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The new McLaren 570S is a fabulous looking car. I think it looks better than any of the other McLarens including the uber hybrid P1, which looks a bit insectoid to my eyes. In any case, the 570S and it’s less powerful 540S sibling, just introduced at the Shanghai auto show, bring the McLaren brand to a new, lower price point. While the new Sport series cars are the cheapest cars that McLaren will likely sell, they’ll be competing with the most expensive Porsches, the venerable 911. While the base 911 costs about $85,000, basic options will put the car over six figures (a common thing with top of the line German cars, a $90K car can quickly escalate to a buck twenty five), and the 911 Turbo starts at $150K, which is what the 540 horsepower 540S costs, and the Porsche isn’t made of carbon fiber.
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Until now, Porsche has pretty much had the market space between the Chevy Corvette at the low end, and entry level Ferraris at the high end all to itself. It will be interesting to see how the folks in Zuffenhausen react.
Toyota’s Lexus brand pretty much created the luxury crossover segment with the first RX 17 years ago, and they sold over 100,000 of them in the U.S. last year. They introduced the next RX at the recent New York Auto Show and while it bristles with technology and comforts with luxury, I’m not quite sure how America’s moms will react to the new corporate face of Lexus, what the company calls its “spindle” grille, particularly since the new RX is the most in your face version of it yet. No doubt “spindle” is a reference to Toyota’s origins as a maker of weaving looms. Critics, though, say it’s more reminiscent of the face of the alien Predator from the movies series of the same name. Frankly, the Lexus nameplate probably means more to the families who buy the RX than the styling so my guess is that the RX will continue to sell in the six figures.
If you note, Lexus designers have embraced Jaguar designer Ian Callum’s controversial use of black plastic panels at the Jaguar XJ’s C pillars to visually isolate the roof from the lower body.
Jim Kaczmar got his love for Crosley automobiles from his older brother Ron, who bought his first Crosley in 1957 when the older Kaczmar was just 15 years old. In time, Ronnie Kaczmar became a valuable a resource to the Crosley collecting community, providing information, selling parts and restoring cars. Now that Ron has passed away, brother Jim honors his memory by continuing to show the family cars. This 1951 Super station wagon was driven by Ron and the brothers’ father Walter to all 48 contiguous United States.
My friend and colleague Jack Baruth has written about how the current notion of “luxury” has less to do with quality of craftsmanship, materials and fine details, and more to do with price. How the very fact that today’s new bauble will be replaced by something newer and baublier makes it a “luxury” item today, the very disposable nature of the bauble is what makes it a luxury: “Watch me drop a quarter mill on something that depreciates like tulips after a bubble”. That’s not to say that a Lamborghini Gallardo isn’t an amazing automobile, it’s just to say that while enthusiasts may always appreciate what a cool car it is, the red carpet set has moved on to the Gallardo’s replacement, the Huracan. A quick check at eBaymotors shows that you can have your choice of Gallardos for about half the ~$240K MSRP of the Huracan, or even less, but per Jack’s theory, that’s probably driving sales of the Huracan – folks on the red carpet know when you’re cheapening out.
Interestingly, the pretty well selling exotic Italian supercar Gallardo has depreciated while the Ford GT, which took a while to sell the full production run, generally can’t be touched for less than $100K over the original MSRP.
The previous post was about the Koenigsegg Agera HH. While most car enthusiasts probably know about Christian Keonigsegg and his cars, I’m willing to bet that during the public days of the New York Auto Show most members of the general public couldn’t tell you what a Keonigsegg is but would immediately identify this red car as a Lamborghini.
I may not take pictures of every ’57 Chevy that I come across but my camera rig got a workout at the New York Auto Show. There were some rare cars at the New York show this year, including a Bugatti Veyron that Manhattan Motorcars brought out, flanked by a Lamborghini Huracan and Aventador. Next door to the Manhattan Motorcars stand was the McLaren display, which had one of the three longtail McLaren F1 cars built to homologate the F1 for FIA GT racing. Even rarer than one of three is one of one, and Manhattan Motorcars’ Brian Miller was able to get David Heinemeir Hanson, the creator of the Ruby on Rails application development framework, to loan him the single Koenigsegg Agera HH ever made. It matches the Pagani Zonda HH Hanson had made.
Like the Chevy Malibu, the introduction of the next generation Kia Optima at the the New York Auto Show was overshadowed by the general emphasis on luxury, and like the Malibu, the Optima will outsell the new Cadillac CT6, Lincoln Continental and Mercedes-Benz GLE combined. With so much attention focused on CUVs, and prognostications that the sedan is dying, a reasonably successful midsize sedan still means six figures worth of profitable sales annually. Kia sold over 150,000 Optimas last year.
Jaguar took advantage of moving the XF to their new iQ[Al] modular aluminum architecture, finally making their midsize sedan lighter than the big XJ. The new XF is not just lighter thatn the previous XF, it’s actually a bit more compact, being 0.3 inches shorter. With the more modern platform comes more interior space, though, and better performance. The XF-S has the more potent of two supercharged V6 engines that are available, which puts out 380 HP, good for a 0-60 time of 5.0 seconds.
Jaguar’s new entry in the class of cars defined by the BMW 3 and its competitors, the XE, won’t go on sale in North America for another year, but the company has released news about drivetrains and trim levels. It will be available in both gasoline and diesel powered versions, the diesel being the first example of Jaguar’s new Ingenium family of four cylinder engines. For the time being, the only gasoline engine mentioned for this side of the pond is the 3.0 liter supercharged V6 putting out 340 horsepower. I recently had a XJL AWD with the same engine and since it can move the Jaguar’s largest sedan quite smartly it shouldn’t have any problem propelling the significantly lighter XE. Jaguar is quoting a 0-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds. No word yet on the gasoline versions of the Ingenium that are available in other markets but with CAFE standards being what they are, those engines will surely be available here in time.
Honda doesn’t really do concept cars, at least when they’re dealing with core vehicles like the Accord, Pilot and Civic. No, when they show a Civic Concept, you can be sure it is going to be very close to the production car, so you can take it to the bank that this is the 10th generation Civic. It will be the first Honda offered in North America with a direct injected, turbocharged VTEC engine. It’s been widely reported that we’ll also be getting some form of the Civic Type R hot hatch.