Year in Review: 2016 Auto Show Highlights

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDevice, © Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceA Look Back
Another year of exciting auto shows has come to a close, and it’s time to reflect on the most impressive vehicle reveals. With hundreds of new models debuting in Detroit, Paris, New York, Geneva, Los Angeles and other locations around the world, the shows provided plenty of shiny new sheet metal to admire and desire. As we look forward to another exciting year of auto show debuts, here’s a fresh and final look at the standout vehicles of the 2016 auto show circuit.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceBMW M2 — Detroit
The introduction of a new BMW M model is always exciting, and even though this latest offering is at the entry level of the BMW lineup the excitement is still there. The M2 boasts an impressive 365 horsepower from its new turbocharged 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine. Torque is rated at 343 lb-ft, but an overboost function bumps this to 369 lb-ft — good enough to push the new M2 to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155 mph. A 6-speed manual transmission with rev matching is standard, but the M2 can also be equipped with a 7-speed M Double Clutch transmission which provides extremely quick shifts without need of a third pedal. After spending a few days on the road and track with the new M2, we think this may very well be the best M car available.
VIDEO: BMW M2 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceBuick Envision — Detroit
The Buick division of General Motors has experienced great sales success in China, and at this year’s Detroit show Buick introduced a new SUV that is built in China. The Envision crossover slots between the small Encore and midsize Enclave crossovers. The 5-passenger Envision features styling that fits perfectly in the Buick lineup and makes use of a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that produces 252 horsepower and uses Buick’s first Active Twin Clutch all-wheel-drive system. Occupants in the Envision will enjoy 8-way power front seats, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, tri-zone climate control and available OnStar with 4G LTE and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceChevrolet Bolt EV — Detroit
Shown in concept form last year, the production Bolt debuted this year in Detroit. Chevrolet promises a range of more than 200 miles with a price around $30,000. The 238-mile range exceeds almost every other electric car currently on the market — the one exception being Tesla. However, the Bolt will be less than half the price of the Model S. In addition to its impressive electric stats, the Bolt is loaded with new innovations. A Bluetooth low-energy system — designed specifically for the Bolt — connects to a smartphone as the driver approaches the car. A large 10.2-inch touchscreen display and rear camera mirror will be available, and a dedicated EV nav system plans a route while taking into account terrain that will affect the battery’s depletion rate. Bolt is now on sale with a starting price of $37,495 before available incentives.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceChrysler Pacifica — Detroit
The all-new Pacifica is the latest version of the venerable Chrysler minivan. Although we’re not crazy about the name — which was last used on a marginal crossover — a number of unique innovations premiere with the new model. The sliding side doors and rear hatch can be operated hands-free — activated with the wave of a foot underneath them. Heated and ventilated seats are available, as is remote start — a nice feature for frosty mornings. Pacifica will also be available with Stow ‘n Vac — an integrated vacuum that reaches all four corners of the van for easy cleanups. Even more important than quick clean-ups: Pacifica will be the first hybrid minivan on the market. The Pacifica Hybrid can drive up to 33 miles on electric-only operation, and is rated at 84 MPGe during city driving. Batteries get stored under the second-row floor, preserving the ample cargo space in the rear, as well as the Stow ‘n Go seats in the third row.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceGenesis G90 — Detroit
Originally the Genesis was simply a premium model in the Hyundai lineup, but at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show Hyundai introduced Genesis as a new luxury brand and a new flagship to go with it: the Genesis G90. Hyundai designers refer to the G90’s styling as “Athletic Elegance,” a design aesthetic that will inspire future Genesis products. Standout styling includes a large, bold grille; a long wheelbase with minimal overhangs; and 19-inch turbine-blade alloy wheels. Full LED headlights and taillights are also available, giving the luxury sedan a striking look at night. Inside the G90 is everything you would expect from a high-end luxury sedan. Surfaces are swathed in Nappa leather and real wood, and the driver’s seat offers 22 power adjustments. The G90 is available with two engine choices: an all-new 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 that produces an impressive 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque at a very usable 1300 rpm. For buyers who are looking for a bit more, there’s a 5.0-liter V8 putting out 420 horsepower.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceHonda Ridgeline — Detroit
Honda took the wraps off an all-new Ridgeline pickup truck at this year’s auto extravaganza in Detroit. Remaining unique in the truck market with unibody construction, the Ridgeline carries over a number of features that stand out now as much as they did at the truck’s introduction 10 years ago, including the in-bed storage trunk and dual-action tailgate — which is both left- and bottom-hinged. The Honda of pickup trucks now gets the industry’s first in-bed audio system, making the Ridgeline an excellent option for a tailgate party. The bed is wider and longer than the previous generation; with 48 inches between the wheel wells, Ridgeline can handle the obligatory 4X8 sheet of plywood, laid flat. The 2017 Ridgeline is powered by the same 3.5-liter V6 engine found in the new Pilot, putting out a plentiful 280 horsepower.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceLexus LC500 — Detroit
A new flagship coupe for the Lexus brand, the LC 500 that debuted in Detroit retains many of the key design elements first seen when the LF-LC concept was reveled four years earlier in Detroit. The front of the car is dominated by a new version of the Lexus spindle grille with chrome on three sides and a new 3D mesh, flanked by a triple LED headlight unit with L-shaped daytime running lights below. The fast-sloping roofline includes a standard glass roof with an available carbon fiber roof. The slim multi-layer taillights create the appearance of a sequential L motif, while the rear diffuser and available active rear spoiler aid the aerodynamics. Standard wheels are 20-inch machined cast aluminum with 21-inch forged aluminum wheels optional. Expected to go on sale early in 2017, the LC 500 is powered by a naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engine expected to produce 467 horsepower and 389 lb-ft of torque, delivered to the rear wheels via a newly developed 10-speed automatic transmission.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceLincoln Continental — Detroit
The Continental returns to the Lincoln lineup as the flagship of Ford’s luxury brand, with a focus on quiet luxury and elegance. Continental gets power from a new 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that is exclusive to Lincoln and produces 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. The available all-wheel-drive system incorporates Dynamic Torque Vectoring to transfer torque between the rear wheels when cornering for better handling and stability. Perfect Position seats can be adjusted up to 30 different ways with heating, cooling and available massage functions. The rear seats offer available adjustable recline, heating, cooling and massage as well. The outside door handles are an interesting design element, moved from the traditional position in the door to the chrome trim below the windows. A microprocessor-controlled E-latch electronic door handle releases the door, and the available auto-cinch feature secures the door when closed gently.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDevicePorsche 911 Turbo — Detroit
The 2017 Porsche 911 Turbo and Turbo S — the top performance models of the 911— made their world debut at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in both coupe and cabriolet versions. Even though the 911 Carrera and Carrera 4 now have turbocharged engines as well, the 911 Turbo and 911 Turbo S continue as the most powerful versions. The 2017 911 Turbo gets motivation from a 540-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter horizontally-opposed 6-cylinder engine combined with a 7-speed PDK transmission, while the Turbo S now has 580 horsepower thanks to new turbochargers. According to Porsche, the 911 Turbo will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and reach a top track speed of 198 mph, and the 911 Turbo S will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds reach 205 mph on the track.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceAcura Precision Concept — Detroit
Developed to express “Precision Crafted Performance,” the Acura Precision Concept is a sleek 4-door sedan. The low, wide front end is dominated by a Diamond Pentagon grille flanked by Jewel Constellation LED headlights, composed of organically arranged fractal elements. The sides are deeply sculpted and at the rear sit floating LED taillights. Created by the Acura Design Studio in California to explore new design ideas for future Acura products — particularly sedans — the Acura Precision Concept makes a strong case for function following form. The Diamond Pentagon grille is expected to become the new signature grille for Acura models.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBuick Avista — Detroit
One of the surprise hits of the 2016 North American International Auto Show, the Buick Avista concept — an elegant 2+2 coupe — debuted the night before the Detroit show press days. Powered by a 400-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine combined with an 8-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels, the Avista is a contemporary version of a grand touring coupe. “The Avista embodies the dynamic soul of Buick,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of global Buick sales, service and marketing. “It is a modern expression of the brand’s heritage of sophisticated performance, communicated with beautiful elegance,” Aldred noted. The Avista was the recipient of the annual EyesOn Design Award, which recognizes the best concept and production vehicle designs at the Detroit show.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFaraday Future FFZERO1 Concept — CES, Las Vegas
Plenty of buzz preceded the Consumer Electronics Show regarding this somewhat mysterious company that plans to build the next generation of fully-electric vehicles. The company provided an idea of their future with the debut of the FFZERO1 Concept. The futuristic vehicle is a test bed to explore what could be done with an electric race car. The car is not going into production anytime soon — if at all — but Faraday does expect this vehicle to inspire future electric vehicles that, according to a company representative, we should be hearing about soon. The FFZERO1 Concept incorporates what the company calls Variable Platform Architecture, which configures the batteries in modular strings placed in the center of the vehicle. And although the concept is physically on display, the performance specs — while impressive — are still only speculative.

