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HIGHLIGHTS: 2014 LA Auto Show

  • HIGHLIGHTS: 2014 LA Auto Show
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG S 4Matic stands out in the LA crowd
  • 2016 Mazda CX-3 is the newest KODO designed crossover
  • 2016 Cadillac ATS-V blasts into LA Auto Show

Volkswagen Golf R Variant ready to haul ass, stuff

Posted Nov 20th 2014 3:00PM

2015 Volkswagen Golf R Variant

Volkswagen seems to be playing a cruel trick on the American automotive public at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It's displaying its sexy Golf R Variant with no clear intention of actually selling the model here. The hot wagon launches in Europe in the spring, but the automaker makes absolutely no mention of the model's prospects in North American. Hopefully, its appearance in LA at least indicates VW is considering bringing it stateside.

The great thing about this wagon is that it has everything that the regular Golf R offers, but there's even more room to carry stuff. The same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 296 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque with a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox and 4Motion all-wheel drive. Performance is very close, too, with the Variant R taking 5.1 seconds to get to 100 km/h (62 miles per hour) versus the 4.9 seconds the standard R needs to read 60 mph (96 km/h). The two of them also have the same tech goodies like ESC Sport stability control and multiple damping modes. The real advantage to opting for the estate is its ability to carry up to 57.2 cubic feet (1,619 litres) of cargo in the back.

This hot rod wagon would seem to be perfect for the family that needs to haul some extra junk in the trunk, but doesn't want to sacrifice performance. Whether the Variant R makes it to North America remains a mystery, though. Scroll down to read the specs and feel a twinge of jealousy.

Related GalleryVolkswagen Golf R Variant
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News Source: Volkswagen

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2015 Chrysler 300 swaggers into LA Auto Show [w/video]

Posted Nov 20th 2014 2:15PM

2015 Chrysler 300

The Chrysler 300 has always exuded a certain brashness, but its chip-on-its-shoulder styling seemed to mellow a bit after its 2011 redesign. Now, the bad boy of the premium sedan segment is getting some of its angry attitude back for 2015, and with the refreshed model debuting here at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The grille is larger, the fascia is updated and the lights are redesigned. That doesn't seem like much, but when taken collectively, they give the car a more menacing glare. The inside is freshened with a new seven-inch in-cluster display, better-quality materials and an updated suite of available Uconnect features, and there's a bevy of new active safety features available, too.

The engine line continues with the 3.6-litre V6 and the 5.7-litre V8, though they are now both paired with Chrysler's eight-speed automatic. The sedan also received a Sport mode button, which changes the tuning for the steering, engine and transmission, while providing a rear bias for all-wheel drive models. Pricing starts at $34,595, just as it did for the 2014 model.

The lineup also gets a new Platinum model with special wood, chrome and leather finishings, though the company also has said it will discontinue the 300's high-performance SRT variant for in North America.

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News Source: Chrysler via YouTube

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Scion iM Concept bows, production version confirmed for North America

Posted Nov 20th 2014 1:30PM

Scion iM Concept

Scion has officially pulled the covers off its iM Concept, which is, in reality, a slightly modified version of the Toyota Auris that is already sold outside the United States. It's also a model that is going into production for North America, says Scion, minus, we'd guess, a good bit of the overly aggressive ground effects bits, slammed suspension and oversize wheels.

A production iM has been confirmed for the upcoming New York Auto Show, where Scion is also promising a second new production debut, as well. After a substantial lull in its new product cadence (barring the FR-S), it looks like Scion is once again intent on cementing its position as the entry point into the Toyota brand, promising three new models in the next three years.

Scion tells us that iM's name is derived from the first letters of the words 'individuality' and 'modern.' More important details like price, powertrain and on-sale date should come later in 2015, but Scion has at least say it "anticipates that a price under $20,000 could make this car enticing to youthful customers," all of which makes it sound like the second coming of the Toyota Matrix to us.

Feel free to read more in the press release below and gaze upon the concept in all its IIncredibleglory above.

