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Archive for the ‘los angeles auto show’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Audi’s Tesla Model S Fighter, the E-Tron GT Will Debut at the L.A. Auto Show

It looks like Audi’s onslaught on Tesla is not going to end anytime soon. After launching the E-Tron and announcing war against Tesla Model X, Audi has now revealed that it will showcase the much anticipated E-Tron GT at the upcoming L.A. Auto Show. This time, the Tesla Model S is the hot target.

PostHeaderIcon The New Mazda 3 is Inspired by the Kai Concept and Will Debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show!

The fourth-generation Mazda 3 will make its global debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The compact sedan will get its styling cues from the Kai concept, which was showcased at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2017.

PostHeaderIcon BMW i8 Roadster

new interior color schemes for the 2019 model year

The world got its first official look at the production-ready BMW i8 hybrid sports car back in 2013 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Critics and enthusiasts alike went gaga over its sci-fi good looks while reveling in its promises of speed and efficiency, and consumers responded by buying over 10,000 examples of the i8 as of November of 2016, making it the best-selling plug-in hybrid sports car in the world. Impressive stuff, no doubt, but now there’s a new model out, and this time, it’s got a bit off the top. This roofless iteration of the Bavarian’s hybrid sports car made its debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, and brings with it a few small tweaks to the exterior styling, updated tech in the cabin, and a little extra oomph in the electrified powertrain department as well.

Overall, the updates are pretty minor, refining what’s already there without changing much. And considering the widespread acclaim levied at the i8 in the few short years it’s been on the market, it makes sense to keep things more or less unchanged, right? That said, the hybrid and EV market have seen some mighty impressive advances over the course of that time period, which begs the question – can unlimited headroom keep the i8 feeling fresh for the 2019 model year?

Updated 01/24/2018: We’ve updated this review with all the latest official info straight from BMW!

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 BMW i8 Roadster.

Exterior

  • Looks very similar to the Coupe
  • 3D-printed roof mechanism made from aluminum
  • 16 seconds to close and open fabric top
  • Top down looks even better than the hardtop
  • Aero-optimized exterior
  • Standard 20-inch alloy wheels shave weight
  • New paint options
  • “Roadster” badges help to identify it

2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 748144
“The roof operation is electrically assisted, with less than 16 seconds required to open and close it.”

Let’s just jump straight to the headline, shall we?

The biggest, most obvious update for the 2018 model year i8 is the addition of a new Roadster body style, which adds a soft-top roof made from high-grade fabric. The roof operation is electrically assisted, with less than 16 seconds required to open and close it. You can also put it up or down at speeds up to 31 mph. The top is stored in a perpendicular position in the rear of the car, folding down into a “Z” shape when you want extra atmosphere. The folding mechanism is also made from aluminum using new 3D printing technology, which goes well with the i8’s futuristic themes. “This manufacturing method for aluminum components breaks new ground in the automotive industry and allows the topologically optimized bracings to be produced in a geometric form, which would not be possible using conventional casting techniques and ensures an optimal balance between component rigidity and weight,” BMW says.

With the roof up, the Roadster has more or less the same similar profile as the coupe, and incorporates the same styling elements. These include a flat hood and a long roofline. It’s like an inter-dimensional speed wedge, complete with a kidney grille in the nose.

One notable difference can be found in the rear, where the Roadster gets a pair of bulging, curvaceous pillars that run behind the head rests and into the tail in a U-shaped design. The rear deck is flatter and lower on the Roadster compared to the Coupe, undoubtedly to help give it reduced turbulence inside the cabin when the roof is down.


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 763030
“Speaking of roof down, the i8 Roadster looks fantastic with the top dropped. It's like an inter-dimensional speed wedge, complete with a kidney grille in the nose.”

Speaking of roof down, the i8 Roadster looks fantastic with the top dropped. The swoopy, geometric design elements in the profile are emphasized without the extra bit up top, bringing the whole thing lower to the ground in the process. Indeed, none of the coupe’s head-turning capability is lost in the Roadster – in fact, we might go as far as saying the i8 actually looks better as a roadster.

And while it’s certainly a tasty bit of eye candy, the i8’s exterior design is also rather functional, sporting an aero-optimized layout that helps to strike a balance between performance and efficiency. Standout features include an air flap control system, air curtains in the front apron, a flat underbody, molded side skirts, and air ducts placed between the rear lights and roof frame. Air is now redirected through the sides of the car, rather than through the hood and nose, with the atmosphere venting out close to the wheel arches and through to the underbody.


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 749485
“The swoopy, geometric design elements in the profile are emphasized without the extra bit up top, bringing the whole thing lower to the ground in the process.”

New for the 2018 model year is a fresh selection of exterior colors, which now include shades like E-Copper metallic and Donington Grey metallic, both of which are offered with accents in a Frozen Grey metallic color.

The Roadster also comes standard with a unique radial-spoke wheel design in a two-tone finish, also available in an optional Jet Black. These rollers measure in at 20 inches in diameter and are made from a lightweight alloy. In fact, they’re so light, each wheel actually shaves off 2.2 pounds compared to the previous i8’s alloy rollers. Buyers get four additional wheel designs (each also measured at 20 inches) for extra customization.

And of course, don’t forget the requisite “Roadster” badges to identify the model for anyone left wondering.

Interior

  • Gullwing doors are kept as is
  • Loses rear bench +2 seating
  • Multiple color combos offered
  • Leather and cloth upholstery options included
  • Includes the latest infotainment gear
  • Standard heads-up display
  • Multiple display modes and connected features

2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 749488
“The dash layout is a wavy assemblage with multiple layers added in a horizontal fashion, plus a wide center tunnel dividing the left and right seating positions.”

Just like on the Coupe, ingress and egress in the Roadster is aided by a set of attractive gullwing doors, which open up and forward rather than out. Settle into the cockpit, and you’ll find seating for two passengers, as opposed to the 2+2 layout found in the Coupe. Of course, this is due to the extra space needed to put the roof away, leaving the i8 Roadster with rather meager storage space. But that’s to be expected, and we’re not gonna dock points because the tiny rear bench was tossed. In fact, the Roadster still has a few cubbies scattered around for storage, including a 3.5-cubic-foot compartment located between the roof box and the seats, plus a secondary storage space in the rear that provides an additional 4.7 cubic feet.

Hit the button to open the roof, and the rear window will automatically rise 1.9 inches to help cut through the wind and direct it towards the rear, enhancing cabin comfort while reducing turbulence. The driver can tweak the rear window height to better control the air flow as desired.


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 748139
“The dash layout is a wavy assemblage with multiple layers added in a horizontal fashion, plus a wide center tunnel dividing the left and right seating positions.”

Standard spec for the cabin includes a sports steering wheel that’s wrapped in leather and mounted shift paddles for semi-manual gear changes. Behind the wheel is a multi-function instrument display, plus there are standard heated seats with fully electric adjustments. The dash layout is a wavy assemblage with multiple layers added in a horizontal fashion, plus a wide center tunnel dividing the left and right seating positions.

Customers will enjoy the “Giga” interior trim, plus the full-leather upholstery finished in an Ivory White and Black double-color scheme. You can also get the Giga interior trim in Dark Amido. Further options include the “Halo” trim with cloth and leather upholstery in a Carum and Dalbergia color scheme, and a new Tera World Copper trim with cloth and leather upholstery in an Amido and E-Copper color combo. Overall, we think the two-tone options work quite well with the layout and design.

But of course, as you might expect for a spacey hybrid sports car, the infotainment features list is extensive, and includes a host of features from BMW Connected, ConnectedDrive, and 360 Electric. Kicking it off is an 8.8-inch freestanding display, while Navigation system Professional and Driving Assistant both come as standard equipment. Running it all is the iDrive 6.0 operating system, with inputs made by the Touch Controller rotary knob located in the center console. Infotainment navigation is achieved with a tile-like presentation for the various apps and features.


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 749457
“As you might expect for a spacey hybrid sports car, the infotainment features list is extensive, and includes a host of features from BMW Connected, ConnectedDrive, and 360 Electric.”

Behind the steering wheel is a set of fully digital multi-function gauges. These will actually change their appearance depending on the mode selected, for example, Sport mode is set in an orange tint with round dials, while Comfort offers up a blue power meter display, and Eco Pro includes an efficiency gauge. You can also keep tabs on the powertrain stats via the Control Display and iDrive menu, which provides an energy flow graphic. You know, just in case you wanna get really nerdy with it.

The infotainment system can also integrate with your smartwatch and smartphone for added functionality, and it provides a variety of connected services, including trip planning, refueling information, trip status notifications via text messages, traffic info, parking info, concierge services, and more.

The i8 Roadster comes with a good deal of standard equipment, with the tunes routed through a Harman Kardon stereo rocking 12 speakers pumping out 360 watts of power. There’s also a standard heads-up display, which, in Sport mode, displays stuff like engine rpm, the current selected gear, and a set of shift lights. On the safety and convenience front, there’s standard cruise control, automatic braking, and surround view cameras, plus frontal collision warning, city collision mitigation, pedestrian detection, park distance control, automatic high beams, speed limit info, and cross traffic alert. Finally, there’s an Intelligent Emergency Call feature that will relay the crash severity and vehicle location in case you really bin it.

Drivetrain

  • Same powertrain and hybrid system as the Coupe
  • Turbocharged three-cylinder engine in the rear
  • Single synchronous electric motor in front
  • Hybrid AWD grip
  • 369 horsepower total, 12 more than before
  • 18 miles of all-electric range
  • 60 mph in 4.4 seconds (0.2 seconds slower than Coupe)
  • 155-mph top speed
  • Braking energy reclamation feature
  • Battery charges in 3 hours from 7.2-kW power supply
  • Multiple drive modes

2015 BMW i8 - image 518243
“While the gas engine drives the rear wheels, a single synchronous electric motor is mounted in the front, sending power and instant torque to the front axle through a two-speed transmission.”

One of the BMW i8’s best party tricks is its ability to provide emission-free driving and silent running on demand, and the Roadster is no different, packing the same BMW eDrive technology, AWD system, and plug-in hybrid powertrain as the Coupe. Behind the seats is a TwinPower Turbo 1.5-liter three-cylinder internal combustion gasoline engine, which makes as much as 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque thanks to features like Valvetronic variable valve timing and direct fuel injection. The ICE’s power is sent to the rear axle through a six-speed Steptronic gearbox.

While the gas engine drives the rear wheels, a single synchronous electric motor is mounted in the front, sending power and instant torque to the front axle through a two-speed transmission. The combo gives the i8 its AWD grip, providing both the high-revving power of a turbo gas engine and the low-end punch of an electric motor.

This time around, BMW updated the powertrain to be more efficient, tweaking the programming to include further driving situations wherein electric power was the exclusive source of motivation. Bimmer says it set it so the gas engine would only be put to use when accelerating hard, with advanced start/stop technology integrated to keep the engine sipping gas at optimal rates. The engineers refined the exhaust note as well – who knew a three-banger could sound so aggressive?


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 748124
“The biggest powertrain updates pertain to the electric side of the equation. The big news is an updated lithium-ion battery, which adds an extra 12 horsepower.”

However, the most important powertrain updates pertain to the electric side of the equation. The big news is an updated lithium-ion battery, which now boasts an increased cell capacity up to 34 Ah from the previous unit’s 20 Ah. Gross energy capacity up is also up, now rated at 11.6 kWh from the previous i8’s 7.1 kWh.

All told, the new cell configuration adds an extra 12 horsepower, bringing the electric motor’s output to 141 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque total. The all-electric range was increased as well, and now offers up to 18 miles of electron-powered go, a 30-percent increase compared to the old model.

Put the ICE and electric motor together, and they yield a total of 369 horsepower, which means that 12 extra horsepower was basically added on top of the old model’s peak output. Impressively, the i8 will also return upwards of 70 MPGe. The 0-to-60 mph sprint clocks in at 4.4 seconds, 0.2 seconds slower than the coupe model, while top speed is rated at a Coupe-matching 155 mph (no word on what it’ll do with the electronic limiter removed).


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 748164
“Put the ICE and electric motor together, and they yield a total of 369 horsepower, which means that 12 extra horsepower was basically added on top of the old model's peak output. Impressively, the i8 will also return upwards of 70 MPGe”

The Roadster can also hit 65 mph using only electric power, or you can press the eDrive button, and the all-electric top speed will be increased to 75 mph. There’s also a variety of different drive modes, such as Comfort, Sport, and Eco Pro, each of which should be pretty self-explanatory. If you’re looking for all-electric modes, the selection is limited to Comfort and Eco Pro.

The multiple drive modes also tweak the energy management system. With the hybrid modes, the electric motor provides extra go while also offering energy reclamation under braking and on the overrun. The system is smart too, integrating with the navigation system to switch between gas and electric power as needed for maximum efficiency (for example, electric power is best suited for stop-and-go traffic and downhill sections).

Finally, users can juice up using their BMW-branded i Charging Station. Utilizing a 7.2-kW power supply, the i8 can top off its battery in about 3 hours. Also, if you are registered with the ChargeNow network, you’ll receive “unrestricted access” to any of the various charging stations located across the U.S.

Chassis And Handling

  • Aluminum and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic used throughout
  • Weighs in at 3,513 pounds, just 132 pounds more than the Coupe
  • Standard Dynamic Damper Control

2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 749469
“Weight saving measures include features like newly designed frame-less gullwing doors that incorporate additional CFRP and an aluminum outer shell. The windscreen frame is also made from CFRP.”

Just like the Coupe, the BMW i8 Roadster utilizes an aluminum chassis and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell, blessing it with high rigidity and a surprisingly low weight. The car’s heft is also evenly distributed front-to-back and mounted as low as possible, thanks primarily to the balanced rear and front locations of the ICE and electric motor respectively, and the central placement of the battery in the car’s underbody.

Additional weight saving measures include features like the newly designed frame-less gullwing doors that now incorporate additional CFRP, plus an aluminum outer shell. The windscreen frame is also made from CFRP, as are the swoopy side skirts. Meanwhile, the drive module, which is comprised of the powertrain, high-voltage battery, and suspension, once again incorporates a good deal of aluminum.


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 749478
“Thanks to all the alloys and composites, the i8 Roadster weighs only 3,513 pounds, an increase of 132 pounds compared to the hardtop model.”

Thanks to all the alloys and composites, the i8 Roadster offers the requisite sports car torsional rigidity, all despite the lack of a fixed roof for extra bracing. It’s also surprisingly lightweight, with the curb weight rated at 3,513 pounds, an increase of only 132 pounds compared to the hardtop model. Not bad at all, if you ask us. Typically, drop tops are significantly heavier than their convertible cousins, packing an additional couple hundred pounds in bracing to keep it from folding in on itself when attacking a corner.

The suspension system in place to manage the surprisingly low curb weight includes double wishbones in front and a five-link rear, all of which is made from aluminum. Standard spec tosses in Dynamic Damper Control, while the Roadster model benefits from custom suspension tuning, a specially configured steering system, firmer roll stabilization, and a few changes to the DSC as well.

Pricing


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 749473

Sales for the 2018 BMW i8 Roadster kick off in the spring of 2018. Bimmer has yet to announce official pricing information, but considering the 2017 Coupe starts at $143,400, we’d expect the Roadster to ring in at just under $150,000, give or take a few grand.

Competition

Acura NSX Roadster


2014 Acura NSX Roadster
- image 442955

When Acura dropped the second-generation NSX at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, the auto world went wild. Finally, Honda’s legendary nameplate had returned, and it brought with it a host of go-faster technology that placed it at the forefront of hybrid-flavored speed. Making it go is a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6, which is hybridised by no less than three electric motors to produce an impressive 573 horsepower. The 0-to-60 mph sprint is done in a little less than 3 seconds, while top speed is rated at 191 mph. And while there’s no official word that a drop-top is on the way, it just makes sense to offer one, no?

Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Acura NSX Roadster.

Tesla Roadster 2.0


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 746104

While we’re still several years away from seeing this thing out on public roads, the second-generation Tesla Roadster looks to offer some pretty insane competition for the Bimmer. Scratch that – this thing is beyond insane, and deep into plaid territory. The claimed specs are light years ahead of what you get in the Bimmer, with a claimed 0-to-60 mph time of 1.9 seconds and a top speed over 250 mph. Making the go is a three-motor powertrain laying down a Earth-turning 7,376 pound-feet of torque, while all-electric range is pegged at 620 miles per charge. Of course, these are all just unverified claims, so we’ll have to see where the Tesla really lands when it’s finally sold to the public, not to mention where the Bimmer will be in comparison. For now, though, keep an eye out for this one.

