THE BIG KAHUNA
The LA Auto Show arrives
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 Sun, Nov 17, 2013
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
As the car culture center of the world, there are roughly 20 car shows every week in the City of Angels. That’s around 440 car shows every year. And yet, there’s only one Grand Poobah of all car shows in the Southland. The Big Kahuna, the mother of all LA car shows: The Los Angeles International Auto Show. This year, 56 cars were introduced at nearly 30 press conferences, spread across three days, November 19th-21st, while the public show took place from November 22nd through December 1, 2013. Here’s some of what was shown.
Audi might be known in the states more for their sportiness or for their larger saloon cars, but at the LA Auto Show 2013 we see the US market get a treat that has been available in Europe for a while now. The A3 sedan is pretty much an Audi as you would expect it, but a little smaller. The four-door sedan is relatively new to much of the world (a hatchback and a 2-door convertible has been available on many EU markets), and it will be interesting to see if there is space in the premium compact sedan category in the US market.
Also on the list of interesting things to see on the Audi floor of the auto show will be the A3 e-tron. This all electric vehicle is a hatchback (lucky for those wanting something more interesting than a normal small sedan) with looks very similar to the regular A3 hatchback. It seems that Audi chose not to make the e-tron stand out all too much, something we agree with, as this does not alienate those who already like the design, but might opt for an all-electric version. – John-Fredrik Wright
Audi at Connected Car Expo
Audi took the unusual step of scheduling dual press conferences—the only car manufacturer to hold one for Connected Car Expo. With a 4G LTE interactive technology, a Google earth integrated navigation system Bang & Olufsen® audio, and ergonomic leather seats under a panoramic roof, the aforementioned A3 is offering an A8 feeling in a small package. The sedan has been featured elsewhere, but this US debut is an all-new design specifically tailored to meet the preferences of the American customer. A cabriolet, clean diesel, high-performance S3, and hybrid will follow. – Zoran Segina
BMW introduced a few new cars at the LA Auto Show this week. The 4 Series convertible is set to be available in the first quarter of 2014, rounding out the lineup to match the old 3 Series coupe, minus the much anticipated M4 which will replace the old M3 coupe. The 4 Series convertible will be available in North America with a choice of either a 2.0-liter Turbocharged i4 engine boasting 240 horsepower, or a 3.0-liter turbocharged i6 with 300 horsepower, both of which are already available in the normal 3 and 4 Series. The X4 concept will also be present, which will be a sportier version of the current X3, and very similar to the current X6 being the sporty version of the X5. BMW will also be presenting the updated versions of their current 5 series GT lineup. Last, but not least, the production version of the i8 was introduced, giving BMW a chance to show off their advancements in extended range electric car technology. – Eric Dorman
One of the stand-outs at this year's show is the ELR, Cadillac's new electrified luxury coupe. ELR features electric vehicle technology capable of a total range in excess of 300 miles, thanks to pure electric drive teamed with an efficient 1.4-liter gasoline powered electric generator. The exterior is bold and stylish; the interior features handcrafted leather complemented by wood grain and chrome trim. Buyers will have access to an ELR Concierge Representative who will provide information on electric vehicle ownership. The Cadillac ELR will be available at dealerships in all U.S. major metropolitan areas in January 2014 with a starting price of $75,995. Buyers may be eligible for federal tax credit of up to $7,500 based on their tax liability. - Reed Berry
After an usually high amount of secrecy, Chevrolet delivered with an impressive debut of the mid-sized 2015 Colorado. While taking some queues from its already well-received new Silverado, the big bow-tie clearly sought to create an easily distinguished smaller truck designed to appeal to a specific buyer. "The mid-sized truck serves a different, younger market." said Clay Dean, GM's Global Advanced Design Director. "These customers want a truck to look like a truck, but also want to be able to use it for their active lives on the weekends and their daily commutes during the week." This take on the market is borne out through the inclusion of some true full-size truck features like a trailer break (first-in-class), combined with some car features like a console shifter. Power delivery will come via a standard 2.5L I4 engine, producing 193hp and 184lb-ft of torque; and an optional 3.6L V6 producing 302hp and 270lb-ft of torque. Towing capacity will be 6,700lbs at introduction, with an eventual turbo-diesel option (the Duramax 2.8L I-4 turbodiesel) planned for 2015. With no domestic competition (remember the Ranger and the Dakota?), and aging competition from the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, the Colorado will be timing the market perfectly when it rolls into showrooms later in the spring. – Sean Spear
