The 11 Overlooked Gems of the 2017 New York Auto Show
A bundle of cars that probably won’t grab many headlines from the show…but still deserve a little love.
There's a bitter phrase you'll occasionally hear automotive journalists say half-jokingly to one another at an auto show between bites of passed hors d'oeuvres and sips of cappuccino whipped up by one of the baristas automakers bring in by the truckload to help keep the automotive media caffeinated until they can switch over to hard liquor at 4pm:
I don't know why I'm even here. It'd be easier to cover this from the office.
And it's largely true. Nowadays, almost every carmaker reveals their new vehicles ahead of the auto show itself, usually while simultaneously posting a comprehensive press release outlining the car in farm more detail than any executive's speech, and a whole lot of official images that are better-lit and better-shot than the pics you can grab with a pack of journalists blocking the car. The press conferences at the show itself have become something between a vestigial habit and kabuki theatre.
But there's more to every auto show than just the headlines. Inside those convention center halls lies hundreds of cars, most of which barely get a glimmer of the attention the stars of the show receive. So with the New York Auto Show's press days wrapping up and the general public about to have their chance to come see the wonders of NYIAS 2017 for themselves, we at The Drive have put together a list of 11 cars that deserve a little love...even if they haven't grabbed as many headlines or Instagrams from the show as the likes of the Dodge Challenger Demon.
Ram Rebel TRX Concept
The Grand Cherokee Hellcat may be headed for production...but there's a big part of us that wishes Fiat-Chrysler had decided to sell this Hellcat-powered Ram concept, instead.
Kia brought a trio of examples of its new 3 Series fighter to NYIAS, and they looked every bit as promising as the spec sheet's talk of turbocharged engines, rear-wheel-drive balance, and a limited-slip diff makes them sound on paper. The proof, though, will be in the drive. (Hey, that's our name.)
Designed by some guy named "Nicola Soprano" (who lives somewhere near us in New York State, according to a placard next to the car), "Sensuale" is way more interesting than its creepy name might suggest. Beneath the hand-formed aluminum body lies a '60s-era 4.4-liter Ferrari V12, which presumably makes this car fast enough to get away from anyone who would encourage you to name a car "Sensuale."
Genesis G80 Sport
Hauled out to rather limited attention at the L.A. Auto Show last fall, the Genesis G80's new sport trim level brings a 365-horsepower turbo V6, performance tires, and a much better looking face to Hyundai's luxury division's smaller sedan. Bonus points for the understated bronze accents.
Starke Mercedes-AMG GT R
Take the Mercedes-AMG GT R, add one some even more aggressive aerodynamic trim, slap on some bigger wheels, give it a Gulf Oil-inspired livery—and you've got a supercar we can't stop staring at.
Lexus LIT IS
In pictures, the idea of covering a compact sport sedan with 41,999 LEDs capable of displaying moving images seems idiotic. But in person...the Lexus LIT IS is lit.
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Chief
Sure, it's just another special edition Wrangler being offered to milk even more profits out of the aging JK-platform Jeep. But at least it's a really good-looking special edition.
In spite of the name, the Concept_One is very much a production car—a 1,073-horsepower, all-electric, Romanian Croatian-made hypercar capable of outrunning Veyrons and LaFerraris. You probably know that already. But you can't really appreciate the sheer beauty of it until you see it in the flesh.
This custom Mazda RXC-7 with 993-gen Porsche 911 headlights
Lexus UX Concept
The UX Concept debuted just a few months ago at the Paris Motor Show—still, technically, in this current auto show season—but that's apparently long enough for Lexus to exile the car to the bottom floor of the Jacob K. Javits convention center, a place with all the charm and sunlight of a vampire accountant's office.
Modified Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT
It may not have the bumper-to-bumper warranty of the new Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, but this (ostensibly) supercharged SRT Jeep has way more road presence.
Updated to reflect that the Rimac is actually made in Croatia, not Romania.