Read our full review on the 2020 Tesla Roadster 2.0.

Conclusion


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 749474
“The handful of years between now and the i8's original release date have been a boom time in the hybrid segment, and a lot of what made the i8 so impressive in 2013 doesn't quite spark our interest like it once did.”

At its heart, the 2018 BMW i8 Roadster is a very exciting car. It’s got literally everything offered by the Coupe (except the rear +2 seats, of course), plus a heady dose of extra blue sky on demand. That makes it a fantastic option for those looking into the more eco-friendly options in the high-end roadster market. That much is obvious.

At the same time, though, we have to dock a few points from the Bimmer’s score for it’s lack of upgrades heading into the 2018 model year. When it was first released, the i8 was extremely exciting, offering AWD, sharp styling, solid speed, and a surprising level of efficiency to boot. What’s not to like?

Well, as it turns out, the handful of years between now and the i8’s original release date have been a boom time in the hybrid segment, and a lot of what made the i8 so impressive in 2013 doesn’t quite spark our interest like it once did. Yeah, it still looks great, and yeah, it’s still quick, but were expecting more than an extra 12 horsepower and a few extra miles with the latest update. Just look at rivals like the Acura NSX, which is also an AWD, spacey hybrid sports car, but it’ll simply demolish the Bimmer in the speed department, all while looking equally as good in the styling department. We were hoping for more from the Bavarians.

That said, the Roadster is still a fantastically exciting machine. We’d just wait until the next, more substantial update to pick one up.

  • Leave it
    • * Could be faster
    • * Rivals aren’t slowing down
    • * Loses the rear +2 seats

References

BMW i8


BMW Debuts “New” i8 Coupe and the First i8 Roadster - image 748136

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW i8 Coupe.


2015 BMW i8 - image 522680

Read our full review on the current 2017 BMW i8.


maker logos - image 741745

Read more BMW news.


maker logos - image 745566

Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

Updated History

Updated 07/03/2017: The new i8 Spyder is actually coming! BMW dropped the first teaser video for it!

Updated 05/12/2017: The upcoming BMW i8 Spyder was caught testing one more time, and this time we have the chance to get a closer look.

Updated 02/28/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming i8 Spyder during winter testing in Sweden.

Updated 07/03/2017: The new i8 Spyder is actually coming! BMW dropped the first teaser video for it!

Teaser video

The first official teaser video isn’t much of an actual teaser as it is footage with the camouflaged car we’ve already seen on public roads. However, in this video we can see the i8 Spyder with its doors open, which confirms that it will have butterfly-tipe doors, just like the coupe. This type of door configuration isn’t very common on convertibles, which makes it a pretty big deal.

Spy Shots

May 12, 2017 – BMW i8 Spyder caught up-close and personal


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 716249

2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 716252

2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 716246

February 28, 2017 – BMW i8 Spyder caught testing in Sweden


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 707155

2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 707161

2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 707168

PostHeaderIcon Feeling Special: Lambo Unveils Urus at Museum of Art, Ditches Detroit Auto Show

The brand-new Lamborghini Urus, the super SUV that drove almost everyone crazy, made its North American debut in Detroit earlier this week. For a couple of hours or so, because the vehicle was displayed at the Museum of Contemporary Art instead of the Detroit Auto Show. Specifically, Lambo made a separate event, invited a few people to see company CEO Stefano Domenicali give a speech, and then took the Urus away, leaving just an orange Huracan on the show floor. Why? Well, maybe it’s because the Italian firm is too special for the Detroit Auto Show.


Feeling Special: Lambo Unveils Urus at Museum of Art, Ditches Detroit Auto Show - image 760451

This isn’t the first time the Italians have done such a thing. The same thing happened at last year’s Detroit Auto Show, where they set up a separate event for the Aventador Roadster SV and removed the car from Cobo before the visitors were allowed in. When asked by a TopSpeed staffer why the Aventador wasn’t there, a Cobo staff member suggested that perhaps the brand thought it was too special to be there. Well, I agree. We definitely don’t want the new Urus to catch some sort of skin disease from journalists and visitors breathing over it.

Excuse me while I go update my Facebook status to “feeling sick.”

References

Lamborghini Urus


2019 Lamborghini Urus - image 749811

Read our full review on the 2019 Lamborghini Urus.


maker logos - image 744261

Read more Lamborghini news.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Project Redspace

The Earth is teeming with humanity. In 2011, the world population hit a head-spinning 7 billion people, and it’s only getting more crowded – at an accelerating rate, too. Most folks live in and around staggeringly dense urban centers called “megacities,” called as such thanks to population figures that eclipse the 10-million mark. With such incredible numbers of people to serve, transportation systems are at their limit. So what’s the solution? Something like Project Redspace might very well be it. Produced by a Chinese firm and aimed primarily at the Chinese market, the Project Redspace (Redspace as in “Revolutionary Electric Dream Space”) is an all-electric commuter with a unique twist. The driving philosophy behind its creation was to leverage space wherever possible, finding an ideal amalgamation between form and function through inherent adaptability and customization, all while leaving the door open for the integration of forthcoming autonomous systems. Introduced in concept form at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, this very well could be the transportation solution for future U.S. city dwellers.

While the Project Redspace certainly doesn’t look like anything we’ve seen before, that’s kind of the point, or at least half of it. Spearheading the project is Chris Bangle, a noted American car designer with a resume that includes a stint at BMW and Fiat. Backed by Chinese partners from CHTC Motors (China Hi-Tech New Energy Automobile Co., Ltd), Bangle says that he managed to design “a space that decided to become a car,” and he’s deadest on meeting the needs of the traveling public of the future. While this might be a prototype model, a production iteration is reportedly just years away. Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2020 Project Redspace.

Exterior

– * Unique exterior features

– * Boxy, yet angular, yet organic

– * Forward-leaning windshield helps keep interior cool

– * Offers a roof around the perimeter

– * Sliding door design

– * Very small exterior dimensions

– * Flower pedal wheel cover design


2020 Project Redspace - image 750728
“The Project Redspace is utterly unique, blending a variety of elements to create something unlike anything we’ve seen before”

The Project Redspace is utterly unique, blending a variety of elements to create something unlike anything we’ve seen before. It’s boxy, no doubt about it, but at the same time its got tons of curves and angles, marked by pointed elements added just about everywhere, thus breaking up the lunchbox-style form underneath with additional organic bits. The details on this thing are plentiful, to say the least. Bangle says part of the design takes inspiration from what a little kid would trace when asked to draw car – a bold move, to say the least.

Taking responsibility for the form is a multinational design team that includes folks from Germany, Japan, America, France, and Italy, which might help to explain the Project Redspace’s rather hodge-podge look. Bangle calls it an “interactive” design language.


2020 Project Redspace - image 750736
“Taking responsibility for the form is a multinational design team, which might help to explain the Project Redspace’s rather hodge-podge look.”

In front, we find a short, blocky nose, with rounded curves and angular headlights drawn into the corners. An organic-looking front bumper block breaks up the form, while the windshield rises up and outwards into a perfectly flat roof, curving around like half of a martini glass. The headlights appear to offer LED lighting elements, with signature surrounds. The overhangs are very short, both front and back. A small geometric Redspace badge resides in the left-hand portion of the fascia.

Moving to the sides, the Redspace’s unique front-leaning wraparound windshield becomes more obvious, offset by a rear-leaning pillar structure to give a sort of vee-shape. While unique in terms of styling, the automaker says the design is also quite functional, as it opens up the interior space while simultaneously allowing for more efficient airflow outside. The top overhang also helps create a shadow, thus keeping temperatures inside down.


2020 Project Redspace - image 750730
“In the corners, we see an adequately funky wheel design, like the pedals of a some kind of mechanical flower. Aiding ingress and egress is a pair of sliding doors, similar to a van, and particular useful when squeezing through tight spots.”

In the corners, we see an adequately funky wheel design, like the pedals of some kind of mechanical flower. Aiding ingress and egress is a pair of horizontally sliding doors, with a function similar to what you might find on a van, which is particularly useful when squeezing through tight spots. The sliding design also means the car offers a bit of a roof as you climb into the vehicle, which, as the automaker points out, should keep you dry when entering or exiting the car in inclement weather.


2020 Project Redspace - image 750735
“As you might expect, all those crazy exterior details opens up a plethora of opportunities when it comes to customization.”

As you might expect, all those crazy exterior details open up a plethora of opportunities when it comes to customization, and the automaker is quick to boast about the huge range of styling options customers will have in making it their own.

Finally, the Project Redspace comes with very small exterior dimensions, a vital characteristic for city driving. We’ll let you know the final measurements when the production version arrives, but for now, we hear it’s roughly 20 inches shorter than a Fiat 500 and just a tad bigger than a Smart Fortwo.

Interior

– * Designed from the inside out

– * Seats four passengers

– * Offers enough space to “live” in

– * Large infotainment screen on the dash

– * Adaptable and modular seating arrangement

– * Wi-Fi should be standard

– * Seats rotate for socialization

– * Opens up opportunities for autonomous technology


2020 Project Redspace - image 750748
“Project Redspace actually began its life as an interior”

Interestingly, Project Redspace actually began its life as an interior. The designers started by modeling the cabin space, so as you can imagine, a lot of time and effort went into making it as effective as possible. The overarching goal was to comfortably seat four adult passengers, while also offering a huge amount of customizability to fulfill a broad range of needs, whether its playing video games, changing a diaper, or finishing a business report. Bangle says it’s supposed to be an area large enough to “live my life in,” like a mobile apartment.

To kick it off, the individual seats can swivel 180 degrees, facing forward while driving, or facing one another when the car isn’t in motion. Alternatively, the seats can be rearranged into a totally new configuration, placed in offset to make more room for arms and legs. The armrests slope upwards for easier driving.


2020 Project Redspace - image 750739
“The seats can be rearranged into a totally new configuration, placed in offset to make more room for arms and legs.”

On the dash, the most obvious feature is the enormous 17-inch infotainment screen on top of the dash. There’s also a lower touchscreen located near the driver to provide a means for user inputs. This lower screen gets a plastic cover with a tactile feel to it, which is intended to offer easier the driver operation without requiring them to take their eyes off the road. There’s also a fold-down desk, in case you need a spot to sign papers or rest your mobile device. Onboard Wi-Fi should be standard.


2020 Project Redspace - image 750750
“The car is obviously perfectly suited for high levels of autonomy.”

Further tech features include automatic braking and parking assistance. And considering the amount of time that went into making the Redspace interior a great spot to relax, the car is obviously perfectly suited for high levels of autonomy, a facet the company is sure to jump on as soon as the technology hits the right inflection point in terms of cost and efficacy.

Drivetrain

– * Rear-mounted electric motor

– * Aluminum construction

– * Solar panels on the roof

– * Inductive charging capabilities

– * Offers the same range as a “large four-seater car”


2020 Project Redspace - image 750734
“The Project Redspace gets all-electric motivation”

Per tradition for a forward-thinking city machine, the Project Redspace gets all-electric motivation. Details on the car’s powertrain are understandably still under wraps, but we do know the electric motor is mounted in the rear, which means its RWD. The batteries are also mounted underneath the floor, while aluminum was used for the construction to keep it as lightweight as possible. The automaker also says it’ll offer the range of a “large four-seater car,” so we’re hoping for at least 150 miles. 200 miles would be ideal.

Once again though, the details are what make Project Redspace interesting. For example, the roof is a solar panel, which is wired to the peripherals (HVAC, stereo, infotainment, etc.) to keep the battery pack topped off on sunny days. And it’s got a big roof too, which means a big solar panel. Apparently, it’ll have the option for inductive charging as well, a feature that will be offered at launch.

Prices


2020 Project Redspace - image 750740

While the Project Redspace is designed specifically for the Chinese market, there’s a possibility it could see an introduction in other markets as well, including in the U.S.

Impressively, Redspace says it could have this thing on the road in the next two years, which seems rather ambitious, if you ask us.

No pricing has been announced, but if we were to guess, all those premium features and customizability and advanced technologies won’t come cheap. As such, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it tagged at $45,000, similar to the BMW i3. And speaking of which…

Competition

BMW i3


BMW Unveils 2018 i3 and i3s - image 728706

Interestingly, our first competitor comes from Bangle’s former employer, BMW. Like the Project Redspace, the BMW i3 is a high-end all-electric box, made from aluminum and carbon fiber to keep weight as low as possible. Inside, the materials are quite nice, while seating for four provides a decent amount of space. In the tail, you’ll find an electric motor in place to drive the rear wheels. Range per charge is around 100 miles, but if you need more, there’s the option for a gasoline “range extender” internal combustion engine for a little more outlay.

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW i3.

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive


2017 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive
- image 689210

The Smart Fortwo focuses much more on catering to urban environments than the BMW i3, with tiny exterior dimensions and a tiny turning circle as well. This thing was made for squeezing through cramped spaces, which is great, but the interior space suffers as a result, only offering seating for two passengers max. Range is also a bit on the low side, with just 75 miles offered between plug-ins. The price, however, is far below that of the Bimmer and what we’re speculating for the Project Redspace, slotting in under the $25,000 mark.

Read our full review on the 2017 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

Conclusion


2020 Project Redspace - image 750735

Redspace says cars spend the vast majority of the time (up to 90 percent in fact) just being idle. And therein lies the designer’s idea of what could be done to increase efficiency on a variety of levels. In terms of time, the car was designed to be a mobile workspace and lounge thanks to its modular interior layout. Thanks to the electric motivation and potential autonomous technology, the car should be efficient with the energy reserves as well.

It makes sense this thing was designed by a Chinese firm. After all, few countries have as many megacities as China, and demand for personal transportation solutions will only increase. The automaker says the target demographic includes “young people who just want a place to be with their friends on their own in a car that they have fun with, and at the same time, the mom, the woman who needs a second car in the family.” Then there are the folks who will use it as a “business tool.” All told, the Project Redspace is meant to appeal to a wide variety of folks in the newly emerging, hyper-crowded megacity landscape.

“That’s a rather tall order, hence the good deal of experimentation that went into the vehicle’s creation. However, if autonomous tech really takes off in the next few years, it could be quite successful.”

And that’s a rather tall order, hence the good deal of experimentation that went into the vehicle’s creation. The novel design approach is also pretty interesting, with an inside-out look at making the car work.

If the Project Redspace really does become a reality, the biggest hurdle we see to its success is price. There’s a lot going on here, and making it function properly in the real world will be complicated, which means by the time it reaches consumers, it could be quite out of reach for the target buyers.

However, if autonomous tech really takes off in the next few years, and Project Redspace adopts a “sharing” business model to help bring down the price, it could be quite successful as well.

We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

  • Leave it
    • * Not all folks will like the way it looks
    • * Likely very expensive
    • * Best served with autonomous tech, but where’s the tech?

References


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Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Nissan Kicks – U.S. Spec

More subdued styling versus the Juke

Without a doubt, the SUV and crossover market is still running strong, prompting every automaker under the sun to fill their lineups to capacity with fresh tall-riding hatches in a bid to satisfy the public’s seemingly never-ending demand. Nissan is no different, offering U.S buyers no less than six different models in the segment, including the Juke, Rogue, Rogue Sport, Murano, Pathfinder, and Armada. Unfortunately, lovers of the funky and fun Juke won’t see the compact on the roster for much longer, as rumor has it Nissan is showing it the door in 2018. However, in its stead, Nissan will offer something fresh – enter the Kicks. The Kicks is Nissan’s very first new nameplate in 8 years, arriving as a new entry-level model in the Japanese automaker’s lineup with more room and a lower price tag than the Juke. It’s also got some nice technology, both for entertainment and for safety purposes.

The Kicks is already on sale in South America, but arrives stateside more or less unchanged in the hopes of enticing urban consumers, or as Nissan puts it, “singles or couples looking for unique styling, roominess, personal technology, smart functionality and advanced safety features at an affordable price.” So – how does it stack up?

Updated 05/08/2018: Nissan announced prices for the 2018 Kicks. Check the “Prices” section for the full details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Nissan Kicks.

