Each year the Los Angeles Auto Show signals the beginning of the Auto Show season in the automotive industry. The L A show is the first major show that attracts key world and North American introductions for the international auto manufacturers. More recently it has also become the show that features alternative energy powered vehicles most likely electric power. That was the case for 2014, a connected car symposium was heralded the first “Media only” day with a full day of rotating presentations on alternative propulsion and every sort of connected app and configuration one could think of, some available now to other projects that seemed light years away. The BMW i3 was crowned the LA Auto Show’s 2015 Green Car of the Year.
The first honest auto manufacturer presentation came bright and early the following day as Audi unveiled its move toward a design change, well sort of. Marc Lichte, Audi’s Head of Design pulled the wraps off the Prologue concept that takes the present Audi design to an edgier level with sharp character lines and wide muscular shoulders.
Mercedes-Benz reintroduced the prestigious Maybach not as a stand-alone brand but as they said, the Maybach, “is a sub-brand that in the future will provide Mercedes-Benz vehicles in an even more exclusive form”. The Mercedes-Maybach will be the second sub-brand alongside Mercedes-AMG in the Mercedes-Benz line up. As Mercedes puts it, the new Maybach will provide both prestige and exclusivity to customers for whom status is important.
Jaguar announced it will now make all-wheel drive available in their formidable F-Type. All-wheel drive will be standard on the R model while S models will have it listed on the option sheet. And certainly of interest for the true enthusiast, Jaguar noted the V-6 and rear wheel drive F-Type will also have the option of a six-speed manual transmission. Jaguar also dangled temptation in front of enthusiasts with showing off the production version of the Project-7.
While we are in the area, let’s look at the new Land Rover Discovery Sport. The L. A. Auto Show served as the U.S. debut for first member of the new Discovery vehicle family. The Discovery Sport is a versatile premium compact SUV consisting of a body shell combined of both high-strength steel and lightweight aluminum. The Discovery Sport will be powered by a 240hp turbocharged 2.0-liter engine coupled to a nine-speed automatic transmission with standard all-wheel drive. The compact platform will offer optional seven-passenger seating in a “5+2” configuration.
Honda showed North America their entry into a new category, the HR-V, a vehicle that has seen acceptance in other world markets under another name. This venture into the compact crossover market, according to Honda, will offer buyers a new choice in the growing category. The HR-V is based on the Fit platform and will slide in just under the CR-V in size and price. The HR-V offers versatility and function including a rear seat that folds flat into the floor for exceptional cargo space.
Volkswagen continues to offer buyers new and increasingly different vehicles, yet in Los Angeles they pulled the wraps of a vehicle that many buyers ask for but can’t find in the USA car market. That vehicle is the CrossBlue Concept (Blue is VW’s term for being green), a plug-in hybrid crossover vehicle that not only has a 3.2-liter V-6 engine but two electric motors, one at each axle. Beyond the idea of having plenty of cargo and passenger space the CrossBlue is said to produce a whopping 516 lb-ft. of torque and achieve the equivalent of 70-miles per gallon of fuel.
This the first of two reports from the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.