Archive for the ‘Audi’ Category


2015 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro

2015 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro

Audi’s all-new “entry level” 2015 A3 is a sweet little car that comes with a pretty big price tag.  Sure, it starts at $29,900, but that can easily soar past $40,000.  My tester, an A3 2.0 quattro in Prestige trim started at $41,350. Add the $800 Sports package and $895 destination and it hits an eye-popping $43,045.  You can spend more – $550 for metallic colors or $1,400 for an Advanced Technology Package that includes active lane assist, forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control – which takes it to a wince-inducing $44,995.  Now you shouldn’t be surprised that the 2015 Audi A4 2.0 quattro Prestige starts at $45,895; but the top price of an A3 is already deep into A4 territory – a sobering thought when ticking option boxes.

Now if you can get past the price, let me explain a few things.

Volkswagen Group's MQB Platform

Volkswagen Group’s MQB Platform

2015 VW Golf GTI

2015 VW Golf GTI

The all-new 2015 Audi A3 is basically a Volkswagen Golf wearing a smart Armani suit.  The 2015 A3 and 2015 VW Golf are the first two vehicles in the U.S. market built on VW’s much-anticipated, multi-billion euro platform called MQB, which stands for Modularer Querbaukasten, translating from German to “Modular Transversal Toolkit.”  It’s a big deal because it’s supposed to underpin hundreds of new models across VW’s vast multi-brand empire for years to come.  From the beginning, it’s able to support front- and all-wheel drive architecture as well as hybrid and pure electric powertrains (such as the e-Golf).

Audi A3 2.0T quattro badge

Audi A3 2.0T quattro badge

The base front drive A3 has VW’s 1.8L direct-injected turbo 4-cylinder engine making 170 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque. I drove it, hated it, and immediately asked to drive the model with the 2.0L direct-injected turbo 4 making 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque – the same sweet (slightly less powerful) engine in the 2015 VW Golf GTI.  Mated to the only transmission offered – a 6-speed S-Tronic dual clutchautomatic – it’s a firecracker. Fast, direct, fun to drive and supremely sure-footed with Audi’s signature quattro all-wheel drive system.

Dual-clutch transmissions can be a clunky affair, but the VW group has sorted these things out well for many years. That said, the creep forward at stop is pronounced and it’s not as buttery smooth at the ZF 8-speed automatic used by BMW in most of its products and upper-tier Audis. But it’s easily as good as the 7-speed dual clutch Mercedes uses in the CLA250, the direct competitor to the A3.

2015 Audi A3 looks good from all angles.

2015 Audi A3 looks good from all angles.

The instruments panel of the A3 is a model of clarity and it looks terrific at night. Note the average MPG readout from the standard multifunction trip computer.

The instruments panel of the A3 is a model of clarity and it looks terrific at night. Note the average MPG readout from the standard multifunction trip computer. Note the retro analog trip odometer reset “0.0″ on top of the steering column. Fast and easy! 

The EPA rates the 2.0L quattro setup at 24 mpg city, 33 highway and 27 combined. My tester’s computer showed 20.6 mpg on a combination of about 40% highway and 60% city driving.  It sucks down premium unleaded.

The A3's headlights remind me of something from Angry Birds. A signature Audi look.

The A3′s headlights remind me of something from Angry Birds. A signature Audi look.

The window and side mirror controls are from the VW  parts bin, but they are high quality and the chrome surrounds add a nice touch.

The window and side mirror controls are from the VW parts bin, but they are high quality and the chrome surrounds add a nice touch.

Just about everything in the A3 is executed well. From the signature Angry Bird-inspired LED running lights to the sharply creased sheet metal, this little car looks good from every angle.  The A3 appropriately telegraphs Audi’s DNA and nothing about it screams that it’s a rebadged VW (because it isn’t). It may share the MQB platform and the drivetrain, but what you see is pure Audi.

The same can be said about the inside.  Audi does about the best interiors in the auto business, although the competition has caught up over time. The A3′s interior looks terrific — from the tablet-style pop-up infotainment display to the turbine-inspired round vents, it’s a feast for the eyes.  Most of the surfaces you see and touch are good (not top) quality plastics and soft to the touch, but some hard plastic lurks, particularly in the door panels, below the arm rest, the seat backs and some lower fascia.

