Posts Tagged ‘Nissan’


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.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (88)

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!

LAAutoShow Day 2 (90)

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.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (92)

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.


Mazda: Mazda has struggled to compete against much larger rivals both in Japan, its home market, and in the US, it’s largest market. First, long-time partner and partial owner, Ford, divested its ownership interest in Mazda, ending some platform and engineering sharing agreements. Then the Great Recession hit, draining Mazda of precious resources needed for future product development.

Deep inside Mazda’s R&D facilities in Hiroshima, engineers worked non-stop to develop a new line of engines, transmissions and technologies that would lead the company into a much more cleaner and fuel efficient future.  Although Mazda lacks the hybrid technology of its larger competitors, it came up with a family of new engines and transmissions marketed under the unfortunate banner of “SkyActiv” technology.  The new drivetrains combine direct injection, variable valve timing, turbocharging, reduced friction, and smarter 6-speed transmissions to bring marquee fuel efficiency to its new models.

First up last year was the CX-5 small crossover that competes in one of the hottest market segments dominated by the likes of the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4.  This year, Mazda is introducing the completely redesigned 2014 Mazda6 mid-size family sedan, that finally seems poised to capture consumers’ attention from perennial favorites like the Camry, Accord, Altima, Fusion, Optima and Sonata.  The sexy styling reminds me of Ford’s new Fusion – something that may not be as coincidental since the last-generation Ford Fusion and Mazda6 shared the same platform.

The standard engine for the 2014 Mazda6 will be Mazda’s SkyActiv-G 2.5L 16-valve turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine good for 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. Most will be sold with a six-speed automatic, although a six-speed manual will be available on lower trims. EPA figures haven’t been released  yet, but Mazda expects highway fuel economy to beat 35 mpg.

However, the most important  introduction will be the SkyActiv-D engine, a modern 2.2L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that burns clean enough to need no additional NOx aftertreatments.  This promises the fuel economy of a hybrid without all the expensive batteries and dual electric-gas drivetrains.  Expect to see highway fuel economy better than 40 mpg and a substantial increase in city economy over the gasoline counterpart.

The 2014 Mazda6 with SkyActiv-D technology.  It should be available by mid-2013.

The 2014 Mazda6 with SkyActiv-D technology. It should be available by mid-2013.

The front of the 2014 Mazda6 sedan.

The front of the 2014 Mazda6 sedan.

The rear of the 2014 Mazda6 diesel sedan.

The rear of the 2014 Mazda6 diesel sedan. Mazda calls its new styling language “KODO” – Soul of Motion.

The interior of the 2014 Mazda6.

The interior of the 2014 Mazda6. The plastics look and feel class-leading and the switchgear feels precise and well-made.

 

Mercedes-Benz: The largest single market for Mercedes-Benz worldwide is Southern California (thank you Fletcher-Jones in Newport Beach), so you’d think Mercedes might introduce some important products here. You’d be wrong.  While I very much like the 2014 SLS AMG Black Series, it’s not like this is a volume car. It gets a few upgrades to the “standard” SLS AMG package, but the engine is the same 6.2L hand-built AMG V8 good for 622 hp and 468 lb-ft of torque.  The  AMG Speedshift dual clutch 7-speed sports transmission, is the same but slightly upgraded. For the extra $100,000+, the Black Series gets ceramic-composite brakes, adaptive performance suspension, lighter alloy wheels, special performance tires that wear out even faster than the standard tires. As you’d expect, it’s also the fastest SLS, leaping from a standstill to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds – performance you are sure to need while crawling on the 405 at 8:30 am.

Sure we will see a few of them in LA, but they will be owned by collectors with a dozen other exotic cars in their home garage or by misbehaving  scions of Saudi royalty.  The US price hasn’t been announced, however, in Germany it will be 249,900 euros, or around $322,846 at current exchange rates. Get in line now.

2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series

2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series

That rear wing is a sure giveaway that this 2014 SLS AMG is the Black Series, not the run-of-the-mill SLS Gullwing.

