California, especially Los Angeles, means sun, speed and luxury when it comes to cars. It's the place where Ferraris seem to be as common as Fords. The super-premium McLaren brand actually has a dedicated showroom not far from the Staples Convention Center where the show is being held starting this weekend (the show is open to the public November 18-27).
What is a dream machine? It's a car that is tuned for fun, speed, sun, or all three. And they don't have to be crazy expensive. In some cases, though, yes, the price tag is going to high, as in the case of the Jaguar XKR-S. But, in the case of the super shifty, taut, agile speed-demon Ford Fiesta SRT, the sticker is almost surely going to be below $25,000 when it sprints into Ford showrooms.
A Jaguar concept, a Cadillac sedan due in mid 2012 and a Ford Mustang "Boss" all fall in between the Fiesta and Jaguar neighborhoods. Check 'em out in this LA Autos show gallery, and dream a little dream.
A concept for now, and inspired by the famed Jaguar E-Type, this is Jag's Porsche Cayman-fighting two-seater – a Jaguar coupe one can actually afford.
Powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 putting out 376 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, the C-X16 concept takes Jaguar's great heritage of supercharging into the next century with the addition of a "Push to Pass" hybrid system controlled through a steering wheel-mounted button.
An electric motor is integrated into the eight-speed gearbox, delivering an additional 92 hp and 173 lb-ft of twist when the button is pressed. The resulting performance numbers – 0-60 in 4.3 seconds and a 186 mph top speed – are almost as impressive as the 165 g/km CO2 emissions and the C-X16's ability to travel up to 50 mph on electric power alone.
Juice is provided by a 1.6kWh battery pack mounted behind the rear seats, helping to contribute to the 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution. And if you're wondering, we understand the engine compartment could fit a V8, assuming Jaguar wants to move it up the price scale.
The newest iteration of the Ford pony car, "The Boss 302," named for Ford's 1969 competition car, has been tuned for car enthusiasts to use as an everyday driver. Previously, it had been, well, a bit souped up and rough to use as a daily driver. Owners were more apt to let it loose on the weekends, and even at racetracks in the boy-racer competitions.
The 412-horsepower 5.0-liter engine in the Mustang GT is a corker on its own, but Ford has gone to a lot of trouble to extract 444 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque for this car. The 5.0-liter engine has been treated to CNC-machined aluminum heads, special pistons and sinter-forged con rods, sodium-filled exhaust valves and an uprated crankshaft.
Swallow that gear heads.
For a muscle car with so much racetrack potential, the Boss is surprisingly easy to drive – the short-throw six-speed manual gearbox finds cogs faithfully and doesn't mind being rushed, and the limited-slip 3.73 rear axle puts the V8's power to the ground with a minimum of drama. It's far easier to drive than the more powerful yet cruder Shelby GT500.
The Boss' rarity should appeal to image-driven consumers as well – just 4,000 models will be built this year – 3,250 standard models and 750 Laguna Seca editions. Pricing is a fair shake for this sort of exclusivity, as well. A standard Boss starts at $40,310 (plus $795 destination), while the Laguna Seca commands an extra $6,995. For the base car, that's more than eight grand cheaper than the GT500 for a more tractable and well-rounded car. The capper? With city/highway EPA fuel economy figures of 17/26, the miles per gallon figures are the same as normal GT.
The Focus ST features a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder under its hood, rated at 247 horsepower and an impressive 265 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission should pair nicely with the torque-loving engine, which Ford says was painstakingly tuned to produce exquisite engine and exhaust notes by its sound engineers.
All of that go-fast energy is routed to the front wheels, and Ford says it has worked hard to alleviate torque-steer concerns with its electronic power assisted steering and torque steer compensation system. Both systems work together to minimize or eliminate the wheel-tugging effects often associated with higher horsepower front-wheel drivers.
The great news surrounding the 2012 Ford Focus ST is that it will be a global vehicle, sold in 40 markets. Even better news for European long roof fans is that Ford will produce a Focus ST wagon. American wagon fans... maybe you can rent one overseas someday.
Cadillac is replacing the long-running DTS and STS sedans with one new large sedan called the XTS.
At 202 inches in length, the XTS is one big sedan, and its 111 inch wheelbase enables that size to translate into plenty of room for up to five passengers. The XTS delivers 40 inches of rear-seat leg room, or four inches more than the BMW 5 Series and two more inches than the Audi A6. The XTS also features a cavernous 18 cubic feet of trunk space, more storage capacity than the Audi A8L. As large as the XTS is, its designers needed to add big wheels to fill in those wheel wells. Cadillac opted for standard 19-inch wheels, with 20-inch rollers available as an option or standard on the top-end Platinum trim.
GM engineers also poured plenty of technology into the XTS, including the automaker's new Cadillac CUE infotainment system. The XTS makes use of a massive 12.3-inch LCD screen to display its data, with a choice of four different display options that offer varying degrees of features to cater to individual needs.
Power comes courtesy of GM's ubiquitous 3.6-liter V6 mated to a standard Hydra-Matic 6T70 six-speed automatic transmission with tap-shift capability. The V6 will pump out an estimated 300 horsepower at 6,800 RPM and 264 pound-feet of torque at 5,300 revolutions. Cadillac estimates that the front-wheel-drive XTS will deliver 17 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, while the AWD model should return 17/27 numbers.
On sale in Spring 2012.
