Conservatism be damned, the New York Auto Show was a celebration of extremes

Every time a major auto show wraps up, the DT Cars team looks for overarching themes. Sometimes it’s connectivity or unique mobility solutions, or perhaps autonomous driving tech and alternative energy systems. There were sprinkles of that at the 2017 New York Auto Show, but overall, the event had one standout motif — excess.

Within that framework lies a surprising amount of diversity. One one end of the spectrum, we saw a high-horsepower muscle car that’s so fast it’s actually banned from drag strips by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). We also saw huge, extravagant SUVs, electric performance cars, and just about everything in between. Let’s run down our favorites from the show.

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
Stephen Edelstein/Digital Trends
Stephen Edelstein/Digital Trends

The Dodge Challenger Demon is one hell of a thing. If you thought the 707-hp Challenger Hellcat was extreme, get a load of these specs — 840 hp (on 100 octane fuel), 0 to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds, the quarter-mile in 9.65 seconds, and the ability to do a wheelie for 2.92 feet under full throttle. The Demon is the first production car to ever achieve that feat, in fact it’s a record certified by Guinness World Records.

The Demon is essentially a street-legal drag racer, complete with a gutted interior, only one seat, skinny front tires, and a transmission brake designed specifically for quicker launches. As we mentioned above, however, the car is banned from the track by the NHRA. That’s because it doesn’t come with a roll cage from the factory, which is an NHRA requirement for cars that accelerate this fast. Fear not though, aftermarket companies will quickly come to the Demon’s rescue, meaning racetracks everywhere are about to get a whole lot more devilish.

Lucid Motors Air

Lucid Motors Air

Electric car startup Lucid Motors debuted the Air back in December 2016, but the brand waited until the New York Auto Show to show it in public. Boasting 1,000 hp and all-wheel drive, it’ll almost keep pace with the Demon from a stop, but outside of that, the high-tech Air couldn’t be more different from the tire-shredding Dodge.

To celebrate its first auto show appearance, Lucid Motors prepared an “Alpha Speed Car” to demonstrate the vehicle’s top speed, which is a software-limited 217 mph. That’s righteously quick, right on par with the Ferrari LaFerrari. So while muscle cars are as popular as ever, extreme EVs are gaining ground right alongside them, making the auto show circuit as diverse and interesting as it’s ever been.

Lincoln Navigator

Lincoln Navigator
Miles Branman/Digital Trends
Miles Branman/Digital Trends

The 2018 Lincoln Navigator is a celebration of excess in a much different way than our previous entrants. For one, it’s absolutely massive, displacing about the same amount of atmosphere as a luxury yacht. It’s also quite opulent inside as you can imagine, with a lovely panoramic roof, real wood accents, and 30-way “Perfect Position” seats with heating, cooling, and massage.

Motivating all that luxury is a 450-hp twin-turbo V6 (the same powerplant you’ll find in the Ford F-150 Raptor), so despite its size, the big people-carrier shouldn’t be be tepid to drive. Fun fact — this is actually the first full redesign to the Navigator since 2006, and if you ask us, it was well worth the wait. Here’s hoping Lincoln continues its resurgence in the coming years.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailcat
Albert Khoury/Digital Trends
Albert Khoury/Digital Trends

The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk was overshadowed a bit by the Dodge Demon this year (everything was), but that doesn’t make a 707-hp Jeep any less cool. Powered by the same 6.2-liter supercharged V8 from the Challenger and Charger Hellcat, the Trackhawk manages 0 to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, making it one of the most potent SUVs ever produced. Top speed is an equally impressive 180 mph.

It’s also a bit of a sleeper too, because compared to the standard Grand Cherokee, the Trackhawk doesn’t look all that different. It wears bold “Supercharged” badges as well as new hood vents and front air dams, but at first glance, most will assume the Trackhawk is a run-of-the-mill Grand Cherokee. Let’s be honest though, the most common view of the car will be its quad exhaust tips as it effortlessly sprints away from a stop.

Infiniti QX80 Monograph concept

Infiniti QX80 Monograph concept

Thought one blinged out SUV was enough? Think again. Infiniti took the wraps off its QX80 Monograph concept in New York, and although the automaker won’t say when the next QX80 will come to market, it’s pretty clear Infiniti is committed to taking the Range Rover, Escalade, and new Navigator head-on.

