Archive for November, 2012

BMW i8 Concept

BMW i8 Concept

At the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, BMW showed the latest iterations of its i8 Concept plug-in hybrid sports car and the i3 Concept electric city car.

BMW has shown off several examples of these two electric cars at past auto shows. This time, the company insists that the two vehicles on display here are very close to the final designs of the upcoming production versions.

Veloster C3 Roll Top Concept

Hyundai Veloster C3 Roll Top Concept

Hyundai unveiled a concept vehicle at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show called the Veloster C3 Roll Top Concept.


2014 Acura RLX

If you’re experiencing déjà vu right now, we don’t blame you. What you’re seeing here is a near production-ready version of the 2014 Acura RLX, which premiered in concept form mere months ago at the 2012 New York Auto Show.

RLX will replace the slow-selling RL as Acura’s flagship sedan. Though designed to have a spacious interior, RLX’s exterior dimensions aren’t much larger than those of the brand’s volume TL midsize sedan.

Two drivetrains will be available. One will have front-wheel drive and a 310-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Acura is projecting this setup to achieve 20 mpg city/31 mpg highway. Front-drive RLX models will use Acura’s new Precision All-Wheel Steer, which automatically and independently adjusts the left and right rear-wheel steering angles to improve handling response.

The other will have Acura’s new Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive). This system uses a series of electric motors to provide power to the wheels and a boost to the 3.5-liter V6. Combined output is estimated at 370 horsepower. Acura’s fuel economy target is 30 mpg city/30 mpg highway. We’ll see about that.


2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

The 2014 Spark EV trades the “regular” Spark’s 1.25-liter 4-cylinder engine for a 130-horsepower electric motor. Chevy says the Spark EV will accelerate from 0-60 in less than 8 seconds. Power comes from a lithium-ion battery pack that will have “more than” 20-kWh of capacity. Chevy did not announce the Spark EV’s range.

The company claims Spark EV will be the first electric vehicle to be available with SAE Combo DC Fast Charging capability, which allows the car to get a 80-percent battery charge in 20 minutes. The car can also be charged on AC 240V and AC 120V electricity. It is possible to charge the car in about 7 hours using a dedicated 240V outlet.

Full pricing was not announced, but GM says Spark EV will sell for less than $25,000 after all available tax incentives. The Spark EV will be sold in California, Oregon, Canada, and other selected markets globally.


2014 Fiat 500L

At the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, Fiat unveiled the new 500L 4-door compact car and two variations on its existing 500: the high-performance 500c Abarth convertible and the electric-powered 500e.

The new vehicle, representing the second nameplate in Fiat’s lineup, is the 500L. It is a 4-door crossover-like wagon that uses the same engine as the Abarth, a high-performance variant of the company’s 500 minicar. That powerplant is paired with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed dual-clutch transmission that behaves much like an automatic. With seating for 5 passengers, it is 26 inches longer and 6 inches taller and wider than a standard 500. It is available in base Easy and top-end Trekking models. The off-road themed Trekking model includes 17-inch wheels, unique front and rear bumpers, flared fenders, and a two-tone interior—though somewhat curiously, all-wheel drive is not offered. Chrysler’s optional Uconnect 5.0 infotainment system features a 5-inch touchscreen, a wireless cell-phone link, streaming audio capability, and voice control. Uconnect 6.5 is an upgraded version, and it boasts a larger, 6.5-inch screen with navigation and a media hub with an SD card reader. The 500L will be available in mid-2013.


