2019 LA Auto Show: Part III

VW, still reeling from the diese-gate disaster a couple of years ago, really needed to make a splash. And a splash it did make with the ID Space Vizzion concept and the more earthly 2020 Atlas Cross Sport. The latter is a looker, with a sloping rear section not unlike the BMW X6 or the Cayenne from VW’s sister company, Porsche.

The new Corvette took center stage at Chevrolet. With a shark like front end (see below) and a rear end that wouldn’t look out of place on a Lambo, the blue Smurf colored convertible variant attracted more than its fair share of looks.

Yawnfest at Honda, Subaru: Nothing to see here, really. Honda touted its commitment to “green cars,” whereas Subaru had a national park kinda booth. The latter announced a special version of the WRX / STI, dubbed “Series White,” that will cost up to nearly $44,000 (for the STI version). Right. Kind of like how they sell you “Recaro” seats that look like office chairs as an optional paid upgrade. We’ll pass.

Sure, Hyundai and Kia are technically two separate car companies… but not really. The former unveiled the Vision T concept, which is a wicked looking cross over. The design language is aggressive with lots of angles. We likes. The latter introduced the 2020 Niro and the brand new 2021 Seltos. A smaller SUV with either an NA 2.0L or a 1.6L turbo I4, it should do well in a market looking for ever more SUV / cross over options.

Toyota for the Family: New for 2020… RAV4 Prime, new Highlander and a new Mirai (which we did not spot).

Other cars that caught our eyes…

2019 LA Auto Show: Part II

Lexus: All models in the Japanese maker’s lineup remained pretty much the same – although they FINALLY added Apple Carplay to their 2020 line up (what took so long, I have no clue). The shining star in the booth was the LC500 convertible. I’ve pined for the hard top version since it’s inception and the convertible is no less sexy. The LC500 is what the Supra SHOULD have been. To hell with the price. Nearly 500 horsepower from a V8 is what it SHOULD have been. Not the poor excuse of a Z4 skinned like a MkV. Lame.

At BMW: Two cherries and… um… something to fill yet another imaginary gap in the line up was present. The M2 CS – the “real” M3, in my opinion – accompanied by the new M8. The styling of the latter doesn’t quite feel right. The M6 Gran Coupe is a sexy beast and the M8 4-door variant should have elicited the same emotional response. It didn’t… but the performance figures look healthy regardless. As for the 235i M – or is it the M 235i? It’s like what Merc is doing with the A series. These Germans keeps making cars for the downmarket. That’s not what German luxury performance is known for. Shareholder value, I suppose.

Across the South Hall at Audi: The RS Q8 and the RS6 Avant were on display. Both are beefed up beasts compared to their non-RS versions but these weren’t the cars that excited me. Rather, I’m looking at the Audi S8 with with 563 ponies that’s tickling my pickle.

Not much to see at Lincoln, save for the suicide doors on the Continental. Wow.

The manufacturer formerly known as Fisker returned as Karma. Nothing new in the way of a production vehicle, but they put out two stunning concept vehicles, the SC1 and SC2. The latter was far more stunning – and more practical – than the former roofless vision of the future. But what does practicality have anything to do with concept cars, right?

2019 LA Auto Show: Part I

Despite the rather chilly and rainy weather in downtown LA (yes, it actually RAINED in Southern California), hordes of automotive industry professionals and media heads – although I can’t understand how much of a “media” person anyone can be shooting photos with an iPhone – gathered at the Los Angeles Convention Center for the latest edition of the LA Auto Show. Phew. What a mouthful.

There were a handful of new vehicle debuts to speak about, although few are going to raise anyone’s heart rate.

At the Ford Motor Co. booth: So what did Detroit unleash upon us? Their own version the Pontiac Aztec, it seems. While it’s 100% electric, it’s also 100% ugly. Nothing wrong with going all in on electric but the Mustang Mach-E looks nothing like its petrol-drinking brethren. I would be embarrassed to drive this thing around town. Wow. Speechless.

Meanwhile, at Porsche: The Taycan was the rage. Couldn’t get a clean photo because attendees were too busy leaving the fingerprints all over the car, inside and out. Regardless, I am really excited for this all electric car as it will give Tesla a serious run for its money. And frankly, Tesla’s brand cache will take a serious hit once the Taycan hits the road.

Yes, electric Porsches are cool but I was more titillated by their gas guzzling counterparts. Namely, the new 911 Carrera 4S on display (drool) and the IMSA GTLM winning 911 RSR. Oh my…

Nothing to see at Nissan: Perhaps it’s reflective of their horrible sales numbers… There was nothing to see at Nissan, except a “50th anniversary” edition of the GT-R. And a customized Nissan truck. Neither really excited anyone, AFAIK, but here are some photos for shits & giggles.

