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.
From KnoxNews – What’s the fine for parking in a handicap spot in Tennessee when you are not allowed to? How about being ran over! Devon Beal Kiss, 24, ran over Thomas Esposito after Esposito told Kiss, “None of your frickin’ business!”, when asked, “Why are you parking in a handicap spot?” Tennessee should give Esposito a handcap parking pass now.
From Publico.es – A picture that any Ferrari fan should save. Is there really anything else to say other than “wipe that drool off of your face!” (click picture for full size)
From Ford – Another one bites the dust. Ford has officially dropped Mercury. Who is Mercury you ask? Well, remember the Mercury Cougar? Yea, that’s probably the only Mercury you’d recognize. I am suprised that Mercury was dropped after Pontiac. There are alot more memorable Pontiacs than Mercurys.
From BBC – Robert Kubica signs with Renault to race in Formula One Racing for 2010. Kubica originally raced for BMW Sauber since 2006, and has had only one victory (2008 Canadian Grand Prix). It will be interesting to see how well Kubica will race next year against top competitors Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonzo, and Michael Shumacher.
From Cobra.com – Cobra just announced the launch of their new full color touch screen radar detector. The touch screen provides a graphic interface that makes it easier to set up the radar detector. Does touch screen really make radar detetors that easy to set up? Most radar detectors that I’ve seen only have one button. The touch screen radar detector is Cobra’s first radar detector that costs under $200.
From OCRegister.com – On January 15th and 16th, Orange County Race-Craft, a high perofmrance driving school, will allow supercar owners to learn how to learn the capabilities and limitations of their vehicles. This event came about after the many supercar accidents that have been occuring in Orange County over the past year. Owners can sign up at ocracecraft.com.
From Ford – As consumers demand more gadgets equipped as standard in their car, Ford has taken a step in an unexpected direction by partnering with Best Buy for technical support of their vehicles equipped with SYNC. I hesitate to say a step in the right direction, because this basically means that Best Buy’s Geek Squad will now support & troubleshoot the electronic gadgets in your future Ford vehicle. Now, I’m sure there are some pretty sharp Geek Squad technicians out there but I think you may have a better chance to win the lottery than to get one of them to service your vehicle.
From EGrandPrix – Tree huggers rejoice! In June 2010, Paris will hold the worlds first all electric car and motorcycle races. Outrageous (in a good sense) mileage figures aside, what about the various chemicals and toxins put into the atmosphere when an electric vehicle hits the scrap heap? What about the fact that more toxicity is produced from “retiring” an electric vehicle than a gas-powered vehicle? All excitement aside, I think I’ll stick to Formula 1.
From Aston Martin – This week, Aston Martin released pictures of its latest vehicle, the Cygnet. Described as a “luxury commuter,” it looks like the illegitimate lovechild between an Aston and Toyota Yaris. The price tag of this James-Bonded Toyota iQ will be around $32k. How many shaken martinis will James Bond need before getting in one of these?
From Audi – It looks like Audi set the bar a little higher by incorporating Google Earth into the 2011 Audi A8. Aside from terrain-mapping, it also allows you to do an Internet search on the map via a UMTS modem for data transfers. Could this be the end for updating navigation DVDs for our cars? We will just have to wait and see.
From BBC – The Silverstone Circuit has signed a 17-year deal (17 years??!! – Ed.) with Formula One to host the British Grand Prix. Silverstone was the host of the first Grand Prix championship in 1950, and since 1987, hosted every British Grand Prix in Formula One. Donington Park was supposed to be the new venue for the British Grand Prix this year beginning next year, but their finances fell through the floor.
From LA Times – OMG! Danica Patrick is in NASCAR. On Tuesday, Danica Patrick announced that she would drive in a “limited number” of races in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series. Danica’s IndyCar resume consists of 1 win, 3 poles, and 81 starts. Her first season was in 2005, and she finished 5th (best career finish) in 2009. Not bad for a 27 year old, but in my personal opinion, it’s better to be great at one thing, than so-so in many things.
From Reuters – Volkswagen is buying a 20% stake in Suzuki for $2.5 billion. This is not too long after Volkswagen just bought a 49.9% stake in Porsche AG. After this transaction, VW will have stake in 11 different car brands. VW’s goal is to become the world’s number one automaker by 2018. Toyota, we await for your rebuttal.
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.