Variety Is The Spice Of The New York Auto Show
116 years ago, North America was graced with its first automotive showcase, the New York International Auto Show. In the century-plus since, similar events have popped up in every major American city, but the astounding mixture of consumers present in New York assists the original show in retaining its prominence as the most important in all the land.
It’s common knowledge that New York City is one of the most densely populated cities in the United States, and is home to people from vastly different countries who have widely varied living circumstances and experiences. The metropolitan melting pot, which mixes descendants of nearly every culture on the planet, creates the target markets for an automobile company: different people from different backgrounds, each of whom has different wants and needs when it comes to automobile styling, included amenities, and vehicle performance.
Nissan garnered the initial attention of the show’s attendees, as entrants were greeted by six variants of their famed sportscar contender, the GT-R. Now technically separate from the Skyline GT-R lineage displayed, the 2017 Nissan GT-R rotated atop their space in a new color named Blaze Metallic.
The orange shade brought notice to the GT-R’s new nose for 2017, which includes Nissan’s new V-Motion styling exercise displayed in the grille space. The GT-R now boasts a healthy 565 horsepower; the new bulging hood design reflects the 20 horsepower boost the final R35 model received in this mid-life revamp. Hopefully these changes are enough to hold GT-R fans over until the next model appears in 2020.
Along with the historic motif surrounding the production models, Nissan also showed off the process of constructing the GT-R’s VQ38DETT engine in real-time using their own master craftsmen engine builders, called takumi.
Ford impressed showgoers with their spotless display of the 2017 Ford GT model, shown in a flashy yellow hue split by two sleek black racing stripes. Tentatively priced around $400,000, it’s possible the GT could be the American automaker’s most expensive car yet; with years of research and development behind its performance potential and the symbol of motorsport heritage it stands for, die-hard Ford fans won’t mind shelling out their dollars for this premium supercar.
The GT350 and Focus RS took a backseat to the supercar’s prominent display, but represent the Blue Oval’s support for the performance vehicle. These vehicles offer the enthusiast consumer a variety of performance choices at varying price points.
Rival brand Chevrolet brought out its big guns for the NYIAS, with their new ZL1 Camaro front and center in the display. Its supercharged 6.2L LT4 engine unleashes 640 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque, offering buyers a Mustang-killer from the fabled performance car maker. But it was their lack of Corvette attendance that grabbed the most attention, with only one base-model convertible version of the flagship sportscar on the floor.
Think New, portrayed in large neon lettering above the Volkswagen booth, is either a hint about a new direction, or a message that they’re attempting to reset the public’s view of their company. After they falsified the emissions statistics of their diesel vehicles in the ‘Dieselgate’ debacle – which is still hindering the popularity of the German automaker – VW has been struggling to regain its community’s trust.
With vehicles like this Golf Alltrack on display, the company is expressing a desire to move in the direction of a more versatile future for their customers. Equipped with VW’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system and a raised ride height over their other current production versions of the Golf, this semi-traditional wagon has the potential to steal customers from the crossover market.
The Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept pairs a 148 horsepower gasoline engine with a 12.4 kWh battery pack and two electric motors to create a hybrid drivetrain that works so well in this application that electric propulsion is the vehicle’s default setting. The company’s trajectory away from diesel fuel hints at their future plans as they release new models.
New models in the sport compact market have a way of impacting the strength of the aftermarket tuning industry that utilizes their examples for their blank canvas. Mazda’s new ND5RC MX-5 Miata chassis has a sleek silhouette with sharp design cues starting at the futuristic headlights and continuing through the rest of the body. The aggressive styling could work wonders for the success of this car in the aftermarket; it’s the capable yet weak 155 horsepower engine that will benefit most from the power additions the aftermarket provides for underpowered cars.
Adding to the allure of the new chassis, Mazda released the Miata RF model, which stands for Retractable Fastback. The vehicle’s power folding targa-top tucks the center roof panel under the sloping rear panel, to unleash the exterior atmosphere onto the occupants inside without sacrificing the smooth lines of the sporty coupe.
