Los Angeles Auto Show
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Fairly mundane this year, at least compared to previous years.
Per their website, the interesting new concepts were very limited: the Chevrolet Camaro, Chrysler Firepower, Lexus LF-A, Maserati Birdcage 75th, Volvo 3CC. There were some other less interesting examples there (e.g. Lotus Exige, Fisker Latigo and Fisker Tramonto, Chevy Suburban), plus stuff we'd seen before, such as the Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06.
Fisker was there. $100k+ to modify your SL55 or 645Ci seems like a waste to me, but the build quality and styling look very well done. Unfortunately we didn't make it there with Hackett, so we didn't get any opportunities to actually sit inside the vehicles. Spyker was there as well-- supposedly they're on sale, but I have yet to see a Spyker dealership or a Spyker on the streets. Bentley had a large presence but nothing too dramatic-- unlike the Porsche Carrera GT, which looks 10x better in person, the Flying Spur and other Bentley vehicles look about the same in pictures as in person to me. Saleen was there with their S7, but that wasn't new.
Lambroghini had their Gallardo, Gallardo Spyder, Murcielago, and Murcielago Spyder done up in a color that was new to my eyes for them-- white. Very dramatic, and very good looking.
Lotus had their new Exige there. Very tasty looking, and in the orange/black trim it looked mean. Almost-affordable, too!
Ferrari had the 612 and F430 Spyder there. All drool-worthy, although the Maseratis parked next door stole some of their thunder, particularly the Birdcage 75.
Finally, Bugatti had a large area of the exotics hall . . . with a single Veyron parked in the middle.
Something like 997hp, 250mph top speed; it's an amazing piece of hardware. I just wasn't as impressed with it as I hoped-- for $1million I think I was expecting it to look light, speedy, fast, and drive itself... instead, at something like 4000lb, it didn't jump out at me.
This isn't to deny its engineering qualities, it just didn't sing to me!
Audi had their 2006 Q7 SUV. Looked big and imposing, but not quite as monsterous as the Suburban. Their other examples were less interesting; the RS4 was good to see in person, but the S6 and S8 look very tame compared to their potential-RS-counterparts.
The Cayman S from Porsche looked badass. Much better in person than in pictures, and the performance looks about right. If only I had money . . . seeing the Carrera GT again was also good; as Keezer points out, it looks many times better in person than it does in pictures. The Cayenne Turbo S was pretty meh looking.
The Mazdaspeed6 from Mazda was out last year, but it's finally in production now. The new Miata was surprisingly good looking in person, plus it didn't gain much weight. The Mazda 5 and the CX-7 SUV were both there as well. Both looked okay; the Mazda5 looked quite practical.
Volvo didn't have anything interesting aside from the 3CCC concept. Not much to say about it- it looked sleek, but very long. Parking could be a pain in the butt. Jaguar looked sexy as usual, but nothing great either-- the changes to the XK look pretty. Lincoln had a bunch of ugly grille'd vehicles present, including the "Mark X".
Nissan had nothing new either. *snooze
The Mercedes S-class is all new, but aside from a gorgeous interior, the rest of the car does nothing to excite me. Sitting in the CLS55 made us realize how small it is, while the SLR continued to draw a crowd of admirers.
Honda had the new Civic Si, which looks to be an amazing little car for the money, but nothing else. (aka, if you can't afford $27k for a Evo8 RS, $20k for a Civic Si is probably the next best thing...)
The HEMI engine was everywhere with Dodge and Chrysler, while the dramatic ME412 concept of last year was replaced with the much more pedestrian (still sexy!) Firepower concept. Jeep had the Hurricane and Commander, which looked interesting. The Hurricane display was particularly well done. Ford had the Mustang Cobra (Shelby GT500) on display as well as the Ford GT, but was sadly lacking otherwise. Mitsubishi had nothing new-- unless you were interested in the Eclipse (ewww), while Subaru had the B9 Tribeca (ick) and not much else.
The LF-A concept and a bunch of hybrids (e.g. GS450h) marked Lexus-- the LF-A looks very dramatic... seeing something much closer to production could be very interesting. Toyota had the new Camry, which has a very odd front grille design; it looked OK on one of them with horizontal slats and like a huge ugly smile on the one with mesh. The Yaris evidently is slotting underneath the Corolla as a grown-up Echo-- is that an oxymoron? Scion had nothing of interest.
VW had a convertible Eos (looked like a Golf droptop) in extremely girly baby blue, the RGT (a Jetta in GT trim?), and their engines on display (like last year), nicely done in chrome and cutaways. The 4.2L V8 is a big engine, and not in displacement-- the GM LS4 looked much more compact.
Of the various GM makes, Cadillac continues their large displays. They didn't have anything really interesting, but the STS-V, XLR-V and CTS-V high-performance editions continue to draw attention. Hummer had zero of interest to me-- the H3 is still grossly overweight with a tiny engine. Hackett said that he sat in a "base" trim H3 and it sucked, but that the high-end H3 trim with leather was much, much nicer. Buick continues a trend of cars that epitomize bland. The appearance of the LS4 V8 means a decent 306hp engine with a 6-speed manual transmission in the Impala SS, G6 GTP, and a few other GM cars. The engine actually doesn't look bad, although modest in power output, too bad the cars it's stuffed into are so uninspiring.
The Pontiac Solistic GXP was present; 260hp/260lb-ft turbo should make it a decent car. Reaction is mixed-- most think it looks good, but a few of us believe the Solistic's 300+lb additional weight seriously prevent it from being a true Miata competitor. All in all, not a bad effort.
The Chevrolet Camaro concept was ok looking in pictures-- in the flesh it looks pretty damned good. The new Saturn midsize sedan looks like it may finally ditch the cheap feel that has pervaded Saturn throughout its existence, while the Saturn Sky also looked pretty good, like a more angular Solistic. The Chevy Aveo was, well, there.
One last comment: what was up with the ugly fusicha color all over the show? Chevy had it, Hummer had it, Acura had it, Mercedes was damned close to that color, Ford had it... what the hell??
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