Photos Ezekiel Wheeler & Fiat USA
The 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show was literally invaded by all the major European car marques this year. We poured through hundreds of pages of press releases to let you know what you might have missed out on. Fortunately, a vast majority of the cars on display will be cruising in a city near you by next year. So you won't have to wait to much longer to snap instagram photos of your favorites.
Los Angeles wouldn’t be the same if there weren’t late night, over-the-top parties to kick off its largest car show of the year. So Jaguar decided to get things started right.
They led the week’s festivities off by hosting their “British Invasion” soiree. While they were kind enough to leave the red coats, muskets and HRH back on the main island; they did manage to bring over the new Jaguar F-Type and Land Rover Range Rover. Lately Land Rover feels as if every unveil of the Range Rover needs to showcase the car treading water. So an enormous pool was constructed for the SUV to strut its stuff while the new F-Type weaved its way along its own catwalk toward the front of the stage. Luckily while the show entranced attendees with its football field size jumbo-tron additional models for guests to sit in and fiddle with were one hand underneath gigantic crystal chandeliers.
Since the Jaguar Playboy Party in Pebble Beach, the lunch of the Range Rover at the Queens former summer home to the launch of the F-Type and Range in Hollywood; Jaguar and Land Rover are making sure everyone knows they are the place to be when it comes rolling through town.
From the Floor
A concept car study created from the companies Carlsbad, CA design office, this bizarre car was created to meet the perceived demands of the all-terrain vehicle of 2025. The Ener-G-Force has an onboard hydrogen propulsion system that is fueled by onboard, roof-mounted water tanks. Extending the range well beyond the next refueling station. Alson on board is a hidden ratchet equipment storage system and an onboard computer that monitors terrain 24/7 and feed the perfect application of power, torque and grip to each corner courtesy of hub-mounted electric motors on all four corners.
SLS AMG Black Series
The wet dream of AMG engineers and designers who binged on schnapps between sessions at the racetrack, the SLS AMG Black Series aims to put SLS GT3 technology and power in the hands of pedestrians with deep pocket books. 620hp, 0-60 in 3.5s and a top speed of 198mph and a 8000rpm redline should prove to make your bits below the belt feel nice and tingly. Expect to drop around $300k for this V8 gurgle fest earl 2013.
SLS AMG GT
Replacing the 6.2L AMG V8 for the 5.5L V8, the SLS GT will only loose displacement size and won’t skimp on power. The new SLS comes with 20 more horsepower putting it at 583hp and improves 0-60 by a whole 0.1s. While that may not seem like much (it really isn’t), you can wow your friends with new color options, interior trim packages and a neat-o red “GT” badge added next to the, now, pedestrian looking SLS AMG badge. Pricing starts at $202,505 for the coupe and $209,005 for the roadster, you can place your orders today at your local dealer.
550hp seems to be the norm these days when it comes to getting “what you want” from the dealer for a luxury vehicle. Of course what it comes in makes a difference (ie sports car or SUV) but hell its still 550hp. Mercedes-Benz now stuffed that kind of power into their new GL63 AMG. The Sport Utility hosts AMG’s new 5.5L biturbo V8 and is built right here in the United States of America – if you consider Tuscaloosa, Alabama America that is.
Wider, longer, faster, lighter… we’ve been asking for this from the mid-engine department from Porsche for a while. While many women ask for the same thing in their lives, men are satisfied when a car company delivers the goods and not a blue pill. The Cayman and Cayman S resemble a hardtop Boxster but are different when it comes to handling, cabin space and design details – like the entire rear section of the car. The base Cayman 2.7L churns out 275hp while the S model 3.4L produces 325hp. Both are available with a six-speed manual or a seven-speed PDK and can go from0-60mph in 4.7s. On sale in the Spring 2013 the base Cayman starts at $53k and $65k for the S. Best bargain of 2013, we’ll let you know when we get our greasy hands on it.
Finally, BMW has an electric car slated for full production! Hopefully everyone still cares, but since the Concept i3 made its newest 95% production ready debut we thought we should for a while. While the dealer version will see a few more doors added in the rear the car is looking rather smart. The 100% “put a down payment” model could be bound for the Frankfurt Motor Show in Sept. 2013. With a price tag estimated around $50000 the carbon fiber body, aluminum chassis and 170hp electric motor with a 0-60mph 7.8s could be the best thing for the luxury eco-conscious consumer. Range is expected to be around 100 miles with a premium model supporting an on board generator achieving nearly 200 miles. The “I” series vehicles look to be BMW’s new halo car series for the brand that could leak into petrol production vehicles at some point in the future. Can you say KERS M3?
