While the New York International Auto Show is not the biggest US car event in the diary, it's undoubtedly one of the most well-established - the first show was held as far back as 1900 - and is still a key date in many global carmakers' diaries due to the influence of its location and sales importance. Indeed, at 2015's show, upmarket manufacturers Jaguar, Lexus, Lincoln, McLaren and Porsche all chose to make big noises at this (relatively) smaller event to launch their latest models rather than compete to be seen and heard at larger shows elsewhere.
The mood felt upbeat and positive, reflecting a US market that has returned to a very significant annual sales figure of 16.5 million vehicles in 2014 (up almost 6% on 2013). But despite it no longer being the globe's biggest market (a title China looks set to keep), more than 20 global unveils of both brand-new cars and significant facelifts took place at the 2015 New York expo.
Here are Wallpaper*'s top six...
The production-ready second-generation Jaguar XF is a tidy but significant design evolution of the Mark 1 model that has sold 250,000 units worldwide since 2007. As design director Ian Callum said frankly at the car's global preview a few days before its New York Auto Show unveil: 'Beyond the generic typologies of a sedan, Jaguars need to be different enough and a little bit more beautiful'. He's done just that with the XF, adding full LED front lamps for a more streamlined look, F-Type-style semi-circular rear lights for sportiness and a cleaned up profile that manages to be 7mm shorter on the outside while significantly improving rear legroom, matching the best in the executive saloon class
Functional benefits come from the extensive use of aluminium, making the new XF the lightest car in the class (and up to 190kg lighter than the outgoing model). Boosting official economy as high as 71.7mpg, it leaves emissions as low as 104g/km CO2 - remarkable for such a large car. But perhaps the biggest leap is Jaguar's new, more 'connected' infotainment InControl Touch Pro system. Among a host of features, it allows satnav maps to be displayed across the whole driver's dial area behind the driver's steering wheel (only the new Audi TT can match this), has a fully customisable 10.2-inch centre touchscreen that can be pinched, swiped and generally gesturally manipulated (or called to action via greatly enhanced voice control) and boasts a speedy new Intel graphics processor, making the whole process slick and quick. On sale from autumn 2015 in diesel and petrol guises with power from 163 to 380hp. Prices start at £32,300
'The most important car in our short history,' is how McLaren's global director of sales and marketing Jolyon Nash described the 570S sports car at its preview night in Manhattan. In the 570S, McLaren offers supercar performance in a sports car package for the first time, with a 570hp, 3.8-litre V8 powering the lightweight carbon fibre chassis 570S (hence the name). Add an aerodynamically-informed exterior design and doors that open up towards the sky, like McLaren does, and you've got supercar style too
Retailing at £143,250 and sitting at the top of the range of McLaren's new Sports Series range, it will be joined by the 540C Coupe (due to be unveiled at the Shanghai Motorshow later this month), which acts as McLaren's entry model at £126,000. Both are aimed at top-end Porsche 911 Turbo customers and beyond. They should become key sellers. The Sports Series 570S and 540C go on sale later this year and complete the new McLaren line-up that moves up to the Super Series (650S Coupe and Spider and 675LT) and the Ultimate Series (which currently includes the 12C and P1). Given that the F1 brand - which only set up its modern-day road car division in 2011 - sold 1649 cars last year (and with the Sports Series range only likely to bring in many more customers) perhaps Ferrari should finally be a little worried?
Somewhat unbelievably, Lexus showed the fourth generation of its RX SUV crossover at the New York Auto show, as it only seems like yesterday that the vehicle broke trends in the segment with its hybrid powertrains. Since 1997 it has sold more than 2.1 million units, topping 100,000 in the US alone each year
Back with clear styling cues taken from its newer and smaller brother, the NX, the angular, origami-style look suits the big vehicle, which has a longer wheelbase for more interior space and a 12.3-inch monitor inside. For those crossover drivers so inclined, there will also be a go-faster F Sport version. The RX goes on sale later this year
Range Rover SVO Autobiography
'It looks expensive because it is,' grinned head of design Gerry McGovern at the preview of the Range Rover SVO Autobiography in New York. The stretched SUV is an example of what Range Rover can offer when its new Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) department get hold of the off-road icon: stand-out two-tone paint, cool knurled exterior badging, First Class aircraft-style extendable rear seating and interior screens galore
Limited to 1000 units per annum, Land Rover wants this model to offer customisation options, helping Range Rover to compete against forthcoming rivals from Maserati, Lamborghini and Bentley. From £148,900 from this summer
This BMW 7 Series-sized concept car caused somewhat of a furore at the New York show, when Bentley's top designers effectively accused Lincoln's of copying their design for the Flying Spur model via the very public medium of Facebook. Although some details were later retracted, the spat became a major talking point during the press days of the show. While there are some clear similarities in bodywork, Ford's upscale brand has arguably made enough difference in other areas of its Continental concept, like the new grille and lamps. It makes mud-slinging by as distinguished a brand as Bentley appear a little unseemly
Either way, Lincoln's interior is definitely something else. A world of slick chrome, it features awesomely horizontal seating, bespoke bags that clip into the rear seat backs and even an electric fold-out laptop table. Expect something similar (of the exterior at least) to replace the MKS production car in 2016, but don't bank on the brand being resurrected in Continental Europe just yet, despite the name
Porsche Boxster Spyder
Porsche's new Boxster Spyder unveil was a minor surprise at the show as it hadn't been officially teased beforehand (although the rumour mill suspected it might be there). It largely impressed when revealed. Like its predecessor, it was all about stripped-out necessity, with accoutrements like air-con and radios strictly optional rather than standard, reducing weight and improving performance. 62mph is now dispatched in 4.5 seconds for the 375hp 3.8-litre flat six-cylinder engine, but the more crucial difference is that with this version the car's manual ragtop convertible process has been made far easier. Now, only a bit of foreknowledge and patience is required to drop the top, rather than a PHD in trigonometry and half an hour to spare. And the end result, whether top-up or top-down, is decidedly more smooth and appealing due to some rearward bulges. Prices start at £60,459 from July