Saturday, April 3, 2010

2010 NYIAS: The Coolest Car

The coolest car at the NY Auto Show has to be the Jaguar SS100 Roadster from the 1930s. This car is extremely rare especially in this condition. Old cars where the cockpit is 10% of the car and the engine is 90% is where it's at.

Check out the details...The windshield can articulate up and down, the grill style is still on luxury cars these days, and look at the way the front wheel arches curve drastically coming out from the front bumper and draping over the wheels.

~M/o  "Stay up to Speed"

Friday, April 2, 2010

2010 NYIAS Sneak Peak: Buick Regal GS

Buick's new Regal gets its good looks from it's cousin Opel Insignia. But coming later this year, GM is releasing the Regal GS with sportier looks, performance, and suspension. Now we all know Buicks have been granny mobiles but this isn't one of them, so why would GM bring one to the show that has granny paint on it?

I almost didn't see the GS but I just happened to stumble upon it when I took a short cut through Buick's boring booth. Where's that great charcoal color that we see in the photos? Does it exist?

Although the pictures don't show it very well because of the color, the car looks pretty nice. It's got a certain amount of simple elegance but it still looks sporty. 

The wheels are split 5-spokes with a satin/polished aluminum finish that goes well with the rest of the trim like the front air intakes, the badges, and the exhausts. 

The interior is smooth and sophisticated, it almost doesn't look like it was made by GM. Usually they just take the Chevy Malibu interior and throw it in. This, while pretty simple, actually looks good.

Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.0 liter 255hp engine that GM says does 0-60mph in under 6 seconds and it even comes with a 6-speed manual transmission. Get this, it also gets an adaptive all-wheel-drive system, electronic stability control, and limited-slip differential. 

Kudos to GM for going through with this!

~M/o  "Stay up to Speed"

2010 NYIAS Sneak Peak: Candy coated Muscle Cars

Candy coated muscle cars? The Dodge Challenger RT is the epitome of modern muscle, but it looks 
like Dodge (Fiat) may be trying something new. Pink, purple, and yellow Challengers for those who 
think orange isn't vibrant enough. Although the purple one is kind of badass. 

~M/o  "Stay up to Speed"

2010 NYIAS Sneak Peak: Holy Eco Overload!

I know everyone's main concern these days are gas prices and a valid concern it is. But unfortunately, this year, car companies really stopped developing design concepts. So what have they done to impress New York, one of the hippest cities in America? "Eco-cars" galore!

The Mazda 3... excuse me, Lexus CT 200h. Actually it's a pretty nice design, very sporty for a Lexus. You can see it basically has an IS nose.

The Honda CR-Z is all by its lonesome at the Honda booth. It is about the only hybrid coupe at the show. While it does look pretty plain in photos, it looks a bit better in person. It could still use a dash of "sport" derived from the older CRXs.

The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid was definitely the coolest hybrid. Lots of cool details, sort of a game changing car. Look out Japan, Europe, and America, Hyundai is showing its colors.

Even Porsche had a 4-door hybrid of their own. A turbo Cayenne Hybrid seems like an oxymoron. It's nice in the realms of an SUV, but putting a Porsche body on a VW Toureg should be banned.

The Cayenne's big brother rolled out with a redesign for 2011 as well along with a huge hybrid sticker on the side. The new VW design language is very modern and classy. The curves are subtle and the overall forms are refined.

To the left is the new Nissan Leaf, and while it's not a hybrid (it's electric!), it still falls into the category of 4-door, eco-friendly cars. If mass produced for the entire United States, this could change the way we get around for good. The Leaf is currently available for lease on the West Coast.  

Along with the non-hybrid Leaf, the non-hybrid Honda FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell is in NYC this week. This is also available for lease in California. 

The Mini E available for an expensive lease in New York and Northern New Jersey. 

The Mitsubishi i-Miev which is ancient history for auto shows. Mitsubishi might have the worst display at the Javits Center.

....And just in case you doubted that the electric car can actually work, there is a driving area in the dungeon at the show (down by the trucks). 

~M/o  "Stay up to Speed"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

2010 NYIAS Sneak Peak: The Mini Booth of Fun

When it comes to branding, no one has a cuter image than Mini. BMW does a great job capturing the essence of the car and knowing their demographics. They have witty ads, fun interactivity, and thoughtful marketing.

Take the oversized leash attached to this Mini's "neck" surrounded by "caution - please do not feed the Mini" tape. Clever.

The Countrymen were perched up on a stage divided into a section representing the country and the other representing the city all in black and white. There's even a manhole cover embedded in the carpet of the city side.

Mini can even make an electric car cute and fun. There are 12 of these being leased on the road somewhere in New York. 