It's topless. Need we say more? The hot hatch America never wanted seems to be the car we can’t get enough of. Sure a knock-out super model endorsing your pocket-rocket helps, but the Abarth is proving to be a car not to be underestimated. Its turbocharged four-cylinder engine barks out all 160hp in its light-weight configuration is a winning combination for urban street light racers across the country. Now, you get the luxury of letting in a bit more sunshine.
Could this be the (3rd) sexiest electric vehicle on the market? Maybe, maybe not, either way Fiat is ready to loose $10000 on each one they sell to attract new buyers to the brand and to have a little fun at the same time. With a batter-electric power system pumping out 111hp (more than the Pop, Sport or Lounge Models) the 500e could be the sleek urban hopper you’ve been looking for. With a 4-hour recharge system and an on-board charging module the 500e is expected to spin its wheels for 80 miles or more on a single charge. Sales start Spring 2013.
Since Fiat is FINALLY expanding its lineup here in the states, it seems to treading eerily into awkward waters. While the 500L offer to get families comfortably from point A to point B, it will do so in ugly-duckly fashion. The best thing the car has going for it is the Abarth motor, 1.4L 160hp turbocharged engine, comes standard in the 500L. Of course lugging around a few extra hundred pounds will slow things down, at least you will still have the grumble. You can check out he Fiat USA website to configure your model today and see the hilarious new video ads that could appear during the 2013 Super Bowl.
While a visual adaptation of the adventurous side to the 500L, the trekking offers a lifestyle themed interior and exterior to highlight the cars 42% larger interior space than that of its 500 cousin. AWD wasn’t mentioned in the press release and since we would tilt our heads in approval for that, we instead tilted our heads to try and level out the large LED headlights. The nice thing about the car is you can get a manual gear box standard or an optional Dual Dry Clutch Transmission (DDCT) giving you the option to take control of your monster in the dirt or cruise in comfort on your road trip in the loft inspired interior space.
Shedding its silk under the hot lights of the Los Angeles lights, the F-Type S was glistening in its new metallic Firesand Orange paint with the Black package. The car is nod to the E-Type, a wink to the D-Type and a firm hand shake to the C-Type as the new base model F-Type supercharged V6 starts the power offerings at 340hp, the S at 380hp and the V8 S at 495hp. You’re bound to find what you are looking for in any F-Type package. Its aluminum body with Nuremburg tuned suspension brings the excitement of drop-top roadster performance back into your hands. Pricing for the Leaping Cat starts around $70000 and can easily inch near the $100000 mark for a well-equipped F-Type V8 S. How will it fair against the new Porsche Boxster and BMW Z4? Time will tell, but this car is intended to encourage your impulsive credit card swiping hand. You can start placing your orders in January 2013.
Said to only be constructing 100 examples of the 550hp super sedan, the XFR-S is leaping (forgive the pun) into the forgotten world of exclusive performance sedans. The one off carbon fiber aero dynamic kit along with the, optional, rear wing and new aluminum hood are just the calling signs of the XFR-S. Inside the cabin sport seats are clad in carbon fiber stamped leather with micro-piping accent colors, trim pieces are replaced with carbon fiber and stamped aluminum trim. The suspension is Nuremburg tuned and the new supercharger launches the XFR-S from 0-60mph in 4.4s and posses a limited top speed of 186mph. While the car on hand was finished in French Racing Blue, Jaguar tells us that the XFR-S will be available in a host of color and maybe an exclusive one or two. You can start signing away your kids college fund, as this car starts at $99000 and will begin shipping in the Summer of 2013.
Ready to take on the country roads of America, the Range Rover’s all new design is a hit amongst Hollywood socialites and club-goers everywhere. 700lbs lighter than the outgoing model the new all aluminum Range is stronger and more capable thanks to its Terrain Response 2 system. The range hosts a myriad of technology including Hill Decent Control that monitors terrain via onboard sensors. Inside the entire cabin has been refined and consolidated to give the user an uninterrupted interface that’s easier to manage than RR’s of yesteryear. You can read up on all the technical specs and our driving impressions of the Landy in our EC 12/12 issue and soon our 03/13 issue, or just read up on it on our features section. Overall we are extremely impressed with the RR and hope to get one to tool around in LA for a while. After all we are in the city were arriving in the right car sets precedence for the rest of evening.