Still working on other photos. Coverage will continue tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Nismo? Gazoo Racing? Just Stop Already

Back in the day, Nismo meant something. TRD meant something. And, until recently, Gazoo Racing meant something. They all held the deepest level of respect among car enthusiasts as these sub-brands of OEMs went racing. And they won. And these brands were attached to some of the most iconic Japanese supercars of yesteryears – namely, the Nissan GT-R, the Toyota Supra and, most recently, the Toyota TS050 LMP1 Le Mans and WEC champion. So, I ask, why take such respected names and just, well, screw it all up?

Basically, Nissan and Toyota have taken the Nismo and Gazoo Racing brands, respectively, and slapped it on any ‘effin car they deem fit. Hell, the new Supra isn’t even powered by a Toyota engine but they felt it was appropriate to slap the GR moniker on that car as well. With an even greater level of shameless-ness, they’ve slapped the GR name to a hybrid Yaris that tops out at 108mph.

Didn’t know Toyota had so many Gazoo “Racing” models in development. Horseshit.

Nissan isn’t doing much better either. They’ve managed to slap the Nismo branding onto the 370Z and the Sentra. Neither of the Nismo versions offer any performance advantages over their non-Nismo brethren. It’s all exterior bullshit. Might as well add a bunch of stickers to the non-Nismo versions (don’t forget the “NOS” sticker!) and save some money. The stickers will add as much horsepower as the Nismo versions!

For shame!!

Toyota and Nissan: instead of making these cars “sticker-fast,” why not start making some cars that are actually fast? Yes, the R35 GT-R is a fast car, but it’s a bit long in the tooth (probably an understatement) and the latest additions have made the car about as attractive as Pete Burns, lead singer of an old band who’s had one too much plastic surgeries.

Current Nissan GT-R. Oh so hot! (NOT)

2014 LA Auto Show

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 Ford Transit Connect - we LOVE this utilitarian vehicle
The Ford Transit Connect – we LOVE this utilitarian vehicle

The new Ford Explorer - looks very Range Rover-esque; we like it
The new Ford Explorer – looks very Range Rover-esque; we like it

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The redesigned Ford Edge - yet another attractive small SUV from Detroit
The redesigned Ford Edge – yet another attractive small SUV from Detroit

The first Shelby without Carroll Shelby
The first Shelby without Carroll Shelby

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.

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This was one of only two vehicles on display within the Mitsubishi booth - are we close to seeing this OE leaving the US market?
This was one of only two vehicles on display within the Mitsubishi booth – are we close to seeing this OE leaving the US market?

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Looks nice and all but is it worth $64,000? For a Dodge?
Looks nice and all but is it worth $64,000? For a Dodge?

Some sort of hybrid / electric car based on the Delta Wing racing car - you won't see us driving this thing
Some sort of hybrid / electric car based on the Delta Wing racing car – you won’t see us driving this thing

Yet another "Nismo" version of the Z - perhaps they should add some power to the damned thing instead of prettying it up all the time
Yet another “Nismo” version of the Z – perhaps they should add some power to the damned thing instead of prettying it up all the time

Can't get enough of the mighty Porsche 918
Can’t get enough of the mighty Porsche 918

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Porsche made a lot of noise over the "new" 911 GTS - frankly, it looks the same to us
Porsche made a lot of noise over the “new” 911 GTS – frankly, it looks the same to us

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An offering from Morgan - always a little "different"
An offering from Morgan – always a little “different”

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The VW GTI Roadster Concept - definitely worth of Gran Turismo
The VW GTI Roadster Concept – definitely worth of Gran Turismo

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This looks very worthy of a RevdCars evaluation
This looks very worthy of a RevdCars evaluation

Didn't see anything of interest in the Mazda booth except this...
Didn’t see anything of interest in the Mazda booth except this…

Look at the rear "spoiler" of the new Vette convertible - it's a giant Gurney flap
Look at the rear “spoiler” of the new Vette convertible – it’s a giant Gurney flap

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The Infiniti Q80 concept was curvaceous
The Infiniti Q80 concept was curvaceous

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Wow... Lexus outdid themselves with this ugly beast - think they should start calling themselves Lesux instead
Wow… Lexus outdid themselves with this ugly beast

We ABSOLUTELY LOVE the Jaguar F Type
We ABSOLUTELY LOVE the Jaguar F Type

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Something straight outta Tron in the Toyota booth
Something straight outta Tron in the Toyota booth

Who needs the Lexus LF-A when you have the Toyota FT-1? We sincerely hope this is the foundation for the new Supra
Who needs the Lexus LF-A when you have the Toyota FT-1? We sincerely hope this is the foundation for the new Supra

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2010 LA Auto Show: Day 2

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.

JAGUAR’S STUNNER

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.

Until next year!

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2010 LA Auto Show: Day 1

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

New Honda CRZ 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!

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