~M/o  "Stay up to Speed"

2010 NYIAS Sneak Peak: Honorable Mentions

Since this year's auto show is more focused on what's coming out this year than what could be coming out in the years to come, and there are a lack of concepts, I've included an honorable mention section of the show for cars that are really cool, although we already know about them. These cars have been "dressed up" a bit for the show  and for that I think they deserve a little attention. They are;

The Audi R8 Spyder

The Bentley Mulsanne

The Cadillac CTS-V

The GT inspired Dodge Viper

The Lamborghini Valentino Balboni LP550-2

The Subaru WRX STi Sedan

The Mercedes-Benz SLS Gullwing

and last but not least...

The Batmobile and Knightrider!

~M/o  "Stay up to Speed"

2010 NYIAS: Ford F150 SVT Raptor!

Why were these oversize reptiles not upstairs? My guess is that these two Raptors are too heavy for the 3rd floor of the Jacob Javits Center. When you walk up to one of these it's more like approaching a T-rex than a Raptor.  It's basically an F150 on the biggest dose of steroids you could ever imagine.

Currently, the Raptor is only available with a 5.4 liter V8 engine there is a 6.2 liter version on the way that puts out 411 hp and 434 lb.-ft. of torque. Ford says the truck is built for off-road rallying so its tow capabilities are not excellent but it will have no trouble towing a small 4-wheeler.

Models start just under $40k and figures can get up to almost $60k fully loaded. There is a splatter decal package you can get for just under $1000 which almost seems necessary and it's available with navigation in case you get lost racing through the sand dunes in California.

The truck is available in orange, black, white, and blue but I'd go for the orange. 

From the side, it looks like the truck is equipped with suicide doors for the back seats, but it's not and there is not much room for sitting behind the driver and passenger, but screw the kids anyway right?

The interior is wrapped in graphite colored leather with seats and door cards to match the exterior color and while the interior design looks clean and premium, it's mostly gray plastic. In fact there is entirely too much gray plastic everywhere you look on this truck which does look utilitarian but it's not priced utilitarian. 

Whether you like it or not, the SVT Raptor is badass. The fact that Ford went ahead with it is impressive and scary at the same time because who is in the market for buying an outlandish truck made for hitting jumps for $40-60k? I sure wish I was.

~M/o  "Stay up to Speed"

2010 NYIAS Sneak Peak: Hyundai Sonata and Sonata Hybrid

Hyundai surely did a great job preparing for the unveiling of the all-new Sonata hybrid at this year's New York Auto Show. Their fiber optic lighted cage around the Sonata hybrid was magical to say the least, but the details of the cars were most impressive. 

Hyundai unveiled the Sonata first, stating the 2011 model will lose the V6 and come only with a 2.4 liter 4-cylinder turbo engine. You might think this is a terrible thing, but when the man behind the microphone released the numbers it all changed. 

Hyundai is claiming 274hp and 269ft/lb of torque while still getting close to 30mpg highway miles, more power than its V6 predecessor! They also claim it's equipped with the lightest 6-speed automatic transmission on the market today.

Then the Sonata hybrid was unveiled with a whole new front end and some really, REALLY cool details. 

Numbers are still good for the hybrid, getting 209 hp and almost 40mpg...but aside from the bore, what about the design details? 

The nose has a much sportier look than the non-hybrid version with a huge grill and more refined lines.

The best part about this car is the rear-end. It's aggressive, classy, and simple while somehow being fresh and brand new. It has design cues resembling that of the VW, Lexus, and Audi but not copied.

I spent about 10 minutes looking into the tail lights, which could be the most innovative and intricate design I've seen yet. What do you think? Rose buds?

Check out the Sonata's light show presentation video below.

~M/o  "Stay up to Speed"

2010 NYIAS Sneak Peak: Scion TC & IQ

Scion had reserved the uppermost room of the house in the galleria where it was pitch black, lights out, until the Scion show started. 

The sound was great, the light show was spectacular, and the crowds’ reaction was a sign that Scion struck a positive note with the presentation. It was by far the best presentation of the day.

Although the TC show’s only a few changes to the exterior, including widened head lamps, a GT-R-like b-pillar, and some tail lights that look like they were borrowed from BMW 1-series, it shows that Toyota is willing to push its little ugly duckling out into the pond to learn how to swim. 

After showing the new TC, the new, little IQ rolled out onto the stage, blessed by the almighty gods of Japanese engineering.

Following the presentation, Scion unveiled “hooked-up” versions of the cars in their booth. The TC in “bloodshot red” and the IQ in gunmetal. 

Take a look at the press release video of the new Scion TC. What do you think?

~M/o  "Stay up to Speed"