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01/06/2006-01/15/2006 2006 GREATER LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Mon, Jan 2, 2006

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE For the first time, the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show takes place twice during the same calendar year. That's because the show dates are moving from the first week of January. The second running of the 2006 LA Auto Show will be December 1-10. And beginning next year, the show will be held the week before Thanksgiving, including Thanksgiving weekend (for 2007, the dates are November 16-26).

View from the Audi balcony (RN) The move allows the Los Angeles show to get out from under the shadow of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which also runs at the beginning of January. Consequently, November gives LA a better shot at hosting new vehicle introductions, historically a strength of the Detroit show. Not coincidentally, the Paris-based Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles (OICA), the world automobile trade association, has named the Los Angeles Auto Show as one of its sanctioned international exhibitions for the 2006 auto show season - starting with the show that will be held in December. This is the first time the LA Auto Show has been sanctioned by OICA, joining the auto show in Detroit as the only two U.S. shows with such recognition for 2006. (Traditionally, only one auto show per country is sanctioned by OICA.) The move thereby elevates the Los Angeles show to international status.

GM's design team win the LAAS design contest (RN) In the meantime, the final January show offered a healthy dose of unveilings of concept and production vehicles, its second annual automobile design conference, car and truck award announcements, and a wide assortment of press conferences. - Roy Nakano & Chuck Dapoz GM Chooses the City of Angels to Debut Five Los Angeles is commonly referred to as the "City of Angels." Perhaps that's why General Motors chose Los Angeles to introduce five new vehicles. It can use some angels to look over its shoulder. Some of these vehicles will be vital to the success of this historic auto manufacturer.

Jay Leno offers a tip to GM's Mark Leno Chevrolet introduces us to the replacement for one of the most iconic automobiles ever to wear the gold bowtie. For decades, the Suburban (and its platform-mate from GMC) has ruled the mega-sized SUV segment, with Ford recently retired Excursion offering the only real competition. For 2007, Chevrolet replaces its largest SUV with a version based upon GM's new GMT-900 full-size truck architecture. This change brings along with it a new level of refinement, power, and feel of car-like driving that is sure to eclipse what was already one of the most utilitarian yet pleasurable-to-drive, full-size SUVs. A new generation of small-block V8 powertrains also offers up to 320 horsepower, with highway fuel economy reportedly approaching 20 miles per gallon. When the last generation of GM's full-size SUVs were introduced, GMC made the quite controversial decision to abandon the Suburban name, instead attaching the "XL" moniker to its previously introduced Yukon brand. This paid off big for GMC by allowing it to begin developing a separate identity for its version of GM's cash-cow full-size SUV platform. For 2007, GMC brings an even bigger level of distinction to its version of the Suburban, the Yukon XL. Also based upon GM's new GMT-900 chassis, the Yukon XL sports distinctive front and rear styling that clearly differentiates it from its brother at Chevy. While sharing the same chassis, suspension and powertrain enhancements as the Suburban, the Yukon XL presents a more upscale interior that appears at first glance to be one of the classiest in any SUV, finally giving this twin its own unique personality.

Pontiac Solstice GXP Just months ago, Pontiac rolled out its new two-seat roadster, the Solstice, to all the masses awaiting a smartly designed, American competitor to the much-heralded Mazda MX-5. Not wanting to sit still and bask in the glow of their (much-deserved) accomplishment, the folks at Pontiac are bringing us an even hotter version of the Solstice, the 2007 GXP. The GXP's new, turbocharged 2.0L "Ecotec" four-cylinder is the first GM vehicle to sport direct-injection and punches out an impressive 260 horsepower and 260 pound-feet. All of a sudden, Pontiac's "cute" little roadster boasts more power than even the Porsche Boxster. Couple that with an estimated base price of about $25,000, and you could be looking at the performance bargain of the year.

2007 Chevrolet Aveo (RN) Hyundai and Kia made their mark in this country by selling small, fuel-efficient cars in this country that easily undercut their domestic and import competition in price. Chevrolet was the first domestic manufacturer to take the battle right to Hyundai and Kia's front door with the introduction of the previous-generation Aveo sedan and hatchback. For 2007, GM's new subsidiary, GMDAT (General Motors-Daewoo Auto & Technology) has also developed the second-generation Aveo sedan. This time, Chevrolet decided to add a huge dose of upscale style and interior appointments to complement the Aveo's class-leading value and pricing story. The more mature exterior design and splashier, higher-quality interior are combined with innovative features such as a standard input jack for iPods as well as the array of upscale options such as a power sunroof and a six-disc CD changer.

