The New York

International Autoshow is back for 2011 and the press preview was held this week.

There was almost as many introductions as there are at freshman orientation. A couple highlights:

Ford brought out its' flagship sedan with a new face, a new engine and a serious
benchmark. Wraps came off the 2013 Ford Taurus  and  the Taurus SHO. The car received a new front end which is reminiscent of the Audi A6, which Ford has said was its' target. The engine in the SHO is a 3.5-liter Eco Boost V6 with 350 horsepower.

The standard Taurus will be available with the EcoBoost 4 cylinder turbo charged, direct injection engine a which gives the car the power of a V6 and the efficiency of a 4 cylinder.


People who don’t follow cars knew that the new Beetle, one of Oprah’s favorite things, was being rolled out. The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is a stem to stern remake of the iconic remake. Lower and wider than the previous model, the car seems to have gone from cute to grown up without loosing its' charm.

Mercedes-Benz is betting again that there’s a market for a small version of the three pointed star. This concept shows where they are aiming, and while the production car will have smaller wheels and a conventional grille, it will likely be powered by a 2.0-liter, 210-horsepower four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels.

Transformers 3 opens this summer and once again GM will get extensive product placement as Shia LeBouf, Michael Bay and a legion of others pretend to blow up Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

General Motors took up the entire North Hall, the new addition to the Javits Center. Stretching for about a football field, Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet and GMC showed off their new cars.

The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu featured a new design and new features the like MyLink information system. MyLink can be described as a 21st Century OnStar that brings Apps like Pandora and Stitcher to the car, allowing you to link your Bluetooth smartphone to the car’s entertainment system.

Want to go someplace fast and tow a trailer? The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is governed so it can’t go above 155 mph. It has a 6.4-liter V8 that puts out 465 horsepower. The drivetrain settings include Auto, Sport, Track and Tow. It’s a good thing they moved the exhaust from the center under the rear bumper, now you won’t burn your hands when you have to unhook the popup camper. They say the Jeep Grand Cherokee is the best handling Jeep, ever. No doubt, that’s not a very high bar.

Nissan showed off it’s new Versa. Hoping to continue the car’s world wide popularity, the car has lost its stand out from the crowd looks of the previous generation. Which can be a good or bad thing, depending on your point of view.

It’s the answer to the question no one asked. Nissan has a convertible version of it’s Murano crossover. If top down driving while looking down on other ragtops is more important to you than carrying people or things, congratulations, you have your new ride.

Steven Colbert was on hand to talk with Johan de Nysschen, President of Audi of America, about Team Audi’s entry in the 2011 Charleston Bermuda Race. His last try in the race resulted in a last place finish. He hopes to do better this time.

The Auto Show runs through May first. www.nyautowshow.com