The Los AngelesAuto Show is the last of the major auto shows on the annual U.S. circuit, and after three quarters of strong sales the industry decided to go out with a bang. In what seems like a record number of new introductions, the strength of the offerings was palpable, ranging from the redesigned Subaru WRX and ChevroletColorado to vehicles that would normally exist only in our imaginations, such as the Mercedes Gran Turismo concept. Take a quick scan of the standout sheet metal in SoCal.
Chevrolet Colorado During the past decade the compact pickup truck went off the radar of domestic car companies, but Chevrolet is rejoining the segment in a big way with the all-new Colorado. On sale next fall as a 2015 model, the Colorado is based on a version of the pickup already sold in markets outside the United States. It will be available as an extended cab or 4-door crew cab and offer many of the high-tech features introduced on the new Silverado full-size pickup. Two engines are expected when Colorado hits showrooms: a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with an estimated 193 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, and a 3.6-liter V6 with an estimated 302 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque.
Subaru WRX In Los Angeles, Subaru pulled the wraps off the latest version of this hot little all-wheel-drive sedan that is so popular among auto enthusiasts. While the 2015 WRX is based on the current-generation Impreza, it differentiates itself from its tamer sibling with a unique hood, rear doors, rear quarter panels, headlights, taillights, bumpers and front fenders. Of course, that's just what's visible — the biggest differences are under the skin. Beneath that unique hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer engine that puts out 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque (a slight bump over the previous generation's output). A new 6-speed manual transmission will be standard and, in place of a standard automatic transmission, the WRX will be available with Subaru's Sport Lineartronic continuously variable transmission.
Porsche Macan Back in the early years of the new millennium, Porsche purists felt betrayed when the sports car company decided to diversify its offerings and build the Cayenne full-size sport-utility vehicle. Now the company expands its SUV offerings with the introduction of its first compact SUV. With styling similar to Cayenne, the Macan will be available with a choice of two engines: a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 making 340 horsepower in the Macan S, with the Macan Turbo getting a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 producing 400 horsepower. Porsche claims the Macan Turbo will reach 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds with a top speed of 164 mph.
Jaguar F-TYPE Coupe After receiving great acclaim for the F-TYPE roadster that debuted last year, Jaguar is building on the success with the introduction of the F-TYPE Coupe. According to Jaguar, the new coupe will be 78 percent more rigid than the roadster, which should improve handling and driving dynamics over the roadster — already quite impressive on the road. The F-TYPE coupe will actually be priced lower than the roadster with a starting price of $65,895. Price will range up towards $100,000 for the new F-TYPE R, which will sport a 550-horsepower supercharged V8.
Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo concept Video games like Gran Turismo give players the opportunity to experience all sorts of exciting cars that exist only on screen, but Mercedes brought their entry for the latest Gran Turismo 6 game to life at the Los Angeles show. With a long hood and bold Mercedes grille, the concept is absolutely stunning in person. Sharply angled headlights accentuate the sleek front end, and the eight exhaust pipes are a perfect companion to the 577-horsepower twin-turbo V8 under the hood. The interior is inspired by a Formula One cockpit, featuring red sport seats and an instrument panel that flows into the gull-wing doors. Unfortunately, the only road we expect to see this beauty on is composed of pixels.
Subaru Legacy concept As exciting as the new Subaru WRX is, this Legacy concept seemed to garner most of the attention at the LA show. Clearly an indicator of the next-generation Legacy expected to arrive early next year, the concept features styling cues from the WRX concept shown earlier this year at the New York Auto Show. Most noticeable are the horseshoe-shaped LED accent lights around the "hawk eye" headlights. The bold grille and sloping roofline give the Legacy concept a coupelike look. We hope the final product doesn't venture far from the concept's style.
Lincoln MKC Given the rising popularity of small crossovers, it makes sense that the MKC is the next big bet for Lincoln. Built on the same platform as the Ford Escape, the new MKC sets itself apart from its more mainstream cousin with the signature Lincoln split grille and a new wraparound rear cargo door. The MKC possesses a striking interior, featuring soft Bridge of Weir leather with French stitching along with real wood trim. Lincoln will also introduce a new optional engine in the MKC. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost produces an expected 275 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque at just 3000 rpm. Look for the MKC to arrive in showrooms next spring.
Ford Edge Ford provided a peek at the next-generation Edge via this Edge concept at the Los Angeles show. Taking on the classic Ford grille, the new Edge concept keeps the same basic shape as the current model with a number of styling updates. While Ford is clear that this is still just a concept, it looks like it could be close to a production model we'd expect to see next year. In addition to previewing the style of the next-gen Edge, the concept features a number of new technologies likely to be seen in future Fords. These include self-parking and obstacle-avoidance systems as well as adaptive steering
Kia K900 The Korean automaker is moving up to the luxury car market with the introduction of the company's first rear-wheel-drive sedan, the K900. Built on the same platform as the Hyundai Equus, the K900 sets itself apart with trademark Kia styling. The interior is luxurious with quality materials and available reclining rear seat. Two engines will be available: a 3.8-liter 311-horsepower V6 and a range-topping 5.0-liter V8 that produces 420 horsepower. Final pricing hasn't been announced, but Kia expects the K900 to start around $50,000 and top out in the mid-$60,000 range.
