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Focusing on the good (bye) at the New York International Auto Show

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Nissan Ariya

23 years. That’s how long I’ve been going to the New York International Auto Show. It is the grand daddy show for me. The place where car dreams are introduced. I’ve seen so much here for the first time.

This is not that show from 23 years ago. Hell, it’s not the show from 10 years ago.

Electric cars are coming. There is no stopping the onslaught. But we can save the doom and gloom for another day. I’d rather take you on a tour of what’s still cool, still relevant, and (gulp) still available.

The ones who said good-bye to the 2023 New York International Auto Show

BMW XM
This is all the BMW you get and you’ll be happy with it.

Haha, fooled you – we’ll have a little doom first. All BMW, Audi and Porsche could muster were a few cars from local dealers. Mercedes was absolutely no where to be found.

You know who can get away with this? Ferrari. Maserati. I’d say Lamborghini, but they have a presence, along with Bentley and some other high-end makers.

Bentley
Bentley made it. Check out those beautiful headlights.

I wouldn’t consider the “Big 4” on terms with those guys. It’s sad. With UDE being a shell of its former self, BMW in particular doesn’t seem too concerned with luring in new customers.

Of course, the accountants (I mean brands) know better. But long before 39-year-old Mike bought his second M car, 16-year-old Mike saw his first M car at the show. Can’t aspire to own one if you can’t see ’em.

Koenigsegg
At least a few true exotics made the trip, like this Koenigsegg.

Who is at the 2023 New York International Auto Show

I think a lot of the cars I’m about to show you will be dead very soon. But what was here were things that can make your heart go pitter-pat.

Nissan

Nissan GT-R
The GT-R display was quite possibly the largest at the show. No idea why.

I know it’s not saying much, but Nissan stole this show. They have a really nice display with fake snow and flower pedals falling, and dare I say the cars are looking better both inside and out.

I will call out the Nissan Ariya, which yes, is a family EV SUV with average sporting ability at best. But it looks great – even better than Lexus. I’ll explain that in a bit.

Come on Nissan, I’m rooting for you.

Hello Z, good-bye GT-R

Nissan GT-R
The GT-R has gotten cleaner styling over the years, but it still looks pretty close to the original.

I think Nissan makes excellent sports cars that for some unknown reason sell way beyond their expiration date. It happened with the 370Z, and now we have the GT-R.

This car is still basically the one I reviewed a few months back, and that was 10 years old.

Such a big-deal display for a 15-year old machine (the R34 was a nice touch). Godzilla left for 2022 (just dealer inventory), but has returned for 2023. They sold 228 in 2021. Still, I guess it’s better than being gone, or going electric.

GT-R
This GT-R special edition goes for well over $200,000.
Nissan GT-R
You do get a lot of beautiful carbon fiber for your money.
Nissan GT-R
Inside, it’s updated from the 2014 I drove, but I wouldn’t call it modern.

As for the new Z, it’s pretty much the car that was on display last year, now in its final form. I still haven’t seen one on the road. We cry and scream for these kinds of cars, then no one buys them. Sigh.

Be excited though, because I’ll be reviewing one soon. At the end of the day, it’s hard to complain about a new car with a manual transmission and 400 horses, but I’ll do my best.

Nissan Z
I’m excited to try the Z in a few weeks.

Very Vette

Corvette E-Ray
Aside from a few styling cues, the Corvette E-Ray looks just about like any other Vette.

Interesting. While Porsche recently decided to cancel the 718 GT4 (aka the most perfect sports car in existence) and replace it with something electric, Chevy went a different route.

In one corner sits the E-Ray, and if you’re a Vette faithful, you better sit down. 655 horsepower , with 160 of that coming from a battery. Hey, come on, stop yelling at the screen.

It also has all-wheel drive, which is absolutely needed on a car with 655 horsepower. Do hybrids work? I don’t think they do, but this promises to be a fun one. At the very least, you’ll have an all-season sports car.

Corvette E-Ray
Delicious carbon fiber wheels are available on the Vette.