This particular model had all the bells and whistles. I particularly liked the Google Earth navigation maps and the 705 watt Bang & Olufsen 14-speaker surround sound.  Both were standard on the 2.0L Prestige.  Audi’s latest-generation MMI (multimedia interface) was easy to use with the center controller and dedicated buttons.  My iPhone 5S synced easily with the system and calls were clear.

The A3's full-color infotainment screen displays Google Earth beautifully and easily with its built-in 4G LTE connection.

The A3′s full-color infotainment screen displays Google Earth beautifully and easily with its built-in 4G LTE connection.

The wide angle backup camera works well, although if you're in a hurry, it takes a couple seconds to pop up and display.

The wide angle backup camera works well, although if you’re in a hurry, it takes a couple seconds to pop up and display.

Audi's Multimedia Interface (MMI) works well with the large center controller. The finger-writing recognition is too difficult while driving and good luck with the voice recognition.

Audi’s Multimedia Interface (MMI) works well with the large center controller. The finger-writing recognition is too difficult while driving and good luck with the voice recognition.

The power seat controls on the side of the front seats. I’d rather see the controls placed on door like Mercedes.

The power sports seats are comfortable but don’t have a memory function. They do, however, have a hand-adjustable thigh support – something my 6’1″ frame appreciates very much.  Unfortunately, the seat controls are so close to the door that you may have to open the door to adjust the seat!  And the damn seat belt doesn’t have a stop for the buckle so the buckle falls to the bottom of the belt every time you take it off. You have to jam your hand down to the tight crevice between the B-pillar, the seat and the floor – evoking flashbacks of 127 Hours – to find it each time you buckle up.  What were they thinking?

This car is loaded with all the bells and whistles: Full LED headlights and taillights, automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers, dual zone automatic climate control, front and rear parking sensors, back up camera with guide lines, full-color MMI display, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, real-time traffic and weather, HD radio, 4-G connection w/Wi-Fi hot spot, auto-dimming rear view and side mirrors, leather seating surfaces, power heated (but not cooled) seats, digital compass, panoramic sunroof, tilt/telescope steering wheel, keyless entry and ignition, a dizzying array of safety features including countless airbags and air curtains and electronic nannies for braking, stability control and blind spot moniters.

Old-school physical controls and buttons are easy and fast to use.  Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard. Optional heated seats have 3 levels.

Old-school physical controls and buttons are easy and fast to use. Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard. Optional heated seats have 3 levels.

The cup holders are too close to the HVAC controls. No Big Gulps here. Also the power port should be moved away from the cup holders. Bad placement.

The cup holders are too close to the HVAC controls. No Big Gulps here. Also the power port should be moved away from the cup holders. Bad placement.

And if you’re like me and you’ve experienced the intoxicating, magical capabilities of adaptive cruise control (now with advanced stop & go), then no new vehicle purchase could be complete without it. Simply tick the box for the Advanced Technology package – it only adds $20/month to the lease.

But you know what you can’t get on an A3 – no matter how much you pay? You can’t get a HomeLink garage controller so you have to clip an ugly remote to your visor.  HomeLink is available on a Mazda 3 or a Kia Forte, but not an Audi A3?

The physical volume control knob on the right is handy. The MMI controller is nicely machined and well weighted. Hard buttons clustered around the controller provide short cuts to the main functions - Navigation, Telephone, Radio, and Media.

The physical volume control knob on the right is handy. The MMI controller is nicely machined and well weighted. Hard buttons clustered around the controller provide short cuts to the main functions – Navigation, Telephone, Radio, and Media. Note the electronic parking brake button nicely tucked into the console. The S-Tronic transmission can be shifted in sports mode from the shift lever or paddles behind the steering wheel.

