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We obsessively covered the 2014 LA Auto Show

Posted Nov 20th 2014 8:05PM

2014 LA Auto Show

If you believe the Missing Persons song, "nobody walks in LA." And considering how important the cars of the LA Auto Show are (not to mention how many times we've almost been run down while crossing the street), that's a song lyric we can certainly get behind. SoCal loves cars, you guys.

Rather than recap everything in text, simply have a look at our handy-dandy roundup to see what the good, the bad, and the ugly from this year's LA Auto Show.

Toyota Mirai offers promising tech, unfortunate looks

2015 Porsche 911 GTS widens your rear-engined choices

Mullen 700e proves there's no coda for some EV brands

Volkswagen Golf R 400 Concept still makes us swoon

2015 Lexus LS gets tiny tweaks to try to keep up in LA

2015 Nissan Murano and Juke priced, Color Studio to breed bad ideas

Audi A7 Sportback H-Tron Quattro packs plug-in hydrogen powertrain

Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 concept suggests a diesel off-road future

Galpin Auto Sports and Fisker turn the Mustang into a Rocket in LA [w/video]

2016 Jaguar F-Type prowls the floor with new manual and AWD options

Chevrolet Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo could only work in a video game [w/video]

2015 Porsche Cayenne GTS proves performance is relative

Volkswagen Golf R Variant ready to haul ass, stuff

2015 Chrysler 300 swaggers into LA Auto Show [w/video]

2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 PHEV offers the best of both worlds it's ready to conquer

Scion iM Concept bows, production version confirmed for US

2016 Acura ILX, for better or worse [UPDATE]

2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country rides in tall and rugged

2015 Toyota Sienna goes overboard to promote a SpongeBob movie

2015 Hyundai Azera is refreshed, may still be on life support

2015 Toyota Prius V gets updated looks and content

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG S 4Matic stands out in the LA crowd

2015 Fiat 500X offers Italian Renegade spirit

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a knight in white satin

Lexus LF-C2 Concept shows polarizing looks are here to stay

2015 Toyota Prius C is still colorful, still gets 53 mpg [UPDATE]

2015 Maserati Quattroporte gets the lightest possible updates

2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 is a silver arrow aimed at Bentley [w/video]

2015 Porsche Panamera Exclusive Series is a seriously quick way to spend $260k

Audi R8 bids adieu with the 570-hp Competition in LA

Volkswagen HyMotion says hi in the SportWagen and Passat in LA

Witness the Prologue to Audi's design future [w/videos]

2016 Honda HR-V officially finds its fit in Los Angeles

2015 Maserati Ghibli gets the lightest of updates [w/video]

Chevy Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo concept blends the past and the future [w/video]

2016 X6 M brings the power at LA show

2016 Mazda6 gets a facelift in LA

2016 BMW X5 M is big and bold, not beautiful

Bentley Grand Convertible is grand, is a convertible

2016 Ford Explorer revealed with new 2.3-liter EcoBoost

2016 Mazda CX-3 is a 2 cute ute

2016 Cadillac ATS-V blasts into LA

Honda HR-V gets early reveal

Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang is a lean, mean, Z/28-fighting machine [w/video]

Toyota Mirai offers promising tech, unfortunate looks

Posted Nov 20th 2014 7:42PM

2016 Toyota Mirai

Is there some rule that all cutting-edge, ultra-efficient or emissions-free vehicles need to look, uh, weird? No? Then would anyone care to explain the Toyota Mirai, a vehicle that for all it's hugely, wildly promising technology, will forever be pigeonholed based on its odd styling?

Looks aside, the Mirai represents a big gamble for Toyota, which isn't only selling a hydrogen-powered car – a risky venture in itself – but teaming up with Air Liquide to build 12 hydrogen filling stations across the northeast. And once that's done, it plans on leasing the $57,000 sedans for just $499 month, a figure that includes free hydrogen (there is a reason for that, though). Like we said, this is a big gamble.

