Muscle cars power auto industry comeback

2014-02-07T00:00:00Z Muscle cars power auto industry comebackAndy Mikonis Times Auto Correspondent
February 07, 2014 12:00 am  • 

One sure way to tell the automobile industry is making a comeback is by the amount of high performance cars making debuts on the auto show circuit.

Performance comes in many sizes and prices. Here are some of the latest introductions you can check out at the Chicago Auto Show.

Following up on the much hyped introduction of the Corvette last year, Chevrolet rolled out the 2015 Corvette Z06 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Developed alongside the C7R race car for the American Le Mans Series, this top-of-line muscle car boasts an all-new supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 coupled to a seven-speed manual or new eight-speed automatic transmission designed and built by GM.

"The new Corvette Z06 won't hit our showroom until early 2015," said Al Kuchar, general manager at Mike Anderson Chevy in Merrillville. "With a supercharged V-8 that will deliver over 625 horsepower, it will be the most track-ready Corvette ever sold."

If your tastes turn to classic German sports cars, Porsche has just the thing. The 911 Targa brings back that retro look with a polished stainless bar behind the openable roof section.

Featuring a first-of-its-kind technology, there's no need to find a place to stash the Targa top; it automatically folds under the rear body panel in seconds. All-wheel drive is standard, prompting Porsche president and CEO Matthias Miller to call it "a 911 for all seasons and all conditions" at the Detroit debut.

Celebrating 40 years of famous motorsport models, BMW's "M" performance division has proudly rolled out the all-new M3 sedan and M4 coupe. The 4-Series is the new version of what used to be the BMW 3-Series coupe, after BMW rebadged coupes and convertibles with even numbers. The M3 has been a perennial driving enthusiast favorite, and the new M3 and M4 will carry on the tradition by returning to an inline six-cylinder engine, this time a turbocharged version with 431 horsepower.

Michael Horn, the new president and CEO of Volkswagen, said the new 2014 Volkswagen Golf R is "going to heat up the 'hot hatch' segment" with more than 300 horsepower. Instantly recognizable by its dual exhaust tips on either side, the Golf R will get all that power to the ground via VW's 4motion all-wheel drive system.

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