Audi and Porsche were among the automakers that were conspicuously absent. About 20 others -- from Acura to Volkswagen -- did provide vehicles for the ride-and-drive event on twisting two-lane park roads and nearby highways.
By VICTOR E. SASSON
Aren't you sick of watching all those stupid car commercials on TV every night?
New cars being driven at insane speeds on empty roads or within inches of a male model shouting to be heard over the roar of passing vehicles are experiences so far removed from the challenge of owning a car in the congested metropolitan area.
Did you see the idiotic one showing a Lexus cutting off competing Mercedes-Benz and BMW models in the dessert as it traces the logo of Toyota's luxury brand?
I saw that commercial again on Tuesday night after returning from an event for auto writers at Bear Mountain State Park, where I got a chance to drive the 2015 Lexus RC-F Coupe, which has a sticker price of $77,720.
It's fast, of course, with a 467-horsepower V-8 that gets only 16 mpg city, and growls through loud performance mufflers.
The Lexus costs almost as much as the car I drove to Bear Mountain, my 2015 Tesla Model S, an all-electric luxury hatchback that is an oasis of calm in our noisy world.
But -- like all but one of the cars I tried out -- the Lexus coupe is basically 19th century internal-combustion engine technology disguised as something fresh and new.
Just another dinosaur dressed in couture to join the herd of smelly, noisy cars and SUVs that are destroying the environment and our health.
That Lexus coupe has the same 16 mpg and 25 mpg city/highway fuel-economy rating as the 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Road & Track, which has a V-8 Hemi engine and a sticker of just under $44,000.
Another thirsty car was the big Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe, powered by a 5.5-liter V-8 with 577 horsepower, described on the company Web site as a "beast that is truly a thing of beauty."
Only Nissan brought an all-electric car, the best-selling Leaf, a quiet, zero-emission wonder that clashed with the Japanese carmaker's gas-guzzling SUVs at the event, including a new Murano and the hulking Infiniti Q80, which is about the size of a minibus.
And there was a long wait to drive Nissan's fearsome GT-R, a four-wheel-drive coupe with an MSRP of $103,000-plus.
So far, at two events for auto writers, I have yet to see Mercedes' green cars -- the all-electric B-Class, which starts at $41,450, or the German automaker's S550 Plug-In Hybrid Sedan, which has an MSRP of $94,400.
You should have heard the mufflers on the BMW M4 Convertible I drove over two-lane roads and on the Palisades Interstate Parkway.
Another participant said the old M4's mufflers sounded like a "symphony," but the new ones are definitely a "rock concert."
Just what we need: A sophisticated, four-wheel version of all those noisy Harley-Davidson motorcycles that disturb us day and night.
|American-made performance cars, such as this Chevrolet Corvette, seem cheaply made and unsophisticated when compared to similar European and Japanese models.|