The Big Apple is treating us well, and the first day of NYIAS was a blast. We saw some great cars, met some great people (some of whom I’ve been a legit fan of for a while), and overall had a good time. You may have already seen some of this if you follow us on Twitter, but here are the highlights of day 1.
The big news from Nissan is the unveiling of the new GT-R. This is more of an update to the existing car than a brand new version, with a facelifted front end and a bump to 565hp. The new car is cool, but my favorite part was that Nissan set up an exhibit of every version of the GT-R, all the way back to the original 1969 Skyline GT-R. More on this display to come.
Scion is dead but the FR-S lives on as the Toyota 86. I’m thrilled that they kept the 86 name that much of the rest of the world uses instead of calling it the Toyota FR-S as originally announced. This is also the perfect time for a mid-life facelift to make the 86 more special than the FR-S it replaces. More on the 86 coming up soon.
When Mazda claimed they would “blow the lid off” the show, it was pretty obvious that they were about to introduce a power retractable hardtop MX-5, an option first available on the previous generation. But nobody expected this implementation. The top does not completely fold away, and is a targa rather than a true convertible. Michael is about ready to plunk down his own hard earned cash on one of these, which you should be able to do sometime this summer for an end of year delivery. More on the MX-5 RF (short for “Retractable Fastback”) later.
The latest version of the Honda Civic is now available as a coupe as well as a sedan. While I felt the sedan reminds me a bit too much of the Accord Crosstour, the coupe reminds me very much of the CRX. This is a good thing, as the CRX was a great car, and by resembling it the Civic coupe promises more of the same. But unlike the CRX, it has a back seat, and though at six feet tall I’m a little short on headroom, I do fit back there. As with the sedan, I think it’s too bad the coupe isn’t actually a hatchback.
It seems that someone at Honda agrees with me, and has made the Civic hatchback prototype. I love it. This takes care of the Civic’s rather small trunk opening and vastly increases practicality. I hope this version makes it into production.
Forget the Seville and Eldorado. Today’s Cadillac brings some competitive yet uniquely American offerings to the luxury sedan market. We know the ATS and CTS are cool, especially in their -V versions, but this was our first look at the new CT6. Though only four inches shorter than a Mercedes S-class, it weighs the same as a BMW 5 Series. It is far more nimble than its size would make you think thanks to steering assistance from the rear wheels. The interior is extremely comfortable as well. The back seat is roomy and may put my masseuse out of a job if I ever bought one.
This was my first look at the 124 Spider in the flesh, and I continue to like its looks better than the ND MX-5 (though I may change that opinion based on the MX-5 RF). The highly anticipated Abarth version in American trim was revealed at NYIAS. Sadly, the Abarth loses the 10hp gain it gets in Europe, so the 1.4 liter turbo motor generates the same 160hp as the standard version. Brembo brakes are optional (not standard as in Europe), but we still get a more sporty suspension with Bilstein shocks.
We were curious to check out Genesis, Hyundai’s new luxury brand. The G80 and G90 both look great. The interior of the G80 is a good try, but hard plastics remain throughout, which have no place in a luxury car. The G90, however, gets it right. Though back seat passengers may have a few too many toys to play with…
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That’s it for day 1. Keep watching for updates tomorrow!