Big News from New York’s Auto Show

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Technology was once again front and centre at the 2014 New York International Auto Show. This year, the focus was more on driver assistance and infotainment services like Apple’s CarPlay coming to a wider array of vehicles, including small cars, which are popular amongst millennials. The 2014 New York International Auto Show runs for 10 days, starting the Friday before Easter.

If you were too busy with your auto mechanic courses to make it in person to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, here are some of the biggest items and announcements from this year’s show.

The return of the Alfa Romeo

Fiat Chrysler, the parent company of Alfa Romeo, unveiled the model 4C at the show, heralding the Italian luxury brand’s return to the U.S. after a nearly 20-year absence. The first hundred 4C’s will be shipped to the U.S. for sale by late June or early July, and this will be just the beginning of something exciting, as Fiat has big plans for the brand. Though the 4C will sell for between $54,000 and $70,000, the company claims thousands of people have already expressed interest in the small performance sports car.

Audi making its own comeback

Audi debuted the 2015 A3 TDI Sportback at the New York International Auto Show, which will be sold in the United States next summer. It’s a tech-friendly, compact wagon that didn’t initially figure in Audi’s plans, but the car company received so much demand from loyal consumers that it decided to go ahead and produce a new iteration of this classic model. With its 150-hp, 2.0-liter diesel engine, the TDI Sportback promises improved fuel economy and storage room, and the cars also feature an updated version of the Audi Connect infotainment system, which allows access to Google Maps, Facebook, Twitter and online radio stations.

BMW’s plug-in concept is revealed

The times are changing! If you’re currently receiving auto mechanic training, make sure that your studies cover plug-in hybrids, as even BMW is now getting much more serious about bringing these types of vehicles to the market. The carmaker gave a sneak peek at its plug-in hybrid system for the popular X5 midsize SUV. The system can power the car on electric drive alone for up to 20 miles and has the potential for being rated at 40 miles a gallon using the government’s protocol for electric car equivalent driving. A BMW spokesman says the carmaker is aiming at offering to consumers a hybrid alternative in each of its major model types. BMW will have to solve a few problems to achieve this, such as how to achieve better gas mileage without sacrifices, including adding weight, eating up passenger space for batteries or dramatically increasing the overall cost of the vehicle.

Cool technology from Nissan

Nissan’s display at the New York Auto Show included a big surprise: a camera that can take the place of the car’s inside rear-view mirror. The “smart rear-view mirror” is exhibited on a Nissan Rogue SUV, but isn’t likely for showroom models soon, as the technology will need more fine-tuning and testing before making its way to the market. Still, Nissan’s setup suggests that we could soon see drivers relying less on conventional mirrors and more on cameras and screens. Interesting developments for anyone hoping to become a mechanic or currently enrolled in an auto mechanic course!

Here is a closer look at some of the top cars from this year’s show with commentary from CNET’s editors:

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