Daytona 500 Z06 pace car Corvette won the distinction of being The Official Pace Car for the 48th annual Daytona 500 race in February. The specially-modified Z06 pace car will be shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show before being shipped off to Florida for the event. Introduced for the 2006 model year, the Z06 has already been celebrated as not only the quickest, fastest, and more powerful Corvette ever, but as a sports car that can hold its own with the most expensive exotic automobiles available from any manufacturer. The Z06 is so impressive, no enhancements to the engine, transmission, or suspension are needed in order to pace the Daytona 500. Changes to the car are limited to a unique paint scheme, Daytona 500 logos, and mandated safety equipment and strobe lights. - Christopher Huddleston

Cayman and Cayenne Turbo S (RN) Porsche Porsche introduced the Cayman S, a two-passenger coupe that runs on a mid-mounted 3.4-liter six-cylinder engine generating 295 horsepower and 251 lb ft of torque. The new Cayman S is graced with a beautiful roofline bubble, which gently slopes into a tail with slightly raised wheel wells evocative of the Porsche 550 Coupe or the Porsche 904 Carrera GTS Coupe - both legendary, mid-engined race cars from previous eras. Cayman S fills the niche between the Porsche Boxster Roadster and the 911 Carrera, and will reach from 0-60 mph in just 5.1 seconds. With a fuel rating of 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, and a MRSP of $58,900, it presents a welcome addition to the Porsche 2006 lineup. For those who questioned Porsche's mission when the company introduced its first sport utility vehicle, all doubts have now been resolved with the unveiling of the Cayenne Turbo S - a world premiere at the show. The family hauler's engine grows to 520-horsepower at 5500 rpm, and its twin-turbocharged, 4.5-liter V-8 engine puts out 530 pound-feet of torque. The stopping has been entrusted to six-piston calipers on 15-inch discs up front, and four-piston setup on 14 inchers in the rear. Twenty-inch rims are shod with 275/40 high-performance tires. If the store is closing shortly, mom will be able to go from 0-60 in 4.8 seconds, and drive at a top speed of 167 miles per hour. This may not prove to be the most economical way to bring groceries, but it's definitely a load of fun. Alas, the price is commensurate with excitement. The MSRP for the Cayenne Turbo S is $111,600. - Zoran Segina

Toyota Yaris (CD) Toyota You may wonder if the high cost of gas had anything to do with it, but it looks like Toyota is back in the business of making low-cost, high-mileage cars. The Yaris arrives in the U.S. this spring, building on its success as Toyota's best-seller in Europe. The 2007 model is an all-new platform, with its 106-horsepower 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine delivering 34 MPG in the city and 40 MPG on the highway. Standard features include air conditioning and a tilt steering wheel. Base prices are $10,950 for the Liftback, $11,825 for the Sedan, and $13,325 for the sporty S Sedan.

Examining the Mazda CX-7 (RN) Mazda Mazda joins the SUV crossover party its all-new 2007 CX-7, which it says blends "sport car verve and SUV practicality." The engine is the same direct-injection, turbocharged and intercooled 2.3-liter four-cylinder powerplant as in the recently launched MAZDASPEED6. It produces 244 horsepower and 258 foot-pounds. In ordinary driving, the CX-7's all-wheel-drive system turns only the front, 18-inch wheels, but it feeds up to 50% of the engine's torque to the rear wheels when appropriate. The CX-7 goes on sale this spring. - Chuck Dapoz

Quattro white Lamborghinis at the LA Show (RN)

Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder (RN) Lamborghini Lamborghini is unveiling the Gallardo Spyder for the first time in North America. This attractively innovative design creates one of the fastest open-air cars ever. The Gallardo Spyder features a unique, electronically controlled roof system that is extremely easy to operate by way of two push-buttons. The energetic powertrain and performance modifications for the Spyder include a 10-cylinder, 4961cc engine that boasts 520 horsepower at 8,000 rpm - a twenty horse bump over the coupe. Increased performance via a lower ratio six-speed gearbox accelerates the Spyder from 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. The Spyder tops out at 195 mph with the roof up, and a staggering 191 mph with the roof down. - John Grafman

