New York International Auto Show, part III: rounding it up

And so we wrap up our coverage of the 2014 New York International Auto Show with another round of introductions and debuts. Buckle your seatbelt and put on your helmet. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

2015 Rolls-Royce Series II

2015 Rolls-Royce Series II (click to enlarge)

Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II: You know what it’s like, buying an ultra-luxury sedan and having it look just like the one in the mansion next door? Rolls-Royce does, and for that very reason, the 2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost gets a makeover, and gets a new name, Ghost Series II. The Rolls-Royce Ghost is the “most popular car in the $250,000+ class,” so Rolls didn’t go too far in changing things. The obligatory LED running lights—although everyone has them now—surround the LED headlights, the front bumper was reshaped for a wider look and the hood was reshaped with a “wake” behind the Spirit of Ecstasy. There are now chrome inserts to the front air intakes, directing more cooling air to the front brakes. The “waft line”—if you have to ask, you can’t afford one—has been changed “to lean further forwards emphasizing the car’s effortless dynamism.” The grille? Unaltered.

It’s not all restyle, however. The Satellite Aided Transmission—it knows, for example, when a curve is coming and downshifts accordingly—introduced on the Wraith last year is now in the Ghost Series II. Rolls claims updates to the “navigation systems and the car/user interface” and the world’s best in-car audio will be part of the Ghost Series II experience as well.

2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary

2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary (click to enlarge)

2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary Edition: While everyone really wanted to see the next generation Miata—and in a way, we did, because Mazda had a skeleton of the forthcoming roadster hanging on a wall, but not the whole thing—what Mazda instead presented was yet another special edition. And what is a Miata special edition without special paint? For the 25th, it’s Soul Red Metallic which, claims Mazda, represents “the fiery fiend within.”  The fiery fiend is complemented with Brilliant Black A-pillars, windshield surround, outside mirrors and Power-Retractable Hard Top (PRHT).  More black trim includes front combination lamp bezels and 17-inch Dark Gunmetal 10-spoke aluminum alloy wheels, with Bridgestone Potenza RE05A 205/45R17-84W tires as standard fitment.

The inside gets almond leather seats and door trim, and there are a lot of details for future Miata historians to obsess over, but the one item that will have Anniversary Edition owners making comparisons is the hand-painted piano black gradations on the red base paint. No two vehicles will feature the exact same texture! Be still our collective heart.  The Miata 25th Anniversary Edition will be limited to 100 cars, so of course there will be a serially numbered plaque, in this case, outside on the driver’s side front fender. Those wishing to get into a 25th Anniversary model will have to…well, as of this writing, Mazda hasn’t said how the hundred will be allocated. They’ll be here in late spring, however.

2015 Infiniti Q70L Bartch

The 2015 Infiniti Q70L is introduced at the New York auto show by Infiniti Americas president Michael Bartch. (click to enlarge)

2015 Infiniti Q70L: Infiniti wants to play with the bigs, and if you want to go big, you have to go long, or something like that. “We know our customers desire more choice and prestige. The long wheelbase Q70 is our offer to them,” said Infiniti Americas president Michael Bartsch. It’s a car, we’re told, for people who want a sporty sedan but need executive room. Sounds to us like there’s too much fun for the chauffeur in the making. Regardless, whoever rides in back gets 5.9 inches more legroom.

The 2015 Infiniti Q70 models—both standard and long wheelbase—get a once over for 2015, including new LED headlights, new double-arch grille with a waved mesh finish and chrome surround, a new front bumper and integrated fog lights. The trunklid was reshaped and the 2015 Q70 also received new LED tail lights

There’s no change under the hood, however, with the 3.7-liter V-6 and 5.6-liter V-8 continuing, along with a hybrid version. The Infiniti Q70 and Q70L will go on sale in the fall.

2015 Subaru Outback

2015 Subaru Outback (click to enlarge)

2015 Subaru Outback: For a model that came about as an improvisation—a fill-in until the Subaru Forester was ready for market—the Subaru Outback has had remarkable staying power. Essentially it’s wagon version of the Subaru Legacy sedan but with a higher ride height and other accommodations for off- or at least soft-roading. So as the Subaru Legacy grew this year, so did the Outback, the Outback also getting Legacy features, such as a more prominent grille and a more steeply raked windshield. The Outback gets the same engines, a 2.5-liter four and 3.6-liter six-cylinder, both horizontally opposed per Subaru practice. This year, however, all Outback models get Subaru’s continuously variable transmission, and it’s credited with taking the six-cylinder’s fuel economy to acceptable, up from embarrassing.

The 2015 Subaru Outback gets an upgraded all-wheel drive system, particularly the X-Mode system. Introduced on the 2015 Subaru Forester, X-Mode uses the onboard computers modify engine output and CVT ratio position, increases engagement of the all-wheel drive system and alters the stability control system settings to reduce individual wheel spin. Turning on X-Mode also turns on the Outback’s hill descent control system.

Available for the first time in the Subaru Outback are blind spot detection, Lane Change Assist (which detects fast-moving vehicles approaching from behind), and rear cross traffic alert. The Outback also adds steering sensitive fog lights, which turns on the right or left fog light during right or left turns, a sort of poor man’s adaptive steering.

