More stories related to New York Auto Show NEW YORK – America's oldest auto show opens here this week and inches back to the prominence it once held, thanks to a flood of international and North American introductions.

Gary Cowger, president of General Motors Corp.’s North American operations, will be keynote speaker at a breakfast that kicks off two press days on March 23. He no doubt will be peppered with questions concerning the auto maker’s recent profit warning, even though the company likely will prefer to talk about its New York performance product menu.

Cadillac's V version of its XLR roadster debuts here for the first time. The XLR-V is powered by the supercharged Northstar V-8 engine also used in the STS-V and promises 0-60 mph (97 km/h) acceleration in less than 5 seconds.

Chevrolet unveils the Malibu SS, Malibu Maxx SS and TrailBlazer SS, bringing Chevy's total of SS models to eight. The TrailBlazer uses the LS2 Corvette engine, while the Malibu twins have 240-hp V-6 engines.

Saab Automobile, initially slated to show off its 9-6X cross/utility vehicle, will have to be content with the North American debut of the 9-3 SportCombi wagon. The brand postpones 9-6X launch festivities for the summer, citing the need to focus on the 9-7X SUV launch.

Nissan looks to woo younger buyers with Sport Concept.

Nissan North America Inc. storms into New York with a flashy Sport Concept hatchback, which is a teaser of what could be coming as an affordable, youth-oriented entry below the Sentra in the auto maker’s U.S. lineup. (See related story: Nissan Opens New $14 Million Design Studio, Shows Sport Concept)

Lexus Div. stages the world debut of the GS 450H, a rear-drive car with hybrid technology. It will be faster than the V-8-powered top-of-the line-model, but retain the fuel economy of a V-6, Toyota Motor Corp. says.

Acceleration of 0-60 mph (97 km/h) is 5.7 seconds.

The Scion youth brand will show a concept vehicle that is said to indicate styling of its next model, possibly a replacement for the small xA or boxy xB.

Mercedes-Benz R-Class production vehicle will get its world premiere. The cross/utility vehicle, which will be built in Alabama, is a sports tourer much like the Chrysler Pacifica, which goes on sale this fall. Combining the features of a sedan, wagon and SUV, the R-Class CUV gives Mercedes entry into a new niche.

BMW AG's long-awaited 3-Series makes its North American debut here alongside a refreshed 7-Series. The 3-Series will come in 325i and 330i models. The 325i has a new 6-cyl. engine that generates 215 hp. The 330i has a 3L mill rated at 255 hp.

Ford Motor Co. gives its in-house Special Vehicles Team a boost with the premiere of the Sport Trac Adenalin based on a redesigned Sport Trac, scheduled to bow in 2006.

Slated for production in 2007, the Adrenalin sport-utility truck packs a 390-hp V-8 engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission below its hood. It offers all-wheel drive, stability control and 6,000 lbs. (2,722 kg) worth of towing power.

The auto maker reportedly will show a hyped-up Mustang that also wears the SVT badge.

Kia Motors of America Inc. will display the next-generation Rio5.The 5-door, on sale this summer, replaces the Rio Cinco and shares a new 1.6L 4-cyl. engine capable of 110 hp with the Rio sedan. Safety features include full-length side curtain airbags, a first for its class.

Hyundai Motor America has two significant debuts: the new ’06 Accent small car and next-generation XG350, which will be renamed. (See related story: Hyundai Releases Sketch, Photo of New Models)

Subaru of America Inc. debuts a refreshed Forester wagon with new fascia and tail treatments and more power. Rival American Suzuki Motor Corp. unveils the next piece of its emerging CUV puzzle with the Concept X2.

Struggling Mitsubishi Motors North America brings the ’06 Lancer Evolution IX here for its North American debut. The car previously premiered in Japan, with refinements that include stability enhancements, more horsepower and torque. Most of the upgrades will be available in the U.S.

Americans for the first time will see Bentley Motors Ltd.'s Continental Flying Spur, the long-awaited sedan companion to the Continental GT Coupe. A Bentley spokesman says the company has more than 800 orders for the vehicle, which doesn’t go into production until July.

jstoll@primediabusiness.com