PostHeaderIcon Aria FXE

Seven-speed dual-clutch transmission

If you’ve never heard of ‘em, don’t feel bad. Aria is best known as the pen behind projects like the Tesla Model S Concept from 2009, the bespoke carbon fiber body panels that adorn the Singer 911s, and the Ford Shelby GR-1, as well as the SpaceX Dragon capsule and the Warthog from Halo 4. Just 100 employees make up the entire firm. Now, this small, yet talented group is offering up a glimpse at its very first production passenger car, and long story short, it’s a whopper. Recently unveiled at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, Aria calls it the FXE, as it’s an evolved iteration of the FE concept shown in LA last year. The FXE looks like a spaceship, and based on Aria’s claim regarding the onboard hybrid V-8 powertrain, it should go like one too. Taking inspiration from track cars, the FXE is made for the road and aims to topple the best of the best from Europe, including the Ferrari LaFerrari and McLaren P1.

Of course, that’s a rather tall order for any carmaker, let alone a tiny boutique design house looking to make their first production vehicle. So the question is this – can Aria pull it off?

Continue reading to learn more about the Aria FXE.

Exterior

  • Highly angular and aggressive
  • Two-tone color scheme
  • Cabin placed in the middle
  • Tons of wings, spoilers, and vents everywhere
  • 20-inch wheels in front, 21-inch in back
  • HRE center-locking rollers with carbon fiber flourish
  • Adaptive aerodynamic elements in the rear
  • Flat carbon fiber undertray

2018 Aria FXE - image 750172
“The Aria FXE certainly looks the part of a top-shelf hybrid performance machine”

From the off, the Aria FXE certainly looks the part of a top-shelf hybrid performance machine. The lines are crisp and pointed, with deep cuts and sharp angles that simply scream speed. While Aria declined to provide exact downforce and aero specs, the FXE appears as though it would get smashed into the pavement while traveling at high-velocity. There are wings and blades and spoilers galore, which make the car bristle from every angle you look at it.

Of course, such drama should be expected from a modern hypercar, especially the first production model from a well-established design house. All that aggression will help the FXE get noticed, so why not go full throttle right from the off?


2018 Aria FXE - image 750173
“Of course, such drama should be expected from a modern hypercar. All that aggression will help the FXE get noticed, so why not go full throttle right from the off?”

Up front, we find wide, narrow features that enhance the car’s natural girth. Connecting the relatively small headlight housings is a U-shaped section offsetting the white body panels with a matte-black finish, while the headlights themselves look as though they come equipped with LED lighting elements and daytime running lights. A large vent occupies the top section of the hood, while lower in the bumper, you’ll find large intake sections and a deep splitter element with a curvaceous slant to it, plus a pair of side winglets marked by the FXE logo in white.

Viewed in profile, the FXE places the greenhouse in the center of the vehicle, evening out the proportions into semi-equal parts, front to back. The overhangs are short, while the lower aero sections continue the look of the front splitter with angular dips and dives in a matte-black finish. Enormous side intakes dominate the rear quarter panels and fenders, while a smaller secondary intake was added to the roof. In the corners, you’ll find ornate forged center-lock wheels from HRE, rocking carbon fiber flow inserts for extra style points. The rollers are staggered in size, with 20 inches of diameter in front and 21 inches in the rear.


2018 Aria FXE - image 750184
“In the corners, you’ll find ornate forged center-lock wheels from HRE, rocking carbon fiber flow inserts for extra style points.”

The rear end is a bit blockier in its appearance, with sizable vents placed under the taillights, in the lower bumper, and along the supporting beams in the roof. The diffuser back here is enormous, complimented by a sizable GT-style wing on the trunk lid that appears to have automatic adjustment capabilities. A flat carbon fiber undertray is found just inches from the pavement. Finally, the taillight’s shape is as slim as the headlights, and they get a contour that reminds me a bit of the rear end on the new Chevrolet Corvette.

Compared to the Ferrari LaFerrari, the Aria FXE is much shorter, a bit narrower, and a bit taller. The Aria’s wheelbase is also longer than the Ferrari Squared.


2018 Aria FXE - image 750174

Exterior Dimensions

Aria FXE Ferrari LaFerrari
Length 4,470 mm (176 inches) 4,702 mm (185.1 inches)
Width 1,930 mm (76 inches) 1,992 mm (78.4 inches)
Height 1,139 mm (44.8 inches) 1,116 mm (43.9 inches)
Wheelbase 2,709 mm (106.7 inches) 2,650 mm (104.3 inches)

Interior

  • Two passengers max
  • Fixed-back seats look like they were carved out
  • Racing harnesses to keep you in place
  • Simplistic, clean dash design
  • Should offers tons of customizability
  • Pedals and steering wheel move back and forth for comfort
  • All-digital instrumentation

2018 Aria FXE - image 750171
“Both passengers will strap in with racing harnesses to keep from sliding around while exploring the FXE’s upper grip threshold. Customizability opportunities will be plentiful.”

While Aria wasn’t opening the doors on the FXE to give journalists a clear view of the cabin space, there are a few things we could glean after seeing it in LA. First off, it’ll only seat two passengers – just as a proper hypercar should. Both passengers will strap into fixed-back seats that appear as though they were carved out of the car’s rear bulkhead, and come complete with racing harnesses to keep you from sliding around while exploring the FXE’s upper grip threshold. A large center section divides the two seats, while a simplistic dash layout provides a space for controls. The gauge cluster spears to be totally digital, while the button layout is ultra-clean and simplistic. There’s also probably little to no storage space, which makes the FXE exactly the wrong pick for a month-long holiday. Unless, of course, you’re vacationing at a race track.

Aria says the seats will be specially molded to each individual customer, while the controls will be able to move forward and backward as needed to accommodate a variety of body types. We also expect a vast variety of additional customization options, given the inherently bespoke nature of the company, the relatively low production numbers, and most importantly, the price tag. Custom materials, custom colors, technology options, and similar stuff will pervade throughout, which, combined with the specially molded seats, should make the interior of each Aria FXE utterly unique.

Drivetrain

  • Hybrid AWD powertrain
  • Supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 V-8 from Chevy
  • Seven-speed dual-clutch transmission
  • Two axial-flux induction electric motors in front
  • 10-kWh battery pack
  • 1,150 horsepower and 1,316 pound-feet of torque
  • 0 to 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds
  • Top speed is rated at 220 mph

2018 Aria FXE - image 750200
“In the middle of the machine, there’s a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8, the same GM-sourced LT4 V-8 used in the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. ‘Merica.”

Like the majority of top-shelf hypercars currently on the market, the Aria FXE makes use of hybridization to make all of its go. In front, you’ll find dual front axial-flux induction electric motors, which get juiced by a 10-kWh battery pack. Meanwhile, in the middle of the machine, there’s a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8. This lump is based on the same GM-sourced LT4 V-8 used in the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, and it does well to fit in with the whole all-American theme the FXE is shooting for. The V-8 mates with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to send power to the rear, while the electric motors motivate the front axle. And that means the FXE should offer copious AWD grip when you put its prodigious output to use.

Speaking of output, the V-8 and pair of electric motors combine to create a lot of it – upwards of 1,150 horsepower and 1,316 pound-feet of torque, to be exact. Properly applied by the driver, Aria says the FXE will go from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds, while top speed is rated at 220 mph.

Those numbers are more or less in line with what we’d expect for the segment, although the 0-to-60 mph time is a few tenths short of what you get with the established benchmarks from Europe.


2018 Aria FXE - image 750178

Aria FXE Engine And Performance Specs

Drive type mid-engine, hybrid AWD
Engine supercharged 6.2-liter V-8
Electric motors dual front axial-flux induction electric motors
Battery pack rating 10 kWh
Engine transmission seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Combined horsepower 1,150 hp
Combined torque 1,316 pound-feet
0 to 60 mph 3.1 seconds
Top speed 220 mph

Chassis And Handling

  • Carbon fiber monocoque
  • Carbon fiber body panels
  • 3,450-pound curb weight
  • 3D-printed metal components
  • Wide Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires

2018 Aria FXE - image 750196
“The real question though is how the chassis and suspension set-up manage to apply the impressive power levels mentioned in the drivetrain section.”

Despite its large supercharged V-8 and complicated hybrid AWD system, the Aria FXE weighs in at just 3,450 pounds in terms of the curb weight. As you might imagine, this is made possible thanks to its carbon fiber monocoque chassis and carbon fiber body panels, all standard stuff for something looking to make waves in the hybrid hypercar segement.

Aria says it also used a good number of 3D-printed metal pieces here and there, although details are a bit scant as of this writing. Aluminum is sure to be one of the most important materials used, and we’d love it if the FXE threw in stuff like titanium and the like for the extra bling factor.

Making the traction is Pirelli’s P Zero Trofeo R tire compound, with the FXE coming equipped with a 265-section sizing in front and 325-section in the rear. With all four wheels driven, this much sticky tire should post some impressive grip numbers on the skidpad.

The real question though is how the chassis and suspension set-up manage to apply the impressive power levels mentioned in the drivetrain section. Given this is Aria’s first real venture into making a full-on production vehicle, refinement on the road and adjustability at the limits of grip could be an issue.

Prices


2018 Aria FXE - image 750177

Aria says it’s aiming to cap production at 400 units, which is actually rather high for a boutique hybrid hypercar like the FXE. For now, sales are slated to commence some time in 2019.

Pricing wasn’t made public, but rest assured every FXE will cost somewhere around $1 million. For that kind of money, each customer will get to customize theirs to suit there individual tastes, which means the final bottom line might vary greatly between each example.

If seven figures is too rich for your blood, there’s also a “base model” FE that’ll sell for $650,000. With the downgrade, you lose the hybrid system, but keep the blown 6.2-liter V-8 for power. That means less output, but something tells us it’ll still be mighty quick all the same.

The FXE will be built at Aria’s plant in Irvine, California.

Competition

McLaren P1


2014 McLaren P1 - image 525097

As the very shot fired in the battle for modern hybrid hypercar supremacy, you can bet your bottom dollar Aria has taken careful notes on the P1. Introduced in 2012 at the Paris Motor Show, the P1 floored the automotive world with its incredible specs, making upwards of 903 horsepower thank to a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-8 and electric motor combo. Applied to the rear axle, it’s enough to propel the P1 to 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds, while reaching a top speed of 217 mph at the other end. Only 375 were built, each carrying a price tag in excess of a million dollars.

Read our full review on the 2014 McLaren P1.

Ferrari LaFerrari


2014 Ferrari LaFerrari - image 496624

Not long after the release of the McLaren P1, Ferrari made its presence known in the segment with this – the hybrid LaFerrari. Mating a naturally aspirated 6.3-liter V-12 with a hybrid system inspired by KERS and Formula 1, the Ferrari Squared makes a combined 950 horsepower, all of which is directed to the rear axle thanks to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The 0-to-60 mph benchmark is dispatched in 2.5 seconds, while top speed is pegged at 218 mph. Motorsport-inspired tech dominates throughout. Pricing is set at around $1.42 million – if Ferrari deems you worthy to buy one, that is.

Read our full review on the 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari

Conclusion


2018 Aria FXE - image 750175
“Its obvious Aria spent a good amount of time making the FXE look the part of a world-beating hypercar. But here’s the real question – what’ll happen when the rubber really meets the road?”

While it’s still a few years out, the Aria FXE certainly appears to be on the right track, at least as far as appearances go. That said, in this segment, appearances count for a lot, and smartly, its obvious Aria spent a good amount of time making the FXE look the part of a world-beating hypercar.

But here’s the real question – what’ll happen when the rubber really meets the road? Will the FXE have what it takes to perform with track superstars like Ferrari and McLaren? Sure, the power numbers are impressive, and with its carbon fiber monocoque, enormous brakes, aggressive aero, and sticky Pirelli tires, it’s got all the right buzz words to make one think it’s in the same class as the P1 or LaFerrari.

So yeah, it’s got the right aesthetic to compete with Ferrari and McLaren, if you like the way it looks. But to us (and the majority of buyers as well), the way it goes is just as important, and we’re not convinced Aria has the right stuff to match the big makes in that regard. McLaren and Ferrari have an incredible resume to fall back on when it comes to actually making the numbers and words work as a complete package, so in that respect, Aria has some catching up to do.

But that said, we’ll reserve final judgment until this thing finally gets driven in anger. Until then, we’re happy to sit back and simply take in all those curves.

  • Leave it
    • * Aria’s first production model might need some ironing out
    • * Styling isn’t for everyone
    • * Not exactly the most forgiving segment to try your hand in

Who Is Aria?


2018 Aria FXE - image 750197

Based out of Irvine, California, and supported by a research and development center in Detroit, Michigan, Aria is a design, engineering, and manufacturing group focused on the transportation, aerospace, production, and entertainment industries. The company boasts over two decades of experience, and has worked with Honda, Toyota, Ford, GM, Disney, Paramount, and Northrop Grumman.

References


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PostHeaderIcon Land Rover Range Rover SVAutobiography

The Land Rover Range Rover’s ultimate trim level, the SVAutobiography, is getting a healthy update for 2018. Of course, many of these same updates are found on the standard 2018 Range Rover, too, having undergone a welcomed refresh. The 2018 SVAutobiography is available on the long-wheelbase Range Rover. It comes with ultra-premium levels of luxury fittings and first-class accommodations for rear passengers. Airline-style reclining seats with massaging, folding aluminum tray tables, power-operated doors, twin 10.2-inch entertainment monitors, and a refrigerated compartment are just some of the highlights.

As part of the Range Rover’s 2018 update, the dashboard now features the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system with two 10-inch touchscreens in the center stack and another 10-inch screen for the fully digital gauge cluster. Other tech features include 4G Wi-Fi hotspot for eight devices, plenty of USB and 12-volt ports, a household power plug. Land Rover’s Connect Pro brings smartphone connection and remote controlling of the vehicle’s systems. The app allows for operating door locks, setting climate control temperatures, and remotely starting the engine. And for those times when having keys for a phone on your person isn’t feasible, the available Activity Key wristband doubles as the key fob.

Of course, that’s just scratching the surface, so let’s dive into what’s new.

Continue reading for more on the updated 2018 Range Rover SVAutobiography.

What’s New on the 2018 Range Rover SVAutobiography


2018 Land Rover Range Rover SVAutobiography - image 747494
“While there’s plenty to cover, the heart of the Range Rover SVAutobiography is is rear-seat comfort”

While there’s plenty to cover, the heart of the Range Rover SVAutobiography is is rear-seat comfort. The long-wheelbase Range Rover provides a whopping 1.2 meters (four feet!) of legroom. Power-raising leg rests and reclining seatbacks make long trips completely comfortable, while customizable massaging rubs out a sore back and heating and ventilation keep backside temperatures regulated. Of course, rear passengers can control their own HVAC settings, too. The new seats are more padded than before while offering more power adjustments and memory settings. If breaking out a bottle of Champaign feels right, a refrigerator between the seatbacks will keep two bottles chilled. The luxury life is so hard, isn’t it?

New colors and stitching patterns for the leather upholstery appear for 2018, giving customers more choices and combinations. Up front, the steering wheel has been update with invisible-until-touched backlit controls. The updated digital gauge cluster now has more customizable configurations to choose from. The Touch Pro Duo screens offer better and more intuitive controls. The upper screen is still the main hub for radio, navigation, and various vehicle menus, but the lower screen now holds the HVAC controls and doubles as the Terrain Resonse 2 control center for off-road settings. Remember, even though the Range Rover SVAutobiography is basically a private jet for the ground, it can still traverse over nearly any terrain thanks to its adjustable air ride suspension, full-time 4WD, locking differentials, and various drive modes that include settings for sand, snow, mud, and rocks.


2018 Land Rover Range Rover SVAutobiography - image 747491
“And speaking of the greasy bits, the updated 2018 Range Rover SVAutobiography is also available with Land Rover’s new plug-in hybrid drivetrain”

And speaking of the greasy bits, the updated 2018 Range Rover SVAutobiography is also available with Land Rover’s new plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Called the P400e model, it features a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder combined with an electric motor good for a combined 254 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. The system offers an all-electric range of 31 miles and will charge on both public quick chargers or at home with a standard wall outlet and its included charging cable.

The supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 carries over, too, so those who enjoy big power will be happy. The all-aluminum engine makes 557 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Both the PHEV and V-8 come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and that full-time 4WD system.


2018 Land Rover Range Rover SVAutobiography - image 750234
“The 2018 Range Rover SVAutobiography starts at $208,200 and comes with just about everything as standard”

Naturally, the 2018 Range Rover SVAutobiography is pretty pricy. It starts at $208,200 and comes with just about everything as standard. Land Rover does offer a few accessories like the $5,815 “tailgate event seating” with leather-wrapped seats and metal stirrups. There’s also a $5,455 power-deployable loadspace floor extender, which basically does nothing but move fore and aft to help getting heavier items into the cargo area.

Despite the Range Rover’s bones continuing unchanged, the 2018 updates and the major upgrades to the SVAutobiography edition make this SUV one of the swankiest (yet still most capable) on the market today. Even with its hefty price tag, the SVAutobiography represents a good deal when compared with other vehicles in its ultra-luxury class.

  • Leave it
    • * A good deal, but still very expensive
    • * Choosing between driving and riding in back

References

Land Rover Range Rover


2018 Land Rover Range Rover - image 738491

Read our full review on the 2018 Land Rover Range Rover.


2019 Land Rover Range Rover P400e - image 737706

Read our full review on the 2019 Land Rover Range Rover P400e.


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Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Model Sondors

2018 Model Sondors

The world of all-electric vehicles seems to be in a constant state of flux as of late, evolving from quirky, eco-friendly transportation alternatives, to top-shelf luxury cars, to high-performance speed machines, and now, it looks like we’re coming full circle. Unveiled in a small corner booth at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, this is the Model Sondors, the first offering from the Sondors Electric Car Company. Sondors is best known for its popular line of electric bicycles, and currently enjoys a position as the largest electric bike manufacturer and distributor in the U.S. Now, it’s aiming at expanding into the electric car game, starting with this slick-looking three-wheeling three-seater. Simplicity is the name of the game, from the powertrain to the interior. Even the way its built and sold will be streamlined, all in the name of driving down costs to bring electric motivation to the masses.

“I believe affordable, clean transportation should be the norm, not the exception. You shouldn’t have to choose between a car you can afford and a car that’s electric. We can do better,” says the founder of Sondors Electric Car Company, Storm Sondors. So far, so good. The prototype you see here was built in just seven months, an outright blitz by industry standards, and we think it looks quite good at this early stage. But is it really?

Continue reading to learn more about Sondors three-wheel EV.

Exterior

  • Simplified three-wheeler exterior
  • Two wheels in front, one in back
  • No motorcycle license required
  • Aerodynamic efficiency a major focus
  • Teardrop shape helps cut through air
  • Available in five exterior colors

2018 Model Sondors - image 750799
“Having just three wheels allows for fewer bureaucratic hoops to jump through before bringing the vehicle to market”

First off, let’s discuss that three-wheeler exterior. This, along with the all-electric powertrain, is the defining feature of the Model Sondors, providing the framework to accomplish the upstart carmaker’s rather lofty goals.

So what’s the point of going with the trike format? For starters, having just three wheels allows for fewer bureaucratic hoops to jump through before bringing the vehicle to market, a vitally important characteristic for a new carmaker aiming at the budget consumer. The design also has the added benefit of reducing complexity, lowering overall weight, and increasing aerodynamic efficiency, all important things for the segment. Plus, you don’t need a motorcycle license to drive one.


2018 Model Sondors - image 750800
“The Model Sondors doesn’t necessarily look like what you’d expect from an all-electric three-wheeler. Penned by unnamed Italian designers, Sondors says grand tourer cars provided the inspiration for the aesthetic.”

That said, the Model Sondors doesn’t necessarily look like what you’d expect from an all-electric three-wheeler. The company went to unnamed Italian designers to create the exterior shape, and we think it looks pretty good. Sondors says grand tourer cars provided the inspiration for the aesthetic, and that much is evident from the lithe, streamlined appearance. The front end is particularly attractive, with a wide, low stance that stretches forward with smooth lines and a streamlined attitude. The headlights are set with a duo of projectors per side, extending the car’s visual breadth with thin, blade-like housings. A large, angular lower lip spoiler offsets in grey, adding sportiness, and complemented by small intakes in the hood.

Moving to the sides, we find the front wheels get a split multi-spoke design finished in a lighter grey, offering another nice splash of aggression. The roofline curves rearwards in a coupe-like fashion, while prominent side skirts match the front lip in their appearance.


2018 Model Sondors - image 750797
“In the rear, the fenders join up to form a teardrop shape, revealing a prominent rake to the stance.”

Finally, in the rear, the fenders join up to form a teardrop shape to the thing. Back here, the car’s prominent rake is evident, leaning forward at a steep angle. Minimalistic, slender taillights illuminate the rear end.

It definitely looks quite aerodynamic, with few frills and extraneous pieces to muck it up, and we hope the aesthetic doesn’t change much by the time it reaches production. Of course, that front lip looks like it might mess with the airflow and create a bit of unnecessary drag, but we think it looks good all the same. When the Model Sondors does finally roll off the production line, customers will have up to five exterior colors to choose from.

Interior

  • Two seats in front, one in the rear
  • Simplified dash with large block shapes
  • All-digital instrumentation behind the steering wheel
  • Surprisingly spacious
  • Lots of contrast stitching
  • Flat-bottom steering wheel

2018 Model Sondors - image 750789
“Climb into the cabin, and you’ll find three seats for passengers, with two in front and one in back”

Climb into the cabin, and you’ll find three seats for passengers, with two in front and one in back. Once again, simplicity and clean design pervade throughout, with a dash that looks almost like something out of a Lotus Elise in terms of its minimalism. A quartet of air vents lines the dash with a rounded shape and propeller-like directional fins. Solid shapes are used for the door panels and dead pedal, with the black spaces are offset by large patches of red and contrast stitching. The steering wheel is also decked-out in red contrast stitching, and gets a flat bottom and glossy black center section. The seats are draped in hide and look to offer decent lateral support. The single seat in back is placed towards the middle/rear of the car.

Although we weren’t offered a chance to sit in it, it looks as though the Model Sondors has a surprisingly spacious cabin for such a tiny vehicle. Thanks to the relatively compact packaging of its all-electric drivetrain, there’s no center tunnel to deal with, opening up legroom considerably for all passengers. There’s even a pair of windows in back to keep it feeling airy when stuffed into that rear seat.


2018 Model Sondors - image 750792
“Although we weren’t offered a chance to sit in it, it looks as though the Model Sondors has a surprisingly spacious cabin for such a tiny vehicle.”

The whole thing felt surprisingly well put together as well, and Sondors promises all the standard convenience features you’d expect from a modern vehicle. These include a push button starter, air conditioning, a heater, an AM/FM stereo, power windows, power locks, and inputs for your smartphone or music device. There’s also a digital gauge readout behind the steering wheel, and Sondors says it’ll offer optional luxury features like leather upholstery for a little more outaly.

As you might expect, don’t expect much in terms of practicality, as there’s pretty much no space for storage purposes. That said, Sondors says it might add a storage spot in the front (commonly referred to as a “frunk” in the EV world) some time in the future.

As for the safety side of things, Sondors says its first model will come with airbags, a passenger safety cell, and seat belts, plus a strict consideration for crash standards. “Our intent is to meet and exceed automotive safety standards,” the company says.

Finally, Sondors has aspirations to one day offer autonomous drive features, although tech like that is most likely a quite a ways off in the future. However, if autonomous systems really kick off in the next 5 years and become much cheaper, offered at the right price point for a budget-oriented EV like the Model Sondors, that could change. And indeed, a car like this would be well-suited to robot chauffeurism.

Drivetrain

  • Rear in-hub motor system
  • Lithium-ion battery pack
  • Multiple range options, between 75 and 200 miles per charge
  • 0 to 60 mph between 8 and 5 seconds depending on the battery
  • Might be a lot of fun in the corners

2018 Model Sondors - image 750798
“The Model Sondors has single-wheel all-electric drive, with the rear tire making its move by way of an in-hub motor system and lithium-ion battery pack”

To make it go, the Model Sondors has single-wheel all-electric drive, with the rear tire making its move by way of an in-hub motor system and lithium-ion battery pack. Meanwhile, the two front wheels turn and provide the majority of braking force. Specs are understandably light at this early stage, but we do know Sondors intends to offer a variety of powertrain options and range possibilities, starting with 75 miles per charge. Customers willing to spend a bit more will have a shot at 150 miles and 200 miles in the options list.

Acceleration will be greatly affected by the battery pack you choose, ranging between 8 seconds at the slow end and 5 seconds at the fast end. Not bad for a plucky little EV three-wheeler. Charge times will vary quite a bit as well, with both 110-volt and 240-volt options on the table. No word on DC quick charger options at this time.

“Acceleration will be greatly affected by the battery pack you choose, ranging between 8 seconds at the slow end and 5 seconds at the fast end. Not bad for a plucky little EV three-wheeler”

How does it handle? That’s a good question. The tri-pod platform can be an absolute riot if properly executed, as evidenced by examples like the Polaris Slingshot, Morgan Three-Wheeler, and Campagna T-Rex, but it depends on how aggressive Sondors wants to get with this supposedly commute-oriented first offering. We do know the Model Sondors will come with standards like ABS and traction control, and that with its low center of gravity and instant torque at a single rear wheel, it has the potential to be quite interesting in the corners.

Finally, there are disc brakes in front by the look of it. No word on regenerative capabilities yet.

Prices


2018 Model Sondors - image 750801
“Sondors says it isn’t taking pre-orders just yet, as it doesn’t want to “oversell and under-deliver.”

Financially speaking, Sondors is in a surprisingly good spot right now. The start-up went through a round of crowd funding last January and raised an impressive $1 million in just 30 days, money that fueled the creation of the prototype you see here. Now, Sondors hopes to ramp up with a second round of crowd funding, aiming to raise another $2 million for pre-production, with the ultimate goal being $20 million for tooling and a full-blown production Model Sondors.

However, Sondors says it isn’t taking pre-orders just yet, as it doesn’t want to “oversell and under-deliver,” which honestly seems like a jab at pretty much every other start-up EV producer out there. And it’s a bold move, to boot.

When it does eventually go on sale, the asking price will start around $10,000. Production numbers are hazy, but Sondors says between 60,000 and 100,000 units annually would make sense – ambitious numbers, if you ask us.

“When it does eventually go on sale, the asking price will start around $10,000.”

Additionally, Sondors will partner up with various worldwide manufacturing companies, rather than go through the money-intensive process of creating manufacturing facilities on its own. The first run of Model Sondors will be produced in Italy.

Ultimately, this all gets back to the underlying philosophy driving the company – “Additionally, we intend to design, develop, and source materials and components from some of the best manufacturers around the globe. This will allow us to not only have access to proven technologies but we will also be able to pass on supply chain warranties to the end customer,” Sondors says.

When the final production model is ready to roll, customers will be able to buy theirs online, including picking out each of their preferred options, and have it delivered straight to their front door. The point of this, of course, is to cut out the dealer middleman, thus lowering overall cost for the buyer.

Finally, Sondors says it hopes to begin putting together production vehicles by April of 2019.

Competitors

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive


2017 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive
- image 689175

While there are a plethora of differences between the Model Sondors and the Electric Fortwo, at the heart of it, they both fly under the same philosophy – all-electric transportation that’s accessible to as many people as possible. Smart’s take adds a wheel, but deletes a seat, with just two passengers finding accommodation in the cabin. Range is also a bit low at 70 to 80 miles per charge, while price is more than double that of the Sondors at $23,800. Still, you can go out and buy a Smart right now, which is much more than you can say for the Sondors. The question is – where will Smart be when the Model Sondors finally hits the production line?

Read our full review on the 2017 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

Conclusion


2018 Model Sondors - image 750799
“At the end of the day, Sondors is taking an undeniably bold and aggressive path.”

Truth be told, history tells us the odds of success are most definitely not in Sondors’ favor. However, this first prototype is looking mighty impressive all the same. Indeed, even the company is relishing in its own successes. “We were told that it costs hundreds of millions to do what I did for a million dollars,” says the founder of Sondors Electric Car Company, Storm Sondors.

At the end of the day, Sondors is taking an undeniably bold and aggressive path. The company aspires to change the way cars are purchased, manufactured, and delivered, and that’s no simple task, no matter how you look at it.

Still, the company does have a few advantages to play. For one, it’s a leader in the electric bike industry, and there are sure to be many lessons learned there that apply to the business of making cars as well. The crowd funding angels also seem to be in the company’s corner, driving development without resorting to grandiose promises like some of the other EV startups. Sondors’ “electric for everyone” motto also looks overseas, and as demand increases for affordable personal transportation options, and various countries ban internal combustion altogether, the time might be right for a trike like the Model Sondors.

“Still, the company does have a few advantages to play.”

Our only real issue is with safety, which might be a bit questionable considering the car’s size and lightweight approach to moving about. That said, we’ll reserve final judgment until we see the crash test results for ourselves.

Here’s the thing though. Let’s consider another startup when weighing the odds of success for Model Sondors – Elio Motors, a company that should serve as a cautionary tale for potential Sondors fans. Established in 2009, Elio sought to offer a highly efficient three-wheeler dubbed the P4, tagging it with specs like 84 mpg on the highway and pricing set at about $7,500. However, in the 8 years since it launched, Elio Motors has repeatedly pushed back the delivery date for its first model time and again, with the latest estimate putting delivery at 2019, a full decade after it was initially founded and seven years after its initial speculative delivery date. Granted, there are several glaringly obvious differences between Sondors and Elio, but the point is this – building cars is hard. Does Sondors have what it takes to prove the naysayers wrong? We’ll find out eventually.

  • Leave it
    • * Still just a trike with a roof
    • * Safety could be an issue
    • * Just a prototype for now

References


maker logos - image 745566

Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Lincoln Nautilus

New driver assistance systems

Introduced in 2006 as a replacement for the Aviator, the Lincoln MKX soldiered on for almost a decade until it was redesigned in 2015. After only two years on the market, the second-generation MKX received its mid-cycle facelift. Launched at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, the midsize crossover was renamed the Nautilus, as part of the company’s new strategy that involves dropping alphanumeric badges. Alongside the new name, the crossover also gained an updated front fascia, now inline with most Lincoln vehicles, new technology, and a new engine under the hood.

Lincoln’s decision to rename the MKX isn’t surprising. The midsize is the firm’s best-selling SUV and a vehicle that attracts most new customers from other brands, with nearly 40 percent reportedly crossing over from Cadillac and Lexus. The Nautilus is supposed to build on the momentum of the MKX, which is on track to deliver its best sales year since 2007. But does it have what it takes to give the Cadillac XT5 a run for its money? Find out in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lincoln Nautilus.

Exterior

  • New front grille
  • New headlamps
  • Revised front bumper
  • More chrome
  • New wheels
  • Updated taillights

2019 Lincoln Nautilus - image 747867
“The Lincoln Nautilus looks like a new vehicle up front, having ditched the MKX's split grille”

The Lincoln Nautilus looks like a new vehicle up front, having ditched the MKX’s split grille for the new one-piece element we’ve already seen on the Continental, Navigator, and MKX. Unlike the old grille, which had horizontal slats, the new one boasts a honeycomb-like mesh and includes the Lincoln badge in the middle. It also has significantly more chrome, which gives the SUV a more upscale look. The headlamps are also new and seem to be based on the Continental’s. They now have a more conventional, almost rectangular shape, a new LED bar at the bottom, and five individual lights above. A pair of thin daytime running lights were added just above the bumper.

The bumper is also new, now sporting more chrome, revised fog lamps, and a revised grille. The shape of the engine hood was modified as well in order to fit the new grille and headlamp layout. The lid no longer runs into the grille, but opens up a couple of inches above, creating the illusion of thick body-colored frame, like on the Bentley Mulsanne.


2019 Lincoln Nautilus - image 747871
“The profile carries over with just a handful of changes”

The profile carries over with just a handful of changes. The front fenders and doors now sport a chrome element with “Nautilus” lettering and Lincoln now offers a new wheel selection. It’s not much, but automakers rarely add more features on a mid-cycle update. The rear end is pretty much the same too. The taillights appear to have a slightly different LED cluster, while the thin red lights just above the bumper are now part of a stripe that stretches the entire width of the apron.