In the other corner, well, wow. The Z06. I don’t think I could get another Vette, no matter how good the basic car is. This flat-plane V-8 sounds Ferrari good. These cars are marked waay up by dealers, but in theory it’s a bargain at MSRP. If you’re going to get a basic Vette, just save up for one more year and go for this one.

Corvette Z06
Known always as the poor-man’s Ferrari, with a flat-plane V-8, I don’t think you can make that claim anymore.

Bye Camaro

I’ve never been a fan of this latest Camaro. The 90s fourth generation was peak for me. And after this year, it’s going away, to return as a probable electric car. It’s time. You could never see out the back of this thing, and as fighter pilots say; loose sight, loose the fight. It’s also very cheap inside, like Cavalier cheap. Isn’t GM done with this mistake yet?

Chevrolet Camaro
I can’t say I’ll miss the Camaro.

A Mustang feels superior in almost every way. If you’re a diehard Camaro fan, well, die hard and switch to Ford.

Chevrolet Camaro
The interior gives heavy Cavalier vibes.

Bye Exotics with V10s

Audi R8
I will miss the R8 – so pretty and capable.
Audi R8
I actually prefer the V-8.

Starting to notice a theme? Audi did manage to sneak in an R8 V10, and it’s as beautiful as ever. It goes away at the end of 2023. Maybe Larry will let me borrow his.

And the Lamborghini Huracan; also going away soon. As a parting gift, they’ve made a car in the vein of the 911 Dakar – the Sterrato. I love it. Who wouldn’t go off-roading in this thing? And you need a sense of humor to do it. Just 900 will be made, and it’s the swan song for the company’s famous V10, shared with the dying R8.

Lamborghini Sterrato
The Lamborghini Sterrato is a similar take to the 911 Dakar.
Lamborghini Sterrato
A raised suspension and off-road tires makes this thing legitimate.
Lamborghini Sterrato

Bye Dodge Challenger

Dodge Challenger Demon 170
The Dodge Challenger Demon 170

The reaper next comes for two very different muscle cars.

First is a totally uncouth and incredibly silly Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170. Say that three times fast. Alcohol injected, drag radials, 1025 horsepower, 0-60 in ahem, 1.66 seconds. The 170 cheats to get there but who cares. It’s a greatest hits of why we’re in the electric car future in the first place. Perhaps the parachute will slow you down before it’s too late.

This car is atrocious. Where do I drive one? Just to try it, you know…

Dodge Challenger Demon 170
I suspect Pabst. Or Moonshine.
Dodge Challenger Demon 170
Simpson racing harnesses are standard.
Dodge Challenger Demon 170
Well, they have grooves so it’s a street legal tire but, I wouldn’t drive in the rain. Or a puddle.
Dodge Challenger Demon 170
Complete with drag parachute.

Bye Kia Stinger

Kia Stinger Tribute
The Kia Stinger Tribute Ediiton. Just 1,000 will be made worldwide.

The Stinger and I have a complicated history together. At the end of the day, it’s a really good car that was probably more fun to drive than my 335i. Too bad it was falling apart around me.

That was years ago, and now it’s time to wave bye-bye here too. The Stinger Tribute edition has some nice things like matte grey paint over tasty brown leather and some cosmetic touches. Just 400 are coming here, and it might be the best-looking version of the car to date. I think you could do worse than pick up a used one if the price is reasonable.

Rest easy, Stinger.

Kia Stinger Tribute
Tell you what, you could do worse for a used car picked up in a year.
Kia Stinger Tribute
Bye friend.

What the hell, Lexus?

I like Lexus. They have a Tokyo-cool style element that’s seemed to help elevate the brand and bring it closer to the Germans than any other Japanese luxury marque. Soooo, why are they cheaping out with their interiors, while giving their exteriors derivative styling.

Take a look at the inside of the new RX…

The Lexus RX Interior

And here’s that cool little Nissan Ariya.

Nissan Ariya interior

If I took the badges off, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference. Slapping a giant screen in the middle isn’t luxury, otherwise Tesla would be ruling the empire by now.

