Curbside Classic Visits The 2019 New York International Auto Show, Part 2: Luxury Automakers And Supercar Manufacturers

BMW and Volvo decided to skip the New York auto show this year. Can you believe that? Of all places, the two European luxury automakers decided that showing off their cars in Manhattan wasn’t worth their time. It’s extremely ironic for two reasons. The first is that the 7 Line now stops one block away from the Javits Center, making it more accessible than ever. The second is that this increased accessibility is due to the creation of Hudson Yards, New York City’s newest neighborhood for the wealthy. For about ten days in April, the bourgeoisie can walk from their apartments to a massive new car showroom that devotes a solid portion of its real estate to their ilk. Why ignore them?

We’ll begin part 2 by discussing Curbside Classic’s favorite vehicle type: crossovers! Audi has redesigned the Q3 for 2019, giving luxury shoppers another option in the fiercely competitive compact crossover segment. The Q3 will come standard with all wheel drive and start at $34,700, which is a pretty competitive price for the segment. Audi’s 2.0 TFSI turbo four will power the Q3, which in this application puts out 228 horsepower and 258 Ib-ft of torque through VW’s eight speed automatic. The Q3 now sits on the MQB platform.

I forgot to snap a picture of the Q3’s interior, so here is a picture I clipped from Audi’s official site. And yes, show goers were able to sit in the Audi even though it isn’t out yet. That was a surprising new trend at the show. Nearly every automaker followed suit and let their unreleased cars be poked and prodded by the unwashed masses. It makes perfect sense if you think about it. Show goers are probably more likely to be in the market for a new car compared to the general population. And there is no better way to get people excited for a car that does not involve them sitting in it.

Anyway, on the merits, the Q3 interior was very nice. What will definitely attract many buyers is the Audi virtual cockpit, which is a beautiful setup that has started to trickle down into the VW lineup, and for good reason. Other automakers are coming out with their own fully digital, high resolution cockpits, but the units in modern VW products still stand out for their distinctiveness.

Audi also had their newest electric vehicle in New York. The e-tron looks nice, but its range is pathetic. 204 miles? The Chevrolet Bolt and Hyundai Kona EV get at least thirty more miles out of their batteries for a fraction of the price of this thing.

I guess there’s an advantage with the e-tron since it has all wheel drive, but the $30,000 it costs to get this over the Hyundai and the Chevy could pay for a lot of winter tires.

I’m not even sure the interior is worth the price. It’s nice, but there are a lot of other vehicles at this price that sport superior cabins.

At least it looks good in white.

Then again, Doug DeMuro got to play with an e-tron and liked it quite a bit. Perhaps I should lobby Audi to lend me one for as much time as they’d give me.

Mercedes also brought their first electric crossover to the show, but first I’d like to talk about the new A-Class sedan. Mercedes has experimented with offering cheaper entry levels models in America for some time now. The CLA, which is basically the A’s predecessor, wasn’t a terribly great car. The majority of the auto intelligentsia found the 7 speed dual clutch automatic to be sorely lacking. And the rest of the car couldn’t make up for it.

It seems like the opposite is true for the A-Class. This particular model is the top dog AMG A35, which boasts 302 horsepower and 295 Ib-ft of torque from the Mercedes 2.0 turbo four, which is paired to a revised 7 speed dual clutch automatic and a 4Matic+ all wheel drive system. And believe it or not, but there is another AMG variant on the way that will stuff 400 horses underneath the hood, which is pretty insane for a car sized like the A-Class.

The non-performance A220 obviously isn’t as fast or powerful. The 2.0 turbo for the standard model has 188 horsepower and 221 Ib-ft of torque. With a starting price of about $32,000 for the front wheel drive variant, is that enough?

It all comes down to how the interior will be received. Personally, I think the car manages to sell itself via the cabin, mainly because of those dual 10.25 inch touchscreens. They’re very cool and they will no doubt sway a bunch of people to the car.

If my money was on the line I’d probably go for a highly optioned Accord or Camry, but the Mercedes is definitely a compelling option at this particular price point.

Like Audi, Mercedes is starting to dip its toes into the electric vehicle pool. The Mercedes EQC will soon be available to purchase in Europe and starting next year Americans should be able to pick one up should they desire to do so.

Beyond debuting an interesting new design aesthetic inside and out, it’s unclear how much range buyers will be able to get out of the 80kWh battery. Apparently the EQC achieved a 280 mile rating using the New European Drive Cycle Test, but that is an outdated standard and estimates put the actual range at around 200, which would make it competitive with the e-tron but not Tesla or even some EV’s from more mainstream automakers.

