It is one of those strange quirks that, despite everything in America being bigger than everywhere else, and their automobiles in particular, their motor shows are always rather small.
Even Detroit’s season curtain raiser in usually frozen Michigan is positively petite compared to the leviathan shows held in Beijing and Frankfurt.
Even so, when you go to the Big Apple, you expect the city to really go to town. But in reality, and despite the portentous name, this year’s New York International Auto Show was not like this.
For a start, it was tiny, with almost all brands compressed into one bite-sized hall. Last time I looked, Frankfurt was up to seven, and with over a mile to walk from end to end. Second, it was astonishingly quiet.
Right in the thick of the morning rush those journalists that were there ambled calmly from place to place, secure in the knowledge that the object of their attention would be easily viewed with, for once, no need to sharpen the elbows to penetrate a media scrum that simply wasn’t there.
Winning car from Mazda
So you might conclude there was nothing much to see. But you’d be wrong. The Japanese made a sizeable effort in their biggest export market with Mazda winning the prize for bringing the best eye candy to the city. Even those not entirely swayed by the styling of the targa-topped MX-5 RF (and theirs was a small minority) could see the car was a winner, one more string to the brand’s increasingly impressive bow.
But both Nissan and Toyota also took the opportunity to twiddle with current sports car, the evergreen Nissan GT-R getting what must surely be the final nip and tuck of its career.
Power is up by a paltry 4% but the new cabin looked a far more worthwhile enhancement, endowing the car at last with an interior ambience more commensurate with its price tag.
Perhaps surprisingly, given the enduring criticism levelled at the car for its lack of straight line, Toyota has provided not a single additional horsepower for the GT86. Instead its focus has been on a mild exterior tweak and chassis developments intended to make it feel yet more agile. We can’t believe this means a car with an already clinical addiction to oversteer will go more sideways still, but we’re certainly looking forward to finding out.
NSX racer revealed
Honda chose New York to unveil its maddest offering yet to be based on a road car, a GT3 race version of the NSX notably shorn of its entire hybrid drive system and front drive shafts, while Subaru unveiled an all new Impreza based on a brand new global platform. Safer, stiffer and stronger, perhaps the Impreza and the WRX it will spawn will once more give Subaru the truly competitive family hatch it has so sorely lacked of late.
By contrast, the Germans had a quiet show. Easily the biggest push was made by Mercedes-Benz which showed the surprisingly inoffensive GLC Coupé, the smart C63 Cabriolet and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it facelifted CLA; but the biggest surprise came from Audi which whipped the covers off the R8 Spyder, complete with a claim that it is 50% stiffer than the car it replaces.
That alone should ensure a transformed driving experience. BMW showed up only with a John Cooper Works Mini Cabriolet already available to order in the UK.
Other highlights included Hyundai launching Genesis as a standalone brand with a smart 3-series sized saloon concept and Kia’s Cadenza which won’t come to the UK in person, but whose smart styling cues well might.
And if you were looking for a low light, you’d not have to look hard to find it, for there on the Lincoln stand sat a Navigator concept so large and ugly that not even preposterous gullwing doors could provide adequate distraction from its ill judged proportions. Usually we’re sad to announce it when concepts have no chance of making it into production; on this occasion however, we’re prepared to make an exception.
2016 New York motor show live blog - by Darren Moss, Rachel Burgess, Jimi Beckwith and Doug Revolta
2200 - And that brings our live coverage of the opening day of the New York motor show to a close. We'll be back tomorrow to bring you more pictures and analysis, but for now let's recap over some of the biggest stories of the day.
- Mazda's new MX-5 RF gets a hard-top folding roof and the option of an automatic transmission for the first time
- The open-top Mercedes-AMG C63 Cabriolet is the latest member of the C63 family to be revealed, and like its saloon and coupé siblings will come with as much as 503bhp
- Audi's R8 Spyder is only 0.1sec slower to 62mph than its coupé sibling, and will go on sale in the UK later this year.