Of course, we still can't get over its looks, which you can more closely analyze in our live gallery, available above. Have a glance.

Senator says Takata airbags are 'ticking time bomb'

Congress Begins Inquiry Into Years-Long Delays Addressing Fatal Problem

Posted Nov 20th 2014 7:21PM

Air Bag Recall

"This is a problem that shows deep and wide issues in their quality-control process." – Sean Kane

Exploding airbags that spray lethal amounts of shrapnel at unsuspecting drivers are "ticking time bombs" that potentially threaten millions of American motorists, a leading US Senator said Thursday.

Although automakers have issued at least two dozen recalls to address problems with the defective airbags made by global automotive supplier Takata, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said the company and a federal regulatory agency haven't moved fast enough to address the problem.

"Every single one of these Takata airbags could be a ticking time bomb," he said during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing.

In a hearing that bore much resemblance to ones earlier this year that probed a General Motors ignition-switch defect, lawmakers Thursday pressed a top Takata executive, the deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and others for answers on why it took so long for them to respond to a fatal problem.

At least four people have been killed by the exploding airbags, and several others have been injured. NHTSA closed a probe into the problem in 2009 without taking action.

Image Credit: Associated Press

2015 Porsche 911 GTS widens your rear-engined choices

Posted Nov 20th 2014 6:59PM

2015 Porsche 911 GTS

"Porsche needs to offer more versions of the 911" is not a phrase you'll hear uttered often. Not with 15 versions already in the catalog. But with the opening of this year's LA Auto Show, Porsche has introduced four more to bring the total up to nineteen variants. And more are no doubt on the way.

What you're looking at is the new Porsche 911 GTS, which has grown from one model in the previous generation to four. Buyers will be able to choose between rear- or all-wheel drive and between coupe and cabriolet body-styles, but either way they'll be looking at a 3.8-liter flat six with 430 horsepower. That slots it in between the base Carrera and the GT3, but unlike the hardcore latter, it can be had with choice of manual or dual-clutch transmission – bringing the available configurations of 911 GTS up to eight.

Spec the DCT and you'll be reaching 60 in as little as 3.8 seconds, but the pleasure won't come cheap: prices range from $114,200 for the rear-drive coupe to $132,800 for the all-wheel-drive cabrio, plus another $995 for delivery. But for that much scratch you also get the Powerkit, Sport Chrono package, wider track, lower suspension, Xenon headlamps, Alcantara trim, 20-inch alloys and more all thrown in as standard.

Infiniti's Detroit concept to be 'very, very, very, very close' to new Q60

Posted Nov 20th 2014 6:41PM

2014 Infiniti Q60

Add one more vehicle to the tally of reveals slated for the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Alfonso Albaisa, executive design director at Infiniti, has confirmed that the marque will be showing a new concept on January 13, the second media day.

More importantly, though, this concept won't be another flight of fancy like many of Infiniti's past show cars. Instead, it will foreshadow the arrival of a replacement for one of its oldest vehicles, the Q60, a model better known as the G37 Coupe.

"On January 13, you're going to see a concept car that's very, very, very, very close to the next Q60," Albaisa told Motor Trend. There isn't much to go on beyond that, sadly, although we are free to speculate.

Infiniti's past would indicate that the Q60 would carry on its role as a two-door version of the Q50 sedan, with styling influenced by its four-door sibling. While that makes sense, there's also an argument to be made for departing from the Q50's styling in favor of a more expressive look that could allow the two-door model to stand out.

