The 2013 New York Auto Show

New York really shouldn’t have this.  A city that lives and dies by it’s underground subway system and bleeds yellow with taxi cabs flooding each city street shouldn’t have a major auto show with the world’s most notable auto makers revealing their latest work.  But, either way, each spring dozens of manufacturers pack the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan to show off the latest from the factories.  And while a complete report of every single thing with four wheels is the only way to truly cover the entirety of the show, there are a few automobiles that have been attracting the most attention from visitors and journalists alike.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

It seems apparent that in the past production year or so, American manufacturers have run rampant with their production of new options in the muscle car market; and this Camaro Z/28 is no exception.

As with the new C7 Stingray, the iconic moniker of Z/28 is resuscitated and is slapped onto every bit that a driver being overtaken by this car can see it.  The purpose to the revival of this badge is not merely for marketing, instead it represents the performance beneath, as GM is calling this beast the “most track-capable Camaro ever.”  A devious rubbing of the hands would be the proper reaction to have towards these words.

Underneath the fish-gill-like vented hood rests a 7.0-liter LS7 V8 capable of producing a righteous 500 horsepower.  Power is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip differential.  The V8 is expected to rev to a 7000 rpm redline, also boasting a higher final-drive than seen on the potent ZL1.

To facilitate the go-faster aspect of this all-new Camaro, GM has also reduced the curb weight of the car.  The Z/28 is said to have lost some 300 pounds in comparison with the ZL1 and 100 pounds in comparison with the SS.  And while a 300 pound wight loss sounds impressive -which it is -, the overall weight would still be somewhere in the cul-de-sac of 3800 pounds, still quite the hefty weight.  The Z/28’s diet was carried out through the riddance of air-conditioning, the installment of thinner rear glass, losing the tire-inflation kit (except where the rule books say otherwise), removal of the interior sound-deadening, trashing the trunk carpet, throwing in a lighter battery, and manual front sport seats that can hopefully absorb water well, as hot track days and no A/C aren’t the best competition.

Under the car’s body, stiffer dampers, springs, and bushings make the car, er, stiffer.  The new Z/28 wears a set of 19-inch wheels wrapped with Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires.  Stopping power is also revolutionary on this Camaro, as Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes should be quite effective anchors.

Mix all these new features with an aerodynamic package that includes a front splitter, a lift-reducing underbody panel, flared fenders, wider rockers, a rear diffuser and a racey looking black spoiler and the end result is something that should be very fast on the race circuit.  I’m just not sure about the taillights.

2014 Jaguar XKR-S GT

2014 Jaguar XKR-S GT

I laughed when I saw this car.  The Jaguar XKR-S is already a supercharged big cat with 550 horsepower and a 4.2 second 0 to 60 time.  So when I saw this car with the stripes, the large wing in the back, and the car equivalent to whiskers up front, there was no other emotion that could be conjured up other than laughter.

Underneath the car’s body though, this thing is all business.  Engine performance ratings remain the same as on the ‘normal’ XKR-S, the supercharged 5.0-liter making 550 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 502 lb-ft of torque at a low 2500 rpm.  However, the standard brakes have been switched with the more powerful carbon-ceramics – measuring 15.7 inches in the front and 15 inches in the rear.  A wider front track, increased camber, revised bushings, a height-adjustable adaptive damping system, and a quicker ratio in the steering are all part of the complete suspension revisal.  The new suspension sits on a set of 20-inch forged aluminum wheels – or aluminium wheels if you’re from the place where Jags are made – coated with Pirelli Corsa tires.

Although the engine remains untouched as far as horsepower and torque is concerned, performance is stepped up a few notches.  The sprint to 0 to 60 mph can now be done in less than 4 seconds; the car claimed of completing the run to sixty in 3.9 seconds, if you have to be specific.  However, one odd thing about this track specialized machine is that the top speed is governed to a still relatively speedy 186 mph top speed.  However, the addition of all the fins and wings among other changes results in 320 pounds of downforce, useful when it comes to circumnavigating corners on a circuit.

Power is still sent to the wheels through a now elderly six-speed automatic transmission, an outdated ‘box in comparison to the latest Jaguar Land Rover eight-speed transmissions.  And with a $174,895 price tag, the latest transmissions might be useful and worth it on a car such as this.  It will certainly be an interesting thing to see if you’re ever fortunate enough to see this car during a track day, one things for certain, though: the performance will be hilarious.

2014 Jaguar XJR

2014 Jaguar XJR

If you thought the Jaguar XJ was only driven by suit-wearing businessmen that like comfortable cruisers with moderate performance to get around slower traffic, you thought wrong.  The 2014 Jaguar XJR is here to attract the wild side of those businessmen, the side that likes to open the taps and shred the tarmac of their neighborhood’s back roads.

Since supercharging is apparently a favorite pastime of Jaguar’s, the XJR houses a 550 horsepower supercharged 5.0-liter V8.  The end result is a claimed 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds and an electronically governed top speed of 174 mph.

The suspension has also seen changes, as Jaguar fitted performance-tuned springs and played with the Adaptive Dynamics variable dampers to control the motion of the big cat’s body.  Large anchors have been fitted in all four corners, with 15-inch disc brakes up front and 14.8-inches in the rear.  The standard XJ is already acclaimed of being a good driver, and with all the new changes the XJR has little possibilities of staining this reputation.

Finally, to ensure that the XJR still goes to the right customers, the XJR’s price ranges from $116,895 to $119,895, right in the range for well-doing businessmen.  With the XKR-S GT and the XJR, it’s safe to say that Jaguar brought to cars that do nothing less than causing a chuckle among the people that examine them.  As with the XKR-S GT, it would be quite entertaining to watch someone manhandling the XJR around a twisty road or a technical circuit.

2014 SRT Viper TA

2014 SRT Viper TA

The phrase “Don’t worry, it doesn’t bite,” would be a crime if ever used to address this car.  Only 33 of them will be made, but if ever those 33 cars are observed in a speedy situation, it will be quite the spectacle.

First things first, TA stands for Time Attack, however I’m certain that time is not the only thing that this beast will be attacking.  The car is born as a stock Viper, the engine included – the engine is the main item that remains the same, as horsepower and torque are still rated at 640 bhp and 600 lb-ft respectively.  After acquiring the regular – if you can call it that – Viper, SRT fits the dual-mode Bilstein dampers from the GTS edition Viper, however the TA’s Bilsteins are tuned to a firmer setting.  The Advanced Aerodynamics package which encompasses carbon-fiber front splitters and spoiler is featured on the car as well, while the Track package results in the inclusion of the special wheels and tires.

SRT’s fiddling included the springs and anti-roll bars, and also the aluminum X-brace that runs throughout the engine bay is opted out for a carbon-fiber version.  The result of all these changes is rather unexpected.  Initially when this car came out (and before I got all the details of it, so excuse my false assumptions), I thought it was going to be considerably lighter than the standard Viper.  I thought wrong, however.  The inclusion of the adaptive dampers of this car means that the TA is 51 pounds heavier than a Viper with the Track Package, but it is 26 pounds lighter than a GTS with the Track Package.

With a mere production run of 33 cars, sightings of the Viper TA will be scarce.  The starting price for the car will be $116,000, honestly a bargain in comparison to other sub-50 limited run supercars.  Hopefully, the 33 people that buy this car will buy it for the purpose of driving it.  At a fast pace.  On a race circuit.  And if the buyers indeed do this with the car, anybody who gets to see the Viper TA in it’s natural habitat is one lucky bloke.


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