2012 New York Auto Show Recap, Part One
We give our take on the day's reveals so far.
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: April 4th, 2012
The SRT Viper looks sexy on the auto-show stand.
e're at the 2012 New York International Auto Show, and we're breaking from a full day of press conferences to talk about what we've seen so far and giving our take on what's been uveiled up to this point.
Chevrolet: The big news for the bow-tie brand is the next Impala, which was long overdue. Available with three engines including a 303-horsepower V-6, the next Impala gives Chevy a much-needed boost in the large-car class. The refreshed 2013 Chevrolet also showed its face publicly for the first time. Our take: The look is attractive although still on the inoffensive side, and we applaud Chevy for giving the largest engine more than 300 ponies. For the first time in a long time, the brand has credibilty when it comes to large sedans. The changes to the Traverse are relatively mild and not worth much of a mention.
Buick: Although the brand didn't do an official press conference, it did show off its refreshed Enclave crossover. The 2013 model gets updated looks and some new features, and that's about it. Our take: Like the Traverse, this is a bit of a yawner.
Mercedes-Benz: MB dropped three models on overworked journalists, showing the SL65 AMG along with a refreshed GLK-Class SUV and a new GL-Class SUV. Quite the contrast there—a high-performance car bookend by an entry-level luxury SUV and a large luxury SUV. Our take: We'll take the 621-horsepower SL65 AMG, but luxury SUVs just don't do much for us. They might appeal to Beverly Hills housewives, maybe, but not us.
BMW: The Bimmer gang dropped a new M6 Convertible, a 6-Series Gran Coupe, and the new X1 crossover. Our take: An M6 convertible is cool, and the 6-Series Gran Coupe (basically, a sedan with a coupe-like roof) is sleek, but the X1 is important. BMW can find quite a few moneyed buyers for this small SUV, and we think they will.
Porsche: The Boxster drop-top undergoes its first redesign, although the styling changes seem subtle to our eyes. Longer, lower, wider, and more powerful than the last generation car, the next Boxster is also supposed to be more efficient as well. Speaking of efficiency, the Cayenne adds a diesel. Our take: The Boxster doesn't look much different, but if a great car can be made even better, leave it to Porsche to do so.
Lincoln: We saw the concept MKZ in Detroit, and now the full-on production version has been shown to the world. Styling stays faithful to the concept—even the panoramic roof makes it into the production version—and this Ford Fusion-based sedan has a grille that signifies Lincoln's future design theme. Our take: Lincoln has a lot riding on the MKZ, and it looks good at first glance. If the car is as fun to drive as the last Fusion/MKZ platform was, and if Lincoln delivers the luxury goods, there may be hope for the struggling brand after all.
Lexus: It's not surprising that Lexus has redesigned the ES, given that the Toyota Camry on which its based went under the knife for 2012. The changes are subtle, mostly styling updates and new features, although the car does grow a bit. The biggest news is that a hybrid version will be available. Our take: Given how aggressive Lexus has been lately in remaking its image (see the 2013 GS for more), it's a bit disappointing that the new ES isn't all that different from the current one. On the other hand, the ES is a best-seller for Lexus and the somewhat conservative brand has no reason to mess with success. So we're not surprised.
SRT: Chrysler's performance brand brought back the iconic Viper, with a shape that was inspired by both the human body and the body of a snake, according to brand president and CEO Ralph Gilles. Complete with 640 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque, the Viper became the star of the show. Oh, and for good measure, SRT also announced a race-car version for the American Le Mans Series. Our Take: SRT managed to evoke memories of the first Viper coupe, and this gorgeous snake will bring plenty of ammo to the supercar fights. We don't know yet it will be as intimidating to drive as the last Viper, but it looks sexy on the show stand. Your move, Chevrolet.
Nissan: Nissan lifted the curtain on the next Altima sedan, with freshened styling, a redesigned base engine, and an upgraded interior. Our take: Up close, the exterior changes were a little more subtle than we expected, but at first glance, the interior does look much improved. This is evolution over revolution.
Hyundai: It wasn't a secret that Hyundai would show the next Santa Fe in New York, but it was a slight surprise when Hyundai announced that a stretched wheelbase version would be available with three-row seating. Buyers will be able to choose from two four-cylinders and a V-6, with a maximum highway fuel-economy rating of 33 mpg. Styling follows Hyundai's "fluidic design" theme. Our take: The Santa Fe looks sharp, but the front grille is a bit silly with its gaping maw, and the D pillar is a bit too reminiscient of Honda's newest CR-V. Still, offering a third row of seating gives Hyundai one more way to snag additional buyers.
Acura: The RL flagship sedan is due for replacement, and Acura showed a tech-laden concept that will eventually be the next RL. Our take: Acura continues to try to be a technology leader among luxury brands, and the RLX concept is just the newest showcase for the brand's tech.
Bentley: The high-end brand debuted a convertible version of its Continental GTC. Our take: Not much to get excited about here, unless you have an offshore bank account. A Continental convertible is undoubtedly cool, but it's not major news.
Jaguar: The leaping-cat brand is working on a baby Jag called the F-Type. Details are pretty sketchy at this point, but we know it will have two seats. Our take: Perhaps a two-seat sports car is just what the brand needs. Certainly it would continue the renaissance led by the XF and XK cars.
Honda: We don't understand the purpose of the Accord Crosstour, and after seeing the newest one, which has sharper lines and some other minor changes and a new six-speed automatic transmission, we still don't. Our take: Honda has looked lost and disoriented of late, and this doesn't change anything. Where's the brand we used to know?
Mazda: The TAKERI concept is chock full of fuel-saving tech features that may or may not make it into production, but we're fairly certain that it previews the next Mazda 6 mid-size sedan. Our take: We wanted to see the next Miata, but the TAKERI looks pretty darn good, and if the next 6 carries that styling forward, Mazda could have a hit on its hands.Related Vehicles: 2013 chevrolet impala | 2013 hyundai santa fe | 2013 lincoln mkz | 2013 bmw m6 | 2013 mercedes-benz sl-class | 2013 mercedes-benz gl-class | 2013 mercedes-benz glk-class | 2013 nissan altima | 2013 lexus es 350 | 2013 honda crosstour