Ci will be followed this summer by the 320 Ci and late this year the 318 Ci.
Adam Opel AG's Speedster may have been just a concept, but Opel says it would like to make the lightweight sports car. Look for word later this year at Frankfurt. Opel also considers selling the niche vehicle in the U.S. perhaps badged as a Pontiac.
Porsche's 911GT3, which will not make its way to U.S. shores, is the successor to the Porsche 911 RS. The vehicle is based on the 911 Carrera 4 coupe but reworked for racing.
Other introductions at Geneva include:
n ThePremacy monospace vehicle goes on sale in Europe during the middle of the year, while 's new Almera Tino, also competing in the multipurpose vehicle C-segment, goes on sale next spring.
nSA's "coupespace" Avantime concept car will be the precursor to the top-of-the-line coupe set to be built at Matra Automobile SA's plant in Romorantin, France, starting next year.
n TheMotors Corp. European-built Pajero Pinin compact sport/utility vehicle was designed by Mitsubishi and Pininfarina SpA. The vehicle will be built in Italy by Pininfarina and will be equipped with 4-wheel drive. Sales begin in September.
noffers a clear indication that it is looking at re-entering the performance-derivative road car business with its Cougar S concept, Puma Extreme concept and a bi-fuel 197-hp concept Mondeo.