New Yorkers love going to the New York International Auto Show because it is more than just a reminder of what cars look like when they aren’t covered in pigeon shit and parking tickets, it’s also an opportunity to see and actually get inside some of the latest rides. Also, for some, it’s the perfect place to steal random dashboard buttons and shift knobs. Dude, what are you going to do with that hazard button? I mean, what can’t I do with it!
I love the New York Auto Show because it’s a no-holds-barred battle for attention between the world’s biggest automakers on the world’s brightest stage. It’s the best of the best in the Big Apple. While NYIAS 2014 isn’t as full of world debuts as past years, there were plenty of new cars to be impressed by, and plenty of others to make fun of. Ready? Let’s go!
Best of show: Let’s just get this out of the way. The Cadillac Elmiraj (above, and below) is the best looking and most interesting concept car at the show. No other car maker came close to making such a perfect brand statement. It’s a reboot of the classic grand tourer, heavily influenced by the 1967 Eldorado, and it’s jaw droppingly gorgeous.
The interior of the Elmiraj is elegant, and combines luxury materials and modern shapes into a really compelling environment. I love the long console. Also, it’s kind of stupid, but I also love the digital dash board alongside the analog clock.
The proportions are somehow weighty, muscular, and sleek at the same time. This car makes the Bentley Continental GT look like a Canal street luxury car knockoff. Please direct your attention to the exhaust that is integrated into the vertical statement of the taillights. Be still, my beating pants. Oh what’s that Lincoln, you make cars too? That’s cute. We’ll get to you in a minute.
While we are on the subject of concept cars, here’s one. Any guesses? Did you guess it’s a Kia? Stop lying. This is the GT4 Stinger Concept, and like the Elmraj, it’s a concept that is begging to be built. In person it’s small and looks like a barrel of fun. That guy who said “if them Kia boys build a 2,800 pound, 315 horsepower coopay with a stick I’ll eat my durn hat” will hopefully have a mouthful of hat soon; rumors suggest Kia is serious about building it.
Ford just has it dialed in these days. From the Focus to the Fiesta, the lineup is killer and is about to get even more deadly with the new global Mustang. I’m a Mustang fan since I was a kid (and a current owner), so I was a wee bit excited to see it in person. Thank you styling gods for perfectly merging the Evos concept language with the heritage styling. And thank you for retaining the Coyote 5.0 and 6-speed. (Oh, and thanks for losing the standard GT lip spoiler. Much better.) But we’re still dying to know: how much does it weigh??
The Mustang debuted in 1964 in New York City at the World’s Fair, so it felt right to see this important new global Mustang on display here. Only 1964 of these 50th Anniversary GTs will be built in either Wimbledon White or Kona Blue. Lots of ink has been spilled on the internet about the 2015 Mustang, so I’ll just say that it really does look even better in person. Wait, damn it, everyone has already said that too.
“Oh say can you seeeee, the Dodge Charger’s new lights, were so proudly displayed, underneath a stupid lip spoiler.” Overall everybody seems to love the refreshed Charger for 2015, even though it came out looking like a Big Dart.
The new Charger’s rear end is curvier, but still maintains the full width LED vibe.
The real design feature on the 2015 Charger you’ll need to know is right here. Most police in America use the Charger so get used to uncontrollably clenching your b-hole when you see this LED outline in your rear view mirror. Also, note the Dodge logo in the headlight housing. Maybe I’m late to the party on this styling cue, but this is the trendiest trend I noticed at the show this year. Everybody is jumping on the branded headlight bandwagon:
Branded Headlight Bandwagon: MINI Cooper S
Branded Headlight Bandwagon: Fiat 500
Branded Headlight Bandwagon: Alfa Romeo 4C. Sort of cheesy, right?
Weirdest Headlight Cluster Award: Any guesses? Did you guess Kia? I told you to stop lyin’. Kia’s taking chances with their styling in a way that only a car company who wants everyone to forget about their old cars can. I like that.