Needless to say, Lincoln uses the term “new” a bit too much for a facelift that doesn’t really go beyond a new grille and new headlamps.

Interior

  • Mildly revised dashboard
  • Updated steering wheel
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • Acoustic side glass
  • Wireless charging pad
  • New Black Label theme
  • Optional Ultra Comfort seats
  • New driver assistance systems

2019 Lincoln Nautilus - image 747875
“Lincoln added acoustic side glass to reduce wind noise for rear passengers”

Updates are of the same variety inside the cabin, with nothing major to report in terms of layout and design. The center stack has the same configuration, with just a few buttons added to the right side. The steering wheel appears to have changed a bit too, now sporting a flatter lower spoke and revised controls. The leather-wrapped, hand-stitched steering wheel and the digital, 12.3-inch instrument cluster are among the premium highlights inside the cabin.

Lincoln added acoustic side glass to reduce wind noise for rear passengers, as well as a concealed wireless charging pad as standard. The SYNC 3 infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Options include Ultra Comfort seats with 22-way adjustability, which have been developed with input from orthopedic surgeons for the utmost comfort during long trips. Customers can also choose between 13- and 19-speaker Revel audio systems. The heated and cooled seats are available on the Reserve model.


2019 Lincoln Nautilus - image 747911
“The Black Label trim carries over from the MKX, but Lincoln added a new Gala theme”

The Black Label trim carries over from the MKX, but Lincoln added a new Gala theme (joining the existing Chalet and Thoroughbred options). If you’re not familiar with the Black Label trim, it’s designed for customers looking for a more unique interior. It’s also the most expensive trim, sitting above the Reserve model.

The first theme, Chalet, adds Espresso and Alpine Venetian leather, and deep Silverwood trim, celebrating the “contrasting pleasures of pulse-pounding mountain slopes and the inherent comfort of an après-ski lodge.” Thoroughbred evokes the “distinguished and elite lifestyle of horse racing” with rich Venetian leather, Chilean Maple wood, Alcantara accents, and Jet Black trim. Finally, the new Gala theme is inspired by “haute couture at New York’s Met Gala” and features Carmine leather complemented by Onyx leather, an Alcantara headliner, and Nouveax Armor aluminum accents.


2019 Lincoln Nautilus - image 749518
“The new lane-centering feature helps maintain the vehicle's position in its lane”

More news comes from the driver assistance department, which now includes an all-new lane-centering feature that pairs with adaptive cruise control and stop-and-go to helps maintain the vehicle’s position in its lane. There’s also a new evasive steer assist which uses radar and cameras to analyze the gap between slower-moving or stationary vehicles on the road, helping the driver steer around obstacles. Additional driver-assist technologies include Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Information System, active park assist, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping aid, and an auto-hold feature, which relieves the driver from having to hold the brakes in stop-and-go traffic.

Drivetrain

  • New 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine
  • 3.7-liter V-6 discontinued
  • 245-horsepower base model
  • 2.7-liter EcoBoost with 335 horsepower
  • New eight-speed transmission
  • Standard Auto Start-Stop function

2019 Lincoln Nautilus - image 749514
“The base 3.7-liter V-6 engine was replaced by a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-banger”

More significant changes happened under the hood, where the base 3.7-liter V-6 was replaced by a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-banger. The new unit cranks out 245 horsepower, a 58-horsepower decrease compared to the outgoing V-6. However, the new engine is supposed to return significantly better fuel economy.

The 2.7-liter EcoBoost rated at 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque carries over unchanged, so the Nautilus has an all-turbocharged engine lineup.

Lincoln changed the transmission too, replacing the six-speed automatic that was introduced in 2016 with an eight-speed autobox. Both engine options include the Auto Start-Stop function as standard.

Prices


2019 Lincoln Nautilus - image 747880

Pricing information is not yet available, but the Nautilus shouldn’t retail much higher compared to the outgoing MKX. The current model starts from $39,035 in Premier trim, from $46,560 in Reserve trim, and from $54,230 with the Black Label package. Expect the corresponding Nautilus models to start from around $40,000, $48,000, and $56,000, respectively.

Competition

Cadillac XT5


2017 Cadillac XT5 - image 745088

Introduced in 2016 as a replacement for the SRX, the XT5 is the first Cadillac crossover to carry the company’s new nomenclature for SUVs. The midsize is built on the same C1XX platform as the GMC Acadia and borrows styling cues from the company’s CTS and CT6 sedans. The XT5 is arguably one of the most luxurious vehicles in its niche and boasts Cadillac’s latest technology, including a streaming video rear-view mirror and the Electronic Precision Shift. Luxury features include leather, Alcantara, and woodgrain inserts. Unlike the Nautilus, the XT5 has analog gauges on each side of the digital instrument cluster. Only one engine is available in the United States, a 3.6-liter V-6 rated at 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. In China, the XT5 also benefits from a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-banger. The V-6 mates to an eight-speed automatic transmission and is equipped with an automatic stop-start system. All-wheel-drive is optional. Pricing start from $40,390, but the range-topping Platinum trim costs $63,890 before options.

Read our full story of the 2018 Cadillac XT5.

Conclusion


2019 Lincoln Nautilus - image 747869

The midsize SUV may have gained a new name, but the Nautilus is nothing more than just a mid-cycle facelift to the MKX. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I think Lincoln should have waited for the next-generation model to introduce the new nameplate. Renaming the facelifted MKX is just another sign that Lincoln is desperate to regain its former glory and become a solid competitor for the Cadillac. Needless to say, the Nautilus brings a few cool features to the MKX, but I’m afraid the midsize SUV is not yet ready to give the Cadillac XT5 a run for its money.

  • Leave it
    • * Just a moderate facelift with a new name
    • * Still a long way off from competing with Cadillac

References

Lincoln MKX


2016 Lincoln MKX - image 610801

Read our full review on the 2016 Lincoln MKX.


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Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Saleen S1

Quarter mile in 11.3 seconds

Established in 1983, Saleen quickly became one of America’s most renowned Ford Mustang tuners. Already a highly praised company in the 1990s, Saleen became a full-fledged automaker by launching the S7 in 2000. One of the first hand-built American supercars, the S7 went on to become a legend and survived for no fewer than nine years on the market. Once it discontinued the S7, Saleen went back to modifying muscle cars, providing upgrades not only for the Mustang but for the Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger (and even the Tesla Model S) too. But it seems that Saleen is now ready to launch its second original design. It’s called the S1, and it was introduced at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The small sports car is a surprising appearance. Not only it came out of nowhere, but it also arrived at a time when Saleen barely emerged from years of struggling with financial difficulties. And the California-based firm has big plans with the S1, hoping to sell more than 1,500 units a year in the U.S. alone. The two-door is also built from scratch by the American company, which is a big feat given that Saleen was almost bankrupt a few years ago. But it’s worth mentioning that Saleen isn’t alone in this project. The S1 is actually made by Jiangsu Saleen Automotive Technologies Group, a company based in China that is building a billion-dollar manufacturing facility in the country.

Saleen also revealed that the S1 project began a few years ago when the firm purchased the tooling for the Artega GT, a German sports car designed by Henrik Fisker in the late 2000s. Launched in 2009, the GT was short-lived, being discontinued when Artega went bankrupt in 2012. However, the S1 isn’t based on the GT. Saleen found that an update wasn’t feasible and designed a new coupe from scratch.

Continue reading to find out more about the Saleen S1.

Exterior

  • Compact, modern design
  • Artega GT-inspired mid-section?
  • Unique headlamps
  • Aggressive rear end
  • Race-inspired rear diffuser
  • Bubble-top roof

2019 Saleen S1 - image 749013
“It's a fresh take on the sports car concept”

The S1 was designed to correspond to modern sports car standard. It’s compact, it has short overhangs, a low-slung stance, and flowing, organic lines. It has loads of design features that make it look unique and I must say it’s a fresh take on the sports car concept. The front fascia is clean and simple, but the triangular headlamps with the C-shaped daytime running lights and the stacked, rectangular LED units give it an exotic look. The big vent in the hood and the smaller cooling outlets mounted atop the wheel arches add more race-specific character to the design. The bumper is not overly aggressive and doesn’t include the usual large splitter, but the wide intakes with three fins toward the sides look very cool.


2019 Saleen S1 - image 749017
“The rear reminds me of the early 1990s Porsche 911, but the S1 is decidedly more modern to look at”

Onto the sides, we can see more of those traditional compact sports car features, such as the short front hood, the short overhangs, and the sloping roof. Interestingly enough, the S1 is similar to the Artega GT in the middle section. The door and quarter window have a similar shape, as does the outlet on the rear fender. They’re far from identical, but when these details stand out when compared side-to-side. The rear haunches are also somewhat similar. But that’s not a bad thing, as these seemingly borrowed cues work well with Saleen’s new design.

The rear end is fresh and unique. The fascia itself is very narrow, as is the red stripe that incorporates the taillights. Above there’s a large spoiler, while the bumper below has a massive grille in the middle, a race-inspired diffuser, and a couple of center-mounted tailpipes. It reminds me a bit of the early 1990s Porsche 911, but the S1 is decidedly more modern to look at. Another interesting feature is the wide recess that runs across the center section of the roof, giving the car a bubble-top-like design.

Interior

  • Simple, clean layout
  • Clutter-free center stack
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • Two-tone upholstery
  • Sporty seats

2019 Saleen S1 - image 749036
“Everything looks crisp and simple as Saleen aimed for a clutter-free layout”

The interior mirrors the outer shell in terms of design. Everything looks crisp and simple and it’s pretty obvious that Saleen aimed for a clutter-free layout. The instrument cluster has a sporty hood with angular lines onto the sides and it appears to include a larger digital display. The steering wheel in front of it looks simple too, with no buttons and switches whatsoever. It might be just a prototype though, as it doesn’t even include the usual badge at the center. The center stack is made of a thin and sleek A/C vent and an equally narrow control unit with four knobs. There’s no infotainment screen in sight, but it could be hidden behind that lid in the lower center stack.

The door panels are simple but elegant, with the white center sections making it seem as if the dashboard extends onto the sides. The seats aren’t as aggressive as in a race car, but they do have firm side bolsters and should provide plenty of lateral support for spirited driving. The headrests are integrated into the seat design, providing a motorsport-inspired look. The black-and-white upholstery is a nice touch, but Saleen should provide more color options. Unfortunately there isn’t much information available right now about the technology and options that will be offered.

Drivetrain

  • Mid-mounted engine
  • Twin-turbo, 2.5-liter four-cylinder
  • 450 horsepower
  • 360 pound-feet of torque
  • 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds
  • Top speed at 180 mph
  • Rear-biased weight distribution
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • Continental tires
  • Quarter mile in 11.3 seconds
  • 2,685-pound curb weight

2019 Saleen S1 - image 749023
“Saleen went with a six-speed manual transmission in a market that turned almost entirely to automatics”

The Saleen S1 is powered by a mid-mounted, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The twin-turbo cranks out an impressive 450 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque and Saleen claims it was built in-house. Surprisingly enough, Saleen went with a six-speed manual transmission in a market that turned almost entirely to automatics.

On top of being powerful, the S1 is light too. While the tub is made from aluminum, the body panels are carbon-fiber, which results in a curb weight of only 2,685 pounds. As a result, it needs only 3.5 seconds to hit 60 mph and 11.3 seconds to cover the quarter mile. The top speed is rated at 180 mph.


2019 Saleen S1 - image 749029
“The coupe tips the scales at only 2,685 pounds”

Weight distribution is biased toward the back, with 58 percent carried by the rear axle. This gives the rear-wheel-drive sports car more traction and more assistance to the front when braking. Speaking of which, the wheels are wrapped in Continental ExtremeContact Sport tires for optimum grip.

Although all these facts and figures have yet to be proven in real life, the S1 sounds promising. And if the production model meets all these performance claims, the S1 will become one of the best sports cars in this niche. The fact that a little company that was broke a few years ago built everything from scratch makes it that much more impressive.

Prices


2019 Saleen S1 - image 749028

Saleen estimates that the S1 will cost $100,000 before options. That’s a pretty penny for a car that doesn’t have a mainstream badge on its nose, but it’s a good deal given the performance. Assuming that the S1 will live up to the company’s claims that is. Saleen is already taking preorders for the sports car, which requires a $1,000 deposit. Surprisingly low for a brand that needs a bit of cash to get things moving.

Deliveries are scheduled to begin in mid-2018. The American brand hopes to sell at least 1,500 units a year in the U.S., a similar amount in Europe, and significantly more in China. That’s at least 5,000 examples a year globally, which is quite a big goal for a company like Saleen.

Competition

Porsche 911 Carrera GTS


2017 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS British Legends Edition - image 737606

Porsche purists may be offended by this comparison, but if we ignore the 911’s rear-engined layout and the Porsche heritage, the two cars have a lot in common. And they deliver the same amount of power. Motivated by a twin-turbo, 3.0-liter flat-six engine, the Carrera GTS comes with 450 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque on tap. It’s also equipped with a seven-speed manual transmission as standard, but unlike the Saleen S1, it’s also offered with a seven-speed, dual-clutch PDK. Performance figures aren’t yet available, but the 911 Carrera GTS should be able to hit 60 mph from a standing start in less than 3.7 seconds with the quick-shifting PDK. Top speed is likely to be slightly superior to Saleen’s 180-mph rating. Pricing starts from $120,700, which makes the German sports car a bit more expensive.

Read our full review of the 2017 Porsche 911.

Alpine A110


2017 Renault Alpine A110 - image 708512

The Alpine A110 is less powerful, slower, and isn’t available in the United States, but it’s one of the best affordable sports cars that Saleen will have to go against in Europe. Unveiled in 2017 as a tribute to the iconic A110 of the 1960s and 1970s, Alpine first production model in decades has plenty to brag about. First up, it’s design is based on the classic model, making it appealing to neo-retro enthusiasts. The interior is packed with both premium features and modern technology and you can add many options due to the car’s more affordable sticker. Under the hood, it hides a turbocharged, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine develop with input from Renault’s R.S. division. Although rated at “only” 252 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, the unit is powerful enough to push the French car from 0 to 60 mph in around 4.4 seconds. Granted, that’s almost a second slower than the Saleen, but the A110 is some 300 pounds lighter, which translates into better dynamics and a more exciting experience at the race track. Unfortunately, it’s missing a manual transmission, with the seven-speed dual-clutch being the only option. Pricing starts from nearly €60,000 in Europe, significantly more affordable than what the S1 is expected to cost.

Read our full story on the 2017 Alpine A110.

Conclusion


2019 Saleen S1 - image 749016

Needless to say, the Saleen looks great on paper performance-wise and its simple yet modern design inside and out turn it into a proper competitor for the Porsche 911 GTS. It’s quite potent too and the small-displacement, turbocharged engine should make it fuel efficient as well. It looks like a winner in just about every department, but I don’t want to get too excited until I see the first car roll off the assembly line. Saleen has been struggling to survive for quite a few years now and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the S1 become a flop in a few years. Granted, its new joint-venture with the Chinese should bring the necessary funds to the table, but putting a car like the S1 in production is far from easy. I’ve seen bigger automakers struggle with vehicle built from scratch and I’m not yet convinced that Saleen has the means to build one . And even if it does, we won’t know if the S1 will deliver as promised without proper testing. Hopefully we’ll see that Saleen S1 vs. Porsche 911 GTS video soon!

  • Leave it
    • Not much is known about the technology behind it
    • Will it make into production?

References

Saleen S7


2001 Saleen S7 - image 13872

Read our full review on the 2001 Saleen S7.


maker logos - image 745566

Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Dear Lincoln and BMW, Please Stop Being So Pathetic

Man, this has been a rough week. Automotive-wise. The Los Angeles Auto Show sucked on so many levels. I haven’t seen so many crossovers in one place since the Soccer Mom Annual Meeting. Oh wait, that doesn’t sound right. Give me a minute here… Since the… uhm… wait, I got it… since the… Ah, screw it, I’m not in a mood for jokes. It just sucks! Then there’s the Urus, which isn’t a real Lamborghini and everyone gets excited as if they just launched the second-generation Miura. Do millennials even know what a Miura is? But the worst thing about this year’s L.A. show is that some automakers were set to remind me that press releases have more bullshit than a dairy farm.

