Los Angeles Auto Show

Los Angeles Auto Show

  Los Angeles Auto Show

While the BMW Concept 6-Series Coupe was wowing the audience at the LA Auto Show, the Bavarian automaker snuck out of the back door and released the official details on the new 2012 BMW 650i Convertible .

Scheduled to go on sale in the Spring of 2011 as a 2012 model for the United States, the 650i Convertible was introduced in a rather low-key kind of way, un-BMW –like if we do say so ourselves.

At first glance, the 650i Convertible looks to have taken in the look of the Concept 6-Series Coupe, not surprising if you know that the completely redesigned fascia of the vehicle runs on the entire family tree of the 6-Series. And while they do share some similarities, particularly in the overall design and make-up of the cars, the two vehicles do have their own differences, with the most glaring and obvious of which is that the 650i Convertible has a soft roof top, compared to the hard-top 6-Series Coupe.

There’s more to be learned about the 650i Convertible that BMW has yet to tell us. But we’re optimistic that given the short turnaround between introduction and release in the spring of 2011, we’re confident that BMW will give us all the necessary information we need of the 650i Convertible soon enough.

Update 01/10/2011: BMW has announced pricing for the 650i Convertible at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. The convertible will go on sale at a price of $91,375.

Update 04/04/2011: BMW Australia has announced today prices for the new 6-Series Convertible that will go on sale on 29 May. Pricing starts at $194,300 (or about $201,000 US at the current exchange rates) for the 640i six-cylinder in-line TwinPower Turbo petrol engine and $248,300 ($257,000 US) for the 650i V8 TwinPower Turbo petrol engine.

Hyundai unveiled the sixth-generation Sonata midsize sedan at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show. The car is on sale in three different trim levels: GLS, Limited and SE with the 198 hp version has a starting price of $19,195 for the well-equipped GLS model; the 200-hp SE model starts at $22,595 and the top-of-the-line Limited model is available for $25,295.

The 2011 Sonata will be the first model to be powered by Hyundai’s new Theta II GDI 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with a Gasoline Direct-Injection (GDI) fuel delivery system. The engine is rated at 198 hp (200 hp in the SE version) and 184 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC. A second engine will be added next year, a 2.0-liter Theta II turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine. A 2.4-liter Hybrid Blue Drive version will also be available.

The exterior of the all-new Sonata is long, light and low. The high beltline allows for a long, sleek roofline accented by the third window. A monoform side profile includes flowing lines highlighted by a Hyundai signature chrome accent that spans the length of the car. Normally, this type of trim is only found around the windows. On the new Sonata, this trim extends out from the headlamps, juts up along the hood and through the beltline. The face is bold with a large powerful chrome grille and headlamps that integrate precise details. The stance is completed by 16-, 17- or 18-inch multi-spoke wheels. XM Satellite Radio™, real-time XM NavTraffic, XM Data Services, HD Radio Technology™, Bluetooth®, Touch-screen navigation and iPod®/USB inputs will be offered as standard equipment.

Press release after the jump.

Take a pick among General Motors’ line-up of auto brands when it comes to overall popularity and chances are you’d take a while before picking Buick among them. It’s not the most popular brand by any stretch of the imagination, but thanks to a rejuvenation, Buick is looking like it’s going to be a major player in the mid-size luxury sedan with the 2012 Buick LaCrosse .

Taking the reins from the previous LaCrosse model, the 2012 model looks to take the company to the next level with an all new eAssist system that Buick is proclaiming to improve fuel economy by 25 percent. What’s most impressive about the new LaCrosse is that despite the state-of-the-art system that’s been given to the vehicle, Buick is not giving it an added impetus – separate cost from the vehicle – but rather, is putting the eAssist system as a standard feature in all 2012 models of the LaCrosse.

That, in itself, says a lot about Buick and it’s latest mid-size luxury sedan.

Continued after the jump.

