2015 Los Angeles Auto Show - Visitor’s Guide
The auto show season is upon us, and Los Angeles is one of the biggest stops on the schedule. As the capital of west coast car culture, L.A. is the perfect venue for international automakers to make a splash before rolling into 2016. After a three-day access period for press and trade members, the ticket-holding public will be invited into a 760,000-square-foot exhibit space to get up close and personal with latest and greatest metal from around the world.
In total, 30 world debuts and 50 unveilings are expected this year, including new production cars and concepts from Alfa Romeo, BMW, Bentley, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru and Volkswagen. Themes for this year include electric drivetrains, crossover body styles, high performance capabilities, and cutting-edge technology.
Do you keep your finger on the pulse of the automotive industry? Are you thinking about buying a new car in the future, and want to get a preview of what’s headed to dealerships? Is there some new model that you absolutely must see in real life? Then continue reading, and we’ll give you the lowdown on how to attend, what to expect, and all the hottest four-wheeled machines destined for the L.A. limelight.
Updated 10/22/2015: Several new debuts slated for the 2015 L.A. Auto Show were announced, including the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage, 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, and 2016 Nissan Sentra, plus a new concept from Volvo. Continue reading for the details.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 L.A. Auto Show.
What, Where, And When
Things To Do
If you consider yourself an automotive enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to attend a major show like this one. The lights, the shiny new body panels, the excited chatter about specs and figures – it’s all pretty intoxicating.
Throughout the venue, you’ll find numerous large booths dedicated to individual manufacturers and their latest offerings. You’ll be able to get right next to the cars, take pictures, sit inside the cabin, and talk to manufacturer representatives.
If you’re thinking about buying a new car, the L.A. Auto Show is a fantastic place to start your research. Not only does it offer an early preview of what’s headed to dealerships, you won’t have some salesman breathing down your neck as you browse. And with the number of brands in attendance, it’s easy to bounce between rival models.
Looking for some hands-on experience? Attendees can sign up for test drives with certain participating manufacturers, and even bring along passengers and kids if desired. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Check this page for details, which will include a list of models available for test drive sometime in early November.
And while you won’t be able to buy a car at the show, there will be plenty of opportunities to purchase manufacturer merchandise and even aftermarket accessories.
Another great way to experience the show is with a tour. You can reserve a 90-minute walk-through to see all the highlights and have your questions answered by an “automotive expert,” while groups of 20 or more can submit a preferred itinerary for something a little more customized. You can find details at the bottom of the page here.
There are also tons of other car-related activities on hand for your auto-oriented enjoyment. For example, last year Pirelli offered free stints in a F1 driving simulator, complete with pedals, a seat, and a wheel. Several off-road excursions and intentional contact may have occurred.
Finally, there will be a variety of places offering food and drinks, both inside the convention center and in the surrounding area. Anyone looking for something to do after the show will be happy with the plethora of bars and restaurants within walking distance of the Convention Center.
The Venue And Transportation
As in years past, the 2015 L.A. Auto Show will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, which is located in downtown L.A. at 1201 South Figueroa Street, approximately 30 to 45 minutes from the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
There are a variety of hotels located within easy walking distance of the Convention Center. However, odds are you’ll want to rent a car to check out the rest that L.A. has to offer. If that’s the case, be forewarned – I lived in L.A. for over a decade, and every story you’ve heard about the driving experience in that city is true. But don’t fear – just stay on the defensive, and at the end of your trip, you’ll be able brag about how you survived L.A. traffic!
If you don’t want to walk, there will be plenty of parking at the Convention Center ($15/day Monday through Thursday, $20/day Friday through Sunday). Valet parking will be available for $30 on weekdays and $35 on weekends. And since this is L.A., electric vehicle recharging stations will be offered as well. Bicycle parking is also an alternative. If you prefer public transportation, you can find details on bus and rail services here.
You can find more information on parking and transportation here.
Show Schedule And Tickets
Public access to the L.A. Auto Show will be between Friday, November 20th, and Sunday, November 29th. Hours of admission vary day to day, but generally fall between 9 AM and 10 PM (check out the full list here).
Adult single-day admission is $12 for Monday through Thursday and $15 for Friday through Sunday. Single-day child tickets are $5, and are good any day for attendees aged 6 to 12 years old. Kids under 6 get in for free. Attendees over the age of 65 can purchase single-day tickets for $10, good for any day.
There’s also the “AficionAuto Pass” for $85, which offers unlimited access to the show and 15 percent off show merchandise purchases.
