As Honda is set to leave Formula 1 after the 2021 season after mixed results this time around (3rd time in F1, if memory serves me correctly), Red Bull is now left holding its nuts in its hands with no readily apparent place to go. Would Mercedes provide engines to RBR? Nope. Would Ferrari? Maybe, but would Red Bull want them from Maranello considering how dismal engine performance has been in 2020? That leaves Renault. Remember their acrimonious parting a few years ago? (documented oh so in dramatic fashion by Netflix) The French manufacturer is probably Red Bull’s best (only) bet at this point. Sounds like Christian is gonna have to bend over and take one for the team!
Considering COVID has relegated most noteworthy automotive events to “virtual” or canceled status, our (shutter) trigger fingers have been dying/itching for something to cover/photograph. The LA Auto Show happens to be an in-town event for us, so needless to say, we were hoping the numbers would go down and allow for some resemblance of normalcy at the LA Convention Center in November. Nope. We can’t have nice things because a certain portion of society at large don’t act with caution/not wear masks. You know what you can do with yourselves… But yes, the LA Auto Show has been rescheduled to May 2021. It’ll feel a bit weird attending the event in early Summer but we’ll take it. See you 8 months from now.
Let’s face it. When it comes to electric cars, there aren’t any attractive options on the lower end of the pricing scale. About the only one that pops to mind is the Fiat 500e, but we wouldn’t be caught dead in a “car” that looks like it came out of a Mattel Barbie catalog. That all changed when we saw this. The Honda e. There’s nothing excessive about this car. It’s a true MVP (minimal viable product) in every sense of the term. But it’s so charming – are we allowed to use that word?! – and really harkens back to the days of the EF and EG Civic.
Honda has repeatedly said they’re bringing the e to the States, but there’s never been a release date for the car. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that this will make it production and come to these shores.
There are a number of super coupes and sedans in the market to lust for. The Mercedes-AMG GT sedan. The BMW M8 Gran Coupe. The Aston Martin Rapide AMR. With all that being said, nothing… I mean NOTHING comes close to what Koenigsegg “launched” at the canceled Genera Motor Show today.
Called the Gemera, this beast rushes to 100kph in less than 2 seconds (??!!!!), cost about $1,000,000 a piece and only 300 units will be made. Talk about a perfect compliment to the Jesko! The former for an outing with the wife and kids, the latter for trips with the girlfriend(s) – as the case may be!
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…
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?
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!