April 2019 is a big month for car lovers. A day after the start of Auto Shanghai, the New York International Auto Show kicked off, offering its own compelling mix of new-generation production vehicles, concept cars and special editions. New York is hosting everything from the latest wave of electrics, sports cars through pickup trucks, to pure, unadulterated petrol supercar power.
We’ve already looked at many of New York’s major highlights, including the Qiantu K50 electric sports car, Genesis Mint concept and new Subaru Outback. A few other debuts worth mentioning:
Hyundai puts on a light show with new Sonata
Hyundai gives the eighth-generation Sonata its North American debut in New York, and while that headline might not exactly get the heart racing, the Korean automaker has put some impressive design work into its new midsize sedan. The Sensuous Sportiness design language filters down from the 2018 Le Fil Rouge concept, giving the new Sonata a sleek, smart four-door coupe look. Up front, the new Hidden Lighting Lamps that slice down from the wing mirrors appear like chrome when switched off before illuminating to life when switched on. The thin LED strip that bisects the trunk ensures the rear view is as distinctive as the front.
Hyundai will begin sales in October, offering Sonata buyers a choice of 191-hp Smartstream 2.5-liter GDI or 180-hp Smartstream 1.6-liter T-GDI engine, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Hyundai expects fuel economy to be as high as 33 mpg combined for the 2.5-liter engine. Also on offer are features like a head-up display, 12.3-in digital instrument panel, 10.3-in infotainment display, lane-keeping assist, highway driving assist, heated/ventilated front seats, digital key smartphone app, and Qi wireless charging.
Porsche leaves its top behind
Last year, Porsche celebrated the its 70th birthday in part by tearing off the 911’s top and turning it into the effortlessly sexy 911 Speedster concept. It later decided that was good enough for a limited edition model developed by the capable hands at Porsche Motorsport. In NY, it gives the Speedster a proper North American debut.
The Speedster borrows its throaty, naturally aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six from the 911 GT3 and GT3 RS, pairing it with a GT Sport six-speed manual transmission, a combination sure to excite purists. The engine spins at up to 9,000 rpm and puts out 502 hp and 346 lb-ft, helping the sleek Speedster run from 0 to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in 3.8 seconds a ways before topping out at 192 mph (309 km/h). A GT3-derived chassis with specially calibrated rear steering helps translate that speed and power into a razor-sharp ride with help from ultra high-performance tires wrapped around 20-in center-lock wheels and ceramic-composite brakes.
The US$275,750 Speedster will go up for order on May 7, with US deliveries scheduled to get rolling in late 2019. The Heritage Design Package with throwback graphics, shown below, will be available optionally.
Kia loosens up its all-wheel drive
You don’t have to cough up nearly three grand of Porsche money to have a lot of fun in a 2019 NY Auto Show-debuted special edition. For around $46,500, each of 800 buyers will have the opportunity to own the new Kia Stinger GTS with a dynamic all-wheel drive (D-AWD) that combines the playfulness of a rear-wheel drive with the reliable pavement-clawing grip of AWD. With three selectable modes, the rear-biased D-AWD system sends between 60 and 100 percent of torque to the rear wheels, managing traction with a mechanical limited-slip differential and updated control logic. Drift mode gives you all 100 percent of the torque at the rear and pauses upshifting so you can drift like a video game champion.
The GTS edition also gets bright “Federation Orange” paint, carbon fiber trim around the grille, side mirrors and vents, a sunroof, a 720-watt Harman Kardon audio system, and special exterior badging and interior trim. Drive power comes from the Stinger’s 365-hp 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 and eight-speed automatic transmission. The D-AWD system is optional, and Kia will also offer a rear-wheel drive GTS starting at $44,000 when it begins production this spring.