NEW YORK — Automakers from around the world will be unveiling more than 60 new cars and trucks during the 115th edition of the New York International Auto Show that opens to the public Friday, a number organizers said “is the largest ever lineup of new vehicles in the show’s history.”
During the first day of previews for members of the media on Wednesday, more than a dozen automakers pulled the reveal cloths off their 2016 new and concept vehicles, including the redesigned Lexus RX, the new Chevrolet Malibu, the Jaguar XF and Autobiography Range Rover, a trio of Mercedes Benz models — including its redesigned Smart compact car — and Kia’s redesigned Optima, among others.
North America’s largest attended auto show runs April 3-12 and serves as a showcase for products in the pipeline and an opportunity for consumers to “window shop” prior to making a purchase.
Looking to “once again redefine the luxury sport utility segment,” Lexus presented its all-new RX model, which features a completely new, luxurious interior to match its fresh, new, chiseled body style. The new fourth-generation RX also boasts on-road performance and safety technologies that include the Lexus Safety System+.
“Lexus will grow even stronger with the launch of the new RX. The fourth generation has been completely reimagined, is engaging to look at and dynamic to drive,” said Jeff Bracken, Group vice president and GM of the Lexus Division, who was on hand for the unveiling, adding the vehicles will be available in the market at the end of the year.
Mark Templin, executive vice president of Lexus International, said the new model has been designed to draw a new generation of younger consumers, to build on its track record of being “the fastest growing luxury brand in the world, with 44 percent growth in the last three years.”
Meanwhile, the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, which uses technology from the Chevrolet Volt, drew a lot of buzz when unveiled Wednesday, as it comes with a General Motors promise of exceptional fuel efficiency, estimated at 48 mpg city, 45 mpg highway — and 47 mpg combined.
“Fuel efficiency is important to our customers, especially in the midsize segment and with an estimated 48 mpg city rating, the Malibu Hybrid delivers,” GM President Dan Ammann announced.
An all-new direct-injection 1.8L 4-cylinder engine mated to a two-motor drive unit slightly modified from the 2016 Chevrolet Volt drive unit powers the Malibu Hybrid. The drive unit provides additional power to assist the engine during acceleration, for 182 horsepower (136 kW) of total system power.
The Malibu Hybrid will be manufactured in Kansas City and is due in Chevrolet dealer showrooms in spring 2016.
Meanwhile, Kia Motors America rolled out its all-new Optima midsize sedan, which it called a symbol of its “maturation through continuous refinement and obsessive attention to detail.”
The 2016 Optima features a longer, wider and stiffer chassis, three engine choices and five trim levels – LX, LX Turbo, EX, SX Turbo and SXL. It will go on sale starting in the fourth quarter of 2015.
“The Optima changed the way people felt about the Kia brand, and KMA owes much of its growth and success to its head-turning design and sporty performance. It was – and still is to this day – a fresh alternative in the midsize sedan segment, and it amplified a five-year design-led transformation that propelled Kia to record-setting sales year-on-year,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president, sales and marketing, KMA. “The all-new Optima retains the signature personality of its predecessor, but we’ve literally improved everything, providing more space, better ride and handling, more technology and greater refinement.”
On the higher end of the spectrum, Wednesday’s luxury unveilings included the world premiere of the Porsche Boxster Spyder, to be launched in the U.S. market in October, priced starting at $82,100.
Over at Jaguar Land Rover, company officials unveiled the all-new Jaguar XF and the Range Rover Evoque Autobiography SUV, both catering to the discerning driver with deep pockets.
“I believe the all-new XF is the best looking car in its class. Elegant, handsome and with proportions that imbue a great sense of integrity — the all-new XF is true to the great tradition of sporting Jaguar saloons while being completely of its time,” said Ian Callum, Jaguar’s director of design.
Land Rover is also introducing two new versions of the Range Rover Evoque: the luxurious Autobiography — with a base price of $199,495 — and the more powerful, more agile Autobiography Dynamic models.
As for Mercedes-Benz, it unveiled its high-performance SUV models — the Mercedes-AMG GLE63 4MATIC and the GLE63 S 4MATIC, its plug-in hybrid version. The automaker also rolled out its new generation of its Smart sub-compact vehicle, the Fortwo. The city coupé will be available in the U.S. market in the fall.
“After getting off to a successful start in Europe, we are now looking forward to the market launch in the USA,” says smart boss Annette Winkler. “With the uniquely agile, compact smart fortwo, the DCT dual clutch transmission which is to feature as standard in the USA and our unique digital services covering all aspects of motoring, we are set to win over totally new categories of customer.”
The vehicle, which Winkler described as “small is the new big,” is being integrated into the New York Police Department fleet.