x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Land Rover among big launches in the Big Apple

The Big Apple’s International Auto Show, which concludes on Sunday, was notable for a lack of pizzazz and its dearth of genuinely significant debutants. One of the exceptions was the svelte Land Rover Discovery Vision concept, which is a precursor to an all-new range of Discovery models that will effectively replace the existing LR2 and LR4 line-ups

The Land Rover Discovery concept car at the 2014 New York car show. Courtesy Newspress
The Land Rover Discovery concept car at the 2014 New York car show. Courtesy Newspress

New York may well be the nerve centre of the world’s financial markets, but clearly the same doesn’t apply to motor shows.

The Big Apple’s International Auto Show, which concludes on Sunday, was notable for a lack of pizzazz and its dearth of genuinely significant debutants – be it concepts or production-ready models.

Possibly the most significant newcomer was the Land Rover Discovery Vision concept, which is a precursor to an all-new range of Discovery models that will effectively replace the existing LR2 and LR4 line-ups. The svelte Vision ushers in far racier design language than has traditionally been seen on Land Rovers, but the concept looks so similar in execution to the Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Sport that one wonders whether the Brit purveyor of all-terrainers is in danger of cannibalising sales of its own premium brand.

Time will tell, as the first model – known as the Discovery Sport – will arrive next year to take over the baton from the ageing LR2 compact SUV. Expect it to retain many of the styling elements of the concept, barring the suicide doors and massive wheel-tyre combo.

Another noteworthy entrant in New York was the Mercedes S63 AMG Coupé, a barnstorming two-door rocket ship that will replace the CL63 AMG in the Middle East over the coming months. Graced by a much more sporting and athletic stance than the CL, it looks set to be a big hit in our horsepower-loving region.

Propelled by a twin-turbo, 5.5L V8 that kicks out 576hp and 900Nm, the Coupé leaps from 0 to 100kph in just 3.9 seconds in 4MATIC all-wheel-drive form, while the rear-drive version isn’t too far adrift at 4.3.

As per its S-Class sedan sibling, the Coupé features Magic Body Control (which flattens road surface imperfections), but it supplements this with a “curve tilting function” that enables the car to lean into corners in the same fashion as a motorcyclist or skier. This is said to make for more comfortable and poised progress across twisty roads.

Also likely to be a hot seller in our region is the revamped Dodge Charger, which gains a much more contemporary nose and tail than the outgoing model. The US manufacturer claims that every body panel is new, but the mechanicals are as before. Based purely on the visuals, The National gives it a thumbs up, even though it looks a bit too much like the smaller, cheaper Dart.

Over in the GM corner, the big news was the debut of the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible, which appears to provide one of the fastest solutions if you like getting your jollies by having your toupee ruffled. With propulsion provided by a steroidal 625hp, 6.2L supercharged V8, the Z06 ragtop should be an electrifying performer, and we have to admit that it looks the business, too.

BMW also unleashed a rapid drop-top: its new M4 Convertible, which packs a 425hp, 3.0L, twin-turbo six and folding metal hardtop. It promises a scintillating open-air experience when it lands here later this year, though it won’t offer the V8 rumble of its E93 predecessor.

On a much more low-key note, Toyota’s main attraction (in addition to the stunning FT-1 concept that had been seen earlier at Detroit) was a revamped Camry, which moves closer in appearance to its plusher Avalon sibling. The nip-tucked saloon is still nothing to get overly excited about, but it’s a huge improvement over the current model, which derives most of its business in the UAE from taxi-fleet operators.

For four-door shoppers with substantially deeper pockets, there’s the Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II, which arrives five years after the “compact” limo first hit the market. It gains re-profiled headlights that look remarkably like the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s, and the front bumper, bonnet and fenders are also new. RR has updated the interior for a more premium and sporty feel, and the options list now includes a Dynamic Driving Package that brings stiffer springs and dampers, along with a more direct steering rack.

weekend@thenational.ae