Imagine spending years designing, redesigning, engineering and finally building a car — only to have public opinion weigh in on your baby. No pressure, right? Well, at this year’s New York International Auto Show, plenty of brands did a damn good job. We were tantalized by some of what’s to come: cars that will certainly hit production in some form or another (and thank goodness for that). From track beasts to practical and attractive sedans, we rounded up the cream of the crop, in our humble opinion. Take a look at the 10 best in show.
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SRT Viper TA
What’s the matter, the standard SRT Viper not good enough for you? What? You also happen to be a huge fan of the color orange (we empathize)? The SRT Viper Time Attack, apparently, has been built just for you, and it’s a hellion for the tarmac. Tasty track bits include upgraded Brembo brakes, tightened up suspension, carbon fiber front and rear spoilers, lighter wheels and “Crusher Orange” paint that will make you the fastest Dreamsicle on wheels. Only 33 will be made. but they’re probably already gone, so save your tears.
Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Land Rover is apparently shaving weight everywhere. We laud their slimmed-down efforts. The Range Rover Sport goes with an all-aluminum body (like the top-end Range Rover), cutting a whopping 800 pounds from the previous iteration’s weight. With its evolutionary but clearly modern new design, the Sport evokes the hugely successful Evoque, with its sloping lines and tapered head and taillights, rather than the SUV it replaces. The supercharged V6 will mill 340 horses, while the supercharged V8 will be good for 510 hp — no doubt resulting in some astounding performance numbers that should have a direct effect on your blood pressure. As a bonus, the new Range Rover Sport can now be had with three rows, which is great for the kids or for the socially inept couple that piggybacks on your dinners out.
The Ford SVT Raptor ($61,455) is on our list of coveted drives this year, so we’ll certainly have to add the Shelby Raptor, too. The Shelby-fied version adds a supercharger and a Borla exhaust on top of the standard truck’s 411 hp 6.2-liter V8 to get to a sum of 575 horses. Other than the subdued Shelby name added to the exterior paint, you’l only be able to tell it apart from the stock Raptor by its custom wheels and the bigger cloud of dust it’ll leave behind in its wake.
Jaguar XKR-S GT
The track-ready Jaguar XKR-S GT easily qualifies as one of the shows biggest stars. The stock XKR-S gets tweaked suspension, beefier tires and brakes and some pretty sweet front and rear carbon spoilers to make it race-ready. It still uses the same 550 hp 5.0-liter V8 as the XKR-S, but hustles its sleek duds in a more rapid fashion. $174K gets you all this, and only 29 other folks will have the same sweet ride.
Audi S3 Sedan
Americans rejoice: another handsome Audi makes it to our shores in the form of the A3. The tidy German sedan will be followed by the small but wonderfully powerful Audi S3 Sedan. Along with the standard S aesthetic treatment, the S3 will also get 18-inch wheels, an all-leather interior, automatic sport seats and a 2.0-liter TFSI engine good for 296 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. A sub-5 second 0-60 proves it’s no putter. The BMW 1-Series M and the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG now have company. Sales should start at the end of the year for around $39,000.
Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG
Mercedes’ new baby Benz sure is a looker. CLS-inspired, the CLA45 AMG ($47,450) is a testament to great German design. Plus, it houses a 355 hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s good for 155 MPH and 0-60 in less than five seconds. The 4MATIC AWD system makes sure all that power is sure-footed, too. Look for this beauty to go on sale as soon as this spring.
The all-new Cadillac CTS sedan is a show stealer, and it’s not even a concept car. That’s right, the handsome car you see is the production model, and boy is it a looker. Eschewing the stealth-fighter-inspired design that made the CTS polarizing, the new car borrows design elements from the smaller ATS. The result is quite possibly the best-looking American sedan we’ve seen in a while thanks to the vertical LED headlamps that flow from mid-hood down to the air dam and the smooth creases that slide across the full length of the body. The new CTS will come with three engine choices, including a 4-cylinder turbo (272 hp), a naturally aspirated V6 (321 hp) and a monster twin-turbo V6 (420 hp). Whatever engine choice you make, you’ll be driving a sports sedan that can finally go toe-to-toe with the Germans. Now that’s saying something.
Yes, folks. Diesel is exciting
again. Fuel efficient and torquey, it’s the smart man’s approach to better mileage without compromising driving dynamics. The BMW 328d makes its way to the states in the fall of this year, bragging 45 mpg highway, mid-30 mpg city; it still does 0-60 in around seven seconds, thanks to a turbocharged, direct-injection 2.0-liter engine good for 180 hp and a huge 280 lb-ft of torque. You can have your mileage with some speed for dessert, all for under $40K.
Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
Oh, new Camaro iterations, including the SS, the 1LE and the ZL1, how we love thee. Add to that list the Camaro Z/28 Though it’s not as meaty as the mighty ZL1, the 7.0-liter LS7 small block V8 provides a more than adequate 500 hp. Plus, it’s track ready with a short-throw manual six-speed, better aerodynamics, increased downforce and some pretty sweet sport seats. We’re just glad they brought the name back… and introduced it in a color other than yellow. Look for the new Z/28 to go on sale in the fall of 2014. Think you can wait that long?
Subaru WRX Concept
We love us a rally car, and the Subaru WRX hasn’t disappointed, regardless of its generation. The Subaru WRX Concept gives us a glimpse at what the next gravel eater could look like. Melding the looks of a Nissan GTR and a Honda Civic Si, the WRX Concept dons big fenders, deep side scallops and a beautiful, light carbon-fiber roof. The huge rear wing has been replaced by a far more subtle trunklid spoiler (like it or not). Also gone are the gold BBS wheels, with more quiet (but still attractive) thin-spoked wheels showcasing the big brakes and yellow calipers. No word on whether this is very close to the final production version and, even worse, no word on when we’ll see the next-gen WRX. Whatever the case, we’re just happy that the WRX seems here to stay.