Smart asked fashion designer Jeremy Scott to come up with a special version of the smart fortwo electric car. Much to the horror of Daimler engineers who were used to fashion designers submitting patches of interior materials and color schemes, Jeremy Scott did put his trademark on the car: Wings, sprouting on both sides, and likely wreaking havoc with the CW coefficient. (Read More…)
Tag: LA Auto Show
At the auto show in Los Angeles, next to Stuttgart basically home turf for Porsche, the company will have a small surprise for a big country: Porsche will unveil a “new compact sports car” at the show. Mum’s the word. (Read More…)
You’ve no doubt read Alex’s coverage of the Cadillac XTS, Mazda CX-5 and others on TTAC all day, but there’s a lot that goes on at auto shows besides just new car introductions. I’m here to fill in the gaps.
Volkswagen personnel at the LA Auto Show is intently studying reactions to a Beetle with possibly 270 hp. After all, it was public reaction at the 1994 NAIAS that brought the New Beetle to life. Originally, it was meant as a lark, but enthusiasts pounded the table until the car was made. It suffered the fate of cars powered by enthusiasts: An initial pop, then declining numbers. On display in LA is what they call the “Beetle R Concept.”
Careful: This is NOT the 2012 Beetle Turbo as tested by Jack Baruth. If they ever build the Rrrrrr model (and the ooohs and aaahs in LAhhhhh will influence that), it will come with an impressive added oomph. Nothing is known about the motorization of the brawny bug, but Volkswagen’s press department offers-up enough material for educated guesses:
“At Volkswagen, the letter ‘R’ as an added identifier promises top-notch performance. Currently, this claim is being validated with turbo pressure by the Golf R with 199 kW / 270 PS of power and the Scirocco R (currently only in Europe) with 195 kW / 265 PS. As an ‘R’, the Beetle could demonstrate a performance potential similar to that of the Golf R and Scirocco R.”
Well duh, all three are based on the same platform. All it needed were extra air intakes for the blower and a rear spoiler that is “significantly larger than the one on Beetle production models with up to 200 PS in power” to generate the required “ideal downforce values.”
The LA Auto Show was our first opportunity to get out hands on the new Saab 9-4x. Since the 9-4x is mostly a re-skinned Cadillac SRX, the Saab should offer similar driving dynamics, especially from the turbo V6 model. The interior is certainly a step in the right direction for this downtrodden Swede, but does seem like long-term exposure might make one weary of the acres of black plastic inside. While all the materials feel fairly premium, I’m not sure I care for the style of the center console where there are a heap of small buttons and a small nav screen in a sea of flat black plastic. Models without the Nav system get a much smaller screen with more plastic and some small buttons. Aside from this quibble the interior and interior are well sorted. Still, it will remain to be seen if the 9-4x can score any success in American markets with the extremely well executed Q5 and XC60 already in play not to mention the redesigned X3 on its way to our shores.
Hyundai’s new 2010 Tucson has landed in LA. Basically the same as the model dropped at Frankfurt a short while ago, it’s a total refresh of the Tucson that leaped Hyundai into the CUV market in 2005. We all know that Hyundai has built their lineup on copying the basics from Japan while adding value and flair, and the Tucson is no different. The CUV’s lines are more than a little reminiscent of the Lexus RX, for about half the price. New for 2010 Hyundai is touting the Tucson’s 31 mpg on the highway, 61 lb lighter kerb weight, panoramic sunroof, and long overdue bluetooth and larger screen navigation system. Like it’s Sonata sibling the Tucson gets only the Theta II direct injection four pot mated to their new 6 speed transmission.
Today, on the last day of media access to the LA Auto show, the mystic powers that be continued VAGs green run by selecting the Audi A3 TDi as the 2010 Green Car of the Year (The Jetta TDi won last year). In the running this year were the Audi A3 TDI, Honda Insight, Mercury Milan Hybrid, Toyota Prius and Volkswagen Golf TDI. According to the LA Auto Show,
The Green Car of the Year® award is a program that honors environmental leadership in the automobile field and recognizes vehicles that are readily available to consumers during the award year. Green Car Journal/ editors perform an exhaustive review of vehicle models to identify the five finalists. The winner is ultimately decided by jurors such as Jay Leno, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Carroll Shelby, Matt Petersen of Global Green USA and the Sierra Club’s Carl Pope, along with Green Car Journal editors.
Interesting then that this same bunch of car czars chose the Chevy Tahoe two years ago for getting 1 MPG better than the gasoline version. Anyone feeling some Volt love in 2011?
Ford’s worst kept secret lately has been the new for North America Fiesta. Those who were hoping for a direct translation of the Euro-spec Fiesta might be a bit disappointed. The Fiesta shares a mere 60 percent of its parts in common with its European cousin, but thankfully gets a few improvements like Sync system and a new sedan variant. Er, if you consider those improvements. Inside the Fiesta’s plastics are typically frugal but overall no worse than the ubiquitous Corolla. Trunk room is fairly miniature sized but rear headroom even in the sedan is fairly good even with a 6’6 driver in the front seat.
Fiat be warned, Toyota is striking at the heart of Chrysler’s market: the minivan. The new 2010 Sienna takes the game one step further, featuring barcalounger class middle seats with leg and foot support. Toyota continues where others have left off, retaining their AWD option as well as a four and six cylinder engines, all equipped with six speed transmissions. The interior doesn’t reverse Toyota’s trend towards cheap and nasty plastics, but at least they should be easy to clean baby puke off of. Middle seats sport a sliding rail feature making it easy to insert three sprogs in the rear, but Kate plus 8 need not apply as seating is still a standard septuplet.
Chevrolet just pulled the wraps off the US market Cruze, not that there are any secrets left at GM these days where auto shows are concerned. Plus the Cruze has been available around the world for months already. The big news is that the interior is actually – not pulling any punches – world class. Previously only the French were able to make a cloth covered dash worth looking at, but GM has actually managed to make a press fleet-ready car with one. As long as you pick the top trim level, anyway.
TTAC was invited to Cadillac’s CTS Coupe wine-and-dine event yesterday, held in that prime habitat of the modern Cadillac: the hood. OK, so it was a trendy club located in an LA slum… same diff. The CTS coupe took center stage with the new SRX, CTS wagon, CTS-V and Escalade filling out the lineup. Where were the ugly-stepsisters the DTS and STS? Not invited said a Cadiilac rep. Upon first (long distance) glance the CTS Coupe looks entertaining, but it’s only when you get up close that the true weight of this beast hits you: this is one BIG coupe. Which is funny, considering the CTS Sportwagon next to it looks remarkably small for a wagon. But there’s the rub, Caddy is trying to do everything possible with the CTS with the minimum of effort (read: cost). The proportions of the CTS belie it’s uselessness: the rear seats have the leg room and width to coddle two linebackers but sadly only enough headroom for an oompa-loompa. The art and science design team gave the CTS coupe the most defined rump of the Cadillac lineup, a dramatic chevron which culminates in a steeply triangular rear bumper and trunk lid. And yes folks that’s a trunk lid, not a useful hatchback as we might have preferred. All in all, this is one square jawed Caddy, in the mold of the classic personal luxury coupe.