Car Shows

5 Best/Worst of the 2013 NYIAS

Today officially marks the anniversary of Limited Slip Blog’s first post.  To commemorate, we’ve picked what we think were the 5 best things, and the 5 worst things, from the 2013 New York International Auto Show.

Five Worst

1. Kia’s DC Comic-inspired cars

Kia Optima Superman 1

Kia and DC Comics are teaming up to help fight hunger in Africa with their “We Can Be Heros” campaign, which is a great cause.  But the Kia superhero cars look absolutely ridiculous.  There are  seven vehicles so far; portraying Cyborg, Green Lantern, Aquaman, The Flash, Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman.  Even if the Secret Sanctuary was full of Kias, I’m fairly certain Superman would opt for an Optima Turbo, but even Clark Kent would be wary of the Optima Hybrid as a daily driver.  This ranks the Justice League’s show cars as the worst thing in New York.

2. Media reaction to the Jeep Cherokee

Jeep Cherokee 1

Critics were quick to dismiss the 2014 Jeep Cherokee as an ugly duckling.  We’re not so quick to judge.  The Cherokee is good looking from most angles, and only slightly different looking from the front.  With two engine choices and the ability to spec the Trail Rated locking rear differential, this little Jeep should be extremely capable.  Besides, it’s better looking that the Juke and if you wanted a Wrangler, you’d buy a Wrangler.

3. White cars

Mercedes CLA45 AMG 1

Just as chrome wheels made a comeback in Detroit, white paint was in vogue this season in New York.  Nearly all of the big reveals on Day 1 were debuted in white.  The Camaro Z/28 even went so far as to step out in matte white.  While it does a good job showing off all of the design features of a car, its just…boring.  Thankfully Range Rover was on hand with an orange Range Rover Sport to liven things up a bit.

4. BMW Concept Active Tourer

BMW i3 1

I’m a fan of BMW, to the point that I enjoyed most of Mr. Bangle’s work.  Lately, though, someone has decided that BMW should try to compete in every segment, even if that segment doesn’t really exist.  That’s why two separate BMWs rank as some of the most disappointing of the show.  This concept, powered by a combination of a 1.5L 3 cylinder engine and an electric motor, is a car without a market.  Where does it fit between the 328i, new 328d, and upcoming BMW i3?  If BMW stuck to their 1, 3, 5, 6, 7 philosophy and played around with different drivetrain combinations, it wouldn’t be so bad.  I fear that all of these unique models will detract focus from what BMW is really known for, designing world-class chassis.

5. BMW 3 Series GT

BMW 3 Series GT 1

More segment busting from BMW.  The 5 Series GT isn’t very good looking, and it completely replaced the 5 Series Sport Wagon in the U.S.  The 3 Series GT isn’t quite as bad looking, but it still isn’t nearly as pretty as the 3 Series Sport Wagon which, thankfully, we can still buy here.  The problem?  If you want BMW’s superb N55 engine, you’re stuck with the 335i sedan or the 335i GT.  It’s difficult to say why the 3 GT exists in a world with the BMW X1, and that’s why its the best of the worst.

Five Best

5. Jerry Seinfeld’s Porsche 911

901 Porsche 911 1

There were a handful of Porsche’s at the show, but only one of them came with its own security guard, and it wasn’t the new GT3.  In fact, I was basically told that we probably could have kicked the new 911 GT3 (I would never!) and have garnered less of a response than if I had tried to touch Mr. Seinfeld’s 1967 Porsche 911.  It’s also rumored that it may be the first Porsche to ever bear the 911 nameplate.  Even if that isn’t true, its a testament to the fact that the Porsche 911 was, and still is, a beautiful car to behold.

4. New sport wagons

Mercedes E63 S AMG 1

Vehicles like the new Volvo V60 R-Design sport wagon and Mercedes E63 S AMG wagon bring us hope that wagons aren’t completely lost on American society.  The station wagon was a way for a family of four, their dog, and some luggage to get away on vacation.  This is basically the same, except with 577hp.  And that, for us, is the American dream.

3.  SRT Viper TA

SRT Viper TA 2

SRT showed off what it does best: making high performance cars that cater to their loyal audience.  Sure, Mr. Gilles and his crew might have had a bit of added motivation for this model, but it proves to the world that they’re serious about what they do.  While the “TA Orange” SRT Viper TA is only a limited production vehicle, don’t expect it to be the last.  The new Viper is just getting started, and more potent versions are most definitely in the works.

2. Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

Chevrolet Camaro Z28 1

The Camaro Z/28 narrowly edged out the Viper as the #2 Best thing in New York this year.  Why?  We expect SRT to react to its fan’s preferences, but nobody expected GM to react so strongly to their fans.  Camaro fans asked for a stripped-out, track ready version and the General delivered.  The massive 427 V8 pushes over 500hp through a 6 speed manual transmission.  It’s a raw, unadulterated muscle car.  In 2013, that’s fantastic.

1. Porsche 911 GT3

Porsche 911 GT3 1

German engineers have had five decades to slowly and methodically perfect the 911.  The GT3 represents the current crowning achievement; the closest to driving Nirvana the 911 has ever been.  Sitting next to the 1967 911, its clear that the designers haven’t done anything to ruin the iconic design, other than make everything a little bigger.  Under the stunning exterior, the 3.8 liter flat-six now produces 475 horsepower, and only comes mated to Porsche’s 7-speed PDK gearbox.  Even I, a card-holding member of the 3-pedal club, understand that this is the best combination.  The whole package is enough to make this the best thing at the show.

-Christopher Little

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