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.
Lexus, a division of Toyota, is launching new cars faster than most of us can keep up. The latest new vehicle, the CT 200h, looks very promising. Our primary gripe about hybrids has always been… the lack of any personality, character or style whatsoever. Let’s face it. The hybrid is designed with mostly function in mind. Sure, you can sing your own praises about gas efficiency and saving the planet but no one is going to grant you any style points.
The new Lexus CT 200h, however, is one hybrid we wouldn’t mind at all. It’s a combination of a number of different looks from different vehicles, mashed together to create a pretty decent looking package. The front fascia is definitely taken from that of the Lexus IS-F, a true barn burner in every respect. The side profile and beltline remind us of the Toyota Matrix, a decent little car, and the rear reminds us of a combination the RX SUV series with a bit of the Subaru WRX thrown in for good measure.
Lexus, a Division of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A
P.O. Box 2991-Mail Drop L201
Torrance, CA 90509-2991
Hit the page jump for the full press release on this new Lexus.
To be frank, I would buy a Lexus / Totoya regardless of recent noise about throttle / brake cables. Perhaps it’s even more timely that Lexus launch a new vehicle to offset some of the media hype.
The Lexus IS series is an attractive one, a true competitor to the Audi A4 and BMW 3-series line ups. To further raise the bar, Lexus announced the introduction of the IS 350C F-Sport Special Edition. What is F-Sport? It’s an in-house performance-oriented aftermarket brand creating a distinct identity for those models that go a step beyond showroom stock – think “LF-A,” “IS-F” and so forth. With an MSRP of $57,500, the 350C F-Sport certainly isn’t your entry level convertible. So what do you get for the extra cash outlay?
Exclusive color offering – Tungsten Pearl or Obsidian (basically, metallic gray and black)
Front and rear brake upgrade for “firmer pedal feel and enhanced fade resistance,” i.e. more aggressive pad material
Unique F-Sport front grill
Lowering springs with specially valved Bilstein dampers – we’re translating this into faster rebound stroke
Firmer sway bars, front and rear
Floor mat and shift knob with F-Sport logo
With only 100 units available across the US, this is a small production run that will most likely sell out very quickly. So if you want a piece of this factory tuned convertible, head out to your local Lexus dealer for more information.
Lexus, a Division of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A
P.O. Box 2991-Mail Drop L201
Torrance, CA 90509-2991
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.
As the year of 2009 nears its end, there are a number of cars to look forward to next year. The cars below are some of the cars that are likely to excite both automotive consumers and those who are in the automotive industry. Which new cars in 2010 are you waiting to hear about?
Sports Coupe: 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe
The Cadillac CTS Coupe was officially unveiled on November 23rd, 2009. In 2008, the Cadillac CTS was supposed to be the model to uplift the Cadillac brand. It looks like Cadillac is on the ball again, launching their next two-door vehicle since 2002. The only parts that the CTS coupe shares with the sedan are the instrument panel, console, headlamps, front fenders and grill. Another thing that makes this generation’s CTS apart from others is the optional between RWD and AWD. This will definitely be a Cadillac to check out.
Hybrid/Electric Car: 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
With the current mid-sized hybrid sedan market ruled by Toyota and Honda, it is always refreshing to see how other manufacturers answer back. So what you ask did Hyundai do, to take their Sonata one step further? Current hybrids use nickel metal hydride batteries, where as the Sonata will use lithium polymer batteries. Hyundai states that the lithium batteries weigh 30% less, have a 50% less volume, and are 10% more efficient. It will be interesting to see how this new battery, from LG Chem, will hold up against nickel batteries.
Compact Car: 2011 Mazda 2
In 2008, the Mazda 2 was awarded World Car of the Year. Why do most of us not know/remember this? Well, apparently, World Car of the Year, was not good enough for sale in the U.S., mostly because Mazda thought that such a small car would not offer much profitability. Well, with the boom in sales from Nissan’s Versa, and Honda’s Fit (and also partially due to the economy and rising gas prices), Mazda was definitely pounding their foreheads on that decision. It makes one wonder, is Mazda 2 late?
Exotic Car: 2011 McLaren MP4-12C
When McLaren teamed up with Mercedes to build supercars, they awed us all with the McLaren F1 and the SLR. That was the past, and the future will be without Mercedes-Benz. McLaren is now their own automotive division. So what does the McLaren MP4-12C offer that the Ferrari 458 Italia or Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 doesn’t? The entire frame is one piece, which makes it lighter and more rigid. We can’t wait to see how the McLaren will compete against Ferrari and Lamborghini.
Luxury Car: 2011 Hyundai Equus
Hyundai did great things with the Genesis sedan, which went after the Lexus GS and Mercedes E-Class. We are hopeful to once again be surprised by Hyundai’s quality, that will excel the Equus above the Lexus LS, Mercedes S-Class, and the rest of its competitors. Hyundai may have to bring back that commercial of different “manufacturer executives” yelling the name Hyundai.
SUV: 2011 Land Rover LRX
With India’s Tata Motors recently purchasing Land Rover and Jaguar, it will be interesting to see Tata’s future plans for these automotive brands. Apparently, the 2011 Land Rover LRX will be Land Rover’s first more fuel efficient Land Rover.
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.
From Daimler – This week, Brawn GP was purchased by Mercedes-Benz, to compete in Formula One in 2010. The Principal for the team is still Ross Brawn. Brawn GP won the constructor’s title in Formula One in 2009. Will Mercedes-Benz be able to keep up with Ferrari in Formula One next season? I guess only time will tell. In other F1 news, Kimi Raikkonen “semi”-retires from F1 to race in WRC, and Jenson Button signed with McLaren. All of this F1 news show for a crazy and unpredictable 2010 season!
From CNBC.com – After Toyota announced a major recall on the majority of thier late model passenger cars due to an issue with floor mats sliding around, and pressing the accelerator pedal down, they decided to put a “band-aid” over the wound, and use zip-ties to secure the floor mats to the floor of the car. Now there are reports that Toyota has decided on a permanent fix – make shorter gas pedals. Is this the best that Toyota can conjure up? Personally, I expected a better solution. Toyota, perhaps you should take this time to go back to the drawing board.