The New York Auto Show brought us some great and some not so great cars. Here are Drive Cult's picks.
2012 Jaguar XFR
The Jaguar XF has received few well measured cosmetic tweaks for 2012, but our interests rest mainly with the XFR. Squintier head lights reminiscent of the XK range sharpen up the looks and general consensus seems to be that it's a big improvement over the original XF. Power for the XFR still comes from Jaguar's own 5.0 liter supercharged V8.
2012 Volkswagen Beetle
The replacement that no one really asked for. VW's marketing machine has been throwing around phrases like "toy for a boy" and "masculine feeling," so it's clear that they don't want the new new Beetle to fall into the 'girl car' trap that its predecessor did. This time though, the Beetle might be able to back up all this tough talk. It will be available with VWs 200 hp 2.0 turbocharged motor and a XDS electric front differential that promises to make it suitably agile.
Nismo Leaf RC Concept
All the world seem to be clamoring for an electric powered racing series of some sort. An all electric support series was proposed recently for F1 and Nissan seems to be on the same page. As you can see in the picture, the Leaf RC is a very different monster from the road going car on which it is based. It's lost two doors and is lower, longer and wider. Nissan admits though that there is a ways to go until the RC hits the track. Under race conditions the batteries last for 20 minutes, and recharging takes 30 minutes.
Scion FR-S Concept
I may loose some car geek points here, but I have to admit that I've lost track of how many FR-S concepts we've seen from Toyota. In Scion form though, the FR-S looks pretty promising. Designed in conjunction with Subaru, the FR-S is powered by a 2.0 liter turbo charged boxer four. Twenty inch wheel and an aggressively curvy body really set this concept off. Here's hoping that the road going version lives up.
2012 Mercedes Benz E63 AMG
The pace of development for the E63 AMG has been pretty amazing, and Mercedes is showing no signs of slowing it down. The big news here is the 6.2 normally aspirated V8 is out and the twin-turbo 5.5 liter V8 is in. Power remains pretty much the same as before at 518 hp, but if you opt for the sport pack that number increases to 550. With the sport pack, 0-60 comes in 4.3 seconds and top speed is increase from 155 to 186 mph. All this and it's 22 percent more efficient than the old one.
2011 Subaru Impreza
You've got to feel a little bit sorry for the base model Impreza. Whenever one get's unveiled, you get the sense that all anyone really wants to know is when the WRX is coming out. Then when the WRX comes out, the process starts again and everyone wonders where the STi is. Fuel economy is the focus of new Impreza. It's down on power from its predecessor, but it's also lighter and more fuel efficient. Turbocharger please...
Mercedes Benz A Class Concept
Even though it broke down and had to be pushed out on stage by Mercedes execs and was accompanied by a horrendous street dance routine to an equally horrendous version of Janis Joplin's Mercedes Benz, Mercedes brought what was probably the car of the show with its A Class concept. It's strikingly beautiful for a three door hatch, and it has been confirmed that there will be a 350 hp AMG version.
2012 Honda Civic Si
The days of the high revving Honda four banger appear to be gone. Current emission standards don't favor the old school VTEC screamers such as the H20 or B16, so Honda is taking other routes to meet current performance standards. The new 2.4 liter engine gains only 4 hp over the old Si motor, but torque has been improved by a substantial 31 lb-ft. The VTEC system is still present too. There's even a VTEC meter on the dash board that lets the driver know when the cam shafts switch over.