Curbside Classic Visits The 2018 New York International Auto Show, Part 2: Jaguar, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, And Other European Luxury Brands

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a substantial portion of foot traffic at the NY auto show hovers around the luxury automakers. It’s a bit ironic, as high end brands typically keep their displays somewhat low key by forgoing extremely flashy displays and for the most part, announcers. But when your venue is smack dab in the middle of real estate the majority of Americans can’t afford, you probably don’t need to advertise too much.

The Lamborghini Centenario is an extremely exclusive vehicle, and that’s really saying something for a super car. Total production numbers will top out at forty, with an even split between coupes and roadsters. It’s obvious the company designed it to be a superlative vehicle, as it’s body is completely carbon fiber and its engine is a V12, with an output of 760 horsepower. And it weighs less than 3,400 Ibs, which means it can propel itself from 0-62 MPH in 2.8 seconds.

The Chiron Sport, seen flanking the Lambo, is even more exclusive, with a base price of $3.2 million. It’s got four more cylinders than the Centenario as well. Plus four turbochargers, 1,500 horsepower, and a less attractive exterior. But outer beauty isn’t really important for these cars, right?

Unlike the Centenario and Chiron Sport, the Urus is far less exclusive, and it’s also designed to be a daily driver, at least if you’ve got $200,000 dollars to shell out on a new car.

Can enthusiasts finally relax about the supposed dilution of brands that introduce performance SUV’s or crossovers into their respective lineups? The Urus recently received extremely favorable reviews from all over, with some even calling it the best performing SUV ever. If the few remaining holdouts decide to change their minds and offer some type of utility vehicle in the future, they’ll follow a path similar to Lamborghini.

Until seeing this car at the auto show, I had no idea Rimac existed. This beauty, named the C Two, is a fully electric near-production model with an estimated 0-60 time of 1.85 seconds. It also has a facial recognition system that allows the owner to operate the car without any sort of key or fob device. I assume this works fine until you’re involved in some type of Face/Off  like situation where your arch nemesis steals your face and ruins your life while you try to prove to everyone that you’re not a terrorist, despite having the face of one.

Did you know Rimac is a Croatian automotive company? Eastern Europe isn’t really known for producing high quality automobiles, so hopefully Rimac can challenge traditional assumptions about cars originating from the region. I still think of Crazy Vaclav every time someone mentions cars and Eastern Europe in the same sentence. Put it in H!

The relationship between Range Rover and Land Rover has never ceased to confuse me. I’ve always thought the company should just adopt one or the other. And it’s always strange to see a Land Rover product with Range Rover branding on the same vehicle. But I understand why they continue to separate the brands.

And the confusion between the two brands does nothing to detract from their modern products. Like this Velar, which sports an appropriately substantial name.

With a starting price just under $50K, the Velar competes with a whole slew of luxury and non-luxury vehicles.

One way a luxury automaker can differentiate itself from more mainstream brands, at least in this day and age, is by equipping their vehicles with high resolution LCD screens on the center stack and the cockpit. The LCD resolution parity has definitely been decreasing recently, but it seems like the luxury automakers still hold an advantage, at least for now. That digital display you see on the dash is a single 12.3″ unit!

I wasn’t kidding about the abundance of screens in these fancy vehicles. These are both 10″ setups, and they were basically fully functional, which allowed me to fiddle with them for a bit. They seemed pretty snappy, although the amount of icons on both screens would make for some distracting driving. I imagine the display in the cockpit would mitigate that.

Luxury makes can also stand out by making their interior quality a step above the mainstream brands. An Explorer Platinum or Mazda CX-9 Signature doesn’t have speaker grilles quite as opulent as the ones in the Velar. Believe it or not, these grilles were actually pleasing to touch.

The Discovery is a a bit more posh compared to its predecessors. but it still looks quite imposing.

Like the Velar, the Discovery has a very nice setup for the driver.

