Top 10 Cars of the 2012 NY Auto Show

Colum Wood
by Colum Wood

Over the past few years Lexus has been referred to as a Japanese Buick, with the number one reason being the ES front-drive luxury sedan – a car that drew direct comparisons with the not-quite-Cadillac GM premium brand. To erase those comparos the new 2013 ES gets a more stylish exterior with a GS-themed front nose and a profile more like the flagship LS.

Swapping its Camry underpinnings for an Avalon platform it has, however, grown even more in size – a notable Buick trait. Plus, to challenge the eAssist mild-hybrid LaCrosse, there’s finally now an ES300h hybrid system getting 39 mpg average.

Set to be powered by a new range-extender engine using a BMW-sourced turbocharged 4-cylinder, the Atlantic is Fisker’s first foray into the volume sales market. While the Karma was targeted at around $100,000 the Atlantic is expected to be half that.

Details are still scarce, but company founder Henrik Fisker has said the car will be targeted at cars like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A5, delivering similar levels of performance, interior comfort and luxury, as well as a similar price.

Iconic German sports car maker Porsche announces its first ever diesel model for the US market. How can it not go on our list. We’re already familiar with the second-generation Cayenne, but this new diesel model delivers 240 hp and an incredible 406 lb-ft of torque. Porsche claims a 0-60 time of 7.6 seconds with a 20/28 mpg rating. Better yet, the price is “just” $55,750.

New York a April 5, 2012 a Fred Diaz, President and CEO of the Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico unveils the new 2013 Ram 1500 at the New York International Auto Show. The most recognized pickup in the industry adds to a long list of claims, including best-in-class fuel economy for V-6 and…

It might just be an update, but it’s a big one. The 2013 RAM 1500 is the first truck to offer an 8-speed automatic transmission, something that will help the V6 model achieve 20 percent better fuel economy and the V8 get 10 percent better numbers.

Other major changes to the 2013 model year truck include an active air suspension that can raise or lower the truck (even at speed), active grille shutters, a thermal management system to heat up fluids faster, start-stop engine technology plus the ability to turn the truck into a rolling wi-fi hotspot.

The 2014 Chevrolet Impala prior to its world debut Wednesday, April 4, 2012 in New York, New York. America's best-selling full-size sedan in 2011, the Impala has been redesigned with a more-refined interior, enhanced safety, greater fuel economy and easy-to-use technology. The Impala goes on sale in early 2013. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet)…

Toyota may have promised dramatic new styling with its 2013 Avalon, but Chevy delivered with the 2014 Impala. The brand’s new big-sedan, it gets handsome Camaro looks and optional 20-inch wheels.

The interior also gets a complete revamp and while there are some typically-cheap GM components, it also gets stunning leather and a great design. Plus, there’s are optional goodies like an 8-inch color Chevy MyLink screen, adaptive cruise control and safety features like departure warning, collision alert and a an auto-brake system.

Exciting? Perhaps not, but the 2013 Nissan Altima is a big deal. Larger and more stylish than the outgoing model, it can also lay claim to being the most fuel-efficient mid-size sedan with a new CVT transmission that helps the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder to get 27 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway

Less of a flying car and more of a street-legal airplane, the Transition is very real. With dual controls, including a steering wheel and pedals for the street, as well as a control stick, throttle and rudder pedals for the air, the Transition is awaiting its final certification for flight – although the flying plane has had its first successful test.

Built by Terrafugia, the company says over 100 units have been pre-ordered at a cost of $279,000.

The RLX Concept certainly isn’t on this list for its trend-setting looks. So why then would be place this rather sedate Acura in third place? Simple! The powertrain.

While Acura is keeping tight-lipped about specifics, when the RLX goes on sale next year it will be powered by a gasoline engine and three (yes three) electric motors. The first is mated to the 3.5-liter direct-injection V6 engine in a conventional hybrid setup, which uses a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The second two are located in the rear (one at each wheel), allowing the car to deliver all-wheel drive grip and cornering capability, even splitting the power left to right in the rear electronically. Total output for this new car is rated by Acura at “more than” 370 hp.

Infiniti LE Concept.

Infiniti parent company Nissan was the first to successfully sell a mainstream electric car around the world. So if anyone has a solid shot at being the first to successfully sell an electric luxury car, it’s Infiniti.

Using a similar powertrain to the Leaf with 134 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque, Infiniti promises improved performance through light weight for its LE Concept. Previous to the car’s reveal, Infiniti also promised true-to-the-brand style and interior luxury and so far it has delivered on both.

Also a notable first for the LE Concept uses a cordless charging system, which Infiniti expects will be the first such system for cars to hit the market.

Forgive us for being predictable, but no other car at the 2012 NY Auto Show even comes close to the all-new Viper. The hands-down star in the Big Apple, the bright red Viper is the fifth-generation of the American supercar and is also the new flagship vehicle for Chrysler corp’s SRT performance division.

Powered by a similar 8.4-liter V10 to the outgoing model, it makes 640 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque. It is, however, 100 lbs lighter than the previous car.

Other impressive upgrades include Italian-influenced styling outside, plus some very European interior upgrades with seriously premium leather and craftsmanship. There’s a carbon fiber hood, roof and truck, oh, and the new Viper also boasts 355 wide rear tires.

Colum Wood
Colum Wood

With AutoGuide from its launch, Colum previously acted as Editor-in-Chief of Modified Luxury & Exotics magazine where he became a certifiable car snob driving supercars like the Koenigsegg CCX and racing down the autobahn in anything over 500 hp. Find Colum on <a href="http://www.google.com">Twitter.</a>

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