Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Automotive

Kia ex_cee’d Cabrio Concept

February 23, 2007 Kia will debut an all-new ex_cee’d cabrio concept car at the 77th Salon de l’Automobiles in Geneva in March. Based on the new three-door cee’d hatchback, due to go into production at the Zilina factory in Slovakia from December, the ex_cee’d shares the same platform, but features all-new exterior panels and a powered folding fabric roof. By adopting a fabric roof, the ex_cee’d deliberately goes its own retro way rather than following the trend towards cabrios with folding metal roofs. Kia’s new Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer paid special attention to designing a classic cabrio with a traditional soft-top roof: “I’m convinced that the fabric roof will have a renaissance. We’ve all lived with the romantic idea of open-air driving for a long time and for me, the fabric roof is the quintessential element of a truly rewarding cabrio.”  Read More

The 345 km/h Porsche 911 Turbo TechArt GTstreet

February 23, 2007 German company TechArt Automobildesign has created one of the fastest and most powerful street-legal sports cars available which will see its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show 2007. The new TechArt Gtstreet is based on the 997 series Porsche 911 Turbo and has an extraordinarily powerful engine, having tweaked the 3.6-liter twin-turbo boxer engine to develop 630 hp / 463 kW at 6,800 rpm, up from standard 480 hp / 353 kW. Peak torque has been increased from 620 Nm to 820 Nm at 4,500 rpm, giving it a 0–100 km/h time of 3.2 seconds, 0–200 km/h of 10.9 seconds and a top speed of 345 km/h. The body kit for the TechArt GTstreet was created in the wind tunnel, and offers an optimal symbiosis of aerodynamic downforce, minimized drag and striking design.  Read More

Maserati GranTurismo breaks cover

February 23, 2007 The new Pininfarina-styled Maserati GranTurismo will make its worldwide debut at the Geneva Motorshow, continuing a tradition begun sixty years ago when the Trident Company unveiled its first Gran Turismo, also designed by the great Pinin Farina, at the 1947 Geneva Motorshow. The A6 was the first Maserati road car and only 58 vehicles were produced, but it helped establish one of the great automotive marques. The new Maserati GranTurismo is a high-performance sports car with a 405 bhp 4.2 liter V8 engine, and a weight distribution of 49% at the front and 51% at the rear. Though it has an automatic gearbox, it is equipped with an adaptive control system which adjusts the gear-shifting mode to the driving style and the driving conditions. The Maserati GranTurismo is built with particular attention to comfort, choice of materials and details and with enough room for four people.  Read More

Bulging bumper could speed journey to computerised carriageways

February 22, 2007 Investigations by engineers at The University of Manchester into an extendable car bumper could help speed along the arrival of computer-controlled motorways. A paper presented at the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress and Exhibition recently offers a glimpse of how a high-tech, environmentally-friendly and efficient motorway network could operate safely in the future. The vision is that vehicles would not be independently driven, but regulated and controlled via information beamed from transmitters at the side of the road. Cars would also communicate and co-operate with the vehicles around them to ensure a safe and fast journey for everyone.  Read More

Rare Mazda Cosmo 110B Rotary Coupe

February 22, 2007 Old, rare and beautiful cars are not normally associated with the contemporary Japanese Automotive Industry, but as time moves on, we’ll see more cars such as this fully-restored 1969 Mazda Cosmo 110B Coupe hitting the auction block. One of just over 1,500 examples that were virtually hand-built between 1967 and 1972, the Cosmo Series II has a special place in Japanese automotive history as Mazda’s first true high performance rotary-engined coupe and hence the progenitor of the current RX8. The first Cosmo launched at the 1964 Tokyo Motor Show was the 110S, powered by a bi-rotor engine producing around 110hp and had a four speed gearbox. However the Series II introduced in July 1968 came with a longer wheelbase, a more powerful 130hp engine and five speed gearbox and was a serious performance car, capable of 190km/h and covering the standing 400 metres in around 15.8 seconds. Because of its collectibility and rarity, auctioneers Shannons expect the Cosmo to be sought after in the price range from AUD$96,000 (US$76,000) to AUD$116,000 (US$92,000)  Read More

Can-Am Spyder roadster: three wheeled motorcycle

BRP has unveiled its first "on-road" vehicle, the 2008 Can-Am Spyder roadster. This three-wheel vehicle, with two wheels in the front and one in the rear, offers a completely new and stunning look. Powered by a proven 990cc V Twin engine designed and manufactured by BRP-Rotax, Spyder roadster, with its unique Y-architecture, can be described as part motorcycle and part convertible sports car. Later this year twelve selected American states and four Canadian provinces will offer Can-Am Spyder roadsters through BRP's existing dealer network, followed by France and Spain in early 2008. BRP will then expand its Can-Am Spyder offer to more North American states, Canadian provinces, Europe and other countries, and expects to be present worldwide within three to four years.  Read More

