Although this will come as no surprise to industry insiders, after dozens of debuts at this year’s New York Auto Show, small luxury SUVs, especially hybrid ones, are the darlings of the bunch.
Maserati debuted a Trofeo version of its solid Levante; Lexus introduced the UX; and Volvo showed a handsome XC40. All of them will compete against each other, in some form or another, in that increasingly important segment.
That’s not to say there wasn’t pure flash as well. Genesis’s all-electric concept coupe, the Essentia, came complete with butterfly doors, while Porsche’s 911 GT3 RS showed off in speedy green. And Mercedes-Benz showed its heavy hitter, an AMG version of its iconic G-Class wagon.
Here are the highlights of a show laden with SUVs and electrics.
Mercedes-Benz AMG C63
The updated version of Mercedes-Benz's excellent AMG C63 sedan has a 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 engine that gets up to 503 horsepower. Inside, it has all the progressive technology options Mercedes makes, including a 10.25-inch infotainment screen with smartphone integration, or an optional 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and high-tech, multi-function steering wheel. Of the three available body styles in the C63 line, the coupe (not shown) is fastest. It can get to 60 miles per hour in 3.8 seconds.
Audi TT RS
The Audi TT RS (left) and RS3 (upper right) both received heavy updates and cosmetic refreshers for the 2019 model year. But as consumers continue to switch to SUVs, Audi's brand-new Q8 and Q6 will be more important from an earnings-growth perspective. Audi also showed the RS5 Sportback "coupe," which is meant to help it capture even more of the sport-sedan pie in the United States.
Jaguar F-Pace SVR
The new SUV from Jaguar is faster and more powerful, than the regular F-Pace SUV. It's a crucial play for consumers of small luxury SUVs, since next year, the hyper-competitive segment is expected to grow by double digits in the U.S. alone. A supercharged 5.0-liter, V8 engine on the new SVR F-Pace gets 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque with a top speed of 176 miles per hour and a 4.1 second sprint time.
Genesis Essentia Concept
In recent years, Hyundai Motor Co.'s Genesis brand has used the New York show to launch a string of concepts aimed at luxury competitors. This time around, the company revealed the Essentia, an all-electric coupe that is made from a super-lightweight, carbon-fiber monocoque body and sports a battery-powered motor that it says will get it to 60 mph in 3 seconds.
Maserati Levante Trofeo
Tim Kuniskis, head of Alfa Romeo for Fiat Chrysler, with the 2019 Maserati Levante Trofeo. The 590-horsepower V8 joins the luxury SUV fray with a new hood that has dual vent, a carbon fiber splitter, full matrix LED headlights, and 22-inch wheels on all-wheel drive. On the inside, it has seats of natural dyed leather lined with three-dimensional matte carbon-fiber weaving. It will be available later in 2018.
Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Klaus Zellmer, president and chief executive officer of Porsche Cars North America, introduced the 2019 911 GT3 RS with special “Weissach Package.” This has a 4.0-liter, flat-six engine that gets 520 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque, improvements of 20 and 7, respectively, over the regular GT3. It's 0.1-second quicker to reach 60 mph, too, with a sprint time of three seconds flat. The improvements cost more, as you might expect: The starting price is $187,500.
The refreshed Acura RDX adds 20-inch alloy wheels with thin tires, a lower front fascia, and dark gloss accents across the headlights, taillights, and grille. It retains the same powertrain as the prior generation, with a turbocharged I4 engine that gets 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive come standard.
Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 63S
The Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 63S is among the Stuttgart, Germany-based automaker's finest. It has a top speed of 196 mph and operational dynamics that make driving even the most challenging roads almost effortless.
The AMG GT 63S's power comes from a six-cylinder (or optional V8) engine with outputs ranging from 435 horsepower to 639 horsepower.
They rest under a long, arched nose followed by frameless side windows and a flat windshield that inclines far to the rear, all of which give the car an extremely sensual look. All-wheel drive and multiple drive modes come standard.
Audi RS5 Sportback
The Audi AG RS5 Sportback is a five-door "coupe" with a 444-horsepower V6 engine and seating for five. It’s the seventh introduction in the Audi sport line that includes the RS 5 Coupe and the RS 7 Sedan. This is the higher-tuned version of Audi's $54,400 S5 Sportback. You’ll be able to tell them apart by the RS 5’s uniquely wide and flat grille, large honeycomb air intakes, specific diffuser, oval exhaust pipes, and matte detailing on the exterior—or by the distinct “RS” sound of its engine. It can hit 60 miles per hour in fewer than four seconds and has a top speed of 174 mph.
The Volvo XC40 is the company's third model in its excellent SUV line that's designed to appeal to younger audiences seeking such things as big, 20-inch wheels, center control console screen, and capable all-wheel drive. It also comes with Volvo’s turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic gearbox. As for that big console screen, the XC40 offers a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and nine-inch, portrait-oriented touchscreen, with connectivity that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard offerings.
Toyota took the wraps off its first top-to-bottom overhaul of the best-selling RAV4 crossover since 2013, with updates that include better aerodynamics and the ability to read road signs. In 2017, a long-in-the-tooth RAV4 managed to outsell every vehicle in the U.S., except for a few pickups. The new version is similar to previous generations but has a slightly sportier design, better mileage on its hybrid system, and myriad trim options.
The Subaru Forester is almost as popular as its sibling, the Outback, and remarkably similar in size, shape, and specs. But now that the company has a legitimate SUV called the Ascent, Subaru has given the Forester more of its own identity, including a new 2.5-liter boxer engine with 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque, an iterative upgrade over the 2018 model. All-wheel drive comes standard.
The new Hyundai Tucson is redesigned to enter the highly competitive compact crossover market. It has upgrades inside and out, including a large, new grille, a new center stack and seating designs, additional advanced safety features, a seven-inch audio display, and available wireless charging.