The Volkswagen Golf R will make its U.S. debut next week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, boasting breakneck speed and standard four-wheel drive in a compact package.
The fastest and priciest variant of the popular hatchback, the R will have 290 horsepower, 34 more than the previous model. Torque jumps by 37 pound-feet to 280.
That’s a big bump over 210 horsepower in the GTI, the mainstream go-fast Golf. The R model also distinguishes itself with all-wheel drive, stiffer suspension, unique 18-inch alloy wheels, different bumpers, side skirts, LED lights, and a two-branch exhaust system with four chrome tips.
The improvements extend to internal engine components, says VW, including modifications to the cylinder head, pistons, injection system and turbocharger. Inside the cabin, the R gets standard leather seats and a differentiated instrument panel.
Fans of the Volkswagen Golf in the U.S. have already been...
With all the flashy sheet metal automakers brought to the 2013 L.A. Auto Show competing for attention, it can be difficult to tell what to care about and what will never see production. Brands including BMW, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Honda, Jaguar, Nissan, Hyundai, Infiniti, and Volkswagen all brought concepts in varying forms of reality. Here’s a list of the few worth your time and why.
Jaguar C-X17: Yeah, this one’s coming to production. To be clear, Jaguar hasn’t officially confirmed it. But bring this concept up to anyone with a Jaguar label on their shirt, and you’re met with are more winks and nudges than the back room of city hall.
Consider the facts. Jaguar has a history of showing a "concept" car with a goofy name, only to turn around 18 to 24 months later with a nearly identical specimen ready for sale to the public. This is exactly what it did with the F-Type Coupe -- revealed a day before this year's L.A. Auto Show. We first saw that stunner in...
With eco-friendly cars taking center stage at the 2013 L.A. Auto Show, it was no surprise luxury carmakers wanted to tout their stuff too.
And not just far-off concepts that drivers will need to wait years for, either. BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac each brought production-ready fully electric or plug-in hybrid models.
FOR THE RECORD: Electric vehicles: In the Nov. 23 Business section, an article about new electric cars said the BMW i3 is front-wheel-drive. The BMW i3 is a rear-wheel-drive car. —
It's not hard to see why they chose to do this at the Los Angeles show. In 2012, California accounted for 40% of new electric vehicle sales in the U.S., according to IHS Automotive, based on Polk new vehicle registrations.
Although electric cars still make up a tiny fraction of the overall market, Oliver Hazimeh, a consultant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, says that EV and plug-in hybrid ownership is catching on at a faster rate than hybrids did when they were introduced in 2000. Their...
Nickelodeon's Spongebob Squarepants will be living in the back of a Toyota Highlander SUV in downtown Los Angeles for the next week.
Toyota hopes to make a splash at the L.A. Auto Show with an all-new 2014 Highlander that contains a huge aquarium with a replica of the bubbly Nickelodeon character’s underwater haunt, Bikini Bottom. Onlookers can peer into the back of the SUV and find a cheery Spongebob and lazy Patrick Star blowing bubbles near their pineapple- and rock-shaped homes. Twenty kinds of real fish -- including clownfish, flame angelfish and Fiji foxface -- swim around and through the pair of characters inside the tank.
(Sorry, kids. Squidward skipped out on the appearance, probably to practice his clarinet indoors.)
All the flashy concept cars, new models and cutting-edge-technology fuel cell vehicles went on public display as the L.A. Auto Show shifted gears from the industry media confab to the big consumer show Friday.
The show runs through Dec. 1 at the Los Angeles Convention Center at 1201 S Figueroa St. Admission is $10 Monday to Thursday and $12 on Fridays and weekends. There are discounts for children and seniors. On Thanksgiving Day, the doors open at 9 a.m.
The show raises the curtain on dozens of new models — new BMW electric and hybrid vehicles, fuel cell cars from Hyundai and Honda, a new Jaguar coupe, a new Porsche crossover and the new Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup.
Among the more unusual vehicles is the Mercedes-Benz Vision Gran Turismo, an over-the-top supercar. Mercedes will never build another one or sell it. It simply wanted to give its top designers free rein to dream big – no limits. But it will show up in a video game.
Dashboard cameras. From beautiful shots of sunsets to unattractive selfies taken while in motion, drivers can’t help but pick up their phones to take photos. These drivers could be tamed with a bidirectional camera that sits atop or within the panel behind the steering wheel.