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Ferrari confirms Vettel in, Alonso out

Posted Nov 20th 2014 1:00PM

Spanish F1 Grand Prix - Previews

For the past several months, a big shift on the Formula One grid has been rumoured for next season, but with a big piece of the puzzle now confirmed, much of the speculation can end. Ferrari has announced that it is parting company with Fernando Alonso and bringing in Sebastian Vettel to take his place.

The move is a big one for both drivers – each multiple World Champions in their own right – who have lead their respective teams for half a decade now, Alonso coming second in the championship three times with Ferrari, and Vettel having scored four consecutive titles with Red Bull.

Vettel has long been a personal protege of former Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher, having won his first grand prix in a Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso at Monza in 2008. Now confirmed by the Scuderia for a three-year deal, Vettel will be driving next season alongside Kimi Raikkonen, who won the title for Ferrari in 2007.

That was the same year in which Alonso last drove for McLaren, the team for which he's all but confirmed to be driving next season. The announcement from Woking reportedly hinges on the team's decision over who will drive alongside him, between Jenson Button, Kevin Magnussen or another driver altogether.

The confirmation from Ferrari does, however, put to rest wild rumours that the series would move to three-car teams and that Maranello would field Alonso as well as Vettel and Raikkonen.

News Source: Ferrari

Image Credit: Clive Rose/Getty

2015 Porsche Cayenne GTS proves performance is relative

Posted Nov 20th 2014 12:45PM

2015 Porsche Cayenne GTS

The Turbo may be the most powerful model in the Cayenne range, but the GTS is arguably the enthusiast's choice. (In so far as a 4,500-pound / 2,041-kilogram crossover can be considered an "enthusiast's choice," anyway.) And now, after refreshing the rest of the Cayenne lineup, Porsche has revealed the new Cayenne GTS, alongside its new 911 GTS stablemate, here at the LA Auto Show.

Like the new Cayenne S, the new GTS drops the previous version's atmospheric V8 for a 3.6-litre twin-turbo V6, but ups the output to 440 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque to propel Zuffenhausen's portliest to 100 km/h (62 mph) in a scant 5.2 seconds. Alongside the power upgrade, the GTS gets a lowered air suspension and sportier exhaust, the beefier brakes from the Cayenne Turbo and an upgraded aero kit to help with the whole barn-door-profile thing.

Just don't expect all that extra kit and the prestige of a Porsche badge on your crossover to come cheap, with prices starting at US$95,500 (canadian pricing is TBA).

Related GalleryHIGHLIGHTS: 2014 LA Auto Show
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2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country rides in tall and rugged

Posted Nov 20th 2014 11:59AM

2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country

Long before Volvo got into the crossover-utility game with the XC90 and XC60, it was making ruggedized all-wheel-drive wagons. In fact it's been doing so longer than Audi has, and almost as long as Subaru. And now it's returned to that tradition with the debut of its new V60 Cross Country on the floor of the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The latest Cross Country is based on the well-liked V60 wagon, with changes including a higher ride height, reinforced fender flares and skid plates all around. Its 2.5-litre turbocharged inline-five drives its 250 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels and even comes standard with Hill Descent Control, just like a real sport-ute, only without the extra weight and bodywork. Or to put it another way, think of the V60 CC as the newer, leaner version of the XC70 - a model that, with a new V90 (and subsequent Cross Country version of that) in the pipeline, Volvo might finally be able to put out to pasture.

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2015 Maserati Quattroporte gets the lightest possible updates

Posted Nov 20th 2014 11:00AM

2015 Maserati Quattroporte GTS

A week after its debut on the interwebs, Maserati has trotted out its freshened Quattroporte range at the LA Auto Show, giving us our first in-person look at the changes to the top-of-the-line GTS trim.

Maserati has tweaked the headlights across the range, while the GTS gains new body-colour trim pieces on the lower bodywork. Red badging on the wheelcaps and and a freshened trident badge are some of the more obvious changes, while new lower bodywork is matched to the main exterior colour. While these tweaks are nice, we aren't totally sure they deliver on the "sportier and aggressive appearance" that the Italian company is aiming for in model year 2015.

What do you think? Could Maserati have stood to go further for the 2015 Quattroporte, or is this sort of super-light freshening just what the doctor ordered? Let us know what you think in Comments.