That rear wing is a sure giveaway that this 2014 SLS AMG is the Black Series, not the run-of-the-mill SLS Gullwing.

Mercedes showed one concept truck, the Ener-G-Force Concept Fuel Cell Vehicle. It’s said to foreshadow the styling on an upcoming “baby” G-class SUV, perhaps built on the new A-Class front drive architecture. But this is no baby. It’s quite big – bigger than the tank-like G-wagon (short for Geländewagen or cross-country vehicle) that Mercedes has been producing in substantially the same form since 1979.

The styling is quite flamboyant while fluidly-sculptural. I even like the designer LED headlights in the outline of a “G.”  Overhangs are practically non-existent and this thing looks like it could climb over a Range Rover or through the hills and craters of the moon. The built-in front winch is very slick.  Of course, a fuel-cell drivetrain is unlikely for any production car, at least in the near future, but it does hint at possibilities in the next couple of decades when the costs of fuel cells comes down and you can buy a hydrogen refill at every “gas” station. I have more pictures of this that I will include in another LA Auto Show post.

The Ener-G-Force Concept SUV from Mercedes-Benz.

The Ener-G-Force Concept SUV from Mercedes-Benz.

MINI: BMW’s British unit didn’t have any real news for Los Angeles.  It was the first show for the 2013 Paceman, a 2-door version of the widely-popular Countryman SUV that has been the backbone of MINI in the U.S. since its introduction.

2013 MINI Cooper S Paceman.

2013 MINI Cooper S Paceman.

For some reason, the marketeers at MINI thought they needed some “news” for Los Angeles and cooked up the a variant of the Clubman 3-door wagon called the Clubvan. Essentially it’s a Clubman without the rear seats that can be used as a mini panel van. This is from the Answer to the Question That No One Asked department.

2013 Mini Cooper S Clubvan.

2013 Mini Cooper S Clubvan.

Nissan: Not much new from our friends at Nissan. The 2013 Altima was introduced and went on sale months ago.  I’m not a fan of the evolution of the exterior; however, I was impressed with the look, feel, materials and quality of the interior. Now I just need to be motivated to test drive one.  Nissan insists on using continuously-variable transmissions (CVTs) and I’d much prefer a 6-speed automatic in this kind of car.  I think Altima’s interior is excellent – better than the new Accord, but the Honda name will sell more units.

2013 Nissan Altima

2013 Nissan Altima

2013 Nissan Altima interior.

2013 Nissan Altima interior.

Nissan completely redesigned the 2013 Pathfinder too. No longer is it a bulky truck, made for off-road duties but civilized enough for the more likely on-road family-hauling. The all-new Pathfinder – which shares almost everything with its more expensive cousin, the Infiniti JX – is a 7-passenger crossover with car-based rather than truck-based credentials.  This is the Pathfinder’s first major auto show, but, like the Altima, it was introduced a couple of months ago and is already on-sale at your local dealer.

2013 Nissan Pathfinder - front

2013 Nissan Pathfinder – front

2013 Nissan Pathfinder - Side. She's a big girl. Good thing you can get a "Bird's-Eye" camera system that shows you the outside from all angles.

2013 Nissan Pathfinder – Side. She’s a big girl. Good thing you can get a “Bird’s-Eye” camera system that shows you the outside from all angles.  It reminds me of the Chevy Traverse, which has been in the market for almost 5 years now.

The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder shares much in common with other Nissan products. There are lots of buttons here, but all seem logical and easy to grab.

The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder shares much in common with other Nissan products. There are lots of buttons here, but all seem logical and easy to grab. I’m never a fan of plastic-looking wood.

Nissan’s big reveal was an updated GT-R sports car. You’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between this 2014 model and the 2013 model.

