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The News for March 25th, 2016

Greg Kachadurian March 25, 2016 New York Auto Show, The News! 10 Comments

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Welcome to the Hooniverse News – 2016 NYIAS recap! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull, but this week everything newsworthy comes from one of the biggest auto shows on the circuit and certainly the most diverse in America. For both media and spectators, it’s the best place to preview many of the new hardware headed to our streets. For you, it’s a lot to catch up on. Let’s get started. This week:

  • Mazda stuns with a retractable fastback MX-5

  • Nissan GT-R continues evolving in a big way

  • The “Rent-A-Racer” returns as the 2016 Ford Shelby GT-H

  • Jaguar announces “new” 1957 XKSS continuation models

  • Audi drops the top, ups the price on the R8 V10 Spyder

  • Genesis NY Concept promises to be a worthy mid-size luxury competitor

  • Lincoln shows off the first all-new Navigator in nearly a decade

  • Kia redesigns the Cadenza from the ground up

  • Acura MDX shows off new styling and plenty of new features

  • What’s your automotive news?

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF

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For over 25 years, the Miata has always been one of the best ways to have fun on four wheels. It originally gained popularity for being a cheap, practical, and reliable little roadster that was always down on power but rich with thrills. While other cars get larger and more complicated, the Miata remains an easy, simple, winning machine. The answer to everything has enjoyed healthy sales figures but Mazda still found some untapped potential.

Many buyers become attracted to the Miata and its wonderful ways but get spooked by having a cloth top on what could end up being their daily driver. To retain buyers that would otherwise go for another hard-top coupe instead of the Miata, why not make a hard-top Miata? It’s been done before, but not quite like this. The third-generation NC Miata was the first to be offered with a power folding hard top and it sold well – so well that Mazda had to do it again, bigger and better. And admittedly, a bit more complicated.

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Welcome to the Mazda MX-5 RF, the first “retractable fastback (RF)” Miata in company history. Unlike the previous hard-top MX-5, only part of the roof folds into the trunk. A power-folding mechanism can stow the “front” and “middle” sections of the roof away (basically meaning everything directly on top) while the “rear” roof stays in place to give the car a gorgeous fastback look even with the top down. Another individual element to the retractable fastback is the rear window which can be lowered for unrestricted cabin airflow and provide excellent rearward visibility when raised.

Mazda anticipates RF owners driving with the top up most of the time and have therefore made the cabin extra quiet when everything’s up. A new sound-absorbing headliner is used on the front and middle roof panels as well as additional sound insulation around the rear wheel housings. They’ve also added soft Nappa leather to the interior for a more relaxed, sophisticated ambiance.

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Even though the car’s gained additional body panels and mechanisms, its dimensions are nearly identical (overall height has increased by 5mm) and the trunk space hasn’t suffered at all compared to the soft top, even when the top is stowed. Unfortunately, Mazda has not commented on how much additional weight this all adds. Knowing them, it probably won’t be much.

Like the normal MX-5, the RF is powered by either a 2.0-liter or 1.5-liter naturally-aspirated SkyActiv-G four-cylinder engine (varies by market) paired with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. Everything else is unchanged and equally wonderful.

No word on pricing or availability yet.

[Source: Mazda]

2017 Nissan GT-R

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It may not look like it, but the Nissan GT-R just underwent a pretty big update – the biggest since its introduction in 2007. You could say Nissan is being lazy by continuing to pile on updates to a car that’s already been on sale for nearly a decade, but you could also say they’re just doing what Porsche and Aston Martin are doing: evolution over revolution.

The 2017 GT-R is most recognizable by its mild face lift which adds a “V-motion” grille to match the other cars in Nissan’s lineup and enhance air flow. It also benefits from a new hood which neatly incorporates lines from the new grille while also having a positive impact on high-speed stability. A newly designed lip spoiler and bumper area increase downforce and make it look more aggressive.

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Going down the side and to the rear, there are a few small tweaks on an otherwise identical body that exist only to improve airflow around various parts of the car. All in all, it won’t look terribly different but the benefits the tweaks have on stability and aerodynamic efficiency are all that matters. Perhaps the easiest way to tell the difference will be to look for the new “Blaze Metallic” paint as seen above, which sounds like a funny way to say “silver”…. heh.

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While we’re all giving it a hard time for not being different enough, Nissan dramatically updated the interior to make it more upscale and comfortable, or more in line with that you’d expect from a $100,000 car. The entire dashboard is new and includes a single, seamless piece of Nappa leather wrapped around the instrument panel. New side bolstering on the seats make it more comfortable on long drives all while being a bit lighter. At the center is a new eight-inch touch-panel monitor with larger icons and easier operation from a new Display Command control on the carbon-fiber center console. The steering wheel is also new and now features redesigned paddle shifters mounted directly to it.