© RinspeedRinspeed Etos Concept — CES, Las Vegas
Swiss customizer Rinspeed has been responsible for some innovative, unusual concepts over the years — a favorite was the sQuba, a Lotus Esprit convertible for driving underwater while wearing scuba gear. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Rinspeed kept to the current playbook with a hybrid sports car — based on the BMW i8 — that can be driven autonomously. When in autonomous mode, the steering wheel retracts out of sight, providing a roomy interior for reading or enjoying multimedia via two 21.5-inch ultra HD widescreen curved displays. The Etos stands out from the crowd on its own, and captures even more attention with its onboard DJI drone complete with landing platform on the rear decklid. Rinspeed said not only would the drone shoot selfies of you in your car, you could send the drone to pick up purchases on your drive home. Even as drones become more pervasive throughout our culture, don’t look for a drone landing pad on your car anytime soon.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Hyundai Santa Fe — Chicago
Hyundai debuted the 2017 Santa Fe 7-passenger crossover at the Chicago Auto Show with a refreshed exterior design, new standard Drive Mode Select, a standard 7-inch touchscreen display with Android Auto, a redesigned center stack and a standard rearview camera. Exterior updates included a new front fascia with a brushed grille, a revised headlight design, new rocker panel trim with silver accents, new taillights and a new exhaust outlet design. LED daytime running lights and LED fog lights are now available, as well as an available 8-inch touchscreen navigation system with Android Auto. New safety features include an available Multi-View Camera system, available Smart Cruise Control with Start/Stop function, available Lane Departure Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection and available Dynamic Bending Lights with High Beam Assist.

© Mike Meredith Automotive Content Experience2017 Kia Niro — Chicago
Making its global debut at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, the 2017 Kia Niro offers an attractive crossover design with a new hybrid powertrain. A joint effort between Kia’s design centers in Irvine, California, and Namyang, Korea, the Niro is designed to not look like a typical hybrid but to compete against other compact crossovers. Niro’s new hybrid powertrain combines a 1.6-liter gasoline direct-injection engine specifically designed for hybrid applications combined with a transmission-mounted electric motor for a total output of 146 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. Niro’s power gets delivered to the front wheels through a new 6-speed dual-clutch transmission that provides a more dynamic driving experience than other CVT hybrid models. Electrical energy is stored in a compact, lightweight 1.56-kWh Lithium Ion Polymer battery located underneath the rear seat to reduce the impact on cargo capacity. On sale early in 2017, the Niro is expected to exceed 50 mpg.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNissan Winter Warrior Concepts — Chicago
There wasn’t much snow on the ground at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, which was too bad for Nissan since they brought the perfect snow vehicles. The company outfitted a Pathfinder, Murano and Rogue to conquer extreme winter conditions with a full snow-track system. The DOMINATOR Tracks come from American Track Truck, Inc. The tracks are 48 inches long, 30 inches high and 15 inches wide, replacing the vehicles’ wheels and tires. The suspensions and wheelwells were modified to fit the snow tracks, but otherwise all drivetrain components remain stock. Nissan Design America created identical, custom matte-red chrome body wraps for each vehicle, featuring a unique “track” design and Nissan “Winter Warrior” signage.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Ram Power Wagon — Chicago
The Power Wagon is Ram’s ultimate off-road pickup, and for 2017 this behemoth gets styling updates as well as a number of new features. The Power Wagon’s grille departs from the typical Ram crosshairs and incorporates a large version of the grille first seen on the off-road Rebel. A nice touch inside is the pattern of the seat material — it matches the tread of the big 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires. Power for the new Ram wagon comes from the standard 6.4-liter V8 putting out 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque. Power Wagon also features standard front and rear electronic-locking differentials, a Warn 12,000-pound-capacity electric winch mounted behind the front bumper, and a sway-bar disconnecting system, which allows for additional flexibility and axle articulation. A Tradesman trim will also be available, providing the capability without the styling and interior design elements.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBentley Mulsanne — Geneva
Bentley debuted the next-generation Mulsanne in Switzerland, for the first time offering an extended-wheelbase version of Bentley’s flagship sedan. The new model lineup includes Mulsanne, the performance-oriented Mulsanne Speed and the ultra-luxurious Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase with airplane-style extended legrests for the rear seats, a rear sunroof and a focus on the comfort of rear-seat passengers with around 10 inches of additional rear-seat legroom. The Mulsanne has been completely redesign forward of the A-pillars with a more prominent grille, new front fenders, a new hood, floating all-LED headlights and a revised one-piece bumper — all integrated to give the Mulsanne a fresh, modern appearance. The Mulsanne Speed combines luxury and performance with a focus on the driver, powered by a 6.75-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine producing 530 horsepower and 811 lb-ft of torque, paired with an 8-speed ZF transmission and adjustable sport suspension. The Mulsanne Speed will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds with a top track speed of 190 mph.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceLexus LC 500h — Geneva
The new Lexus flagship LC 500 coupe debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, followed by the world premiere of the LC 500h in Geneva with the Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid system. The stunning design of the LC 500h remains true to the LF-LC concept revealed four years ago with an aggressive, dynamic design that includes the Lexus spindle grille, LED headlights, L-shaped daytime running lights, fast-sloping roofline, slim multi-layer taillights, diffuser and available active rear spoiler aiding aerodynamics. The new hybrid system maximizes the competing goals of a sporty and engaging driving experience while optimizing power and fuel consumption. At the heart of the LC 500h is the new Multi Stage Hybrid system that combines the usual components of a full-hybrid system with an additional automatic 4-speed gearbox to create a more direct response for the driver — specifically optimizing the relationship between the accelerator pedal and actual vehicle acceleration. The hybrid system includes a 3.5-liter V6 engine with a powerful electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack. The LC 500h is expected to acceleration from zero to 62 mph in less than 5 seconds.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMaserati Levante — Geneva
The first SUV in the 100-year history of Maserati, the Levante debuted earlier this year at the Geneva show. Based on the same architecture as the Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans, Levante shares design elements with other Maserati models including the grille with its prominent trident logo, portholes in the front fenders and the shape of the taillights. The sloped roofline creates a more coupelike profile. Maserati’s newest model is powered by a choice of twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engines that develop 430 horsepower for the Levante S and 350 horsepower for the Levante. The Q4 intelligent all-wheel-drive system is standard and both engines are teamed with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

© Mike Meredith Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class — Geneva
