LA Auto Show Roundup
The Chicago Auto Show is right around the corner and, this February, Chicagoans will get a first glimpse at the vehicles that debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show last week. We’ve compiled the key highlights below:
Classic American Muscle Car: 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
Just ahead of the LA Auto Show, Ford released the 2016 Shelby GT350 Mustang, calling it “the most ambitious powertrain program it has ever done.” The "unique, high-revving" 5.2-liter engine is the first-ever production V8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft, which is typically only found in racing applications or exotic European sports cars. Unlike a traditional V8 normal-production model, where the connecting rods are attached to the crankshaft at 90-degree intervals, this design evenly spaces all crank pins at 180-degree intervals. All told, the engine produces more than 500 hp and 400 lb. ft. of torque and, thanks to the flat crank, sound like nothing else on the road today. Additionally, it has a six-speed manual and a choice of five different driving modes – all street-legal! The GT350 is set to go on sale next fall.
Concept Vehicle: Audi Prologue Concept
The Prologue Concept previews Audi’s future brand design direction, likely to be the A9. Like the original Audi Quattro from the 80s, the Prologue concept incorporates flared shoulders above the wheels, front and rear. Under the hood, Audi placed a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 605 hp and 516 lb. ft. of torque and accelerates from 0 to 62 in 3.7 seconds. Additionally, a host of new technologies can be found in the interior including a touchscreen infotainment system – a portion of it utilizing LED illumination – that spans the entire dash. An electronic concierge system senses the driver’s identity, based on his or her smartphone, and adjusts individual setting accordingly.
Compact Sports Sedan and Coupe: 2016 Cadillac ATS-V
Cadillac ATS-V Coupe
Revealed the evening before the LA Auto Show media preview, the 2016 ATS-V is one of five new V-Series models that General Motor’s luxury brand plans to introduce by 2020 and “is the beginning of a new lineup of high-performance luxury vehicles,” according to Cadillac. The ATS-V will include a 455-hp 3.6-liter V6 twin-turbocharged engine and rear-wheel drive. Cadillac says the car is track-ready and offers a sophisticated luxury driving experience on the road, with a top speed of 189 mph, the ATS-V reaches 60 mph in a scant in 3.9 seconds. The ATS-V, both coupe and sedan, is set to go into production in the spring and is expected to arrive in dealerships in May.
Luxury Sedan: 2015 Chrysler 300
According to Chrysler, “the new 2015 Chrysler 300 builds on its 60-year legacy of delivering world-class performance, elegance, sophistication, technology and craftsmanship – a combination that can only be found in our big, bold and proudly American rear-wheel-drive sedan.” The new 300 comes standard with an 8-speed TorqueFlite transmission, and engine options range between a 3.6-liter V6 with either 292 or 300 hp and a 363-hp 5.7-liter HEMI V8. For 2015, the 300S sport model also joins the lineup and features a black grille and aggressive tweaks such as a deck spoiler. A new 300C Platinum model adds to the base with quilted Nappa leather, hand-sanded wood and chrome accessories. Bonus tech features include Uconnect, in-vehicle Wi-Fi and a convenient 8.4-inch touchscreen. The 205 300 is expected to go on sale early next year.
Small Crossover SUVs: 2016 Honda HR-V and 2016 Mazda CX-3
2016 Honda HR-V
Developed from the Honda Fit hatchback, the HR-V “mini” SUV is a perfect fit for urban dwellers who want to own a car but need to fit into tight parking spaces. It’s sized to fit in the Honda lineup between the compact CR-V crossover and subcompact Fit wagon. However, unlike the Fit, the HR-V is equipped with a larger 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with 138 hp. A 6-speed manual transmission comes standard with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) as an option. The CVT option is necessary for drivers who want an AWD system; paddle shifters also come in the CVT package. The HR-V goes on sale this spring 2015 as a 2016 model.
2016 Mazda CX-3
Mazda CX-3 Interior
According to the automaker, the “CX-3 complements the Mazda lineup, as it perfectly hits the target in a rapidly growing segment in the industry.” The new CX-3 shares Mazda’s KODO design, Skyactiv technology and powertrains. Like the Honda HR-V it’s sized between the Mazda 3 hatchback and larger Mazda CX-5 crossover. Powering the 2016 Mazda CX-3 is a 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder engine, anticipated to make around 160 hp and 150 lb. ft. of torque. The 2016 CX-3 is expected to go on sale in the summer of 2015.
Large Crossover: 2016 Volvo XC90
Volvo XC90 Interior
The first all-new vehicle from Volvo since its buyout by Chinese automaker Geely is the XC90. Certainly looking the part of a traditional Volvo, the XC90 continues Swedish brand’s recent trend for swoopy styling, art-deco interiors, innovative powertrains, and, of course, safety. The interior’s most striking feature is a tablet-like touch screen control console, which forms the heart of an all-new in-car command system. Materials include Nappa leather, wood and a gear lever made of crystal glass from Orrefors, a famous Swedish glassmaker. A hybrid model will be offered that comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that boasts both supercharging and turbocharging to make nearly 400 horsepower, provide nearly 20 miles of all-electric range and push the XC90 from 0 to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds.
Coolest New Technology: 2016 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell
Toyota Mirai Engine
Toyota Mirai Sled
Toyota showed the production version of the 2016 Toyota Mirai – the first-ever hydrogen fuel-cell car to be offered for sale by a major automaker – that will go on sale in North American in late 2015. Effectively an electric car with a 153-hp motor driving the front wheels, the Mirai eschews batteries by creating its own electricity by converting hydrogen gas in a fuel cell. Hydrogen fuel cells advantages include a short refueling time of just 5 minutes and zero harmful emissions. The four-passenger Marai is priced at lofty $57,500 before tax credits but will come with an attractive monthly lease price of $499. Sadly, there aren’t any hydrogen refueling stations in Illinois yet, so while we could buy the Marai, filling up might be a problem . . .
Uber Luxury Car: 2016 Mercedes Maybach
Mercedes-Benz Maybach Interior
Mercedes-Benz's premium brand returns to the German automakers lineup in a big way. The new Maybach sedan is 8 inches longer than the regular S-Class and is intended to be used as chauffeured transportation. Power comes from 523-hp 6.0-liter V-12 turbocharged engine. Mercedes claims the new Maybach will be the quietest car in the world. As expected, rear-seat passenger are treated like royalty with ample leg room, twin-screen 3-D surround-sound entertainment system, power accoutrements and perfumed cabin air. There is even a pair of silver-plated champagne flutes on the option list. The new sedan will be called the Mercedes Maybach and list for about $200,000 when it hits dealer showrooms next April.
Which vehicles are you most excited to see in person at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show? Comment below or tweet us @ChiAutoShow.
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