And to make things a bit more confusing, Mercedes says the American version should have at least a 280 mile range. All I know is that the crowd that gathered around the EQC prevented me from getting anything other than this rear end shot. I’m sure Mercedes hopes its auto show popularity will translate into actual sales. I’m also very interested in how it will be received when it arrives here next year.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the new G-Class. Although not a complete redesign, the SUV is substantially updated. In America, the G-Class has an interesting history, as it was a grey market import until Mercedes decided to buy back the rights to sell it once they realized it was a little more than a tiny niche vehicle.

The G-Class is basically the Jeep Wrangler for the 1 percent. This particular model is the AMG variant, but even the base model starts over six figures.

If I won the lotto I’d be torn as to what type of ostentatious vehicle I’d use as my daily driver. It would probably be a toss up between this and a Tesla Model X, at least if I were considering a utility type vehicle for that specific task.

Actually, no. The AMG GT 4 door coupe would be another contender. It’s confusingly named, but pretty cool.

The AMG GT has a belt less 3.0 inline six cylinder turbo with a 21 horsepower electric engine designed to help the hatch accelerate. It’s a bizarre setup that matches the unconventional exterior.

Of course more traditionally designed cars are cool too. Although the auto show is about new vehicles, it’s always great to see icons staying true to their heritage. The 911 Carrera S channels the spirit of its predecessors while still looking modern. That’s an incredible feat when you think about it.

That doesn’t mean the 911 hasn’t changed. Just take a look at this rear end. Clearly it breaks from the past with its LED’s, but that’s not exactly a bad thing, is it?

Yes, Porsche has quite the heritage. It’s how they can roll out things like this.

The 2020 911 Speedster channels a whole bunch of other models to become some sort of Frankenstein performance variant. It’s got the 4.0 liter inline six that has seen use in the GT3. Paired with a six speed manual, it can be propelled from 0-60 in 3.2 seconds.

That’s pretty fast, and the Speedster can achieve that because of the extensive use of carbon fiber throughout its body. The iconic deck behind the seats? Carbon fiber. So is the hood and the front fenders. There are also carbon ceramic brakes.

Even Porsche’s crossovers have established their own pedigree at this point. Did someone just scoff at that statement? Consider this: The Porsche Cayenne debuted seventeen years ago. And it’s never been a stinker. If enthusiasts don’t like Porsche having utility vehicles in its lineup, that’s on them.

The current Cayenne arrived for the 2019 model year, and it comes standard with a turbocharged 3.0 liter V6 that makes 335 horsepower and 332 Ib-ft of torque. That doesn’t seem like a lot these days, especially for a Porsche, but of course there are more powerful variants like the S model.

The Cayenne even has a smaller sibling in the form of the Macan, which starts at just under $50,000.

The 2019 received a cosmetic update that makes it look more upscale than ever. Car And Driver road tested a Macan not too long ago and came away extremely impressed. Seems like the engineers at Porsche successfully distilled the essence of their sports cars into their compact crossover, which shouldn’t be too surprising considering the positive reception the Cayenne has received during its lifetime.

The Bugatti Chiron is another vehicle noted for its excellent driving dynamics. This particular model is the “Chiron Sport 110 Ans Bugatti,” which is a roundabout way of saying it is a limited edition designed to celebrate the 110th anniversary of the brand. Unfortunately, they’re already spoken for, so if you had $3.75 million laying around you’ll have to find another supercar to buy.

Although not as exclusive, you could buy a couple of Aventador SVJ’s to soothe the pain of missing out on the Bugatti. For a tad over half a million bucks you can get the fastest production vehicle to ever tackle the Nurburgring. Not a bad consolation prize. The Aventador may not be the newest Lambo on the block, but it hasn’t lost its mojo. How many more naturally aspirated, internal combustion engines will we get before they’re replaced by electric or turbocharged powerplants?

A V12, 759 horsepower, all wheel drive track monster. We may never see something like the Aventador SVJ again.

Although newer Lambos like the Huracan are still keeping tradition alive. Yes, there is a naturally aspirated engine under that hood. It’s a 5.2 liter V10 that’s mated to a 7 speed dual clutch automatic, which enables the Huracan to go 0-60 in 3.1 seconds. Not bad at all.

But does owning a Lamborghini truly give you exclusivity? Why not own a car that will baffle your friends and family? The BAC Mono is a street legal, single seat vehicle. You get to impress everyone around you without the burden of having to take them for a ride. Beyond that, you get an 1800 pound vehicle with 305 horsepower that can run 0-60 in less than three seconds. All this from a company based out of Liverpool. The Beatles hailed from Liverpool, but everyone’s heard of The Beatles, and isn’t that just boring? The Mono stands out from the crowd on a fundamental level.

“Baby, you can’t drive my car, ever.”