Mercedes-Benz presented the new 2017 E-Class sedan at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show following its world premiere at the North American International Auto Show in January. The 10th-generation E-Class boasts a new exterior design, a new luxurious interior and world-premiere technologies. With a long hood and short decklid, the E-Class has classic Mercedes sedan proportions and a similarity to the larger S-Class sedan. Mercedes-Benz said the new E-Class interior is “the synthesis of emotion and intelligence,” dominated by a next-gen high-resolution display that combines a wide navigation display screen and a traditional gauge cluster integrated into a single unit behind the steering wheel. The E-Class will launch in the U.S. market with a new turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that produces 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, combined with a new 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceVolvo V90 — Geneva
The Volvo V90 wagon was on display in Geneva a few weeks after its official reveal in Stockholm, Sweden. The newest addition to the Volvo lineup alongside the XC90 crossover and the S90 sedan, the V90 is the third vehicle in the top-of-the line 90 Series built on the same fully modular Scalable Product Architecture. Volvo has a strong history and reputation building stylish and capable wagons, and the design of the V90 is sleek and sophisticated with a focus on aesthetics, materials and finish while still delivering the utility of a wagon. Scheduled to arrive for the U.S. market in 2017, the V90 will be sold as the T8 Twin Engine gas plug-in hybrid that will deliver about 400 horsepower and offer a full-electric range of 30 miles. Volvo has focused on driving dynamics for the V90 to deliver a more refined driving experience with a sense of control and predictability.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DB11 — Geneva
The latest Aston Martin to join the DB lineup made its worldwide debut at the Geneva Motor Show. The DB11 is built on a new lighter, stronger, and more space efficient bonded aluminum structure, and its 600-horsepower twin-turbocharged V12 engine makes it the most powerful DB in Aston’s history. Aston Martin CEO Dr. Andy Palmer said, “We aspire to make the most beautiful cars in the world. DB11 is the absolute embodiment of what an Aston Martin should be, and we have worked tirelessly to ensure that DB11 combines both exceptional design with the latest technology throughout.”

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBugatti Chiron — Geneva
The long-anticipated successor to the mighty Veyron finally arrived at this year’s Geneva Motor Show — and it didn’t disappoint. The all-new Chiron looks sleeker than its predecessor and carries a number of classic Bugatti styling cues, including the legendary horseshoe grille. Powering the Chiron is a newly-developed 8.0-liter quad-turbo W16 engine producing 1500 horsepower and insane 1180 lb-ft of torque, available as low as 2000 rpm. This much power means some staggering stats: Chiron reaches 62 mph in less than 2.5 seconds, 124 mph in around 6.5 seconds and — most amazing of all — 186 mph in less than 13.6 seconds. The Chiron’s speed is limited to 236 mph for normal driving — a special key is required to unlock the maximum speed “limited for road use” of 261 mph. Only 500 Chirons will be built, with prices starting just north of $2.6 million.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceChevrolet Corvette Grand Sport — Geneva
The original Corvette Grand Sports were purpose-built racing prototypes that looked like production models — only five were ever built. There have been a few other Grand Sport Corvettes through the years, and in Geneva this year Chevrolet debuted the latest version — the C7 Grand Sport. This special Vette features Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, Brembo brakes, a 7-speed manual transmission, electronic limited-slip differential and unique springs. An optional Z07 package adds ceramic brakes and Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, making this Corvette the ultimate track toy. A coupe and convertible version of the Grand Sport are on sale now.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceJaguar F-Type SVR — Geneva
The Jaguar F-TYPE already offers impressive performance in one of the best-looking cars on the road, but for some drivers there’s always room for more power. For those buyers, engineers at Jaguar created the all-new Jaguar F-TYPE SVR. Developed by Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations, the F-TYPE SVR is lighter and more powerful than the F-TYPE R yet still amenable to everyday use. The supercharged V8 engine has been bumped up to 575 horsepower. Combining that power with some vehicle weight savings allows the SVR to reach 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 200 mph. The F-TYPE SVR is available as a coupe or convertible and went on sale this past summer.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceKoenigsegg Agera RS — Geneva
The Swedish car company Koenigsegg has developed a reputation for building extreme sports cars, and the new Agera RS certainly falls into that category. The RS outperforms the Agera R with advanced lightweight sound insulation, an all-new front splitter optimized for the track, front winglets, side skirts, an advanced dynamic underbody flap system and a dynamically active rear spoiler. The Koenigsegg’s twin-turbo aluminum 5.0-liter V8 engine puts out a massive 1160 horsepower, with a top speed well in excess of 200 mph. Only 25 will be built, and they won’t be cheap.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceLamborghini Centenario — Geneva
In proper tribute and in celebration of 100 years since Lamborghini founder Ferruccio Lamborghini’s birth, the company is introducing this special limited-edition Centenario. The Centenario is built around a carbon-fiber monocoque, covered in a gloss carbon fiber while the lower parts — including the front splitter, side skirts, wheel arches and rear diffuser — are in matte carbon fiber. While this Centenario would stand out in any crowd of exotic supercars, it is more than just a pretty (or mean-looking) face. Centenario boasts a 770-horsepower V12 engine — the most powerful engine Lamborghini has ever produced. A limited number of just 20 coupes and 20 roadsters will be produced — and to those who want one, we’re sorry to report that all have been presold.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMcLaren 570GT — Geneva
No one will argue the fact that McLarens are extreme sports cars; however, in Geneva this year the UK company showcased the 570GT, which McLaren describes as being practical enough for everyday use. Without making any performance sacrifices — the twin-turbo V8 still puts out 562 horsepower and sprints to 62 mph in just 3.4 seconds — the 570GT’s changes have made this supercar more comfortable and quieter for use on longer journeys. A side-opening rear glass hatch provides additional space for luggage, and the suspension has been tuned for a more comfortable ride. Additionally, specially-developed Pirelli P Zero tires reduce road noise.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOpel GT Concept — Geneva
The European arm of General Motors brought this new GT Concept to Geneva. While reminiscent of the original Opel GT design from the 1970s, this concept is clearly looking more to the future than the past. “We created the GT Concept to capture the bold, emotional spirit of the Opel brand. It is dramatic, sculptural and full of innovations,” explained Mark Adams, vice president of design at Opel. With a long hood and short overhangs, the GT Concept has no mirrors or door handles to interfere with its pure sports car-like lines. Still just a concept, the Opel GT could represent a possible direction for the GM brand.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 718 Boxster — Geneva
This German automaker has a rich history of sports cars — in 1950s and 60s the company raced the legendary 718 lightweight mid-engine sports car. In the spirit of that original, Porsche introduces the 718 Boxster. This updated roadster with the new naming designation is available as 718 Boxster or 718 Boxster S. A newly-developed 2.0-liter turbocharged engine produces 300 horsepower in the 718 Boxster, and the S upgrades to a 2.5-liter turbo producing 350 horsepower. The new models feature new chassis tuning and stronger brakes, which should make for great fun on the road or track.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 911 R — Geneva
Unfortunately, manual transmissions seem to be disappearing from the market; many high-end sports cars don’t even offer a manual anymore. But for the sports car purist comes the Porsche 911 R. A limited number will be built — 991 to be exact — and all will feature the 4.0-liter naturally-aspirated engine from the GT3 RS, producing 500 horsepower. And 911 R is only available with a 6-speed manual transmission. Thanks to considerable weight savings (the rear seat is removed and the roof is constructed from magnesium) the 911 R is the lightest version of the 911. Completing the package are Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes, ultra-high-performance tires and 20-inch lightweight aluminum wheels.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHyundai Ioniq — Geneva
