The New York Bay was the gateway to the United States for millions of immigrants over the course of several decades. The city became the welcome site for the rest of the world.
It’s fitting, then, that the New York Auto Show has established itself as the premier way for car companies to usher their new vehicles into the domestic market as well. From the mass production cars that fill the streets to the hypercars that may only be seen in a venue like this, it’s the hot spot for showcasing the present and future of motoring, and has been for over a century at North America’s first and largest-attended auto show.
Over the equally-storied histories of Porsche and Maserati – the companies have been supplying the world with exclusive luxury and performance for a vast number of decades – they have used New York as the spring board. Within the past decade or so, and certainly the last few years, New York has been a showcase like no other. And even in McLaren’s youth, they have utilized the stages of the Javits Center in Manhattan as both a national and global introduction.
But with exclusivity sometimes comes…well, more exclusivity. Nearly always the cars are displayed proudly for the public but sometimes, companies reserve the best of the best for their best of the best. Private, invite-only events held offsite feature some treasures, including the Maserati MC12 in 2004, the Porsche 917, 918 and 919 in 2014 and a preview of the McLaren 570S in 2015. These parties feature elite customers, top-level employees and influential organizations giving an intimate vibe where everyone and everything gets full attention.
Getting attention is the main goal of the New York Auto Show, but it can be somewhat of a struggle with nearly a thousand cars on display over various sections and levels of the Jacob Javits Center. It takes effort and creativity to steal the show.
Or maybe just the right cars.
Porsche, McLaren and Maserati no doubt contain the firepower to make a statement, and they have rarely held back. Over the last handful of years, some of the brands’ headline sports cars have either been debuted or displayed front and center at the New York Auto Show.
In Porsche’s recent memory, the New York Auto Show served as the debut venue for both the 991 GT3 in 2013 and the latest Boxster Spyder in 2015, with the former even being named World Car of the Year at the event in 2014. The same year, Porsche displayed the 918 Spyder for the first time in the Northeast United States, returning it again the following year and emphasizing the success of the hybrid hypercar. In 2016, Porsche plans to extend the lineage of sports cars by showing the 911R and 718 Boxster for the first time in the country. Aside from those, Porsche also plans to unveil a new iteration of the Macan, fitting it with a four-cylinder engine and slotting it in a more accessible price bracket.
Slotting in the significantly higher price brackets is McLaren, although in 2015 the team from Woking made its first effort to cater to a new market. McLaren debuted its new Sports Series in the form of the 570S, rounding out the three-tiered lineup including the Super Series and Ultimate Series, which were represented by the 675LT and P1 GTR, respectively, which both made their North American debuts as well. And normally, the trio of modern supercars would be plenty. McLaren, however, saw it as an opportunity to go even further, displaying a legendary F1 Longtail, one of just three ever made and coming with a price tag in the tens of millions – if McLaren were ever to part with it.
But Maserati doesn’t thrive on the ostentatious nature of auto shows. Disregarding cars such as the MC12 or Alfieri concept, the brand sticks to the attraction of luxury and Italian style. The brand celebrated its 100th birthday in like fashion in 2014, with a special edition GranTurismo MC commemorating the centennial in striking new configurations. But what hadn’t happened in the 100-plus years of the brand was an SUV, and now it’s coming.
The Levante was a major takeaway from this year’s Geneva Motor Show, with Maserati’s other cars donating their DNA to the luxury SUV and allowing the new model to potentially thrive in its new market.
Similarly, its new market is the United States, and it’s a vast one. Now, it’s become a priority for the RDS brands, and New York is there to welcome them.