Ford Motor Co.'s all-new Lincoln LS6 and LS8 models (see story p.59) head the guest list at this year's New York Auto Show (April 11-19). But stepping out from those shadows at the exhibition - dominated by luxury car debuts - are the all-new Infiniti G20 and Volvo S40/V40 sedans and wagons.

The G20 is the U.S. version of the European-market Nissan Primera, which has been on sale there in its current form since late 1996. In Europe the car features a 1.6L 16-valve 4-cyl. as its base engine, with a trio of 2L gasoline engines ranging in output from 113 hp to 148 hp available as options.

The U.S.-market Infiniti is likely to offer only the largest engines, however. The G20 4-door sedan has been out of Infiniti's lineup since the '96 model year, when it led the division with 35,378 sales.

Making their North American debuts are Volvo's Netherlands-built S40/V40. The cars are expected to hit U.S. dealer showrooms in 1999 as '00 models. Volvo Cars North America Inc. is hoping to move 40,000 to 60,000 of the entry cars annually. The S40/V40 are sold in Europe with gasoline engines ranging from a 104-hp 1.6L to a 197-hp 1.9L.

Also landing a spot in the limelight is the Volkswagen Passat wagon, which bows in North America for the first time. U.S. sales of the revamped Passat sedan already are double year-ago volumes, and the addition of the wagon variant should do nothing to slow that pace.

No car show would be complete without a new sport/utility vehicle or two, and New York is no exception. Making their world debuts are the new Chevrolet Tracker and Suzuki Grand Vitara (Sidekick replacement).

The small body-on-frame Grand Vitara features a standard V-6 for the first time, a newly developed 2.5L 24-valve twin-cam engine that delivers 140 hp and 151-ft.-lbs. (205 Nm) of torque. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard, with a 4-speed automatic with lockup torque converter optional.

The optional 4-wheel-drive version features a shift-on-the-fly transfer case. The Grand Vitara uses an independent strut suspension at the front, with a five-link coil spring suspension at the rear.

The SUVs, to be built at the General Motors Corp.-Suzuki Motor Corp. CAMI Automotive Inc. joint venture in Canada, grow 3.3 ins. (8.4 cm) in width and 2.2 ins. (5.6 cm) in overall length and height from the previous-generation Tracker/Sidekick. The Grand Vitara will come with a long list of standard equipment, including dual air bags, tilt wheel, tachometer, air conditioning, keyless entry and power windows and mirrors.