Ford is showing a concept version of the next-gen Edge Crossover Utility Vehicle in LaLa land this year. The five-passenger trucklet debuted in 2007 and was refreshed for 2011. A version of the concept shown will Edge into dealerships as a 2015 model. Also up for Ford: a verion of the Fusion Energi hybrid which has an interior fashioned partly from recyled Coke bottles. Sounds like a lumpy-seated affair, but you’d never know looking at the seats and other interior fabric that they were once home to sodas. The point: to showcase the technological possibilities for repurposing the containers holding what one of two Americans typically consumes in a given day. - Brian Kennedy
Honda showed its newest iteration of its FCEV (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle) at the LA Auto Show this week. Going for a sportier and fluid shape, they hope to pave the road for a zero emissions future with style. Honda also introduced enhancements to the 2014 Honda Civic. Expect to see more fuel efficiency and refinement to the best selling compact car in America. – Mark Dorman
Jaguar F-Type Coupe
Expect a stunner from the leaping feline company at the big car show in LA this week. Jaguar played its cards VERY close to its vests on the new coupe version of the F-Type convertible that they blew a bunch of minds with last year at this time. The convertible is beautiful (I should actually have said “big and beautiful” the car still stands out in my mind as rather large for a two-seater) and putting a real roofline on it actually scales it down a bit for the eye. The F-Type’s spiritual predecessor, the XKE, always looked far more lithe and purposeful as a coupe, and I expect the same to be proven true for the F-model shortly. Powertrains have not been announced yet, but Jag’s engineering people would have to be balmy to make any big changes there—its V-6 and the V-8 engines being such well-mannered underhood motivating devices. – Doug Stokes
While big crowds would be expected at the global unveils of the high-profile nameplates like Jaguar and Porsche, many would have been shocked to have seen the surprisingly large crowd on hand for the unveiling of the new Kia K900. This attention clearly reflects what many have come to learn recently; Kia is serious about raising its profile in the US. As detailed by Kia's Executive Director of Product Planning Orth Hedrick, "We introduced the Optima just as the downturn hit, but was surprised to see our sales remain strong. We were even more surprised to learn that we had large numbers of conquest purchases from nameplates like BMW and Mercedes. People were clearly downsizing, but still wanted some luxury." What followed was the luxury experiment that is the Cadenza, introduced earlier this year, and now the statement that is the flagship K900. As promised, the K900 has the standard array of luxury features like Nappa leather, intelligent cruise control, a panoramic sunroof, and big power coming from either the standard 311hp V6 or optional 420hp V8. But also 'value' benefits like free telematics services (Sirius XM, real-time traffic, and vehicle diagnostics), three-year full maintenance, and the previously mentioned V6 that runs on regular gas. While not definitive, Kia expects to price the V6 K900 at around $50,000; with a fully-optioned V8 version being priced in the mid-$60K range when the car becomes available in the spring of next year. – Sean Spear
Maserati is expanding its line-up with the four-door, Ghibli sport sedan. The car comes in two flavors. The $66,000, 3.0-liter, V6, 345 horsepower model is the entry point. Shell out another $9k entitles one to 404 Italian stallions courtesy of Ferrari, pulling 406 lb-ft of torque at just 1,750 rpm, all corralled by an 8-speed, ZF automatic transmission. The 0-60 times are 5.5 seconds, or 4.8 for the pricier, all-wheel drive model. Top speed is 165 mph, and 175 mph for the top of the line Ghibli S Q4 model. The added model will also allow the company to continue increasing its record setting bottom line numbers. – John Grafman
Mercedes-Benz S 65 AMG
Mercedes-Benz turns to its in-house tuner to create the ultimate S Class, the S 65 AMG. Now there’s no reason to compromise size for speed. The 12-cylinder, 6.0-liter, bi-turbo motor not only puts out 630 horsepower between 4,800-5,400 RPM, it’s more fuel efficiently than any other saloon in its class. Sadly, this is electronically limited to just 155 MPG. But, 0-62 MPG comes up in 4.3 seconds. This AMG already meets the upcoming 2015 EU6 emissions standard. Highlights include the world’s first Body Magic Control sport suspension. The stereo camera uses Road Surface Scan info to identify undulations and imperfections in the highway, and adjusts the suspension prior to encountering the issues. Head-up display and touchpad provide added sophistication, and high-gloss chrome exterior pieces provide the bling. – John Grafman