- The facelifted Nissan GT-R might not look overly different to today's car, but it does receive a more comfortable cabin and, crucially, more power from its twin-turbocharged V6 engine
- The Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupé will go on sale in the UK this October, acting as a stylish rival for the BMW X4, Porsche Macan and Jaguar F-Pace
- The plug-in hybrid version of Toyota's latest Prius features a 1.8-litre petrol engine and electric motor, and its roof contains solar panels to recharge the battery
2150 - As another evening starts in New York, let's not forget how Mark Tisshaw spent last night - blasting through a closed tunnel in Jaguar's F-Type SVR. Here's his video.
2145 - The Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupé has only just been revealed in New York, and yet the talk has already turned to a convertible version. Mark Tisshaw's full report is here.
2135 - Another new car to be revealed today was the Kia Cadenza - it's not being sold in this country, but does feature Kia's new design language and the firm's latest technology inside.
2125 - The stunning Honda NSX GT3 is currently at the top of our gallery - here's some footage of the new car in action.
2120 - Opening the New York motor show earlier today, Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn said his company would ready autonomous cars for the mass market by 2020. Read the full story here.
2110 - The Nissan GT-R has been a big-hitter since its unveiling, so find out what's in store for the model when its replacement comes around.
2055 - "There's a healthy share of old muscle cars here as well as the new ones. There's no mistaking that the New York motor show is - quite obviously - in America," Sam Sheehan says.
2040 - The Mazda MX-5 RF stole the show today, so we compiled more memorable drop-tops. These cars just couldn't settle for conventional convertible roofs.
2015 - Honda has unveiled the racing livery for its Civic Coupe which will compete in this year’s US-based Global Rallycross Championship. The car was developed from a production-model Civic Coupe by rallycross specialist Olsbergs MSE with technical assistance from Honda Performance Development (HPD).
The car has more than 600bhp and can sprint from 0-60mph in 1.9sec. Two examples of the Civic will make their racing debuts on 21 May at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix, Arizona, with Sebastian Eriksson and Joni Wiman driving.
2000 - Perhaps not the most exciting reveal of the day, but Jeep has unveiled the Cherokee trailhawk. There’s no word on whether it’ll reach the UK, though.
1945 - The Honda NSX GT3 has caught the eye of our picture editor Ben Summerell-Youde, who likes the fact that not much has had to be changed from the road-car to make it a GT3. Get the full story on the racer, which has ditched hybrid tech, here.
1930 - Here's a closer look at the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Cabriolet, on sale in October from £66,000.
1915 - Sheehan’s waxing lyrical about the hard-top MX-5, read his thoughts on the supercar-inspired car after meeting its designer.
1900 - It’s already on sale in the UK, but the Mini John Cooper Works Convertible is now on display in New York, yet another drop-top at the show.
1845 - The Kia press conference is underway and the Cadenza is on show, previewing design language and technology that could make its way to the UK.
1835 - Tisshaw has snapped the Genesis that'll be revealed later on tonight under cover, rumoured to be a big coupe concept.
1830 - Our reporter Sam Sheehan is a lucky chap. He's just had Mazda's chief designer, Masashi Nakayama, draw him a comparison of the soft-top MX-5 with the new hard-top RF. Nakayama said that the RF has been designed deliberately to look like a coupé, and the shape of the flying buttresses took inspiration from cars like the Ferrari 599 GTB. "It's still an elegant design though, not masculine," Nakayama told Sheehan, who has assured us he'll be bringing the signed copy back to Autocar HQ.
1825 - Another blog now, this time from Mark Tisshaw, who reckons the new Subaru's new global vehicle platform could bring with it an exciting range of models.
1820 - Interestingly, new head of Audi's Quattro division (and former Lamborghini boss) Stephan Winkelmann is also in New York. He doesn't say much, merely remarking that the US has the potential to be the biggest market for Audi Sport models.
1815 - Audi's press conference is just wrapping up, and we've unearthed new details on the R8 Spyder. The new car shares more DNA than ever before with Audi's LMS racer, with as much as 50% of components shared. Indeed, the engine used in the two cars is identical. The R8 has a top speed of 205mph, and is the most powerful road car Audi has ever made. Speaking at the New York show, Audi's sales and marketing boss Dr. Dietmar Voggenreiter said: "It is not only about high speed but is also about how we experience the performance and its is the flagship for the Audi Sport brand."
