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NEW YORK AUTO SHOW: Some choice apples in New York

Dated-April 2015

THE New York Motor Show is currently in full swing and while the Geneva Motor Show last month pulled out all the stops and had a great number of unveilings, the Big Apple’s show has a few highlights of its own.

One of the biggest was the announcement of McLaren’s 570S, which is part of the company’s Sport Series brand, which will compete with cars such as the Audi R8 and Porsche 911 and which we reported on in last week’s issue.

Jaguar unveiled its second generation XF sedan, which the company hopes will help it capture more of the medium executive segment from sedans such as the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. It borrows styling cues from the forthcoming XE sedan and will be constructed from 70% aluminium to make it one of the lightest models in its segment.

It will feature a line-up of diesel and petrol engines while high-performance R and RS variants are likely to be in the range at a later stage.

Still in the Jaguar Land Rover stable, the company has also announced the Range Rover SVAutobiography, which is part of the manufacturer’s new SVO (Special Vehicle Operation) division and will be the most luxurious Rangie yet, featuring high-end materials, an extendable boot floor for easier loading of stuff, and rear-facing seats dubbed "Event Seating" that can be deployed over the bottom part of the split tailgate so you can watch your favourite game of polo in style.

Honda unveiled the Civic concept, which is a coupe style vehicle featuring a very aggressive front end and could hint at the company’s intent to enter the sports coupe realm. We cannot help but imagine that a TypeR version, should the company decide to build this concept, will be an attractive proposition.

The sub-premium sedan market may have been overshadowed by the compact premium segment in recent times, but if cars such as the Ford Fusion, forthcoming Volkswagen Passat and the Kia Optima unveiled at the show are anything to go by, then we could see a resurgence of stylish, well-specified models coming into the market.

Lexus showcased its new RX SUV, which takes strong design hints from its younger sibling, the NX crossover. It will likely feature petrol only and a hybrid variant. The model will be coming to SA, although exact timelines are yet to be confirmed.

Chevrolet unveiled an important model in the form of the new Spark, which is yet to be confirmed for SA and features a more Eurocentric design theme similar to some Hyundai models, particularly the grille and lower valance. One of the engine options will be a bigger 1.4l engine and it will also get the company’s MyLink infotainment system.

Porsche unveiled its hardcore Cayman and 911, the GT4 and GT3 RS respectively at Geneva, so it was the turn of the Boxster to get a shot in the arm in the form of the Spyder variant at the New York show. Built in collaboration with the company’s motorsport division, the model features design elements that have aided weight saving measures such as the manually operated roof and lighter composite bucket seats and will be available with a manual transmission.

Subaru showcased its STI Performance concept, which is based on the BRZ coupe. Although not destined for production, it displays the possibilities of customising your BRZ using STI accessories.

Ford’s luxury arm, Lincoln — which is not available locally — displayed its Continental concept luxury sedan, which looks to challenge the likes of the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Lexus LS. The styling is so close to the Audi and Bentley Mulsanne that it even caused a spat between its designer and Bentley’s head of design on social media.

Mercedes-Benz showed its facelifted SUV, the GLE (previously ML). BMW, meanwhile, had its X5 xDrive40e, which is essentially the company’s first plug-in hybrid X model which, according to BMW SA, is still under consideration for our market. Toyota unveiled the hybrid variant of its Rav4 using a system similar to that in the NX300h.

While the show’s wares may not have upstaged those seen at the Geneva show, there were still a few models to get the market excited and it will be interesting to see which ones reach our shores this year.