Whichever avenue Infiniti chooses, we'll have an even better idea in just a few short months.
Related Gallery2014 Infiniti Q60
2014 Infiniti Q602014 Infiniti Q602014 Infiniti Q602014 Infiniti Q602014 Infiniti Q602014 Infiniti Q602014 Infiniti Q602014 Infiniti Q60

News Source: Motor Trend

Image Credit: Infiniti

Mullen 700e proves there's no coda for some EV brands

Posted Nov 20th 2014 6:19PM

Mullen 700e Coda EV at LA 2014

"Coda did a good job developing the car ... but when they got to the starting line, it died." – Richard Curtis

Let's get this out of the way right up front: the "new" Mullen 700e is not a whole lot different than the long-expired Coda Sedan, the all-electric version it's based on. Actually, "based on" is too generous. The 700e you see above is really just the Coda EV with different badges. When the 700e goes on sale, it will have some updates from the original Coda, notably in the battery, but if you didn't like the Coda before, you probably won't like the 700e now.

That doesn't bother Richard Curtis Jr., the consolidated president of Mullen Technologies. Previously a Coda dealer in California (he also sold Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt plug-in vehicles), Curtis said that when the Coda Sedan was available it sold well. "Coda did a good job developing the car," he said. "[They spent] $400 million, it's a nice car, it worked well but when they got to the starting line, it died." Curtis said he still gets multiple emails or calls every day from people asking if they can buy a Coda.

Which brings us to the Mullen 700e that's on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week. Curtis and some partners bought the assets from Coda Automotive for an undisclosed amount (it was "a bargain," Curtis said) a while back and has since sold about 50 of the leftover cars. Coda Cars had interest from potential manufacturing partners in Turkey (cancelled because of the Syria situation) and China (also cancelled) before it was sold to Mullen about three months ago. That's why Coda Cars is now a Mullen Technologies company, and why the EV bears the Mullen 700e badge.

Mullen and Lishen are working on a 200-mile, 50-kWh pack.

The two vehicles on display here in LA are still basically Coda vehicles, but Curtis told AutoblogGreen that once the decision to restart production has been made, new vehicles could be rolling off the line in 90 days from the former Coda plant in Harbin, China. Looking forward, Curtis says that US production could happen as the volume goes up. "We've talked to a few different states about building in their states and maybe giving us an incentive," he said, naming Michigan and Nevada.

Those new cars will have bigger batteries, still made by Lishen. While the original cars has a 31-kWh battery pack, the 700e will have a 40-kWh pack and Mullen and Lishen are working on a 50-kWh pack. Other difference include 16-inch low rolling resistance tires (instead of 17-inch low profile tires) and undercladding on the back end. Those changes turn the original 125-mile car into a 150-mile car, Curtis said, and with the new 40-kWh pack, it's over 180 miles. With the 50 kWh, that jumps to over 200 miles. Curtis also said that he was going to look at revised design sketches for the new vehicle during the show and that, "When we finally go into production, we'll have a new front and back."

Curtis said that Mullen still has 85 old cars that are just waiting on new battery packs. When they go on sale, the price tag will look a lot like the Coda's, too. "We're going to try to price it at what the original car was priced at," Curtis said. For the record, that vehicle started at $44,900 before the MSRP was dropped to $39,900.

News Source: Mullen Motors

Volkswagen Golf R 400 Concept still makes us swoon

Posted Nov 20th 2014 6:00PM

Volkswagen Golf R400 Concept

We know, we know – this hot little guy isn't really new or anything. Volkswagen first rolled out the Golf R 400 concept in Beijing earlier this year, and since its debut, we've heard rumors that the German automaker might-perhaps-maybe-hopefully build the thing. Its showing here in Los Angeles simply marks the first time it's debuting in America, and honestly, we can't get enough. So here it is, again. Hello, Golf R 400 – we love you.

And what's not to love? What starts as a normal Golf R gets better with a more aggressive appearance, big wheels, some tasteful neon yellow accents, and a whole mess of power. The original concept packed 395 horsepower from an overblown 2.0-liter turbo-four, though the most recent reports suggest a production version could produce over 400 hp. To keep it all in line, the concept has all-wheel drive. And inside, it's the same functional, comfortable Golf we've always loved.

