Dodge concept car at the 2008 show

Non-Manhattanites may picture the corridors of Gotham as an automotive sea of yellow with a lighted taxi sign on every roof, but the city’s inhabitants know that in fact New York is one of the world’s top vehicular markets (in the US, only California, Florida, and Texas buy more new cars and trucks than New York State). Indeed, with an audience last year of more than one million visitors, the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS)—first held in 1900 and this year on view April 6 through 15 at the Jacob Javits Center—ranks as the most-attended auto showcase in the country.

The good news for the deluxe models polished and poised on the show stages: The forecast for luxury auto sales is bullish in 2012, with stalwarts such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Maserati, Bentley, and Porsche all posting revenue gains in February compared to the same period last year. Here, a look at some of the new standouts to watch for at this year’s NYIAS.

2013 PORSCHE BOXSTER: Just in time for spring, Porsche has unveiled the third-generation version of its Boxster two-seat. Longer in wheelbase and lighter, the new Boxster also rides on larger wheels and tires (18-inchers are standard, with an optional 20-inch upgrade). The mid-mounted engine, a flat six, actually decreases slightly in size (to 2.7 liters) but gains 10 horsepower—to 265. The extra-potent Boxster S continues with a 3.4-liter V-6, but now cranks out 315 horsepower.

2013 SRT VIPER: It’s not a Dodge anymore. The Street and Racing Technology group, a new division within Chrysler, will be the marquee behind the latest incarnation of the two-seat supercar. “It’s sex appeal on wheels,” says Frank Markus, technical director of Motor Trend. “The Viper is poised to be the undisputed star of the New York show.” Insiders expect the car to offer a “double bubble” roof, a rumored enlarged (to 8.7 liters) V-10 engine delivering an incredible 650 horsepower, and for the first time on a Viper, traction control.

2013 NISSAN PATHFINDER: SUVs passé? Hardly. Nissan’s renowned Pathfinder returns in fourth-generation form as a crossover—that is, it rides on a lighter car-based platform. A new continuously variable transmission (CVT), Nissan claims, helps boost fuel economy by 25 percent over previous INSIGHT When and Where: April 6 through 15 at the Jacob Javits Center, 11th Avenue between 34th and 40th Streets Check Out: The LeMay Museum exhibit of classic cars and limitededition 50th anniversary vehicles from Shelby American Contact: Pathfinder models. Its most noteworthy feature, Nissan’s Around View Monitor, displays a 360-degree “aerial” on the central display screen, making parking on Manhattan’s busiest avenues a breeze.

2013 BMW 640I GRAN COUPE: Fans of the German automaker’s lithe 6-Series have a new reason to swoon: practicality. BMW has added two doors to its coupe, creating a new four-door sedan that loses none of the raciness of its two-door sibling. Longer in wheelbase and overall length, the Gran Coupe delivers increased rear-seat legroom while still maintaining the rakish silhouette for which the 6-Series is famous. Under the hood pumps a turbocharged 315-horsepower, six-cylinder engine mated to a cutting-edge eight-speed automatic transmission.

2013 MERCEDES-BENZ SL65 AMG: Making its world debut in New York is a new, top-line edition of the German automaker’s sixth-generation SL roadster. Although full details hadn’t been released at press time, we know that it will have a 621-horsepower, 6.0-liter V-12 engine, and 738-pound torque. Look for deliveries to start in November.

TERRAFUGIA TRANSITION FLYING CAR: Massachusetts-based startup Terrafugia is introducing its Transition flying car at the show. “We selected the New York International Auto Show to present the first commercially viable, practical, street-legal airplane to the world,” says Anna Mracek Dietrich, COO of Terrafugia. All you need is about $279,000 and you can be the first George Jetson on your block.

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