Driving the A3 is a breeze.  The electric power steering is fast and tight even though it lacks some of the feedback you might get from now-antiquated  hydraulic units.  It darts in and out of traffic with ease.  The body is rock solid so quick maneuvers don’t feel like the mass is moving in the opposite direction.  The turbo spools up quickly leaving little room turbo lag (except at very low speeds) as the engine pulls and revvs happily to the red line.  Quattro cements the little car firmly in place, so the high winds we experience in the desert don’t blow it away or pull it dramatically off track.

The A3 is easy to park and the turning radius is very tight. The parking sensors and backup camera are very handy but sometimes the cross-path and other warning noises can get annoying. I’ve been heard shouting at the car to shut up, but that’s just me.

The front of the A3 sports Audi's logo: the Four Rings of Auto Union. Extra credit if you can name each ring.

The front of the A3 sports Audi’s logo: the Four Rings of Auto Union. Extra credit if you can name each ring.

Overall it’s a terrific driver’s car, more engaging and better rendered than the Mercedes CLA250. I also think that its lines will age better.

Another small but annoying feature is this key.  The VW group has been using the same large, clunky key for more than a decade. With keyless ignition, it's unnecessarily bulky in my pocket. It's the same key I had on my 2005 A6. Time for a change.

Another small but annoying feature is this key. The VW group has been using the same large, clunky key for more than a decade. With keyless ignition, it’s unnecessarily bulky in my pocket. It’s the same key I had on my 2005 A6. Time for a change.

All this gets me back to the price of a prestigious German badge. You can get far more for your money from a non-luxury or near-luxury brand. For example, the all-new 2015 Acura TLX, a bigger car, about the size of an A4, starts at $30,995. A fully-loaded TXL with a 3.5L 290 hp V6 engine, 9-speed automatic transmission, SH-AWD and the top Advance Package that includes far more luxury features and advanced technology than the A3 or A4 – is $45,595.

The average transaction price of an A3 is probably closer to $36,000 (not coincidentally the about same as the base A4). That’s still $4,000 more than a top-spec VW Golf GTI and enough for a base A4.

Is it worth the the steep premium to drive a small car with the four interlocking rings of Auto Union proudly affixed front and back? You do get a better standard warranty – 4 years/50,000 miles – and sales/service at an Audi dealer is probably much better than a non-luxury brand.  For most people, it all comes down to the deal.  As long as the lease payments are low enough, people naturally gravitate to the fancy German label. So far, the A3 has been a huge hit for Audi and it’s the main reason Audi’s sales are up dramatically so far this year.  I bet your local Audi dealer could find a terrific A3 deal for you too!

The 2015 Audi A3 2.0T quattro.

The 2015 Audi A3 2.0T quattro.


Here is the 2015 Porsche Macan, nearly naked with its standard 3.0L V6 engine showing. Note how the hood wraps around the sides, rather than just the top, of the car.

Here is the 2015 Porsche Macan, nearly naked with its standard 3.0L V6 engine showing. Note how the hood wraps around the sides, rather than just the top, of the car.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (2) 2014 Porsche Cayman ext

2014 Porsche Cayman S – even more so, my favorite Porsche. This one ticked every box for options. Lovely, but expensive, of course.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (3) 2014 Porsche Cayman S interior

The interior of the 2014 Porsche Cayman S fit like a hand-tailored glove. Seat adjustments are nearly infinite. Every surface was covered by leather or quality plastics.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (4) 2014 Honda Civic Coupe

I know I’m supposed to care about yet another reboot of the Honda Civic, but I don’t. It looks similar to the 2013 Civic Coupe, but it is different and supposedly better. It would sell whether or not Honda changed it.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (5) 2014 Honda Civic Sedan int

This is the interior of a 2014 Honda Civic Sedan EX with leather and navigation. It’s better than the “refreshed” Toyota Corolla. The seats are still too short for my long legs.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (6) Kia K900 front

The new Kia K900 (don’t call it the K9) is a new flagship rear-drive luxury sedan for Kia. While I wasn’t bowled over by its styling, I thought it was handsome and understated. It’s based on the Hyundai Genesis rear-drive platform and shares greasy bit with the Genesis.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (7) Kia K900 rear

The rear of the Kia K900.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (8) Kia K900 int