There was a large crowd of people gawking at the hypercars Koenigsegg and Rolls Royce brought to the show, but more appealing were the pristine condition vintage P1800 cars that Volvo proudly displayed above their booth of modern production counterparts. The white P1800 with the ‘ST 1’ number plate is actually Roger Moore’s Volvo from the hit 60’s television series The Saint.
This 3,021-pound limited-production car features rear-wheel-drive, a 500-horsepower 4.0-liter flat-six engine that’s backed by a six-speed manual transmission; this configuration is not normally available in a 991 Porsche chassis. Unfortunately, you can’t have one, because all 500 of Porsche’s new 911 R examples are already spoken for. Featuring nostalgia-driven racing stripes on the roof and doors, the new model traces its roots back to the original 911 R from 1967. Porsche’s first attempt at homologation with that lightweight race chassis was produced in a small batch, however the FIA banned the model from competition, which ended the production run at 20 vehicles. Their desirability has grown exponentially over the years, and is now reincarnated in the new 911 R.
Concept cars are usually good at illustrating an automaker’s future design cues. In the case of the Hyundai Genesis New York Concept – that’s right, this is a Hyundai – the futuristic design becomes part of their repertoire. Including a sweeping roofline, gill-like fender ventilation, and slim door handles and mirrors, this car already looks prepared to carve through the city streets in style.
In the 90s, Japanese automakers were at war with each other creating their own compact powerhouses for the road. These included the Nissan Skyline GT-R, Mazda RX-7, Acura NSX, and the Toyota Supra. After taking a brief hiatus in the early 00s, this fierce rivalry has recently appeared again, albeit with a much higher price tag this time around. In order to compete with the new NSX and GT-R, Toyota used their Lexus nameplate to introduce the LC 500. The new 467-horsepower Toyota sportscar matches the mid-$100k price point of the others and – in true competitive fashion – offers a front-engine rear-wheel-drive orientation differing from its rivals.
Which brings us to the new Acura NSX – this 573-horsepower model draws design inspiration from previous iterations of Acura’s sportscar, yet utilizes modern hybrid drivetrain technology in a nod to the future and its capabilities. The traditional naturally-aspirated mid-engine layout was scrapped in favor of a new SH-AWD hybrid powertrain involving twin electric motors mounted on the front wheels, and a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter six-cylinder just in front of the rear wheels. As a long-time Honda owner, I’ll take one in the new 130R White with black Alcantara interior and red stitching. Thanks!
Acura’s parent company Honda has been relatively vacant from professional motorsports for some time, other than providing an optional power unit for the Indy series and creating the race-only HSV chassis for the SuperGT racing series in Japan. The Acura NSX GT3 is set to undergo testing and homologation this fall as an FIA GT3 class racecar for 2017 North American competition. Internally made from the same aluminum-intensive frame as the road version, the widened NSX GT3 is covered in dry carbon fiber paneling to create the perfect lightweight-yet-rigid racing chassis.
BMW’s slogan “The Ultimate Driving Machine” has come to life with their recent introduction of the M2. This 365-horsepower sports coupe can lap the Nürburgring racetrack in a mere seven minutes and 58 seconds, accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds, yet surround its occupants in luxury amenities and style. The aggressive M2 body appears to bulge at the seams compared to its narrow 2-series cousin. This new model may never be as successful as the historic M3 chassis, but it is making a statement on arrival.
Prevalent Japanese forged wheel manufacturer RAYS Wheels even set up a booth showcasing some of their latest wheel models, complete with RAYS equipped popular cars.
Their wall of wheels is sure to attract a ton of attention, but taking center stage was the famous ‘FuguZ’ Datsun 240Z owned by Fast and the Furious star Sung Kang. This car has made its rounds to numerous automotive events after its debut at the 2015 SEMA show, where it won the Gran Turismo ‘Best in Show’ award. This award, personally judged by the automotive simulator’s creator Kazunori Yamauchi, chooses which car from the SEMA show will become immortalized into the virtual universe of Gran Turismo.
Combining an unbeatable variety in attending manufacturers, a perfect mixture of critics and general public, and the undeniably famous atmosphere of a city that never sleeps, the New York International Auto Show has become a 116-year staple in North American automotive exhibition and will undoubtedly continue for years to come. We hope you’ve enjoyed a look at the show through our camera lens!