1810 - Ready for some more new metal? This is the Lincoln Navigator concept. We'll, erm, just leave this here.
1805 - More from Andrew Frankel - in a blog earlier this afternoon, he wondered whether Mercedes is planning a convertible version of its new GLC Coupé?
1800 - Our writers have got plenty of opinions to share as the New York motor show continues apace. First up, Andrew Frankel thinks Jaguar may have found a new niche by restoring its lost XKSS models.
1755 - Earlier we brought you the first pictures of the new Subaru Impreza in saloon form - now, here's the five-door hatchback that's coming to the UK. See our full reveal story for more details.
1750 - Mercedes-Benz has the most number of new models in New York, with the facelifted CLA making its debut alongside the E43 AMG, C63 Cabriolet and GLC Coupé.
1745 - It's very much a 'blink and you'll miss it' facelift for the Mercedes-AMG CLA45, says Tisshaw. "The performance of this thing still cannot be knocked, or bettered in its type of car."
1740 - Sam Sheehan has been talking to BMW's head of sales and marketing Ian Robertson, who has confirmed the long-mooted X7 will definitely by sold in this country. Read his full story here.
1735 - Andrew Frankel has more positive things to say about the Acura NSX GT3: "Love the new NSX GT3 race car - the perfect way for Honda to prove the car's credentials on a global stage among its closest rivals from Ferrari, Porsche, Mercedes, Audi and many others. Notable too that it ditches all its hybrid drive system, paring down to a simple rear drive, twin turbo format. If it goes half as well as it looks, it'll be up the front from race one."
1730 - Mark Tisshaw's not so fond of Lincoln's New York effort: "The Navigator concept is simply one of the nastiest, most vulgar looking cars I've ever seen. Deary me."
1725 - What's the German equivalent of British Racing Green?
1720 - No prizes for guessing what's under the covers on the Audi stand. Stan Papior caught the R8 Spyder uncovered in rehearsals ahead of its official unveiling at the Audi press conference later.
1715 - "There's a great selection of New York Police Department cars from the last decade. They look like they're straight off of a 1970s film set," says Sam Sheehan.
1700 - The Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid is Toyota's show star, and it got an arena debut away from the main show floor earlier. Here's it being wheeled back into the main show.
1655 - Mark also has thoughts on Genesis: "Love the confidence Hyundai has to launch Genesis as a sub brand, but it's a shame the logo is so generic."
1650 - Tisshaw also has a suggestion for JLR: "The F-Type SVR is the undoubted star of the Jaguar Land Rover stand in New York. Love the fact that it's now a 200mph car, the engineering challenge for which it was to reach that point should not be underestimated. If they can do that, surely SVR versions of the XE, XF and F-Pace will be easy, right?"
1645 - No formal stand for Bentley at the show, instead a dealer has brought along a new Bentayga. "I'm getting more used to the design now, but still not 100% convinced of the looks. No doubt it will sell, however." says Mark Tisshaw.
1635 - Sam Sheehan has stumbled into a domestic market favourite: "There's no shortage of humungous metal in New York. Imagine trying to drive one of these down a small British country lane."
1625 - Mark currently runs the regular, soft top MX-5: "I love the fact the roof can be opened with one hand at any speed if you're strong enough. I thought as a novel roof it couldn't be beaten, until I saw the video my colleague Sam Sheehan took of it last night. The MX-5's desirability has just gone up another notch or seven.
1620 - "No prizes for guessing which new car has generated the most attention at the New York show. The Mazda MX-5 RF is another design hit for Mazda, which is on a roll design-wise with surely the best looking range of cars on the market pound for pound." says Tisshaw.
1615 - Here's the new Kia Cadenza being wheeled backstage before its official reveal later this afternoon. The new model previews Kia's evolving design language and a suite of hi-tech features that will drip through the rest of the range.
1610 - Mark also made his way to the Chevrolet stand: "Some cracking muscle cars in New York. This is the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Let's hope the Ford Mustang is a success in the UK so we might get more cars like this over here."
