Fret not, dear readers. Our 5 best/worst things from the 2016 New York International Auto Show was briefly delayed while we celebrated Easter. But the show opened to the public on Friday afternoon. Whether or not you’ve already paid a visit, take a look at some of our favorites, and not so favorites, from this year’s display. Want more coverage? Check out the best debuts from Day 1 and Day 2.
1. Whitewall tires
Rolls Royce forgot to send anyone to the show. Somehow, a few cars managed to show up. With nobody to dust them and no product specialists to answer an endless stream of silly questions, we were left to critique this Phantom Drophead Coupe in silence. We came to the conclusion that Rolls Royce has, collectively, forgotten what decade it is. Newsflash: it isn’t the 50s. And those tires were the worst thing at the show.
2. Range Rover Evoque Convertible
The Evoque Convertible was a terrible idea as a concept when it was the #2 worst thing on our list 4 years ago. Now, in the wake of the untimely (and yet, not soon enough) death of Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet, Range Rover still thinks this thing is a good idea. It might be an interesting California rental car, but we expect this topless Evoque to have the dynamics of a wet noodle and a dry weight of a small four-bedroom house.
3. NYPD Smart ForTwo
The #3 spot on our list was going to the horribly ugly and not-at-all-practical Mercedes GLC. Until, that is, in the waning hours of Day 2, we happened upon the NYPD display in the back corner of the Javits Center basement. Behold, the NYPD ForTwo. New York’s finest use these…ahem…patrol vehicles to enforce parking violations. Don’t expect to spot any in hot pursuit, however. That hilarious scenario will never come to…uh…pass, as the NYPD Smart ForTwo’s have been banned from pursuit missions.
4. Disappearing Lincoln Navigator Concept
One of the biggest news-makers from Day 1 of this year’s show was the outrageous Lincoln Navigator Concept. With it’s retro interior, huge gullwing doors, and teak retractable entry steps, everyone has been talking about it. But by the morning of day 2, the Navigator had been packed up and shipped out. Hiding a Lincoln Navigator was good enough to give Lincoln the #1 worst spot at the show in 2014. This offense, because the concept is likely en route to Beijing Auto Show, makes #4 on this year’s list.
5. Scion booth
There’s nothing more solemn than a dead man walking. Scion’s booth, a brand that basically doesn’t exist any more, definitely had a somber tone. Several of Scion’s best concept cars, one of every production model, and the tC final edition sat in mourning. It wasn’t bad, it was just disappointing. A fun, quirky brand backed by Toyota reliability had been killed by the same dullness and play-it-safe attitude that it set out to depart from. If Toyota could be thanked for bringing Scion into this world, it can also be blamed for taking it right back out again. What a shame.
5. Maserati Levante
I know what you’re thinking. A crossover on the 5 best list? The Levante isn’t just a crossover, though, because the Ghibli isn’t just any other car. This is Maserati we’re talking about. And there aren’t many sedan-based SUVs that make 400+ horsepower and can adventure off the paved road. We doubt you’ll see a Levante out on your local off-road trail anytime soon, but Maserati wasn’t going to let that stop them from making something that can run to 60mph in about 5 seconds and cross though a construction site should the need arise.
4. Volvo’s moose
It’s a giant, wooden moose. Need I say more? Ok then, a little more. Hardcore Volvo owners are often known to put a “prancing moose” badge on their car to poke fun at pretentious Ferrari owners. The origin of said moose badge stems from a Volvo XC90 concept at the 2004 SEMA show. Regardless, Volvo’s subtle nod to their fans with this carved Scandinavian symbol is just plain awesome.
3. Audi R8 Spyder
What better way to hear the Audi (Lamborghini) V10 than with nothing between you and those lovely exhaust pipes? The Audi R8 V10 Spyder is your best chance hear a naturally aspirated symphony. The Ferrari 488 and McLaren 650S are both turbocharged and, therefore, not as nice to listen to. These ten cylinders will gladly play you the song of their people as 610 horses seek to extradite themselves from their confines. Enjoy responsibly because this 5.2L V10 will probably be the last of its kind.
2. Porsche 911R #0 of 991
There’s often nothing more sought-after than a limited edition Porsche. The latest limited-run model to come out of Stuttgart is this 911R. Take one of the best Porsche models of the past few years, the 911 GT3 (see #1 of our 2013 list), strip it of its rear wing, swap out the PDK gearbox for a good ol’ fashion manual transmission, and the 911R is born. Only 991 of these Rs will be produced and they were all spoken for before the model was even announced. Despite that, Porsche brought their own 911R, chassis #0, just to show the world what it couldn’t have. When the show is over, this car will catch a boat back to Germany and find a permanent place in Porsche’s museum.
1. Nissan GTRs
The Nissan GTR may be one of the most evocative cars in all of motorsport. Which is why the auto journalists attending the NYIAS lost their collective minds when Nissan brought one of every Skyline/GTR model to set the stage for the reveal of their updated 2016 model. Seriously, you couldn’t get near the booth on Day 1 before the press conference. Even after the debut, GTRs like the 1999 GTR Nür, a limited edition R34 model, drew more attention than their modern counterpart. We often see generational collections like this, all the Corvettes and all the 911s for instance, but the attention drawn to the GTRs was something special. And that’s good enough to earn it our top spot as the best thing at the show.