What’s a Beetle in California if you can’t let your genetically enhanced hair and synthetic face blow in the wind? VW dropped the top on their new Beetle convertible, debuting 6 models at once. They include the Turbo, TDI, and three heritage models (50’s, 60’s and 70’s). While the latter of the bunch is defined by color and trim options, the one that peeked out interest was the Turbo and TDI models ready to roll. We were invited by VW to experience the entire line up after the show in Santa Monica and get the full drop top beetle experience (check back soon for our full report). The great thing about the Turbo and TDI models is the availability of a manual gearbox. Providing hours of fun, and something they hope more men will want to get in and drive.
Now available in the Q5, A6, A7 and A8, Audi is putting all its eggs in the TDI basket boasting that currently owners of available TDI models have saved the US 4,583,773 gallons of gas (and counting). While the Q5 seems like a logical choice, seeing as the Q7 has been such a success here in the states since its launch, the A7 and A8 seemed like a throw in from left field. Offering such torque-powered experience in such large sedans should give new definition to the term “land yacht”. Since after all, most consumers of these vehicles aren’t out to achieve any land speed records and typically love to get more bang for their buck.
Mini has done a pretty great job about creating cars for the global market rather than models for just a select country like their big brother BMW typically does. We’re still sore about the DTM edition M3 not coming stateside. But I digress; the Mini Paceman is a leapfrog attempt from the micro car company to be seen in a new light. With its 3rd coupe in the line up, the Paceman boasts a spacious interior, expressive design language and an all-wheel drive powertrain. Available in standard and “S” model versions the Mini Cooper Paceman will house two engines. The first, on the base model, is a naturally aspirated 1.6L 120hp engine and the Cooper Paceman S will come with a turbocharged 1.6L 184hp engine. Either model comes with a standard six-speed manual gearbox or an optional six-speed automatic. Since its four-door relative (the Countryman) can be outfitted with a John Cooper Works performance package, we see this version receiving the same treatment at some point in the future. Pricing starts at $23900 and the Cooper Paceman S ALL4 closer to the $30000 range. Shipping starts in March 2013.
Bentley’s return to racing is possibly the best news to come out of 2012. While we have enjoyed gallivanting in latest Bentley super luxury sedans and grand tourerers, we’re happy to see the GT tuned and ready for some proper track time. We spoke with Christophe Georges, President & COO of Bentley Motors, Inc. to get the low down on the GT3. He informed us that many teams from around the country are asking for shakedown sessions with car. Keep in mind the car can be purchased by nearly any race organization around the globe to compete in classes that accept the GT3. Since our last conversation there is even gossip of a Bentley Only series in the works, but no confirmation from Bentley has been established. Expect to see the Bentley in handsome new livery for the 2014 race season, we suspect Le Mans to be a big hit that year.
Possibly the sexiest car to come out of the British luxury car company since Mr. Bond’s DB5. The Vanquish was on hand in the Galpin Aston Martin booth, representing the company again this year, and was just as gorgeous as we had remembered it during Monterey Week earlier this year. We spoke with Galpin Aston Martin Sales Manager, Stuart McIntosh about how the halo car is fairing amongst Aston Martin customers. “Currently I’ve been allocated two cars and a demo; I’ve sold out and am requesting a fourth car to be ready sometime in 2014.” Stuart informed us as we asked if any orders had been placed. Clearly there have been many inquiries. While the California customer isn’t know to be very patient, he’ll have to be if he wants the hottest super car on the market today. Our Senior Features Editor, Alex Bernstein, has since logged some track time in the car and attests to the car nimble handling, addictive exhaust note and cornering thrills the car posses. “it shadows the DBS, and remember I loved that car.” Alex told us. The first Vanquish is set to hit California roads in the Spring time of 2013, hopefully we make friends with the owner in time for a ride-along.
Teaming up with famed fashion/costume designer Jeremy Scott, the design team from Mercedes-Benz/Smart in Carlsbad, CA decided to bring some attitude to the smart electric car. Showcasing its versatility to be as unconventional of an eco-chic car as possible. We think this would be the equivalent of a Pope-mobile for Lady Gaga. Its powered by a 50kW electric motor that for from 0-60 in 11.2s and has a top speed of 78mph (we’re guessing the wings might help with those figures). You can pick up a de-feathered version of the smart fortwo electric at your local dealer with prices starting at $25000.
Perhaps the best thing to emerge from the safety conscious Swedish car manufacture, Volvo, is the Polestar S60. The 550hp AWD manual gearbox hot rod moose finished in iconic Polestar Blue was snapping neck in the main hall. Everyone had to get a closer look and the big question on everyone’s mind was when the hell was it going to be on sale? Sadly all we were able to pull out of the Polestar reps, was this one cost $200,000 and was built for a private client. We did find out there were enough parts lying around the Polestar HQ to build 10 more. Its really up to the public and the media to beg Volvo to actually make one. We’re crossing our fingers.