BMW's M6 (RN) BMW The M6 returns to the BMW lineup from a 17-year absence, ready to take on the supercars of the world - including Ferraris, Porsche Turbos, and Vipers. Under the hood is a V10 good for 507 hp at the magical tap of the "sport" button. Normal driving conditions "only" yields 400 hp. The M6 features a sleek carbon fiber roof which reduces weight by 10 pounds. The suspension is tuned to corner aggressively and the wheels are 8.5x19 front and 9.18x19 rear. Three year's after the Z4's launch, the long-rumored Z4 M Roadster will officially appear, complete with the S54 engine from the outgoing E46 M3. The M Roadster will see a 10 hp increase, making 343 hp at its 7900 rpm redline. The exterior appears identical to a Z4 except for a lower front valance with large intakes, dual styling lines on the bonnet, aerodynamic diffuser, and of course the four quad pipes recognized on all M cars. Two other features distinguishing the M car is a new hydraulic power assistance system and sticky 18 inch tires, forgoing the run-flat tires. - Anthony Quon

Saleen introduced its new Sport Truck S331 (RN) Ford Buyers of the new Ford Mustang with the economical V6 engine can now dress their Mustang to look more like the 300 horsepower GT by ordering the optional Pony Package. The package includes a unique grille with GT-styled round fog lamps, a chrome bezel or corral around the Mustang prancing horse, Pony front fender badges, lower door tape stripe, carpeted front floor mats and special brushed chrome Mustang logos inside. The kit also includes a suspension upgrade with a thicker front anti-roll bar and the addition of a anti-roll bar in the rear to help lesson body lean while cornering. A rear spoiler is included as are new 17x7.5 painted cast aluminum wheels and P235/55ZR17 performance tires. When you order this package, you also get four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and traction control.

Ford's Edge to appear later on at the LA Show Other Ford news: The 2006 Mustang GT gets larger 18X8 wheels/tires with matching suspension tuning. The all-new 2007 Ford Edge is an all-new entry by Ford into the quickly emerging CUV (crossover sport utility) segment. This new rakishly designed five-door vehicle will be powered by Ford's new 3.5 liter DOHC V6 that generates 250 hp and 240 pound-feet of torque. Mated to the new V6 engine is a new 6-speed automatic transmission in front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive configurations. (Editor's note: The Edge had its debut at the Detroit show, but Ford brought it to the Los Angeles show immediately after its unveiling in Detroit, along with the Shelby GT500 convertible). - Harvey Schwartz

Volkswagen Eos Volkswagen Well, it looks likes Volkswagen may have created the right vehicle for our fabulous Southern California weather. Making its North American debut is the 2007 Volkswagen Eos, a sporty little two-door hardtop convertible that seats five. It looks great with the top up, and even better when it's down. And who says you can't have it all? There's even a sunroof built into the convertible hardtop. The interior is equally stylish and this car also features electrically activated seats that remember where the driver and front passenger were sitting and return to those positions after rear seat passengers enter or exit the vehicle. This is a car with good looks and plenty of power. If the 200-hp four-cylinder engine isn't fast enough for you, consider the 250-hp six. You'll see Eos rolling into VW showrooms in September 2006.

Volkswagen GTI (RN) Another car introduced at the show is the 2006 Volkswagen GTI. OK, so it doesn't look as sporty as the Eos, but it does have some respectable features - such as a 200-hp direct-injection, turbocharged four-cylinder engine (deemed one of the 10 best by Wards Automotive), electronic stabilization, heated front seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, and handling dynamics that have earned a heap of praise in Europe. Controls on the steering wheel allow you to shift gears on the innovative DSG transmission without moving your hands from the wheel. The interior features a leather-wrapped steering wheel and the instrument panel is backlit in a vibrant blue. Folding down the rear seats will provide a generous 41.8 cubic feet of cargo space. A two door version is available, with a four door version planned for next year. With an MSRP starting at around $22,000, the GTI offers performance and quality at an affordable price. - Reed Berry

VW brand CEO Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard with the GX3 In a world premiere at the LA Auto Show, Volkswagen presented the GX3 concept vehicle. The GX3 was conceived by the Moonraker team and VW's Design Center in California, exclusively with the U.S. in mind, to bring an exciting idea to a fully functioning concept. With its three wheels and unique design, this Volkswagen opens up a new driving dimension. Volkswagen says it can cover 0-62.5 mph (100 km/h) in 5.7 seconds, with fuel consumption in the city estimated to be 46 mpg. Since its three-wheel configuration qualifies it as a motorcycle, it can go solo in the carpool lanes.