Mercedes debuted the new AMG S63 Coupe in New York. A true bruiser. 577 horsepower, yes, but nearly 650 lb/ft of torque. That’s ridonkulous. It’s a 7-speed automatic feeding all that torque through all four wheels so even John Hamm (who debuted the car at the show) could maybe drive it without killing himself.
Another day, another too-big new MINI model. Wait, this is the standard Cooper S? You mean that big lump is the smallest MINI you can buy now? Sadly, this isn’t news. The 3rd generation Cooper has been on a new shared BMW front wheel drive platform since last year, this is just the first time I’ve noticed it. I used to own a 2005 Cooper S – which I loved, a truly epic NYC car – and at the time it was made it was the smallest car you could buy in the States. This 3rd gen MINI dwarfs it. It looks good otherwise, but I’m sad they can’t keep it small.
But I am happy it still has dual center exhaust tips. With more and more cars just announcing the performance variant with a badge, I like this tradition.
At least the MINI Cooper S is still small compared to its beastly brother, the Countryman, which as you can see is so big that full grown adults can’t even see over the steering wheel.
Best Racing Simulator Cockpit Award: the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT8 Super Bee. A lot of manufacturers had sim racing setups this year. Dodge wins. I’d also like to award the Challenger Longest Running Virtually Unchanged And Still Beloved Body Style. Don’t forget that this car came out in 2008, y’all. That’s back when the original retro S197 Mustangs were roaming the streets, and before there even was such a thing as a 5th generation Camaro. Dodge has wisely chosen to not mess with a good thing, and has continued into 2015 with some subtle refreshes. The new taillights are no longer the full width LED unit, but instead echo the 1971 car. Actually, the way they each side is bisected I can even see a bit of the ’72-’74 quad lamps back there too. Nice.
Up front the 2015 Challenger gets the royal 1971 treatment with a note-for-note retro split grill. Quad headlights are a Challenger hallmark, and the new LED halos look totally bad ass. Would I proudly own one of these? Hell yes. Would I actually buy it though? Hell no, not when you can get a mid 12 second Mustang GT for about $15K less.
Here’s an excellent reason to come to the New York Auto Show: your one chance in life to see a Porsche 918 Spyder in person. This mid-engined plug-in hybrid will someday be obsolete, but for now it’s more or less at the pinnacle of production automotive achievement. It makes nearly 900 combined horsepower and will go around the entire Nurburgring in less time than it will take you to text a picture of it to your friends.
The Porsche Panamera on the other hand, well, you’ll see a parking lot of those ugly farm animals next time you go to the mall. I shant show you another one here. Unfortunately one thing the hybrid Panamera shares with the 918 Spyder is this pandering lime green tinged badge. WE GET IT. It’s a hybrid, which is implied by the word “hybrid”.
Run out of ways to demonstrate your utter lack of A. taste and B. poverty? How about the new Bentley Continental GT Speed droptop in Rusty Turd? Yes, the GT Speed is the fastest Bentley ever made, but who the hell needs a 203 mph convertible? Also I think I saw that color on a Nissan Murano about five years ago.
Given the choice (and someone would certainly have to give me the choice) I’d much rather rock a Bentley Mulsanne.
Best Brand Display Area At The New York Auto Show: Lincoln. I loved the clean, retro-modern booth that Lincoln built at the NYIAS. It promised the refined glory of American luxury, reinterpreted for the future.
Shittiest Line Up Of Cars In The Best Brand Display Area At The New York Auto Show: Lincoln. Sadly, there are no chisel-jawed, confident, upscale American cars in here. You will find Ford Fusions, Tauruses (Taurii?), and other D3 platform cars wearing awkward sheetmetal and ugly paint. I opened the door to an MKZ, it felt light and plastic in my hand. I sat in the thinly upholstered seat and gazed upon a parts-bin Ford interior. Fine for an econo-box, which Ford is very good at these days, but this is a Lincoln damn it. My grandmother’s 1998 Avalon is probably still a nicer place to be than one of these new Lincolns. Who in their right mind would buy one of these instead of the Ford version? See all those people crowding around the Charger? Rear wheel drive, swaggering AMERICA machine. That should be YOUR SHIT, Lincoln. Also lose the letter names. You have real heritage. Use it.
