The 2013 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) was held in (where else) New York City last week. It is the final major show of the so called “auto show season”, and automakers usually show production ready new vehicles (as opposed to concept cars) that will be available to consumers in the next few years.
While I am not currently looking to purchase a new car (cause I just did it last winter), as an automotive enthusiast I am always on the prow for new and exciting cars that could potentially be the replacement for my current ride. Not to mention, trading in cars and switching for another is bloody easy these days. The three cars from NYIAS that caught my attention are as follows:
Picture this: for a little under $40,000, you will soon be able to purchase an “S” trim Audi sedan with a 295hp turbo four-cylinder engine, and all wheel drive. The S3 sedan (and it’s more pedestrian A3 brother) is ushering Audi back into the luxury compact sedan class, since the A4 that previously occupies it has grown in size with every generation. Audi is also hoping to attract younger buyers, with the new A3 bringing the price of entry to the Audi family down to the $30,000s range.
Of course, it’s the S3 variant that really piqued my interest. With almost 300 horsepower and all wheel drive, it’s practically the same car (performance spec wise) as my WRX STI – but in a more luxurious, Audi wrapper. For sure the Haldex based (front wheel biased) all wheel drive system in the S3 is not nearly as sporting as the one in the STI (which has a true center differential), but that difference is made up in a high quality interior and the famed Audi sophistication. Plus, the exterior styling is quite Teutonic chic, isn’t it?
For only $6,000 more than what I paid for my STI, the new Audi S3 looks to be an excellent performance sports-luxury bargain.
MERCEDES BENZ CLA45 AMG
Just as Audi is trying to reach the younger market with the new A3/S3, their geographic competitor Mercedes Benz is also targeting the same demographic. Instead of refreshing a model in its current stable, Mercedes is choosing to introduce a brand new product line - the CLA class. The CLA is a compact, sleek, and stylish four-door “coupe” that is priced right at $31,000 for the base model. It’s an unprecedented entry price for a Mercedes Benz, one that it hopes to attract young buyers looking for the prestige and luxury of the three-pointed star, but doesn’t necessarily want to pay a high price for it.
At NYIAS, Mercedes introduced the hot, AMG version of the CLA – the CLA45 AMG. Just like the Audi S3, it has a two-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but here it makes a ground breaking 355 horsepower (that’s a record 177 horsepower per litre of displacement). The CLA45 AMG put power to the ground via all wheel drive, though due to the transverse engine layout, it’s a front biased Haldex setup just like the S3. The upgraded brakes look absolutely beefy; looks to be six-piston units up front and two-pistons in the rear.
With higher performance potential come higher price: the CLA45 AMG starts at a little over $50,000. While this is outside my price range, it’s a known fact that Mercedes Benz AMG cars depreciate like nothing else. If I was going to purchase one (and the car is pretty much a more powerful and more luxurious version of my STI), best to wait a few years and get it used.
VOLVO V60 WAGON
I’ve always had a liking for wagons; they represent great utility and cargo capacity, but without the off-roading pretentiousness of sports-utility vehicles (because face it, 99% of SUVs are not seeing anything outside of asphalt). Volvo is world famous for it’s wagons (like the classic 240 turbo), and it was a shame that these past years, it did not offer a single wagon in the North American market. Well, that would soon change.
At NYIAS, Volvo announced that it would be bringing its European-market midsize wagon, the V60, to America (along with a fresh facelift to the styling). I am beyond ecstatic because I am a big fan of the Scandinavian chic styling of contemporary Volvos, but did not consider a regular S60 sedan during my last round of car purchasing because the wagon V60 was not available in these shores (no point in buying a Volvo if it’s not in wagon form like the classics).
If a Volvo V60, in T5 all-wheel-drive form can be had in the mid to high $30,000s, then it’s a very enticing proposition indeed to trade in my STI. It may perhaps be the ultimate go anywhere, do anything car for the money.