The 2015 Subaru Outback arrives this summer.

2015 Dodge Charge R/T

2015 Dodge Charge R/T (click to enlarge)

2015 Dodge Charger:  Dodge double-dipped in performance for the 2014 New York auto show with revised and updated version of both the Charger and Challenger. The Dodge Charger left barely a body panel unchanged for the new year plus new front and rear fascias along with a reshape of Charger’s “racetrack” LED taillights. The Charger’s new look was said to be inspired by the 1969 Dodge Charger, with a more pronounced Coke-bottle shape and deeper side scallops. The base of the C-pillar was moved rearward for a greater fastback look, combined with a shorter rear overhang and a new three-piece spoiler.

Individual features have been updated as well. New projector headlamps (high-intensity discharge headlamps on upper trim levels) and new LED fog lamps are available. There are six different wheels available in the 20-inch rim width alone.

Inside the Charger gets a new 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) customizable digital instrument gauge cluster as well as assorted cosmetic changes, along with new audio controls and expansion of the Uconnect system. Eight different interior trim packages are available.

All Chargers, whether 3.6-liter V-6 or 5.7-liter V-8, get the eight-speed automatic transmission, which is also used with Charger models with all-wheel drive. And speaking of the engine, a new mobile app allows remote starting.

2015 Dodge Challenger 392-Shaker Scat Pack

2015 Dodge Challenger 392-Shaker Scat Pack

2015 Dodge Challenger: Dodge designers went to 1969 for the Charger, but for the 2015 Dodge Challenger, 1971 was the year. Challenger spotters will pick out the new split grille, more bulge to power bulge hood, plus LED halo headlamps and LED tail lamps. The new Scat Pack packages will be available, and so no one feels left out, the most powerful of the Challenger range, the 392, also has Shaker Hood availability.

Dodge interior designers took the 1971 theme to heart as well, adding the high-sill center console and instrument panel with aluminum bezels and focused on the driver. There are 14 interior color and trim options, including a throwback (the new retro) houndstooth cloth. Other interior features include an all-new 8.4-inch touchscreen multi-information display with Uconnect and a new 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) customizable instrument panel: the gauges you want, when you want them.

New fun performance stuff: The Challenger gets an aluminum axle housing for lighter weight, launch control for quicker of the line performance, and variable boost function for the new electric power steering, Normal, Comfort and Sport.

2015 Kia Sedona

2015 Kia Sedona (click to enlarge)

2015 Kia Sedona: Minivans don’t get no respect. Even Hyundai, for whom the Kia Sedona has been the proverbial utility infielder able to do just about any task but never making it to the front page even when called back from retirement, called it an MPV—multi-purpose vehicle—instead of minivan. It may be an MPV in the rest of the world, but here it’s a minivan. And that’s how American families will judge it.

When they do, they’ll see a familiar face, penned by Peter Schreyer on his way out the door to Hyundai, and featuring Kia’s “tiger” grille. Inside the magic is in the seats. Of course, the Sedona’s third row folds 60/40 into the rear floor to make a flat surface, and the middle row folds up to be mostly out of the way. The second row “lounge seating” configuration can slide fore and aft for extra leg room.

Under the hood, Kia replaces the 3.5-liter V-6 of the previous generation of the Sedona with the new more efficient and more powerful 3.3-liter V-6 also used in the Kia Sorento and Kia Cadenza, rated at 276 horsepower and 248 lb.-ft.  of torque.

If the earlier Sedona minivan—we’re not afraid to say it—was a bit Spartan, it’s replacement can be outfitted to be quite opulent, the new top-of-the-line top-line SXL trim including standard Nappa leather seating surfaces throughout, using the same chromium-free leather as in the K900 luxury sedan.

Mark Reuss, exec veep of global product and development introduces the 2015 Chevrolet Z06 Convertible

Mark Reuss, exec veep of global product and development introduces the 2015 Chevrolet Z06 Convertible (click to enlarge)

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible: A convertible with the same power output as the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 coupe? Not likely, one would think, but there it is. Rated at 625 horsepower and 635 pound-feet of torque, the Z06 is also the most powerful convertible ever produced by Chevrolet and the equal of the coupe. Using advancements in computer-aided engineering, metallurgy, and manufacturing techniques – many of which were not available just five years ago—Chevy engineers were able to make a chassis for the convertible, even without the usual chassis stiffening structure of the roof, as strong as the coupe. The aluminum structure of the new Z06 convertible is actually 20 percent stiffer than the previous hardtop Z06. The new Z06 convertible doesn’t have the structural reinforcements usually needed in more mundane convertible, so its curb weight is nearly identical to the Z06 coupe. The convertible is capable of even absorbing the eztra strain on the chassis caused by the Z07 Performance Package, which adds Brembo carbon-ceramic matrix brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires and adjustable front- and rear-aerodynamic components, and it’s available as an option on the Z06 Convertible.

Click here for the 2014 New York International Auto Show Part I and here for the 2014 New York International Auto Show Part II.