Stop calling mild facelifts “brand-new,” you half-baked hippies! You’re not fooling anyone.

Yeah, they’re at it again. Especially Lincoln and BMW. The American brand, which is struggling to stay afloat these days, just launched a mid-cycle facelift for the MKC with a new front grille. That’s it, a new grille! And they call it “new” with a “commanding new design.” Hello?! It’s a new grille, not a new car. Now repeat after me: a new grille doesn’t make the entire car new. But wait, there’s more. Lincoln also introduced the Nautilus, a brand-new SUV according to the company’s PR division. Except it’s not new. It’s the MKX with a new grille and a new name. Hey, I like the fact that you’re using actual names now Lincoln, but it’s not a brand-new car! I can’t change my name and pretend I’m a new person. Okay, I can actually do that, but I may be spending my final years in a nuthouse. And trust me, the nuthouse isn’t good for business; there’s no room for a car production line in there.

But Lincoln isn’t the only company pretending customers are stupid. BMW also called the facelifted i8 new. Sure, the Roadster version is new indeed, but the coupe is identical to the car launched in 2014, save for the wheels, mildly revised headlamps and taillights, and the 12 extra horsepower. This is the most pathetic facelift I’ve seen in years. It’s not a new car, just a BRAND-NEW way to be lazy and pathetic! Go home BMW; you’re drunk!

References

Lincoln MKC


2019 Lincoln MKC - image 746611

Read our full review on the 2019 Lincoln MKC.

Lincoln Nautilus


Lincoln Updates MKX at L.A. Auto Show, Renames it Nautilus - image 747903

Read more about the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus.

BMW i8


BMW Debuts “New” i8 Coupe and the First i8 Roadster - image 748136

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW i8.


2018 BMW i8 Roadster - image 748125

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW i8 Roadster.


Pops' Rants: Cadillac Sucks, Ferrari Is a Hypocrite, Civic Si Gets Turbo for Nothing - image 712265

Read more Pops’ Rants news.

PostHeaderIcon The Weird And Random Cars We Found At The 2017 LA Auto Show

This year’s Los Angeles Auto Show was replete with both big hits and big misses, as most of the major automakers showed up to display their latest and greatest wares to the vast motor-minded audiences in attendance. Hell, even Tesla decided to make an appearance. However, nestled amongst the rows of shiny new SUVs, sedans, and sports cars, you could also find a few surprises – race cars, prototypes, one-off concepts, and just plain strange rides were scattered around like so many Easter eggs, and we got the good ones right here in the following list. These are the weird and random cars that we found at the 2017 LA Auto Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the weird and random cars we found at the 2017 LA Auto Show.

Bollinger Motors B1 All-Electric Off-Roader


2019 Bollinger B1 - image 750766

The big bad box you see before you is the first effort from Bollinger Motors, a startup truck manufacturer established in 2014 and based out of upstate New York. The big headline here is that this thing is totally electric, which in some ways, actually makes a lot of sense for an off-roader application (beyond the fact the great outdoors rarely comes with a charging station, of course). For example, all that low-end torque is great for crawling over obstacles, while the low-mounted batteries and electric motors keep it from tipping over. Then there’s all the extra space you get when you don’t have to engineer around a big bulky engine and drivetrain.

Dubbed the B1, the Bollinger Motors truck rides on a bespoke chassis, and gets a boxy, simplistic, utilitarian exterior that can be converted between either a half-cab or a full-cab. The interior is surprisingly spacious with its 95 cubic feet of cargo room, which also includes a full pass-through feature from the nose to the rear that’ll let you carry around long stuff. Making it go is 360 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque, pumped out by a dual front/rear motor AWD system with dual gearboxes and a HI/LO range. Options include both 60-kWh and 100-kWh batteries, offering 120 miles or 200 miles respectively. Keeping it all topped off is regenerative braking, plus the option for DC fast charging. Suspension wise, there’s 15.5 inches of ground clearance, 10 inches of wheel travel, and a 56 degree/33 degree/53 degree approach/breakover/departure angle.

Read our full review on the 2019 Bollinger Motors B1.

Honda’s Indy 500 Winner


The Weird And Random Cars We Found At The 2017 LA Auto Show - image 750869

This past May, Takuma Sato managed to clinch victory at the 101st Indianapolis 500, becoming the first driver of Asian descent to win the legendary event. The race concluded in thrilling fashion, as Sato barely nosed ahead of the Chevy-powered #3 Team Penske car of Helio Castroneves, crossing the finish line with a margin of just 0.2011 seconds. Providing the power needed to edge out his rivals was Honda and Team Andretti Autosport, and in celebration of the win, the H Badge shipped out Sato’s triumphant blue and white #26 racer for all us mere mortals to gaze upon and drool over.

Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy


2017 Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY - image 750755

Back in September, Jaguar Land Rover announced it was launching a support race series for the FIA Formula E championship, set to get underway some time late next year. It’s called the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy, and it’ll sport a grid of equally prepped race-ready iterations of the battery-powered Jaguar I-Pace SUV, each of which will be piloted by a rookie driver looking to make a name for him or herself in the higher echelons of electric racing.

While exact specs on the I-Pace eTrophy are still forthcoming, we do know Special Vehicle Operations, Jag’s in-house skunkworks based out of Warwickshire, U.K., will be responsible for turning the wrenches. And, based on what we saw in LA, we also know each I-Pace eTrophy will get a deep front splitter, an enormous rear wing, meaty tires, and a lowered stance.

Read our full review on the 2017 Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy

Mitsubishi Hybrid Outlander Rally Car


2016 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Baja Race Car - image 750848

While quick pavement pounders were in abundance in LA, Mitsubishi also brought out its own racing machine with this Outlander rally car. Notable for competing in the 29th Baja Portalegre 500 back in 2015, this terra firma-churner managed to place third in the first leg of the race, second in the Super Special Stage, and second in the second selective section, netting a third-place position for the final rally stage before grabbing second for the last stage. Impressive stuff, especially when you consider the Outlander was the only plug-in hybrid in attendance.

To keep it competitive, the Mitsubishi Hybrid Outlander gets a slew of upgrades over the standard road car. Providing the power is an upgraded battery pack (up to 16 kWh in the rally car) and a tuned 2.0-liter gas engine, while the front and rear electric motor control system was tweaked to make more of the go stuff as well. Keeping it floating over the bumps is a Tein suspension system, while 235/85 tires from Falken mounted on 16-inch wheels help it grip. Then of course there’s the usual lightweight exterior, plus interior strip down, bucket seats, and safety gear, while the charging port was moved inside the trunk.

Read our full review on the 2016 Mitsubishi Hybrid Outlander Rally Car.

Mitsubishi Re-Model A


The Weird And Random Cars We Found At The 2017 LA Auto Show - image 750884

Next to the dirt-busting, race-ready, hybrid Outlander rally car is something even weirder – the Mitsubishi Re-Model A. To help celebrate it’s 100th anniversary this year, Mitsu decided to give its very first model a little refresh. Starting with a Mitsubishi Model A, the Japanese brand went to the iconic West Coast Customs shop to infuse the century-old automobile with equipment and options straight outta 2017.

While the exterior retains the same antique styling, there’s a whole lot going on under the skin. Providing the platform is Mitsu’s Outlander PHEV, which means it’s got the make’s Super All-Wheel Control system (S-AWC) for grip and plug-in potential for recharging. The interior is another amalgamation of both new and old, with a modern dash plus old-timey bench seats, while features like Forward Collision Mitigation and smartphone support are included as well.

Police Responder Hybrid


The Weird And Random Cars We Found At The 2017 LA Auto Show - image 750814

Now you don’t have to burn tons of gas while out cruising for perps. Say hello to the Police Responder Hybrid, a greener alternative to the Blue Oval’s past law enforcement vehicles. Based on the Ford Fusion, the Police Responder Hybrid gets the combined power of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and electric motor to produce 188 horsepower and return 38 mpg. Coming complete with a front ramming bar, driver side spotlight, black and white exterior graphics, and classic red and blue lights on the roof, this thing looks the part perfectly, while the interior is decked-out with all the usual cop gear, plus a stain-resistant rear bench to help clean up the blood or vomit or whatever else the criminals might discharge.

Project Redspace Reds


The Weird And Random Cars We Found At The 2017 LA Auto Show - image 750727

Now we’re getting into the really strange stuff. This funky looking box thing is called the Redspace Reds, and it aims to bring hassle-free, all-electric, autonomous transportation to the masses. Created for a “megacity” environment, where streets are almost always crowded in near-constant gridlock and space of any kind is at an absolute premium, the Redspace Reds includes an interior that provides passengers with a mobile workspace, like a modular seating arrangement that’ll see the chairs rotate for face-to-face meetings, plus a fold down desk for paperwork or a spot to prop up a laptop. It looks pretty crazy, no doubt about it, but considering Redspace hails from China, a country where megacities are much more the norm, this might be the direction we’re heading as well.

GMC All-Mountain


2017 GMC Sierra 2500HD All Mountain Concept - image 750288

The whole tank-treads-on-a-car thing has been done before, but this concept from GMC takes it to impressive new heights. Dubbed the All-Mountain, this massive slab of truck is based on the Sierra 2500HD Denali 4WD Crew Cab, rocking a torque-tastic 6.6-liter turbo-diesel V-8 as motivation for the four powder-churning tracks in the corners. With over 900 pound-feet of torque on tap, this thing has the twist needed to get to the top, while the suspension sees a massive lift to help it roll over anything in its way. Outside is an assortment of racks and mounts to get the gear there intact, while a Kicker audio system blasts the toonage while you shred the gnar. Fresh pow, bruh!

Read our full review on the 2017 GMC All-Mountain.

Nissan Titan AT-M6 Walker


2018 Nissan Titan AT-M6 Walker - image 750469

Speaking of simply massive machines, check out this latest movie tie-in from Nissan. Dubbed the Titan AT-M6 Walker, the Nissan was built to help promote the latest addition to the Star Wars franchise, The Last Jedi, with full-size sci-fi effects that look like they came straight off the silver screen. Rightfully so – taking responsibility for its creation is Vehicle Effects, the same northern California-based studio that did the cars for the Fast & Furious franchise and Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. Of course, the Titan wasn’t the only force-powered vehicle in attendance, with a slew of smaller Nissan-based starfighters joining it on the show floor, but without a doubt, this one had the most presence. Biggest laser too.

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Titan AT-M6 Walker.

Sondors Three-Wheeler EV


The Weird And Random Cars We Found At The 2017 LA Auto Show - image 750797

Last, but not least, we have this svelte little all-electric three-wheeler. Developed by electric bike-maker Sondors, the trike hopes to offer customers low-cost, highly efficient electron-driven transportation for around town and weekend fun. There are three seats inside, while an Italian design house penned the exterior. Pricing should start at around $10,000, with options for 75 miles, 150 miles, and 200 miles between plug-ins. Acceleration takes between 5 and 8 seconds for the 0-to-60 mph benchmark. Sondors built the prototype off 100 percent crowdfunding, and is currently seeking more money to get pre-production rolling. However, Sondors is declining to offer pre-orders to make sure it doesn’t “oversell and under-deliver.” How… contrarian?

References


2017 Los Angeles Auto Show – Visitor's Guide - image 745566

Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon The Weird And Random Cars We Found At The 2017 LA Auto Show

This year’s Los Angeles Auto Show was replete with both big hits and big misses, as most of the major automakers showed up to display their latest and greatest wares to the vast motor-minded audiences in attendance. Hell, even Tesla decided to make an appearance. However, nestled amongst the rows of shiny new SUVs, sedans, and sports cars, you could also find a few surprises – race cars, prototypes, one-off concepts, and just plain strange rides were scattered around like so many Easter eggs, and we got the good ones right here in the following list. These are the weird and random cars that we found at the 2017 LA Auto Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the weird and random cars we found at the 2017 LA Auto Show.

Bollinger Motors B1 All-Electric Off-Roader


2019 Bollinger B1 - image 750766

The big bad box you see before you is the first effort from Bollinger Motors, a startup truck manufacturer established in 2014 and based out of upstate New York. The big headline here is that this thing is totally electric, which in some ways, actually makes a lot of sense for an off-roader application (beyond the fact the great outdoors rarely comes with a charging station, of course). For example, all that low-end torque is great for crawling over obstacles, while the low-mounted batteries and electric motors keep it from tipping over. Then there’s all the extra space you get when you don’t have to engineer around a big bulky engine and drivetrain.

Dubbed the B1, the Bollinger Motors truck rides on a bespoke chassis, and gets a boxy, simplistic, utilitarian exterior that can be converted between either a half-cab or a full-cab. The interior is surprisingly spacious with its 95 cubic feet of cargo room, which also includes a full pass-through feature from the nose to the rear that’ll let you carry around long stuff. Making it go is 360 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque, pumped out by a dual front/rear motor AWD system with dual gearboxes and a HI/LO range. Options include both 60-kWh and 100-kWh batteries, offering 120 miles or 200 miles respectively. Keeping it all topped off is regenerative braking, plus the option for DC fast charging. Suspension wise, there’s 15.5 inches of ground clearance, 10 inches of wheel travel, and a 56 degree/33 degree/53 degree approach/breakover/departure angle.

Read our full review on the 2019 Bollinger Motors B1.

Honda’s Indy 500 Winner


The Weird And Random Cars We Found At The 2017 LA Auto Show - image 750869

This past May, Takuma Sato managed to clinch victory at the 101st Indianapolis 500, becoming the first driver of Asian descent to win the legendary event. The race concluded in thrilling fashion, as Sato barely nosed ahead of the Chevy-powered #3 Team Penske car of Helio Castroneves, crossing the finish line with a margin of just 0.2011 seconds. Providing the power needed to edge out his rivals was Honda and Team Andretti Autosport, and in celebration of the win, the H Badge shipped out Sato’s triumphant blue and white #26 racer for all us mere mortals to gaze upon and drool over.

Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy


2017 Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY - image 750755

Back in September, Jaguar Land Rover announced it was launching a support race series for the FIA Formula E championship, set to get underway some time late next year. It’s called the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy, and it’ll sport a grid of equally prepped race-ready iterations of the battery-powered Jaguar I-Pace SUV, each of which will be piloted by a rookie driver looking to make a name for him or herself in the higher echelons of electric racing.

While exact specs on the I-Pace eTrophy are still forthcoming, we do know Special Vehicle Operations, Jag’s in-house skunkworks based out of Warwickshire, U.K., will be responsible for turning the wrenches. And, based on what we saw in LA, we also know each I-Pace eTrophy will get a deep front splitter, an enormous rear wing, meaty tires, and a lowered stance.

Read our full review on the 2017 Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy

Mitsubishi Hybrid Outlander Rally Car


2016 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Baja Race Car - image 750848

While quick pavement pounders were in abundance in LA, Mitsubishi also brought out its own racing machine with this Outlander rally car. Notable for competing in the 29th Baja Portalegre 500 back in 2015, this terra firma-churner managed to place third in the first leg of the race, second in the Super Special Stage, and second in the second selective section, netting a third-place position for the final rally stage before grabbing second for the last stage. Impressive stuff, especially when you consider the Outlander was the only plug-in hybrid in attendance.

To keep it competitive, the Mitsubishi Hybrid Outlander gets a slew of upgrades over the standard road car. Providing the power is an upgraded battery pack (up to 16 kWh in the rally car) and a tuned 2.0-liter gas engine, while the front and rear electric motor control system was tweaked to make more of the go stuff as well. Keeping it floating over the bumps is a Tein suspension system, while 235/85 tires from Falken mounted on 16-inch wheels help it grip. Then of course there’s the usual lightweight exterior, plus interior strip down, bucket seats, and safety gear, while the charging port was moved inside the trunk.

Read our full review on the 2016 Mitsubishi Hybrid Outlander Rally Car.

Mitsubishi Re-Model A


The Weird And Random Cars We Found At The 2017 LA Auto Show - image 750884

Next to the dirt-busting, race-ready, hybrid Outlander rally car is something even weirder – the Mitsubishi Re-Model A. To help celebrate it’s 100th anniversary this year, Mitsu decided to give its very first model a little refresh. Starting with a Mitsubishi Model A, the Japanese brand went to the iconic West Coast Customs shop to infuse the century-old automobile with equipment and options straight outta 2017.

