The 2012 Los Angeles International Auto Show: RACY CARS ARE THE STARS in The City of Angels
It was a cornucopia of cars that glistened and twirled
at this year’s 2012 LosAngeles International Auto Show (stay
tuned for our “trucks’ piece that follows soon!). Hundreds of models from 42
brands were parked under the bright lights of the Los Angeles Convention Center,
50 of which took the runway and shed their nighties to make a global debut,
kicking off the annual big-city-auto-show season in the U.S. Upcoming are auto
shows in Detroit, Chicago, New York and other cities across the nation.
SoCal’s City of Angels, the largest performance car
market in the country, was the focus of the auto world, with a cadre of the
globe’s top manufacturers, along with members of the international and national
automotive press, regional and local dealers (GLAADA), and approximately
one million car lovers that rode the convention center’s escalators to gaze at
the evocative sheet metal and check out the latest and greatest in automotive
technology and aftermarket parts for all types of vehicles, along with a
showcase of historical models.
As a ‘car girl’ that loves performance—and especially
racing—it was like being a kid in a candy shop, parading on a carpeted field of
dreams, gazing at drives to come and technology to unfold—it is the adult
version of a science fair, with autos that will go on sale soon, cars that will
be released in the next year and futuristic concept models that are place
markers and fantasy-build exercises from designers and engineers charged with
crafting the future. Here, temporarily removed from the talk of the nation’s
‘Fiscal Cliff’ and automaker’s upcoming more stringent fuel economy requirements,
I was at a party where the cars are the stars. The best part? Engineers and
designers have infused a number of racy cars with next-gen technologies once
found only in true race cars…turbo chargers; computerized engines, transmissions,
and performance dynamics; and the ability to reach dizzying speeds, at
Among the eye-pulsing unveilings—all heightened by
ear-throbbing music—and the captivating aroma of new car smells, were vehicles
large and small, with engines that scoot silently or roar on every type of
propulsion known to man today and dressed in the jewelry of today’s design
language, with in-your-face grilles, evocative headlamps and alluring wheels.
Here are a few of my favorites in the cars list. I made
one exception to include Audi’s dieselannouncement as it was one of the
top press conferences and most exciting news announcements at this year’s show!
Stars on the Runway:
Diesel- Big news came from German automaker Audi, adding a
quartet of clean diesel variants to its line-up to include Audi6, Audi7, Audi8
and Q5 oil-burning models. Forget that there are bold, new turbo-charged and
racy powertrains and remember this: Audi says some 22,000 diesel owners have
saved more than 4 million gallons of gasoline at a savings of approximately 26
million dollars-even if the four-rings is off a tick on any of the numbers, it
was some of the best news at the show and for our environment.
British luxury sports car brandlivened
the show with two new models: the Jaguar
F-Type two-seatersport convertible,
being dubbed as the “spiritual successor” to the iconic E-type, and the Jaguar XFR-S flagship luxury ultra-high
performance sport sedan that will fly to 60 in 4.4 seconds. Both are a blend of
sumptuousness from this marque that has authentic racing chops.
Benz SLS AMG Black Series-The beastly ‘Black’ was wearing an
eye-piercing yellow and, no matter what the color, is one of the fastest and most
sensual sports cars on the planet.
The Ford Fiesta
and Fiesta ST-Standing out as the only aurally-authentic heartthrob with
the alluring perfume of smokin’ tires was Ken Block’s demonstration of car
control and tire shredding on a roof top deck at the Convention Center. Kudos
to action-sports superstar and race-car driver Ken and Ford for its new ’14 Fiesta
3-cylinder turbo and updated Fiesta ST. Ford says Fiesta redefines the small,
Slipping on to our racy list, Acura’s 2014 RLX plays a huge role as the uplevel
brand’s flagship model and the new sedan that wants to be seen as “smart
luxury” is the hope of Honda’s luxury marque. It gets our vote because Acura has the talent and the
cred-we wish it well!
and Concepts that
caught our eye included the Dodge
Charger Daytona: While it’s really a trim package, with the “Daytona”stamp
on its rear flank, we like it’s message and have loved to drive its
predecessors on tracks.Thenext-gen Mazda 6 mid-sized sports sedan looks and sounds ready to increase
the “zoom-zoom” factor, plus Mazda will offer a diesel
Japanese automaker also announced its race schedule for the upcoming year.
Others of note include the
opulent and visually-engaging Bentley
Continental GT3 concept; the Lexus
LF-CC 2 +2 sports coupeand LFA supercar; the updated, lighter and
faster Porsche Cayman the sleek and
sexy BMW i8 that goesinto production in 2014 and the BMW Roadster Concepts—this German brand
known for sporty design and driving dynamics also wowed with its roadsters,
which harken the future of racy motoring!
was so much literal brilliance at the VW exhibit that autowriters and others
that attended this German marque’s unveiling of its all-new VW Beetle Cabriolet
required sunglasses. Actually, polarizers were handed out to show-goers for the
clever introduction of the 2013 Beetle Cabriolet. This car’s not about speed,
unless you consider racing to the sun and fun an activity you’re hurrying to
do—but, speaking of speed, the top drops in less than 11 seconds and covers up
again in a tick under 9 seconds-now, that’s fast!
Veloster C3: There’s a reason Hyundai has taken the
American car market by storm of late; price, warranty, content, and beautiful
design language. The Veloster was designed after “listening to folks who prefer
the path less taken”. Roll back the top and stow your bike? Check!