1605 - The 707bhp Dodge Challenger Hellcat remains a thing of wonder, says Tisshaw: "It's officially the fastest muscle car ever, completing a quarter-mile sprint in 10.8sec - and all for $64,195. Bargain."
1600 - In case you missed it earlier, Toyota has also unveiled a plug-in hybrid version of the latest Prius in New York. For all the key information, including more pictures, click here.
1555 - Over on the VW stand, there's a video playing which showcases autonomous emergency braking in terms of detecting danger before it arrives. "There's a gag in there somewhere about the old management and the dieselgate crisis," says Tisshaw.
1550 - More from Tisshaw, who has found the new Hyundai Ioniq. "Hyundai's new Ioniq takes its North American bow in New York," he says "Clearly Toyota was on to something all those years ago with the optimum shape for a hybrid."
1545 - Mark Tisshaw has spotted a familiar sight on Ford's stand in the shape of the new GT. "This car gets more desirable every time I see it," he says "We'll drive it before the year is out, by which point I probably still will not have stopped drooling.
1540 - More from Jaguar - despite the eye-watering cost of cars like the reborn XKSS models and the previous Lightweight E-Type, Jaguar maintains that there is very little profit for it in building these cars. Their real purpose is to act as shop windows for Jaguar's expanding restorations business. To that end, says Andrew Frankel, Jaguar will soon start making its own powertrains for cars with XK engines. To date, engines for the continuation E-Type and XKSS models have been sourced from Crosthwaite & Gardiner, the same company that build a batch of pre-war Auto Union racers for Audi.
1535 - Andrew Frankel has been talking to executives on Jaguar's show stand. He says there are currently no plans for the firm to follow its run of recreated XKSS sports cars with new D-Type racers, despite the fact that similarities between the two models are such that almost no additional tooling would be required. A fresh run of C-Type racers is also not on the cards.
1530 - Plenty of people have been wondering how the new MX-5 RF doesn't lose out on boot space next to the soft-top car. Sam Sheehan asked the question last night, and the response was this: "This car is smaller than its predecessor, and this system means we didn't intrude on boot space."
Mazda North American CEO Jim O'Sullivan said: "We haven't forgotten why Mazda builds cars. We build cars to enjoy driving. The RF allows us to enjoy driving in more situations."
1525 - Andrew Frankel raises an interesting point - he says that because the New York motor show is less crowded than other annual shows like Geneva, it's easier to see cars up close. "I couldn't get close to the new 911 R in Geneva," he says "This is definitely the place to see cars untroubled by journalists."
1520 - With the facelifted Nissan GT-R now revealed, Sam Sheehan asked a company spokesman to comment on whether there would be a hotter version of the GT-R before the next-gen car arrives in 2018. The reply was simple: "This one's got 20bhp more and a better chassis setup - it's not like it needs more power."
1515 - Sam Sheehan has been talking to BMW's Dr. Ian Robertson, who's promising the next M5 will be "astonishing" when it arrives. "It's a big, big step forward," he told Autocar "Much more so than the last generation."
1510 - We've just added fresh pictures to the top of our gallery, here's some of our favourite new metal so far!
1505 - Want to see the new Nissan GT-R in action? Watch the official video below.
1500 - Sam Sheehan has been looking at the Nissan stand, and says that the company has bought an example of every GT-R generation to New York. His favourite? The 1973 2000 model.
1455 - The 2017 model year GT-R gets new styling, an upgraded interior and even more power. It's twin-turbocharged V6 engine now produces 562bhp. Read the full story here.
1450 - Ready for another new car? This is the facelifted Nissan GT-R...
1445 - One last point from Moers - Mercedes-AMG sales have more than doubled in two years, from 33,000 cars in 2013 to around 68,000 units in 2015. The vast majority of those are 'full' AMG products, like the A45 and the 63 series, and not AMG-lite models like the C43.
1440 - We're all excited for the upcoming Mercedes-AMG E63, and Tobias Moers says it will be the biggest step forward from one generation to the next of any AMG model. It will have at least 592bhp, and will be tuned to deliver class-leading driving dynamics on road and track. It's already known that it will be offered in four-wheel drive form only, but it will also come with the more sophisticated rear axle designed for the C63 Coupé.
