Standard one-antenna Wi-Fi routers are slow because they send out only one
signal that radiates in all directions, bouncing around the room before it reaches your computer. MIMO-short for "multiple input, multiple output"-uses several antennas to simultaneously shoot out numerous data streams at once, doubling or tripling a router's range and offering speeds of up to 600 megabits per second (today's Wi-Fi tops out at 54).
The four-wheel-drive, 247hp, V6-powered Ridgeline pushes the pickup truck to a new level of user-friendly, with why-didn't-they-think-of-that-before features such as a lockable under-bed trunk and a tailgate that swings down or to the left. Its fully independent suspension-the first in a half-ton pickup-offers very un-pickuplike handling. It features a stiff, unitized body structure and five-foot bed made of a steel-reinforced composite. $27,700$31,490
With the latest version of parent Toyota's gasoline-electric Hybrid Synergy Drive system under the hood, the posh RX 400h is the first SUV hybrid that actually outperforms its gasoline counterpart. A 3.3-liter gasoline V6 teams up with powerful front and rear electric motors to create a four-wheel-drive RX that is not only quicker (7.3 seconds to 60 mph, against 7.8) but also vastly more fuel-efficient (31 mpg city/27 mpg highway, versus 18/24 mpg). $49,060
The 300hp Sport is the first Land Rover that takes the pavement as seriously as it does the dirt. Smaller than its flagship namesake, the Sport's on-road aptitude comes from the new Dynamic Response suspension system, which monitors cornering loads and employs hydraulic motors that stiffen or relax the anti-roll bars to enhance stability and mitigate body roll. The result: a 5,700-pound, 130mph SUV that handles Highway 1 as well as it does the Rubicon Trail. $56,750-$69,750
Pontiac's two-seat Solstice is proof that American manufacturers really can produce fun, affordable sports cars. It owes its smooth curves and robust steel-tube chassis to hydroforming, an innovative process that uses water pressure to inexpensively and precisely fabricate structural components and complex body panels with exceptional strength. Its spry 177hp engine pushes the Solstice to a top speed of 123 mph and a 0-60 time of 7.2 seconds, while its near-50/50 weight distribution and four-wheel control-arm independent suspension provide excellent road handling. $20,000
Converting an engine to burn ethanol is a relatively simple matter of replacing some hoses and seals at the factory, but the Saab BioPower engine is the first to use the corn-based gas to actually enhance performance. Available in Sweden in the 9-5 sedan and wagonand possibly later in 9-3 modelsit generates 148 horsepower on pure gasoline, but when it sniffs ethanol, it cranks up the turbocharger's boost pressure (ethanol can handle higher pressure better than gas) to lift output to 184 horsepower. How's that for an eco-friendly incentive?
It sees at night, prevents accidents, and leaves most sports cars in the dust: The ninth-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class is more than a simple luxury upgrade. Its Brake Assist Plus system uses long- and short-range radar to anticipate and avoid collisionsor, at the very least, lessen the severity of a crashby automatically braking with full force if you don't stomp on the brake hard enough to stop in time. More impressive is the Night View Assist, which shines infrared beams down the road to illuminate hazards that are beyond the reach of the headlights.
Unlike its predecessors, the new Z06-the factory-tuned Corvette-isn't just an upgrade of the base model. It's a completely new car. Nearly everything steel on the conventional 'Vette becomes aluminum or magnesium on the Z06, including the frame, cab structure and suspension. Superlight carbon fiber replaces fiberglass front fenders. The monstrous 7.0-liter smallblock pulls all the way to 7,000 rpm, the highest redline ever in a Chevy V8. Lightweight parts (like titanium connecting rods) and precision manufacturing allow the engine to spin faster.
The 4.3-liter V8 engine packs in a 112 horsepower per liter-that's 483 total. It's just one of the Formula One-derived innovations in the beautiful Ferrari F430 and its convertible sister, the F430 Spider [shown]. There's also the sequential manual gearbox that shifts in only 150 milliseconds, providing practically uninterrupted acceleration, and a steering-wheel-mounted rotary switch that instantly adjusts driving dynamics to match the desired performance. The industry-first electronic differential manages huge torque loads under high-G cornering to eliminate wheel spin in the turns.
Transformational Space's versatile manned rocket system features a cleverly designed capsule, a dramatic airborne launch, and Apollo-style reentry and splashdown. The young company has quickly become a leader in the commercial space race, and its craft is a potentially key backup during NASA's efforts to replace the space shuttle. T/Space's approachgetting incremental funding from NASA only after it demonstrates working hardwarehas earned it rock-solid credibility in a world populated by vaporware.