For most of last week I was in Manhattan for the media days ahead of the annual New York International Auto Show, the final major auto show of the winter / spring season in North America.
I was at this show last in 2015, and was not expecting to attend this year either until Nissan Canada graciously offered to host Ignition for three days, including the two media preview days immediately before the show opens to the public.
While a number of the cars introduced during the preview had been shown elsewhere previously, notably at the Geneva Motor Show in early March, there were several noteworthy world premieres along with a handful of North American debuts.
The following list doesn’t encompass everything that was shown in New York, but these are six that will be worth following as they come to market.
Hopefully we’ll get to drive them once they’re here.
2018 Acura TLX
The changes coming to the TLX represent one of the deepest mid-cycle refreshes we’ve seen recently. All models get a new front fascia, which includes the brand’s diamond pentagon grille, redesigned Jewel Eye headlights and a new bumper design. Other changes include a new hood, fenders, rear bumper, rear diffuser, rectangular dual-exhaust finishers and a new standard 17-inch wheel and tire package.
New technology features are also on tap in the form of a refreshed dual-screen multimedia / navigation set-up that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and utilizes a new software system designed for faster response. AcuraWatch, the brand’s suite of collision mitigation tech (forward collision warning, emergency braking, lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, etc.) is also standard on all 2018s.
On the performance side, Acura is resuscitating the A-Spec trim which won’t produce any power gains, but will add unique appearance details (front fascia, rear diffuser, exhaust outlets, wheels and 245-series tires, among others), along with a sport-tuned suspension with more aggressive damping, stiffer spring rates and a retuned power steering system for improved handling.
Special A-Spec-themed interiors (sport leather seats, Alcantara trim, metallic trim accents, etc.) are also available. The 2018 TLX goes on sale across Canada in June.
2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
Rather than go through a detailed breakdown of the most powerful muscle car in history, I think it makes more sense to just put the relevant details into a list.
With that in mind, here are 10 things you need to know about a car so fast it has been officially banned by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA).
1. It produces 840 horsepower and 770 pounds-feet of torque from a supercharged 6.2-litre HEMI V8 engine, making it the most-powerful muscle car ever.
2. It has the highest horsepower V8 production car engine ever produced.
3. It produced the first-ever front-wheel lift in production car (2.92 feet) as certified by Guinness World Records.
4. It posted the world’s fastest quarter-mile production car with an elapsed time (ET) of 9.65 seconds and 140 miles per hour (mph) as certified by NHRA.
5. It has world’s fastest 0-60 mph (0-96.6 km/h) time for a production car: 2.3 seconds.
6. It can go from 0-30 miles per hour (48 km/h) in one second.
7. The Air-Grabber induction system includes the largest functional hood scoop (45.2 square inches) of any production car.
8. It's the first-ever production car designed to run on 100+ high-octane unleaded fuel or 91 octane on demand.
9. It's the first-ever production car to come equipped with street-legal drag race tires (Nitto NT05R P315/40R18).
10. Lastly, it’s the first-ever production car that comes with no front passenger seat. The seat can be added for one dollar. Same goes for the rear seat and trunk carpeting.
Canadian pricing has yet to be finalized, but the production run has been set. The U.S. market will receive 3,000 units, while 300 have been earmarked for Canada. Production begins this summer with deliveries slated to begin in the fall.
Genesis GV80 concept
Perhaps the most surprising reveal of the show was the new GV80 SUV concept from Genesis, the new luxury division of Hyundai Motor Co.
This fuel cell concept is expected to be one of four additional vehicles that will round out the Genesis lineup by 2020, and with due respect to the G80 and G90 sedans the company has already rolled out, the GV80 is the most intriguing car the brand has so far revealed.
The exterior design, with its bold stance and broad proportions, not to mention a massive front grille and 23-inch mesh wheels, is reminiscent of the Bentley Bentayga, which is fitting given that’s where Genesis head of design, Luc Donckerwolke, used to work.
The interior features a ‘bridge’ instrument panel that stretches across the cabin from door to door, and houses a 22-inch curved OLED touchscreen display that flows into the instrument cluster. The screen displays two distinct zones, with information for both the driver and passenger.