Hyundai knows that a pure electric car is not for everyone, so the Korean company is introducing an all-new model that will be available with three different electrified platforms. The Ioniq will be sold as the Ioniq Hybrid, Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid and the Ioniq Electric. Hyundai claims that this is the first car in the world to be offered with three electric powertrains. Both the hybrid and plug-in hybrid will utilize a new 1.6-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder engine that produces 104 horsepower. With the addition of the electric motor, total output is around 140 horsepower. The Ioniq Electric can travel around 110 miles between charges and should return 125 MPGe. Look for the Ioniq Hybrid and Electric to be arriving early in 2017, followed later by the Ioniq plug-in hybrid.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceGenesis New York Concept — New York
At last fall’s Los Angeles Auto Show, Hyundai introduced Genesis as its new luxury car brand. At this year’s New York show the new brand revealed a very sexy sport-sedan concept that provides a glimpse into the future product design we can expect from Genesis. “The New York Concept is a progressive concept car that showcases the design quality of the brand. With its expressive volumes and refined design, the New York Concept truly embodies the ‘Athletic Elegance,’ that characterizes GENESIS products and will continue to do so for future models that come from our luxury brand,” said Manfred Fitzgerald, Head of Genesis. In addition to the sleek lines and futuristic interior, the New York Concept features an advanced hybrid powertrain with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Subaru Impreza — New York
Over the last year Subaru unveiled two concept versions of the Impreza, providing brief glimpses regarding what we can expect from the next production model. Now we finally get a full view of the new Impreza as Subaru took the wraps off both the sedan and 5-door at the 2016 New York Auto Show. The signature grille and hawk-eye headlights that we’ve seen on the concepts carry through to the production model, and the bold fender flares are a nice touch. With the Impreza Subaru introduces an all-new global platform that will be the basis for the next generations of Subaru vehicles. With liberal use of high-strength steel throughout, the new Impreza should be quieter and have better ride comfort. The 2017 model will be the first Impreza built in America. Manufacturing will be at Subaru’s facility in West Lafayette, Indiana, alongside the Legacy and Outback. The new Impreza has a base price of $18,395 and is on sale now.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2017 Toyota Prius Prime — New York
Building on the momentum of Toyota’s redesigned 2016 Prius, the company has introduced the plug-in version, the Prius Prime. Debuting in New York with updated styling, the Prius Prime features an improved hybrid system that increases the all-electric range to 25 miles — double the range of the previous Prius Plug-In Hybrid. With a greater battery capacity and the improved hybrid system, the Prius Prime offers an impressive 133 MPGe in electric mode with a 54 mpg combined rating in hybrid mode. With a full tank of gas and a full electric charge the total driving range is estimated at 640 miles. The new Prius Prime began to arrive at Toyota dealers in late fall of 2016.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceLincoln Navigator Concept — New York
Lincoln debuted a stunning new Navigator Concept at the New York Auto Show, offering a look at what to expect next in a full-size SUV from Ford’s luxury brand. Inspired by luxury sailboats and yachts, a nautical theme carries throughout the design to include the body lines, Storm Blue paint and teak wood trim. At the front is a larger, taller version of the grille design from the new Lincoln Continental sedan. Power gullwing doors provide easy access to a spacious interior. The doors are wide enough to access both rows and feature a series of three deploying teak stairs that drop when the doors are raised. Don’t expect gullwing doors in the production model, but the overall look of the Navigator Concept is pretty close to the next Navigator. Inside, the Navigator Concept boasts the most spacious Lincoln interior ever with six Lincoln-patented Perfect Position Seats that adjust 30 different ways, finished in light blue leather. For the driver a large panel displays key information and can be customized from a touchscreen in the center stack. Power comes from a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine that produces more than 400 horsepower, along with new technology to adjust for variable surfaces and weather conditions.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi R8 Spyder — New York
If you’re looking for fun in the sun, the new R8 Spyder will certainly help you find it. Audi took the wraps off the sexy convertible in New York, and this car would turn heads even if it wasn’t painted bright yellow. Slightly shorter in overall length but wider than its predecessor by about 1.4 inches, the R8 has a low, wide stance, further accentuated by the large honeycomb grille. Audi’s headlights provide a signature look at night, and the R8 is available with laser lighting for maximum visibility and range — identified by a blue anodized strip in the headlights. The convertible top is cloth and can be opened in 20 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph. Certainly one of the most compelling reasons for driving the R8 Spyder with the top down is hearing the wonderful sound that emanates from its powerful V10 engine as it revs up to 7800 rpm. Output is rated at 540 horsepower with almost 400 lb-ft of torque — good enough to move the R8 Spyder to 62 mph in just 3.6 seconds to an eventual top speed just shy of 200 mph. Power gets directed to all four wheels via Audi’s legendary quattro all-wheel drive system, which provides excellent traction even in adverse weather conditions.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceChevrolet Camaro ZL1 — New York
Chevrolet has taken the Camaro to an all-new level with the introduction of the very powerful ZL1. The ZL1 sports a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine that puts out an incredible 640 horsepower and 640 lb-ft of torque. This big engine gets teamed with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a new 10-speed (yes, ten) automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Performance stats are impressive — a sprint to 60 mph takes a mere 3.5 seconds. The new ZL1 is differentiated from the rest of the Camaro lineup with a lower grille opening, a new hood, a larger front splitter, wider fenders, a wing-style rear spoiler and 20-inch forged aluminum wheels fitted with Goodyear Eagle F1 high-performance tires. “The Camaro ZL1 is designed to excel at everything,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president of global product development at GM. “It’s a 2+2 coupe offering incredible performance . . . with the highest levels of technology and perfect chassis damping, making it suitable for everyday driving. It will compare well to any sports coupe, at any price and in any setting,” he noted.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMazda MX-5 Miata RF — New York
We fully expected Mazda to eventually produce the new MX-5 with a retractable hardtop. And we were right, but the car introduced at the New York Auto Show was not exactly what we anticipated. When this MX-5 RF (for retractable fastback) rolled onstage at a media-only event on the eve of the New York show, it looked more like a fastback than a coupe, with a targa top and buttresses flowing back toward the rear of the car. When the top is retracted, the car retains the same silhouette, but with the top and rear window stored away. The roof mechanism on the new RF has four parts including the rear window. With the flip of a switch, the rear section lifts up while the roof folds with the window, ultimately hidden with only the rear section in place. Aside from being slightly taller, the RF retains the same dimensions and proportions of the soft-top MX-5. Engineers were able to utilize the same real estate that stores the soft-top, so trunk space remains unchanged in the new RF. The MX-5 RF on display in New York is a beautiful Machine Gray — a new color originally introduced for the new CX-9. The sides of the roof and buttresses are painted to match the body color, while the top is available in either the body color or piano black.
