The 2011 edition of the New York International Auto Show is underway at this very moment. Held at the Javits Center on the west side of Midtown, you’ll be able to attend through Sunday, May 1st. However, I was able to attend with the rest of the media and industry insiders to give you the poop on what’s going on in Detroit and the world.
Of course, if your favorite brand is Chevrolet, you’re at the right place because there were some debuts that grabbed the world’s attention.
No one can argue it’s been a rough past couple years for the global auto industry. If you attended the show two or three years ago, you would have noticed a new paradigm of austerity.
Today, however, you can smell the optimism as the automakers are pulling out all the stops once again. Remember the fears about General Motors and how high performance was dead?
The most important Chevrolet at the NYIAS was the Chevrolet Malibu. Set to go on sale in a year as a 2013 model, it’s been totally revamped to masquerade as a Camry-killer.
Now why would Chevrolet like to kill what is basically a toaster on wheels? Because Americans deserve better bread and butter, and that car deserves to be on the short list of best-selling cars in America.
When the Malibu came out two generations ago, it was more of a strategy where “we’ll shoot just short of the mark but offer features and value. The current generation is a fine car that was just off the bull’s eye, and the 2013 is set to compete head-to-head to stop America’s roads from getting more bland.
“The exterior design of the all-new Malibu carries DNA from its sister vehicles, the Camaro and Corvette, to bring a sporty sensibility to the family sedan segment,” says Bryan Nesbitt, G.M.’s executive director of exterior design.
When the new Malibu hits the road, you won’t sense that DNA because the standard motor will be a 190-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder paired with a six-speed transaxle.
There’s also a new Eco model that uses a direct-injection version of the same engine supplemented by the light-hybrid eAssist system that will achieve up to 38 miles per gallon on the highway. If there’s more horses to be had, we don’t know what and when…yet.
And the Camaro? Nothing really new, but this was the first time for many of us to view recent announcements in person. Most notable was the Camaro ZL1. Looking like an SS on steroids, by now you’re familiar with the stats: 6.2-liter all-aluminum V-8 putting out at least 550 horsepower, Brembo brakes with 6/4 pistons front/rear, aluminum hood with carbon fiber air extractor, and six-speed short throw shifter, among other things.
What’s not to like aside of the 8-month wait for its debut? This was the car that we were expecting to be called “Z/28” but the chatter is that there’s still hope for a Camaro variant that will have that name, perhaps to do battle with Ford’s Boss 302.
Camaro fans have also been waiting for a convertible. This was my first time seeing one so I can tell you it’s lookin’ good. In January it was announced that 50 will be built to commemorate its selection as the pace car for the Indy 500 in a trim configuration similar to the one from 1969.
At the show, they had a base hardtop trimmed like the pace car, so it’s not like you’re going to be left out if you’re not one of the 50 lucky ones. The base car will get a 323-horsepower V-6 for 2012, which is crazy when you think about it considering the 2002 Camaro SS put out two horsepower more.
It still will achieve 30 miles per gallon and run on regular fuel. Is anyone impressed yet? For a car that’s close to two tons, this is remarkable!
I know last week there was an announcement for a 45th Anniversary Camaro, but I didn’t catch it at the show (maybe it was unveiled in Day 2 of Press Day?). It’ll receive the updates mentioned above plus numerous trim upgrades including unique red and silver stripes, badges, interior trim, and 20-inch wheels in a dark silver finish.
If the current announcements just don’t do it for ya, then maybe the SLP display will increase your pulse rate. Their ZL1 (not to be confused with the upcoming 2012 ZL1 from Chevrolet) was built to commemorate the ultimate Camaro from 1969.
Only 69 of these aluminum 427s were built back then, and SLP seems sure there’s 69 people who are ready to spend $115,000 for a neo-version that is faster, has a radio and heater (not to mention AC) and goes like stink in any environment without the need for stickier tires or headers.
With 750 horsepower, SLP claims it’ll hit 0-60 in 3.2 seconds and run down the 1320 in 11.1 seconds at 129 mph.
Like the song says, “Happy days are here again!” The perfect way to shut up the naysayers is to prove it with technology and horsepower.