In lieu of dual screens, the Disco ops for a single unit that is also pretty wide. Now what’s that screen showing?

I’m a big fan of GPS systems that can accurately depict where they are while inside the Javits Center. Not all of them can do that.

Over at corporate cousin Jaguar, there is a move to electrify the lineup. Of course I don’t mean an effort to spice things up. I’m talking about actual electrification.

The E-Pace is not an electric vehicle. Sorry for the misdirection. But I do find it strange that the company decided to name their first EV “I-Pace” while leaving the obvious moniker for a compact crossover. Still, its a good looking car that distills the essence of Jaguar into a compact crossover.

Jaguar’s I-Pace is the first EV from the luxury automaker. It’s possible we’ll be laughing at this post ten years from now, when even the most mainstream car company is selling a 400 mile all wheel drive crossover for about $30,000. Until then, we’re going to be watching the birth of competitive electric vehicles that can take on Tesla. Because obviously that’s who Jaguar is gunning for here.

The I-Pace looks a lot like every other Jaguar currently available. Although it gets some more muscle on the sides of the hood, and out back the rear end levels off and almost fools you into thinking its a trunk.

The Jaguar I-Pace will be priced exactly $10,000 less than the Tesla Model X. That’s going to put pressure on other luxury automakers to price their future EV’s similarly. And it might even lead to a cheaper X too.

I’m not entirely convinced the center stack in this I-Pace was displaying what was actually happening inside the car, as I don’t recall the AC being on while I was inside it. And it definitely would have been noticeable, because on the day of my visit the temperature was about 40 degrees, with some light snow. The Jaguar was probably in some sort of demo mode.

The I-Pace interior succeeds in form and function. I’m a big fan of floating center consoles, especially because they free up more space for storage. Jaguar did a good job here.

Amidst all the crossovers, EV’s, and other mainstream body styles, a number of wagons made their presence known, like the Jaguar XF “Sportbrake.”

Fortunately, the XF looks great as an estate. Unfortunately, it cost a little over $70k for the entry level model.

Yeah, that’s a good looking wagon.

Thankfully, Mercedes also brought one of its wagons to New York. Let the contrast between the E 400 and XF serve as a lesson to any automaker who thinks bringing basic colored vehicles to an auto show is a good idea. It’s not. My eyes immediately favor the Mercedes simply due to the stunning red paint.

I’m really not sure what wagon I’d pick if I had the money to acquire one. They’re both going to be extremely rare in the United States, so exclusivity isn’t a selling point for just one of the duo. Although I did actually see an E 4oo wagon a couple of weeks ago, which surprised me.

I may have just undermined my argument about the importance of color for display cars at the auto show by presenting this picture of a BMW X2 in Galvanic Gold Metallic. I’ve never studied German, so a quick visit to Google Translate yields “Cat Puke Metallic” as its English equivalent.

What a difference one color makes! I’d really like to know how many people actually opt for colors like Galvanic Gold Metallic. I like some weird colors, but not that weird.

Despite the terrible color, the X2 pictured here is a good looking vehicle. It looks a bit more substantial than its competition too. It’s also been well received by the automotive press.

BMW did have interesting colors on hand at the show, including this matte red M5. Apparently this color either doesn’t exist or is simply unavailable in the United States, because it’s not listed as an option on the M5’s page.

Availability aside, it looks pretty good. My guess is the BMW also looks good in the metallic variant of this color as well. Matte paint jobs aren’t usually red, right? I usually see greyscale matte paint on cars, but not anything else. At least in respect to factory offerings.

I’ll conclude this section with another winner of the color wars. This BMW Alpina B7 is decked out in a blue I didn’t think I’d like. Then I got closer and fell in love with it. I imagine anyone who spends $140K on something like this should feel similarly if they’re going to take the plunge on one of these things.

Stay tuned for part 3!

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CC visits the 2018 New York auto show, Part 1: General Motors and Nissan