2014 Nissan GT-R rear.

2014 Nissan GT-R rear. It’s still Godzilla in a suit. And still over $100,000.

2014 Nissan GT-R interior. Still nice. Still six digits.

2014 Nissan GT-R interior. The carbon fiber (yes, it’s real) is a nice touch for the GT-R.

Porsche: Although pictures had been leaked ahead of the LA Auto Show, the big news was the 2013 Porsche Cayman. The Cayman, the hardtop version of the Boxster, always appears several months after the introduction of a new Boxster, so it wasn’t as much of a surprise as it was just a treat to see in person. The Cayman starts at $52,600. The Cayman S starts at $63,800. Unfortunately, like every Porsche, you have to add at least $20,000 of options to make it the car you’d like it to be. Porsche can teach a doctorate level class in nickle and diming.

2013 Porsche Cayman

2013 Porsche Cayman

2013 Porsche Cayman.

2013 Porsche Cayman. Like the Boxster, the rear spoiler is integrated with the taillights and center stop light. The lines flow beautifully.

The interior of the 2013 Cayman is nearly identical to the Boxster - which is a good thing.

The interior of the 2013 Cayman is nearly identical to the Boxster – which is a good thing. This Cayman had the 6-speed manual shifter but the upgraded 2-tone leather interior and Porsche’s excellent navigation system.

The side scoops that are accentuated with the deep creases in Cayman's door sheet metal, is how the engine breathes.

The side scoops that are accentuated with the deep creases in Cayman’s door sheet metal, is how the engine breathes.

This screaming yellow Porsche is the Cayman S. It also took center stage with the “base” Cayman above. The engines and transmissions are identical to those found in the Boxster and Boxster S.

That big lump in the back of the 2013 Cayman S is the engine cover. Like the Boxster, the Cayman has a mid-mount engine which makes it the best handling Porsche. Just don't say that to the Germans at the show as they will always tell you that the 911 is the best. All the car magazines say otherwise.

That big lump in the back of the 2013 Cayman S is the engine cover. Like the Boxster, the Cayman has a mid-mount engine which makes it the best handling Porsche. Just don’t say that to the Germans at the show as they will always tell you that the 911 is the best. All the car magazines say otherwise.

You could call it the Convertible Cayman or just the Boxster.  I love this 2013 Boxster S this special silver color.

You could call it the Convertible Cayman or just the Boxster. I love this 2013 Boxster S in this special GT Silver Metallic color.

There was no sticker on this 2013 Boxster S; however with the PDK transmission, navigation, power seats, full leather, etc., there is probably another $25,000 in options added to the base $60,900.

There was no sticker on this 2013 Boxster S; however with the PDK transmission, navigation, power seats, full leather, etc., there is probably another $25,000 in options added to the base $60,900.

Another previously announced Porsche is the Cayenne Diesel, which starts at $55,750 (a relative bargain in the Porsche Universe). Power comes from a Porsche-tuned version of the VW Group’s 3.0-liter V6 turbo-diesel engine with a common-rail injection system. Its turbocharger features Variable Turbine Geometry (VTG). The EPA has rated the Cayenne Diesel at 20 mpg city, 29 mpg highway. That sure beats the Cayenne S with a V8 rated at 16 city, 22 highway.

Except for the diesel badge, the 2013 Cayenne Diesel looks almost exactly like the Cayenne V6.

Except for the small diesel badges on the front side fenders, the 2013 Cayenne Diesel looks almost exactly like the Cayenne V6.

2013 Cayenne Diesel

2013 Cayenne Diesel

Also making its North American debut is the 911 Carrera4, 4s and Cabriolet variants.

2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet

2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet

Except for a special torque split gauge, in the instrument panel, the interior of the 911 Carrera 4S is the same as the "regular" 911 Carrera.

Except for a special torque split gauge, in the instrument panel, the interior of the 911 Carrera 4S is the same as the “regular” 911 Carrera.

Range Rover:  Now that Land Rover has made Range Rover its own sub-brand,  the name Land Rover was almost non-existent at Press Preview. All emphasis was on the 2013 Range Rover which is trickling into dealerships as the LA Auto Show opens.

2013 Range Rover HSE

2013 Range Rover HSE

The split clam-shell that makes for a good picnic table hasn't changed for the new Rangy.  This black one is the top-of-the-line Range Rover Supercharged Autobiography.