A semi-aniline leather interior with diamond stitching on the door panels, seat inserts and centre console side highlight a cabin that also features polished aluminum trim accents and an ash wood center console and floorboards.
Details aren’t yet available regarding the powertrain, aside from the fact that it features hydrogen fuel cell electric technology, nor is there any indication from Genesis regarding market availability. Stay tuned.
2017 Honda Civic Type R
The production version of Honda’s new hot hatch was first shown in Geneva, but New York marked its first appearance in North America.
Everything about the Civic Type R screams performance, from its massive air intakes to its giant wing, triple-barrel centre-mount exhaust and rear diffuser, 20-inch wheels and giant Brembo brakes. Oh, and it’s also packing a 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque. Honda is also outfitting it with an adaptive damper system, variable ratio steering and a limited-slip differential, all of which are standard kit.
A couple of things worth noting here is the absence of all-wheel drive and a second transmission to go along with the six-speed manual (yes, people do buy these cars with automatics).
Given these potential drawbacks, will the Civic Type R still be able to pry sales away from the Ford Focus RS, Subaru WRX STI and Volkswagen Golf R?
Working in its favour is Honda’s decision to package it in one fully-loaded trim, in a similar fashion to what Ford is doing with the Focus RS.
That might prove to be an advantage, if Honda does indeed bring the Civic Type R to market in the low-$40K range as it has said previously. At that price, it might be a real performance bargain.
The Civic Type R will begin arriving in Canadian dealerships this summer.
Infiniti QX80 Monograph
The Infiniti QX80 Monograph marks the second SUV concept the brand has revealed since January, the first being the QX50, which was shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The current QX80, Infiniti’s flagship SUV, dates to 2010, so a new model is long overdue. The Monograph concept carries much of the same design language and brand signifiers Infiniti designers have put into the QX50 concept and other recent models.
Among these traits are large front air vents, side fender vents, slim LED ‘human eye’ headlights and sharper, thin LED tail lights that company president Roland Krueger told Ignition are designed to convey a brand signature, especially when they’re lit up at night.
Because the QX80 Monograph is a flagship, size really does matter.
At more than five metres long, two metres high and two metres wide, this is one enormous vehicle. Fittingly, it rides on 24-inch (not a typo) wheels, with some of the largest brake rotors this journalist has ever seen. Production might shrink things a bit, but probably not by much as the current QX80 is available with 22-inch wheels.
Infiniti didn’t reveal the interior and no details were forthcoming regarding powertrains, but the current 5.6-litre V8 (400 hp / 413 lb-ft.) / 7-speed automatic combination carrying forward seems likely.
Speaking of production, Krueger said the next QX80 won’t be identical to the concept, but will share a strong resemblance.
And we won’t have to wait long to see the production version either. Krueger said it will be revealed by the end of the year which, to these ears, sounds like something will be shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.
Pure speculation on my part, but the U.S. is the largest QX80 market – a production reveal in L.A. does make sense.
2018 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 / GLC 63 Coupe
Honestly, I could have gone with another Mercedes-AMG entry here (GT Concept), but I felt these two production SUVs made more sense as they made their world premieres in New York.
The GLC 63 and GLC 63 Coupe (both are also available in S versions), are the two latest entries into the Mercedes-AMG family and as such, they’re all about performance.
Powering these two new AMG SUVs is a hand-built 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8, which is closely related to the variant found in the GT family. This means the turbochargers are located within the cylinder V, which aids in delivering better a more optimal throttle response, low exhaust emissions and reduces the footprint of the engine overall.
In terms of output, the 4.0L produces 469 horsepower and 479 lb-ft. of torque in GLC 63 trim, while S variants produce 503 horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque, which is identical to the C 63 S coupe and sedan. Power gets to the ground via a 9-speed multi-clutch automatic transmission.
As one might expect, these are very fast SUVs. The GLC 63 has a 0-100 km/h time of 4 seconds and an electronically-governed 250 km/h top speed, while the GLC 63 S checks in with a 0-100 time of 3.8 seconds and a 250 km/h top speed.
Both are slated to begin arriving in Canadian dealerships by the end of the year.
Photography by Lee Bailie