VIDEO: Mazda MX-5 Miata RF debuts in New York.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-AMG C63 Cabriolet — New York
The onslaught of powerful Mercedes-AMG models continued at the New York show with the debut of the all-new C63 Cabriolet. Following the C-Class Cabriolet introduction a few weeks prior in Geneva, this open-top model joins the C63 coupe and sedan in the C-Class lineup. “The C-Class is a decisive factor in our company’s success. The new combination of intensive open-air ambience and powerful V8 engine is unique in the segment and perfectly supplements our large C-Class range,” said Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. This new Mercedes-AMG is available as either the C63 or C63S. Both sport a 4.0-liter V8 Biturbo engine — output is 469 horsepower in the C63, while the C63S is rated at 503 horses. Both will reach 60 mph in around 4 seconds, but the C63S can reach an impressive 186 mph. With a wide track, large wheels, flared wheel arches and the customary four exhaust pipes, the C63 easily stands out from the crowd as something special.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNissan GTR — New York
At this year’s New York Auto Show, Nissan turned up the performance dial once again with a refreshed 2017 GT-R. The new GT-R received updated styling but most of the changes were subtle, except for the Japanese automaker’s signature “V-Motion” grille, altered to fit the GT-R’s design and made larger to improve engine cooling. The new GT-R offers a more comfortable, smoother and quieter ride — qualities not often associated with improved handling — through Active Noise Cancellation technology and new sound-absorption materials, including an acoustic glass windshield. The 2017 GT-R gets more than a new look — there’s a healthy power boost under the hood as well. The 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 now puts out 565 horsepower and 467 lb-ft of torque. That’s an increase of 20 horsepower over the 2016 model. Engine updates give the GT-R better acceleration in the mid- to high-range rpm, and it will sound better at spool-up via a new titanium exhaust system. With a more rigid body structure and new suspension, the GT-R claims even better cornering abilities — an impressive feat given the outstanding handling of the previous version.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCadillac Escala Concept — Pebble Beach Concours
Making its worldwide debut a few days prior to Concours Sunday, the Escala showcases future design and technology for Cadillac sedans. “Escala is a concept with two clear objectives,” said Johan de Nysschen, president of Global Cadillac. “First, Escala is a statement of intent for the next iteration of the Cadillac design language, and also technical concepts in development for future Cadillac models. Secondly, Escala builds Cadillac’s aspirational character, signaling the brand’s return to the pinnacle of premium.” Bold statements indeed. The 4-door sedan is larger than the recently launched Cadillac CT6 and features a liftback design similar to the Audi A7. Escala features the new and evolved face of Cadillac design that will begin appearing on production models soon.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceLamborghini Centenario LP 770-4 Spider — Pebble Beach Concours
On April 28, 1916, the man whose name adorns one of the most exclusive, exotic Italian sports cars was born. So in proper tribute and in celebration of 100 years since Ferruccio Lamborghini’s birth, the company is introducing a special limited-edition Centenario. As expected, this is no ordinary Lamborghini — as if there ever were such a thing. The Centenario will be built in very limited numbers — just 20 coupes and 20 roadsters will be produced — and follows other special one-off models such as the Reventon, Sesto Elemento, Aventador J and Veneno. While this Centenario would stand out in any crowd of exotic supercars, it is more than just a pretty (or mean-looking) face. Under that clear cover behind the cockpit is a 770-horsepower V12 engine — the most powerful unit Lamborghini has ever produced.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceVision Mercedes-Maybach 6 — Pebble Beach Concours
Mercedes-Benz revealed this stunning luxury coupe at a private event adjacent to the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links a few days prior to this year’s Concours. Measuring more than 18 feet long, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 offers classic coupe proportions with a very long hood, a low roofline and the cabin positioned toward the rear. The Maybach marque has a long history of building elegant luxury vehicles, and this Vision concept upholds that tradition by possessing enough elegance to wear the prestigious double M logo. The gullwing doors on the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 add another level of exotic elegance to this already extreme-looking coupe. The Maybach features four compact permanent-magnet synchronous electric motors — one at each wheel — creating a high-tech all-wheel drive system. Total output is expected to be an impressive 738 horsepower.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceBest of Show: 1936 Lancia Astura Pinin Farina Cabriolet — Pebble Beach Concours
Amid exploding fireworks and flying confetti, Richard Mattei of Paradise Valley, Arizona, drove his immaculate 1936 Lancia Astura Pinin Farina Cabriolet onto the awards ramp at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance as the 2016 Best of Show winner. When asked how it felt to take the most coveted prize at this world-renowned concours, Mattei told the audience it was, “beyond imagination.” This is the first time a Lancia has won Best of Show at Pebble Beach, and it certainly wasn’t an easy win. A strong field of entrants included many stunning Delahayes — the featured marque of the 66th Concours competition. Mattei’s Lancia was one of just six cars that Pinin Farina built for a Lancia dealer in Biella, Italy. Each of the six was built with slightly different features. This Lancia has a hydraulically-powered top, curved side glass, internally-adjustable shocks and a basket-woven interior.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi RS 3 — Paris
We love a good “sleeper” car — one that might go unnoticed by the general public but is actually a high-powered beast — and the new Audi RS 3 certainly fits the bill. Sure, the RS 3 has unique styling cues such as its grille, LED headlights, wide fender flares and rear spoiler, but it probably won’t be noticed as anything other than a small sedan by anyone except those in the know. And those who do will know that the RS 3 boasts a 400-horsepower 5-cylinder engine, quattro all-wheel drive and can reach 60 mph in around 4 seconds with a top speed of 174 mph. Of course, the roaring exhaust note might be a dead giveaway about this special sport sedan. The best part of all — this one IS coming to America.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFerrari GTC4Lusso T — Paris
A Ferrari press conference is always exciting, and this year the Italian marque celebrates its 70th anniversary, so there were a number of new models as well as special editions on display in Paris. Most noteworthy was the introduction of the GTC4Lusso T. Granted, the name does not exactly roll off the tongue, but we can forgive a lot for a car such as this. The GTC4Lusso made its debut earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show, and in Paris the added T in the name indicates that this version will sport a 3.9-liter turbocharged V8 engine producing just over 600 horsepower. The GTC4Lusso T is unique in the Ferrari lineup in that it seats four, has a sportback design and sends power to the road through a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFerrari LaFerrari Aperta — Paris