Source: Buick

One of the important events that happens at the LA Auto Show that we are all excited about is the Los Angeles Design Challenge, an annual competition at the LA Auto Show that provides up-and-coming designers with the opportunity to collaborate with an automaker to design a futuristic concept vehicle using a few set requirements. This year, the theme of the challenge is to build a safe and comfortable 2+2 compact car that comes with excellent handling and cutting-edge design and weighs in at no more than 1,000 lbs.

This concept comes from Mercedes-Benz , which, incidentally, was built not far from Los Angeles at the company’s US design headquarters in Carlsbad, California. The vehicle is called the Biome Concept and is described as a vehicle that “grows in a completely organic environment from seeds sown in a nursery”. In layman’s terms, the Biome Concept is pretty much an organic hybrid that was created in complete symbiosis with nature, producing its own oxygen and contributing to the improvement of air quality.

UPDATE 11/26/2010: When the designs for the Los Angeles Design Challenge were entered, no one really expected any of them to see production, but, according to Autocar, Mercedes is looking into using the BIOME Concept as the inspiration for their mid-engined supercar. Mercedes is planning on revealing the concept vehicle in 2015 as a competitor to BMW ’s Vision EfficientDynamics ’ eco-supercar.

Now, we don’t expect the production version to follow the same path as the concept’s creation – nobody’s silly enough to believe that Mercedes can grow the production version from “seeds” as how the concept is supposedly born – but according to Hubert Lee, the man heading Mercedes’ California design studio where the BIOME was conceptualized, certain elements of the concept could be translated to the production version. “We were conscious during its development to ensure it wasn’t too limited or edgy,” he said.

“It had to be do-able without any significant changes.”

Full details and press release after the jump

Source: Mercedes

Mercedes chose to bring the CLS 63 AMG to the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show where they also chose to announce some other plans currently cooking in the Mercedes kitchen.

Ola Kallenius, head of AMG at Mercedes-Benz, announced that the company plans to develop new models that will be placed under the current C-Class. However, they are not talking about models like the A- and B-Class because these models do not exactly fit in the AMG portfolio. One thing is for sure, Mercedes is bringing in a smaller model, and it will be coming in three to four years and will be powered by a smaller engine than the current 5.5 liter V8.

Kallenius didn’t stop there either as the AMG top dog also revealed that the company is planning to incorporate hybrid technology into its product mix. There will also be two Black Series model set to be revealed in the near future, one of which will probably be the Black Series version of the C-Class that was recently caught testing.

Wait, there’s more. Kallenius also confirmed that there will be several SLS AMG versions launched in the next years. These guys really can’t keep any secrets, can they?

Source: Straightline

Honda has unveiled the Fit EV Concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The concept features an all-new plug-in hybrid platform that will be used in Honda’s next-generation, two-motor hybrid technology set to debut in 2012.

The new Fit EV concept is powered by a high-density motor that combines a lithium-ion battery and coaxial electric motor, derived from the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle. This powertrain uses an innovative 3-mode electric drive system which allows the driver to select between Econ, Normal, and Sport to instantly and seamlessly change the driving experience to maximize efficiency or improve acceleration.

The new Honda Fit EV provides an autonomy of 100 miles when fully charged. Battery recharging can be accomplished in less than 12 hours when using a conventional 120-volt outlet, and less than six hours when using a 240-volt outlet.

The EV version is distinguished by unique LED headlights, a chrome front fascia, aerodynamic bumper, clear LED taillights and EV decals. And of course an exclusive Deep Clear Blue Pearl exterior color.

Press release after the jump.

The LA Design Challenge is one of the unquestioned highlights of the LA Auto Show with different automakers showing off their newly-designed concepts that are made based on a “theme” set by the organizers.

This year, the theme was “addressing society’s shift toward minimizing consumption of the earth’s resources by envisioning an efficient, light-weight, four passenger vehicle with a weight limit of 1,000 lbs that is both comfortable and safe, while delivering satisfactory driving performance without sacrificing the styling consumers demand."

