Let's just get right to it, shall we? After all, the new Viper is the primary reason anyone's paying attention to the New York Auto Show this year. Sealed with a kiss (literally) by president and CEO of Chrysler's SRT division, Ralph Gilles, the new Viper is pumping an estimated 640 horsepower and 600 ft-lbs of torque to the rear wheels from its 8.4-liter V10 engine, which is 25 pounds lighter, as it is now made entirely of aluminium. Said to be 50 percent stiffer than the model it replaces, the new Viper features driver aids its predecessors did without—namely stability control and traction control. The six-speed transmission has been reworked for shorter throws and closer ratios—sixth is a drive gear now, it isn't overdrive anymore. The interior has been updated to demonstrate more craftsmanship and make the Viper a more comfortable place to be. Additionally, more sound deadening material has been added to reduce the noise factor inside the cabin. Long story short; 2013 SRT Viper = more power, better handling, more refinement, and is still just as exciting as it ever was.
The all-new 2013 Nissan Altima, while obviously an evolutionary take on the current Altima, is more sculpted, more curvaceous and considerably more appealing to the eye. Nissan says to expect 38 miles per gallon on the highway from the 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine it carries. In addition to improved fuel economy, the 2.5-liter gets a horsepower boost to 182 horsepower. The 3.5-liter V6 iteration returns as well, making 270 horsepower. There's also a new continuously variable automatic transmission for the 2013 Nissan Altima.
Determined to restore the Impala to the prominence it once enjoyed, Chevrolet is showing an all-new Impala, tagged a 2014 model, with an aggressively modern look. With 18-inch wheels as standard equipment, and a set of 20's as optional kit, this new Impala looks poised to scald some highway. Chevy's PR people say to expect a choice of three engines; a 2.4-liter four making 182 horsepower and 172 ft-lbs, capable of traveling 35 miles per gallon on the highway. The middle engine will be a 2.5-liter four making 195 horsepower and 187 ft-lbs. The big engine will be a 303-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6, generating 264 ft-lbs of torque. The front drive 2014 Chevrolet Impala will employ a six-speed automatic transmission, as well as smart cruise control, collision mitigation braking, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.
For 2013, the Chevrolet Traverse gets an exterior refresh, with the new corporate face of Chevrolet, also premiered on the 2014 Chevrolet Impala (above). Out back, its taillights were reworked and it got a new rear hatch. While the same 3.6-liter, 288 horsepower V6 makes the jump, the transmission has been revised to provide more rapid shifting. Chevrolet's new MyLink system brings Internet apps like Stitcher and Pandora on the road. MyLink also enables Bluetooth voice control and audio streaming.
Subtle changes outside belie significant changes inside. Outside, the grille was reworked a bit, and the front fender vents are now accented with LEDs. Inside, Cadillac now has its own cutesy-named infotainment system, called CUE. Just like all the others, CUE integrates navigation, phone and audio controls, however cue manages the climate system as well. Capable of pairing with up to ten Bluetooth devices simultaneously, CUE readouts also appear in the gauge cluster. In addition to a new steering wheel and shift knob, Cadillac has also fitted the 2013 SRX with active noise cancellation.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class takes MBZ's largest SUV and makes it even larger. OK, it's an inch longer and a little bit wider and a little bit taller, but that's still bigger—OK? It's boasting a new high definition instrument panel, a self-leveling suspension system, Collision Prevention, and Crosswind Stabilization. It also gets more powerful engines across the board. The GL350's diesel V6 makes 240 horsepower and 455 ft-lbs of torque (formerly 210/400), the GL450's gasoline-fired V8 makes 362/406 (formerly 335/339) and the big engine, in the GL550, now produces 429/516 up from 382/389.
Mildly restyled to look a bit less squared off, the 2013 GLK-Class also gets a revised face to bring it up to date with the rest of the current MBZ lineup. Also, for the first time, a diesel version of the smallest Benz SUV will be offered in the U.S. Cranking out a generous 369 ft-lbs of torque, the 2.1-liter GLK250 BlueTEC diesel engine also makes 190 horsepower. The 3.5-liter V6 in the 2013 GLK350 will make 302 horsepower. A seven-speed automatic transmission will route engine output to either the rear wheels, or all four in the 4Matic. A 360 degree parking assistant camera setup will be offered, and social media finds its way into the Comand system. The headlights are updated and gain LED accents. The optional AMG package will add a body kit and a set of nineteen-inch wheels to make the GLK look even more "manly".
Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG
To paraphrase Sam Jackson's arms-dealing character "Ordell Robbie" in the Tarantino flick "Jackie Brown"; when you absolutely, positively, have to outrun every other mother%^*&#@ on the road—accept no substitutes. This Benz right here? I'm telling you. This Benz right here brotha? You looking at 621 horsepower and 738 ft-lbs of torque from a twin-turbo V12 with a seven-ratio Speedshift transmission.
What else you need Playa?
BMW M6 Convertible
BMW revealed the M6 Convertible, flaunting a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 streaming 560 horsepower and 500 ft-lbs of torque. A seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox will funnel all of that output to the rear wheels. The 0-60 time is guesstimated at four seconds. The reveal was somewhat anti-climatic, given all the M-car's details were revealed with the hardtop in Geneva last month. However, the pricing for the latest round of M-cars was announced in New York. The tab for the M5 will be $90,695, the M6 Coupe will come in at $106,995, M6 Convertible will be $113,995, and the 2013 X6 M will carry a $93,795 price tag.
BMW's smallest crossover utilty vehicle finally debuted in American trim. As expected, the X1 will run in xDrive 28i and xDrive35i forms meaning the Bimmer mini-ute will benefit from a 240-horsepower turbocharged four, and a 300-horsepower turbocharged inline-six respectively. There will also be a rear-drive version with the turbocharged four, called X1 sDrive28i. With pricing starting at $31,545, we predict the cute little X1 is about to become the new darling of suburbia.
BMW X6 M
Its changes consisting primarily of a cosmetic update, the 2013 BMW X6 M gets a new hood, an optional set of LED headlights, blue brake calipers for the steel discs, gold calipers for the carbon/ceramic discs, and active sport seats.
A close relative of the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick's Enclave gets refreshed for 2013 as well. Its all-new face sports a new grille, reworked headlights, a more powerful looking hood, and LED daytime running lamps. Another set of LEDs does duty on the rear for the taillamps. LEDs make their debut inside Enclave as well for accent lighting. The upholstery is redone to freshen the appearance of the interior and the centerstack is now touch sensitive.
Still strugggling to make Lincoln relevant to a younger demographic, for 2013, the MKZ gets reshaped to appear lower and more sleek. The first product to emerge from the dedicated Lincoln Design Studio, the MKZ's new grille is the most immediately discernable change. According to Lincoln's PR team, it's suposed to look like an eagle descending upon prey...you know, uh, if eagles ate insects the way this Lincoln is destined to collect bugs going down the highway. Regardless of the hype though, the MKZ is definitely better looking now. Power will come from a choice of three engines; a 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter EcoBoost four, good for 270 ft-lbs; a 3.7-liter V6, making 300 horsepower; or a 2.0-liter four, paired with an electric motor to make 188 horsepower for the hybrid. A six-speed automatic will transmit power for the two conventional powertrains, while a CVT will handle power transmisson for the hybrid.
The next step in the somewhat overdue revision of the Lexus lineup is the 2013 ES. While the car is all-new, its exterior appearance is only mildly revised. The grille treatment that debuted on the 2012 GS is there and actually so is the interior treatment—somewhat. The instrument panel is similar, and of course, the Lexus Remote Touch Interface returns. Other than that though, the upgrades are really evident and very nice. The new ES is significantly more luxurious inside than the version it replaces. Power comes from a choice of either a 3.5-liter V6, or a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four with an electric motor for the ES 300h Hybrid. Lexus claims the new ES hybrid should be good for a 40 MPG EPA rating.
Acura RLX (Concept)
It's no secret the Acura RL is the slowest selling car in its class. Aside from being severely outdated at this point, the lack of V8 power and and less than outstanding styling conspired to pretty much hamstring Acura's flagship right out of the gate. Based on the appearance of this new "concept", the looks part of that equation is about to change. Exuding a nice blend of contemporary flair along with just the right amount of staid solidity (aside from those crazy wheels), the RLX Concept suggests the next Acura RL will be quite competitive. Two powertrains have been announced, a 310-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 and a 370-horsepower hybrid system, also based on a V6. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is slated to be paired with the engine offerings. Unfortunately, there will still be no V8 option, but there will at least be V8-like power—along with all-wheel drive.
Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai's pulling a "two-fer" with the new Santa Fe. When the new model hits the streets, it will come in both two- and three-row versions. The two-row version, called Santa Fe Sport, will seat five, while the three-row version will seat seven. Engine choices for the Sport will be between a 2.4-liter inline four making 190 horsepower and 181 ft-lbs, or a turbocharged 2.0-liter four making a speculated 264 horsepower. Hyundai's own six-speed automatic transmission will conduct power to either the front wheels or all four. The all-wheel drive version will employ torque vectoring technology to enable more crisp handling. The three-row Santa Fe gets a 3.3-liter direct injection V6 good for 290 horsepower. It is predicted the three-row Santa Fe will supplant the Veracruz in Hyundai's lineup.
