LS STARTS AT $31,450
The Lincoln LS sports sedan equipped with automatic transmission and V-6 engine will have a base price of $31,450. The V-6 five-speed manual will start at $32,250. The V-8 version is $35,225. All prices include a $535 destination charge.
TOYOTA AIMS AT MIATA
The two-seat MR-Spyder con-cept previews the vehicle Toy-ota plans to launch in the United States next year. Its 1.8-liter, double-overhead-cam, mid-mounted, four-cylinder engine generates 140 hp and 127 pounds-feet of torque. It features the VVT-i variable valve timing system found in Lexus models. Toyota says Mazda Miata buyers are the main target and expects the steel-bodied MR's price to be comparable to the Miata, which carries a $20,220 base price, including a $450 destination charge.
M CLASS ADDS MUSCLE
Mercedes-Benz of North America Inc. said it will begin selling a high-performance version of the Alabama-built M-class sport-utility this year. The ML55 AMG will use a 340-hp, 5.5-liter engine, modified by Mercedes partner AMG. It will feature brake and suspension modifications, leather trim and sport seats. Mercedes said the vehicle will cost less than the E55 AMG's $69,100 sticker price. Mercedes will offer a sports package option on the ML320 and ML430 this year.
ECLIPSE DROPS 4WD
Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America Inc. will discontinue the four-wheel-drive version of its Eclipse coupe this year when the new generation is launched. The company said the option has declined as a percentage of sales.
SOLARA IN THE SUN
The Toyota Camry Solara convertible will reach showrooms next spring. About 6,000 hardtop Solaras per year will be converted by American Sunroof Corp. of Southgate, Mich., in a new 50,000-square-foot facility adjacent to the Solara's assembly plant in Cambridge, Ontario. Toyota will assemble the bodies-in-white, then ship them to American Sunroof Corp. to have their tops removed and structural bracing added. The cars return to Toyota for paint, trim and mechanicals, then go back to American Sunroof Corp. for the convertible tops.