New York Auto Show Preview: The Best Cars of 2014 – Forbes

Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014

The McLaren MP4-12C has an astounding 616 horsepower and will hit 60 miles per hour in under 3 seconds. It was McLaren’s first production vehicle since the demise of the legendary F1 in 1998 and is designed to handle anything Ferrari, Aston Martin or Lamborghini can throw at it.

But it doesn’t hold a candle to the newest thing coming out of the British automaker—the $265,000 2015 McLaren 650S.

This whip gets 641-horsepower on a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that will go to 60 miles per hour in 2.9 seconds and hit a top speed of 207 miles per hour. It has a new front end with distinctive LED-arcs headlamps in the shape of the McLaren logo and enlarged air intakes with engine air ducts on the car’s flanks made of contrasting carbon-fiber panel. In fact, the entire backbone is made from carbon-fiber, which alone is seven pounds lighter than the original 176-pound chassis. All told, the reshaped body provides a 40-percent increase in down-force (and ultimately, efficiency) at 150 mph.

Better yet, it looks fresh. And it’ll also be on display next week at Espace during the New York Auto Show. Along with dozens of other stunners new for 2014 and beyond.

What To Watch For
More than a million people will attend the annual New York show at the Javits Convention Center this year, there to catch a glimpse of the latest and greatest from Audi Audi, Cadillac, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz, Porsche Porsche and Rolls-Royce, among others.

As in Los Angeles and Detroit earlier this year, they can expect to see repeated discussions about sustainability played out in the cars themselves. But that doesn’t automatically mean electric- and hybrid-powered joints (see: BMW i8, Cadillac ELR). It also means tuning smaller engines to produce more horsepower and better efficiency ratings, like Bentley has done with the new Flying Spur V8, or using clean-burning diesel technology to eke out more savings on gasoline like plenty of vehicles at Audi and Volkswagen.

“Sustainability will become an important aspect of the new premium market,” BMW head Ludwig Willisch said recently. “Brands that don’t follow suit will have a problem.”

This year in New York–in addition to a special top-secret concept debut that has yet to be named–Bentley will show its Flying Spur V8 as a more economical option on the standard car’s 616-hp, twin-turbocharged W-12. The Flying Spur V8 has an Audi-engineered, twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 (basically the same one in the Audi S6, A8 and S8) with 500 horsepower available at 6000 rpm and torque at 488 lb-ft available from 1700 rpm. It comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission that drives all four wheels.

Similarly, Audi will show an A3 TDI Sportback as the latest incarnation of Audi’s best-selling A3 series. An Audi A3 Sportback e-tron will launch nationwide in “early 2015,” company spokesmen say. The 2015 Audi A3 costs $29,900; the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron costs 37,000 Euros ($51,100).

And BMW will debut a Concept X5 eDrive, a plug-in hybrid X5 show car with a lithium-ion battery—mounted beneath the trunk floor—that gets 19 miles of electric-only driving at speeds up to 75 mph. Propulsion comes from a 75-hp synchronous electric motor, which works with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

In fact, BMW has a big lineup planned for this year in New York. Along with the X5 Concept, it’ll show the hunky M4 Convertible, a BMW X4 Sports Activity Coupe, a BMW X3 SAV, BMW ALPINA B6 xDrive Gran Coupe and a BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.

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