While the exterior retains the same antique styling, there’s a whole lot going on under the skin. Providing the platform is Mitsu’s Outlander PHEV, which means it’s got the make’s Super All-Wheel Control system (S-AWC) for grip and plug-in potential for recharging. The interior is another amalgamation of both new and old, with a modern dash plus old-timey bench seats, while features like Forward Collision Mitigation and smartphone support are included as well.

Police Responder Hybrid


The Weird And Random Cars We Found At The 2017 LA Auto Show - image 750814

Now you don’t have to burn tons of gas while out cruising for perps. Say hello to the Police Responder Hybrid, a greener alternative to the Blue Oval’s past law enforcement vehicles. Based on the Ford Fusion, the Police Responder Hybrid gets the combined power of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and electric motor to produce 188 horsepower and return 38 mpg. Coming complete with a front ramming bar, driver side spotlight, black and white exterior graphics, and classic red and blue lights on the roof, this thing looks the part perfectly, while the interior is decked-out with all the usual cop gear, plus a stain-resistant rear bench to help clean up the blood or vomit or whatever else the criminals might discharge.

Project Redspace Reds


The Weird And Random Cars We Found At The 2017 LA Auto Show - image 750727

Now we’re getting into the really strange stuff. This funky looking box thing is called the Redspace Reds, and it aims to bring hassle-free, all-electric, autonomous transportation to the masses. Created for a “megacity” environment, where streets are almost always crowded in near-constant gridlock and space of any kind is at an absolute premium, the Redspace Reds includes an interior that provides passengers with a mobile workspace, like a modular seating arrangement that’ll see the chairs rotate for face-to-face meetings, plus a fold down desk for paperwork or a spot to prop up a laptop. It looks pretty crazy, no doubt about it, but considering Redspace hails from China, a country where megacities are much more the norm, this might be the direction we’re heading as well.

GMC All-Mountain


2017 GMC Sierra 2500HD All Mountain Concept - image 750288

The whole tank-treads-on-a-car thing has been done before, but this concept from GMC takes it to impressive new heights. Dubbed the All-Mountain, this massive slab of truck is based on the Sierra 2500HD Denali 4WD Crew Cab, rocking a torque-tastic 6.6-liter turbo-diesel V-8 as motivation for the four powder-churning tracks in the corners. With over 900 pound-feet of torque on tap, this thing has the twist needed to get to the top, while the suspension sees a massive lift to help it roll over anything in its way. Outside is an assortment of racks and mounts to get the gear there intact, while a Kicker audio system blasts the toonage while you shred the gnar. Fresh pow, bruh!

Read our full review on the 2017 GMC All-Mountain.

Nissan Titan AT-M6 Walker


2018 Nissan Titan AT-M6 Walker - image 750469

Speaking of simply massive machines, check out this latest movie tie-in from Nissan. Dubbed the Titan AT-M6 Walker, the Nissan was built to help promote the latest addition to the Star Wars franchise, The Last Jedi, with full-size sci-fi effects that look like they came straight off the silver screen. Rightfully so – taking responsibility for its creation is Vehicle Effects, the same northern California-based studio that did the cars for the Fast & Furious franchise and Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. Of course, the Titan wasn’t the only force-powered vehicle in attendance, with a slew of smaller Nissan-based starfighters joining it on the show floor, but without a doubt, this one had the most presence. Biggest laser too.

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Titan AT-M6 Walker.

Sondors Three-Wheeler EV


The Weird And Random Cars We Found At The 2017 LA Auto Show - image 750797

Last, but not least, we have this svelte little all-electric three-wheeler. Developed by electric bike-maker Sondors, the trike hopes to offer customers low-cost, highly efficient electron-driven transportation for around town and weekend fun. There are three seats inside, while an Italian design house penned the exterior. Pricing should start at around $10,000, with options for 75 miles, 150 miles, and 200 miles between plug-ins. Acceleration takes between 5 and 8 seconds for the 0-to-60 mph benchmark. Sondors built the prototype off 100 percent crowdfunding, and is currently seeking more money to get pre-production rolling. However, Sondors is declining to offer pre-orders to make sure it doesn’t “oversell and under-deliver.” How… contrarian?

References


2017 Los Angeles Auto Show – Visitor's Guide - image 745566

Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon The Weird And Random Cars We Found At The 2017 LA Auto Show

This year’s Los Angeles Auto Show was replete with both big hits and big misses, as most of the major automakers showed up to display their latest and greatest wares to the vast motor-minded audiences in attendance. Hell, even Tesla decided to make an appearance. However, nestled amongst the rows of shiny new SUVs, sedans, and sports cars, you could also find a few surprises – race cars, prototypes, one-off concepts, and just plain strange rides were scattered around like so many Easter eggs, and we got the good ones right here in the following list. These are the weird and random cars that we found at the 2017 LA Auto Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the weird and random cars we found at the 2017 LA Auto Show.

Bollinger Motors B1 All-Electric Off-Roader


2019 Bollinger B1 - image 750766

The big bad box you see before you is the first effort from Bollinger Motors, a startup truck manufacturer established in 2014 and based out of upstate New York. The big headline here is that this thing is totally electric, which in some ways, actually makes a lot of sense for an off-roader application (beyond the fact the great outdoors rarely comes with a charging station, of course). For example, all that low-end torque is great for crawling over obstacles, while the low-mounted batteries and electric motors keep it from tipping over. Then there’s all the extra space you get when you don’t have to engineer around a big bulky engine and drivetrain.

Dubbed the B1, the Bollinger Motors truck rides on a bespoke chassis, and gets a boxy, simplistic, utilitarian exterior that can be converted between either a half-cab or a full-cab. The interior is surprisingly spacious with its 95 cubic feet of cargo room, which also includes a full pass-through feature from the nose to the rear that’ll let you carry around long stuff. Making it go is 360 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque, pumped out by a dual front/rear motor AWD system with dual gearboxes and a HI/LO range. Options include both 60-kWh and 100-kWh batteries, offering 120 miles or 200 miles respectively. Keeping it all topped off is regenerative braking, plus the option for DC fast charging. Suspension wise, there’s 15.5 inches of ground clearance, 10 inches of wheel travel, and a 56 degree/33 degree/53 degree approach/breakover/departure angle.

Read our full review on the 2019 Bollinger Motors B1.

Honda’s Indy 500 Winner


The Weird And Random Cars We Found At The 2017 LA Auto Show - image 750869

This past May, Takuma Sato managed to clinch victory at the 101st Indianapolis 500, becoming the first driver of Asian descent to win the legendary event. The race concluded in thrilling fashion, as Sato barely nosed ahead of the Chevy-powered #3 Team Penske car of Helio Castroneves, crossing the finish line with a margin of just 0.2011 seconds. Providing the power needed to edge out his rivals was Honda and Team Andretti Autosport, and in celebration of the win, the H Badge shipped out Sato’s triumphant blue and white #26 racer for all us mere mortals to gaze upon and drool over.

Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy


2017 Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY - image 750755

Back in September, Jaguar Land Rover announced it was launching a support race series for the FIA Formula E championship, set to get underway some time late next year. It’s called the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy, and it’ll sport a grid of equally prepped race-ready iterations of the battery-powered Jaguar I-Pace SUV, each of which will be piloted by a rookie driver looking to make a name for him or herself in the higher echelons of electric racing.

While exact specs on the I-Pace eTrophy are still forthcoming, we do know Special Vehicle Operations, Jag’s in-house skunkworks based out of Warwickshire, U.K., will be responsible for turning the wrenches. And, based on what we saw in LA, we also know each I-Pace eTrophy will get a deep front splitter, an enormous rear wing, meaty tires, and a lowered stance.

Read our full review on the 2017 Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy

Mitsubishi Hybrid Outlander Rally Car


2016 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Baja Race Car - image 750848

While quick pavement pounders were in abundance in LA, Mitsubishi also brought out its own racing machine with this Outlander rally car. Notable for competing in the 29th Baja Portalegre 500 back in 2015, this terra firma-churner managed to place third in the first leg of the race, second in the Super Special Stage, and second in the second selective section, netting a third-place position for the final rally stage before grabbing second for the last stage. Impressive stuff, especially when you consider the Outlander was the only plug-in hybrid in attendance.

To keep it competitive, the Mitsubishi Hybrid Outlander gets a slew of upgrades over the standard road car. Providing the power is an upgraded battery pack (up to 16 kWh in the rally car) and a tuned 2.0-liter gas engine, while the front and rear electric motor control system was tweaked to make more of the go stuff as well. Keeping it floating over the bumps is a Tein suspension system, while 235/85 tires from Falken mounted on 16-inch wheels help it grip. Then of course there’s the usual lightweight exterior, plus interior strip down, bucket seats, and safety gear, while the charging port was moved inside the trunk.

Read our full review on the 2016 Mitsubishi Hybrid Outlander Rally Car.

Mitsubishi Re-Model A


The Weird And Random Cars We Found At The 2017 LA Auto Show - image 750884

Next to the dirt-busting, race-ready, hybrid Outlander rally car is something even weirder – the Mitsubishi Re-Model A. To help celebrate it’s 100th anniversary this year, Mitsu decided to give its very first model a little refresh. Starting with a Mitsubishi Model A, the Japanese brand went to the iconic West Coast Customs shop to infuse the century-old automobile with equipment and options straight outta 2017.

While the exterior retains the same antique styling, there’s a whole lot going on under the skin. Providing the platform is Mitsu’s Outlander PHEV, which means it’s got the make’s Super All-Wheel Control system (S-AWC) for grip and plug-in potential for recharging. The interior is another amalgamation of both new and old, with a modern dash plus old-timey bench seats, while features like Forward Collision Mitigation and smartphone support are included as well.

Police Responder Hybrid


The Weird And Random Cars We Found At The 2017 LA Auto Show - image 750814

Now you don’t have to burn tons of gas while out cruising for perps. Say hello to the Police Responder Hybrid, a greener alternative to the Blue Oval’s past law enforcement vehicles. Based on the Ford Fusion, the Police Responder Hybrid gets the combined power of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and electric motor to produce 188 horsepower and return 38 mpg. Coming complete with a front ramming bar, driver side spotlight, black and white exterior graphics, and classic red and blue lights on the roof, this thing looks the part perfectly, while the interior is decked-out with all the usual cop gear, plus a stain-resistant rear bench to help clean up the blood or vomit or whatever else the criminals might discharge.

Project Redspace Reds


The Weird And Random Cars We Found At The 2017 LA Auto Show - image 750727

Now we’re getting into the really strange stuff. This funky looking box thing is called the Redspace Reds, and it aims to bring hassle-free, all-electric, autonomous transportation to the masses. Created for a “megacity” environment, where streets are almost always crowded in near-constant gridlock and space of any kind is at an absolute premium, the Redspace Reds includes an interior that provides passengers with a mobile workspace, like a modular seating arrangement that’ll see the chairs rotate for face-to-face meetings, plus a fold down desk for paperwork or a spot to prop up a laptop. It looks pretty crazy, no doubt about it, but considering Redspace hails from China, a country where megacities are much more the norm, this might be the direction we’re heading as well.

GMC All-Mountain


2017 GMC Sierra 2500HD All Mountain Concept - image 750288

The whole tank-treads-on-a-car thing has been done before, but this concept from GMC takes it to impressive new heights. Dubbed the All-Mountain, this massive slab of truck is based on the Sierra 2500HD Denali 4WD Crew Cab, rocking a torque-tastic 6.6-liter turbo-diesel V-8 as motivation for the four powder-churning tracks in the corners. With over 900 pound-feet of torque on tap, this thing has the twist needed to get to the top, while the suspension sees a massive lift to help it roll over anything in its way. Outside is an assortment of racks and mounts to get the gear there intact, while a Kicker audio system blasts the toonage while you shred the gnar. Fresh pow, bruh!

Read our full review on the 2017 GMC All-Mountain.

Nissan Titan AT-M6 Walker


2018 Nissan Titan AT-M6 Walker - image 750469

Speaking of simply massive machines, check out this latest movie tie-in from Nissan. Dubbed the Titan AT-M6 Walker, the Nissan was built to help promote the latest addition to the Star Wars franchise, The Last Jedi, with full-size sci-fi effects that look like they came straight off the silver screen. Rightfully so – taking responsibility for its creation is Vehicle Effects, the same northern California-based studio that did the cars for the Fast & Furious franchise and Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. Of course, the Titan wasn’t the only force-powered vehicle in attendance, with a slew of smaller Nissan-based starfighters joining it on the show floor, but without a doubt, this one had the most presence. Biggest laser too.

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Titan AT-M6 Walker.

Sondors Three-Wheeler EV


The Weird And Random Cars We Found At The 2017 LA Auto Show - image 750797

Last, but not least, we have this svelte little all-electric three-wheeler. Developed by electric bike-maker Sondors, the trike hopes to offer customers low-cost, highly efficient electron-driven transportation for around town and weekend fun. There are three seats inside, while an Italian design house penned the exterior. Pricing should start at around $10,000, with options for 75 miles, 150 miles, and 200 miles between plug-ins. Acceleration takes between 5 and 8 seconds for the 0-to-60 mph benchmark. Sondors built the prototype off 100 percent crowdfunding, and is currently seeking more money to get pre-production rolling. However, Sondors is declining to offer pre-orders to make sure it doesn’t “oversell and under-deliver.” How… contrarian?

References


2017 Los Angeles Auto Show – Visitor's Guide - image 745566

Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show – Best In Show

The 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show is here, and with it comes a fresh batch of four-wheeled goodies to pick through. With more than 50 debuts and over 1,000 vehicles in attendance, the LAAS is the West Coast destination if you’re looking for the latest and greatest from the world’s top automakers. The paint has barely dried by the time these machines roll into the Southland, and attendees get an enticing opportunity to check out what’s headed to dealers before deliveries commence. This year, we saw loads of good stuff, like updated icons, new speed machines, and even an interesting concept or two, all of which is worthy of your collective auto-flavored attention. As such, we put together the following list of exceptional debuts from this year’s event for your reading enjoyment. These are TopSpeed’s picks for Best In Show from the 2017 LA Auto Show.

Of course, it’s entirely possible you’ve got other ideas about what belongs on this list. If that happens to be the case, feel free to post your picks in the comments below, and don’t forget to tell us why you think they deserve the title of Best In Show!

Continue reading to learn more about our picks for Best In Show from the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 749430

The new Wrangler has arrived, and it’s bringing with it oodles of tempting options. Body styles include both two-door and four-door iterations, while behind the vertical grille slats, you’ll find one of three engine options. Cog swap duties are handled by one of two transmission options, one of which is a brand-new eight-speed automatic.

The updates continue inside, where we find a modernized interior layout, complete with a new infotainment system. Jeep even showed off a complete line of available upgrades and parts from Mopar. That’s all well and good, but the most important part of this machine is what it can do straight from the factory, and thankfully, the Jeep still looks like one helluva off-roader out of the box. Providing the grip is a 4WD system with features like a 2.72:1 crawl ratio and a 4LO 4:1 ratio with locking differentials for the Rubicon. Then there’s the Rubicon’s ability to wade through water 30 inches deep, its 10.9 inches of ground clearance, and its standard 33-inch tires. All told, this thing has all the capability as the old model, wrapped in a new school package.

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.

Saleen S1


The Saleen S1 Can be Yours for $1,000 Deposit; $100,000 Total; Deliveries Start in Mid-2018 - image 749041

It’s no secret we’re fans of the Saleen S7. Rear-mid engine, RWD, and 750 horsepower stuffed into an aero-friendly body that looks like it might cut ‘ya if you stare at it too long… what’s not to like? Now, Saleen is once again offering up something new, and while it might not have the same over-the-top aggression as its older sibling, it’s still got that high-performance allure we’ve come to expect from the brand. Carbon fiber, aluminum, and a compact body keep it light, while a mid-mounted turbo 2.5-liter four-cylinder sends as much as 450 horsepower to the rear wheels. A run to 60 mph takes just 3.5 seconds, while the quarter mile is dispatched in 11.3 seconds. Top speed clocks in at 180 mph.

Read our full review on the 2018 Saleen S1.

Mazda6


2018 Mazda6 - image 749676

While it might have four doors and FWD, this Japanese sedan still has plenty of zoom-zoom under the hood. Now, all that go arrives with turbocharged levels of motivation, as Mazda fits the latest 6 with an upgraded and boosted 2.5-liter four-cylinder for the 2018 model year. Outside, we find a few nips and tucks to the already great looking styling, while the interior sees a substantial refit with higher-quality trim and a simplified layout. We’re fans – now it just needs a dash of AWD, eh Mazda?

