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2012 New York Auto Show: Preview

  • At least nine world debuts
  • New vehicles range from everyday to exotic to eccentric
  • The longest-running car show in the U.S.

The New York Auto Show marks the final event in the current auto show calendar, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to launch. Far from it.

The New York show gets off to a flying start with the debut of the Terrafugia Transition flying car. Yep. Four wheels, a moonroof, storage for golf clubs and two folding wings. In what is probably a world first for a car, autopilot is on the options list. The Transition is claimed to achieve 35 mpg but also costs $279,000. It has to take off and land at a regular airport – no driving down the street trying to reach takeoff speed.

For more grounded buyers, there are several down-to-earth launches. There’s the new fifth-generation 2013 Nissan Altima midsize sedan, for example. Plus the facelifted 2013 Toyota Venza crossover, the revamped 2013 Buick Enclave full-size crossover, an upscale Denali trim level for the 2013 GMC Terrain, and a convertible VW Beetle.

Hyundai is debuting the third generation of its Santa Fe midsize crossover SUV. The 2013 Santa Fe shows off the company’s new “Storm Edge” design approach, following the “Fluidic Sculpture” philosophy found on the current Sonata, Elantra, Tucson and Accent. So much for being down to earth.

There is one car that might actually be able to reach escape velocity, the 2013 SRT Viper. Note the absence of the word “Dodge.” Parent company Chrysler is making a bigger deal of its SRT (Street Racing Technologies) sub-brand, and the all-new Viper – a muscle car on industrial-strength steroids if ever there was one – will be its “halo” model.

On the subject of halo models, the V12-engined Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG also makes its world debut in New York. The wraps came off a new generation of SL at January’s Detroit show. Many pundits thought the V8-powered SL63 would be the range-topper, but the 12-cylinder SL65 trumps it with 604 horsepower and a roughly $200,000 price tag.

Luxury buyers looking for something less extreme should enjoy the introduction of a whole new model from Mercedes-Benz: the compact 2013 CLC. Like the bigger CLS, this car is billed as a “4-door coupe.” Meaning a sedan with a sloping roof. But it isn’t based on the recently updated C-Class. Instead, its foundations come from a car sold in Europe that has yet to arrive in the United States – the front-drive B-Class. This will be the cheapest U.S.-spec car to wear the famed three-pointed star.

The also luxurious but perhaps not quite as prestigious Acura badge adorns a new full-size sedan that will replace the RL for the 2013 model year. The company is claiming the kind of agility for which the BMW 5 Series is renowned, but with the passenger space of a larger car. A hybrid version is also in the works.

The Nissan Pathfinder concept has already been unveiled at Detroit, but the production version will bow in New York. This show is also the first opportunity for North Americans to see the 2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, the 2013 Porsche Boxster and a diesel-powered version of the Porsche Cayenne.

The 2012 New York Auto Show runs from April 6 to 15. will be reporting live from the show floor on the press days of April 4 and 5. More information about the event can be found on

What this means to you: If none of the vehicle launches since the 2011 Los Angeles show have blown your skirt up, then the 2012 New York auto show might still do the trick.

Colin Ryan
Colin Ryan specializes in writing about new cars. But he has also covered trucks, vans, 3-wheelers, even the occasional motorbike. That’s the kind of thing that happens while contributing to the Los Angeles Times, Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Popular Mechanics, Variety, Mazda and Lexus customer magazines, as well as many enthusiast sites and publications. He was also a staff writer at BBC Top... Read More

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