In what I can describe as a flashback moment, Chris and i decided to visit the first Hot Import Nights of the year. Not to date myself, but I was at the original HIN way back in the day, shot many iterations of this show – HIN, Hot Import Daze, Import Revolution – and so on. Glad to see that there are still some souls passionate about upgrading their car game from the very basic bolt-ons to full engine swaps.
Chris shot some video but you’ll have to wait a bit for that. In the meantime, enjoy the photos below!
The 2014 edition of the Los Angeles Auto Show came upon us yet again and, for the first time in quite a while, we decided to take a look at what the OE world had to offer. We came away a bit underwhelmed. There was nothing revolutionary. Merely evolutionary at best. Nothing blew us away, really. All signs point to yet another year of dull vehicles. Regardless, we thought these following vehicles have some ability to quicken the pulse. Even if just a little bit.
(Incidentally, all photos were taken with a Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Image quality is pretty awesome, especially considering it’s just a smartphone)
The front end of the revised Mustang looks awfully familiar. Gotta say it shares design DNA with the Fusion. And several Aston Martins. And the Nissan GT-R. And the Dodge SRT Hellcat. And the Mazda 6.
Day 2 at the LA Auto Show gave us a chance to spend more time at the LA Convention Center, take more photos and delve further into automotive offerings for 2011.
BUICK PULLS OFF THE COVERS ON THE NEW REGAL
Normally, we’re not big fans of sheet metal from Detroit but this Buick made us do a double take. We’re waiting for our chance behind the wheel to decide whether the double take was based on just a mirage or some real substance.
FLAT IS IN AT MERCEDES
Yes, it’s the Mercedes AMG CLS 63 hyper sedan that you see before you. But that’s not what we’re showcasing. Look a little closer. Notice the flat paint? No, it’s not a custom job. Rather, it’s a factory option available to you. Frankly, it was novel when car customizers first started giving cars the flat treatment but it’s rather played out at this point.
CADILLAC UNVEILS FUNKY LITTLE CONCEPT FOR THE “URBAN” SET
The Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept (ULC for short) is a small city car designed for urban dwellers that just can’t do without some bling to complement their brownstone in upper east side Manhattan. Powered by a teeny, weeny 1.0L turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, the ULC supposedly generates 56mpg in the city and 65mpg on the highway with a cadre of technology including start-stop and brake energy recovery system (a la Formula 1 KERS?). Call us skeptics but we can’t see this car seeing the light of day unless Cadillac’s intention is to meet the even more stringent average fleet fuel efficiency mandate set by the EPA. There are already city car-type variants out there (the Smart, for one) and wonder if we really need a microcar studded with so much unnecessary bling. Keep it simple, stupid. That’s what we say.
DROP TOP CHEVY CAMARO
Open top version of the Chevy Camaro. Nothing else to say about it, really.
FORD FINALLY BRINGS THE FOCUS ST STATESIDE
We’ve always been big fans of “hot hatches,” but the announced arrival of the Focus ST didn’t quite have the effect Ford may have intended. With us, at least. This car has been in existence in Europe since 2009 (the turbocharged 5-cylinder variant killed off due to Europe V emissions regulations). Yet again, American consumers are left getting a car far later after introduced to the rest of the world. I personally find the front end boring, looking quite a bit like a fish; resembles nothing like the aggressive snub nosed design on the original European Focus ST.
GMC’S FORAY INTO THE SUBCOMPACT SEGMENT
When you think of GMC, what comes to mind? Fun cars? Probably not. Utilitarian trucks, SUVs and vans? Absolutely. Perhaps the make is looking to change all that with the introduction of the GMC Granite concept. The front end is large and aggressive, keeping in line with the GMC lineage, but the rest of the vehicle is sleek. The rear end looks particularly similar to the current gen VW GTI. Not sure if this little compact will ever see production, but if it does, it will be the first to shake things up in the segment since the original Scion xB.
