It was another good day at NYIAS. Ike from the Untitled Car Show joined Michael Thompson and me for the day. All of the big reveals of interest to enthusiasts had already happened, so we engaged in
shenanigans serious automotive journalism to find some interesting stories from around the show.
What is RFD doing covering this small start-up project to build a cheap 84mpg car that doesn’t even have four wheels? I’ve been genuinely curious about Elio ever since I first heard of them, and have been following them for quite some time. At NYIAS Elio showed off this, the final prototype before pre-production of 100 cars. This is the real deal. Elio is fully aware of the doubts many have had about the project, and when Paul Elio himself invites you to get into his car, you say yes. With a sporty steering wheel, a nice short shifter, and a sport tuned double wishbone front suspension, the Elio does have some sporting pretensions. Sitting inside of it feels like I’m piloting an X-Wing fighter, especially with a
targeting computer tablet docked into place above the shifter to run the infotainment. We interviewed Paul Elio, and found that the sporting qualities we, as enthusiasts, found in the car are more than just pretensions. More on that later.
There was nothing new at Porsche, but the three pedal equipped 911R was great to see, as was the Cayman GT4. This was my first look at the car, the pinnacle of the Cayman line. The seats are deep, supportive, and potentially tight for wider people. The shifter is great, but even just putting my hands on the wheel normally I found myself constantly whacking the four levers just behind it. I had the same problem in my old Civic wagon when I tried putting a steering wheel from the original CRX on it. The problem was the same – the wheel is just too close to the levers, and needs to stick out closer to the driver. Still, if someone decided to drop a Cayman GT4 in my driveway, I certainly wouldn’t complain – far from it.
In addition to seemingly every version of the Charger and Challenger Dodge offers, they also showed off the Viper ACR, and presented a unique opportunity to drive one at the Nurburgring. Sure, it wasn’t a real drive, but getting into a real Viper that really worked with the real controls and real movement means that I want one of these in my living room. I wonder if I could convince my wife that we need a Viper sim instead of… well, anything else.
Christian von Koenigsegg himself introduced the Regera, and the One:1, a car designed to produce one horsepower per kilogram. Later on we (ok, Ike and Mike) convinced security to allow us inside the cordoned off area for a much closer look at the cars, as well as the Spyker C8, Lotus Evora 400, and Bugatti Veyron. We’ll post a photo gallery of these cars once we’re done going through hundreds of photos from the show.
Elio isn’t the only small company with a strange little three wheeled vehicle at NYIAS. Arcimoto was showing off the SRK, an even more bare bones vehicle capable of 80mph with a range of 70 miles. But the differences between the SRK and the Elio are huge. The SRK is exposed (though minimal bodywork is an available option). It has controls like a motorcycle, not a car. But the biggest difference is that the SRK is electric. Arcimoto and Elio don’t even consider each other competitors since their products are so different. I hadn’t even heard of Arcimoto before NYIAS, but now I’m intrigued.
The second generation Cadenza was introduced. But that’s not the car that interests me – it’s the Forte5 SX. With a 1.6 liter turbo motor putting around 200hp through a 6-speed manual transmission, it’s beginning to sound a lot like a Fiesta ST. It’s bigger, in between a Fiesta and Focus. But with supportive, sporty leather seats, a flat bottomed steering wheel, and other nice touches, The Forte5 may be the hot hatch that no one is talking about. I’d enjoy trying one out for myself sometime to see if the sporting qualities are only skin deep, or if the Forte5 is a genuine alternative to the more mainstream choices.
Toward the end of the day we were feeling a little crispy. We began seeking out vans and minivans to stretch out and get a load off our feet. We’re not about to split off and start a new web site called Right Van Down, but that didn’t stop Ike from crash testing the safety features of the Toyota Sienna’s automatic rear hatch. I don’t know why he felt the need to do this, but such antics need to be captured on video and shared with the world.
It’s been a fun two days in New York. The press days may be over, but the show will be open to the public through April 3. Our NYIAS coverage isn’t over yet, either, since we have much more to tell you about than brief day end summaries. Keep your scanners peeled.