There's nothing left to say, really. We love this car, and you should, too. Check it out in the gallery above.

2015 Lexus LS gets tiny tweaks to try to keep up in LA

Posted Nov 20th 2014 5:40PM

2015 Lexus LS460

The 2015 model-year updates for the LS are certainly minor, but at least Lexus isn't letting its flagship sedan languish completely.

The biggest change for the revised model is an improved infotainment system with an updated navigation and dynamic guidelines for the backup camera. Lexus' Enform App Suite also allows owners to remotely control some of the vehicle's functions, including the door locks, ignition and climate control settings.

Among the litany of incredibly small tweaks, the dome lights now use LEDs, and the F Sport model that includes features like a sport-tuned air suspension and 19-inch forged wheels gets an added badge at the rear. The changes have increased the turning circle by 3.9 inches for models with the standard suspension and 18-inch wheels.

All of the changes are definitely minor, but hopefully they'll sustain the posh motor until its next iteration is ready.
Related Gallery2015 Lexus LS460: LA 2014
2015 Lexus LS460: LA 20142015 Lexus LS460: LA 20142015 Lexus LS460: LA 20142015 Lexus LS460: LA 20142015 Lexus LS460: LA 20142015 Lexus LS460: LA 20142015 Lexus LS460: LA 20142015 Lexus LS460: LA 2014

News Source: Lexus

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2015 Nissan Murano and Juke priced, Color Studio to breed bad ideas

Posted Nov 20th 2014 5:19PM

2015 Nissan Juke Color Studio

Nissan has released basic pricing information on its upcoming Murano, as well as detailed pricing on the refreshed Juke crossover at the 2014 LA Auto Show. The Japanese company also announced a new "color studio" for the Juke, which just reeks of bad ideas.

First, let's talk money. The flashy, redesigned Murano crossover will kick off at $29,650, not including an $885 destination charge. While the new CUV will begin arriving in dealers on December 5, Nissan opted out of providing more detailed pricing data, including information about trim levels and other optional extras.

It did no such thing with the Juke, though. The freshened 2015 model starts at $20,250 for a base Juke S, and climbs from there. The SV trim adds $1,050 to the price while the SL starts at $25,240. All-wheel drive adds $1,850 to the S and SV models and $1,700 to SL. If you're the sporting sort, the Juke Nismo starts at $24,830 while the Nismo RS rings up at $28,020. Adding an Xtronic continuously variable transmission and all-wheel-drive to the Nismo models increases the price by $2,400 and $2,000, respectively.

And now, the Nissan Color Studio. We'll admit, there are some among the Autoblog staff that question this new feature, which gives customers an extreme degree of control when it comes to the styling of their Juke. For a price, Nissan will allow customers to choose individual colors for ten different parts of the Juke, including the rear spoiler, mirror caps, headlight surrounds, door sills and the wheels. While a fashionable mind might be able to create something rather cool, the potential for abuse here is extremely high. Check out the inset image to see what we mean.

Scroll down for Nissan's announcement on Juke and Murano pricing, as well as details on the color studio.

News Source: Nissan, Nissan Color Studio

Image Credit: Nissan, Live images copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Audi A7 Sportback H-Tron Quattro packs plug-in hydrogen powertrain

The Name Is Almost As Complicated As The Technology

Posted Nov 20th 2014 4:59PM

Audi A7 H-Tron

If you think a plug-in diesel hybrid is an expensive proposition, just wait until you hear details about the just-revealed Audi A7 Sportback H-Tron Quattro. The "H" in H-Tron, as you might guess, stands for hydrogen, so say hello to a new concept that combines a plug-in battery system with a hydrogen fuel cell. Yeah, exactly.