Ever since Ferrari took the wraps off the extreme LaFerrari there have been rumors that an open-top version was in the works. No longer a rumor, the LaFerrari Aperta made its official debut in Paris. The open-top hypercar maintains the same torsional rigidity as the hardtop and utilizes the same V12 hybrid powerplant that produces an astounding 949 horsepower. Drivers and passengers will need to hold onto their hats in this convertible — 60 mph comes up in under 3 seconds, 120 mph in less than 7 ticks and top speed is close to 220 mph. Only 209 Apertas will be built — 200 for customers and nine that will be kept by Ferrari for shows and other promotional opportunities. Price? Don’t bother asking how much, because it doesn’t matter: all 200 have already been sold.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceGLM G4 — Paris
If you haven’t heard of GLM before, don’t be surprised — we hadn’t either. The electric vehicle manufacturer has been around for several years and has already produced an electric vehicle in Japan. And the company certainly made itself known at this year’s Paris show. The G4 is a luxury exotic with an elegant interior offering seating for four. Although cabin access on many exotics requires some contortionist skills, the G4 makes the task easy with front and rear scissor doors. Using twin electric motors — one at each axle — with a total output of more than 530 horsepower, the G4 can reach 60 mph in less than 3.7 seconds. GLM also claims a range of just under 250 miles. Although we’ve seen plenty of one-of-a-kind vehicles like the G4 that never made it to production, GLM seems to have the credentials to make this a real car. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHonda Civic Type R Prototype — Paris
Civic fans were likely dancing in the streets on hearing the news that the baddest Civic of them all is coming to America. In the past the Civic Type R has been sold overseas, but this latest-generation — showcased as a prototype in Paris — will be sold stateside. Based on the new Civic hatchback, the Type R Prototype looks downright mean with a black brushed-aluminum looking finish and carbon fiber trim. Lurking out back on the Civic Type R Prototype are a large rear spoiler and three exhaust outlets. The red badging is likely to be continued on the production version when it officially debuts sometime next year. Honda has not released any official stats about power, but some enthusiast publications are reporting more than 300 horses could be possible. More to come.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceLand Rover Discovery — Paris
The last time the U.S. market hosted a full-size Discovery was 2004, and while this new model is light-years beyond the original in style, comfort and technology, it will likely further the Land Rover tenet of legendary off-road capability. Echoing the modern styling of the Discovery Sport that was introduced last year, the fifth-generation Discovery is larger to accommodate seven passengers — Land Rover even claims that Discovery’s third row will comfortably accommodate 95th-percentile adults. Of course the new Discovery retains all the off-road capability SUV buyers have come to expect from Land Rover. The Disco has 11.1 inches of ground clearance and can wade through almost three feet of water. The Discovery will go on sale in midyear 2017 with a base price of $49,990. A limited run of 529 “First Edition” models will be available in the United States, with exclusive features including unique etched map detailing on the aluminum trim of the doors and dashboard, unique badges, special color choices and a long list of standard equipment.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-AMG GT Roadster — Paris
Mercedes-Benz debuted two new high-performance convertibles in Paris on the eve of the motor show: the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster and 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster — both scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. in fall of 2017. With a boost in power over the AMG GT coupe, the 2018 AMG GT Roadster gets its motivation from a 4.0-liter biturbo V8 engine that produces 469 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque. The AMG GT C Roadster slots between the AMG GT Roadster and the AMG GT R with a new version of the 4.0-liter liter biturbo V8 engine producing 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque. Both AMG GT Roadsters utilize the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed dual-clutch transmission to optimize performance. The new AMG GT roadsters are constructed with a lightweight, rigid aluminum body over a lightweight magnesium / steel / aluminum frame to save weight and keep the car’s center of gravity low. The fabric soft-top is available in three colors — black, red or beige — and can be opened or closed automatically in around 11 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-Benz Generation EQ — Paris
Mercedes-Benz showed their vision for the future of electric vehicles in Paris with the world premiere of the Generation EQ, a concept utility vehicle with the look of a sport wagon. Powered by two electric motors with permanent all-wheel drive, the EQ is expected to have a range of up to 300 miles. The Generation EQ black panel front design includes an illuminated Mercedes star and blue lighting to simulate a Mercedes grille. Inside, the Generation EQ features touch controls with a large floating widescreen display. Committed to more electric vehicles for the future, Mercedes-Benz will develop EQ as a new brand for future battery-electric vehicles, built on a new vehicle architecture that will permit the development of different sizes and types. Mercedes describes the Generation EQ as a “close-to-production” concept; when the production version is ready, expect to see it on U.S. streets.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceVolkswagen I.D. — Paris
One of the hits of the 2016 Paris Motor Show, the Volkswagen I.D. electric concept offers a first look at VW’s plans for a series of new electric vehicles beginning in 2020. Showcasing a new design direction for electric vehicles, VW’s Open Space layout offers a new interior experience as well. Powered by a 168-horsepower electric motor with a range between 249 and 373 miles, the production version of I.D. will have a price comparable to a well-equipped Golf, and it will surely reach the U.S. market. The Volkswagen I.D. also offers a looks at autonomous driving, with a multifunction steering wheel that retracts into the dash in fully-automated Pilot I.D. mode. Volkswagen plans to offer fully-automated driving beginning in 2025. The production Volkswagen I.D. will also advance vehicle connectivity, with each owner receiving a Volkswagen ID with an individual profile for the car, ability to authenticate the driver and connect the car with the home.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceChevrolet Chevelle Slammer — SEMA
For a modern take on classic muscle, the Chevelle Slammer concept is a modified 1969 Chevelle that retains its classic lines but is slammed to accommodate 18-inch front and 20-inch rear polished wheels. Nearly the entire body is subtly modified to give it a smooth appearance without losing the original shape, including painted minimized bumpers. Under the long hood sits Chevrolet’s new LT376 crate engine, which is based on the LT1 engine found in the Corvette and Camaro SS but with a unique camshaft and heads to produce 535 horsepower — 75 horsepower more than the Corvette. The Chevelle Slammer’s LT376 engine gets paired with the new SuperMatic 4L75-E transmission — a 4-speed automatic designed to handle high-torque engines. Chevelle Slammer rides on adjustable air suspension that can alter the ride height at the push of a button, including dropping it to the ground for display. The interior is finished in Adrenaline Red with 2016 Camaro front seats and custom gauges.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceAcura NSX GT3 — SEMA
