New Car Models At International Motor Press Association Test
2013 IMPA Test Days
Brings out the best
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor; New York Bureau
The Auto Channel
IMPA, the International Motor Press Association, is this country's
oldest organization of automotive journalists and public relations
professionals. It was founded in New York City nearly 50 years ago.
IMPA Test Days is a two-day event providing members the opportunity
to sample a broad number of vehicles in a variety of venues. Test Days
takes place each year in mid-September and is held at Monticello Motor Club
(www.monticellomotorclub.com) in Monticello, NY located in the Catskill
Mountains region of the state.
About 90 minutes from New York City, the club is located off Route
17 and not far from old route 17 that was known as the Liberty Highway back
in the 1920s. Now for me, living in Philadelphia, it’s a 200 mile
drive taking about 3 ½ hours.
Monticello Motor Club, billing itself as North America’s
premier automotive resort and private racetrack, features 4.1 miles of
billiard-smooth twisty asphalt dedicated to the driving pleasure of member
individuals who are passionate about automobiles, who relish the driving
experience, and who seek a place of belonging among like-minded people. MMC
provides an array of services and amenities such as professional
instruction, track-side support, premium car storage, racecar rentals,
private race schools for novice to experienced track enthusiasts, karting,
corporate entertainment, fine dining, and five-star services.
This year’s test day event provided an array of about 80
different vehicles for on-road, off-road and on-track evaluation. My plan
was to pick and choose a few unique opportunities to drive new and somewhat
special vehicles that hadn’t come my way as of yet. So, I drove what
was at hand and here they are in no particular order.
2014 Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTEC 4matic sedan
. MSRP $53,900.The
195HP, 2.1-L biturbo diesel mated to a 7-speed has this Benz scooting
quickly and economically. Recently announced is 45mpg highway EPA test
rating. The epitome of modern midsize luxury sedans.
2014 Hyundai Equus Ultimate.
MSRP $61,000. With a 429HP, 5.0-L V8,
8-speed automatic, electronic air suspension and all the safety and
infotainment features you could ask for.
2014 Jetta SEL
. MSRP $25,590. Features VW’s new 170HP, 1.8L
turbo 4-cylinder and independent rear suspension. The old 2.5-L 5-cylinder
is replaced by this smoother, more efficient, more responsive and better
sounding turbo-four. Fewer is better…cylinders that is.
2014 Fiat 500L
. MSRP $21,195. Fiat’s first four-door more
suited for families with children or young singles who need room for their
stuff. Lots of headroom in this small wagon. I drove a diesel version in
France this summer, and wonder if we may see that engine in the U.S.
2014 Corvette Stingray
. MSRP $51,995. What’s not to like. Pure
adrenalin. Gen-7 of this American icon is better than ever with an interior
you will love. Power, handling and braking are superb.
2014 SRT Viper. MSRP $102,485. More of what’s not to like; but
a lot more bucks. And, really a sports car…perhaps better for track
than road. Interesting how these two sport cars have similar looks.
2014 Mercedes-Benz S550
. MSRP $92,900. Some say, the best car in the
world. Who am I to argue? A lot of impressive technology and safer driving
2014 Bentley Flying Spur
. MSRP $200,500. Bespoke and beautiful.
Amazing performance for this large and heavy car. V-12 power and
not-so-good fuel economy. But, an impressive automobile. Need I say more.
2014 Ford Focus ST
. MSRP. $24,115. A pocket rocket. Fun and
practical. Very supportive seats and a 6-speed manual for spirited driving.
No automatic transmission available.
2014 BMW 328i GT xDrive
. MSRP $41,450. For a young couple not yet
needing room for a child seat. Or, the established single looking for a
coupe-like appearance with a bit of practicality.
2014 Volvo S60 T6 R-design AWD
. MSRP $42,700. This Volvo packs quite
a punch with lots of torque to get it going quickly. A great combo with
4-door practicality and a-w-d for those slippery road surfaces.
Events like IMPA Test Days is a great way for the automotive media
and vehicle manufacturers to come together en masse for product sharing and
driving in a very efficient and effective program that benefits many.
© Larry Nutson