Los Angeles Fakers: TTAC Heads To L.A. So Here's Your Auto Show Primer
Like Randy Newman, automakers love Los Angeles this week as the industry descends on Southern California for two days (really, one-and-a-half days) to showcase their latest and greatest.
Automakers are lining up to show off their wares Wednesday (Cadillac is a lone exception for Thursday) so we’ll reuse our tuxes without dry cleaning for two days, we guess. We’re animals.
We’ll be on the floor live Wednesday to cover everything we can, but in the meantime, here’s a primer to whet your appetites for the show.
Alfa Romeo, 8:45 a.m. PT Wednesday
What we know: Alfa Romeo will show off its Giulia sedan for the first time in North America in Los Angeles this year. The automaker will show off past, current and future models at their display and the stakes are high for the Italian branch of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which recently announced it would delay production of the Giulia and an SUV by six to nine months because of slowing sales in China. Expect the 510-horsepower Giulia QV — and maybe a normal-folk version.
What we don’t: Speaking of Alfa’s SUV, how about pulling the wraps off of that in L.A. to quell whispers that the automaker needs help already?
Ford, 9 a.m. PT Wednesday
What we know: A refreshed Escape should be on its way to L.A., according to the Detroit Free Press. The 2017 Ford Escape would be a mid-cycle affair since the crossover went on sale in 2013. There may be exterior improvements, but that would be all. It’s unlikely that Ford would heavily revise the Escape’s powertrain beyond its trio of a 2.5-liter four, 1.6-liter boosted four and 2-liter boosted four.
What we don’t: There are few stones unturned with the Ford GT at this point, so it’s hard to imagine anything new there. After Ford all-but confirmed Ranger and Bronco for North America at some point, what about our Ranger? Or Bronco? Or Branger?
Nissan, 9:30 a.m. PT Wednesday
What we know: Nissan is talking Sentra in L.A. and we can expect a severely heavy refresh on the compact sedan. The sedan will likely get the V-grille treatment and some packaging help (probably not a Nismo, pictured above) to move the sedan into line with the rest of the lineup. Nissan may also have something to say about its Leaf, although anything dramatic probably won’t be in the cards.
What we don’t: Top-level brass will be at the show for Nissan, and the company is hot on the heels of its new Titan XD. A non-diesel version of the Titan should be coming, although it won’t likely be in L.A.
Fiat, 1o a.m. PT Wednesday
What we know: Fiata! The Mazda Miata-based Fiat 124 Spider will be uncovered sometime Tuesday — before Fiat’s official press conference — and we know very little. It’s unclear if the Fiat version will get a bigger, boosted engine or a significantly different suspension tune. No matter what it has underneath, the new sheet metal would likely be a welcome sight for Fiat dealers ready for something beyond the company’s 500 and 500X. Is the 500L still on sale?
What we don’t: The midsize Fiat Fullback truck is a thing everywhere besides the U.S. However, Bigfoot would be more likely to show up in LA than that truck.
Porsche, 10:30 a.m. PT Wednesday
What we know: Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport. A hotted-up race car version of a hotted-up version of what the 911 should be. The spec racer is why your divorce attorney rounds to the nearest hour.
What we don’t: Porsche’s next-generation Panamera is reportedly very close to production — we’ve spied it high-country testing — but we won’t hold our breath.
Buick, 11:05 a.m. PT Wednesday
What we know: Buick has confirmed that it will pull off the covers on its next-generation LaCrosse, based heavily on the Avenir concept shown in Detroit. That concept car plugged in a 3.6-liter V-6 and 9-speed auto and we’d expect something similar in the new LaCrosse.
What we don’t: GM’s Omega platform — on which the coming Cadillac CT6 will be built — has room. What about a big Buick? (Update: No.)
Jaguar Land Rover, 11:35 a.m. PT Wednesday
What we know: A convertible Range Rover Evoque is on its way. If wind-through-your-hair compact crossover driving isn’t your thing,
you’re not alone JLR will have other options in LA. The automaker confirmed it will bring to North America for the first time its Jaguar XE sedan (with manual!) and Jaguar F-Pace crossover. Both of those cars were shown earlier this year.
What we don’t: What’s next for the Land Rover Discovery Sport. The automaker has been quiet about alternative powertrain plans for its full-size XJ when automakers such as Lexus, BMW and Mercedes have all hinted at electrification or hydrogen.
Mercedes-Benz, 12:05 p.m. PT Wednesday
What we know: Mercedes-Benz has confirmed it will show its new SL and GLS models. The two-door coupe sports sleeker headlights, but it appears that Mercedes has been relatively light with its red pen in restyling the GT car. The GLS — formerly GL — gets the same mid-cycle touch, with a new grille and new bumpers.
What we don’t: Mercedes has announced that it would further develop autonomous driving technology and could further clue us in to what it’s up to.