Ford Explorer Sport
Pulling a page straight out of BMW's M playbook, the folks at Ford have inserted the 350-horsepower, 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 typically found in the Ford Taurus SHO, into the engine bay of a Ford Explorer. They then paired the engine with a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Why they didn't call it Explorer SHO is completely lost on us, as the cachet of the name alone would've attracted considerable attention to the hot rod sport ute. Just to make sure it fulfills all desires, the Explorer Sport is gifted with a quicker steering rack, additional chassis bracing to stiffen the platform, and of course all-wheel drive. That it already has eyes pinned on the appearance front requires no further elaboration, just check out the photo...
Subaru XV Crosstrek
The next link in the evolutionary chain of Subaru Outback Sport is the XV Crosstrek. With 8.7-inches of ground clearance, all-wheel drive and platform reinforcements, the Crosstrex is definitely geared to do dirt. Motivational force is provided courtesy of Subaru's venerable 2.0-liter flat four, configured to produce 148 horsepower. Buyers can choose between a five-speed manual transmission, or a continuously variable one.
More refreshed than all-new, the 2013 Ram 1500 nonetheless introduces a host of innovations aimed at newfound fuel effciency. The 2013 version of the Ram pickup will use an eight-speed automatic transmission, engine start/stop capability, electric power steering, grille shutters, and an air suspension system programmed to lower the big Ram at speed on the highway. In other words, Chrysler engineers have pulled out all the tricks in the modern fuel conservation bag to make the 2013 Ram as stingy as possible with the go juice. The base engine will be a 305-horsepower/269 ft-lb version of the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6. The big engine is (you guessed it) Chrysler's 5.7-liter Hemi, configured to make 395 horsepower and 407 ft-lbs. Chrysler's claiming 20 percent better fuel economy for both engines.
The Grande Dame of "premium mid-size" automobiles, about the only car line with an older demographic than Lincoln and Buick is Toyota's Avalon. However, with the 2013 model, the Avalon seems slated to attract a younger crowd. Using phrases like progressive and emotionally styled, Toyota's PR team is saying the all-new Avalon will offer improved dynamic performance, foreshadowing more compelling and passionate attributes. While we're told the body is more rigid and the suspension system is tighter, we don't have any word on horsepower and torque output, so how much more dynamic will have to wait until later this year for quantification.
A mild update for 2013 freshens Toyota's unsung hero with a grille redesign and new foglamps. To make the model more appealing, the standard equipment list has been expanded for the most affordable trim level (LE) to encompass items like a blind spot mirror, an eight-way power seat for the driver, puddle lamps, and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. The top of the line Limited model gets LED daytime running lights, and a more elaborate navigation system incorporating Toyota's Entune infotainment system. A broad array of new options for all Venza models have been prescribed as well.
Shelby American 1000 Mustang
A 950-horsepower Mustang sounds pretty remarkable, until you hear about the 1100-horsepower Mustang being offered alongside it. The 950 version will be streetable, while the 1100 version is intended for track use only. Creations of the legendary Caroll Shelby's Las Vegas-based Shelby American tuner shop, the supercharged coupes will command a price of nearly $200,000. And yeah, there are people out there willing to pay it...
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
A mild refresh carries Mitusbishi's Outlander Sport into 2013. The rear suspension has been retuned to improve handling, the continuously variable transmission has been reworked to improve fuel economy and exterior trim bits have been tweaked to update the compact utility vehicle's look. Mitsubishi annouced earlier this year, and reminded everyone at the show, production of the Outlander Sport will begin in the U.S. this summer.
Nissan NV200 Taxi
Nissan's getting into the taxi cab business—in a big way—with the NV200 minivan winning the New York City Taxi Commission's nod to join that city's taxi fleet in 2013. The front-drive vans will feature a transparent roof panel so fares can gaze at the city's skyline, while cosseted by independently controlled rear A/C. Antimicrobial upholstery and an active carbon headliner should keep the taxis relatively free of residual odors, though we can't vouch similarly for the driver. Cab companies can expect to shell out $29,700 per copy.
More of a driveable airplane than a flying car per se, the Terrafugia Transiton is something of a realization of the flying car dream nonetheless. A 100-horsepower, 1.4-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine provides power. On the ground, the engine's output is routed to the rear wheels and top speed is limited to 65 miles per hour. Capable of 35 miles per gallon in "car" mode, the Transition has an on-road range of approximately 600 miles. In the air, power is routed to the "pusher" propeller behind the cockpit. Top speed is 115 and range is right around 400 miles. Price is projected to be $279,000.