Unfortunately, most people will be too weak willed to ride around in a Mono. They’ll probably end up in something like a Koenigsegg Jesko. It’s twin turbo 5.0 liter V8 puts out almost 1300 horsepower and works in tandem with the proprietary nine speed automatic transmission.

Koegnigsegg also had an example of the CCX on hand, which really demonstrated how far they’ve come in terms of exterior design.

Even smaller outfits like Rimac Automobili decided to show up. If you’ve never heard of the company, that’s because they haven’t really produced much in the way of actual production models yet. They currently produce battery systems for other manufacturers, and their technology can be found in the upcoming Aston Martin Valkyrie and various Koenigsegg products.

The Rimac seen here is the Concept_Two “C_Two.” It’s a fully electric design with four motors that combine to produce 1,914 horsepower and 1,696 Ib-ft of torque. 0-60 is claimed to currently stand at 1.85 seconds, which would make it one of the fastest production cars ever made. Purported range is about 400 miles, but owners who actually put the car through its paces will probably lower that number quite a bit. Apparently, the output of the C_Two was increased once Elon Musk announced the capabilities of the upcoming Tesla Roadster in order to make it more competitive. With a $2.1 million asking price, the Rimac will be several times more expensive than the future Tesla, so it makes sense why the company wanted to increase the performance of their product.

Perhaps the most obscure supercar manufacturer at the show was Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, which brought their SCG 003 to the show. I could discuss how it is a very fast car that is also extremely expensive but I’d rather write about the location of its headquarters. The company is based out of Sleepy Hollow, New York. Kind of a weird place for a boutique vehicle manufacturer, but the Glickenhaus family has extensive roots in New Rochelle and NYC, both of which are a short drive from the village. The company is building a second factory in Danbury, Connecticut, which is a also short drive from Sleepy Hollow. Here’s another interesting fact: Company founder James Glickenhaus is a film producer. He’s responsible for several cinematic masterpieces such as Frankenhooker (1990) and Basket Case 3 (1991). But I probably didn’t have to tell you that, because those movies are obviously very popular, and both are certain be re-released in theaters for their respective 30th anniversaries, perhaps with some new CGI enhancements mixed in, similar to what George Lucas did with the original Star Wars trilogy.

Although not part of the supercar collection, this Qiantu K50 was hanging out near the entrance of the Javits Center. This vehicle is a collaboration between Mullen Technologies and Qiantu Motors, which is a Chinese company.

Although a bit generic looking, the K50 is pretty impressive, as it boasts an all-aluminum frame with body panels made of carbon fiber. Its frame weighs a mere 516 pounds. And it’s an all electric design, featuring dual motors at each axle that enable all wheel drive, with a claimed 0-60 time of 4.2 seconds. Output is estimated at around 375 horsepower and 428 Ib-ft of torque.

The K50 should arrive some time next year for a little over $100,000.

If supercars aren’t your thing, I understand. This Bentley Continental GT should serve as a nice antidote to all those crazy two door track monsters you just read about. This is the all new third generation model, which replaced the GT that had been in production since 2010. It shares a platform with the Porsche Panamera. Although it’s not designed to shred the Nurburgring, it can still keep up with a lot of its more track oriented brethren in a straight line, as it packs a W12 that makes 626 horsepower and 664 Ib-ft of torque, mated to an eight speed dual clutch automatic. That enables the Bentley to reach 60 from a standstill in 3.6 seconds.

The W12 even has cylinder deactivation technology and can run on six cylinders under light load conditions. Although I’m not sure many buyers of a $220,000 luxury coupe care about fuel economy, the technology probably helps the company achieve a higher CAFE rating.

Perhaps this Ferrari 250 can also serve as a palate cleanser?

It seems GTO Engineering brought one of their vehicles with them as an advertisement of sorts. The company is a restoration firm based out of Los Angeles and the UK that works exclusively on classic Ferrari models. While it’s not clear if they delve into replicas, the likelihood of this particular 250 being an authentic model is slim, given how expensive they’ve become.

It’s impossible to mention a 250 without talking about the replicas featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, which is how I’m familiar with the model. There were actually three made for the film, and one of them went to auction last year.

I will conclude part 2 with perhaps the ultimate expression of modern opulence, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. This is the perfect vehicle for the Arab despot who unironically listens to “Rock the Casbah.”

I say that because it is not an attractive vehicle. It doesn’t need to be. This is an automobile that can never be disparaged because it is a $350,000 luxury yacht that still somehow manages to successfully channel the brand heritage of the Rolls-Royce vehicles that came before it.

Sure, you could get a Bentley Bentayga or a Lamborghini Urus, but neither of those vehicles were lusted after by the British royal family for a time, right?

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Curbside Classic Visits The 2019 New York International Auto Show, Part 1: Ford, Lincoln, and Rivian