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News Source: Maserati

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Chevy reveals diesel-powered Colorado ZR2 Concept [w/video]

Posted Nov 20th 2014 10:15AM

Chevrolet is reintroducing its best-known off-road badge for the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, with the return of the ZR2 on the all-new Colorado pickup. While we're plenty excited about this particular concept, it's what sits under the hood that we're most excited for, because this particular vehicle is motivated by Chevy's eagerly anticipated 2.8-litre Duramax diesel.

With 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, this diesel-powered Colorado has a lot more going for it than just its engine. Its body is some four inches wider than the current top-end Colorado Z71 and features new front and rear fascias with integral skid plates, a built-in winch and flip-out tow hooks.

The ZR2 Concept isn't just all shirt and no trousers – it will be better able to handle trails, with increased stability and more aggressive approach and departure angles (30.7/22.7 degrees versus 25/21 on the Z71) thanks to the aforementioned body tweaks, two-inch lift and King coilover shocks. Adding to the concept's off-road abilities are 275/65 tires on 18-inch "bead-lock-style" wheels and electronically locking front and rear differentials.

In the cabin, Chevrolet has made a few aesthetic tweaks, with embroidered ZR2 logos in the headrests and new floormats. More functionally, though, are a new set of auxiliary switches for controlling the diffs and the winch.

Scroll down for the official press release from Chevrolet and check back for more on the ZR2 Concept from the floor of the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

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News Source: Chevrolet via YouTube

2015 Fiat 500X offers Italian Jeep Renegade spirit

Posted Nov 20th 2014 9:30AM

2015 Fiat 500X

The 500X will be built alongside the Jeep Renegade at Fiat's Melfi, Italy factory, with sales to begin during the first half of 2015.

Fiat is following up on the March unveiling of the Jeep Renegade with its own compact crossover, the oft-rumoured and teased 500X, which is making its big debut later today at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Like the Renegade on which it shares a platform, the 500X comes to bat with the choice of a 1.4-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder – the same 160-horsepower, 184-pound-feet mill used in the 500L, 500 Abarth and Dodge Dart – or Chrysler's 2.4-litre, 180-horsepower Tigershark four-cylinder. Also like the adorable Jeep, 500X customers can have their turbocharged engine with a six-speed manual, while the 2.4 is paired with a nine-speed auto. Front-drive is standard, while the optional all-wheel-drive system features a disconnecting rear axle for improved economy.

While the bits under the hood are identical to the Renegade, this new model dispatches the Jeep's blocky SUV-inspired looks for something more in keeping with a modern crossover. The influences from the 500L are clear, but Fiat's designers at Centro Stile in Turin have delivered something less polarizing than the brand's five-door hatch. The fascia is rounder with a trapezoidal nose to more closely resemble the standard 500, while the roofline plunges more aggressively at the rear of the car, creating a larger C-pillar. That move in particular goes a long way towards cancelling out the square shape. The total effect is a design that is far more elegant, especially in the Matte Bronze shown above.

The 500X also departs from the appearance of the Renegade in its cabin, where there's a chic Italian-ness on display. The dash is quite reminiscent of the 500L, but departs noticeably in the instrument cluster, where a three-binnacle setup can be found, complete with a central 3.5-inch TFT display. The central touchscreen is a five-inch unit, although Fiat will also offer a larger 6.5-inch display for those that enjoy a bit more screen real estate. Upholstery choices are decidedly Italian, with Fiat offering standard contrasting designs (black and red or dark brown and gray), as well as the rich Tobacco brown leather seats, shown above.

The 2015 500X will be available in five different trims, four of which should be familiar to Fiat customers. The base Pop, mid-level Easy and premium Lounge trims are joined by a more rugged and assertively styled Trekking and Trekking Plus. The 500X will be built alongside the Renegade at Fiat's Melfi, Italy factory, with sales to begin during the first half of 2015.

We'll have more on the 500X when it hits the stage in LA later today. While you wait for that, be sure to scroll down for Fiat's full press blast on its latest offering.

News Source: Fiat