Let's start with the numbers. On the plug-in side, the new H-Tron has an 8.8-kWh lithium-ion battery that can power the car for up to 31 miles on battery power. With electric motors on both axles – it's a Quattro, after all, but a through-the-road hybrid with electronic torque distribution management – the A7 H-Tron uses a hydrogen fuel cell and four (!) H2 tanks to offer about 62 miles per gallon equivalent. Audi says the overall fuel cell stack efficiency is "as high as 60 percent" while the electric motors operate at 95 percent efficiency.

Efficiently turning all of that electricity into movement means the A7 Sportback H-Tron Quattro has a total power output of 398.3 pound-feet of torque. The 4,299-pound concept can allegedly go from 0-62 miles per hour in 7.9 seconds and has a top speed of 112 mph. The car's total range is 311 miles.

The A7 H-Tron is not the first plug-in hydrogen vehicle concept. That title goes to the Ford HySeries Edge. Mazda also considered putting a hydrogen range extender in the Mazda5 plug-in van.
Related GalleryAudi A7 H-Tron: LA 2014
Audi A7 H-Tron: LA 2014Audi A7 H-Tron: LA 2014Audi A7 H-Tron: LA 2014Audi A7 H-Tron: LA 2014Audi A7 H-Tron: LA 2014Audi A7 H-Tron: LA 2014Audi A7 H-Tron: LA 2014Audi A7 H-Tron: LA 2014

News Source: Audi

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Ford, GM still doing new business with Takata amidst airbag crisis

Posted Nov 20th 2014 4:41PM

Germany Japan Automotive Supplier

Lengthy vehicle development times make it difficult for automakers to cut and run from the supplier.

You might expect automakers to be fleeing any connection with beleaguered supplier Takata in the wake of the company's exploding airbag inflator crisis. After all, with a Senate hearing, pending lawsuit, plummeting stock value and demand for a national recall, the tier-one supplier isn't at its strongest right now. However, years of cooperation mean that automakers are standing by Takata, and necessity may be playing a role, as well.

About 39 percent of Takata's business comes from airbags, and seatbelts make up another significant chunk of the operation too, says Bloomberg. The long-term relationships and lengthy vehicle development times make it difficult for automakers to cut and run from the supplier. "Takata has so much product breadth that I don't really see that they could just disappear," said AutoPacific analyst Dave Sullivan to Bloomberg.

For example, Takata helped develop the unique front center airbag with General Motors in models like the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave. Outside of safety tech, it is also a partner with Ford on the adaptive steering system available on the upcoming 2015 Edge.

These long-lasting partnerships make change difficult now that there's a problem. According to Reuters, automakers claim it would take a year or longer to set up with a different supplier for replacement airbag inflators. Switching to a completely different part for the repairs might not be a viable option either, because of the engineering time needed.

BMW is taking action, though. According to Reuters, the Bavarian brand is working with the supplier to move inflator production from Monclova, Mexico, to a Takata factory in Freiburg, Germany. The Mexican plant may be the source of some of the faulty parts.

News Source: Bloomberg, Reuters

Image Credit: Jens Meyer / AP Photo

Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 concept suggests a diesel off-road future

Posted Nov 20th 2014 4:20PM

Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept

"It takes the Colorado to a whole new place." – Mark Reuss

The Chevrolet Colorado looks set to gain a more capable off-road version, with the company previewing a potential design direction with a ruggedized concept Wednesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Called the Colorado ZR2, the concept brings back the name used on off-road-tuned S-10 and Blazer models in the 1990s and 2000s. The ZR2 has a track that's four inches wider than the Colorado Z71, which is currently the line's most capable off-roader. The ZR2 is fitted with a new grille, power-dome hood, custom wheel flares and off-road-style fascia that reduces overhang and has flip-out aluminum tow hooks. It's all slathered in an outdoorsy hue dubbed Cyprus Green.

The are electronic locking front and rear differentials, skid plates and mono-tube coilover shock absorbers. It all rolls (or crawls) on 275/65R18 off-road tires wrapped around custom 18-inch aluminum wheels. There's also a spare tire assembly mounted in the bed, which has a spray-in liner and 48-inch lift jack should things go afoul on the trail.

