Stars join the cars in LA


By Jim Robinson
Metroland Media

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – Like a great Hollywood movie, this year’s LA Auto Show brought together a cast of film and sports notables who played supporting roles in introducing the stars of the show – the cars.

Unlike LA Auto Shows in the past, green was rarely in the limelight. It was power, glam and glitz providing the Oscar winning performance.

Striking his famous pose, six-time Olympic Gold medalist Usain Bolt was on the Nissan stage where he pulled back the cover on one of the fastest cars in the world, the 2015 Nissan GT-R NISMO that sprints from 0-60 mph in a scant two seconds. It joins GT-R Premium and the Black Edition all with extensive engine, suspension, exterior and interior enhancements.

Porsche’s newly named brand ambassador, tennis star Maria Sharapova, officiated at the world premiere of the brand’s first entry into the compact SUV market - the Macan.

Looking on in the audience of the pre-show launch were such luminaries as Patrick Dempsey and Jerry Seinfeld who joined racing stars Derek Bell and Danny Sullivan.

The 2014 Porsche Macan will be offered in two versions, the Macan S and Macan Turbo. Standard features include active all-wheel drive and the Porsche double-clutch transmission (PDK).

The Macan S is powered by a new Porsche designed 3.0-litre V6 bi-turbo engine that delivers 340 hp and can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 5.4 seconds (5.2 with the Sport Chrono package).

The 3.6-litre V6 bi-turbo engine in the Macan Turbo is based on the 3.0-litre V6 unit and produces 400 hp and accelerates the vehicle to 100 km/h in as low as 4.8 seconds (4.6 with Sport Chrono).

The new Macan will arrive in Canadian dealerships in late spring 2014. Pricing will start at $54,300 for Macan S and $82,200 for Macan Turbo.

Hollywood is full of pretty faces but none more so than the Jaguar F-Type Coupe that will be available next year in three versions including the first F-Type R model. The F-Type R Coupe is powered by a 550 hp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine and will reach 60 mph in 4.0 seconds with a top speed of 186 mph.

The F-Type S Coupe and F-Type Coupe are powered by 3.0-litre supercharged V6 engines in 380 hp and 340 hp forms respectively giving 0-60 mph in 4.8/5.1 seconds and top speeds of 171/161 mph.

Chevrolet is bolstering its presence in the mid-size pickup truck segment with the 2015 Colorado that goes on sale next fall featuring a number of segment firsts such as forward collision alert and lane departure warning.

A 2.5-litre inline four-cylinder engine is standard with an optional 3.6-litre V6. Both engines are tuned for truck use and are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

When properly equipped, the Colorado is expected to offer class leading payload capacity and trailering capacity of more than 6,700 pounds (3,039 kg).

Coming in Colorado’s second year will be the segment’s first diesel engine. It is powered by the 2.8-litre four-cylinder that GM already uses in a number of global markets.

Subaru picked LA for the world premiere of the 2015 WRX with a 2.0-litre “boxer” four-cylinder engine and the brand’s proven symmetrical full-time all-wheel drive system.

Along with its new six-speed manual transmission, the 2015 WRX adopts a Sport Lineartronic CVT transmission that offers smooth shifting as well as an eight-speed manual shift mode.

Mercedes and its performance arm, AMG, attracted a lot of attention with this latest take on the B-Class platform, the Concept GLA 45 AMG.

This compact SUV study uses a hand-built AMG 2.0-litre four-cylinder with 360 hp and maximum torque of 332 lb/ft.

Like the Mercedes-Benz CLA AMG 45, the concept features performance-calibrated AMG 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system and the AMG Speedshift DCT seven-speed sports transmission.

Kia revealed its much-anticipated full-size premium luxury sedan, the 2015 K900, that contains a long list of standard equipment, world-class accommodations plus the handsome styling of Kia’s famed Peter Schreyer.

Sharing the same platform as the Hyundai Equus, the K900 will offer the 5.0-litre Tau V8 and a 3.8-litre V6 with 420 and 311 hp respectively.

Trim levels have yet to determined but features expected to be offered include a camera-based all-round vision system, adaptive cruise control, blind spot/lane departure warning and a 12.3 inch central display screen for the infotainment system.

Hyundai unveiled the significantly enhanced 2014 Elantra with a more powerful direct injection engine with more than 75 major changes that are new or have been re-designed.

The “hot rod” will be the 2014 Elantra GT with standard 2.0-litre engine with 25 more hp and 23 lb/ft of torque (173 hp, 154 lb/ft) which Hyundai claims is more than the Subaru Impreza, Ford Focus, Mazda3 five-door and Volkswagen Golf five-door.

Visually, the next generation “new” MINI looks similar, but it is new from the ground up and will arrive in Canada in the spring.

Along with the refreshed Civic, Honda staged the world premiere of the Fuel Cell-Electric Vehicle (FCEV) concept that launches in the U.S. in 2015 and features the world’s first application of a fuel-cell powertrain packaged completely in the engine bay of the vehicle.

It allows for efficiencies in cabin space as well as flexibility in the potential application of FC technology to multiple vehicle types in the future. Significant technological advancements to the fuel-cell stack have yielded more than 100kW of power output and it is expected to provide driving range of more than 300 miles (480 km) with a quick refueling time of about three minutes at a pressure of 70 MPa.