Another big change was made to the award-winning 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V6 in the form of 20 additional horsepower and 4 more lbs.-ft. of torque, meaning the car now plays with 565 horsepower and 467 lb.-ft. of torque. Other updates include a more rigid body structure, new suspension, and new twenty-inch forged aluminum wheels.

So yes, it may not look all that different after being on the market for 9 years, but it’s still more than enough to hang with cars twice the price. It’ll be available this summer.

[Source: Nissan – go here to see what it actually looks like 😛]

2016 Ford Shelby GT-H

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It’s not often that an OEM, an aftermarket tuner, and a rental car company collaborate on a new car, but that’s exactly what’s happening – for the third time, actually. Ford, Shelby American, and Hertz are bringing back the “Rent-A-Racer” with the 2016 Ford Shelby GT-H. The last time we saw one of these was way back in 2006 and the first was in 1966.

The 2016 Shelby GT-H is a pretty special Mustang because only 140 units are being built and the only way to experience one is to rent it through Hertz or buy them up after they’re abused and retired from the fleet. Regardless of whether or not it’s a good idea to trust renters with a 5.0-liter V8, it’s a rare chance to experience raw ‘Merican muscle on a layover.

Shelby GT-H

It’s also one of the most beautiful bad ideas ever conceived. Each GT-H will be painted black with gold racing stripes, a hallmark of Hertz vehicles dating back to the 1920s. It also has a Shelby-designed vented hood, carbon fiber front splitter (seriously), and a rear spoiler. It rolls on nineteen-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport tires. GT-H logos are of course plastered all around the car.

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In terms of performance, this rental car actually comes with an impressive spec sheet. It comes with Ford’s excellent Coyote V8, presumably an automatic transmission (because rental), the Ford Performance Handling Pack with retuned dampers and sway bars, lowering springs, cat back exhaust, and a staggered wheel kit.

Ford provides the 5.0 Mustang and the performance upgrades, Shelby provides the looks, and Hertz provides the opportunity. Final assembly takes place at Shelby American’s Las Vegas facility. The only way to rent one is through the Hertz Adrenaline Collection available at select locations starting this summer. Check out www.hertz.com/ShelbyGTH for rental details and locations.

[Source: Ford]

Jaguar XKSS Continuation Model

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It really is a new car. I promise.

Back in 1957, “the first supercar” was being produced in limited numbers at Jaguar’s Browns Lane factory when a disaster struck. The facility that housed Jaguar’s XKSS production operations was hit by a fire which destroyed the factory and nine of the twenty-five cars they had produced. Now, 59 years later, Jaguar is finally going about replacing them.

Jaguar Classic was at the New York auto show to announce a very special project to bring back the XKSS. Nine officially authorized continuation models will be built to the exact specification of those lost in 1957, all by hand. There will be nothing modern about the “new” XKSS at all. No restomodding, no modern technology, no bull. Jaguar promises an authentic 1950’s motoring experience that lives up to the legend. After all, the original XKSS was simply road-legal version of the Le Mans-winning D-Type with a higher windscreen and an extra seat, so expect a car that drives as phenomenally as it looks.

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Jaguar Classic’s highly skilled team of technicians and engineers will draw on decades of knowledge and recent Lightweight E-Type construction experience to ensure that no detail is overlooked. Of the nine models, the first is expected to be delivered early next year. Fun fact about the nine cars that were originally lost: they were earmarked for export to America. That unfortunately does not necessarily mean every new XKSS is going to America to make up for it; a select group of established collectors and customers will be able to fight for one regardless of origin.

Pricing is expected to be more than $1.4 million. An original XKSS can set you back closer to $8 million, so this is practically a bargain.

[Source: Jaguar Land Rover Classic]

BLIPS

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Audi’s big New York Auto Show reveal was the eye catching R8 Spyder V10. It’s everything awesome about the R8 V10 but with more headroom and easier access to the glorious exhaust note. Everything mechanically is unchanged except for the addition of a new lightweight power-folding cloth top. The top weighs just 97 pounds and the whole car’s weight seems to have gone down significantly compared to the Coupe – just 3,553 pounds compared to 3,737 pounds. The R8’s Audi Space Frame construction means the car maintains its rigidity and strength even with the roof gone. The direct-injected 5.2-liter V10 with 540 horsepower in this form remains the only option, but you can’t exactly complain about that. It’ll be available later this year.

[Source: Audi]

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Hyundai’s new Genesis luxury sub brand is already setting its sights on the mid-size luxury sedan class. In a class where the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Benz C-Class, and several other worthy contenders are all well established, Genesis looks to take them on with what will eventually stem from the Genesis New York Concept. It’s the smallest Genesis we’ve seen yet and it may also be the sportiest, as demonstrated by its more aggressive posture. They call it “athletic elegance” and it’s probably not that far off. Power would theoretically come from a 2.0-liter GDi (likely a turbo-four) engine with 242 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque and be transmitted through an eight-speed automatic. The interior is also packed with theoretical tech, mainly a twenty-one-inch 4K display which houses driver instruments, media, and other displays. No word yet on when to expect a production version.