Ford already debuted the Fiesta ST concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, but if you recall, that show car was based on the three-door Fiesta that isn't available here in the United States.
Now, Ford is showing off a proper five-door version of the Fiesta ST at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Ford insists that the Fiesta ST is "a concept," but the fact that both three- and five-door variants of the concept have been built leads us to believe that we'll see a production version.
Just like the three-door concept from Frankfurt, the five-door Fiesta ST is powered by Ford's new 1.6-liter EcoBoost inline four-cylinder engine, good for 180 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. Like its big brother, the Focus ST, the Fiesta ST concept uses a front-wheel-drive setup, with power being sent to the wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.
We'd bet the car is on sale in the U.S. by late 2012. Pricing is iffy, but we would guess this most enjoyable version of the Fiesta will ring up under $25,000 all in.
The Japanese automaker will unveil a concept version of the BRZ at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, and it will be wearing real sheetmetal this time, albeit with a wrinkle – none of the showcar's panels will be the same as the production car.
The BRZ that you will be able to buy will (finally) make its official debut later on at the Tokyo Motor Show, where it will join its Toyota FT-86/Scion FRS siblings. According to C/D, all three versions of the car will wear similar body panels with the exception of their faces. Subaru will apply its own mug, while the Toyota and Scion versions will be essentially identical with the exception of badging.
Subaru will be responsible for production of all three versions, and the sporty coupe will be built at the Japanese automaker's Gunma, Japan facility. There the cars will be fitted with 2.0-liter boxer engines and paired with either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual gearbox.
Ford's favorite horse is getting some upgrades for the next model year that should give it new sales life until the next design hits showrooms.
Up front, all Mustangs get a new front fascia with revised lower air intakes and a new splitter. High-intensity discharge headlamps are also now standard across the board, and GT models get a new hood with functional air extractors, as well as optional HID foglamps. New body-colored rocker panels flank both sides, and new 17-, 18- and 19-inch wheels are also available. Around back, there's now a high-gloss black panel that connects the slightly redesigned taillamps, and the side mirrors have a pretty cool gee-whiz feature: there are LED lamps in them that project Ford's legendary pony logo onto the ground when the doors are unlocked. New colors including Gotta Have It Green and Deep Impact Blue are also available.
Other changes to the 2013 Mustang include a Recaro seat option for both V6 and GT models, an available SelectShift function on automatic-equipped V8 cars, a GT Track Pack with a Torsen differential from the Boss 302 and Brembo brakes (only available on cars with the 3.73 axle and a manual transmission) and the availability of the V6 Performance Pack on automatic-equipped cars. There's also a Track Apps function inside the instrument cluster that shows a whole host of performance stats. Speaking of performance, the 5.0-liter V8 now makes 420 horsepower for 2013, up from 402 and still six shy of the current Chevrolet Camaro.
How does fifty-five grand for 580 horsepower sound? Probably not as good as the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at full scream.
General Motors has come clean with pricing and performance details for the most powerful Camaro ever, and as expected, it's something of a bargain. An official MSRP of $54,995 includes a $900 delivery charge, and that pile of cash buys a 6.2-liter, supercharged and intercooled LSA V8 that's good for 556 lb-ft of torque. The ZL1 will also pack standard Performance Traction Management, a suite of electronic suspension and steering enhancements including magnetic ride control, launch control, traction control, stability control and electric power steering. Chevrolet is also touting the Camaro's track-readiness, thanks to standard rear differential cooler, engine and transmission oil coolers, and brake-cooling ducts.
Chevy's official performance specs for the Camaro ZL1 favor the automatic, which can do 0-60 in 3.9 seconds and cover the quarter-mile in 12.0 seconds at 119 miles per hour.
Those wanting Jaguar's top-of-the-line two-door in drop-top form are now getting their wish as the company has officially unveiled the XKR-S Convertible ahead of its official debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The convertible features the same supercharged 550 horsepower 5.0-liter V8 found in the coupe, making it the most powerful rag-top that Jaguar has ever built. It's also the fastest, with the XKR-S sprinting from 0-60 mph in just 4.2 seconds.
The XKR-S Convertible shares the same exterior appointments as its hardtop sibling, featuring a new front bumper with wider, lower air intake and a carbon fiber splitter. There is also a new rear wing with a carbon fiber insert. It doesn't stop there, as the interior also receives special appointments including performance seats trimmed in carbon leather.
Just as it has for years with the European-market Fiat 500, Abarth has gotten its hands on the version made in Toluca, Mexico for the North American market, taking what is rapidly emerging as a popular choice for style-conscious American drivers and turning it into a proper pocket rocket. Being introduced today at the LA Auto Show, the US-market Fiat 500 Abarth is about as jam-packed with performance goodies as they come.
For starters, the naturally-aspirated 1.4-liter MultiAir engine in the standard Fiat 500 has been turbocharged and intercooled up to 160 horsepower – quite a punch for such a little car to pack. But the Abarth approach would never stop at just an engine mod: the turbo Cinquecento has also been treated to an upgraded suspension, rolling stock, aero package and brake kit.
Sixteen-inch alloys (or optional 17s, also available painted in black or white) ride on Pirelli rubber and let the red brake calipers peek through. Dual exhaust tips protrude out the back, while racing stripes in white, black or red give it a track-ready look. The electronic nannies are also fully defeatable.
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