It's been a couple of months since we soaked ourselves in the drizzle of the Paris previews, and now auto-show season resumes anew after Thanksgiving with the press days at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.
This year's L.A. show won't quite be the green-car showcase it's been in years past. It's almost a catch-up event for carmakers scrambling to get out the remaining 2013 new models -- while teasing the 2014 new cars, crossovers, and trucks just around the corner.
The L.A. Show's also a naked appeal to luxury and exotic-car buyers. Virtually every brand with a sterling reputation will have its latest on display during the media and public days -- with a flourish of new British iron matched by a quartet of new Mercedes machines and an advanced new BMW concept, not to mention a roadster from Lamborghini.
The Los Angeles Auto Show opens to the media on Wednesday, November 28th, and to the public that weekend. We'll be on hand to report from the Los Angeles Convention Center floor, so make sure you're in touch with us every way possible -- by bookmarking our auto show pages on The Car Connection, Motor Authority, and Green Car Reports; by following us on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram; and by staying in touch with the latest news on Twitter @carconnection @therealma @greencarreports.
Honda took flak for the 2012 Civic, its lackluster styling and performance and especially, its cut-rate interior. A fix is in the works, and the 2013 Civic will be on display at L.A., and on sale the same day. The new Civic gets an Accord-like restyle, and more safety equipment, more features, and some performance improvements to be announced at the show.
The latest VW Beetle's gone a long way to sharpening up its iconic image. Will the Convertible model soften it back up a little? The new fabric power top will lower or raise itself in about 10 seconds, while pop-up rollover bars will protect passengers. Engine choices will include the 170-horsepower in-line five; the 140-hp turbodiesel four; and the 200-hp turbo four. All will come with six-speed transmissions, either manual or automatic or dual-clutch. The turbodiesel will score about 41 miles per gallon on the highway, VW promises.
A reinvented Subaru Forester is coming to America in the 2014 model year, and its appeal to pragmatic buyers seems to be unchanged. It's powered by a new flat-four engine with 170 hp, but a new turbo model will make 250 hp. Transmissions will be either a six-speed manual or a CVT with manual shift modes; all-wheel drive will be standard. The Forester's grown only slightly wider and longer, but rear-seat leg room is said to be better than before -- as are features and safety gear, which now include smartphone integration and a rearview camera.
Kia's new compact-car lineup gets renewed next year with the introduction of the 2014 Forte sedan. Its U.S. debut is set for the L.A. show, but the Forte's already on sale in other markets, where its bolder grille and stronger character lines show off the next styling theme for the brand. The 2014 Forte is said to be longer, lower and wider than the outgoing model, which should promise more space inside, and will once again come in the choice of sedan, coupe and hatch body styles.
The 2014 Acura RLX is the brewing replacement for the old RL sedan, and it's due to arrive in showrooms in the first half of 2014. Redesigned and completely reengineered, it's a graceful, subtle-looking sedan that's attractive but not groundbreaking. Its technology could be called that: a new triple-electric-motor hybrid system bows in the latest version of Acura's SH-AWD (all-wheel-drive) system for an estimated 30-mpg city and highway rating. A front-drive version stocks the 310-hp 3.5-liter V-6 and its own rear-steering all-wheel-drive system. The new RLX is about the same size as the old RL, but with a longer wheelbase and more interior room.
In Los Angeles, American audiences will get their first look at the production version of the Jaguar F-Type. Outfitted with a trio of supercharged engines, the F-Type ranges from 340 hp to 495 hp, with acceleration as quick as 4.2 seconds to 60 mph, and a top speed as high as 186 mph. An eight-speed automatic is standard; a manual gearbox is being strongly hinted for the near future.
The 2013 Land Rover Range Rover swaps steel for aluminum, and delivers better performance and luxury in every dimension -- that's what we've said in our full review of the new super-luxury SUV. The L.A. show brings the first look for America at the new Range Rover after its global launch in Morocco. Sales begin in December, with prices starting at $83,500.
It may not be on display at the show, but Lamborghini's announced its new Aventador Roadster in sync with the L.A. show. The two-piece removable roof is made from carbon fiber and weighs 13 pounds; it required the Aventador's rear pillar to be redesigned. A powered rear windshield is also fitted and can be lowered or raised depending on how much sound the driver wants in the cabin. No changes to the drivetrain were made, so the V-12 is still rated at 691 horsepower and 509 pound-feet of torque, and it still powers all four wheels via Lamborghini's unique Independent Shifting Rod automated manual transmission with seven forward gears. Lamborghini estimates a 0-60 mph time of 3.0 seconds flat and a top speed of 217 mph.
One of four new Mercedes-Benz vehicles to bow at the L.A. show will be the 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series. An evolution of the gullwing sportscar, the Black Series has been tuned to deliver 631 horsepower and 468 pound-feet of torque. The use of carbon fiber and a titanium exhaust system have lowered curb weight 154 pounds to 3,417 pounds. And the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox has been reprogrammed for quicker shifts. That's in addition to a new carbon driveshaft, an electronic rear differential lock, and adjustable suspension.
Godzilla gets an update in the 2014 model year, and Nissan will talk about the upcoming GT-R at the L.A. show. It's largely a round of technical changes aimed at improved engine response in both the mid- and upper-rev range, increased body rigidity, and numerous changes to the shock absorbers, springs and front stabilizer. Sadly, there's been no increase in power so peak output remains at 545 horsepower and 463 pound-feet of torque. Nevertheless, the vehicle's overall performance is said to have increased, high-speed stability improved, and ride quality made more refined.
MORE TO COME:
2014 Kia Sorento: running improvements to the Sorento's drivetrain and suspension are expected.
2013 Porsche Cayman: the new coupe, based on the brand-new Boxster, will have its world debut at the Los Angeles auto show.
2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4: the new four-wheel-drive 911 gets its North American introduction.
2013 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost: the 1.0-liter turbo Fiesta gets a first drive -- and we'll be there.
2014 Mitsubishi Outlander: An updated SUV, but without the mooted hybrid system?
Toyota: There's a major new product announcement coming from Toyota.
This story originally appeared at The Car Connection
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