Spring has finally sprung. Birds are chirping, the sun is shining, I’m sneezing, and the mythical March snowstorm has come and gone without a trace. But the real harbinger of the planet’s resurgence from the cold? The New York Auto Show begins tomorrow.
Much like last year, the entry list for the 2016 edition is relatively slim and underwhelming, so it’s reasonable to expect surprises like last March’s screaming green Civic concept or the svelte Lincoln Continental. That said, predicting reveals before they happen is much like eating at the Javitz Center food court: it’s a fool’s game. So let’s stick to what we know. Here’s my three most anticipated unveilings of the New York Auto Show.
Genesis New York Concept
Normally the announcement of a new Hyundai wouldn’t be terribly exciting. But in this brave new year, the best Hyundais go by a different name: Genesis. We saw the G90 late last year, we know the current Hyundai Genesis will be rebranded the G90, and now we have this — the new luxury brand’s bread-and-butter 3-series rival, which will debut in concept form at the Javitz Center tomorrow. The South Korean automaker has always put forth a pragmatic and compelling — if a little uninspired — proposition in their high-end offerings, but the teaser image for the New York Concept provides a glimpse at a leaner, lighter, more aggressive sports sedan promised to bring the fight against its German rivals. What’s more enticing is that the production version — expected to debut as the G70 — will be built on a bespoke rear-wheel drive platform not shared with any existing Hyundai models. Looks are important, but it’s comforting to know Genesis has their priorities in check, and haven’t forgotten the backbone of a true sports sedan.
Nissan GT-R end-of-life refresh
It’s amazing to think the R35 GT-R has been with us for eight years now, and was announced nearly a decade ago after a series of concepts dating back to 2001. Nissan has allowed its flagship to hang around for quite a while, and they have every right to so long as it continues to set records at the Nurburgring. The GT-R is a performance benchmark — a livable supercar in the vein of the original Honda NSX, but even more practical and simultaneously more outrageous. It’s one of the most important cars of the last 10, maybe 20 years. And the New York crowd will see the R35’s final evolution on Wednesday, before Godzilla’s true successor emerges sometime in 2017. The exterior refresh is expected to debut along with additional power, a revised interior, and aerodynamic treatments.
New flavor of Toyota Prius
So the new Prius looks relatively futuristic. It also looks like it’s melting. Here’s hoping Toyota will rectify that visual overstep with this, “the next mechanical marvel in the Prius lineup.” Could this be a (relatively) sporty hybrid, like the Honda CR-Z but hopefully better? The squat roofline and wide taillight bar may indicate that. The designers have already aped the new Civic coupe’s rear cluster — they may as well imitate Honda’s sporting intentions, too. That’s an optimistic interpretation; a more plausible one is that this is the same Prius in a different suit, a-la the Prius C or V, or the new plug-in variant. It could also be a rear-wheel drive AE86 Corolla successor powered by the sun. Positive mental attitude, people.
—By: Adam Ismail