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New York auto show: Mainstream and glitz

2015-04-02 11:22

RED CATCHES THE EYE IN 'GREEN' CAR: The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid uses technology from the Chevrolet Volt. Image: AP / Bebeto Matthews

NEW YORK, United States  -  The New York International Auto Show has opened with a mix of mainstream sedans and glitzier models from automakers across the globe.

With a nod to everyday-car buyers, a handful of new mid-size sedans and hatches are being introduced, including the Malibu from Chevrolet and the Optima from Kia. Honda has kept its auto show offering under wraps but the expectation is for a new Civic compact. The youth-orientated Scion (not available in SA) brand is showing off its first sedan.

Lovers of luxury and performance won't be disappointed. Among the introductions are the 2016 Lexus RX, the country's most popular luxury SUV, and the McLaren 570S, a high-performance sports car with a Formula 1 heritage but priced at less than $200 000 (the equivalent of R2.3-million).


The show is open to the public from Friday (April 3) until April 12. Here are highlights of some of the models to be introduced:

LEXUS RX: Toyota's luxury brand revamps the top-selling luxury SUV in the US for 2016. The RX gets a new aerodynamic look, an updated engine and a more spacious and luxurious interior. The sleeker outside makes the SUV quieter and more sure-footed at highway speeds, according to Lexus.

The company says it upgraded the 3.5-Liter V6, pushing horsepower from 201kW to 224kWA new eight-speed automatic transmission boosts fuel mileage. Lexus sold more than 107 000 RXs last year, up 3.4%  from a year ago. The new RX goes on sale later this year. Pricing and fuel consumption were not announced, but the RX 350 now starts around R490,000 (all prices in this feature are converted from US dollars and are intended as a price guide only).

JAGUAR XF: The sexy Jaguar XF sedan gets a makeover to look more like a coupe. Additional aluminum lightens the car by up to 120kg. The second generation of the car also gets a new supercharged V6 engine with 254kW and 293kW ratings. An updated suspension is designed to give the XF a more comfy ride, yet better handling than the current model. With an eight-speed automatic transmission, it can go from 0 -96km/h in 5.1 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 249km/h. The current model starts around R462 000.  The XF goes on sale later this year (2015).

PORSCHE BOXSTER SPYDER: With the roar of 3.8 280kW flat-six engine, Porsche introduced an open-top version of its latest Boxster. Porsche says the Spyder is the fastest and most powerful Boxster yet. The car, with extensive use of aluminium to make it lighter, can reach 100km/h 3.8 seconds. That beats the 4.7 seconds of the Boxster GTS, currently at the top of the Boxster line-up.

Top speed for the two-seat Spyder is 290km/h. The Boxster Spyder starts at about R981000.


McLAREN 570S: British supercar maker McLaren Automotive believes its ready to tackle the US market with a decked-out luxury sports cars priced under R2.4-million.

The 570S, a car that McLaren says will merge racing technology with day-to-day driving at a price around R2.2-million, goes on sale in November. McLaren, best known for Formula 1 race cars, says the 570S is critical to its long-term viability as a manufacturer.

Even though it's cheap for a McLaren, the 570S is no slouch. The mid-engine, rear-drive 570S has a carbon fiber chassis and a 419kW, 3.8 turbocharged V8. It can go from 0 - 100km/h in 3.2 seconds and has a top speed of328km/h - just what you need for the daily commute.

More from the 2015 New York Motor Show

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