This Lincoln is wearing a ridiculous color called Dark Side Metallic. Trust me, it looks worse in person. Those giant metal flakes look more like they belong on a customized El Camino.
Not everybody loves the fastback sedan styling on the Audi RS7, but I do. This is a sexy and extremely quick car.
Those aren’t the optional carbon ceramic brakes in there, but they are still damn impressive. Equally impressive will be the bill you’ll get replacing those 21 inch Pirelli 275/30 ZR summer tires. $500 apiece!
Fun fact: the Koenigsegg Agera R is made of mostly 100% pure unicorn and some carbon fiber. The Lamborghini Aventador next to it was basically just in everyone’s way who were scrambling to enjoy their only chance in life to see this $1.5M tour de force of engineering. The Agera R is stunning to look at, but seeing it here was a little bit like seeing a majestic bald eagle in a zoo. It’s just not meant to be there. It’s too good.
Aston Martin’s favorite new thing is putting clown lipstick on their otherwise lovely Vantage N430. OK, so it’s reminiscent of the Lemans-winning DBR1 livery, but it still looks very suspect.
Also suspect is this Aston Martin’s quilted blue silk and tan leather interior. Yikes.
Coolest Hidden Plug In Hybrid Port: Audi A3 e-tron. Reminds me of the hidden gas fillers on older cars, like behind the taillight on a ’50s Chevy.
This is not a concept car. This is really coming to a parking lot near you. The BMW i8 is a plug-in hybrid that is wisely going down the road Tesla is paving: luxurious, upscale cars of the future. Looks insane.
One of my favorite sleeper hits of the show. Longtime BMW tuning partner Alpina worked their magic to create the 540-horsepower super touring B6.
Love these unique 20″ Alpina wheels.
“Now that you mention it, it does look like chain-mail underpants draped onto a squinty smush face.”
If you’re a Formula One driver in the last 4 years, this is a familiar view for you: the back of world champion Sebastian Vettel’s Infiniti Red Bull race car. The F1 car in the Infiniti display is funny. Sebastian Vettel as “director of performance” at Infiniti has always felt like hollow marketing hype; no one outside of real F1 fans in America would know who Vettel is in the first place, and those fans can’t be fooled into thinking that Infiniti has any sports cars in their line up. That commercial in which a helmeted Vettel is hustling a chubby G Sedan is just weird. Why not just call it Nissan, guys?
What wouldn’t be sad is any race driver, anywhere, hustling around in this Corvette Z06. Last year’s NYIAS brought us the killer new Corvette C7 Stingray, and now here’s the new heavyweight, track oriented, newly supercharged Z06 packing well north of 600 horsepower and torques. It’s kind of weird that Chevy hides away in the North Hall of Javits Center, but this year they made the most of the walk by lining it with significant race cars from Chevy’s history, including the current C7.R and Jimmie Johnson’s NASCAR #48. Unlike Infiniti, Chevrolet is one manufacturer you can’t accuse of just glossing on their performance intentions. The new Stingray is the bar raised for American performance cars.
Sometimes sitting in a luxury SUV is a nice way to rest your legs. I was really mesmerized by this glowing, illuminated accent that wrapped around the interior of this BMW x5.
This sad, grotesque rolling metallic vagina used to be a 1971 Ford Torino. I guess this was displaying some kind of new 3D printing technique, but damn, I wish they hadn’t invented it.
Finally, we (me, and my lovely and patient girlfriend), took a ride in a new BMW i3 electric car.
Someday, it will probably seem cute to the next generation that it was a “thing” at car shows to give people rides in an all electric car like this i3, but with more electric and plug-in hybrid cars than ever here this year, as well as some truly astonishing fossil-fuel munching performance cars, it’s a good time to be a car lover. These little i3s have plenty of kick even with three people inside; our driver was not shy about squealing the (extremely narrow) tires around the corners and scooting down the straights. We weren’t as quick though getting our seat belts on though, which earned us some horn honking from the Nissan Leaf behind us. Hey, fuck you buddy! It’s New York!