Pops’ Rants: New York Auto Show Special
BMW thinks wheels are a big deal and I still hate the Ghibliby Pops, on
Oh my, this was a busy week with the New York Auto Show and all. It was a bit disappointing compared to Geneva, but hey, still a good show with plenty of interesting cars. But, like any major car event throughout the year, it was also loaded with major flops and car’s I’d rather forget even exist. Yeah, I feel like ranting again so continue reading this at your own risk.
I guess we can all agree that the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon was by far the most spectacular unveiling in New York. But, as you may have already found out, I hate that it doesn’t have a manual transmission. I want to stress out that I’m perfectly fine with the eight-auto and I know that the Demon’s tremendous performance wouldn’t have been possible with a manual, but I think Dodge has no excuse for not offering an optional stick and clutch pedal.
I mean, how bad could it be? The 2.3-second 0-to-60 sprint and sub-10-second quarter-mile would definitely fly out the window with a manual, but hey, Dodge can still brag about the performance it gets with the automatic. Nothing would change as far as records go. Just look at how BMW advertises the M4 with the performance figures of the dual-clucth model, even though the manual is slower.
So yeah, stop it with the "automatic transmission makes it as fast as it is" argument. I don’t want a manual Demon that’s as fast as the automatic. I just want a stick. I like sticks. And I like Bill Jenkins. And poor old "Grumpy" would be very disappointed with the Demon. Get it?
But the Demon issue is nothing compared to BMW’s approach in New York: a couple of sets of wheels. I’m not kidding, BMW came to New York with two sets of freakin’ wheels and a bunch of old cars. Sure, it’s nice to have new wheels, they’re an important design (and sometimes performance) element of a vehicle, but I have this feeling that BMW came to New York only because it couldn’t find any entertaining shows on TV this week. It’s okay to miss the occasional auto show guys. Better than making a fool of yourself anyway.
Since we’re talking German cars, here’s something silly coming from Audi. So the luxury brand unveiled two R8-based cars in America: the LMS GT4 race cars and the special-edition R8 Audi Sport. The last one is a road-going car with a cool livery in Audi’s racing colors. I like it a lot, even though I’m no fan of Audis and R8 isn’t the kind of sports car I would invest in. But, here’s the annoying part. The Audi Sport Edition was launched in the States and they only pricing information that comes with it is for the German market. Much logic, such blockheads, wow! (cue the Doge meme).
Moving on to concept cars, I getting tired of Nissan putting tracks to its crossovers. At first it was the Juke, then we had a Rogue. Now Nissan built yet another Rogue on tracks instead of wheels, wrapped it in a hipster, artsy army camo livery and called it the Trail Warrior. It’s cool and all because you can swim through snow and sand with ease, but it’s still a concept car. Just build a production model already or stop it with the teasing. For a company that has quite a few nameplate updates to make nowadays, Nissan is wasting quite a lot of time. Not good!
Then there’s the Toyota FT-4X concept. Now that’s my kind of SUV. It’s real body, it has vintage, Jeep-ish looks, and it has a straightforward interior without all the fancy tech that I would probably use once every few months. I’d be more than happy to have this thing for long trips and I would definitely give up on the idea of restoring an old Bronco. On the other hand, the production model might not be this cool and Toyota could add all that annoying technology I try to stay away from. But my biggest gripe with this concept is that it kinda says Toyota isn’t exactly happy with the FJ Cruiser no longer in dealerships. It’s like they want the FJ Cruiser back but don’t want to seem desperate. Well, this is what happens when you make bad decisions. "But... but... sales were slow." Well, at 13,000 units a year, there was still a market for the FJ Cruiser.
Finally, I’m not at all happy about the limited-edition Maserati Ghibli Nerissimo. I mean I like the murdered, Mafia-style look, but I simply hate the Ghibli. A four-door can’t be a Ghibli. The Ghibli is a two-door grand tourer. One that’s gorgeous, loud, fast, and built in the late 1960s. Maserati was so desperate to capitalize on one of its greatest nameplates that it made a mess of it by putting the badge on a four-door. I don’t like that a bit, and a black exterior plus a few extras inside doesn’t make it any better. Rename it the Piccolo Quattroporte and I might actually like it.