[Source: Genesis]

Lincoln Navigator Concept front

The last time we had a really new Lincoln Navigator was way back in 2007. This concept promises a change to that. The Navigator Concept is a pretty dramatic change from the large luxury SUV of theirs we currently have as you can tell by Lincoln’s jaw-dropping family styling. Despite the huge redesign and the hilarious gull-wing doors this concept has, Lincoln’s aim was to exceed expectations without being the loudest statement on the road. The new Navigator will exceed said expectations by offering better performance (3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 with 400 horsepower), more space, and further refinement. The interior is insanely upscale as well with six individual “Perfect Position Seats” with 30-way adjustments, which hopefully will make it to production. As with the Continental Concept, I’m pretty confident Lincoln will move this through production lines almost exactly as it sits now, minus the gull-wing doors perhaps.

[Source: Lincoln]

2017 Cadenza

The Kia Cadenza, their full-size luxury sedan, is entering its second generation with a complete redesign from the ground up. It features new architecture at its core that’s both lighter and stronger, fresh new exterior styling, an all-new cabin, new tech for enhanced connectivity and safety (a lot of which is standard), and what should be a more premium driving experience all around. Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are standard as is the twelve-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system. The wheelbase is longer and the whole car is a bit wider which helps increase cabin space. A revised 3.3-liter V6 provides 290 horsepower and improved fuel economy while a new eight-speed automatic transmission drives the front wheels. The styling may be a bit polarizing, but don’t let that deter you from what is otherwise a greatly improved car. The list of improvements goes on much longer than I have room for. The Cadenza goes on sale this spring at an undisclosed price.

[Source: Kia]

2017 Acura MDX

The 2017 Acura MDX might as well be an all-new SUV, but they just call it a refresh. It’s the first production Acura to wear the same sort of design as debuted on the Acura Precision Concept from a few months back. The beak is gone in favor of a new diamond grille and other new styling touches were added as well. The ridiculous Jewel Eye headlights are restyled as is the rest of the front fascia. It also benefits from Acura’s Super Handling-All Wheel Drive system when spec’d as a Sport Hybrid. The Sport Hybrid is probably the best way to order one of these when you consider the 3.0-liter V6, seven-speed DCT, and three electric motors which deliver up to 325 horsepower at all corners. MDX buyers will also receive AcuraWatch, a full driver assistance and safety package, as standard. It’s loaded, it’s probably expensive, and it’s coming by the end of the year.

[Source: Acura]

What’s your automotive news?

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*breathes*

That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.

Have a good weekend.

[Image © 2016 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

  • AlexG55

    MX-5 RF, pronounced “roof” because it has one.

    • Ross Ballot

      Ruf, you say?
      (or is it said the other way? Someone let me know…please and thanks)
      https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/ox3jdfpqyxykxmoqojfq.jpg

      • Greg Kachadurian

        I’ve heard it pronounced both ways, but I think it’s pronounced as it’s spelled – “ruff”, or “rough”. The last one I saw was at last year’s Werks Reunion in Pebble Beach and I wanna say someone pronounced it “rough”, so I assume he knew what he was talking about lol

  • stigshift

    Why couldn’t Mazda simply make a fastback with a hatch, or a little wagon-like thing a la BMW M coupe? Put in a big removable roof panel like the 944 had, or a cloth Webasto. But no, a needlessly complicated mechanical lift off roof that offers no real improvement over a stock roadster… Dammit.

  • 0A5599

    The other (besides Shelby Hertz) tuner rental that comes to mind is the Shelby CSX-T offered by Thrifty.

    Ford should put a list price of $3k on that carbon fiber splitter, then Hertz just needs to wait for their customers to smash into concrete parking lot stoppers. The damage claims will pay for the program in no time at all.

    • Maymar

      Considering Hertz now owns Thrifty and Dollar, they need a special edition Sonic or something now, to complete the trifecta.

  • Alcology

    The KIA Credenza!

  • Batshitbox

    Steve The Unremarkable White Pickup had a bit of a senior moment and forgot how to shift out of 1st gear. This,of course, happened on a Saturday and 70 miles from home. With a huge picture window in the bed.

    We were trying to make it 10 miles (at 15 mph) to the only open transmission shop when 2nd gear engaged right at the freeway on-ramp, so we went for it. 3rd and even OD eventually were attained.
    Everything went kaput again after we got to this side of the Golden Gate Bridge.

    At first, Mr Mechanic said total re-build, $2000. Later in the week, though, it was determined that the “governor” (some part of the dark magic that is an Automatic Transmission) had become stuck with dirt, or something. Once that was put right it’s back to its old self!

    Whew!

  • CraigSu

    Bring on the Mazda MX-5 FHC! It’s OK if it still looks like the RF without the attendant seams.

  • wunno sev

    dude…..that miata.

    i recently had an NA, but i’m no purist. and if a purist would hate the miata RF, then let’s get corrupted.