Mercedes GLA45 AMG concept The new Mercedes-Benz GLA250 is still a year away from arriving in showrooms, but that didn't stop the German car company from showing off a concept version of the more powerful GLA45 AMG. Looking very close to a production model, the concept sports a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine putting out an impressive 355 horsepower to all four wheels via Mercedes' 4Matic AWD system. The GLA45 AMG concept gets the signature twin-blade front grille in chrome, while inserts on the side sill panels, roof rails and exhaust pipes have a gloss black finish, with matte black AMG wheels outlined in red.
Nissan GT-R NISMO It's unlikely that anyone fortunate enough to drive a Nissan GT-R comes away from the experience thinking the car needs more power. Nissan went ahead and added more anyway for the NISMO variant. Larger-diameter turbochargers and other upgrades extract 50-plus more horsepower from the twin-turbo V6 engine, and now the GT-R can reach 60 mph in about two seconds, according to Nissan Vice President of Sales and Marketing Fred Diaz. Diaz also announced that the Nismo GT-R just completed a lap of the famed Nurburgring road circuit in a mind-blowing 7:08.679 — very impressive for a car that you'll be able to buy at a Nissan dealer next spring.
Maserati Ghibli Kia says their new K900 luxury sedan will top out in the mid-$60,000 range. In what seems to be worlds colliding, the newest entry from Maserati will start in the same realm at $65,600. The all-new Ghibli should quickly become Maserati's biggest seller, bringing classic Italian styling and performance to a whole new audience. Two versions of Ghibli will be available: The base Ghibli will be rear-wheel drive with a 345-horsepower twin-turbo V6, while the Ghibli S Q4 gets a more powerful 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 sending 404 horsepower to all four wheels.
MINI Cooper At first glance, it may be hard to tell that this is the new 2014 MINI Cooper, but there are quite a few changes for this premium small car. The third-generation Cooper is about 4.5 inches longer than its predecessor, with the Cooper S adding almost another inch. Also wider and taller than the outgoing version, the new MINI has more interior room for passengers and cargo. All engines available in the Cooper and Cooper S get more power for the new model year. Base trims get the 134-horsepower turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, while the Cooper S gets 189 horsepower from its 2.0-liter mill. There's plenty of gadgetry in the new MINI as well; most noticeable is the circular LED lighting display that shows six colors and responds to different commands.
Mercedes SLS AMG GT Final Edition It seems like the sexy gullwing Mercedes just came to market, but now it's time to say auf wiedersehen to the SLS. Just 350 of these special cars will be produced — all feature the powerful 583-horsepower V8 engine and are available as a coupe or roadster. The Final Edition stands out with a carbon-fiber splitter that extends from the front valance, while at the rear is a fixed carbon-fiber wing similar to that on the SLS AMG Black Series. An unpainted carbon-fiber hood rounds out the Final Edition's look. Each car will have a commemorative plaque that displays its number in the series.
Audi A3 e-tron Joining the redesigned Audi A3 in 2015 will be the first plug-in hybrid Audi in the U.S. — the A3 e-tron. With the goal of achieving great fuel efficiency without losing Audi's fun-to-drive characteristics, the e-tron is expected to deliver 204 horsepower from its 1.4-liter turbocharged engine and lightweight electric motor. The e-tron can run on electric power only for a little more than 30 miles, and it is expected to achieve 156 mpge. We expect the A3 to be the first in a line of several e-tron models coming to America over the next several years.
Volkswagen GTI Design Vision The GTI is Volkswagen's fun-to-drive hot hatch, but this Design Vision takes the GTI to a whole new level. One look and its clear this isn't your run-of-the-mill GTI — this concept is wider and lower with stretched C-pillars and 20-inch wheels. Matching the sporty looks is a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engine that puts out more than 500 horsepower, moving this GTI to 60 mph in a scant 3.9 seconds. All-wheel drive helps handle all that power, as do the ceramic brakes. Since it's just a design study, don't expect to see this GTI in showrooms anytime soon. Perry Stern's automotive career began over 20 years ago as an advisor at a vehicle consulting firm. One oftheoriginal staff members of CarPoint, Microsoft's automotive website that launched in 1995, he became editorofthe site in 2002, which is now known as MSN Autos. Stern has also contributed to MSNBC and various MSN properties in Canada, Japan and Europe. ---The most impressive vehicles from this year’s show in the City of Angels.--- ...