The interior of the Kia K900 looked and felt good. Those Koreans sure know how to copy quality. While it’s not German, it is pretty much the match for Infiniti or Lexus. I probably wouldn’t order a car with a white interior, but the show car looked great, right down to the bleached wood accents.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (9) 2014 Kia Soul ext

The Kia Hamsters are back with a new 2014 Soul. It looks much like the first gen Soul, but there are some subtle differences. It sold so well, Kia didn’t want to stray too far from the original formula.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (10) 2014 Kia Soul int

The interior of the Soul is much improved. Plastics and switchgear are better. I got a good feeling sitting there. Seats are better too. I hope they are more comfortable on longer trips.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (11) 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Summer Edition

Poor Mitsubishi. I don’t know if we will see them next year in the US market. They showed a 2013 – yes 2013 – Outlander Sport, Summer Edition.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (12) 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage DE int

Want an entry level car that looks like the interior is 20 years old? Look no further than the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage DE. This thing is stark. I think you will probably see them in rental fleets as I don’t see it being a big seller.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (13) 2014 Mitsubish Mirage DE ext

This is the face of the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage DE. I don’t know how this thing escaped the design studio. Wait, I think it NEVER SAW the design studio. Ugly. The only reason to buy this thing is because of the fuel economy. EPA rates it at 44 mpg highway. But I bet it takes a long time to get to highway speed with a 1.3L 3-cylinder engine.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (14) 2014 Ram 3500 Promaster Cargo Van

This rebadged Fiat commercial van, the 2014 Ram 3500 Promaster Cargo Van, replaces the Mercedes Sprinter van that Dodge/Ram used to sell. It’s ugly, kind of like an unhappy cat fish, but supposedly it’s a good work truck. Note the acres of black plastic around the front and side. This area gets banged up easily in daily work duties, so it’s less expensive to maintain an repair. That’s not a bad idea, but it’s not very pretty.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (15) Nissan GT-R

This Nissan GT-R looked very menacing up on the stand. Very serious boy-racer.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (16) Nissan Sentra Nismo Concept

Finally, a Sentra someone might be excited to buy. This is a Nismo (Nissan Motorsports) Sentra Concept.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (17) Youabian Puma

I’m not sure what it is or why it was at the auto show. While the Youabian Puma is an interesting (train wreck), cartoonishly-large design exercise, there is no way anyone is going to buy one. It’s a Frankenstein mash up. It rides on a Volvo C70 platform (a compact front drive platform). It has headlights from the small Volvo, but taillights from a Buick Enclave. It’s 242 inches long, 93 inches wide and 72 inches tall. The tires are 44 inches tall! The engine is a 7.0L LS7 Corvette V8 mated to a GM 6-speed automatic transmission. The LA-based company wants $1.1 million for it. Right. I’d pass over 3 Ferraris or a Bugatti Veyron for this thing. I know they did this for publicity, but what’s the end game? No investor will touch it and not even Jay Leno would buy it.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (18) Honda Gear Concept Art Center

This is an Art Center student design study. It was labeled as a Honda Gear Concept. It has more personality than a standard-issue Honda Fit.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (19) 1963 Corvette Asteroid Barris Kustoms Rear

I know I included pictures of the 1963 Corvette Asteroid in my coverage of Day 1, but I couldn’t resist more pictures. It is a 1963 model, according to the literature, but no split rear window. It was done by the legendary George Barris of Barris Kustoms.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (20) 1963 Corvette Asteroid Int

Here’s a better shot of the interior of the 1963 Corvette Asteroid.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (21) 2014 Cadillac CTS front

2014 Cadillac CTS V-Sport

LAAutoShow Day 2 (22) 2014 Cadillac CTS rear

Rear of the 2014 Cadillac CTS 3.6L 4 (AWD).

