Founded in 1907, the Los Angeles Auto Show (LAAS) — that marks the beginning of the auto show season in North America — has a long history, and has increasingly gained prominence over the years. Several vehicle manufacturers now use LAAS as the venue for world premieres of new models and concept cars, and media had the chance to preview everything before the event opened to the public today. Below, we bring you OpenRoad’s top five from LAAS 2014.
Lexus LF-C2 Concept
The first thing that catches your eye about Lexus’ LF-C2 concept is the multi-layer brilliant gold paint. Next is likely the wild styling of the open-top 2+2 seater with the exaggerated spindle front grille, big air vents and triangle-shaped LED headlights. Jeff Bracken, Lexus group vice president, said the LF-C2 “shows what’s in store for our brand’s future design direction.”
Mazda is hoping that the CX-3, their new miniature crossover, will repeat the success of its bigger brother the CX-5. The fifth model in the modern line up of efficient and aesthetically pleasing cars embodying SKYACTIV technology and KODO Soul of Motion design, Mazda says the CX-3 is the perfect car for urbanites. No performance statistics were given, other than that it will come with a SKYACTIVE-G 2.0-litre engine in North America.
Volkswagen Golf SportWagen HyMotion
Volkswagen was wagen-crazy at LAAS ’14 debuting a couple of exciting examples — one of them being the hydrogen-powered SportWagen that, according to the company, is “close to production.” The electric motor and transmission of this front-wheel drive car is shared with the all-electric e-Golf. The fuel cell technology allows for a driving range of 500 kilometres, and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes approximately 10 seconds.
Honda wasn’t going to let Mazda take all the mini crossover glory — they introduced the HR-V, described by Honda as blending “the styling of a coupe, the toughness, space and utility of a SUV and the quality of a Honda in one sporty, personal and versatile multi-dimensional vehicle.” Whew, that’s a mouthful. The HR-V features a 1.8 L four-cylinder engine producing 138 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque with a choice of a front or all-wheel drive configuration.
BMW X5/X6 M
The M-badged versions of the X5 Sports Activity Vehicle and X6 Sports Activity Coupé were unveiled at the show, which are essentially beefed up variants of the two mid-size SUVs. Both are powered by a 4.4 L, 567 hp TwinPower Turbo mill, the most powerful engine ever developed by BMW for an all-wheel drive vehicle. Other M distinctions include larger front air intakes, signature twin-stalk side mirrors, quad-tailpipe exhaust system and a rear spoiler.
The Los Angeles Auto Show runs until Nov. 30.