Wow. That’s about most appropriate word we can use to describe the stunning “green” C-X75 concept. With lines not see since the XJ220 hyper car from the Thatcher era, the concept will hopefully bring new excitement over the old English marquee. But what you find under the sheet metal is completely new school. Each wheel is driven by its own electric motor, with a range of 68 miles from a 6-hour charge at home. Once that juice runs out, however, its lithium ion batteries are recharged by micro gas turbines, extending the “theoretical” range to 560 miles.
Did we mention its claimed top speed of 205mph?
KIA EMERGES FROM HYUNDAI’S SHADOWS
New sheet metal, dimensions, interior and more add up to quite the competition for offerings from sister brand Hyundai. Call it a one-two combo, but Honda, Toyota and Nissan have much to fear from Kia (and Hyundai).
LEXUS’ SPORTY HYBRID HATCH
Funny enough, when we spoke with our friends at Lexus PR, they too agreed that the car looks quite a bit like the Mazda3 / Mazdaspeed3. Mind you, that’s not a bad thing, sharing similar lines as one of our favorites in the segment. No MSRP on this 5-door hatch but we’re hoping to get more info and perhaps our dirty mittens behind the wheel in the near future.
MAZDA’S GORGEOUS CONCEPT
The Shinari concept vehicle in Mazda’s booth was epic. No, it was spectacular. It’s kind of what I envisioned the Aston Martin Rapide would look like, expect this design came from a place a little closer to the shinkansen rather than the tres grande vitesse. No matter. There were more curves and organic forms on this concept than ALL cars on the show floor combined. Perhaps it’s a good indication of things to come from Mazda, as rumors are aplenty about the return of the turbo rotary.
Well, that’s it for us from the second and final press day of the 2010 LA Auto Show. This year’s show was particularly notable as we saw more alternative fuel vehicles than ever before (ed – our take on that coming soon) but came away happy to see that the manufacturers aren’t forgetting about style, sizzle and performance in their offerings.
Yes, it’s that time of the year again. Kicking off with the Paris Auto Show, the US rounds made their start today with the opening of the LA Auto Show. Although the general public is not admitted until Friday, November 19, press members – including yours truly – are admitted for a couple of days to check out all the wares from various manufacturers.
Here is what we dug up today on day 1 of the LA Auto Show:
HONDA CR-Z MUGEN EDITION
We welcome back the return of the hatch from Honda. Although the hybrid powertain is not as exciting as that found in the original CRX, this little number definitely looks like something we’d like to check out in person. The Mugen edition here definitely adds a racy flair to the CRZ, but that rear spoiler really has to go. Why a front wheel drive vehicle needs all that excess weight and downforce at the rear is beyond us.
NEW OFFERINGS FROM PORSCHE
(No, this isn’t a new Porsche offering; rather, it’s a mint old school Speedster found at the entry to the Porsche exhibit)
I guess it shouldn’t surprise us that even a “traditional” manufacturer of sportscars (which are also thirsty for petrol) would jump on the bandwagon. The Cayenne Hybrid is already in the offering and they’ve been heavily marketing the innovation through a television commercial featuring the GT3 RS Hybrid as seen below. We don’t know how effective the hybrid system may be, but it’s an absolutely gorgeous piece of machinery.
As an homage to Porsche’s 60 year history, the Stuttgart make is releasing a brand new Speedster. Quite sleek. Quite fast. Quite limited. And… quite expensive.
Finally, as if the GT2 needed any more power, refinement (or a higher price tag), the new GT2 RS is here. With rear wheel drive goodness and an even lighter chassis to match, this car is quite the handful. As a matter of fact, we can’t imagine the average Joe being able to drive this car very fast without killing himself in the process.
SUBARU PULLS OUT SOME REFINEMENT
The Subaru Impreza WRX STi – even though I personally own a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution – has always been a car to be reckoned with. Great power output, good looks and a reasonable price tag have all been the keys to the STi’s popularity. Although the hatchback version of the newest STi has had its fans, it has had an equal share of detractors. Well, Subaru is going to satisfy both parties, as they introduce a 4-door sedan edition. But don’t fret if you had your eyes on the hatch version – Subaru will continue to produce the STi in hatch form.
