Best of the New York Auto Show 2014

By Michael Lockhart

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Best of the New York Auto Show 2014:

Last week marked the end of the three major North American auto shows, with the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) closing out what has been a whirlwind six months of performance, design and innovation.

Where Detroit, L.A., Paris and Geneva unveiled some of the sexiest vehicles we've seen in years, New‎ York seemed to falter in terms of overall global launches and exciting new models. We had plenty of other showstoppers to gawk at, but we're disappointed at how many manufacturers chose to make minute updates and pass them off as full refreshes.

The new 2015 S63 returns the stunning Benz S-Class flagship to its sporty two-door performance form (both in Coupe and tuned-AMG models—opt for the latter). Since driving its predecessor at Pebble Beach in 2012 (and its appearance as one of the Playboy Cars of the Year for 2013), we've been excited to see when Benz would revisit the line after the S-Class base relaunch we fell for last summer. Now we know it's back with a vengeance and we couldn't be happier. For its crazy factor, the launch Edition 1 will come in an exclusive Magno Alanite Gray matte paint and have Swarovski crystals in the LED headlights. Combined with a powerful 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 that generates 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?

The new 'Stang celebrated its 50th birthday by stealing some thunder at the top of the Empire State Building. But how does one get a full-sized vehicle to the 86th-floor observation platform? There are no cranes of that size, and the tower’s spire makes it impossible to drop an auto off by chopper, so cars with King Kong inclinations must take the elevator. Mimicking a stunt pulled by Ford at the 1964 World's Fair, engineers sliced a next-gen convertible into three pieces so that it could be loaded in the building's historic art deco elevators and reassembled at the top. Not a flying car, but damn close to it.

It's back-to-back best supercar show wins for the track-ready upgrade of the new seventh-gen Corvette Stingray. As one of the only convertibles in the world at this performance level, the Z06, with its 625 horses of power and 635 pound-feet of torque, offers an even greater adrenaline rush with the wind in your face. Until now, only the inaugural 1963 Z06 model offered a convertible option, of which only one was ordered. While we doubt Chevy will have any issues getting orders for this 2015 model, any delay in deliveries will be due to the long list of Playmates who have already put their name down. Sorry, fellas.

No, it doesn’t fly, but there’s something appropriate about Land Rover unveiling its newest concept—and its new expanded line—at the USS Intrepid Aircraft Carrier–turned–museum on the Hudson River. The Discovery Vision Concept is joined on the flight deck by the NASA Space Orbiter Enterprise as well as a mockup of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo, which is slated to begin sub-orbital flights from the spaceport in New Mexico later this year. With its sleek new body, the Discovery Vision is easily at home between these spaceships. The concept also boasts some space tech of its own in the form of a wickedly cool transparent hood feature: cameras in the grille broadcast the terrain ahead of the vehicle onto the windshield, making the hood seem to disappear. So, Land Rover, how about that beam-me-up feature?

If elevator-climbing Mustangs, see-through Land Rovers and bejeweled Benzes aren’t your thing, then perhaps the convertible Mazda Miata that took over the show might be of interest. Also celebrating a birthday—25 years of going topless—the Miata still reigns supreme as the world’s best-selling sports car. In fact, the model has changed so little since its reveal at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show that one might guess it has been cloning itself since then. We know better after taking one for a winter spin on ice and can personally attest to its modern features like XM Radio. Most other things haven’t changed, though; this spunky rear-wheel drive staple is still a blast to drive and the 25th anniversary model (pictured) will keep that nostalgia going.


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