The racing version of Acura’s highly anticipated NSX supercar, the NXS GT3 will compete in two 2017 North American racing series, beginning with the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January. Michael Shank Racing will campaign two Acura NSX GT3s in the GTD class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, while Real Time Racing will compete in the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge series. The production-based Acura NSX GT3 utilizes the same ultra-rigid and lightweight multi-material body with aluminum-intensive space frame as the street car, with custom bodywork and aerodynamic improvements including a rear wing, underbody diffuser and larger hood vents. The NSX GT3 is powered by a 3.5-liter 75-degree twin-turbocharged DOHC V6 engine combined with a 6-speed sequential-shift racing gearbox delivering power to the rear wheels. For the SEMA show, the NSX GT3 was displayed on a custom trailer created by Acura Design and the Jimmy Shine Workshop, incorporating elements of the NSX GT3 and the 2017 Acura MDX tow vehicle, including the Pearl White powder coat.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMazda MX-5 Speedster Evolution — SEMA
Lighter and more efficient than the MX-5 Speedster that debuted last year, the MX-5 Speedster Evolution further advances the idea of re-creating the lightweight, no-frills driving experience of an open-top 1950s sports car. A digital dash, lighter brakes and a lithium-ion battery reduce weight by an additional 100 pounds to just 1,980 pounds — 15 percent less than the original MX-5 starting weight. Finished in White Ether paint, the MX-5 Speedster Evolution features a carbon fiber Mazda Design aero kit, custom trim seats, MX-5 Global Cup adjustable suspension, a Racing Beat custom center-exit exhaust, RAYS 57 Transcend Gram Lights 17-inch wheels and BFGoodrich Rival G force R1 225/45R17 tires.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHyundai Santa-Fast — SEMA
Aside from the custom wrap and unique grille, this Santa Fe concept may look like Hyundai’s popular 7-passenger crossover, but it’s no run-of-the-mill SUV. This special version Hyundai created with partner Bisimoto has been aptly named “Santa-Fast.” Bisimoto reconfigured the Santa Fe from front- to rear-wheel drive, then created a Hyundai-based 3.8-liter V6 powerplant with twin turbochargers to produce an insane 1040 horsepower. “Bisimoto takes pleasure in making any vehicle fun to drive, even a larger SUV,” said ‘Bisi Ezerioha, owner of Bisimoto. “Our Santa-Fast SUV is a proof-of-concept vehicle with driving capabilities that our customers can count on every day they turn the key.”

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceJeep CJ66 — SEMA
When a model has had a history as storied as the Jeep Wrangler, a mashup of past generations can make for an interesting concept. That’s exactly what Jeep did with the CJ66 — the frame hails from the last generation Wrangler, the body from a Jeep CJ and parts from the current-gen Wrangler round it out. Painted in an eye-catching Copper Canyon, the CJ66 features 35-inch all-terrain tires, a lift kit and a concept two-way air system that allows off-roaders to adjust tire pressure on the fly. Occupants are surrounded by a custom-built roll cage, and all will feel firmly planted in custom Viper seats.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceStubby Bob — SEMA
This wild truck started as a 1950 Ford F6 2-ton dump truck, but its life became a bit more exciting after several modifications were performed by Roadkill’s Mike Finnegan and Dave Freiburger. First the pair shortened the truck by about four feet, and then replaced the engine with a rear-mounted 454 Chevy big-block V8 topped with a Weiand 8-71 supercharger. Power gets directed to the original 2-speed heavy-duty rear axle. Suspension, wheels and tires are all stock. Within this wild truck the back of the bench seat remains, but the seat bottoms are out of a 1979 Chevrolet Camaro. At full throttle Stubby Bob does wheelies down the road.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAlfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio — Los Angeles
The Stelvio may be an SUV, but it is built on the same platform as the all-new Giulia, and that car holds the record as the fastest 4-door sedan around the Nurburgring circuit in Germany. The new Stelvio — named for one of the greatest driving roads in the world — will be offered in three trims, but the one that grabbed our attention is the Quadrifoglio. Powered by an all-aluminum direct-injection 2.9-liter bi-turbo intercooled V6 engine producing 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque, this sexy crossover can hit 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 177 mph. Expect to see Stelvio arriving in showrooms sometime next year.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceJaguar I-PACE — Los Angeles
Anyone fortunate enough to experience a Jaguar F-TYPE under hard acceleration knows that the British marque knows how to make performance sound good. However, the latest model from Jag goes its own way — it accelerates in total silence. The stunning I-PACE concept offers plenty of performance, but this sporty SUV is all electric. Two powerful electric motors — one driving each axle for all-wheel drive performance — are integrated with the transmission and provide a total of 400 horsepower and 516 lb-ft or torque. The I-PACE will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in around 4 seconds, with an estimated range of 220 miles on a full charge. The liquid-cooled 90 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is positioned as low as possible in the chassis and between the axles, which should provide for excellent handling when the I-PACE enters production in 2018.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTIE Fighter — Los Angeles
Nissan debuted its Star Wars-themed Rogue crossover at this year’s L.A. auto show, tying in the design with the latest Star Wars film, “Rogue One.” No disrespect to the Rogue, but we’d love to take this model out for a spin. According to Wookieepedia (our source for Star Wars vehicle information), this TIE Fighter may be in the Nissan stand, but it was built by Sienar Fleet Systems. Only about 30 feet long — small for a space ship — the TIE Fighter is powered by twin ion engines (hence the acronym) that propel it to speeds of 750 mph. Apparently the twin engines provide impressive maneuverability. And unlike the Audi R8 with its laser lights, the TIE Fighter has laser cannons as well as proton torpedoes — quite useful in L.A. traffic. No word yet on pricing, or if Nissan plans to release their own version of this iconic — and ionic — vehicle.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Jeep Compass — Los Angeles
Taking full advantage of the enduring success of the Grand Cherokee, the redesigned 2017 Jeep Compass possesses obvious influences from its older sibling. Thus, the new Compass looks a lot like a baby Grand Cherokee. Built on FCA’s small-wide 4X4 architecture, the new Compass compact crossover will be sold in markets around the world to further the reach of Jeep’s off-road capability and improved on-road driving dynamics. On sale in the first quarter of 2017, Compass will be offered in four trim levels for the U.S. market: Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk. For the U.S. market, Compass will be powered by a 2.4-liter Tigershark engine producing 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual is available with both 4X4 and 4X2 drivelines. Jeep Compass Trailhawk offers proper off-road capability with Active Drive Low, Selec-Terrain with Rock mode, increased ride height, skidplates, red tow hooks, unique fascias for increased approach and departure angles, hill-descent control and 17-inch off-road tires.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceMazda CX-5 — Los Angeles