Subaru also pulled out all the stops in introducing the new Impreza Concept. At first glance, it looks quite a bit like a natural evolution of the existing Subaru Legacy, although those horizontal slats on either side of the front bumper remind me of the front end of the current Honda Civic. Take a look and you decide.
NISSAN’S NEW OFFERINGS
No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. That really is a convertible version of the Nissan Murano. Now, we’re not quite sure from whom this car is intended, as we’ve never heard of anyone actively advocating the creation of a convertible SUV but I’m sure Nissan did their homework before launching this vehicle. We’ll get our hands on one soon and let you know if it’s worth your consideration.
The other shiny object inside the Nissan booth is the Ellure Hybrid concept. I don’t know about you, but the exterior is absolutely gorgeous. I hope they will retain most of the design cues if this car hits production. The interior is certainly very high tech looking as well. We don’t yet have the proposed technical and performance details but will let you know as soon as we know.
Alright, gang. Day 2 awaits us tomorrow. Will have another editorial up by weekend’s time with even more photos and discoveries at the LA Convention Center!
Audi has been producing really great vehicles as of late and diesel is gaining more traction in the US market. Buyers are finally realizing that today’s diesel-powered cars are not like those of old. Gone are black plumes of soot coming out of diesel vehicles, now effectively eliminated by urea injection within the exhaust path. So what do you get when you combine the sport Audi A3 and a TDI diesel engine? The 2010 Green Car of the Year award, of course.
Announced at the LA Auto Show, Green Car Journal / GreenCar.com presented the honors to Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen. With an EPA-estimated 42mpg highway fuel economy figure, this is proof yet again that a fun, enjoyable driving experience and fuel efficiency aren’t mutually exclusive.
With the LA Show set to open to the public tomorrow, there is sure to be a big crowd on hand over the next week or show to check out the cars on display. But if you can’t make it, do check out the highlights feature here. Then take a peek at the assortment of automotive delights in our photo collage below. Enjoy!
The 2009 edition of the Los Angeles Auto Show kicked off today with a slew of new vehicle launches for the world and North American markets. With the auto industry experiencing a virtual implosion this year, 2010 is shaping up to be a critical year for many makes. Speaking of which, a few brands weren’t in attendance this year, including Nissan, Infiniti (Nissan’s sister brand) and Ferrari. You can bet that they will be at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.
Here are some of the highlights:
MINI Coupe Concept (North American debut) – The MINI has always looked a bit stubby and, frankly, a bit too feminine for certainly our tastes. This concept, however, turns things upside down with a sleek roofline that is definitely more appealing for the XY-chromosome set.
Cadillac CTS Coupe (world debut) – Caddy takes their performance-oriented sports luxury sedan, chops off two doors and presents a sleek alternative to the 4-door. With that being said, however, we feel GM needs to take this car back to the drawing board as the design execution leaves much to be desired.
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG (North American debut) – An homage to the original SL gullwing Merc, the new SLS AMG is an “affordable” supercar from the German make. They went at this car without McLaren’s involvement. Can’t attest to how it drives, but it looks oh-so-good.
Lexus LF-A (North American debut) – After what seemed like decades, the LF-A is finally a reality. It looks great on paper and they seemed to have gotten ALMOST everything right. The gripe? A pricetag somewhere between $300,000 and $400,000. Toyota can claim the engine was derived from F1, albeit they never won a single race after spending reported billions. For our money, we would take an Audi R8, a Porsche GT3 RS and a couple of Ducatis. Even after that, you would still have money left over for some other goodies for the same price as the LF-A. Or just buy a Nissan GT-R and buy a decent house with the rest of the money.
Dodge Viper SRT10 (world debut) – Wait, hasn’t this car been out in the market for, like, ever? We’ve heard numerous rumors that Chrysler was trying to spin off the Viper and dump it on an unsuspecting buyer. So why introduce a “new” Viper at this stage in the game?
The LA Auto Show opens to the public on December 4 and remains open through December 13, 2009. For more information, please check out www.laautoshow.com.