DeltaWing IndyCar Concept

Obviously not destined for public roads, this car had to make the top 10 in Chicago simply for the buzz it created. A glimpse at what a race car of the future might be for the Indy Racing League, the DeltaWing IndyCar Concept looks like a cross between a dragster, landspeed racer and, well, a crime-fighting jet car. It weighs 1,000 pounds including the driver (about half as much as a current IndyCar) and has a very slippery 0.24 coefficient of drag. This combination allows the car to reach a top speed of 230 mph using a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, instead of the 650-horsepower 3.5-liter V8s currently in use. The DeltaWing is one of four concepts submitted for the IRL's new car design, which is set to debut in 2012. This summer the IRL decides on the winning design, so stay tuned.

2011 BMW Alpina B7

The independent tuner Alpina has been tweaking BMWs since the 1960s. In Chicago, it unveiled the second-generation BMW Alpina B7, which is as close to an M7 as we'll likely ever see, to the North American market. Offered in short- or long-wheelbase models, the B7 features a 500-horsepower 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine that vaults the car from zero to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. To aid handling, it has an adjustable suspension with active roll stabilization and shorter springs that lower the ride height. Exterior changes include exclusive 21-inch wheels, front and rear spoilers, and tailpipes integrated into the rear bumper. The 2011 BMW Alpina B7 will go on sale this spring.

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2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD pickup

Capability is the name of the game in the heavy-duty pickup market, and the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD is ready to deliver. Built on an all-new frame with a new asymmetrical rear leaf spring design, the Silverado HD can haul up to 6,335 pounds and tow up to 16,000 pounds, or 20,000 pounds with a fifth wheel, all tops in the class. An optional 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8 engine is available that can run on B20, a blend of 80 percent standard diesel fuel and 20 percent biodiesel. New features include Hill Start Assist, mobile wifi, and a smart exhaust brake that varies resistance based on load and grade. The 2011 Silverado HD will go on sale this summer.

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2011 Chevrolet Suburban 75th Anniversary Diamond Edition

In 1935, Chevrolet placed an all-steel wagon body atop a half-ton truck frame and called it the Suburban Carryall. Seventy-five years later, the Suburban is still going strong and is, in fact, the longest-running nameplate in North America. Chevrolet is celebrating here in Chicago by introducing a special edition of the full-size sport ute. The 2011 Chevrolet Suburban 75th Anniversary Diamond Edition is based on the well-equipped LTZ model. It comes with a White Diamond Tricoat paint scheme, a cashmere interior, unique 20-inch chromed wheels and new roof rack rails, plus special badges and lettering inside and out. Limited to 2,570 units, the 75th Anniversary Suburban will hit dealer showrooms early this summer.

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2011 Ford Shelby GT500

The Mustang power surge continues. After unveiling new V6 and V8 engines at previous shows, Ford took the wraps off a 2011 Shelby GT500 with a lighter and more powerful engine here in the Windy City. The new all-aluminum, supercharged 5.4-liter V8 is 102 pounds lighter than the outgoing engine and delivers 10 more horses than its predecessor for a total output of 550 horsepower. Fuel economy is also improved, eliminating the gas-guzzler tax. Convertible versions of the Shelby benefit from additional body bracing, while both the ragtop and coupe get electric power steering and improved noise reduction. A new SVT Performance Package turns up the heat even more. Watch for the new Shelby this summer.

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2011 Ford Edge

The crossover Edge is rapidly replacing the Explorer as America's favorite family hauler from Ford. With the changes made for 2011, the Edge should become even more popular. Restyled inside and out, the Edge also expands its powertrain lineup from one choice to three. In addition to a 285-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine, the Edge adds a turbocharged 2.0-liter Ecotec 4-cylinder for base models and a 305-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 for the Edge Sport. Inside, it gets the new MyFord Touch control interface, as well as improved materials and craftsmanship. The company says the Edge is also quieter and smoother, while a retuned suspension makes for tighter handling. Look for it this summer.

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Honda Odyssey Concept

Minivans are boring, but you can't deny their utility. At Chicago, Honda introduced the 2011 Odyssey Concept, a minivan that aims to create a new, hipper image without sacrificing utility. For a sportier look, Honda designers tilted the windshield at a sharper angle and gave the van a wider stance with stronger shoulders. Details are sketchy at this point, but Honda says V6 power with Variable Cylinder Management will return, and fuel economy will improve to an estimated 19 city/ 28 highway. The company also says the interior will have more room, thanks to a wider cabin that will permit three child seats across. A production version of the new Odyssey is due this fall.

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Kia Ray Concept

The Kia Ray is a compact plug-in hybrid sedan designed and engineered for maximum efficiency. Made of lightweight and recycled materials, the body eliminates side mirrors and door handles to reduce drag and uses a glass roof with solar cells that help power the vehicles' climate-control system. The Ray's plug-in hybrid powertrain is composed of a small gasoline engine, an electric motor and a lithium-polymer battery pack. Kia says the Ray has a range of 50 miles on electricity and a total range of 746 miles. While we're unlikely to see a car as radical as the Ray rolling down Main Street U.S.A. any time soon, some of the design elements and the plug-in hybrid system will likely appear in future vehicles in Kia's new EcoDynamics sub-brand.

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2011 Nissan 370Z 40th Anniversary Edition

On Oct. 22, 1969, the original Z car arrived in America. The Japanese sports car brought with it lower cost and greater reliability than previous European sports car imports. At the Chicago Auto Show, Nissan celebrated the Z's birthday by unveiling the 2011 370Z 40th Anniversary Edition. Based on a 370Z coupe Touring model equipped with a manual transmission and the optional Sport Package, the anniversary model comes with premium 40th Graphite paint, red brake calipers and a satin car cover. Inside, it gets red leather upholstery, red accent stitching and 40th Anniversary logos. Production is limited to 1,000 cars, and pricing starts at $38,860.

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2011 Toyota Avalon

Toyota has recently taken a beating in the press lately, but that didn't stop the Japanese automaker from showing off its restyled - inside and out — 2011 Avalon here in Chi-Town. Toyota has widened the grille and fitted new headlights and taillights with integrated light pipes to create a unique nighttime appearance. Inside, the already spacious Avalon adds even more comfort with a class-exclusive reclining rear seat, plus plenty of new technology, including a touch-screen navigation system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an iPod interface and XM satellite radio. Power is still supplied by 3.5-liter V6 engine sending 268 horsepower through a 6-speed automatic transmission. The 2011 Toyota Avalon is due at dealerships this April.

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