With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the U.S. auto industry. Here are some of the vehicles debuting this year. The show opens to the public Friday.
ACURA TLX: Honda's luxury Acura brand calls the new TLX midsize sedan a "red carpet athlete" for its blend of elegance and sportiness. The TLX — which replaces the TL and the TSX for the 2015 model year — has two new engine options: A 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 206 horsepower mated to a new 8-speed transmission and a 3.5-liter V6 with 290 horsepower that's paired with a 9-speed. Acura estimates the four-cylinder will get up to 35 mpg on the highway, which is 4 mpg better than the TSX. The V6 will get an estimated 34 mpg on the highway, or 5 mpg better than the TL. The TLX has a sharper, sculpted look and Acura's signature jeweled headlights. Acura made the TLX around 4 inches shorter than the TL to give it a tighter, sportier feel. It's also around 145 pounds lighter, thanks to more use of high-strength steel and other lightweight materials. The TLX goes on sale later this year. Pricing wasn't announced, but the current TL starts at $36,000.
LAND ROVER DISCOVERY CONCEPT: Land Rover confirmed that it will bring a new family of vehicles, called Discovery, to market starting in 2015 with a small SUV called the Discovery Sport. In the meantime, it's showing the Discovery concept vehicle, which is full of advanced technology. Drivers can fold down the seats and reconfigure the interior using a touchscreen, for example, or control the car remotely at very low speeds. The concept also hints at future Land Rover technologies. The doors, headlights and seatback screens can be controlled by gestures, and the powerful headlights use lasers to track objects in front of them and lower their beams in oncoming traffic. A "transparent" hood uses cameras beneath the car to project the road surface onto the windshield, giving the impression that the driver can see right through the hood and down to the road below.
BMW X4: BMW has a new competitor in the red-hot small SUV segment. The X4, dubbed a "sports activity coupe," sits slightly longer and lower than its sister vehicle, the X3, and has a slanted, coupe-like roof. New features include a standard power tailgate that lifts if the driver waves a foot under it. The X4, which goes on sale this spring, starts at $45,625 for the xDrive28i, which has a 2.0-liter, 240-horsepower four-cylinder engine. The top-of-the-line xDrive35i starts at $48,925 and has a 3.0-liter, 300-horsepower V6. Both models have an eight-speed transmission and all-wheel-drive.
NISSAN MURANO: Nissan has given the third generation of the Murano midsize crossover SUV a more modern design, nicer interior and better fuel economy than the previous version. The company says the exterior runs counter to the typical "heaviness and chunkiness" of SUVs, with sculpted sides, new lighting and a jet-inspired roof. Inside, the 2015 Murano gets three-cushion seats and a low center console that makes conversations easier between the front and rear occupants. The SUV, available in the fall, comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that will get about 24 mpg in combined city-highway driving. That's 20 percent better than the current version. Price wasn't announced.
HYUNDAI SONATA: The 2011 Hyundai Sonata, with its curvy, creased sides and upscale interior, elevated Hyundai as a brand and prodded competitors to improve their own designs. Now, the 2015 Sonata ditches the curves in favor of clean, taut lines and a more premium look. The car has a firmer, more responsive feel. The grille is larger, and flanked by narrower, LED running lights. Inside, Hyundai redesigned the center stack and angled it toward the driver for better ergonomics. Noise inside the car is reduced with more sound deadening materials in the dashboard and elsewhere. New features include a trunk that automatically opens when it senses the driver's key, optional blind spot and lane departure warning systems and, later this year, Apple's CarPlay, which will let drivers use their iPhones through the car. Hyundai made some tweaks to the engines. The SE, Limited and Sport models get the 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 185 horsepower, while the Sport 2.0 gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 245 horsepower. The new Sonata goes on sale this summer.
MERCEDES S63 AMG 4MATIC COUPE: The high performance version of the two-door S63 coupe burns up the road with a 5.5-liter V8 that gets 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. The car can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds and has a top speed of 186 mph. Mercedes shaved 140 pounds off the previous model by using more lightweight materials, including a lightweight lithium-ion battery and a composite braking system. That will help fuel economy. For the first time, the S63 AMG will come standard with an all-wheel-drive system. The system sends two-thirds of the engine torque to the rear wheels, for better performance, but gives drivers more control on wet or icy roads. The S63 AMG goes on sale this fall in the U.S. Pricing wasn't announced, but it will top $100,000.
SUBARU OUTBACK: The newly redesigned 2015 Outback is the fifth generation of the popular crossover, which debuted 20 years ago at the New York show. The new Outback has a sharper, more premium design and more interior room. Fuel economy is improved by 3 mpg to 33 mpg on the highway with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which gets 175 horsepower. The engine is carried over from the 2013 model year, but Subaru also improved fuel economy with features like shutters on the grill which close to improve air flow. A 3.6-liter six-cylinder with 256 horsepower is also available. Other new features include front seat cushion air bags, which help keep passengers in place in a crash, and blind spot detection and lane change assist, which alert the driver to cars in other lanes. The Outback, which is made in Indiana, goes on sale this summer. Pricing wasn't announced, but Subaru says it will be similar to the outgoing model, which starts at $23,495.
ALFA ROMEO 4C: After a nearly 20-year absence, Italian car maker Alfa Romeo is returning to the U.S. market. The elegant, rounded 4C sports car will go on sale in limited numbers starting in June. Alfa CEO Harald Wester says the company expects to sell around 800 4Cs in the U.S. this year and around 1,200 next year. Dealers haven't yet been named, but the company will release more details next month. The 4C two-door, rear-wheel-drive coupe, which is on display in New York, will start at around $54,000. Five hundred limited edition models will start at $70,000. The 4C has a 1.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower and a six-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. It gets an estimated 28 mpg in combined city and highway driving.
HONDA FIT AND HR-V: Honda confirmed that its HR-V subcompact SUV, which is based on the tiny Fit, will go on sale this winter. The vehicle isn't on display in New York, however. The new 2015 Fit is. It's shorter and wider and has five additional cubic feet of passenger room. New features include a rearview camera and Honda's LaneWatch system, which automatically shows a view of the passenger side lane when the driver uses the turn signal. Honda has upgraded the 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine and a new transmission, helping boost the car's fuel economy by 7 mpg to 41 mpg on the highway. The Fit goes on sale this month starting at $15,525, up $100 over the outgoing model.