2014 Subaru Forester

Subaru continues to be a hot commodity among shoppers. Much of that success comes from the popularity of its compact Forester SUV. In an effort to keep that momentum going, the company unveiled a redesigned model at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The 2014 Subaru Forester features updated styling, increased passenger and cargo room, and a new top-line engine. Like most Subarus, the 2014 Forester comes standard with the brand’s Symmetrical all-wheel drive. It will have better off-road chops than most of its rivals due to a tall 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

Forester wouldn’t be a Subaru if it didn’t have a horizontally opposed “boxer” engine. The standard motor carries over from the 2013 model, a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder. It pairs with a new 6-speed manual transmission (which replaces the previous 5-speed) or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that behaves like an automatic. Subaru is projecting this engine to achieve 24 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway. Models equipped with this engine are called 2.5i. They are subdivided into Base, Premium, Limited, and Touring editions.


2014 Jaguar XFR-S

Jaguar took the wraps off its most powerful sedan ever at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The 2014 Jaguar XFR-S boasts a 550-horsepower 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission. The British maker says the car will go from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds and achieve an electronically limited top speed of 186 mph.

Engineers tightened the front and rear suspensions by 30 percent. A new rear subframe is necessary to handle the high levels of torque running to the rear wheels. Jaguar’s Adaptive Dynamics system monitors and counteracts body lean, which is especially useful when carving tight corners. Large ventilated disc brakes bring things to a halt.

Also on display at the 2012 LA Auto Show was the 2014 Jaguar F-Type. Originally unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, the F-Type is a 2-seat convertible powered by either a supercharged V6 or V8 engine.

Land Rover is also a part of the Jaguar family, and the purveyor of high-end off-roaders showed its redesigned 2013 Range Rover. Billed as the first all-aluminum SUV, the new “Rangie” weighs some 500 pounds less than its predecessor. This should translate into much improved fuel economy—up to 5 mpg in both the city and on the highway.


2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series

Mercedes-Benz introduced a diverse collection of vehicles at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, including a high-performance SUV, a new low-production version of the SLS AMG “gullwing” sports car, and a design study showing what a model-year 2025 version of the brand’s iconic G-Class might look like.

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG is powered by a 550-horsepower 5.5-liter turbocharged V8 engine. It can reach a reported top speed of 174 mph. Other specific equipment includes an AMG-tuned air suspension as well as a transfer case for the standard all-wheel-drive system that distributes torque in a 40:60 front/rear split.

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series is the latest version of the brand’s 2-seat sports car. It boasts a 622-horsepower 6.3-liter V8 engine that can accelerate the car from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Other highlights include standard carbon-ceramic brakes, adaptive performance suspension, 20-inch forged alloy wheels, and newly developed Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. It will go on sale in the U.S. in the summer of 2013.


2014 Nissan GT-R

Where better than car-crazy California to introduce a performance car? Maybe that’s why Nissan presented the updated 2014 GT-R at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.

GT-R’s changes for 2014 include improved engine response in the mid- and upper-rpm ranges, increased body rigidity, and suspension changes that lower the car’s center of gravity. Nissan says the tweaks improve high-speed handling and offer more “refined” ride comfort. There are also interior changes, which include a new Premium interior package with hand-stitched Amber Red front-seat appointments.


2014 Ford Fiesta

Ford introduced the 2014 version of its Fiesta subcompact at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. New features include two turbocharged EcoBoost engines and a new version of the MyFord Touch system.

The first engine is Ford’s new EcoBoost 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine. Yes, you read that right. Output is an estimated 123 horsepower. (The 2013 model’s standard 1.6-liter 4-cylinder is rated at 120 horsepower.)

The second engine is an EcoBoost 1.6-liter four. It will come standard in the high-performance Fiesta ST. Horsepower is estimated at 197. Fiesta ST will only be available as a 4-door hatchback with a 6-speed manual transmission.

The 2014 Fiesta gets MyFord Touch for the first time. It features a smaller touchscreen than the system used in other Ford products. It will come with the latest version of Ford’s Sync system, which allows for hands-free control of certain cell phones and music players. The system is said to allow for easier Bluetooth phone pairing, improved voice recognition, simpler command structures, and easier destination entry for the available navigation system.

Look for the 2014 Ford Fiesta to go on sale in calendar 2013.

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