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Apr 22, 2011- NYIAS: Opening Day...

We just got back from NYC after spending a few days at the NYIAS. It was a blast. We sat in every exotic car we could, played with the knobs, and imagined what it would feel like driving them on an open road. The press preview started on Wednesday and the show officially opened to the public today. As with any show of this magnitude, there is something for everybody: sports cars, fuel-efficient hybrids, trucks with built-in gun racks, concept cars, and some which defies description.

As always, our favorite car from the show were the concept cars. Concept cars are the manufacturers' way of showing off to each other. The majority of the concept cars (Porsche Boxster being one of the rare exceptions) never make it into production, but they serve as a showcase for a company's new ideas. Many of those ideas are not production-practical, but many of them are feasible and ALL of them are cool. In other words, the ideas are not based on the hope of having a working "Flux Capacitor."

Take the Saab PhoeniX Concept hybrid for example. All of its technology are understandable. It is powered by an electrically-driven rear axle coupled to a computer controlled (Eco, Sport, Traction) 200 hp, 1.6-litre gas turbo engine driving the front wheels. The result is an hybrid all-wheel-drive system that makes driving both a pleasure and fuel efficient. The car is sculpted (SAAB referred to the design as "aeromotional") to slice through the air. Traditional side mirrors were replaced with tiny video cameras to improve visibility while reducing drag. The butterfly doors open to show a futuristic, but still recognizable interior. We will unlikely see the PhoeniX on the road any time soon, but the upcoming Saab 9-3 model will be based on the PhoeniX's new architecture.

The next vehicle that caught our eye is the Spyker C8 Aileron. OK...pretty much any car with vertically-opening doors will catch our eye. The Spyker C8 Aileron may look like a concept car, but it has actually been in production in March 2009. For us, it might as well have been a concept car as at $200K+ per vehicle, seeing it at the show is the closest we'll ever come to driving one :-)

The last concept car that "did it" for us came surprisingly from Cadillac. We have never been all that impressed with the sharp-edge look of the recent Cadillacs, but this Urban Luxury Concept was just the right balance of angles and curves to make us take a snap. It has, you guessed it...vertically-opening doors :-)

Electric vehicles were everywhere. The new one for us was the Electric version of the iconic Mini. It is the same size as the gas powered Mini, but now runs entirely on electricity. A perfect urban car. While the Electric Mini would be a great vehicle for getting around the city, but if you need something you can take with you down to the subway, then the self-balancing gyroscopic SoloWheel is what you need. After a few hours of walking around, all the while watching the SoloWheel folks effortlessly zip around the convention hall, we began to appreciate sensibility of such a thing.

After four hours of chasing press conferences, wandering around the show floor, and chatting up the booth-babes (BTW...this year's booth babes were not as friendly as last year's), we were dead tired. Fortunately, we found a place to park to get a little rest before the next press conference. Maybe it was the open bar, the catered service, or the really really comfortable lounging area, but whatever the reasons, we end up hanging out at the Infiniti booth for over two hours. We met some really interesting folks and gave our feet some much needed R&R. "Thank You," Infiniti.

If you are a car person and are in NYC this weekend, you would definitely want to check out the NYIAS. It is a great chance to kick the tires of the latest automotive offerings from the different car makers. Bags and totes for literature and show swag are provided by many vendors. We would recommend show-goers wear comfortable shoes, dress lightly (it gets hot under the lights), and don't bother bringing a backpack...security at the show, while low profile, were tight. You will have a faster time getting in without the extra baggage. Enjoy and have a great time. [Permalink] - NYIAS: Opening Day


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