LAAutoShow Day 2 (23) Cadillac Elmiraj

Another glamour shot of the stunning Cadillac Emiraj concept. Supposedly this is the blueprint for the long rumored rear drive Cadillac flagship.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (24) 2014 Bentley Continental GT Convertible V8

When you can’t afford your Bentley Continental GT Convertible with the 6 liter W-12 engine, you can bet the “budget” version with the V8.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (25) 2014 Bentley Flying Spur

I do like the the new Bentley Flying Spur. Here’s a shot of the front. I had a tail shot in my Day 1 coverage.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (26) 2014 Bentley Mulsanne

The Bentley Mulsanne is about as big and powerful as a locomotive. It’s the most expensive Bentley you can buy and it looks and feels the part of ultra luxury.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (27) 2014 Chevy Camaro ZL1 convertible int

Considering the 2014 Chevy Camaro ZL1 Convertible starts at $61,000, I think you should expect a better interior. Sure you’re paying for the 580 horses, but the the whole interior has the feeling of a Soviet gulag.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (28) 2014 Chevy Camaor ZL1 Convertible ext

At least the exterior of the $61,000 Camaro ZL1 screams fast. Because it IS fast. It also is a giant YELLOW FLAG to your local police department or the CHP looking to issue speeding tickets.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (29) 2014 Chevy Camaro Z28 side

The 2014 Chevy Camaro Z/28 looked fantastic in this matte white paint – like it was frozen in time. Unfortunately it won’t be a factory option. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but it will probably cost more than the ZL1.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (30) 2014 Chevy Camaro Z28 rear

The black carbon fiber spoiler looks great on the 2014 Camaro Z/28. Available in the Spring of 2014 as a late 2014 model. Go figure. Why not a 2015?

LAAutoShow Day 2 (31) 2014 Chevy SS rear

This 2014 Chevrolet SS is very disappointing. I know it will drive great because it’s based on the dearly departed Pontiac G8. But for $45k (no options), I want something that looks the part of a 415 HP muscle car with a Corvette V8.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (32) 2014 Chevy SS front

The front of the 2014 Chevy SS screams “rental” not “muscle.”

LAAutoShow Day 2 (33) 2014 Chevy SS int

The interior of the Chevy SS is better than the Camaro, but still not exactly lavish for something that costs as much as a BMW 535i.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (34) Chevy Colorado Lifeguard concept

This Lifeguard Beach Patrol Concept looks like a good use for Chevy’s new mid-size Colorado pickup truck.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (35) Chevy Tahoe Black from SEMA Concept only

This 2014 Chevy Tahoe Black was a hold over from the SEMA show in Las Vegas. As it stands, it’s only a concept, but I have no doubt it would find lots of buyers if GM gave it the green light.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (36) 2014 Chevy Spark side

This poor little 2014 Chevrolet Spark looked lonely so I took its picture. Will it find love from a teenage girl? I don’t know.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (37) 2014 Chevy Spark int

The interior of that 2014 Chevy Spark screams RENTAL, not “Buy Me.”

LAAutoShow Day 2 (38) 1963 Chevy Corvair Greenbrier Van

Love, love, love this 1963 Chevrolet Corvair Greenbrier Van. It was used as a video booth for the Auto Show, but I’m told it drives perfectly and makes it to shows all over So Cal. Fantastic.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (39) 2014 Maserati Quattroporte Zegna Edition

This photo doesn’t do justice to the interior of this special edition Zegna Maserati Quattroporte. The seats, dash, headliner and almost all the touch surfaces are tailored in expensive designer fabric. Ermenegildo Zegna is a high-end Italian fashion designer.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (40) 2014 Maserati Quattroporte Zegna rear

Only 100 Zegna Edition Maserati Quattroportes will be produced. The nice gentleman didn’t have a price, but if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it. The base Quattroporte starts at $108,000, but this isn’t the base model.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (41) 2015 Maserati Ghibli side

The 2015 Maserati Ghibli shares some chassis and system components with the Chrysler 300, but it’s no Chrysler. It’s affordable for a Maserati, starting at $65,600.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (42) 2015 Maserati Ghibli int

You can see a bit of the Chrysler 300 in the 2015 Maserati Ghibli, but most people won’t see much DNA swap. It looks and feels the part and costs about as much as a BMW 550i (but without the V8). Still, it’s more distinctive and exclusive than the BMW.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (43) Jaguar CX17 concept SUV