Read our full review on the 2018 Mazda6.

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Convertible


2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Convertible - image 749381

Following an unveiling of the hardtop coupe variant in Dubai, the ZR1 arrived in LA for its stateside debut, rocking an open-air top and a searing shade of orange paint. Like the coupe, the ZR1 convertible comes proper with a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8, which gets drenched with dino juice thanks to a unique dual fuel injection system (both direct and port injection for this monster). Output is rated at 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque, all of which is sent to the ultra-wide rear wheels by way of either a seven-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic. Then, of course, there’s all that carbon fiber, which gets applied to the front splitter, side skirts, and rear wing, plus the enormous engine cover sticking out of the hood. Wanna get noticed?

Read our full review on the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Convertible.

Toyota FT-AC Concept

There’s usually no shortage of outdoorsy-themed SUV concepts, no matter what show you’re talking about, but this concept caught our attention all the same. For starters, if actually looks pretty good, with big, chunky features that work well with the motif, plus a layered front fascia that doesn’t make you want to run and hide. A variety of mounts and carrier racks provide spots to store your gear, while external cameras help to record every move you make in the great outdoors. Finally, a hybrid powertrain keeps it green while crawling through the dirt.

Read our full review 2017 Toyota FT-AC Concept.

PostHeaderIcon 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show – Best In Show

The 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show is here, and with it comes a fresh batch of four-wheeled goodies to pick through. With more than 50 debuts and over 1,000 vehicles in attendance, the LAAS is the West Coast destination if you’re looking for the latest and greatest from the world’s top automakers. The paint has barely dried by the time these machines roll into the Southland, and attendees get an enticing opportunity to check out what’s headed to dealers before deliveries commence. This year, we saw loads of good stuff, like updated icons, new speed machines, and even an interesting concept or two, all of which is worthy of your collective auto-flavored attention. As such, we put together the following list of exceptional debuts from this year’s event for your reading enjoyment. These are TopSpeed’s picks for Best In Show from the 2017 LA Auto Show.

Of course, it’s entirely possible you’ve got other ideas about what belongs on this list. If that happens to be the case, feel free to post your picks in the comments below, and don’t forget to tell us why you think they deserve the title of Best In Show!

Continue reading to learn more about our picks for Best In Show from the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 749430

The new Wrangler has arrived, and it’s bringing with it oodles of tempting options. Body styles include both two-door and four-door iterations, while behind the vertical grille slats, you’ll find one of three engine options. Cog swap duties are handled by one of two transmission options, one of which is a brand-new eight-speed automatic.

The updates continue inside, where we find a modernized interior layout, complete with a new infotainment system. Jeep even showed off a complete line of available upgrades and parts from Mopar. That’s all well and good, but the most important part of this machine is what it can do straight from the factory, and thankfully, the Jeep still looks like one helluva off-roader out of the box. Providing the grip is a 4WD system with features like a 2.72:1 crawl ratio and a 4LO 4:1 ratio with locking differentials for the Rubicon. Then there’s the Rubicon’s ability to wade through water 30 inches deep, its 10.9 inches of ground clearance, and its standard 33-inch tires. All told, this thing has all the capability as the old model, wrapped in a new school package.

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.

Saleen S1


The Saleen S1 Can be Yours for $1,000 Deposit; $100,000 Total; Deliveries Start in Mid-2018 - image 749041

It’s no secret we’re fans of the Saleen S7. Rear-mid engine, RWD, and 750 horsepower stuffed into an aero-friendly body that looks like it might cut ‘ya if you stare at it too long… what’s not to like? Now, Saleen is once again offering up something new, and while it might not have the same over-the-top aggression as its older sibling, it’s still got that high-performance allure we’ve come to expect from the brand. Carbon fiber, aluminum, and a compact body keep it light, while a mid-mounted turbo 2.5-liter four-cylinder sends as much as 450 horsepower to the rear wheels. A run to 60 mph takes just 3.5 seconds, while the quarter mile is dispatched in 11.3 seconds. Top speed clocks in at 180 mph.

Read our full review on the 2018 Saleen S1.

Mazda6


2018 Mazda6 - image 749676

While it might have four doors and FWD, this Japanese sedan still has plenty of zoom-zoom under the hood. Now, all that go arrives with turbocharged levels of motivation, as Mazda fits the latest 6 with an upgraded and boosted 2.5-liter four-cylinder for the 2018 model year. Outside, we find a few nips and tucks to the already great looking styling, while the interior sees a substantial refit with higher-quality trim and a simplified layout. We’re fans – now it just needs a dash of AWD, eh Mazda?

Read our full review on the 2018 Mazda6.

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Convertible


2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Convertible - image 749381

Following an unveiling of the hardtop coupe variant in Dubai, the ZR1 arrived in LA for its stateside debut, rocking an open-air top and a searing shade of orange paint. Like the coupe, the ZR1 convertible comes proper with a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8, which gets drenched with dino juice thanks to a unique dual fuel injection system (both direct and port injection for this monster). Output is rated at 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque, all of which is sent to the ultra-wide rear wheels by way of either a seven-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic. Then, of course, there’s all that carbon fiber, which gets applied to the front splitter, side skirts, and rear wing, plus the enormous engine cover sticking out of the hood. Wanna get noticed?

Read our full review on the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Convertible.

Toyota FT-AC Concept

There’s usually no shortage of outdoorsy-themed SUV concepts, no matter what show you’re talking about, but this concept caught our attention all the same. For starters, if actually looks pretty good, with big, chunky features that work well with the motif, plus a layered front fascia that doesn’t make you want to run and hide. A variety of mounts and carrier racks provide spots to store your gear, while external cameras help to record every move you make in the great outdoors. Finally, a hybrid powertrain keeps it green while crawling through the dirt.

Read our full review 2017 Toyota FT-AC Concept.

PostHeaderIcon Nissan Titan AT-M6 Walker

Stars Wars: The Last Jedi is hitting theaters next week, and like in year’s past, Nissan is hitching its wagon on the monolithic movie franchise. We saw the fruits of that partnership last year with the launch of the Nissan Rogue One Edition. This year, Nissan and LucasFilms are upping the ante by launching a whole fleet of Stars Wars-inspired creations, including the vehicle you see here.

This is a Nissan Titan, or at least it was until it was redesigned to look more like one of those giant AT-M6 Walker bots that the First Order deployed against the Resistance in The Force Awakens. The overall look and the details that went into creating the Titan Star Wars is a feast for the senses. We should give credit to Vehicle Effects for making this transformation. The California-based company is famous in Hollywood circles for building some of the best cars to hit the silver screen, including all the vehicles in The Fast and Furious and Marvel Cinematic Universe franchises. In addition to the Titan, Vehicle Effects also created the Nissan Altima Special Forces TIE Fighter, Nissan Maxima Kylo Ren, Nissan Maxima Kylo Ren’s TIE Silencer, Nissan Maxima Captain Phasma, Nissan Rogue Poe Dameron’s X-Wing with BB8, and Nissan Rogue Sport A-Wing.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Nissan Star Wars Edition

What makes the Nissan Titan Star Wars special


2018 Nissan Titan AT-M6 Walker - image 750470
“The finished product looks incredible, particularly in the way some of its features are in sync with the actual parts from the AT-M6”

With respect to the other Star Wars-inspired Nissan vehicles, the Titan AT-M6 is, without question, the most elaborate creation of the fleet. According to Eric Shimp of Vehicle Effects, most of the materials that were used in this build are made from aluminum. There are also 3D-printed parts, most notably the circuit panels that we can see on the sides of the truck.

The finished product looks incredible, particularly in the way some of its features are in sync with the actual parts from the AT-M6. The hood of the truck features the top end of the walker’s head, right down to the red highlights that represent the windows of the walker. The front bumper of the Titan also gets a pair of proper blasters. Both are flanked by smaller protrusions that resemble the array of artillery that the actual AT-M6 has at its disposal. The rest of the pick-up gets wrapped in the same colors as the AT-M6, complete with black definitions that represent the natural wear-and-tear these walkers get when they’re on the battlefield.


2018 Nissan Titan AT-M6 Walker - image 750464
“The rest of the pick-up gets wrapped in the same colors as the AT-M6, complete with black definitions”

The other significant feature of the Titan AT-M6 is sitting at the back, prominently placed for the whole world to see. For those who don’t know, that part there is the body of the AT-M6, and that satellite dish-looking equipment is actually the megacaliber six cannon from which it gets its name.

As elaborate as the exterior is, the Titan’s interior remains largely in stock form. The only modification in this section is the sound equipment that was installed to help recreate the effects of a stomping AT-M6 Walker. Imagine driving in your neighborhood and seeing this in your rear-view mirror. It’s a cool sight, but also not a pleasant one.

No work was done to improve the Titan’s performance capabilities. I don’t see that as an issue though because if you watched The Force Awakens, you’ll know that these AT-M6 Walkers aren’t exactly known for being fleet-footed. The absence of any power upgrades isn’t a reflection of the kind of work that Vehicle Effects put into this build. In fact, the finished vehicle reportedly weighs around 6,500 pounds. That’s 1,500 pounds in added weight to a pickup that already weighs a little over 5,000 pounds, to begin with.


2018 Nissan Titan AT-M6 Walker - image 750473
“The finished vehicle reportedly weighs around 6,500 pounds”

Don’t expect the Nissan Titan AT-M6 to somehow find itself in the classifieds anytime soon. Like the rest of the The Last Jedi-inspired Nissan models, this creation will be making the rounds of other auto shows through the first quarter of 2018. Even if the movie itself runs its course at that time, there’s no doubt that these cars will still be major attractions.

References

Nissan Titan


2017 Nissan Titan - image 665129

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Titan.


2017 Los Angeles Auto Show – Visitor's Guide - image 745566

Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Nissan to Shift Back to Sedans and Sports Cars

Crossovers and SUVs make up a big chunk of Nissan’s sales volume these days, but just because it’s the case now, it doesn’t mean the Japanese automaker is pushing its sedans and sports cars to the sidelines. On the contrary, Nissan has big plans for its sedan and sports car lineups. It hasn’t mentioned what those plans are, but the big part of the company’s focus will return to these models now that its lineup of crossovers and SUVs are all filled up with the arrival of the Kicks crossover.

<doc748292

“It’s smart for the company to think a few steps ahead and look at what the future might bring for the industry”

Nissan can only build so many crossovers and SUVs, right? I would think that’s the case because there aren’t enough segments to differentiate one from the other. So it’s smart for the company to think a few steps ahead and look at what the future might bring for the industry. Nissan North America VP of Product Planning Michael Bunce alluded to it in a conversation with Motor1 at the LA Auto Show. According to Bunce, the “reinvention of the sedan” could be the next big trend in the auto industry after the wave of popularity enjoyed by crossovers and SUVs die down.

The key is to not fall into the trap of reverting back to developing sedan types that the industry has seen before. In the same way that the designs of crossovers and SUVs have evolved in recent years, a natural evolution in the design of sedans could happen because of how the market evolves. Bunce touched on this when he alluded to the lack of appeal minivans had on millennials because “that’s what their parents drove.” In the same breath, “centennials” could be put off by SUVs because of how popular they are. Instead, they could look to a completely different body type to bring back to prominence. That could be the sedan’s meal ticket back to relevancy.

Nissan knows that this could happen, which is why a host of sedans, sports cars, and EVs are all in the pipeline. Even Nissan’s Nismo performance brand is due to get more love and affection now that Nissan has announced plans to “bring some excitement back to the division.”

All of this talk is music to my ears. I understand the business case of going overdrive on crossovers and SUVs. But at some point, sedans and sports cars need to get their time in the spotlight too. It’s nice to know that Nissan shares that sentiment.

References

Nissan Kicks


The 2018 Nissan Kicks Gives Americans a Taste Simplicity in the Modern World - image 748286

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Kicks.


2017 Los Angeles Auto Show – Visitor's Guide - image 745566

Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen I.D. Crozz Concept to Hit U.S. Market in 2020

Volkswagen has made several I.D. concept vehicles over the years, but it seems one is finally in the works. The automaker’s I.D. Crozz Concept made its U.S. debut at the 2017 L.A. Auto Show after its initial debut last April at the Frankfort Motor Show. VW says the I.D. Crozz Concept will birth a production version, which will be the first of VW’s new generation of electric vehicles. What’s more, VW is promising (again) that its iconic Bus will be reborn for 2022. While hippies and Baby Boomers will approve, this isn’t the first time VW has made such a promise. Still, the Crozz seems more probable since it falls into the red-hot crossover category. VW says a total of 15 new EV vehicles are planned.

Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, says, “The I.D. CROZZ-based electric vehicle will be an affordable and stylish electric SUV.” It will be roughly the size of the 2018 Tiguan, but with a coupe-like shape. Power comes from an 83-kWh lithium-ion battery and is expected to have a 300-mile range. The part-time AWD crossover uses two electric motors – one on each axle – for a total output of 302 horsepower. VW says the Crozz will change to 80 percent in only 30 minutes using a 150-kWh DC charger. Self-driving technology is planned for 2025, too, so we could expect that to accompany the Crozz’s mid-cycle refresh. That’s just speculation, of course.

Continue reading for more on the 2020 Volkswagen I.D. Crozz Concept.

From dirty diesels to self-driving electric vehicles


Volkswagen I.D. Crozz Concept to Hit U.S. Market in 2020
- image 749096
“Volkswagen is working hard to rid itself of the soot stains from Dieselgate, and the I.D. concepts are proof of that.”

Volkswagen is working hard to rid itself of the soot stains from Dieselgate, and the I.D. concepts are proof of that. These 15 new fully electric vehicles will have zero local emissions, after all. Besides what Tesla sells, electric vehicles are battling against the SUV craze and low fuel prices. Volkswagen is hoping to sway consumers toward its EV products with snazzy features and bright lights. Literally, they’re using lights.

Walk up to the I.D. Crozz Concept, and an LED light show emanates from the badges and headlights. The doors electrically open, with the front swinging a full 90 degrees and the rear door sliding open like a minivan. The absent B-pillar and glass roof makes the cabin feel extra large and inviting.

The rest of the interior takes a futuristic, minimalistic approach. LED lights illuminate the space, an infotainment screen is basically the only interface on the dash, and the steering wheel looks like something from TRON. A digital gauge cluster resides behind the wheel in a sort of form-fitted, metallic pod behind the wheel.


Volkswagen I.D. Crozz Concept to Hit U.S. Market in 2020
- image 749099
“The electric motors work independently of each other, with electricity sent to the rear-axle motor during normal driving conditions”

The electric drivetrain is also futuristic. The electric motors work independently of each other, with electricity sent to the rear-axle motor during normal driving conditions. The driver can engage the AWD and the front motor turns on. The 101-horse front motor and 201-horse rear motor combined for a total of 302 horsepower. VW didn’t announce a torque figure but count on it being pretty high.

Of course, pricing wasn’t discussed, but Woebcken did promise the Crozz would be affordable. We’d guess it’ll start in the lower $30,000 range. Then again, 2020 is still a long ways off.

References


2017 Volkswagen I.D. CROZZ Concept - image 713927

Read our full review on the 2017 Volkswagen I.D. CROZZ Concept.


Volkswagen Tries to Impress with the CROZZ II – Because One Ugly SUV Wasn't Enough - image 730419

Read our full review on the 2017 Volkswagen I.D. CROZZ II Concept.


2017 Los Angeles Auto Show – Visitor's Guide - image 745566

Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

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Buy It Now for only: $46,780.00
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1953 Chevrolet Other Pickups 1953 CHEVROLET PICKUP SHORT BOX HALF TON 5 WINDOW
$5,700.00 (18 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Sep-25-2018 18:42:45 PDT
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1954 Chevrolet Other Pickups 1954 Chevy Panel Van shop truck patina 3100 C10
$11,800.00 (26 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Sep-23-2018 16:01:31 PDT
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1969 Ford Mustang 1969 Fastback Boss 302 clone. + high $$$ 331 STROKER engine!! + AOD transmission
$16,995.00
End Date: Monday Sep-24-2018 5:00:00 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $16,995.00
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