The New York Auto Show is North America’s most-attended: More than a million New Yorkers are expected to rush the Javits Convention Center’s gates from now through April 23.
They won’t be disappointed. This year’s show is a new-car feast with a menu longer than Carnegie Deli.
These are my favorites.
Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
This will be remembered as the Demon’s show. The smoke from its huge tires obscured every other reveal. The 840-horse dragster is for the enthusiast who finds the Hellcat’s 707 ponies wanting. It’s also savvy marketing for an aging brand that can’t compete against the new, more nimble chassis of its Camaro and Mustang competitors. So the porky 4,223-pound Demon obliterates them in a straight line, racking up 9.65-second quarter-mile and 2.3-second 0-60 times that are unheard of in a production car. How fast is 2.3 seconds? The 1,380-horsepower, 3,075-pound Koenigsegg Agera RS1 supercar across the hall from the Demon huffs and puffs to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds.
Buick Regal Fastback and TourX
The Regal’s introduction came a week ago in Detroit to clear the way for the Enclave SUV’s reveal in New York. Utes are where the money is and the Enclave is another lightweight winner from GM’s engineers. But the sleek Regal is still the more interesting vehicle: The Tesla Model S-like hatchback model and stunning TourX wagon variant are relevant in a SUV-crazed world.
Honda Civic Type R
This is what we’ve been waiting for since the Audi A3-baselined Civic debuted in 2015: That stiffened chassis was built for a VW Golf R-fighter, and the Type R is just that. With more headlight mascara than Kim Kardashian and a whale-tail that will make Subaru’s WRX STI jealous, the only question is whether the R’s front-wheel drive can manage the 2-liter turbo’s 305 horsepower. Is the Type R’s $40,000 too pricey? Try its terrific, 180-horse Sport cousin for just $22,000.
“This thing is huuuuge!” Subaru exec Tom Doll crowed in introducing the biggest Subaru ever — the three-row Ascent. Such is the market demand for big SUVs that even Subaru has one now. But you ain’t seen huuuuge until you’ve saddled up a Navigator: Built on the same frame as the ginormous Ford F-150 pickup, this behemoth dwarfs the Ascent. The Navigator has the biggest head-up-display and moon-roof in autodom, a 10-speed tranny and more seats that Radio City Music Hall (well, almost).
Silicon Valley startup Lucid pinched Tesla chief engineer Peter Rawlinson and Mazda designer Derek Jenkins to out-Tesla the Tesla. The result is the stunning Lucid Air electric sedan that is bigger and more beautiful than Elon Musk’s pioneering Model S. Jenkins really explores the envelope of a battery platform without a gas engine under the hood. The result is a cavernous interior draped with a tinted moon roof that changes tint when exposed to the sun. It’s billed as being capable of 217 mph.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
Sharing the same 707-horsepower, supercharged V-8 as the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcats, the Trackhawk seats five in comfort while assaulting the quarter-mile at 116 mph. The Jeep’s performance numbers measure up to the $100,000 Porsche Cayenne Turbo and BMW M X5, but without the sticker shock. Like the Corvette, the Trackhawk is the affordable supercar — er, superute.
Porsche 911 GT3
This is the purist’s 911. The new-generation 911 has gone to automatic tranny-driven turbo power for more grunt and better fuel economy. The track-oriented GT3 is the outlier. With a six-speed stick and normally aspirated 500-horse, 4-liter flat-6, the GT3 promises the full Porsche visceral thrill.
Jaguar F-Type, 4-cylinder
The F-Type is designer Ian Callum’s Mona Lisa. So this mid-cycle refresh gets minimal tweaks — you’ll know it by the single outer air intakes on the front fascia rather than the old three-slot “shark gills.” The real story here is the first four-banger under the hood of an F-Type. The four not only helps the big cat meet emissions mandates, but it also drops its entry price below $60,000 so it can compete against Porsche’s full lineup of Caymans, Boxsters and 911s. But will four cylinders make a suitable Jaguar growl?
Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @HenryEPayne.