Anyone looking for early access is encouraged to attend the Preview Party on Thursday, November 19th, which offers food, drinks, and a look at a few of the major debuts, all before the doors open Friday morning. More information on the Preview Party can be found here. General admission to the Preview Party is $175, and includes two drink tickets, live entertainment, and access to the vehicle debuts. All-access passes to the Preview Party are $275, and include the same benefits as a GA ticket, but adds admittance to a private party with hors d’oeuvres and drinks throughout the evening. The Preview Party will take place between 7 PM and 10 PM. All-access pass holders will gain even earlier access to the vehicle debuts at 6 PM. Proceeds go to benefit K-12 music education programs.
Tours are $65 per adult and $25 per child. Children under 6 are free.
First responders (police, fire, ambulance) are offered discounted $9 admission on Tuesday, November 24th, while members of the military are offered discounted $12 admission on Sunday, November 29th.
You can purchase tickets and find more information by clicking here.
If you’re still on the fence, don’t worry – the Convention Center is enormous, and general admission tickets for the show won’t sell out.
Crossovers And SUVs
Originally seen in concept form in Geneva earlier this year, Infiniti has confirmed it will bring a production version of the QX30 compact crossover to L.A. for its big global reveal. Infiniti has been tight lipped with details, but judging from the concept, the QX30 will be based on the same platform as the Q30 hatchback and come with several SUV-esque details, such as a taller stance, larger wheels, and muscular body panels. Expect luxury appointment inside and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood.
Fortune favors the bold, or at least that’s the approach many automakers seem to be taking these days when it comes to introducing new niche models. One of the latest comes from Range Rover, which saw fit to take the top off its Evoque compact crossover to create this odd convertible off-roader. Beyond the absence of a roof, the rest of the Evoque is intact, including the luxurious interior and highly capable drivetrain and AWD system. Production will be limited, although exact numbers are still forthcoming.
First put into production in 2006, the CX-9 is well past due for an update, but it might get just that this November. Rumor has it the second-generation SUV will soon break cover in L.A., with sales beginning as early as the first quarter of 2016 for the 2017 model year. We expect revised styling, a new interior that draws inspiration from the Mazda6, and a SkyActiv 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, plus all that characteristic Mazda driving fun.
To coincide with Mercedes’ latest naming practices, the current GL full-size SUV is slated for retirement in favor of the new GLS, expected to bow in L.A. next month. Despite bearing a different name, the GLS is essentially an updated GL with a revised exterior and interior. The drivetrain, however, will be unaltered over the current GL, and will include a variety of turbocharged gasoline units and one turbodiesel. Standard equipment will include 4Matic AWD.
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Note: current Mitsubishi Outlander Sport pictured.
Although it no longer builds cars in the U.S., Mitsubishi is still determined to sell cars in the U.S., and given our ongoing love affair with crossovers, it makes sense to bring an updated Outlander Sport to L.A. Specifics on what’s in store for the CUV are mostly non-existent, but rest assured Mitsubishi will do everything it can to keep the units moving. We’re expecting the introduction of new design language and some new equipment. Considering last year’s drivetrain update, the greasy bits under the hood should carryover for 2016.
Sedans, Hatchbacks, And Luxury Cars
Although it’s looking like the impressive Avenir won’t get a production version, we’ll at least get some of the concept’s finely sculpted styling in the 2017 Buick LaCrosse. Beyond touting new design language that will see adoption across the Buick line by 2018, not a whole lot is known about the next-generation LaCrosse. The chassis will be lighter and stronger than before, and will include a new five-link rear suspension. Inside will be a redesigned, high-quality interior, while we expect options for both a four- and six-cylinder engine for motivation, plus an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Hyundai has confirmed the world premiere of the next-generation 2017 Elantra compact sedan for L.A. The exterior is tweaked with Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 language, while the interior should boast a good deal of equipment and technology for its segment. Drivetrain options are currently unknown, but we’re expecting an efficient, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, such as can be found on the 2016 Hyundai Tucson.
Note: current Mitsubishi Mirage pictured.
Mitsubishi’s affordable subcompact gas-sipper, the Mirage, debuted stateside just a few years back, but it went missing for the 2016 model year, leading many to speculate on its U.S. retirement. Now, however, the Japanese automaker has announced the Mirage will return for the 2017 model year, and we’ll get a look at it in L.A. According to a report from Car and Driver posted late last August, Mitsubishi will refresh the Mirage’s chassis and drivetrain, and we expect to see new styling and possibly the upcoming four-door sedan body style as well. The 2017 Mirage should go on sale next spring.
Note: current Nissan Sentra pictured.
