Bentley, Chrysler and Jag impress at NYC show

By Liz Dobson

Bentley Continental GTC V8. Photo / Supplied
Bentley Continental GTC V8. Photo / Supplied

It's set in the city that never sleeps - and one of the hardest to drive around - but the New York motor show is becoming a major event for the car industry with important launches and announcements.

Jaguar impressed first off with a preview of the stunning Jaguar C-X16 concept while Viper STR has American's excited at the revival of the former Dodge sports car.

The models launched have varied - from Hyundai's anticipated Santa Fe (expected in New Zealand later this year) to Bentley's Continental GTC (as seen on the cover of Driven).

Here are just some of the highlights of the motor show,

Bentley It was a double whammy for Bentley at New York with the Continental GTC V8 convertible making its official public debut and the presentation of a highly distinctive and sporting interpretation of its flagship Mulsanne. The 4.0-litre, twin turbocharged Continental GTC V8, and its coupe counterpart the Continental GT V8, achieve exceptional standards for power-to-emissions with 40 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions.

Both new Continental V8 models were distinguished by a black gloss matrix grille with chrome frame and centre bar, a red enamel Bentley B badge, and a black matrix three-segment lower front bumper divided by distinctive body-coloured strakes.

At the rear, chrome figure-eight exhaust tailpipes, a dark lower valance and red enamel B boot lid badge emphasised the sporty, contemporary identity of the V8s. The Continental V8 models could be specified with 20-inch alloy wheels as standard or an optional 21-inch six-spoke design.

Since the launch of the original GT in 2003, the W12-engined Continental range has gone from strength to strength with 50,000 sales worldwide, making Bentley's factory in Crewe, England, the world's largest producer of 12 cylinder engines.

Bentley also used New York to launch the Mulsanne Mulliner driving specification that blended a range of striking design features including 21-inch alloy wheels and driver-selectable sports-tuned suspension and steering, underscoring the performance credentials of Bentley's 6.75 litre V8 ultra-luxury sports sedan.

Options for the Mulsanne range include an electrically operated bottle cooler complete with hand-blown and hand-cut crystal champagne flutes.

Cheers to that.

NY's show stoppers

A facelifted BMW X1 was revealed at New York with a number of styling change. More of the car is now painted in the body colour, with BMW's designers doing away with much of the rugged black bumper trim of the outgoing model.

The changes made the nose appear sleeker while a new set of headlamps completed the look with chrome accents and advanced lighting technology. The rear had cleaner lines and more body-coloured trim.

Inside, BMW focused on improving quality with a metal surround for the gear lever and chrome dotted around the cabin. while the air vent surrounds had high-gloss black trim.

The X1 will be available in rear-wheel-drive sDrive or four-wheel-drive xDrive.

Hyundai Hyundai staged a world premiere of the next-generation Santa Fe at New York, with the SUV showcasing the Korean company's "fluidic sculpture" design, improved fuel economy and a host of new features. The exterior of the next-generation Santa Fe had a urban-style design with its bold hexagonal front grille while the interior had enhanced comfort for driver and passengers.

The new Santa Fe was lower than the previous model but the extended overhang gave it a sportier look and a more spacious cabin.

Next-generation Santa Fe would be available with six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions, and had two petrol engines - a 2.4, four- four-cylinder and 2-litre turbocharged version.

Jaguar Jaguar's brand boss Adrian Hallmark said the F-Type would be showroom-ready next year.

"We showed the C-X16 concept in September 2011," said Hallmark, "and the reaction to it has been so positive that we've accelerated our development of an all-new Jaguar sports car.

"'That car will be called the F-Type, and it will be unveiled in production form later this year.

"The core appeal of Jaguar's cars is their sporting heart, and that heart will beat stronger than ever before in the F-Type."

Full specifications and production details will be revealed later this year but Jaguar said there'd be a full range of petrol engines "including a new powerplant family".

This is likely to see the smaller F-Type, which will be made in both convertible and a strict two seater, powered by a lower-displacement engine with some sort of forced induction, capitalising on lightweight aluminium construction and composite materials both on its body and interior.

Mitsubishi With about 210,000 units sold throughout the world since its launch in 2010, the ASX has proved to be a global success for Mitsubishi, so the company used New York to debut the new look version of its compact crossover,

Expected to be launched in New Zealand later this year, this latest ASX sports a reshaped front face whose softer outline reflects the transformation of Mitsubishi's design language and visual identity towards a "solid, safe, simple" engineering-driven look. Likewise, the rear bumper has been updated to complement the redesigned front face. Detailed New Zealand specifications will be announced closer to its launch.

The new Viper was revealed at New York but it has been branded as an SRT - the initials of Chrylser's street and racing technology performance division.

With a body made of aluminium, carbon fibre and composite plastics, the Viper was a modern interpretation of the previous version and weighed 45kg less than the old car.

The engine remained a huge 8.4-litre V10, but has been lightened and liberated extra power to take the total to 631bhp.

That should result in a zero to 100km/h in just over three seconds and a likely top speed of 331km/h.

Despite the incredible performance, Dodge believed it would be easier to live with than ever because of standard stability control with four different settings and a launch control system.

There will be two models. The GTS version will have luxuries that include full leather, electric seats and cruise control.

The SRT version would be more extreme and boast a bespoke bonnet design. The supercar is expected to cost about NZ$122,000.

- NZ Herald

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