New York marks the close of the U.S. auto show season, thereby allowing us a chance to reflect on what we’ve seen at Los Angeles, Detroit and Chicago. The Big Apple was relatively quiet this year; there were a lot of introductions but very few extraordinary reveals. Here’s what really mattered at the 2016 New York Auto Show.
Acura NSX GT3
We’ve known about Acura’s hybrid NSX supercar for some time, and while we appreciate all that electricity can do, we’ve been intrigued by rumors of a non-hybrid version. Acura gave us a glimpse in the form of the NSX GT3 racecar, which ditches the electrics (and the all-wheel drive) and lets the 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 drive the rear wheels all by its lonesome. A hint of things to come? Knowing how conservative Acura’s parent company Honda can be, we think so.
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
We knew it was coming. We could have guessed what was under the hood based on the new Corvette Z06. But that didn’t spoil our joy at seeing the new uber-Camaro, the ZL1. Power comes from a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 producing about 640 horsepower. Chevy hasn’t announced a final number, and packaging differences could indeed yield a different output than the Corvette Z06. The ZL1 will be offered with a six-speed manual or an automatic with ten—count ’em, ten—forward speeds. We got a brief pre-show preview, riding shotgun around a track in a ten-speed ZL1 fast enough to make the brake rotors glow red — and take our word for it: This new ZL1 is much more than a mere muscle car.
We’ve known that Hyundai‘s hybrid Ioniq has been coming for some time, but we were pleasantly surprised by this 1-2-3 punch: a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, and a pure electric version. The EV version’s 110-mile range just slightly exceeds that of the Nissan Leaf, and it has the capability for Level 3 fast charging (0-80 percent in 20 minutes). It will debut at the same time as the regular hybrid, while the plug-in version, which Hyundai says will offer 25 miles of electric-only driving, will follow later.
Jaguar F-Type SVR
Last year, Jaguar build a limited-run version of the F-Type called the Project 7. A lot of the seven’s good stuff has wound up under the hood of the F-Type SVR, including the 575-horsepower supercharged V8 (up 25 horsesfrom the standard F-Type) that launches the car to 60 in 3.5 seconds and tops out at 200 mph. That’s a big number for Jag, because it makes the F-Type SVR the fastest street-legal Jag ever built. And compared to the $165k price tag of the Project 7, the F-Type SVR is a bargain at $125,950 for the coupe and just under $129,000 for the convertible.
Lincoln Navigator Concept
This was one of the stand-out vehicles of the show, but perhaps not for the reason Lincoln intended: Everyone wanted to talk about that big gull-wing door, which, as it turns out, exists merely to show off the interior…and perhaps to hide the fact that, with the doors closed, the Navigator Concept looks a lot like an oversized Range Rover. The doors won’t make it to production, but the rest of this king-sized concept car gives us some idea of what the next-generation Navigator will look like. Cadillac is selling Escalades as fast as they can build them, so there’s no question Lincoln is eager to get back into the game with an updated full-size SUV of its own.
Mazda MX-5 Miata RF
Here’s one of the highlights of the New York show: the new hardtop convertible version of the MX-5, which Mazda calls RF for Retractable Hardtop. Instead of a full retractable metal roof like the old Miata PRHT, the new MX-5 RF stows its metal roof panels and back windows, leaving the flying buttress C-pillars in place for a Targa-top look. With the roof on, it’s a slick-looking fastback coupe.
Maserati has been talking about bringing an SUV to market for well over a decade, and thanks to the funding provided by parent company Fiat’s ownership of Chrysler, the dream has finally become a reality. Like the smaller Ghibli, the Levante will be powered by a Ferrari-sourced twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 producing either 345 or 424 horsepower, depending on which version of the Levante you buy. Open the doors and you’ll find an interior swathed in Italian leather and silk. Maserati didn’t fire up the engine on stage, and that’s too bad—from our experience with its other cars, we bet the Levante will be an aural delight.
Mercedes-Benz AMG E43
This is the first AMG version of the new E-Class, the AMG E43, powered by 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 rated at 396 hp. Sharp eyes will notice that this is far short of the 577 horsepower produced by the outgoing E63 AMG, and we know a more powerful E63 is coming. This is something relatively new — two tiers of the AMG sub-brand — and it’s an interesting approach. The E43 looks good, but if you’re going to go AMG, why not go whole hog? We’ll wait for the E63.
Toyota Prius Prime
This is the plug-in version of the new Prius, which offers 22 miles of electric-only range. Notice anything different? Compare the front and back ends of the Prius Prime with the regular Prius, and you’ll see a lot of changes: The front end has been softened up, while the back end is highlighted by a double-bubble rear windshield and horizontally oriented taillights that are nowhere near as wild as the Mirai-inspired lighting on the regular Prius. There hasn’t been time to restyle the car since the original Prius hit the streets, so does this represent a simple urge to make the Prius Prime stand out by blending in, or was there genuine dissent in the ranks over regular Prius styling? Maybe some day we’ll find out.
Photo Credit ©Various Automakers