Covering an auto show as “Media” is one hell of a lot more fun than being there during general admission!
Press exposure is the stuff manufacturers dream of and “media” gets great food, friendly models, and real hands-on with the cars and factory reps.
Some of my standouts from 2012:
Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Black Series
Good car, wrong color, and while statistically impressive with a good bit more grunt, the just unveiled MB AMG BLACK SERIES is going to have serious problems keeping up with the competition from Lamborghini and Ferrari. I’m sceptical people will stand in line when buyers can get more speed and prestige for the same (and often less) money. A little disappointing.
Mercedes Benz Ener-G-Force
Billed as a design study, years away from production, and initially targeting the police and military, the vehicle is designed to go literally anywhere, and everyone at the show was talking about it.
Gorden Wagener, Director of Design at Mercedes-Benz Cars: “The Ener-G-Force is the vision of an off-roader that, while reflecting tomorrow’s adventures, also invokes the genes of the Mercedes-Benz off-road icon, the G-Class”.
Futuristic and cool, it could also be a clue about a new beginning for the off-road design idiom of Mercedes-Benz.
BMW i3 and i8
You know these guys are serious when they recently opened a showroom in London’s Park Lane. Until now, the sedan seemed just another concept but now the i3 Coupe looks like its headed for production.
Seen initially in Mission Impossible 4, Ghost Protocol, Tom Cruise may have felt a little upstaged by the i8. After initial tests, Bimmer quickly made the right decision to head this thing into series production as well. It’s absolutely gorgeous both in and out and nothing in L.A. came close in terms of wow factor.
From BMW: “Its innovative plug-in hybrid concept combines the modified electric drive system from the BMW i3 Concept – fitted over its front axle – with a high-performance three-cylinder combustion engine producing 164 kW/220 hp and 300 Nm (221 lb-ft) at the rear. Working in tandem, they allow the two drive systems to display their respective talents to the full, delivering the performance of a sports car but the fuel consumption of a small car.
Acceleration of 0 to 62 mph in under five seconds combined with fuel consumption in the European cycle of 2.7 liters per 100 kilometers (approx. 104 mpg imp) are figures currently beyond the capability of any vehicle powered by a combustion engine of comparable performance.
I never liked Porsches until I drove one, and after driving the new Boxter S back in August, like spot gold, the price of the junior Porsche keeps rising, commensurate however, with performance. A welterweight in a class of heavyweights, this thing just dances away from the rest of the field. Honestly never showey, the new Cayman is still an entry level car, but one that now gets a whole lot closer to big brother. Lots of car; little dough.
Used to be people would buy a Boxter/Cayman and trade up to bigger Porsche when they could afford it. The new Cayman is a car folks are going to buy and KEEP. It’s just that good!
BENTLEY GT3 is based on the Continental GT Speed. That car is powered by a twin-turbo W12 engine producing 616 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, driving all four wheels.
They’ve dropped the four-wheel-drive system used in the GT Speed and swapped it for a rear-drive setup on this pure racing machine.
Bentley is keeping other alterations pretty close to the vest, but Brian Gush—Bentley director of chassis, powertrain and motorsport, did say the FIA has approved the concept and development is ongoing.
Coming soon to Le Mans. Welcome back Bentley!
Jaguar XFR-S and F-TYPE
Yes, the XFR-S is is the fastest, most powerful and agile sports saloon Jaguar has ever built.
- 550 HP supercharged V8, eight-speed Quickshift transmission, 0- 60mph in 4.4-seconds.
But the F-Type is the car Jaguar is hoping people are going to plunk down deposits on. Perfectly proportioned, a car both men and women found sexy and appealing, it’s just a guess but I think it’s going to sell well.
Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar, commented: “For me, good automotive design should be about creating excitement, so being here in LA to witness the positive reaction to both the XFR-S and F-TYPE – two highly distinctive performance cars – is very satisfying.”
See you on down the road,
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