Frankfurt 2005's Ten Most Significant Vehicles

JAGUAR XK 4.2

The forthcoming Jaguar XK 4.2 replaces the current XK8 after that gorgeous model's ten years of service around the world. The new XK is virtually identical to the Advanced Lightweight Coupe concept that was shown in Detroit this past January. The new feline will be offered both as a hardtop coupe and as a convertible with a traditional folding canvas top and both are scheduled to go on sale in the spring as 2007 models. As is the case with the current car, normally aspirated and supercharged V-8 engines will be offered eventually, though the supercharged car won't be available for a year or so. Development at Germany's Nrburgring racetrack and a six-speed, paddle-shifted automatic transmission should inject a higher degree of sportiness into the XK formula.

Like the XJ sedan, the XK uses lightweight aluminum body panels and rivet bonding techniques, which should help it accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than six seconds. The practical hatchback design echoes Jaguar's E-type coupe of the 1960s and early '70s. Although the concept car was criticized for being something of an Aston Martin clone, Jaguar styling chief Ian Callum insists that the XK silhouette is a must-have for a front-engine, rear-drive coupe and has indicated that the design both inside and out foreshadows the look of future Jaguars, which he claims will be more curvaceous and flamboyant than the tailored and formal Aston Martin look.

JEEP PATRIOT

The Jeep Patriot was one of a pair of Jeep concepts that portend two new entry-level models. Both are due next year, and are based mechanically on the upcoming Dodge Caliber. The Patriot's rectilinear styling is designed to echo the recently departed Cherokee, which is now seen as iconic. The concept is fully decked out in off-road regalia, and Jeep executives claim that a production Patriot would be "Trail Rated" despite its car-based underpinnings. (The Caliber, you'll recall, is Dodge's Neon replacement, a four-cylinder, front-wheel-drive, four-door hatchback.) Whereas the Compass is an untraditional-looking Jeep that aims to bring new buyers to the brand, the Patriot is aimed at Jeep loyalists.

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