The current QX80 has a boxy silhouette, but the Monograph concept takes it to another level with a huge geometric grill and a more angular aesthetic overall. The squinted headlamps are heavily inspired by Infiniti’s Q60 coupe and QX30 crossover, and the front bumper is significantly meaner than any other large luxury SUV’s. Add in 24-inch rims and a slew of chrome accents, and you’re left with a statement on four wheels that has absolutely no chance of blending in.

Nissan GT-R ‘Copzilla’

Nissan GT-R 'Copzilla'

Criminals, prepare to be terrified. Godzilla is coming for you, and this time, he has a badge.

Nissan’s GT-R Police Pursuit #23 — aptly nicknamed “Copzilla” — was built specifically for the auto show, meaning that it unfortunately won’t be patrolling the streets anytime soon. It certainly looks the part though, with livery from the fictional Skyline Metro Police Department, which plays off the NYC Skyline as well as the GT-R’s previous name. There’s also a full police light kit and push bar, and with its aggressive front bumper, fender flares, and comically large rear wing, we could definitely see this thing being adopted into the Tokyo Police Force. The wheels also have spikes on them, so there’s that.

Nissan also displayed the 2018 370Z Heritage Edition in the Big Apple, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the iconic Datsun 240Z. The brand had one more trick up its sleeve for the event, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Honda Civic Type R

Honda Civic Type R

The long-awaited Honda Civic Type R made its global debut in Geneva this year, but the New York show was the first time we saw it on U.S. soil. We’d say it fits our definition of extreme because, well, look at it.

Seeing the Type R in the U.S. was extra special because for the first time, Honda’s forbidden fruit is coming stateside. Fitted with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 306 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque, the R should be plenty engaging behind the wheel, particularly when you factor in the adaptive suspension, retuned electric power steering, limited-slip differential, and upgraded Brembo brakes. Welcome to America, little Honda.

Nissan Rogue Trail Warrior

Nissan Rogue Trail Warrior

Want more people to care about your compact crossover? It’s simple, put tank treads on it.

The Trail Warrior was built to promote the 2017 Rogue, which features a number of aesthetic enhancements plus a tech refresh and a new hybrid powertrain. Tank tracks are sadly not available as an option, which is a massive, cruel tease.

Just where do those “Dominator” tank treads come from? They were provided by American Track Truck Inc., and they measure 48 inches long, 30 inches tall, and 15 inches wide. They attach directly to the wheel hubs as well, so they can be used without any modifications to the transmission or axles. The Trail Warrior does wear custom fender flares though, which give the tracks a bit more room to move.

Mercedes-AMG GT R

Mercedes-AMG GT R

We had a blast with the Mercedes-AMG GT S at our Car Awards last year, but as it turns out, the GT S was simply a taste of what was to come. The range-topping AMG GT R made its U.S. debut in New York, and with a starting price of $157,000, it’s the most expensive, hardcore, and capable car in the AMG GT lineup.

Want proof? Last year, the GT R lapped the famed Nüburgring in just 7:10.9, trouncing supercar elites like the Porsche 911 GT3 RS and Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4. Powering the car is a retuned version of the 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 used in other AMG GT variants, but it makes 577 hp and 516 lb-ft here. 0 to 60 mph is dealt with in 3.5 seconds, and top speed is a rousing 198 mph.

Audi R8 LMS GT4

Audi R8 LMS GT4

On the eve of the auto show’s first press day, Audi held a special event to reveal its new Audi Sport sub-brand. Not only will the Audi Sport name grace eight track-optimized models in the next two years, it will also extend to motor sports, which brings us to our final favorite from the show.

The R8 LMS GT4 is a race car built specifically for Audi’s customer racing program, meaning this V10-powered beast is actually attainable for amateur speed freaks in the GT4 class. The vehicle looks incredible with its various aerodynamic enhancements and red accents, and its performance capabilities are right up there with its style. The German V10 can deliver up to 495 hp depending on rating, and the suspension has been tuned to dominate the track. Still, it shares more than 60 percent of its parts with the road-going R8, which goes to show just how capable the normal version is.

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