Volvo, 12:35 p.m. PT Wednesday
What we know: Volvo has confirmed that it will show off a concept car in L.A., but hasn’t yet told us what that will be. We know that Volvo is looking for a compact crossover for 2018, but it’s unclear if their concept could foreshadow that car. Volvo has big plans for autonomous cars and expanding its lineup beyond its fast-selling XC90.
What we don’t: Volvo bought performance tuner Polestar earlier this year and promised to expand the brand’s lineup and reach. Maybe Polestar XC90?
Hyundai, 1:05 p.m. PT Wednesday
What we know: Hyundai confirmed that its 2017 Elantra will make its debut in Los Angeles this year. The automaker showed off that car in South Korea in September so there won’t be many new surprises on that car for us. It’s possible that a new 2-liter four may make its way to America this year, along with improvements in NVH and initialisms.
What we don’t: We already know Hyundai will spin off its Genesis brand as a luxury competitor, but the automaker reportedly won’t tell us more in L.A. Wouldn’t it be nice if they did? Jeez, you guys.
Mazda, 1:35 p.m. PT Wednesday
What we know: Mazda has confirmed that it would show off its next-generation CX-9 at the auto show. The three-row crossover will also probably preview what its crossovers will look like for the next few years, including the CX-5. The teaser also may show how Mazda could use the kick-ass grille from the …
What we don’t: … RX concept shown in Japan. Mazda could talk more about its rotary engine development and all the sports cars, but that would be too much fun.
Scion, 2:05 p.m. PT Wednesday
What we know: Scion has something to say about a car that may be a version of Toyota’s C-HR, seen everywhere else. (Hint: It is totally a version of the C-HR). Since the major blood-letting at that brand with stale names, the C-HR could revitalize that brand following the iA and iM models. The C-HR would be Scions first crossover and could be a hybrid version.
What we don’t: Recent patent filings in Japan show that Toyota and Subaru may have something in the works for the slow-selling FR-S sports car, perhaps a performance version. Speaking of …
Subaru, 2:35 p.m. PT Wednesday
What we know: Subaru is confirmed to show an Impreza sedan based off its Impreza Concept that it showed in Japan. Virtually no stone is left unturned between this sedan and Tokyo Auto Show’s Impreza Concept, so you’re basically looking at the next-generation Subaru Impreza. It’ll likely use the same FA four cylinder from this generation and sport the same CVT. About that manual …
What we don’t: Subaru has confirmed it would build a three-row crossover so clock’s ticking on that release. Also, see above note about BRZ/FR-S/GT 86 performance model.
Volkswagen, 3:05 p.m. PT Wednesday
What we know: Predictably, Volkswagen is pretty quiet in Los Angeles. The beleaguered automaker confirmed it would show a car, but didn’t say what it would be. We have it on pretty good authority that it will be small, and not critical to the automaker’s cloudy future. But at least it’s something.
What we don’t: We don’t know how the automaker will fix nearly 500,000 cars in the U.S. But maybe that’s not something it wants to talk about in LA.
Audi, 3:35 p.m. PT Wednesday
What we know: Audi will show off its RS7 Performance car in LA, a quicker version of the super-fast sedan already on sale. Like Volkswagen, the automaker may be a little on the quiet side considering its diesel cars are currently sitting at ports and at dealerships.
What we don’t: Audi has already talked openly about its next-generation A4, although it has yet to appear on North American shores. It’s possible that Audi could shed light on that car in LA.
Kia, 4:10 p.m. PT Wednesday
What we know: Kia has two confirmed debuts in Los Angeles, although the automaker hasn’t announced what those would be. On Monday, the automaker showed teaser images of its Prius-fighting Niro — but it’s likely that model won’t be ready by this week. Word is there’s a Forte and something else involved (maybe Sportage), but who knows?
What we don’t: A good look at the Niro?
Mitsubishi, 4:40 p.m. PT Wednesday
What we know: Mitsubishi is confirmed to show us the new Outlander Sport and Mirage. The former may be more interesting to the automaker’s future in U.S. more than the latter, especially considering Mitsubishi’s lone closing U.S. plant. The new Outlander Sport won’t look anything like the photo above — it’s only getting a refresh — but wouldn’t that be cool?
What we don’t: The automaker said it would be looking at a midsize crossover between the Outlander and Outlander Sport, likely with some sort of electrification (see photo above). Chances are that’s nowhere near ready, though.
Cadillac, 9:30 a.m. PT Thursday
What we know: As the lone automaker (basically) scheduled for Thursday, Cadillac will finally show its XT5 on American shores after its appearance this month in Dubai. The replacement for the SRX is incredibly important for Cadillac and will show the coming direction for its crossovers.
What we don’t: You could drive an Escalade through Cadillac’s holes in its crossover lineup. So what about those future crossovers?
Although Honda hardly qualifies as “other” the automaker doesn’t have a scheduled conference (really?). We know we’ll see the Civic Coupe — which probably looks exactly like this — and reveals from GMC.
Lamborghini will also have a special edition Huracan that they won’t let us drive. We might not be able to breathe next to it, either.
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