Here are Michael Thompson’s picks from the New York International Auto Show.
Picking your favorite car is always hard, it’s like asking a parent to choose their favorite child. So when tasked to pick my favorite cars from the 2016 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), the choice wasn’t easy.
2017 Toyota 86
When Toyota “86’d” the Scion brand earlier this year enthusiasts were not happy that the Scion FR-S may be discontinued. Toyota did not hesitate one minute to “rebrand” the FR-S as the Toyota 86 for 2017. The chassis, body and sporty philosophy of the car remain the same, but for 2017 Toyota made some nice revisions. Toyota has given the flat-four 2.0-liter boxer engine a 5 horsepower bump, a 5 lb-ft of torque increase, enhanced the front and rear bumper, improved “86” headlights and taillights, revised gear ratios and new 17” alloy wheels. With these slight changes, we are hoping the Toyota 86 won’t get “86’d”.
Mazda Miata RF
The Mazda Miata has been putting smiles on owners faces for the past 25 years, at the 2016 NYIAS Mazda has given fans another reason to smile, the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Retractable Fastback (RF). Fans have been begging for a power retractable hardtop version since the debut of the fourth generation ND MX-5 Miata, well Mazda has their answer with the 2017 Mazda Miata RF. Let’s get this out of the way, the car is dropped dead gorgeous. Like seriously amazing. What are the major changes? Well not much, the chassis, engine, trunk space and suspension tuning are the same. The retractable hardtop option will add an estimated 100 additional pounds to an already light 2,300 pounds car. It won’t be available till late 2016, but with a power retractable hardtop, now enthusiasts have a reason to smile all year long.
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
What happens when you give a Corvette Z06 rear seats? You get the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, a supercar beater that can majorly haul your kids to school. The Camaro ZL1 for this year gets an all new chassis that is 200 pounds lighter, 60 more horsepower and 80 more lb-ft of torque, a ten-speed automatic, and 100 hours of aerodynamic wind tunnel testing to boot. The heart of the ZL1 is a LT4 6.4-liter supercharged V-8 that produces 640-hp and 640-lb-ft of torque. To help you put all that power to the ground there will be a electronic limited-slip differential and a magnetic ride suspension. If the 2016 Camaro SS is any indication at how great the new Camaro is, the ZL1 should be a home run.
The 1998 E30 BMW M3 is seen as the “great grandfather” to the holy grail of BMW M machines. This year BMW is making an M2 and should be one of the top enthusiast cars of the year. It has all the key components to make it a fun car: rear-wheel drive, six-speed manual transmission, tuned lightweight suspension, a turbocharged in-line six-cylinder 3.0-liter engine, and boy-racer style. It’s also available with a dual-clutch transmission that will launch your M3 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. We cannot drive a specification sheet, but what all BMW fans want to know is does this car to have the soul of the 19988 E30 M3? From first looks, it does.
1969 Skyline 2000 GT-R
When Nissan unveiled the new “face-lift” for the 2017 GT-R at the NYIAS, Nissan brought along the different generations of the Skyline GT-R family to show off the car’s heritage and style. The 1969 Skyline 2000 GT-R has to be one of the most timeless and iconic designs of its time and is still stunning to look at today. Its hood mounted side mirrors and it having the first ever 4-valve dual overhead cam engine, helped it pave the way for generations of enthusiast cars and Fast and The Furious fans. It had advanced racing technology like a limited-slip differential, front MacPherson struts, a 26-gallon fuel tank, and a top speed of 120 miles per hour. Thank you Nissan for bringing a piece of history with you to the 2016 NYIAS, enthusiasts around the world are hoping that eventually you bring the Skyline GT-R back to its roots.
Those are my top 5 cars from the 2016 NYIAS, what were your favorites?