Ford sweeps Norway WRC and enlivens the title chase

February 19, 2007 With Sebastien Loeb’s almost total dominance in recent years, the World Rally Championship (WRC) has taken on a pall of inevitability, but as we all know, nothing lasts forever on the sporting field. Ford has been forging a dynasty of reliability and competitiveness at WRC level for decades, but had not won a manufacturers championship for 26 years until sheer weight of points finishes overcame Loeb and Citroen last year. This year the BP-Ford World Rally Team has started the season so well that it could be poised to challenge for the dirvers title in 2007 too. The team took a decisive lead in the WRC after dominating Rally Norway with the Focus RS World Rally Car to finish first and second yesterday. Mikko Hirvonen (driver first) and Jarmo Lehtinen (navigator second) led from start to finish to claim their second WRC victory, finishing 9.5sec ahead of team-mates and fellow Finns Marcus Gronholm and Timo Rautiainen. It was BP-Ford's second win in consecutive weeks after Gronholm triumphed in Sweden seven days ago and powered the reigning manufacturers' world champions into a 16 point lead after three of the 16 rounds. Gronholm moved to the head of the drivers' series, four points clear of Hirvonen. As always, the Scandinavian rounds with their spectacular yumps (high speeds on ice and snow with sudden dropaways lead to 100 mph flying cars) make for another awesome image library.  Read More

The plug-in hybrid carving three-wheeler from Venture

February 17, 2007 UPDATED IMAGES Venture Vehicles has formally announced in Los Angeles, the development of a revolutionary (not to mention very cool), 3-wheel, tilting, plug-in Hybrid vehicle under the working name VentureOne. It’s a two-passenger Hybrid vehicle that will get 100 mpg, accelerate from 0-60 in 6 seconds, will have a top speed of over 100 mph, while being priced at under US$20,000. In addition to the low-emission, flex-fuel Hybrid model, a zero-emission all-electric version is also being developed that will have an all-electric range of nearly 200 miles. A key feature of the VentureOne is the patented Dynamic Vehicle Control tilting technology from Dutch-based Carver Engineering that allows the body of the vehicle to actually tilt when going through turns while all three wheels maintain firm contact with the road. Carver already sells petrol-engined versions of the machine, and the Phiaro 3-wheeler is also closely based on the Carver. But a plug-in hybrid with a 200 mile electric range and sportscar performance is very enticing. Production is not scheduled until late 2008 and Venture Vehicles will initially offer two propulsion packages for the VentureOne: the hybrid E50 and Q100, and all-electric Venture EV model. The US$23,000 all-electric model will top the range while the E50 hybrid will sell for US$18,000 and the Q100 hybrid is expected to be priced under US$20,000.  Read More

Lotus Exige Police Car

February 15, 2007
Lotus Exige Police Car

February 16, 2007 Lotus Cars Australia has donated a special new recruit to the NSW Police Bankstown Local Area Command with the arrival of a high performance Lotus Exige. The lightweight, high performance Lotus Exige sports car will be used by Bankstown Local Area Command for a number of community policing roles over the next six months, including most importantly, helping to build better relations between police and local performance car enthusiasts and youth. The precedent for this co-operation with the police was set in the UK where Lotus forged a similar relationship with the Norfolk Constabulary lending the force a Lotus Elise to achieve similar goals. “Following the success of the co-operation with Norfolk Police we saw the chance to link up with NSW Police to help it achieve similar goals,” said Lotus’ Jon Stretton. “The Norfolk Police had similar challenges to Bankstown Local Area Command with performance car enthusiasts and in establishing stronger relations to help prevent unacceptable behaviour.”  Read More

Rinspeed eXasis Concept Car: glass-free transparency

February 16, 2007 Swiss company Rinspeed’s innovation in automotive design has graced our pages many times, each concept car seeking to break the mould, explore new technologies and expand thinking about out primary conveyance, the automobile. His latest concept car designed and built in conjunction with Bayer MaterialScience, is drivable "glass" car with a completely transparent body and floor made of Makrolon. To be shown for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show, 40 years after Bayer presented the first "all-plastic car" in 1967 at the K67 Plastics Fair in Germany, the eXasis is a real eye-catcher with nothing to hide. The outer Makrolon shell, moulded by the Swiss firm Mecaplex and coated with a tinge of yellow by the German hard coatings specialist, KRD, reveals the vehicle's load-bearing aluminium chassis. The chassis looks as if it has been cut from a solid piece of material, and in fact the bulkheads are.  Read More

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