New cars rolled out at Geneva Auto Show

Tara Baukus MelloWhile there may be an ocean between Switzerland and the U.S., there was plenty of news for car-shopping Americans coming out of Geneva last week. Here's a look at some of the new cars headed for U.S. soil from the Geneva Auto Show.

Though it was officially called a concept car, BMW will likely start producing the 5 Series ActiveHybrid within a year. Based on the new 5 Series sedan, the hybrid version showcases the next generation of BMW's ActiveHybrid technology. It's powered by a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder, turbocharged engine paired with an electric motor. It also features a system that can analyze the driving conditions combined with the route programmed into the navigation system to extend the electric-only driving range by up to 30 percent.

While Ford unveiled a wagon version of its new Focus for the European market only, it also said that it would produce a performance version of its redesigned Focus sedan. It is scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. in early 2011. It did not offer any details on market timing for the performance Focus, which would likely compete with the Subaru Impreza WRX and the Mazda MazdaSpeed3.

Lexus unveiled its compact hybrid CT 200h, confirming that it will be sold in the U.S. by early next year. It will be powered by the same 1.8-liter gasoline engine and electric motor that is in the Toyota Prius. The sporty, five-door hatchback will be aimed at younger buyers and will compete with the BMW 1 Series and the Volvo C30.

Mazda took the wraps off its redesigned Mazda5. The seven-passenger, compact minivan will get a more powerful engine than in the current model as well as sleeker styling. It will go on sale in the U.S. in early 2011.

During the Mercedes-Benz press conference, the company announced it will offer a compact car as well as a small SUV in the U.S. It said that while timing for the U.S. launch has not yet been determined, the two cars will be based on the redesigned B-Class car that will debut in Europe at the end of next year.

Trying to make its own mark, Volvo unveiled its redesigned S60, which it has dubbed "the sportiest Volvo ever." It will be powered by a more powerful version of the 3.0-liter, turbocharged, six-cylinder engine in the current model. With its reputation for safety, Volvo also used the new S60 to introduce its new Pedestrian Detection with full auto brake technology. The system detects pedestrians who walk in front of the car, audibly warns the driver and automatically applies fully braking power if the driver does not respond in time. It will go on sale in the U.S. late this year.

Read more Driving for Dollars columns and Bankrate auto stories. If you have a car question, e-mail it to us at Driving for Dollars.

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