"It takes the Colorado to a whole new place," Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president of global product development, said at the reveal.

Power comes from the 2.8-liter Duramax diesel engine making 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. This engine will arrive later in the year in the production Colorado.

While the ZR2 remains only a concept, it suggests a new path for the Colorado – one we hope Chevy decides to take.

Galpin Auto Sports and Fisker turn the Mustang into a Rocket in LA [w/video]

Posted Nov 20th 2014 4:00PM

Galpin-Fisker Rocket

Galpin Fisker Rocket - rear fascia closeupGalpin Auto Sport and Henrik Fisker made big promises about the Rocket before its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show today, calling it the "ultimate American muscle car." Now that this 725-horsepower carbon-fiber Ford Mustang has officially been revealed, we've now got a chance to see if their vision backs up all the bluster.

The Rocket is based off the latest 2015 Mustang, but the entire exterior design has been substantially reworked by Fisker. "This is a project born out of passion, it's a dream come true, to have the opportunity to 'touch' a Mustang and apply my design ideas to it," he says in the model's announcement.

The biggest changes come up front, where Fisker has added a gaping hexagonal grille with a polished bar running and two nearly hidden driving lights at the top corners. Long nostrils run down each side of the hood, taking their inspiration from the 1968 Shelby GT500. The Rocket's design also emphasizes its scalloped sides, which run back to functional ducts at the rear to cool the Brembo Grand Turismo brakes. When checking out the Rocket from the rear, it's easy to spot the wider fenders that are beautifully blended into the integrated spoiler. The interior has been left mostly alone beyond some eye-grabbing red leather and carbon-fiber trim.

Under the hood, Galpin spokesperson Nathan Hoyt has confirmed to Autoblog that the Rocket employs a 5.0-liter V8 with a Whipple supercharger which can be called to attention with a six-speed manual gearbox.

It took only a few months for the vehicle to go from conception to reality. Fisker showed Galpin President Beau Boeckmann early sketches at this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, and the two parties went from there. "When Henrik showed me his ideas, I got chills - it's literally the most beautiful Mustang I have ever seen," says Boeckmann in the company's release.

Production is set to begin in December, with deliveries starting in early 2015. There's no set production total in mind for now, but Hoyt tells Autoblog that the price will be "just over $100,000." Scroll down to read all of the details about Fisker and Galpin's Rocket.

Fisker-Galpin Rocket | 2014 LA Auto Show

News Source: Galpin Auto Sports

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2016 Jaguar F-Type prowls the floor with new manual and AWD options

Posted Nov 20th 2014 3:40PM

2016 Jaguar F-Type

The Jaguar F-Type has become an instant enthusiast favorite for its alluring design, powerful, sonorous engines and rewarding handling. In short, it's a worthy successor to the iconic mid-century E-Type. But Jaguar hasn't been sitting idly, and it's continuing to refine and enhance the F-Type with subtle yet significant enhancements, including a bunch that are debuting this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The 2016 model year brings with it all-wheel drive, which will be standard on 550-horsepower F-Type R models. AWD will be optional on mid-level F-Type S models, which run the 380-hp V6. The system sends all of the supercharged engine's torque to the rear axle in default mode, but it can also be split with up to 50 percent going to the front axle when needed. Jaguar has even added subtle visual differentiators to the the AWD models, fitting them with body-colored sills and a new hood design. The penalty? the AWD system adds about 176 pounds to the curb weight.

The F-Type also gets an available six-speed manual transmission for 2016 on V6 variants with rear-wheel drive. While obviously adding a more interactive driving character, the close-ratio manual is about 22 pounds lighter than the automatic gearbox. Jaguar has also given all F-Type models electric power steering, using a stiffer steering shaft to maintain the hydraulic setup's connected feel with the road.

The 2016 models will be available in the spring, and pricing will be announced closer to launch.

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