11 Must-See Rides Before the 2016 NYIAS Ends
There are just a few days left before the New York International Auto Show ends after this weekend, so let's do a quick recap of our favorite cars so that you can run over and skip to the good parts.
First off, we were pleasantly surprised to see manufacturers debuting and showcasing future production and concept vehicles, some that we were already aware of and others that we were delighted to be introduced to for the first time. Whatever your niche is, we've noticed more emphasis on cars that cater to individual markets, such as heavy-duty trucks, sport coupes and sedans with more power than most people would ever need, or track-ready exotics, to more daily-friendly hatchbacks or “urban mobility vehicles.” It’s a given that companies would showcase the car you need, but now more than ever, it’s about the cars we want or weren’t even aware we wanted. Here’s a rundown of our experiences at NYIAS:
Let’s begin with the “elephant in the room,” if you will. Nissan’s display booth stole the show with a family reunion of their most memorable Skyline GT-R platforms: the iconic 1969-72 2000GT-R “Hakosuka,” 1972-77 C110 “Kenmeri,” R32, R33 and R34 Skylines all in one room, along with the updated 2017 R35. While the only vehicle displayed that was slated for an actual production release was the 2017 GT-R, we were reminded that within the next 10 years or so, the very coveted R33 and R34 platforms that were there will become legal for import into the States without jumping through hoops, along with the S15 Silvia. *(Word has it Nissan pulled these heritage cars from their display after press days, so if that's true, you'll have the R35 GT-R all to yourselves.)
One thing we felt very honored to see in person were the legendary Takumi craftsmen at work, who were flown from the Yokohama Nissan plant to show us how they assemble each engine, live. If you didn’t already know, they are the “four master craftsmen,” who hand assemble every single VR38DETT engine.
We covered the 2017 Nissan Skyline GT-R press release last week, and while it’s a beautiful looking, carefully-crafted car, the updates weren't over the top, but that's a good thing. Nissan's consistent in leaving things that aren't broke alone and the previous GT-Rs are a testament to that statement. That type of consistency is a great quality in a car company.
Which brings us to our next car, the Toyota 86. Scion’s farewell is still very bittersweet; they came into the industry debuting at the very same auto show in 2002 and with news of the company coming to an end, the then-FR-S, now-86 was placed in the Toyota booth. Scion came into the scene with some debatable, yet refreshing designs that encouraged their customers to be different and emphasized self expression. Their annual Scion Tuner Challenge encouraged builders and enthusiasts alike to stand out from the rest and show the world what they had to offer, and it was a gateway for many people to make their passion their job. Scion will surely be missed, but its legacy will live on in several Toyota platforms, including the 86, Corolla iM, Yaris iA and C-HR.
Similar to the GT-R, the 86's "kouki" update keeps its general body shape, and the naturally-aspirated FA20 Boxer engine now comes with a little more power. The front end has been updated to make the car look much more aggressive and some new “86” details and emblems. We obviously weren’t able to take it for a spin, but we have no doubt that it will drive and feel like, if not better than, its “zenki” predecessors.
Although they're staged in different booths, we grouped the Mazda Miata/Miata RF together with the Fiat 124 Spyder because they all share the same platform. The soft-top Miata is currently on showrooms and available for purchase with a base price tag of roughly $25K. The Miata RF (or “retractable roof”) won two awards for World Car of the Year, and as “the globe’s top automotive design.” While it features the same drivetrain as the Miata, with a 1.5L or 2.0L Skyactiv four-cylinder engine, it will weigh 100-150 pounds more and cost about $2000 more... but it’s every bit worth it. There hasn’t been an aesthetically-pleasing, targa-style coupe that performs as well as it looks in a very long time, and that’s reason enough to be excited.
The Fiat 124 Spider shares the same platform as the Miata, but has the heart of a Fiat 500 Abarth; that's a 160hp turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder engine. Its European allure features a completely different exterior with exotic lines and slightly more luxurious interior options. It's expected to perform similarly, if not better than its Miata counterpart, at a cost ranging from $32K-$38K. Are the differences worth the extra cost? That’s for you to decide...
The Honda Civic made quite a buzz at its debut at the Geneva Motor Show, and even though exact power numbers have yet to be released, the sporty exterior in combination with a large interior space, and the Type R version that's soon to follow, has us pumped. It's expected to look similar to this concept with some extra aerodynamic bits and boast at least 300hp from an impressive turbocharged, four cylinder engine. We’re expecting it to be priced closely to the Ford Focus RS, but there's speculation that the Type R may cost as much as $46K (which is slightly less exciting). Adjacent to the Civic prototype display was the turbocharged Red Bull Global Rallycross Civic, which gives future enthusiasts and consumers a glimpse to what a modified Civic could look like down the line.
The 2017 Infiniti Q60 might be overlooked because of all these other great releases, but we believe it'll be a serious contender when it hits the road in the next year or so. This new generation of Q will be taking on the Audi A5, Audi S5, Lexus RC350 and BMW 4-series. We’re confident it will look pretty close to this concept as it blends in perfectly to the rest of Infiniti’s current product line. The Q60’s curvy body lines and aggressive front fascia, along with its expected 400hp and 350lb-ft of torque from a twin-turbocharged V6 engine will definitely make it a force to be reckoned with.
Lexus' RWD, 5.0L, naturally-aspirated V8 LC 500 coupe isn't quite like the LFA but for a $100K price tag, you'll get the same 467hp engine found in the current RC F in a beautiful new chassis. Plus, with 2+2 seat orientation, it should rank right below the Mercedes-Benz S-class coupe, all while looking equally sport-luxurious.
This is one of our personal favorites: Honda/Acura surprised us all with this release and it does not disappoint! Seeing it up close and personal, this car was everything and more; a beautiful wide-body, race livery and dry carbon detailing made it a sight to behold. The Acura NSX GT3 will meet FIA’s GT3 regulations, which means it'll weigh between 1200-1300kg (2646-2866 lbs), which is only around 300-500 more pounds than a Miata, but it'll be packing serious heat, somewhere between 500 and 600 horsepower. It features a mostly carbon fiber body, stripped interior, 6-speed sequential transmission (as opposed to its 9-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission in the base NSX), and will be rear-wheel drive (as opposed to the base NSX’s hybrid all-wheel drive system to power the front wheels). We love that the GT3 keeps many of the key design features of the base NSX, and even though you’ll probably never see it on the street, you can bet Honda's fans will be cheering it on during the GT3 race series. There’s no released price tag for a project like this, but considering the base NSX costs about $200K and a Porsche 911 GT3 R costs about $490K, let's just say it’s "somewhere in between."
While this show featured tons of wonderfully engineered vehicles, the two vehicles I’m most hopeful for are the Nissan New Mobility Concept and the Toyota i-Road personal mobility vehicles. Having always lived in metropolitan areas, it’s easy to see the need for these electric vehicles that max out at around 18-25 mph, with a max range of 30-40 miles on a single charge. The four-wheeled Nissan concept holds two, and the three-wheeled i-Road fits one passenger in Japan and two passengers in Europe to meet vehicle specific regulations. The Nissan is currently available overseas in Europe as a Renault Twizy and in San Francisco as the Scoot Quad, and is expected to be available in showrooms across America soon. The Toyota i-Road is also expected to be released very soon.
Enjoy more outtakes from NYIAS in this bonus photo gallery below!