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2016 New York International Auto Show Highlights

By raccars Published

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Which cars really wowed the crowds at this week's New York International Auto Show?

This year's edition of the New York International Auto Show served up a huge dose of fresh and exciting new metal in the glamorous setting of Manhattan. There were big new production car debuts, wild concepts and some interesting industry developments shared as the world's largest manufacturers gathered at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

In addition to some international debuts, many of the cars previously introduced at Geneva or elsewhere in Europe were brought to the US for the first time this week.

World Car of the Year Awards

The show opened with the announcement that the Mazda MX-5 was the overall winner of the World Car of the Year awards. The fourth generation of the two seater roadster beat the Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV and the Audi A4 for the top prize.

It also won the Best Car Design category against its stablemate the Mazda CX-3 and the Jaguar XE. The Audi R8 was named Best Performance Car and the Best Luxury Car award went to the BMW 7 Series. The Green Car prize went to the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car.

The key exhibits at the New York International Auto Show

The Mazda stand also drew an awful lot of attention at the show with the introduction of the MX-5 RF, a hard top version of the roadster featuring a retractable roof. A clever Targa roof system operates in a similar style to that of the latest Porsche 911 Targa, taking up very little boot space and completing its manoeuvre quickly and quietly. It's a very comfortable and attractive variation on the standard MX-5 and will be made available with automatic transmission. This could be the surprise star car of the show.

There was a lot to see over at Mercedes, which brought the new GLC Coupe, the AMG C 63 Cabriolet and the AMG E43 out to play to stunning effect. The GLC Coupe, like the GLE Coupe, takes the SUV's front end but swoops down towards the rear. Its rivals include the BMW X4 and the Range Rover Evoque. It's due to go on sale in the UK in June ready for October deliveries.

The glorious AMG C 63 Cabriolet comes in standard and S formats, both using the C-Class's twin turbo 4.0 litre V8 for 469bhp and 503bhp respectively. A seven speed twin clutch automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels. The AMG E43 stops short of the full AMG treatment but is nonetheless capable of reaching 62mph in 4.6 seconds. The top speed is electronically limited to 155mph. There were also an AMG GLC 43 and a CLA for fans of the German brand to enjoy.

There was plenty of testosterone in the air around the Nissan stand thanks to the appearance of an updated GTR. It's an evolution rather than a whole new generation model but the affordable supercar now looks more modern, has been given a power boost and rides on a new sports suspension system. There's more cabin technology and a higher quality finish too. This is the most significant revision given to the car since it hit the market in 2007.

One of the most anticipated debuts was the second generation Audi R8 Spyder, which performs a tricky feat by making an open top supercar easy to live with as an everyday driver. As expected, it looks wonderful and is a shining example as to just how well style and substance can work together in a car, even if the Mazda MX-5 stole its thunder slightly in Manhattan.

A special mention must go to the Jaguar F-Type SVR, which made a quiet appearance at Geneva but was allowed out to play in New York, demonstrating its fearsome roar through the tunnels of Manhattan and showing off Jaguar's engineering prowess.

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