Turns out, when it came time to decide on a winner, the judges had such a hard time picking between the Cadillac Aera Concept and the Smart 454 WWT Concept that they just decided to award the top prize to the two cars.

According to the judges, picking a winner was about as hard as it has been in recent years considering the quality of work that was entered. "Deciding this year’s Design Challenge winner was a tremendously difficult decision as the quality of entries has increased throughout the years," the Design Los Angeles judges said. "This year’s winners – the Cadillac Aera and the smart 454 WWT – offer two very different visions of the 1,000 lb. Car, yet are equally as amazing. They are both very expressive of their brand; GM is art and science and smart is playful and fun."

Two winners, huh? Can’t say we saw that coming. While we did think that the Aera was a front-runner, we didn’t expect the smart 454 WWT to actually go home with equal-billing in the top step of the podium.

Press Release after the jump

For what it’s worth, the Smart 454 by Weight Watch Technologies is probably the cutest yet most perplexing entry to the 2010 LA Design Challenge. The billing alone pretty much describes what to expect from the concept vehicle: “West coast fun and innovation meets German technology, design and grannies’ hand knit socks.”

Never though we’d live to see the phrases “West coast fun” and “grannies’ hand knit socks” in the same sentence. In any case, the Smart 454 by Weight Watch Technologies is smart’s official entry to the 2010 LA Design Challenge.

Keeping line with this year’s theme of envisioning an efficient, lightweight 2+2 car that takes into account the growing shift in building vehicles while minimizing consumption of the earth’s resources, the smart 454 uses a Tridion-frame chassis that’s apparently knitted out of carbon fiber by what the company is calling “Smart Granny Robots”. Go figure. Each individual part of the car uses a different material to give each piece a unique set of properties like weight and function. For the windows, fenders, and bumpers, Smart opted to use recyclable plastics while touching them up with ingrained colors. Meanwhile, the 454’s roof uses a thin, but extremely durable textile that boasts of its own different prints and weavings. Probably the work of the granny robots, we think.

The wheels of the 454 WWT are likewise made from carbon fiber with an integrated suspension and with the help of SGR technology, the wheels come equipped with some snazzy and lightweight rims.

Then there’s the matter of assembling and dissembling the car without breaking any sweat. Thanks to a modular “clip-on” construction principal, materials like the doors, the roof, the engine, and even the drive train, become extremely easy to remove or exchange, making the 454 WWT a car that can be customized for any occasion, including granny’s knitting session.

Press Release after the jump

We’ve saved the best for last as the Cadillac Aera has won the 2010 LA Design Challenge! You only need to take one look at this concept car and it becomes painfully obvious that Batman would have scooped one up to add to his list of Bat rides. This is the Cadillac Aera, an amalgamation of Cadillac’s philosophy of “Art and Science” that dives into a whole new world of innovative and ultra lightweight vehicles. Realistically speaking, the chances of ever seeing a car like this at your local Starbucks are as probable as winning 100 lotteries in a single year. Unfortunate, we know.

As General Motors’ entry to the 2010 LA Design Challenge, the Cadillac Aera is a ridiculously lightweight – it weighs 1,000 lbs - 2+2 coupe that takes the boundaries of automotive design and pushes it to levels that are reserved for sci-fi movies.

Taking into consideration the Design Challenge’s requirements of building an efficient, lightweight 2+2 vehicle - weighing no more than 1,000 lbs - that minimizes consumer dependence on natural resources, the Aera’s body is made from a highly advanced structure that uses a 3D lattice, mono-formed frame, a structure that’s eerily similar to configurations found in nature like in the grouping of bubbles. The structure is formed through an alloy utilizing, semi-solid freeform manufacturing that creates a strong yet lightweight frame that’s grown into a single part lattice structure.

Full story and Press Release after the jump.


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