New York Auto Show Electrifies With New Car Reveals

Bugatti Chiron S [Allan Brewer photo]

Bugatti Chiron S [Allan Brewer photo]

by Allan Brewer

The New York International Auto Show annually marks the end of the winter “show cycle” for manufacturers, media and the public. Open from Friday at New York’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, the NYIAS touts a menu of new car never-before seen reveals, North American market introductions and electrification, autonomous driving, connectivity and artificial intelligence as its main themes. The reality, though, is things move slowly in the automotive world. On the revolving stages and podia were not so many cleverly executed, AI-empowered, self-driving cruisers but a disappointing roll-call of sport-utility vehicle after sport-utility vehicle.

Among the world reveals to the public this week were a newly redone Nissan Altima and a Toyota Corolla, the latter accompanied on the stage by a remodeled RAV4 SUV. Jaguar Land Rover displayed the full Jaguar PACE family of SUVs at the show including the 2017 World Car of the Year-winning Jaguar F-PACE SVR. It’s the fastest version yet of this award-winning model. An all-electric Jaguar I-PACE production car delivering sustainable performance, all-wheel agility and five-seat SUV practicality, also made its first stateside appearance alongside a hand-assembled, limited-edition Range Rover SV Coupe promoted as the world’s first full-size luxury SUV coupe. The SUV parade fully jumped and cleared the shark with the introduction of the new Maserati Trofeo, a Ferrari-powered, rotund neighborhood-hauler capable of getting your family’s groceries home at F1 speeds.

Alongside yet another SUV, Cadillac showed for the first time its CT6 V-Sport sedan with a large V-shaped mesh grille and horizontal LED headlamps. Combined with shiny 20-inch wheels, gloss black side windows and some lower-body aero pieces the car looked a worthy performance addition to the well-heeled businessman’s garage. An all-new 4.2L Twin Turbo V-8 engine -estimated at 550 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque provides power to a limited-slip rear differential to increase traction. The car’s suspension is tuned for improved roll control, cornering capability and steering response, with a new 19-inch Brembo brake system developed specifically for the CT6 application.

The Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door Coupé arrived to these shores not as a world introduction but in matte black provided ample show-stopping looks at the German manufacturer’s booth. In its pleasantly big-booty GT 63 S 4MATIC+ incarnation, it makes 639PS of maximum power and 900Nm of peak torque and is equipped with active rear wheel steering. The GT 63 S 4MATIC + does 0-100kmph in 3.2 seconds and has a top speed of 315kmph. Mercedes-AMG is also offering an electrified version powered by a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine that makes 435PS of power and 520Nm of torque. It is assisted by an electric motor that generates 22PS of power and 250Nm transmitted to all four wheels via a 9-speed automatic transmission.

The new Honda Insight, launching at Honda dealerships nationally in early summer, joined the Clarity series and the 2018 Accord Hybrid as the fifth Honda electrified vehicle introduced over the past year. As a premium compact sedan, Insight is positioned and priced between Civic and Accord in Honda’s passenger car lineup and is powered by the third generation of Honda’s two-motor hybrid system. Insight’s 151 net system horsepower combines with a lightweight structure to deliver the best power-to-weight ratio in its class as well as up to 55-mpg in the city.

The Rimac C Two is a semi-autonomous all-electric hyper-car designed and manufactured by the Croatian automotive manufacturer Rimac Automobili. With an alleged top speed of 412 km/h and 1,914 hp (1,427 kW), the car is claimed to be capable of reaching 60 mph in 1.85 seconds, making it potentially one of the fastest accelerating cars ever made. Rimac claims the car was designed to achieve a maximum range of 650 km (402mi) and is capable of autonomous driving. It is unlocked using face recognition technology. If connected to a fast charger, it may be recharged to 80 percent in less than 30 minutes. The car features an entirely new design and does away with the conventional doors, using butterfly doors instead.

Call it the last of a dying breed of super-cars, or just call it the “New Bug.” The Bugatti Chiron Sport made its first appearance in North America decked out in a resplendent “Catch-me” red paint job with black accents. The new S version of the 1,500 horsepower Chiron packs the same 16-cylinder punch as its namesake model, but the Sport model features a specially developed dynamic handling package, reduced weight, new wheels and a new four-pipe exhaust deflector. Bugatti spared nothing to slim this rocket, introducing the first production car with carbon fiber windshield wiper arms—a weight savings of three pounds. It lists at a premium of about a quarter of a million dollars over the standard Chiron, coming in at a price of $3.26 million.

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