Correction: This story has been updated to correct an error that ran in an earlier version. The original story indicated that MP4-12C owners would be able to upgrade to a 650S for free. In reality, they would be able to upgrade certain features to their MP4-12C that would bring the performance closer to the 650S.
The 2014 New York International Auto Show is the final domestic auto show before we get into the meat of a given model year. This is the last place that we will see a 2014 model debut, before the transition to 2015 model year cars. As such, one would expect the ’14 New York show to be rife with activity, but the feeling on the show floor was closer to that of a library.
There were plenty of significant cars on hand, but perhaps some of these cars do not inspire a great deal of fervor from automotive journalists. An updated Toyota Camry debuted, for example, but it is similar to the older Camry, with an updated face. No amount of ink will talk a current Camry owner out of buying a newer one when their lease is up.
Exciting sports cars debuted in New York: Ford put a Mustang Convertible on top of the Empire State Building and had a whole separate event in Flushing, Queens. Also consider that most vehicles debut on the web weeks before; it almost seems like automakers are actively trying to undermine the significance of auto shows. Years from now, the shows may not matter, but for now they do. Here are some of the most notable new models from New York.
McLaren was yet another automaker featuring their car at an off-site location, but it was worth the three block walk. The 650S is a replacement to the MP4-12C. It is faster, lighter, and more dynamic. Most notable is the updated front design, inspired by its big brother, the P1 hypercar. Those MP4-12C owners should not feel buyers’ remorse; any current 12C owner can get certain features upgraded to bring the performance closer to the 650S. For free.
Alfa Romeo 4C
We have been experiencing an unprecedented era for performance vehicles. Horsepower is going up into the stratosphere, but we may not be so fortunate in the next decade. When fuel prices rise, even supercar buyers will turn to vehicles like the 4C. It is a nimble little roadster, powered by a small turbocharged engine making 240 horsepower. That might not seem like a lot, but at just over 2,000 pounds, it is enough to get the 4C from 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds. An efficient, mid-engined Italian exotic car that starts at $54,000 ($70K for the initial run of cars). Welcome to the future.
In the pantheon of major letdowns, we were supposed to hop behind the wheel of a Z28 Camaro in upstate New York, but the rains prevented us from doing so. Our consolation prize was very brief seat-time in the Trax, which has been sold in Mexico, Canada, and Europe before arriving at our shores. It features an underpowered-yet-efficient 1.4-liter inline-4, and some of the leading in-car tech in the game. The compact crossover market is a goldmine for automakers, and as such, the Trax feels serviceable, yet rushed to market.
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible
We may be piling on the sports cars, but it is with good reason. In the Z06, Chevrolet was able to improve upon its previous top-notch ‘Vette, the ZR1. I am a firm believer that any car is more appealing with a convertible top. This is the first Z06 to lose its roof, and has not lost any of the structural rigidity associated with doing so. Match that with Ferrari-level good looks, and you have what is arguably the best car that Chevrolet has ever built.George Kennedy is a freelance auto writer. He can be reached at George.Kennedy@Boldride.com. Follow him on Twitter @GKenns101.