2010 New York Auto Show: The Top 10 Debuts
The 2010 New York Auto Show has seen plenty of new vehicles make their public debuts, but which ones are worthy of more than just cursory glances? In the interest of saving you time, whether you happen to plan on attending the show (which runs through this Sunday) in person, or you just want to know what’s hot, here is Sub5Zero’s unordered list of the 10 hottest rides to premiere in the Big Apple. Check out the rundown after the jump.
2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon
With Bob Lutz retiring (presumably for real this time) from GM shortly, the CTS-V Sport Wagon will go down in history as one of the last products he’ll have shepherded into production. But damn if it isn’t one of the most outrageous: the same 556hp supercharged V8, Nürburgring-tuned chassis and choice of 6-speed manual or automatic trannies as the sedan and upcoming coupe versions, all wrapped up in a useful-yet-stylish station wagon shell. With Audi and BMW deeming North America unworthy of their extreme estate cars, and no guarantees that Mercedes-Benz will send the AMG variant of the newest E-Class longroof over here, the newcomer from Caddy may be the only way for American new car buyers to get their wild wagon fix. And to that we say, “Thanks for keeping the faith, Cadillac.”
2011 Hyundai Equus
As we’ve already seen, Hyundai’s new luxo-yacht is about as far removed from the flimsy first generation Excels of 20 years ago as one can get. Sure, it packs many of the same features as the usual suspects (rear-wheel drive, V8 power and a plush, palatial interior), but it also brings some new tricks to the parlor, like an electronic owner’s manual and a price that should undercut even the segment’s value leader, the Lexus LS. The only real question that remains is can Hyundai succeed where VW, um, didn’t?
2011 Nissan Juke
Despite having a face that’s more Pokemon than Pathfinder, Nissan’s peewee crossover seems like a winner: a direct-injected 1.6L turbo four belting out at least 180hp, front- or torque-vectoring-all-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission (a stick will be standard on front-drivers) crammed into a small, nimble runabout whose seats are actually above 18-wheeler’s hub covers. We’ll know just how many people’s needs it satisfies when it goes on sale this fall.
2011 Scion iQ
Despite Toyota’s current woes, it and sister brands Scion and Lexus are most definitely not slowing their new product offensives. Exhibit A is Scion’s new Fortwo fighter, the iQ. Unlike the Smart, the car known to the rest of the world as the Toyota iQ has its engine in front driving the front wheels, and it seats up to four people in an arrangement Scion calls 3+1 (the front passenger sits farther forward than the driver, giving more room to the right rear passenger). The Smart’s little one struggling to meet sales expectations, it will be interesting to see how the iQ fares.
2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon
Plenty of pistonheads (your humble servant included) are always ragging on manufacturers for not having the cajones to sell actual station wagons. Contrary to the current trend, which seems to be sending fewer and fewer wagons our way, Acura is offering its first wagon in the form of the TSX Sport Wagon, which is basically an Americanized version of the rest of the world’s Honda Accord Tourer. Kudos to Acura for listening to our pleas, though we could do without the brand’s signature parrotfish beak. And only one driveline configuration (2.4L four driving the front wheels through an automatic)? Really?
2011 BMW Alpina B7 xDrive
Despite Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Jaguar all having produced sporty versions of their flagship sedans at one time or another, BMW has never seen a need for an M7. Thankfully, Alpina – an independent but BMW-approved tuning outfit that has been in the Bimmer tweaking business since 1965 – has hopped up plenty of 7 Series over the years, and now they’ve unveiled the B7 xDrive, based on the all-wheel drive 750i xDrive. Exterior changes include a subtle body kit and 20-spoke alloy wheels, while the 4.4L twin-turbo V8 now makes 100hp and 66 lb.-ft more than stock, for totals of 500 and 516, respectively. Zero-to-sixty? 4.5 seconds. Wahnsinnig, baby.
2011 Lexus CT200h
Remember that Toyota product offensive? Lexus is providing another cavalry in the form of the Euro-inspired CT200h five-door hatchback hybrid. Pairing a 1.8L four with the corporate Hybrid Synergy Drive system, the CT200h will be the brand’s first true hatchback and will do battle here in the U.S. with the Audi A3 TDI for the title of fuel-sippingest(?) premium compact. Whether buyers will be willing to put it on their short lists is another matter altogether.
2011 Subaru Impreza WRX/WRX STI
Though the company no longer funds a World Rally Championship program, Subaru is still tinkering with its erstwhile homologation specials, the Impreza WRX and WRX STI. For 2011, the WRX gains 1.5 inches of track at both ends (necessitating flared fenders) with standard 17 inch wheels, plus revised front bumper. The 265hp 2.5L turbo flat-four remains untouched. The big news for the hotter WRX STI is the return of a notchback sedan version to supplement the incumbent 5-door hatch. The new 18 inch wheels reduce unsprung weight by a combined 17.6 lbs. over the 2010 model, and that basket handle wing on the decklid is, in fact, functional. STI output is also unchanged at 305 ponies.
2011 Infiniti QX56
As full-size luxury SUVs go, Infiniti’s original QX56 didn’t push very many of the right buttons with buyers. With that in mind, Nissan’s luxury arm opted for a clean-sheet redesign of the 2011 version, basing it on the not-for-U.S.-consumption Nissan Patrol. Under hood churns a 400hp 5.6L direct-injected V8, sending power through a 7-speed automatic; inside, occupants find such niceties as reclining seats for all three rows, a 13-speaker Bose sound system, and a 7-inch LCD monitor in each front seatback. While there are still a few people buying big SUVs, Infiniti has a tough road ahead, though it’s worth pointing out the QX56 will supposedly return 20 mpg on the highway.
2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Considering the rave reviews garnered by the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid, it was only a matter of time before a gas-electric version of their platform-mate, the Lincoln MKZ, arrived. Boasting the same 41/36 miles per gallon city/highway ratings as its lower-priced sisters, Lincoln’s first production hybrid handily usurps the title of thriftiest luxury hybrid in America from the Lexus HS250h. What’s more, the MKZ Hybrid includes most of the features of the gas-only versions, like leather and wood galore, heated and cooled front seats, Lincoln SYNC, and a capless fuel filler. Ford keeps finding ways to build momentum, and a super fuel-efficient Lincoln sedan should be no exception.
Those are the most notable debuts from the City That Never Sleeps. Honorable mentions? Fuhgedaboutit.