That's the Quattroporte Sport GT in the foreground Maserati Your first urge is to touch it, absorb its curvaceous lines, romance its sensuality. The Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT evokes that kind of feeling. Ken Okuyama of Pininfarina design studio does not disagree, but offers a suggestion: "In designing a luxury sedan, one has to also emphasize its athleticism. Thus, the lines have to have a certain aggression about them." With 395 horses and 326 pound-feet of torque from its eight cylinder 4.2-liter engine, the Quattroporte provides plenty of athleticism. Twenty-inch ZR tires contribute to its superb handling. Also contributing: The engine sits behind the front wheels, and the six-speed transmission (controlled by the F1 paddle shifter) is mated to the differential in the back, giving the car a 53-47 percent front-to-rear weight ratio. This Italian beauty will do 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds, and run at the top speed of 165 mph. Thirteen inch Brembo brakes and a leather-carbon fiber interior, naturalmente! About $110,000.

Maserati Birdcage 75 All fairy tales begin like this: Long time ago in a country far away, a gifted engineer and his brothers commenced building beautiful motor coaches to be faster than any other. Sometime later, the fifth brother, a poetic soul, used Neptune's trident as the company symbol. One of the fastest coaches they built back then was the Typo 60-61 Birdcage, nicknamed for its latticework structural design to reduce weight. At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Maserati introduced the Birdcage 75 - a Pininfarina concept car that brings back that spirit. The dark blue top stretches over the entire 4.6 meters of the car, including a center-mounted 12-cylinder, six liter engine emphasizing its racing heritage. The steering wheel by Motorola has a computer screen, which can also be brought as a head-up display. The carbon fiber and Nomex honeycomb keep the weight to about 3300 pounds. 700 horsepower on the Maserati MC 12 racing chassis (5.5 pounds to each horsepower) turns this into the ultimate magic carpet ride. We love tales with happy ending. - Zoran Segina

Audi's new Q7 at the LA Show (RN) Audi In an event designed to dovetail into the LA Auto Show, Audi sponsored "Designers Tuesday" at the South Campus of the Art Center College of Design. "Designers Tuesday" was a dazzling display of Audi design, showcasing everything from the new Q7 SUV, to the mid-engine Le Mans, to the Shooting Brake, to the futuristic Audi that appeared in the science fiction movie, "I Robot." It was great seeing Audi Chief Designer Walter Maria de Silva sketched out an Audi with pen and pad. Audi ended the evening by unveiling its next-generation assault weapon for endurance racing, the R10 race car. The Audi R8 is already the most successful race car in endurance racing history, but the turbo-diesel powered R10 looks to do the R8 one better. - Roy Nakano

Bugatti The world has been introduced to a rebirth of a legend. For some 50 years there have been no production of Bugattis. However, the Volkswagen Group brought it to life again. For just $1,300,000 (and taxes) the 1000 horsepower, 250+ mph Bugatti Veyron 16.4 can be yours. - Olov Linberg Editor's Note: For more information on the production Veyron, see Lindberg's report in the January 15th edition of Back Seat Driving.

Fisker Coachbuild Latigo (RN) Other Highlights Debuts included the production version of the Audi Q7 SUV, the new Chevrolet Camaro concept car, the Chrysler 300C "Heritage Edition," Ferrari's F430 Pista, the unique Fisker Tramonto, the race-bred Lotus Exige, the 602-hp Maybach 57S, the totally new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the Mini Checkmate, Saab's 9-3 20-Year Edition Aero convertible, the Spyker C12 LaBurbie, and the stunning Spyker C8 Laviolette. To view more images from the show, go to A Gallery of Stars. For more information about the show, go to laautoshow.com.

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