1435 - More great news from Tobias Moers - the mooted Mercedes-AMG GLC63 is definiately happening. There was some suggestion, says Andrew Frankel, that it might be tricky to package AMG's V8 engine with the four-wheel drive hardware of the GLC, but apparently this is no longer an issue. It's sure to be available both as a standard SUV and as an SUV-coupé.
1430 - Andrew Frankel has been talking to Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers, and he's unearthed some juicy details about the Mercedes-AMG GT. "When the AMG GT Roadster is introduced next year," says Frankel "there will be a version of it not currently equivalent to the GT Coupé. He wouldn't expand further, but it is likely to be a softer, more street-oriented version."
1425 - If you haven't seen the new MX-5 RF yet, here it is. In celebration of its reveal, we had a think about some other interesting car roofs. Take a look at our top 9 memorable ones.
1420 - Meanwhile, over at Toyota, the carmaker has just revealed a new Prius Plug-in, with a top speed of 84mph and a range up to 31 miles. Full story here very soon.
1415 - Moers also said when the AMG GT roadster arrives next year, there will also be a version not currently equivalent to the GT Coupé. No more details, but it's likely to be a softer, more street-oriented model.
1410 - our man Andrew Frankel has been chatting to AMG boss Tobias Moers, who told us that AMG sales have more than doubled in two years, from 33k in 2013 to 68k in 2015. The vast majority of these are 'full' AMG products like A45 and all the 63s, and not the AMG-lites suchas the C43. No wonder we're seeing more AMGs...
1405 - Nissan has revealed its facelifted GT-R: it's not as dramatic as we'd like, but there is more power and styling tweaks.
1400 - Of course, you can also watch what happened in Jaguar's video, below.
1350 - Among the preview events held last night was Mazda's reveal of the new MX-5 RF. Sam Sheehan got a close-up look of the RF's roof in action.
1345 - Ghosn neatly dodged questions about when he might be stepping down as Renault-Nissan boss, saying that he answers to shareholders and that at the moment "things were going well." He also said that he would not want to appoint his own successor, and would leave it to the board.
1340 - Another important point from Ghosn - he says Renault-Nissan is lobbying governments around the world to make it legal for drivers to take their hands off the wheel in an autonomous car.
1335 - Ghosn confirms that autonomous cars from his company will be pitched right at the heart of the mass market. By 2020, Ghosn expects that cars which can drive themselves through the city will be available, but fully 'driverless' cars are further off.
1330 - Ghosn starts off by confirming that the facelifted Nissan GT-R, which is expected to make its debut later today, will come with "a long list of improvements," which will be revealed at the firm's press conference later on.
1325 - Mark Tisshaw has been listening to Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn, who opened the New York show with a keynote speech a short while ago. "He's been Renault-Nissan boss since 2005," says Tisshaw "but when he steps down, he plans on having separate CEOs for both companies."
Ghosn starts with a word on yesterday's terrible attacks in Belgium, calling them "senseless acts".
1320 - The next new car to be revealed today is the open-top version of Audi's R8. The R8 Spyder can reach 62mph just 0.1sec than the coupé, and will go on sale later this year. Read more in our full story here.
1315 - We've got a packed press conference schedule today. First up is Toyota, which is expected to reveal a plug-in hybrid version of the latest Prius.
1310 - Another car to receive its debut overnight was the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupé, a rival for the likes of the BMW X4 and Porsche Macan. It's based on the GLC SUV, and will be priced from around £38,000 in the UK. What do you think of it?
1305 - And if the new MX-5 RF has peaked your interest, we've put together a list of nine other cars with memorable roofs - can you guess what's on the list?
1300 - We've already seen plenty of the new metal in New York, including Mazda's new hard-top MX-5 RF. It features unique styling and gets the option of an automatic gearbox for the first time. Find out more with our full story, here.
1250 - Out on the New York show floor we have Mark Tisshaw, Sam Sheehan, Greg Kable, Andrew Frankel and photographer Stan Papior.
