The Top 10 Debuts of the 2011 New York Auto Show
For a city where car ownership is pretty much pointless, never mind mandatory, New York sure puts on a darn good auto show. This year saw plenty of new models debut, but a lot of them were everyday subcompacts and family sedans. Zzzzzzzzz. We know you’re here for all the firebreathing super sedans and sports cars that showed up in the Big Apple, and you can find the 10 with which we were most smitten after the jump.
Chrysler 300 SRT8
The second generation Chrysler 300 is one sharp looking ride, but even the 5.7L Hemi-powered 300’s 370hp doesn’t quite stack up with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz E550 and BMW 550i. Thankfully, the 300 SRT8 is set to make its triumphant return for the 2012 model year, sporting the new 6.4L Hemi V8 producing 465hp and 465 lb.-ft of torque. The lone transmission is still a 5-speed automatic, but the fact that it now has paddle shifters (as well as a retuned suspension, bigger brakes and a retuned power steering system) means Chrysler is at least making some attempt at building a sport sedan.
Scion FR-S Concept
We really have every reason to be pissed at Toyota for drawing out the introduction of the small AE86-inspired rear-drive coupe it’s co-developing with Subaru for what seems like a lifetime (or at least longer than the record set by the previous queen of automotive cockteases, the new Camaro). But one look at the bold, muscular shape of the latest concept/preview car, the Scion FR-S, and we have a hard time staying mad. Expect a 2.0L (Subaru) flat-four paired with your choice of a 6-speed manual or automatic when it arrives next year. Scion PR lackeys declined comment on the rumor that the first 1,000 production models would include a free copy of Duke Nukem Forever.
Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe
We’re big fans of the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, but we’ve been baffled as to why it isn’t offered in coupe form. This bad boy – the C63 AMG Coupe – might have something to do with that. Based on the first production 2-door C-Class platform (A C-Class 3-door hatchback has been offered in the past.), this crazy coupe uses AMG’s battle-tested 6.2L V8 (here producing 451hp in standard form, 481hp with the optional AMG Development Package) and 7-speed automatic to crack off 0-60 mph times as brief as 4.3 seconds. That’s not just a shot across the BMW M3’s bow; it’s a shot through its bow.
Honda Civic Si
The New York Auto Show is a coming out party for all the 2012 Civics, but the model we’re most interested in is, of course, the Si. Like the previous generation, it will still be available as a coupe or a sedan, and people who want one but don’t know how to drive stick will still be S.O.L., but that high-strung K20 2.0L engine – which was pretty much the internal combustion engine equivalent of Animal from the Muppets hopped up on Four Loko – has been replaced.
Pop the hood on a ’12 Civic Si and you’ll find the comparatively mellow K24 2.4L four-banger borrowed from the Acura TSX. It makes 200hp and 170 lb.-ft of torque, the latter a 22% increase over the 2011 model. A hot Honda with something resembling low-end grunt? What’s next, Steve Jobs wanting to be our stalker?
Between the Shelby GT500, GT350, and their various permutations, there’s no shortage of Shelby Mustangs that you can buy new. But not everyone can pay Corvette money (or more) for a ‘Stang that’s been enhanced by Carroll’s crew. Fortunately for them, Shelby has created the Shelby GTS package for the new Mustang (V6) and Mustang GT (V8).
For $9,995 on top of the price of a new Mustang, you get a Borla exhaust system, Ford Racing handling package and Shelby/Baer brakes, as well as unique bumpers, grille, hood and striping. Superchargers for both engines, larger wheels and tires and more extreme suspension and brake upgrades are available if your budget is fatter. Personally, we’d try to save up the extra bucks for a GT500, but to each his own.
Lexus LF-Gh Concept
For much of its history, Lexus has been reluctant to make very big waves in the automotive design realm. That seems to be changing, thanks to cars like the LFA and the CT200h. But the car that will really galvanize the brand’s new styling language is the LF-Gh Concept.
Utilizing an undisclosed hybrid drivetrain, this continent-scarfing grand touring sedan features a gaping maw that Lexus calls an “aggressive and bold spindle shaped front grille.” Seriously, folks. There’s nothing original about hood-to-air-dam catfish grilles anymore. But a 3D analog clock? Consider our interest piqued…
Nissan Leaf NISMO RC Concept
Speaking of piquing our interest, uttering the phrase “sports car racing” is a surefire way to make us look in your direction. Super GT, FIA GT1, American Le Mans Series, World Challenge…shoot, even Grand-Am makes our ears perk up. So when Nissan and its racing department NISMO revealed a carbon-fiber-tubbed, widebody silhouette racer version of the all-electric Leaf, we were rather agog. Granted, it’s not really any faster than the street version (despite being about 40% lighter, which is suspicious to say the least), and it will only run at race pace for 20 minutes before running out of electrons, but just look at the darn thing! It pretty much shouts, “Stop laughing, or I will f*ck you up!” And that counts for something, right?
Porsche Panamera Turbo S
No matter what you think of the Porsche Panamera Turbo’s styling (or of its very existence, for that matter), the fact remains that it’s a damn fast car, and not just among other sedans. But Porsche, apparently not content to stand by and watch tuners like edo competition and Mansory make its four-door firecracker more potent without getting its own piece of the action.
Enter the Panamera Turbo S. Fortified with 550hp and 553 lb.-ft of twist (590 lb.-ft when you engage the overboost function), Porsche says the $173,000 monster will bolt to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and top out at 190 mph. Screw the Nissan Maxima and its “four-door sports car” pretensions; this is a legit four-door supercar.
Suzuki Kizashi Apex Concept
Although it’s not quite a supercar, the Suzuki Kizashi Apex Concept does have four-doors, and seems like it would be reasonably fast. Thanks to a turbocharger, intercooler and unique ECU, the 2.4L four is boosted to somewhere between 275hp and 300hp. It’s paired with a 6-speed manual transmission, and the exterior is covered in a livery based on that of Suzuki’s GSX-R AMA road racing motorcycles. No word on production plans, but given how many turbo Kizashi prototypes and concepts Suzuki has built, we’re inclined to believe they’re seriously considering it.
Mercedes-Benz Concept A-Class
The pairing of “Mercedes-Benz” and “small, front-drive hatchback” may serve up a big heaping spoonful of cognitive dissonance for most Americans, but the fact is the world’s oldest automaker has been selling economy cars since 1997, when the original A-Class premiered in Europe and most other parts of the world. Now there’s a concept car previewing the third generation A, and since we first saw it, we’ve learned that the production version will indeed be coming here.
And if the concept’s 210hp 2.0L turbo inline-four and dual clutch transmission wind up in showrooms (and we can’t imagine why they wouldn’t) at a reasonable price (high $20,000s to start), it would open up the Mercedes-Benz ownership experience to hordes of new people (i.e. people who aren’t loaded yet think early-‘80s W123 or W126 chassis diesels are for hippies, hipsters, and snarky automotive bloggers who are neither of those things and damn proud of it, thank you very much) and help the company meet its CAFE targets. That, children, is what you call a win-win.