The New York Auto Show has been one of the premier international auto shows for over 115 years. Though the Geneva Motor Show often steals a bit of its thunder, carmakers still use New York for significant reveals and all the big manufacturers show up to play. As the auto shows have zeroed in on specific identities tied to their locations, New York has recently focused on the style and technology trends of the moment.
Despite the more laid-back feel, the 2017 show kicked off with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo doing a burnout in the Dodge Challenger Demon. So that’s where we’ll start:
Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
The darling of this year’s New York Auto Show was the subject of much hype and conjecture leading up to its unveiling. A lot has been written about the fire-breathing, dragstrip-ready streetcar, so here’s what you want to know: with 100-octane racing fuel, its supercharged 6.2L Hemi V8 puts out 840 hp and 770 lb-ft of torque. It hits 60 mph in 2.3 seconds and munches through a quarter-mile drag strip in 9.65 seconds. At 140 mph. This is a 4,200 pound car. So, yes, it’s absolutely ludicrous. After confirming the 9 second quarter-mile time, the NHRA banned the Demon from competition. Even so, Dodge Hellcat owners are kicking themselves in the shins.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
This is the world’s most powerful SUV. Fiat Chrysler has taken the same 707 hp supercharged V8 from the Charger and Challenger Hellcat models, and dropped it into Jeep’s flagship SUV. Along with numerous other upgrades and go-faster bits, the Trackhawk has the same Torque Reserve launch control system as in the new Dodge Demon, propelling this beast to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Its exterior looks might lull the unsuspecting Bentley Bentayga or Porsche Cayenne owner into a false sense of security — it’s hard to tell from the outside that this Jeep happily eats its competition for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Subaru has been on a tear for most of this decade. US sales have nearly tripled since 2009, and Subaru leads the industry in customer-retention rates. The only thing holding back the small-but-mighty Japanese brand has been that, since they discontinued the ill-conceived Tribeca in 2014, Subaru only offers five-seater cars. No more! The Ascent is a full-size SUV, with three rows of seats and all the charm and practicality of the smaller Subarus. Until further notice, the Ascent will be powered by a turbocharged 2.4 flat-four, and will of course have all-wheel drive. When it arrives, likely sometime in 2018, it is a virtual lock to sell in huge numbers and further Subaru’s quest to invade America.
Nissan Rogue Dogue
Have you ever wanted a car intentionally specced out to accommodate the needs of your fluffy canine friend? Nissan’s Rogue Dogue concept explores and showcases some “dog luxury” features for dog lovers who just can’t leave Toto behind. The Rogue Dogue has a custom dog bed for the rear cargo area, as well as a pull-out ramp for getting in and out of the car. The rear compartment also has air vents and built-in food and water dispensers that deploy out of the wall. Sound like a lot? It’s not. There is also a 360-degree dog shower, complete with a 10-gallon water tank and an integrated compressed heated air dryer. When your pooch gets tired from all the pampering, it can rest in the second-row padded dog hammock. Seriously.
The FT-4X concept is Toyota’s attempt to appeal to the apparently emerging field of Casualcore Exploration™, whatever that means. Actually, what that means is Toyota has made a rugged-ish compact crossover for urban adventure types and weekend warriors who don’t want a Jeep Compass. In keeping with that idea, the FT-4X includes such quirky features as: door handles that are actually removable water bottles, a front-row armrest that is actually a North Face sleeping bag, cabin lighting that can be popped out and used as flashlights, and a removable audio system that transforms into a boombox! None of that makes too much sense, which is why the FT-4X probably won’t see production, at least in its current form, but let Toyota have their fun.
Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon
This 603-hp station wagon will only be available from Mercedes by special order, which is fine, because a) it will be stupid expensive, and b) it’s a 603-hp luxury station wagon. The target market for this beautiful baby is limited to AMG die-hards and bored (read: lucky) enthusiasts searching for wagons that can get to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds. The E63 S Wagon has a twin-turbo AMG 4.0L V8 that feeds its immense power to all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission, many clever drive mode settings, and a limited-slip differential. Despite all this angry brute force, it is still a Mercedes E-Class, and therefore houses all the latest gadgets and luxuries that you don’t need but very much want. Sounds fantastic.
The newest RS5 coupe ditches the old V8 for a twin-turbo 2.9L V6, making 450 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, which is about the same as the old engine, except now that power is far more accessible and achieved more efficiently. The 2018 RS5 has harder and edgier exterior styling, with sharp bladed wheels and giant oval exhaust tips. The popularity of the previous S5 and RS5 means that this coupe has big shoes to fill, but considering Audi’s recent track record, the new RS5 should fit right in.
Buick Regal Sportback
What? That’s a Buick? Yes, and it looks rather great, doesn’t it? The sleek Regal Sportback figures to compete with the likes of the Acura TLX and Audi A4. Every version of the 2018 Regal comes with a 250-hp turbocharged 2.0L inline-four, which is sufficient. But you wouldn’t buy this Buick for the powerplant, you would buy it for the sleek roofline, the furrowed headlights, and the (likely) reasonable price tag. It comes with all the modern safety features, including lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. On the showroom floor, the Regal Sportback looks compelling, but is it compelling enough to shed Buick’s golfing grandfather image? We’ll see when it goes on sale next year.
Ford Police Responder Hybrid Sedan
Ford’s very first hybrid cop car seems to buck the trend of mean, hyper-aggressive police vehicles. This heavily modified Ford Fusion is powered by the combined forces of a two-liter engine and an electric motor, which together are good for 38 mpg. Compare that to the current Interceptor’s 18 mpg, and a hybrid black and white starts to make a lot of sense. Baddies will not outlast our boys in blue in long-distance car chases. But it can also really move. When an officer mashes the gas pedal, the hybrid responder switches to “pursuit mode” for maximum performance, and an aggressive battery regeneration system keeps electricity close at hand for when duty calls.