From November 19-28, the Los Angeles Convention Center will be packed with car enthusiasts from all over Southern California as they flock to get a glimpse of the latest and greatest models of their favorite cars.
Lucky for this gal, my press pass and I got a preview on November 17th, minus the crowds, and oh what a sneak peak it was.
Following are some of my personal favorites from this year’s LA Auto Show.
The 2011 Chevy Camero Convertible is amazing. The gun-metal grey exterior coupled with the red and black interior is pure American muscle ecstasy. The engine boasts a 312 horsepower Direct Injection V6, while still providing an economical 29 MPG on the highway. Also available in the SS model is the 6.2 liter, 426 horsepower V8 engine, which only gives up 5 MPG on the highway.
A very cool feature of the Chevy booth is the photo op with the Camaro Covertible. The booth has a succession of cameras that take a photo in sequence and shoot the car and person in the photo in a 180 degree rotation. The girls working the booth toss a beach ball or hat, and the person then jumps to catch it at the moment the photo is taken. Auto Show goers then have the ability to post it immediately to their Facebook or Twitter account, as well as email the photo to themselves. Genius. I highly recommend it.
Mercedes Benz takes it up a notch by capitalizing on the cupcake craze. Parked at the booth is a Sprinkles cupcake truck, on hand to pass out red velvet and chocolate cupcakes displaying Mercedes and AMG logos on the frosting. As if the cars aren’t enough to attract an audience, the cupcakes are a sweet bonus. My favorite vehicle at the Mercedes booth is the 2011 SLS AMG, or “Gull Wing”, as it was called when first introduced in the 60’s. This SLS is not your dad’s Gull Wing, however. It boasts a hand built 6.3 liter V8 engine with 563 Horse Power and 479 lb per feet of torque. Couple the engine with the AMG Speedshift DCT 7-speed transmission and this car is a beast. The car is gorgeous from the front and side, the signature doors beautiful. The only disappointing thing about the body is the rear bumper and tail lights. It favors the C series too heavily for my liking, but overall an impressive car.
Hands down, my favorite car of the show is the Jaguar C-X75 concept car. Each of the four wheels are powered by separate electric engines. These engines are kept running by twin turbines, allowing the car to travel over 350 miles without having to charge. The car will go 0-62 mph in 3.4 seconds from resting, and does so with absolutely no fuel emissions. It tops out at 205 mph. Concerned with how to stop a vehicle going that fast? Don’t be. The car also has a regenerative braking technology that recharges the battery as you brake.
The interior of the car is equally impressive. Bowers and Wilkins have designed an innovative sound system that is comprised of several tiny speakers laid out in a honeycomb pattern on the door. This design surrounds those riding in the car with crystal clear sound. My hat is off to Jaguar for knowing how to celebrate 75 years, by providing an electric super car that is superbly designed inside and out. Who says saving the environment can’t be done stylishly?
And while you’re at the Jaguar booth salivating over the concept car that’s not available for purchase, take time to check out what you can buy. I personally fell in love the the XKR coupe, XK convertible and XJL. Jaguar is clearly back this year in a big, bad way.
My final must see of the show is the all new Mini Cooper Countryman. Not only is it the first Mini Cooper with 4 doors, it’s also the first to offer the all new All4 all-wheel-drive technology, which delivers a variable power distribution between front and rear axles. Under the hood you’ll find a 1.6 liter, 16 valve in-line 4 cylinder engine, with 181 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque at 5500 rpm. It’ll do 0-60 in 7 seconds, all while providing the driver with a roomy 40 cubic feet of cargo capacity. This is definitely the Mini to take on an adventure. Mini is also doing something interesting with their new Mini Connected technology. This allows iPod and iPhone users to connect their device to the car through an app and control the device with the mini joystick, steering-wheel buttons and on-board monitor. The user can connect the device to the car via USB cable or connected plug-in. This allows the iPod device to be controlled through the car’s monitor and steering buttons, allowing for a safer driving experience, minimizing the driver’s need to look away from the road. Users can also send and receive Facebook and Twitter updates and connect the phone function of the device to the bluetooth system. I feel Mini is way ahead of the curve on this development and therefore they landed a top spot on my list of car show experiences.