Mazda debuted the new CX-5 compact crossover in Los Angeles, advancing the state of Mazda’s current design and technology. The new CX-5 will feature G-Vectoring Control, the first SKYACTIV-VEHICLE Dynamics technology, which is designed to achieve high levels of vehicle responsiveness and stability while reducing sideways sliding of the occupants for a more comfortable ride. The updated styling is enhanced by a specially-developed Soul Red Crystal paint that enables both brighter highlights and darker shadows to accentuate the lines and details of the design. Planned for sale in multiple markets around the world, CX-5 will be offered with three different engines: the SKYACTIV-G 2.0 and SKYACTIV-G 2.5 gasoline direct-injection engines, and the SKYACTIV-D 2.2 diesel engine, combined with either a 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission. Specific details for the U.S. market have not been announced, but the new CX-5 is scheduled to go on sale in Japan in February, followed by other markets later in 2017.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 4X4-2 — Los Angeles
For 2017 Mercedes-Benz adds the G550 4X4-2 to the lineup as the most capable G-Class ever, featuring innovative portal axles, three locking differentials, ground clearance of more than 17 inches and a 4.0L V8 biturbo engine. Based on the production G-Class platform and following the AMG G63 6X6 that was never sold in the U.S., the G550 features advanced suspension with dual springs and damper struts for a high range of suspension travel in tough off-road conditions, as well as stabilizer bars for sporty on-road performance. The portal axles are one of the most interesting technical aspects of the G550 4X4-2 — they allow the suspension, steering and drive shafts to remain the same as the G550, but employ a series of gears to drop the wheels lower and wider, creating 17 inches of ground clearance and increasing the track by 9 inches at the front and 10 inches at the rear. The G550 4X4-2 derives power from a new 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine developing 416 horsepower and 450 lb-ft. of torque.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSubaru VIZIV-7 SUV Concept — Los Angeles
Subaru debuted the VIZIV-7 SUV Concept at the L.A. Auto Show as an indication of what to expect for a new, larger 3-row vehicle planned for the U.S. market in early 2018. (VIZIV stands for Vision for Innovation.) The exterior design possesses elements similar to the current Outback, but the VIZIV-7 SUV Concept also indicates that the next Subaru vehicle will be the largest one ever offered by Subaru. The automaker plans to add a new vehicle to the lineup for customers who need three rows to carry seven or even eight occupants — a configuration not currently offered by the brand. The VIZIV-7 SUV Concept demonstrates how large the new vehicle from Subaru will be, with a wheelbase of 117.7 inches, an overall length of 204.7 inches, a height of 79.9 inches and a width of 72 inches.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 Volkswagen Atlas — Los Angeles
Volkswagen’s new 3-row family SUV, the 2018 Atlas made its Los Angeles Auto Show debut following its initial unveiling in Santa Monica. To emphasize the amount of interior room offered, Los Angeles Laker legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy rode in the Atlas along with three high school students as the Atlas drove onstage. Atlas will be built at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga assembly plant alongside the Passat. Atlas is the largest Volkswagen ever built in the U.S., with room for seven adults. The third row can be accessed via an innovative second-row folding seat that operates even when child seats are installed. Atlas will be offered with either a 238-horsepower 2.0-liter direct-injection TSI 4-cylinder engine or a 280-horsepower 3.6-liter VR6 powerplant, both teamed with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard with both engines, and 4Motion all-wheel drive is optional with the VR6. The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is scheduled to launch in spring of 2017.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet — Los Angeles
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet is already a rather luxurious ride, but for folks pursuing a bit more exclusivity there’s the all-new Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet. Priced around $300,000, this special convertible isn’t for everyone, and that’s fine since only 300 will be built — and a mere 75 are coming to America. The Maybach S650 Cabriolet has a distinguished new front bumper, upgraded lower section and chrome highlights. The Maybach emblem adorns the fender and 20-inch Maybach forged wheels complete the look. Of course, the Maybach needs a powerplant befitting this luxury convertible, and Mercedes delivers with a 6.0-liter Biturbo V12 engine putting out 621 horsepower and a massive 738 lb-ft of torque. Each Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet comes with a car cover made of high-quality fabric that matches the soft-top color, complete with diamond quilting and an embroidered Maybach emblem. One of the most noteworthy features is the “1 of 300” lettering on the cupholder cover, so those who see it may appreciate the exclusivity of this amazing ride.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Hybrid — Los Angeles
Cadillac came to market last year with its all-new CT6 flagship sedan, and now the luxury brand is introducing a plug-in hybrid version of the big car. On sale in the spring, the CT6 Plug-in Hybrid can travel up to 30 miles on electric power only, with a total range of around 400 miles. Fuel economy in electric mode is estimated at 65 MPGe. The hybrid system consists of a 2-motor electric variable transmission teamed with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine creating a combined 335 horsepower and 432 lb-ft of torque. The CT6 Plug-in Hybrid will offer a high level of luxury equipment on par with the current CT6 Premium Luxury trim. High-end features such as a rear-seat infotainment system, enhanced night vision and rear camera mirror are also standard on the hybrid. The plug-in hybrid will be priced at $75,095, making it the top-level trim in the CT6 lineup.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceVolvo V90 Cross Country — Los Angeles
Wagons haven’t been a favorite of the American car-buying public for quite a while, but this V90 Cross Country may be enough to sway some opinions. Considering its long hood and sleek lines, one could almost call this wagon sexy; at the same time, the raised ground clearance on the Cross Country adds a level of toughness. This exercise in duality works without losing the high level of luxe inside. “Our cars are well known for their safety, strength and durability. With all-wheel drive, increased ride height, and a chassis optimized for comfort and control in all weather and road conditions, the new V90 Cross Country takes our versatile V90 estate and adds the heart of an explorer,” said Dr. Peter Mertens, senior vice president of R&D at Volvo Cars. Look for the newest member of the Cross Country family to arrive early in 2017.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 Genesis G80 Sport — Los Angeles
As the all-new luxury brand from Hyundai, Genesis adds to its model portfolio with the debut of the G80 Sport. Standing out with a dark chrome grille, unique front and rear fascias, copper accents and 19-inch dark-alloy wheels, the G80 Sport gets a new 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 engine producing 365 horsepower. A sport-tuned suspension, continuous damping control and ventilated rear disc brakes add to this G80’s sporty nature. The subtle indicators of performance continue inside with aluminum sport pedals, a sport-designed steering wheel, bolstered leather sport seats and carbon-fiber trim. Occupants will also enjoy the Lexicon premium audio system with 17 speakers, wireless phone charging and 9.2-inch touchscreen display screen. The G80 Sport will be offered in two exclusive colors — Polar Ice and Sevilla Red — when it rolls into showrooms in spring 2017.


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