Voice commands or yet another button affixed to the steering wheel could trigger the shutter. The photo could be saved via Bluetooth to the user’s phone, from where it could be safely posted to Instagram or sent through Snapchat at a later time or...
Automakers want to build as much functionality into dashboard screens as possible so that users never need to pick up their smartphones while driving. But along the way, a few very odd and unnecessary features have caught on in the infotainment systems of cars.
Here’s a look at silly features spotted in cars displayed on the Los Angeles Auto Show floor.
Picture navigation. Audi kicked things off at the Auto Show on Tuesday by unveiling the A3, the first vehicle that can connect directly to a 4G LTE mobile network. With that, the German automaker introduced a feature it’s calling picture navigation.
Looking to its 100th anniversary in 2014, Dodge offered a glimpse of its centennial celebration at the L.A. Auto Show, with two anniversary-edition cars on display and an exhibit tracing the brand’s history.
In 1900, brothers Horace and John Dodge founded Dodge Brothers in Detroit, but sold only parts until they produced their first full-scale car in 1914.
To commemorate the upcoming anniversary, artifacts of Dodge history were on display at the show, including a wrench used at Dodge Brothers, a patent the men received for bicycle wheel bearings, and a Wright Brothers’ bicycle seat. Dodge also exhibited a letter written by the brothers that apparently prefaced a price sheet for auto parts, in addition to a timesheet from 1904 listing the hours Dodge Brothers employees worked one week.
Hydrogen fuel cell cars were the big talk of the L.A. Auto Show this week -- but will they catch on?
That’s the question we put to some of the top auto industry executives in the United States. We were looking for insight into what will be the dominant zero emission car technology 20 years from now, cars powered by hydrogen or electric vehicles with rechargeable batteries?
I check the air pressure on my tires every once in a while and change the oil whenever the folks at Jiffy Lube tell me I’m due. I drive a Toyota Corolla because it’s a simple, dependable car that gets good gas mileage. I don’t need, or care for, much more.
But this week, the Los Angeles Auto Show came to town and I'm helping to cover it. The show at the L.A. Convention Center opened to the media on Tuesday and opens to the public on Friday.
But what’s a non-car guy supposed to do at the biggest car event in Southern California -- the car capital of Earth? Here's what caught my eye, which might provide a guide for the vehicularly challenged.
1. See muscle cars
Even people who are not car people know a muscle car when they see one. I may not know what torque means (and I admit that I looked it up while I was at the show) but I know that muscle cars are a big deal to auto enthusiasts. And I know that...
Nissan, aiming for “a complete sensory experience,” is pumping perfume into its showcase at the L.A. Auto Show.
“You walk through the display and it’s just a positive aroma and experience and memory of where you were,” said Nissan product specialist Rebekah Skiver. “It's an all-around sensory experience -- look, touch, smell.”
The “Ni-scent” diffuses out of several spots at the top of the Nissan main stage at the auto show. From behind the counter, Skiver grabbed a small blue bottle of the smelly stuff -- Air Aroma’s green tea scent, “the vert oriental.” Though they keep a bottle on hand at the show, they’re not selling it with their cars, she said.
Skiver said the company did a lot of research to find the perfect scent for Nissan, which debuted for the first time at the Detroit Auto Show in January.
Skiver said people coming through the display frequently ask about the...
Of the scores of cars on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show, we’ve culled the herd down to five you definitely need to check out. The show, at the L.A. Convention Center, opened to the media on Tuesday and opens to the public on Friday.
Here are our five favorites (and one total loser):
Mercedes-Benz Vision Gran Turismo. Wow. Just … wow. Jaws dropped in unison as this over-the-top supercar concept rolled through a haze of smoke onto the Mercedes-Benz stage. You will never own this car, and it’s not because you are not super-rich. Mercedes will never build another one or sell it. The automaker knew that going in. It simply wanted to give its top designers free reign to dream big – no limits. And we can respect that. Some of the radical design language will make its way into production cars later. (And you can drive a version, but only in the Gran Turismo video game.) Surely, the designers learned a thing or two about pushing limits in the process. Just look at...
Volvo announced Thursday that it will bring about 4,000 V60 sports wagon units to the U.S. market in January.
Plans to bring the V60 model to the United States were originally unveiled at the New York Auto Show in March. Tony Nicolosi, chief executive and president of Volvo Cars North America, said in an interview that the decision to bring the wagon overseas was because of its "tremendous" sales in the global market.
