2004 Coming Attractions Our auto calendar reveals buff bodies, powerful poses and the latest come-hither styles
By Lawrence Ulrich


The Infiniti QX56 (pictured), an elephantine, eight-passenger luxury SUV, stomps out of a new plant in Mississippi at $48,080 to $51,080.

BMW's X3 SUV plays li'l brother to the X5, except it's actually roomier inside. The slick new xDrive all-wheel drive is standard on X3 2.5i ($30,995) and 3.0i ($36,995) models.


The sinuous BMW 645Ci coupe ($69,995) and convertible ($76,005) will soak the rich in two-plus-two seating and the sound of its 325-hp, 4.4-liter V-8.

Ford vassal Volvo offers the safety-minded S40 compact sedan ($24,875 to $27,675). Labeled a 2004 1/2 model, it comes in 168-hp or turbocharged, 218-hp T5 versions.


Chrysler's about-face to rear-drive sedans kicks off with the 300, a big, unabashedly American cruiser. The 2005 lineup ($23,595 to $32,995) includes the flagship 300C, whose 340-hp Hemi V-8 can shut down half of its cylinders while cruising to boost fuel economy.

The Audi S4 Cabriolet will ruin hairstyles with its 340-hp V-8.


Britain's long-awaited Lotus Elise ($39,985) delivers racetrack performance by hitching its featherweight 1,965 pounds to Toyota's 190-hp turbocharged four, good for zero-to-60 mph blasts of 4.9 seconds.

The beefy 2005 Dodge Magnum wagon ($22,495 to $29,995) starts with a 190-hp V-6 and tops out with the Hemi-enabled, 340-hp RT.


Toyota's youth-seeking Scion division goes nationwide with a threesome of fun, wildly affordable cars: the xA hatchback, the tC Sport Coupe and the xB--a mind-bendingly boxy miniature party van.

Grown-ups get the remade Mercedes SLK 350 roadster with its retractable hardtop and 3.5-liter, 268-hp V-6.


The Ford GT, a streetgoing revival of the '60s racing legend that spanked Ferrari at Le Mans, is a 200-mph, 500-hp dream, even at $139,995.

The all-wheel-drive Saab 9-2X (starting at under $25,000) is a five-door hatch derived from the acclaimed Subaru WRX. Two versions offer 165 or 227 turbocharged horsepower.


The 2005 Chevrolet Corvette kicks off its sixth generation with a trimmer, sleeker body and a 400-hp, 6.0-liter V-8. Convertible models go on sale around October; a roughly 500-hp Z06 follows next year as an '06.

The seven-passenger Ford Freestyle sport wagon and tall-riding Ford 500 sedan help put the Taurus out to pasture.


The fresh-faced Cadillac STS sedan replaces the creaky Seville, ditching front-wheel drive for rear- or all-wheel-drive models starting at around $40,000. Choose 260-hp V-6 or 320-hp V-8 versions.

The Pontiac G6 sedan replaces the Grand Am with a choice of a 170-hp four or 240-hp V-6. A coupe goes on sale in spring 2005.


The retro-fabulous 2005 Ford Mustang looks to rekindle an American love affair that began 40 years ago, starting below $20,000 with a 200-hp V-6 to roughly $24,000 for the GT and its 300-hp V-8.

The Audi A8L 6.0 adds muscle to the icy-cool luxury sedan with 12-cylinder power and a dramatic low-slung grille.


The Lexus RX 400h is a gas/electric hybrid version of the popular luxury SUV. The Lexus promises more speed than the gas-only model and close to 30 mpg.

A hybrid Honda Accord may reach 35 mpg with electric power and a V-6 that shuts down half of its cylinders to save fuel.