Apr
09
2012 Shelby Mustang GT 1000 coupe

2012 Shelby Mustang GT 1000 coupe

Now that the press days of the 2012 New York Auto Show have concluded, we can effectively close the book on another auto-show season. New York is the last of the four major U.S. shows (the others being Los Angeles, Detroit, and Chicago).

Like the US of A itself, this show was a melting pot of significant product introductions from all corners of the globe. Most of it was pretty darn good, some of it wasn’t, and still others left me a bit confused. Here’s my take.

Hits:

BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe

I was fully prepared to lock this one in the “Miss” column, but upon seeing the BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe in person, it made the jump here. Yeah, you could call this one a hasty cash-in to try and steal the spotlight from the Audi A7 and Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class, but this BMW has an understated elegance all its own. It should drive pretty darn well, too. Make mine an AWD 650i.

Nissan Altima

The Toyota Camry is the best-selling passenger car in the U.S. Who’s number two? Not Accord, not Fusion, not Malibu. It’s the Nissan Altima, and the company is looking to maintain that momentum with the upcoming 2013 model. The exterior and interior designs hit the mark. Additional kudos to Nissan for sticking to its guns and offering the new Altima with a V6 engine.

Shelby 1000

The Shelby 1000 is street legal with 950 horsepower, all on standard 91-octane pump gasoline. That is all.

SRT Viper

The snake is back and poised to strike at the hearts of enthusiasts. Chrysler sent the Viper to the gym and finishing school. It came back leaner and meaner, yet more refined. It’s an ultra-high-power exotic for the 21st century.

Toyota Avalon

The surprise hit of the show, as far as I’m concerned. Absolutely stunning inside and out, this sedan is truly worthy of its place as the flagship in Toyota’s lineup. This car was designed and engineered in the USA and will be built here with 90 percent North American parts. After a couple rough years, Avalon is a signal that Toyota is back and not pulling any punches.

Misses:

Honda Crosstour Concept

Combined sales of the Honda CR-V and Pilot totaled nearly 335,000 in calendar 2011. Total Crosstour sales in the same time period? Less than 18,000. The company prefaced the debut of the upcoming Crosstour refresh by trotting out owners who said how much they loved their cars. That smacks of desperation. Kill it, stuff it, mount it above a fireplace.

Lexus ES

Good thing Toyota elected to introduce the redesigned 2013 Lexus ES before the 2013 Avalon. Otherwise, it would have been a great big dose of “Who cares?” In light of the fabulous new Avalon, this Lexus comes off as a snoozefest.

Range Rover Evoque Convertible

Because the Murano CrossCabriolet is working so well for Nissan.

SRT Viper

It’s not the car that’s a miss, but rather Chrysler’s decision to market it under its own brand. So that makes six under the Fiat/Chrysler umbrella (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat, and SRT). Rumors abound about Alfa Romeo making a comeback in the U.S., which would add yet another brand to Chrysler’s portfolio. There is absolutely zero reason the Viper couldn’t have been a Dodge. None.

Head-Scratchers:

Acura RLX Concept

I’m with Associate Publisher Tom Appel in questioning the need for this vehicle. The market for large luxury cars isn’t what it once was. I love the Acura TL, but the RLX might be too little, too late for Honda’s luxury marque. I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

BMW X1

The available 300-horsepower turbocharged 6-cylinder engine should make this thing a little hot rod, but what purpose does the X1 really serve? The X3 is a good size for North America, and it sells well, too. Not seeing too much need for a “premium-subcompact” SUV.

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