The Lexus LC500

Lexus LC
This is still a great-looking car.

The difference is even more stark because Lexus has a hold-over from its previous generation, the LC500.

With the LC, we’ve reached that awkward part of the relationship where one of you wants to break up and the other assumes everything is just dandy. Lexus hasn’t pulled the plug, but it’s not exactly putting in effort here.

Lexus LC
This isn’t updated like the RX is, and it’s all the better for it.

Which is a shame because I love this car. If you ask me what the lone remaining successor is to those great 90s Japanese super coupes, I’d point to the LC. It’s the only grand touring car that doesn’t concern itself with the pretension of “racing”, not to mention it’s beautiful inside and out.

While not as hardcore (or expensive) as a BMW M8, the LC brings its own vibe. Consider grabbing one before it’s too late.

Lexus LC500
It’s comical, I know, but it keeps with the 2+2 grand touring tradition.
Lexus LC500
The inside of the coupe, with its brown hues, looks classy.
Lexus LC500
Polished wheels (though they look chrome) give the LC a 90s vibe.

Is that a Supra?!

The Toyota Supra manual
The Toyota Supra 6MT.

Let me caveat this by saying I’ve never driven one of these new Supras. When I sat inside, I reached for the manual shifter and it felt great. Not Porsche great, but better than BMW can muster. Disgraceful. Come on Toyota, let me give one a proper thrash and see what it’s made of.

That said, the rest of the car is looking really dated, despite it not being that old. Blame the F-chassis BMW hand-me-downs. The climate control is hilariously from an F30 I had ten years ago. It’s all a bit patched together. Maybe I’m looking at it wrong – a Toyota fan might sit inside and go “whoa”. But they will definitely go “whoa” at the price, which isn’t cheap for a single-purpose cobbled-together car like this.

Toyota Supra manual
Hope you don’t need to carry anything. It’s even smaller than the F-TYPE.
Toyota Supra manual
Just shifting it stationary felt better than any M car. Toyota tweaked it a bit.
Toyota Supra manual
The climate controls are from an F30 3 Series. One that came out in 2012.
Toyota Supra manual
The iDrive screen too is an afterthought.
Toyota Supra manual
Could be SensaTec or Vernasca. Regardless, the seats are comfortable.

BMW has announced that once the Z4 this Supra is based on runs its course, there won’t be another. Could the Supra be one and done?

The weird import tuner display in the basement

Acura NSX
It’s always wonderful to see a stock late-model NSX.
Acura NSX
Peanut buttery goodness.

The basement of the New York International Auto Show used to be dedicated to SUVs and pickup trucks, but those cars are now all everyone sells, so the basement has room for an electric car track, and a really odd import tuner display.

Classic 90s and early 2000s JDM cars are always a heart warmer, but some of these weren’t really in show-car condition. And no offense to the white Acura TSX but, really?

It seemed like an odd punctuation point for the entire show. With so many eyes on the future, why try to remind us of how cool the past was?

NY auto show
Cool, but the appeal to the younger generation is clear.

The 2023 New York International Auto Show states the end times are coming

We said good-bye to a lot of cars today, and that makes me sad. Some might come back as electric cars, but like meeting up with an ex five years later, it just won’t be the same.

Perhaps I’d feel better about it all if I knew we were saving the planet by doing it this way. We are not; just delaying the inevitable. And not delaying it for long.

I will always go to the New York International Auto Show – I haven’t missed one yet. And I’ll always be excited by new cars to drive and experience. But the old Mike, the 16-year-old that was so thrilled to be there and see everything? He’s gone, and so are most of the cars he loved.

Ford Mustang
You’ll have so much fun driving this Mustang that you’ll want to terrorize your offspring.

Want your car reviewed?

If you live in the tri-state area and want me to check it out, send me an email!

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I use Nikon camera bodies and lenses, a Westcott Ice Light 2, Manfrotto tripod, B + W filters and an iMac Pro to make the art you see here.

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