The split clam-shell that makes for a good picnic table hasn’t changed for the new Rangy. This black one is the top-of-the-line Range Rover Supercharged Autobiography.

The instrument panel and dash of the 2013 Range Rover Supercharged Autobiography

The instrument panel and dash of the 2013 Range Rover Supercharged Autobiography. I don’t like the “magic” cylinder that rises out of the console to shift between Drive, Reverse and Park. It’s clumsy in practice and more gimmicky than useful.

The oddities of the last Range Rover have carried over to the new one. The memory seat buttons are on the arm rest where the window switches should be.

The oddities of the last Range Rover have carried over to the new one. The memory seat buttons are on the arm rest where the window switches should be.

The Range Rover's window switches are on top of the window sill, in a very awkward position. I know it's "tradition" but this one needs to be thrown out.

The Range Rover’s window switches are on top of the window sill, in a very awkward position. I know it’s “tradition” but this one needs to be thrown out.

Smart: The diminutive smart fortwo hasn’t been updated much since its introduction 3 years ago. Colors and options change and Mercedes says it’s updated the horrible automated manual transmission, but it still jerks around with little finesse.

The big news for the LA Auto Show was the 2013 fortwo ED (electric drive). Apparently there were so many bad reviews of the 2012 (and first) version of the car that the whole electric drive system has been revised and the battery range has been extended to around 68 miles. The coupe version starts at $25,750 (before the $7,500 federal tax credit) Smart also offers a 240 volt home charger for $1,300.

2013 smart fortwo ED (electric drive) coupe. Base price $25,750.

2013 smart fortwo ED (electric drive) cabriolet. Base price $28,750 (before federal tax credit).

The smart ED bicycle is a fantastic design. The reps told me that it will be sold in the U.S., but there is no specific launch date. It will be expensive, probably in the $3,500 range.

The smart ED bicycle is a fantastic design. The reps told me that it will be sold in the U.S., but there is no specific launch date. It will be expensive, probably in the $3,500 range.

Just for fun, smart showed a Jeremy Scott designed Special Edition of the fortwo. You won’t miss this one coming at you.

smart fortwo Jeremy Scott Concept

smart fortwo Jeremy Scott Special Edition. I think this thing is actually a driver that is used to promote both the smart brand and the Los Angeles-based designer.

Check out this interior of the smart fortwo Jeremy Scott Special Edition. No expense was spared here.

Check out this interior of the smart fortwo Jeremy Scott Special Edition. No expense was spared here.

Subaru:  I keep hoping that Subaru will find its way in the design and styling department, but each time a new model rolls out, I’m disappointed.  The media dutifully attended Subaru’s introduction of the 2014 Forester, but there wasn’t much buzz or hurried Tweets of the homely model that was unveiled this week.  The Forester is basically a tall Impreza wagon

2014 Subaru Forester - Front. Is it that different from the current model?

2014 Subaru Forester – Front. Is it that different from the current model?

Here's the 2014 Subaru Forester from the rear. Again, no new ground broken here.  I think that Subaru likes the formula for the Forester and is going to stick with it as long as customers keep buying it.

Here’s the 2014 Subaru Forester from the rear. Again, no new ground broken here. I think that Subaru likes the formula for the Forester and is going to stick with it as long as customers keep buying it.

The interior of the 2014 Subaru Forester is mostly lifted from the Impreza. The infotainment system is easy to use, but lags behind the competition.

The interior of the 2014 Subaru Forester is mostly lifted from the Impreza. The infotainment system is easy to use, but lags behind the competition.

Toyota:  When Toyota introduced the RAV4 in 1996, it was the first small SUV based on a car (the Corolla) platform. The small crossover segment is red hot. The Honda Civic, Ford Escape and RAV4 each sell more than 200,000 units a year. A few generations later and well over a million units sold, Toyota rolled out the 2013 RAV4 for its world premiere at the LA Auto Show.  The simple fact of the matter is that Toyota had to keep up with the competition. Ford has a new Escape that is selling very well. Honda redesigned its CR-V a year ago and it too is burning up the sales charts. As of September 2012, Honda had sold 100,000 more CR-Vs than the RAV4. The new little SUV aims to reverse that trend.