“When you look at it, it doesn’t look like your traditional wagon,” he said. “And when you drive it, you feel like you’re driving a sports sedan -- but you have the extra versatility.”
Nicolosi said the car company also “needed something new to talk about.”
“We haven’t had a product launch since 2010, and we know the XC90 is coming in 2015,” he said. The V60 "is sort of to help bridge the gap between 2014 and 2015 and get some excitement back into Volvo."
As the automotive test director for Consumer Reports, Jake Fisher drives hundreds of cars a year and is known as one of the toughest critics in the auto industry. The Times took a cruise with Fisher at the L.A. Auto Show on Thursday and asked what he thinks are the most important new cars to make their debuts at the show.
1: The Chevrolet Colorado mid-size pickup truck.
“It really looks impressive and it is nice to see an auto company taking smaller pickup trucks seriously,” Fisher said.
“The truck looks good. It has modern equipment and technology and also good choices of powertrains, a four-cylinder, six-cylinder and they are promising a diesel,” Fisher said. “This might be a vehicle that will make a good daily driver and not use as much gas as a full-size truck.”
2: The Hyundai Tucson hydrogen fuel cell crossover.
“This is something that they are actually building and are going to start selling this...
The hot-rod maker that bears the name of late automotive icon Carroll Shelby announced it is bringing back Shelby GT Mustangs after a five-year hiatus.
Shelby American Inc. announced its plans to build the car, which is based on Ford Mustang GT, on Thursday at the L.A. Auto Show.
“The Shelby GT was one of the most important vehicles in modern-day Shelby history,” said John Luft, president of Shelby American. “It kicked off Shelby’s rebirth in Las Vegas by putting a Mustang-based small block car into Ford dealerships. Ever since the Shelby GT went out of production, people have clamored for its return.”
Honda rode its 2014 Accord lineup all the way to the Green Car of the Year award on Thursday morning at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
“With its efficient internal combustion, hybrid and plug-in choices, the 2014 Honda Accord delivers exactly what consumers are looking for today,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and Carsofchange.com. “It all comes together this year for the Accord in ways that speak to significant environmental performance built into a mainstream, volume model that’s a joy to drive.”
Mike Accavitti, senior vice president of automobile operations at American Honda, said the entire Accord lineup, led by the Accord Hybrid, "embodies the promise of the Honda brand to deliver both fun-to-drive enjoyment and outstanding fuel efficiency at the highest level."
This is the second time in three years Honda has won the award. The 2012 Civic Natural Gas took the prize two years ago.
Though much of the automotive world has its eyes trained on Los Angeles for our annual hometown auto show, half a world away, Lexus made some big news at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Toyota’s luxury arm debuted a production-ready RC Coupe during Tuesday’s show in Japan. The striking two-door model is all-new for Lexus, and is based on the midsize GS sedan.
“Our focus is to strengthen the brand’s emotional appeal through our products and RC is another demonstration of this focus,” Mark Templin, Lexus International executive vice president, said in a statement.
That Lexus would spin off a coupe distinct from its sedans follows a philosophy numerous luxury brands are trying. BMW’s new 4 Series is essentially the coupe and convertible version of the 3 Series sedan and wagon. Audi has had great success marketing its A5 coupe as something wholly unique, despite it being largely based on the A4 sedan.
Claudia Deutsch looked out over the main lawn of her sprawling Beverly Hills mansion.
To her left was Berenice Marlohe, the actress who played Bond girl Severine in "Skyfall." To her right, Goran Visnjic of "E.R." chatted with a couple of well-dressed gentlemen snacking on hor d'oeuvres prepared by chef Josef Centeno of Baco Mercat.
And directly in front of her -- in gleaming Valloire white paint -- sat the evening’s $200,000 raison d’etre, the 2014 Range Rover Autobiography Black.
“It’s a fun thing,” Deutsch said of Monday evening’s event, as guests milled about the Range Rover and the two companion models parked on either side of it. “It’s the first time in the world anyone’s seen the car. And hey, it’s in my backyard.”
“We’ve made a lot of changes to the 2013 show, and we feel the Motoring Invitational is one that recognizes the city’s unique car culture and unofficial title as the automotive capital of the world,” said Lisa Kaz, president of the L.A. Auto Show and Connected Car Expo.