Does it feel like there are too many Mercedes-Benz SLS cars on the road to be unique? Fortunately, AMG, the builder of the SLS, has a solution. In the last of the model series, the public will have an opportunity to snag one of just 350 SLS AMG GT Final Edition supercars. The AMG still features a front-mid mounted, 6.3-liter, V8 engine that kicks out a massive 591 ponies. Since 2009, the SLS has come in numerous incarnations, including the gullwing coupe, roadster, GT, the Black Series, an electric drive model, and the GT3 seen in racing. Collect them all! – John Grafman
For 2014, the MINI Cooper gets its first overhaul since it was reborn in 2001. The front-wheel-drive platform is all new. It’s 4.5 inches longer and 1.7 inches wider. The speedometer and gauges are now above the steering wheel, rather than to the right. Options include LED headlamps, heads-up display, rearview camera and adaptive cruise control. There are two new engines, both turbocharged. The 1.5-liter three generates 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet. The 2.0-liter four in the Cooper S punches 189 horsepower, 207 pound-feet, and races to 60 in an impressive 6.4 seconds. The new MINI goes on sale in March. – BT Justice
Nissan’s offers in LA include a Juke Nismo RS model, with track-specific handling upgrades and a power boost of more than 70 horsepower. Styling upgrades both interior and exterior signal the presence of the model to those who might be blown into the weeds by the 270 horsepower hatch. The firm is also featuring a Nismo concept vehicle—not a Nissan Nismo, but Nismo as a brand. The spinoff, designed to replicate what Toyota has done with Scion, captures a sporty feel that the company feels will appeal to an even more youthful audience than the offerings from its competitors, primarily Nissan with the FRS and Subaru with the BRZ. - Brian Kennedy
Porsche introduced four vehicles at the LA Auto Show this week. They presented the brand new Porsche Macan, a small crossover which will round out the Porsche lineup and give consumers an option for an SUV that is smaller than the current Cayenne. The Macan will be available with three engine options: a 3.0-liter V6, a Turbo 3.6-liter V6, and a 3.0-liter V6 Diesel. Porsche will also be debuting the Cabriolet versions of its 911 Turbo and Turbo S models, utilizing the same engines as the coupe versions of the car, and adding to their extensive 911 line. The Panamera is also be updated with the new Turbo S and Turbo S Executive models, now putting out 570hp out of a 4.8-liter twin-turbo V8. Lastly, the 918 Spyder supercar is on display, Porsche's new monster hybrid supercar. The 918 Spyder utilizes both a 4.6-liter V8 and two electric motors, for a combined power output of over 887 horsepower and boasts an astounding fuel economy of over 94 mpg, showing off Porsches astounding engineering capabilities and advancements in hybrid technology. – Eric Dorman
The latest iteration of the ultra-pricey Range Rover is bigger (by a few inches) and more expensive (by a lot of dollars) than ever. Luckily for the Range Rover people, the show at which that they’ll further up the ante on these four-wheeled objects of suburban desire is conveniently located in Los Angeles, where they just happen to sell a lot of the pogues. Their “Autobiography Black” edition Range Rover will roll out here at a price that will see very little change coming back from a $200,000-dollar bill. That one is said to have virtually every square inch of its spacious interior (save the floorboards) swathed in leather, and features seats that heat, cool, and massage their occupants luxuriously. Lucky, lucky Los Angeles: word on the street is that they will only make 100 of this model and (again quite conveniently) the line starts right over there. – Doug Stokes
The 2015 Subaru WRX is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter flat four (down from 2.5 liters) that kicks 268 horses and 258 pound-feet of torque. It jumps to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds with a six-speed manual. The automatic is a CVT – you read that right – and gets you there in 5.9. Torsional rigidly is 41 percent stiffer than the current model. Beefed-up brakes complement larger tires: 235/45R17s. Unfortunately, the STI version was not unveiled. We have to until the Detroit auto show in January for a look at the more-potent WRX, which we hear keeps the same 2.5-liter turbo, pumping 300 hp and 290 pound-feet. – BT Justice
Toyota introduced its FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicle) Concept at the LA Auto Show this week. Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles have been a technology that has been touched on by automakers like Honda and Mercedes but were still very much a new and untested technology. With the recent success of Tesla and its Model S, it is easy to see that electric cars are desirable. To address the its main short coming (range), Toyota has looked into Hydrogen Fuel Cells to remedy the situation. Toyota hopes it can find the same success with a FCV that it had with the Prius. Although not always the first to the party, Toyota does have a track record of success with alternative fuel vehicles. – Mark Dorman
Of the 56 debuts, 22 are world debuts. This year, the press days grow by one, with November 19th devoted to technology announcements. As always, the venue is the Los Angeles Convention Center.
