New York Auto Show Roundup: Small, Efficient German Cars

By Jeremy Del Nero on 28 March 2013
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BMW's new 328d

BMW’s new 328d

NEW YORK—German automakers debuted several small, efficient cars on the first day of the New York International Auto Show, while General Motor’s Cadillac division showed an updated CTS that it hopes will recapture buyers of imported luxury cars.

BMW introduced the 328d, its highly anticipated diesel sedan. This is BMW’s first four-cylinder diesel car in the U.S. market and the Bavarians intend to prove that power doesn’t have to sacrifice efficiency. The new BMW 328d gets its power from a turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine that develops 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. It accelerates from 0 to 60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 7.2 seconds and BMW expects that highway fuel economy will be at least 40 mpg (5.88 l/100 km).  The Diesel Driver had the opportunity to sit down with BMW product managers and took the 328d out for a spin.

Mercedes unveiled the B-Class Electric drive car, its first zero emission vehicle, at the New York Auto Show yesterday. The all-electric car will fit up to five passengers in a spacious cabin due to the battery placement beneath the floor rather than the trunk. The 28-kWh lithium-ion battery should yield 115 miles of travel on a single charge, and will provide 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) speeds in less than ten seconds. The 135 Horsepower electric motor provides 228 pound-feet of torque. Using a 240-Volt power connection, the battery can be fully charged in four hours and reach a 60 mile capacity in under two. The B-Class Electric Drive will be available in the U.S. in early 2014; Europe will receive the car somewhat later.

The 2015 VW Golf

The 2015 VW Golf

The BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo, a 3 Series with an eight-inch stretch, is following in the steps of the similarly elongated 535i Gran Turismo. The increase is mostly in the rear and adds substantially to the available cargo space when compared to the 3 Series sedan as well as to rear leg room, which is comparable to a 5 Series, just like leg room in the 5 GT is comparable to the 7 Series. The car is based on the long-wheelbase version of the 3 Series that is sold in China. The 3sr GT will come in two versions, a 328i GT with a turbocharged 2.0-liter, 240-horsepower in-line 4 and the 335i GT, a turbocharged 3.0-liter, 300-horsepower in-line 6. Both are mated to eight-speed automatic transmissions.

Volkswagen presented the seventh generation Golf to the U.S. Although the new Golf is longer and wider than its predecessor, it shed 51 pounds (23 kilograms) from its shell thanks to its new strong and lightweight steel design. The 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivers 184 pound-feet of torque and 170 horsepower. The Golf TDI sports a 2-liter four-cylinder diesel engine offering 236 lb-ft of torque and 150 horsepower – ten more than the previous model. The new GTI also made an appearance and will be powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with an estimated 210 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, making this the fastest and most powerful GTI yet. The new Golf lineup will debut in 2014 as a 2015 model.

Audi’s newest A3 didn’t make an appearance at the New York event (it’s set to be officially revealed at the Shanghai show in April), but it was shown at a media preview the night before the show opened. Audi has, however, released some details on the 2015 A3, such as the newest numbers on the TDI model. The A3 TDI will house Volkswagen’s 2-liter four-cylinder engine, which will deliver approximately 150 horsepower and about 250 lb-ft torque. For now, it looks like the only transmission offered will be a six-speed dual-clutch automatic.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)