2013 Toyota RAV4 SUV. The looks are fresh, if not exciting.

2013 Toyota RAV4 SUV. The looks are fresh, if not exciting.

2013 Toyota RAV4 side-rear. Note that the spare tire has moved from the rear door to under the cargo floor. The rear tailgate is now hinged at the top like the competition.

2013 Toyota RAV4 side-rear. Note that the spare tire has moved from the rear door to under the cargo floor. The rear tailgate is now hinged at the top like the competition.

The 2013 RAV4's interior looks and feels upgraded. While there is still lots of cheap plastic, soft-touch and textured panels populate the areas you see/touch the most.

The 2013 RAV4′s interior looks and feels upgraded. While there is still lots of cheap plastic, soft-touch and textured panels populate the areas you see/touch the most.

The RAV4's dash has many horizontal layers that I think work. The center controls are easy to reach and mix both hard knobs and buttons with some functions on the touch screen.

The RAV4′s dash has many horizontal layers that I think work. The center controls are easy to reach and mix both hard knobs and buttons with some functions on the touch screen.

Volkswagen: VW finally introduced the convertible version of the Beetle. It will be on sale just in time for convertible season in sunny states like California. All the engine options are the same as on the Beetle – 2.5L 5-cylinder, 2.0L Turbo and 2.0L TDI. The top faithfully recreates almost the exact silhouette of the hardtop Beetle and it lays nearly flat; however you still have to cover it yourself with a piece of snap-in vinyl. Prices start at $24,495.

2013 VW Beetle Convertible. This one has the 2.0L turbo gasoline engine.

2013 VW Beetle Convertible. This one has the 2.0L turbo gasoline engine.

The 2013 VW Beetle Convertible has better rear visibility than the last version. However, the top still doesn't lay perfectly flat.

The 2013 VW Beetle Convertible has better rear visibility than the last version. However, the top still doesn’t lay perfectly flat.

The interior of the 2013 VW Beetle Convertible is pretty much the same a the hardtop version. The color-matching interior parts is a nice touch.

The interior of the 2013 VW Beetle Convertible is pretty much the same a the hardtop version. The color-matching interior parts is a nice touch.

VW also showed its first gasoline-electric hybrid car, the 2013 Jetta Hybrid. It starts at $24,995.  VW mates a 1.4L turbocharged and direct-injected TSI gasoline engine to an electric motor. The combination is good for 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque.   A 7-speed dual clutch transmission is standard. VW says the 2013 Jetta Hybrid will drive up to 44 mph in EV mode, zero to 60 in 9 seconds flat and deliver a combined 45 mpg.  It should be arriving in VW showrooms now.

2013 Jetta Hybrid

2013 Jetta Hybrid SEL Premium

The interior of the 2014 Jetta Hybrid looks like a nicely upgraded Jetta - much closer to the Jetta GLI. I hope it gets better fuel economy that the company's TDI models.

The interior of the 2013 Jetta Hybrid SEL Premium looks very nice. It should for around $32,000. At least you can get automatic climate control in this Jetta!

Volvo: Poor Volvo. Ever since Ford dumped Volvo to the Chinese, Volvo North America has been starved for new product. The best the company could muster at the show was a custom-built Concept S60 with Polestar performance upgrades. It has a 2.0L inline 6 cylinder turbo engine making an astounding 508 hp with a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission. Power is routed to all wheels through a 4th generation Haldex XWD system. It can race from zero to 60 in 3.7 seconds and the top speed is 186 mph. The cost is said to be around $300,000.  Volvo is testing interest in a  performance version of the S60, but it would have to be much less than $300k to get me interested.

This is the Volvo S60 Polestar Concept Car. Would you buy one?

This is the Volvo S60 Polestar Concept Car. Would you buy one?

Volvo Concept S60 Polestar from the rear.

Volvo Concept S60 Polestar from the rear.