You knew this was inevitable. As luxury manufacturers chase profits, everyone wants in on the SUV gravy train. The Jaguar CX17 Concept is quite handsome. I like its proportions.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (44) Jaguar CX17 concept SUV

The Jaguar CX17 has a great interior, but that will never see production. But make no mistake, Jaguar will get an SUV, sooner than later. The demand and profit potential is too much to resist, even if it doesn’t fit the Jaguar brand DNA.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (45) 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe white side

I wanted to add some car porn shots of the beautiful 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (46) 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe Rear R

2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe rear.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (47) 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe red side

2015 Jaguar F-Type R in Red.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (48) Lexus IS F-Sport chassis

Lexus had this fun display. It takes you under the chassis of the IS F-Sport. Lexus desperately wants you to think of the brand as sporty, so this was an all-out effort. But not many people I know think of Lexus as sporty. Luxurious and quiet. Well made. But not sporty.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (49) 2014 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport

See? More sporty Lexus. This is the 2014 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (50) 2015 Volvo V60 int

In my Day 1 coverage, I had an exterior shot of the 2015 Volvo V60 Sport Wagon. This is the inside of the V60. It’s pretty much the same as the S60 sedan.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (51) 2014 BMW 335i GT xDrive side

This is the 2014 BMW 335i GT xDrive. Yeah, I know, it’s a mouthful. Still, I don’t see many takers. The extra room in the back seat was to cater to the Chinese market. It won’t find many buyers in the U.S.

The 2015 BMW i8 looks good from every angle.

The 2015 BMW i8 looks good from every angle.

A good side shot of the BMW i8.

A good side shot of the BMW i8.

I guess I haven't gotten tired of the 2015 BMW i8 yet. Very exotic to my eye.

I guess I haven’t gotten tired of the 2015 BMW i8 yet. Very exotic to my eye.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (55) 2014 BMW K 1600 GTL Exclusive

This is quite the cruiser motorcycle. The 2014 BMW K 1600 GTL Exclusive. God knows how much it is, but not cheap.

Look what showed up in LA! The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 Crossover.

Look what showed up in LA! The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 Crossover.

The 2015 GLA250 is meant to do battle with the BMW X1. It almost looks like the X1. But the GLA is small. Maybe too small for some.

The 2015 GLA250 is meant to do battle with the BMW X1. It almost looks like the X1. But the GLA is small. Maybe too small for some.

There is a good amount of cargo space in the GLA. Far more than its cousin, the CLA 4-door coupe.

There is a good amount of cargo space in the GLA. Far more than its cousin, the CLA 4-door coupe.

The interior of the 2015 GLA250 is pretty much the same as the CLA.

The interior of the 2015 GLA250 is pretty much the same as the CLA.

This is the front of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG. Very nice if you can afford it.

This is the front of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG. Very nice if you can afford it.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (61) Mercedes AMG Vision Gran Turismo Concept reaar left

By far, the show-stopping concept car was the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo. This is the kind of imagination I like to see at an auto show. Simply fantastic from any angle.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (62) Mercedes AMG Vision Gran Turismo Concept rear

The rear of the Mercedes AMG Vision Gran Turismo Concept. Wow!

LAAutoShow Day 2 (63) Mercedes AMG Vision Gran Turismo Concept Side

Calling Batman! The semi-gloss metallic paint makes the car look almost surreal. Like you are looking at a futuristic film.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (64) Mercedes GLA45 AMG concept

This is a thinly-disguised concept car. The inevitable AMG version of the GLA will be very close to this concept Mercedes GLA45 AMG.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (65) 2014 Mercedes SLS AMG front

I know it’s been discontinued, but the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG with the gullwing doors is a showstopper, every time. Love the matte paint.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (66) 2014 Mercedes SLS AMG side

The gullwing doors of the SLS AMG Coupe are quite impractical, but who doesn’t want to be seen getting out of this for a red carpet event?