There were old Hollywood cars, including the hell-for-leather 1949 Mercury dubbed "Hell's Chariot" from "Grease," along with the Petersen Automotive Museum's maroon 1953 Cadillac Series 62 Ghia Coupe once owned by actress Rita Hayworth.
Hyundai unveiled its new Tucson hydrogen fuel-cell crossover at the L.A. Auto Show on Wednesday, a vehicle that will be the first mass-market hydrogen-powered car to go on sale in the U.S. when it hits showrooms in February.
The South Korean automaker plans to offer the car on a $499 a month, 36-month lease with a $2,999 down payment. The lease will include fuel, available now at just a handful of stations in Southern California, maintenance and service, said John Krafcik, chief executive of Hyundai Motor America. The car will be sold first in Southern California and rolled out to other markets as the hydrogen fueling infrastructure grows.
Additionally, those leasing the Tucson are expected to get a $2,500 state of California rebate available for zero-emission vehicles.
Volkswagen used the Los Angeles Auto Show to launch its first U.S. electric vehicle in the nation’s premier zero-emissions car market.
The 2015 Volkswagen eGolf, in its North America debut on Wednesday, joins a host of electric cars from automakers seeking to comply with California’s strict pollution standards, which essentially mandate production of cars with no tailpipe emissions.
The eGolf will go on sale in select states in fall 2014. It will join a host of other electrics that sell in low volumes but nonetheless have sparked high competition among automakers.
If you like the redesigned Audi A3, the trouble may be deciding which version to buy. You could spend all day test-driving the variants of the compact luxury sedan: two turbocharged gasoline models, a diesel, a convertible, even in a plug-in hybrid.
The A3 army rolled into the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday for their North American debut, following their global unveiling at this year’s Frankfurt Auto Show. Audi aims to dominate the compact luxury segment, where it compares against such cars as the recently launched Mercedes-Benz CLA. The A3 and CLA both start at about $30,000.
The A3 and CLA slot just below the luxury sport sedan segment, populated by formerly compact sports sedans such as the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class, which have moved up in size and price.
Nissan rolled out the latest models in its Nismo line of performance cars at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday.
Without question, the star of the show was the 2015 GT-R Nismo -- with its astonishing 0-to-60 mph time of two seconds. Nissan had six-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt on hand for the unveiling.
"Who better in the entire world to unveil the new GT-R Nismo than someone who knows a thing or two about being really, really super fast," said Fred Diaz, Nissan divisional vice president of North America.
Diaz called the 2015 GT-R Nismo "Godzilla on steroids" thanks to its 3.8-liter V6 engine. The vehicle comes with 600 horsepower and 481 pounds of torque. The 2015 GT-R is set to go on sale in mid 2014, following the release of the 2015 GT-R models.
Honda unveiled a hydrogen fuel-cell concept car at the L.A. Auto Show on Wednesday, a vehicle that has the same high-tech drive train that will be in the version of the car that will go on sale in the U.S. and Japan two years from now.
But the sheet metal of the sweeping, aerodynamic car is the whimsy of the automaker’s design team, and won’t make it to dealer showrooms.
“The Honda FCEV Concept hints at Honda’s future direction for fuel-cell vehicles,” said Tetsuo Iwamura, president and CEO of American Honda Motor Co. “While this car is a concept, it points toward a very real future.”
Like the concept, the production version will seat five passengers and have a range of more than 300 miles, Honda officials said. Both are improvements from the four-seat and 240-mile range of Honda’s Clarity, a fuel-cell vehicle that it has made in limited numbers and leased for testing to about two dozen drivers in...
Using a city known for luxury living as a backdrop, Kia took a bold step into the world of full-size — and full-priced — cars at today’s Los Angeles Auto Show.
The Korean automaker unveiled the all-new K900, a large sedan that will offer the space and trappings of German land yachts, while undercutting their prices by tens of thousands of dollars.
"This is our boldest statement yet," said Tom Loveless, executive vice president of sales for Kia. "It's a true flagship sedan that symbolizes how far we've come, and we believe it will make you question everything you thought you knew about Kia."
The K900’s strategy will largely mirror the car on which it's based: the full-size Equus from Kia’s corporate cousin Hyundai. Like the Equus, the K900 will be available with a V-8 engine, though the Kia will differ in that a V-6 will be the base engine.
Exact pricing wasn’t announced, but Kia officials say the K900 will start...