The Best of the New York Auto Show 2013

By Michael Lockhart

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The Best of the New York Auto Show 2013:

With the New York International Auto Show opening its doors earlier this week, the global motor show circuit takes a breather after a wild season of world premieres, exotic concepts and some pretty hefty measuring competitions—we’re looking at you, Ferrari and McLaren. NYIAS never fails to go out with a bang, offering up some of the most mouthwatering vehicles making their global and stateside debuts. We picked through the masses, including the convertible version of the new Corvette C7 and an embarrassing return of the Jeep Cherokee, to bring you what you should be aiming to get behind the wheel of through any (legal) means possible.

We’ll go into greater depth about these gorgeous creatures in the coming weeks, but for the moment, enjoy our show-and-tell.

{“pbembedwidget”:“gallery”,“id”:“13742”,“size”:“large”,“alignment”:“left”}The legend is back. Chevrolet has done right by its hardcore following and reintroduced the namesake Z/28 into its fifth-generation Camaro. To put it simply, the Z/28 is a naturally aspirated seven-liter V8, stealing the outgoing Corvette C6 Z06’s 427 engine that produces 500 horses of pure adrenaline power and 470 pound-feet of torque. To accomplish this, the Camaro has gone on a diet; it dropped 300 pounds over the ZL1. Out go the standard AC, stereo and trunk carpet, replaced with additional brake cooling throughout. While it may have less horsepower than the top-of-the-line ZL1, the Z/28 is the car to really let loose on the track, taking down the ZL1 by three seconds. The revised front fascia is tightened up, giving the Z/28 a steely gaze; the total package is powerful, dominating and sure to please even the toughest of fans.

We’ve taken a few glances at the hot new baby Mercedes-Benz, the CLA Class, over the past year. We were hoping to break out of the 200-hp category with such a good-looking car, and it seems our prayers have been answered in the form of the just-unveiled CLA 45 from performance division AMG. The new 45 contains the same DNA as the successful CLS 63 AMG coupe, boosting its output to a whopping 360 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. With zero to 60 in just 4.6 seconds, this tiny powerhouse is set to redefine how sports is treated in the smaller class segments and has us ready to get behind the wheel.

Jaguar has introduced yet another gorgeous cat, the XKR-S GT. After stealing the show with the original XKR-S as our Car of the Year in 2012, the in-house ETO division (Engineered to Order) have refined this beast into a track-ready supercar that builds upon its existing 550-hp V8, optimizing the aerodynamics, brakes and suspension to really push this vehicle to its limit. The new hood, complete with ventilation and splitters, is bold and aggressive, but it is the massive rear wing that really turns us on. North America, 30 units are on their way at $174K a pop—now play nicely.

From the second the embargo was broken on this little gem earlier this week, WRX fans and journos alike were awestruck by how stunningly perfect this sporty but classy concept looked. Sadly, Subaru didn’t take kindly to whoever leaked the photos and waited until Thursday to really give us a good look at this beast. Currently a design study (aka “Good response at auto show = we’ll put it into production”), the WRX concept is lower and flatter than the current iteration, with a seriously powerful front fascia and deep air intakes to improve aerodynamics. The sharp slanted headlights are fierce and definitely add to the overall package. No performance specs have been released, but we’d bargain on a modified version of the current BRZ engine.

After our escapades last month in the Utah desert with the fourth-generation Range Rover, we started to wonder when its sportier counterpart would get the same treatment. Lo and behold, the 2014 Range Rover Sport made its debut on the streets of Manhattan on Tuesday evening. At the wheel was none other than James Bond, aka Daniel Craig, whose affinity for the brand must have been cemented over the numerous cameos Jag-Land Rover made in last year’s Skyfall. The new RRS sports the same unibody structure as the new RR, dropping 800 pounds from its predecessor. With a new supercharged V6 (340 hp) and V8 (510 hp) to choose from, this agile beast can hit zero to 60 in five seconds flat. Now where are those rocket launchers hidden, Mr. Bond?

We were hesitant about what astonishing changes Cadillac had in store for their next-generation CTS, but we grossly underestimated what actually appeared on stage on Tuesday. The new 2014 CTS is breathtakingly gorgeous as the new pinnacle of American luxury vehicles: larger, lighter and more powerful than the standard outgoing model it replaces. Detroit has been hard at work. With three engine choices, the 2.0-liter V4 (272 hp), 3.6-liter V6 (321 hp) and the fresh 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 Vsport (420 hp), drivers have plenty of options to test out the dramatically restyled CTS, which, like its European counterparts, contains equal measures of performance ability and distinguished presence.

The Honda Odyssey rarely comes up in the same conversation as most, if not all, of the other autos on this list, but we’ve got to hand it to the folks in Japan for equipping this portable living room with yet another modern convenience that we apparently cannot live without: a vacuum. Yes, the 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite sucks…literally.


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