LAAutoShow Day 2 (67) 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet int

Mercedes has its CLA and GLA, but Audi has an all-new A3. This is the interior of the A3 Cabriolet. Quite nice, considering it’s around $30,000 to get in the door of a sedan. Not sure how much the Cabriolet will be.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (68) 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet front left

The 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet looks terrific and certainly telegraphs Audi family resemblance and DNA.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (69) 2015 Audi A3 sedan rear

2015 Audi A3 Sedan. Hopefully we will get the A3 Sportsback again. But so far, no commitment from Audi.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (70) 2015 Audi A3 sedan front

The front of the 2015 Audi A3 sedan.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (71) 2015 Audi S3 side

You knew that if there was an A3, there would be an S3. We probably won’t see it on sale for another year, either as a 2015 or 2016 model.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (72) 2015 Audi S3 int

The interior of the Audi S3.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (73) 2014 Audi SQ5 front

Want a sporty Crossover? Can’t wait for the Porsche Macan Turbo? Well look no further than the 2014 Audi SQ5.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (74) 2014 Audi SQ5 int

Interior of the 2014 Audi SQ5.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (75) Audi A3 e-tron concept hybrid

The Audi reps wouldn’t give me any timing or specs for this A3 e-tron. But they did say that it would be a hybrid, not pure electric drive.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (76) 2014 Audi R8 V10 ext

Ah, more car porn. Here’s a very striking Audi R8 V10.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (78) VW Cross Blue Coupe Twin Drive BlueMotion Concept rear

This is the very long-named Volkswagen Cross Blue Coupe Twin Drive BlueMotion Concept. Why they are calling an SUV a coupe is beyond me, but these days anything with a low roof-line is called a coupe.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (77) VW Cross Blue Coupe Twin Drive BlueMotion side

It’s almost a given that this will be produced, probably at VW’s Chattanooga, TN plant. VW needs a 7-passenger SUV beyond the Touareg, so this will be it.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (79) VW Cross Blue Coupe Twin Drive BlueMotion Concept interior

The interior of VW’s Cross Blue is nearly production ready. Some of the show car gloss will be lost, but the shapes and placement of controls is pretty much how it will be for production.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (80) 2015 VW e-Golf

This is another shot of the 2015 e-Golf. An Electric Golf? Sure, I bet it’s fun to drive too.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (81) 2014 Mazda 3 front

The 2014 Mazda 3

LAAutoShow Day 2 (82) 2014 Mazda 3 hatch side

A side view of the 2014 Mazda 3 hatchback.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (83) Mazda Clubsport 3 Concept

This is the Mazda Clubsport 3 Concept. Fun for the show, and it probably previews the future Mazdaspeed 3.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (84) Bass Pro Shop Toyota Tundra

Yeah, I know. Who cares about the Toyota Tundra, right? I mean it doesn’t sell very well, nowhere near Toyota’s lofty projections. But you have to love this Bass Pro Shop edition.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (85)

While this was advertised as a “Concept” it pretty is exactly the 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

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This is the 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

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This is the all-new 2014 MINI Cooper. It’s a little bit bigger, and a little more frugal.

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Here’s the 2014 MINI Cooper S Hardtop.

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The interior of the 2014 MINI Cooper S is where the big changes occur. Note that the toggle switches no longer operate the windows and that the middle red switch is the ignition!

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I like the center instruments on this MINI Cooper S. The plastics are upgraded, not as hard and tinny.

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It’s kind of hard to tell here, but the power window stitches are on the driver’s arm rest, where they should be. Finally.

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The sports seats (optional) on the new MINI Cooper have better, extendable thigh support. Something I found lacking on my Clubman when I owned it. Nice to see the upgrade.

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Yes, a little bigger and a little more room in the MINI Cooper.

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2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop

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The John Cooper Werks version of the MINI Cooper S Coupe.

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Rear of the 2015 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (97) 2015 Subaru WRX Limited rear

This is the 2015 Subaru WRX Limited. I hope it will satisfy hardcore fans of the Subaru WRX.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (98) VIA Motors Extended Range Electric Pickup Truck

Here’s something different. This is the VIA Motors Extended Range Electric Pickup truck. The window says it’s good for 800 hp and 50 mpg. I don’t know the price, but it won’t be cheap with all those batteries.