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New York Auto Show Highlights: Bentley, Jaguar and More

Bentley Flying Spur

Bentley Flying Spur

Aston Martin Vanquish

Aston Martin Vanquish

Jaguar XJR and XKR-S GT Coupe

Jaguar XJR and XKR-S GT Coupe

By Mike Espindle

This year’s show has been super-charged with significant new debuts, especially in the luxury segment.

Here are some highlights from Day One.

The new Bentley Flying Spur made its North American debut. Powered by a 6.0-liter, twin turbo W12 engine, coupled to a ZF eight-speed transmission, the new Spur delivers 616 hp–more power than any other Bentley four-door in history. A 14 percent improvement in the power-to-weight ratio over the outgoing model delivers a breath-taking 0 to 60mph surge of 4.3 seconds and a top-speed of 200mph. Add in all-wheel drive with a 40:60 rear-biased torque split and you’ve got a sure-footed, engaging sport sedan with civility and oomph.

Jaguar and Land Rover have been a dominant force at the New York show. Land Rover’s celebrity-studded debut of a new Range Rover Sport on the eve of the show has been followed up by Jaguar’s dramatic expansions of its supercharged R performance lineup, which now includes six dynamic models. The show was scene of debuts of the Jaguar XJR flagship and the track-ready Jaguar XKR-S GT coupe. The XJR will be the highest performance XJ sedan with 550hp and other engine upgrades as well as featuring exceptional interior flourishes.

An elegant kind of fastback gentlemen’s sedan greeted North American car fans for the first time: The new Wraith from Rolls Royce. The sloping design hints at the vehicle’s dynamic prowess; it is the most powerful Rolls-Royce ever: 624hp with a 0 to 60mph giddy-up of 4.4 seconds powered by a beefy V12. But the car is no screaming GT bruiser…ride characteristics are said to be in line with Rolls’ signature “wafting” drive feel, and all the accoutremente that make a Rolls Royce, down to the umbrellas stored in the car body, are included, as well.

Aston Martin debuted an S version of it’s popular Rapide “four-door coupe” sport sedan. With a nice bump in power, about 80 hp, this sport version also draws in some of the suspension and steering improvements from the company’s flagship Vanquish grand tourer, which was also show. Powered by a significantly revised naturally aspirated 6.0-liter V12 engine mated to the proven Touchtronic 2 six-speed automatic gearbox, the new Vanquish offers suitably impressive performance figures with a power peak of 565hp.

At Mercedes-Benz there were several show-stoppers, especially in the variety of new AMG models, but perhaps the most dramatic was the unveiling of the new CLA Class sedan. The new four-door coupe is a style rebel that takes its design cues from the CLS, whose design concept has inspired more than its fair share of imitators since its debut in Detroit in 2003. The sporty CLA comes with a powerful turbocharged engine generating 208hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, as well as sport suspension and available 4MATIC all-wheel drive.

Volvo brought a bevy of new models to New York, but the big news at their stand was that Volvo’s V60 sports wagon, already a superstar in Europe, will soon hit the shores of America. An elegant, curvy and sculptured appearance oozes luxury and performance and sets a new high bar for a high-end wagon. Offering up the handling of a dynamic sports sedan in the versatility of a wagon is a big part of the Scandinavian company’s DNA, and the V60 speaks to that heritage beautifully.