With the seventh generation originally released in 2012 for the 2013 model year, Nissan is bringing a mid-cycle refresh for the midsize Sentra. So far, we’ve seen a variety of equipment updates for the sedan, and sales numbers remain strong, but this is a segment that demands constant evolution. Over the summer, Fred Diaz, Nissan’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing in the U.S., told Automotive News that the new Sentra would be “incredibly freshened” and “almost all new.” Beyond that, details are hazy, but expect new styling in line with the Altima (or possibly the Euro-spec Pulsar), plus more tech and equipment.
The S90 ended production in 1998 and was replaced by the S80, but now it’s looking like Volvo is making moves to resurrect the nameplate for the 2017 model year. Thanks to leaked images of a scale model S90, we know the new luxury sedan will take styling cues from the 2013 Concept Coupe, with far slicker lines and a more svelte shape. Meanwhile, both the interior and the drivetrain will draw from Volvo’s XC90 SUV, with the former including Nappa leather and birch wood trim, and the latter including the range-topping 400-horsepower T8 Hybrid.
Sports Cars And Supercars
First introduced way back in 1966, Fiat is preparing to resurrect the 124 Spider nameplate, this time with underpinnings sourced from the unflappable Mazda MX-5. We’ve seen a few spy shots of a camouflaged mule out for testing, and it’s rumored Fiat is saving the big reveal for L.A. Expect a bit of Italian flair added to the exterior and interior, plus the possibility of the 500 Abarth’s turbocharged 1.4-liter engine under the hood. Will it have the goods to best the Mazda? We’ll have to wait and see.
To bridge the gap between the quintessential Honda Type R and bleeding-edge techno-fest NSX, it appears as though Honda is brewing up a new roadster, and it’s rumored it’s headed to L.A. this year. The automaker isn’t talking, but thanks to a set of patent images that spilled onto the Internet over the summer, we know the new sports car will draw styling inspiration from the second-gen NSX. Hopefully we’ll get further details at the show.
The Mercedes SL nameplate has been around since 1954, with the latest, sixth-generation debuting in 2012, and to keep it looking fresh, a facelifted version is currently in the works. Spy shots of a test mule’s camouflaged exterior and interior popped up over the summer, leading many to believe the next model might debut at this year’s L.A. Auto Show. Expect a new front and rear fascia and a revised interior, while the drivetrain will most likely get a modest bump in output.
Launched earlier this year, the Cayman GT4 offered everything good about the original Cayman, but more – more aero, more driver feedback, more power, and more speed. Now, Stuttgart is offering an even newer evolution of the Cayman, and it pulls no punches when it comes to its intentions. It’s called the Clubsport, and it’s essentially an out-of-the-box track-only racer for homologated series like the Pirelli World Challenge, Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, and Ultra 94 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada, among others.
Scion Concept Car
Scion just released two new vehicles this year, including the iM five-door hatchback and iA four-door sedan. Now, the Toyota sub-brand is looking to add a third in the near future, and we’ll get a peek at what’s in store with a new concept at the L.A. Auto Show. Details are currently non-existent, but expect a production version of whatever Scion has planned for the 2017 model year (rumor has it we may see a new compact crossover to replace the aging xB).
Volvo Time Machine
Back to the Future Day was October 21st, 2015, but on November 18th, Volvo will unveil its new “time machine” concept at the L.A. Auto Show. The concept will be “compatible with the company’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA)”, currently found underneath the popular 2016 XC90 luxury SUV. Volvo also says the concept “has the potential of giving significant time back to drivers.”
So, what exactly does that mean? Volvo declines to go into detail, but does mention “new hardware and software” developed in California. To me, that means only one thing – autonomous technology. Self-driving cars promise to give human pilots the chance to kick back and relax during the commute, and my TopSpeed bucks are on Volvo bringing a futuristic SUV capable of exactly that.
North American Debuts
On November 18th, the Motor Press Guild Motoring Invitational will get underway, and Alfa Romeo will be the featured marque of the event. More importantly, AR will bring a “special vehicle” along for its North American debut. No details are available, but there are really only a handful of possibilities of what’s in store. A new SUV and a new flagship sedan are both in Alfa’s future, but most likely, we’ll see the U.S.-spec Giulia. We already got a taste of the sporty sedan in top-range QV form in Frankfurt, but a full reveal is still forthcoming, and L.A. might be the perfect place for it.
The M4 GTS already made its worldwide debut in Tokyo, but it’s headed to L.A. to introduce itself to U.S. audiences in all its lightened, beefed-up glory.
Jaguar’s first-ever SUV bowed at Frankfurt this year, but considering the body style’s popularity in the U.S. market, it’s no surprise the F-Pace’s next stop is L.A.
Speaking of crossovers, Kia’s next-gen Sportage is also slated for an appearance, fresh of its world debut in Frankfurt.
Check back frequently – we’ll keep this guide updated as new debuts drop before the show.