“World debuts include the NISMO JUKE RS and a NISMO Concept vehicle from Nissan, as well as four models from Mercedes-Benz, which were unveiled alongside the brand’s North American introductions of the GLA 250 and the S63,” said Sanaz Marbley with JMPR Public Relations, which is handling the public relations for the LA Auto Show. “Porsche has added two new world debuts to its lineup, in addition to the previously announced Macan, the manufacturer’s highly anticipated SUV crossover vehicle. BMW, Chevrolet, Ford Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Land Rover, MINI, Subaru and Toyota round out the list, all with global introductions planned for the show,” adds Marbley.
“In addition to the roster of global premieres, a variety of North American debuts will be unveiled in Los Angeles, including the 4 Series Coupe, i8, i3, 5 Series Sedan and 5 Series Gran Turismo from BMW,” says JMPR’s Alexis Linn. “U.S. auto show introductions will also include the Jaguar C-X17, Cadillac Escalade, a high performance model from Nissan, three vehicles from Volkswagen, including the e-Golf and five from Audi,” adds Linn.
Los Angeles is a popular venue for green car news, and this year’s show is no different. More than two dozen green vehicles are scheduled to be featured at the show, including models from Acura, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen, ranging from alternative fuel models to brand new plug-ins.
Nearly 20 luxury vehicle were introduced from automakers such as BMW, Maserati and Mercedes-Benz, signifying increased buyer confidence in the improving economic environment. In addition to the production vehicles, 12 concept cars showed, including cars from Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Volkswagen and Volvo, as well as the Cadillac Elmiraj concept. “As one of the world’s largest media hubs and car buying markets, Los Angeles offers a unique combination of press exposure and valuable consumer contact,” said LA Auto Show President, Lisa Kaz. “The LA Auto Show’s consistent growth and commitment to remaining on the forefront of automotive technology, green innovation and automotive design will certainly be noticed with 2013’s roster of major debuts.” About the Los Angeles Auto Show and Connected Car Expo Founded in 1907, the Los Angeles Auto Show is the first major North American auto show of the season each year. Press Days for the 2013 LA Auto Show® will be held on Nov. 20 and 21. The show will be open to the public Nov. 22 – Dec. 1. The Connected Car Expo (CCE) will be the first expo to unite automotive and technology professionals in an effort to increase development and foster relationship-building in the connected car industry, providing attendees with access to the key players and top media constructing the future of the connected car. CCE will debut on Nov. 19, and continue in conjunction with the 2013 LA Auto Show Press Days. The LA Auto Show is endorsed by the Greater L.A. New Car Dealer Association and is operated by ANSA Productions. To receive the latest show news and information, follow LA Auto Show on Twitter at twitter.com/LAAutoShow or via Facebook at facebook.com/LosAngelesAutoShow and sign up for alerts at LAAutoShow.com. For more information on CCE please visit connectedcarexpo.com/ To read LA Car's report on Connected Car Expo, click here.