Your office-based team for the duration is Matt Burt, Steve Cropley, Rachel Burgess, Darren Moss, Matthew Burrow, Jimi Beckwith and Doug Revolta.
Wednesday 23rd March 2016, 1245 (London) (0845 New York) - Hello and welcome to Autocar’s live coverage of the New York motor show. For the rest of today and tonight we’ll be bringing you the biggest news stories, the best pictures and all the latest analysis from this US-centric show.
2016 New York motor show - the key cars
Genesis New York concept
The brand has so far withheld all technical information, but has at least provided us with a teaser image and video. It shows the car sports a muscular exterior design and saloon body, supporting suspicion that its a preview of the upcoming G70.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk
The name ‘Trailhawk’ is only used on Jeep’s Cherokee and Renegade models, and it signifies that this a more hardcore off-road model.
The model gets beefier styling cues, along with a raised ride height and bigger tyres to contend with even rougher terrain.
Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupé
Mazda has only gone so far as to confirm it’s revealing a new model in New York, and it’s avoided passing on any more details. Even so, we’re fairly confident the model will be a hard-top version of the current MX-5, called the Roadster Coupé.
Our reasoning is simple - the soft-top MX-5 has been on sale for almost a year now, and Mazda suggested a hard-top version would follow. New York in spring seems like the perfect time to launch such a car.
If we’re right, the MX-5 Roadster Coupé will likely be priced about £2000 more than the regular model.
Mercedes-Benz CLA and CLA Shooting Brake facelifts
Mercedes has applied mid-life changes to the CLA and the CLA Shooting Brake, with predictably subtle changes to the exterior.
Inside, there's updated connectivity options, while under the bonnet there's a wider range of engine choices, including a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 376bhp.
Mercedes-AMG E43 4Matic
Mercedes’ new 395bhp four-door has just been revealed ahead of its New York debut.
It slightly lags behind the class leaders for power output, with a respectable 224bhp/ton on offer. But the model is just one of several new AMGs set to squeeze into this sector.
Mercedes-AMG GLC43 4Matic
The Mercedes-AMG GLC43 4Matic will make its first public appearance in New York, though we’ve already seen the car in pictures.
It’s powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine that delivers up to 362bhp and 382lb ft of torque. The car capable of reaching 62mph in 4.9sec.
The model will be followed by a more potent V8-engined GLC63, which has already been spotted testing.
Mini Clubman All4
The all-wheel-drive version of Mini’s Clubman will make its world debut in New York.
The car’s intelligent driveline can run in front-wheel-drive or full four-wheel-drive, and offers torque vectoring that works with the driving dynamics system.
The All4 is available in just Cooper S and Cooper SD guise at launch, with 189bhp and 182bhp available respectively.
Mini John Cooper Works Convertible
The convertible runs the same 228bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine as the JCW hatchback, and buyers get to choose between a standard six-speed manual and optional eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Thanks to that folding fabric roof and its electronic mechanism, the car weighs 105kg more than the hard-top. But with a power-to-weight ratio of 174bhp/ton, it still ranks at the sharp end of the class.
Nissan GT-R facelift
No prizes for guessing what Nissan's bringing to New York next week. The teaser image above clearly shows the rear of a GT-R, though exactly what version and specification the car is has not yet been revealed.
Insiders are saying this is the current GT-R's final facelift, so we're expecting the New York car to have received minor exterior and interior detail changes, perhaps with a few mechanical adjistments.
There's a chance the twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V6 engine will be given a bit more power, increasing on the current car's 542bhp.
Both a saloon and hatch will be produced, though we’re yet to find out which will make it to the UK.
Toyota GT86 facelift
The updated model gets a tweaked exterior and revised chassis settings, though the engine and gearbox remain untouched.
Pricing and sale dates are unconfirmed, but we suspect little will change from the car's £22,700 starting figure, and sales to kick off late this year.
Toyota Prius plug-in
Details are slim, but expect a headline figure of less than 40g/km of CO2 and a slightly tweaked exterior design, including a new and unique rear light design.
The rest of the car will be revealed on the 23 March, with sales kicking off later this year.