2013 New York auto show round-up
By C.C. Weiss
April 9, 2013
We've already covered the featured stars of the New York Auto Show, including the Jeep Cherokee and Subaru WRX Concept. Now it's time to take a look at the supporting cast, some of which managed to outshine their bigger-part co-stars. From the sporty 2014 Buick Regal to the Bentley Flying Spur, here's a look at the hottest, techiest hardware out of the Big Apple.
2014 Corvette Convertible
The Corvette Convertible may have shown itself to the world in Geneva, but the New York show represented the first time us media folk got acquainted with it on American soil. We covered the hard-headed Stingray extensively from the floor of Detroit, and the Corvette Convertible shares all its major attributes thanks to the fact that Chevy designed the coupe and convertible models simultaneously. The only structural changes between coupe and convertible are repositioned seatbelt mounts and the necessary accommodations for the folding soft-top.
After photographing the new Corvette from every angle, we got a closer tour with the its exterior design manager Kirk Bennion.
"We looked at it," Bennion said in regards to bringing back the iconic split rear windshield of the original 1963 Stingray. He explained that the buttresses and side windows on either side of the rear windshield were created in an effort to eliminate the "basket handle" roof strip and give the new Stingray a distinctive profile.
"When you had this strong buttress and this strong side-view graphic and then you added the split down the middle, then you kinda got this three-straight back here, it made the back light busy, hard to look out of. It just wasn't ... didn't seem right for this car. Those '63 cars are very special for that reason. In some respects, we like to keep them special. There's a part of us that likes to leave that element alone and let those cars be what they are."
"One of our departures is also the tail lamps," Bennion said, turning his attention downward to the somewhat controversial tail lamps that abandon the dual-round design used since 1961. "We really felt that we needed to break tradition and have a car that's more distinctive, and more appealing, more unique at night. Every time you get to do a new, next-generation Corvette, you realize that there has to be certain calculated moves for it to be seen as a next generation."
Bennion's words muffled the passionate "cheap Camaro knock-off taillight" screams reverberating around in our ear drums, but they didn't quite silence them. We had to ask how he'd respond to that particular criticism.
"People that see the tail lamps in person really like them. And they don't see – when you see a Camaro on the floor and you look at these – they don't see them as being similar. The bloggers that haven't seen the car, and just go by their images, they tend to think of them as Camaro lights."
He added: "You gotta have some polarity in there, and you gotta have some push, and you gotta have some pull. If we did the design too easy to like for everybody, you'd be tired of it in two years."
Bentley Flying Spur
Like the Corvette Convertible, the new Bentley Flying Spur debuted in Geneva and used New York as its North American debut. Bentley's never been afraid of bestowing lavish descriptors on its models, and the new Flying Spur is billed as the "fastest, most powerful four-door Bentley ever." That 616 bhp of "most ever" power comes from Bentley's 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine and is transferred to all four wheels by a 40:60, rear-biased AWD system. Despite being a bulky ultra-premium sedan dripping with luxurious appointments, the Flying Spur is capable of hitting 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in as little as 4.3 seconds, topping out at 200 mph (322 km/h).
Bentley is still Bentley, and the interior of the Flying Spur appears more comfortable than most people's bedrooms. It's dressed up in handcrafted leathers and wood veneers and includes amenities like a mobile connectivity system with Wi-Fi, an eight-channel stereo system and a rear entertainment suite with touchscreen remote. Bentley describes using 600 new materials in the interior alone.
We're still not sure why Bentley chose to splash a distinguished saloon like the Flying Spur with bright purple paint, but the car wore a purple suit with purple-accented interior for its Big Apple debut. You can read more of the ins and outs on the latest Bentley from our Geneva coverage.
SRT Viper Time Attack
The track-inspired SRT Viper Time Attack made a splash with its off-camber mount job. In addition to its flashy "crusher orange" paint, the limited edition Viper assaults the clock with an aerodynamics kit full of carbon fiber, a new carbon fiber engine compartment brace and a suspension tune. Production of the 33 slated Time Attack models will commence during the third quarter of this year.
2014 Buick Regal
Buick is not really the car brand capable to "take your breath away," and the new Regal is no exception. However, the car is definitely a sleeker, sportier four-door than some may associate with a brand that's always had that "old man car" vibe.
The 2014 Regal is the latest offering from the reinvigorated marque and includes a minor facelift with wing-like daytime running LEDs; a new 2.0-liter I-4 turbo engine in the Turbo and GS versions; new safety systems, including Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Alert; and a new all-wheel-drive system.
The 2014 Regal's interior is highlighted by a new-generation Intellilink infotainment system with redesigned controls and natural speech recognition. GM also showed its new app framework equipped to the Regal GS in New York but refused to confirm that the system would be available on the model when it launches this fall. GM only stressed that the app framework will launch before the end of the year.
Bentley wasn't the only ultra-premium brand that had a new car with its own title to show in New York. Rolls-Royce brought its "most powerful Rolls-Royce ever," the two-toned Wraith, onto American shores for the first time.
Being a coupe with a fair amount of separation in price, the Wraith isn't actually competing with Bentley's Flying Spur, but since they both showed up sporting purplish paint jobs – the Wraith is more of a "blueberry" – we'd be remiss not to offer a quick comparison. The Wraith is ever-so-slightly more powerful, packing a V12 engine that puts out 624 bhp. The engine works in concert with a Satellite Aided Transmission that uses GPS to select gears in anticipation of the road ahead. Despite the extra ponies moseying around the corral, and despite it being a smaller fastback coupe design, the Wraith is a tick slower to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) at 4.4 seconds. Both cars have expectedly elegant interiors, but we have to give a slight edge to Rolls thanks to its unique fiber optic Starlight headliner and 18-channel sound system.
Some stories are truly in the pictures, and this year's New York auto show is certainly one of them. Our gallery has more of the aforementioned models, along with some other freshly buffed composite and metal – everything from the very first Porsche 911 to the Lamborghini Aventador.