New York Auto Show 2012: Can 2013 Lincoln MKZ successfully compete in mid-size luxury category?

The 2012 New York Auto Show opened to the media Wednesday, and HighGearMedia.com gives a rundown of some of the vehicles they saw:

2013 SRT Viper: Undoubtedly the most anticipated car of the show, if not the year, the new 2013 SRT Viper has finally been let loose. The car’s arrival marks not only the return of the iconic nameplate after a two-year hiatus but also the launch of Street and Racing Technology (SRT) as a standalone brand. The important numbers for the new Viper are its peak output of 640 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque, derived from an 8.4-liter V-10, 100-pound weight saving over its predecessor, and expected 0-60 mph time of less than four seconds. The iconic supercar will be hand built at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit starting later this year.

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2013 Lincoln MKZ: The latest addition to the Lincoln lineup, the all-new MKZ, is crucial as it not only represents the future of Lincoln in both style and substance, but the car's success is also key to the future viability of the brand itself. So does it have what it takes to compete in the hotly-contested mid-size luxury segment? That’s hard to answer just yet. Reactions towards its styling were mixed in New York though its specs, on paper at least, are impressive. However, with the stunning job Ford did on the MKZ’s cousin, the 2013 Fusion, will enough buyers be convinced to pay extra for this luxury version? Only time will tell.

2013 Mercedes-Benz GL Class: If you’re looking for the utmost in luxury in a three-row SUV, look no further than the all new 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL Class. It’s both bigger and more powerful than the model it replaces, and this time its styling is rather bold and crisp and actually suits the big utility quite well. Atop the range is the GL550, which uses the same 4.7-liter V-8 as its midrange brother, but with output boosted to 429 horsepower and 516 pound feet of torque. Compared to the 2012 GL550, that’s a gain of 47 horsepower, but an even more impressive gain of 125 pound-feet of torque. First sales being this fall.

2011 Infiniti Zero Emission Concept: Infiniti’s version of the Nissan Leaf, the Zero Emission Concept, was unveiled briefly late yesterday although its official debut is actually pegged for later today. The concept vehicle previews Infiniti’s first electric car due out sometime next year but it also showcases the latest styling trends the automaker will be implementing in its future models. The concept sports a fairly conventional sedan body though from some angles it looks rather awkward. Let’s hope the production version of the Zero Emission Concept doesn’t turn out to be the next Lexus HS 250h.

Earlier in the week, HighGearMedia.com detailed some key features of Lincoln’s luxury car:

Under the hood, you'll find one of two engines: the 240-horspeower turbocharged four-cylinder, which earns an EPA-estimated 22 mpg city, 33 mpg highway; or a 300-horsepower 3.7-liter V-6 estimated at 18/26 mpg. A hybrid is also available, with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and 41/36 mpg ratings. The non-hybrids come standard with a paddle-shift six-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid uses a CVT.

Lincoln Drive Control is standard on all models, allowing driver adjustment of shock damping settings, steering force, and stability and traction control calibration, as well as active noise cancellation. A new integral-link rear suspension promises better ride and handling when married with the Lincoln Drive Control system.

Inside the cabin, you'll find real wood trim and leather as standard equipment, and, of course, the massive 15-square-foot panoramic sliding roof as an option.

In other auto show news, the 2013 SRT Viper finally arrives. HighGearMedia.com reports:

After a series of not-quite-the-real-thing leaks, including Hot Wheels cars, video game footage, and SRT's own teasers, we have just seen the 2013 SRT Viper in person at the 2012 New York Auto Show. This is it.

There's not much and everything to say about the new Viper. It has cues that evoke thoughts and feelings about the first Viper, with smoother surfaces, similar lines, and some of the bulbous awkwardness, too. But at the same time, it has the size, the low-slung ferocity, and the don't tread on me stance that all Vipers have had, particularly the last generation, which ended in the 2010 model year.

Speaking at the release of the new Viper, SRT head Ralph Gilles said of the development process, "It's like being pregnant for almost 24 months."

Now, with an insane 640 horsepower rating from its 8.4-liter V-10 engine, the Viper builds on that history with an all-new theme: adding in luxury, comfort, and control. Some of that control is mandated, some of it is voluntary. We just wonder if, all together, it will be as impressive as the last when it's loosed on the track. With custom Pirelli tires measuring 295/355 mm with unique compounds front-to-rear, it's likely to have good mechanical grip.

New features include launch control, four-stage stability control (which can be turned off), cruise control, two-mode adjustable suspension (via dash buttons, on GTS model), plus the "executive performance driver's office"--the new, higher-quality interior. Sabelt seats, the same supplier as Ferrari, give custom seats to the Viper, and a huge range of the interior's colors and materials are customizable to the buyer's preference.

 
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