CAR CUL­TURE, v.2.0

THE LA AUTO SHOW FEA­TURES NEW CARS, NEW TECH AND LONG-STAND­ING TRA­DI­TIONS

Los Angeles Times - - THE ENVELOPE - – JOE YOGERST Cus­tom Pub­lish­ing Writer

When the LA Auto Show first de­buted over 100 years ago in 1907, a lo­cal news­pa­per was al­ready pro­claim­ing Los An­ge­les as the “ban­ner au­to­mo­bile city of the world” be­cause it av­er­aged one mo­tor­car for ev­ery 80 res­i­dents. The show was staged at the old Mor­ley Skat­ing Rink on Grand Av­enue, en­ter­tain­ment was pro­vided by the Vene­tian Ladies’ Man­dolin Orches­tra, and among the 46 au­tomak­ers that brought cars to the event were long-for­got­ten makes like Duro­car, Peer­less, Pope-Toledo and the French Dar­racq (the show’s only non-Amer­i­can ve­hi­cle). How times have in­deed changed. Los An­ge­les County alone boasts more than 8 mil­lion cars — nearly one for ev­ery sin­gle res­i­dent. The auto show now takes place at the mas­sive LA Con­ven­tion Cen­ter. Vir­tual re­al­ity pro­vides the pop­u­lar en­ter­tain­ment, and tech­nol­ogy-laden hy­brid and elec­tric ve­hi­cles are all the rage.

Slated for Nov. 30 to Dec. 9, the 111th edi­tion of the LA Auto Show will fea­ture more than a thou­sand cars, trucks and SUVs, with scores of hy­brids, all-electrics, cus­tom­ized rides and ex­otic ve­hi­cles from around the world.

More than 60 of this year’s ve­hi­cles are de­buts. And around half of the de­buts are world pre­mieres, pro­vid­ing first looks of brand new mod­els from BMW, Kia, Subaru, Toy­ota, Volk­swa­gen, Porsche, Nis­san and startup Ri­vian Au­to­mo­tive.

Among the most an­tic­i­pated de­buts are a pickup truck from Jeep, an all-new model from Hyundai, and new al­l­elec­tric ve­hi­cles from start-ups Ri­vian and By­ton.

“This year, one-third of Au­toMo­bil­ity LA’s 60-plus de­but ve­hi­cles are elec­tric, hy­brid, or al­ter­na­tive fuel — which makes sense given that Los An­ge­les is the na­tion’s top EV mar­ket,” said Terri Toen­nies, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and gen­eral man­ager of Au­toMo­bil­ity LA and the LA Auto Show.

Ri­vian’s rev­o­lu­tion­ary “ad­ven­ture ve­hi­cles” — the com­pany calls them a reimag­in­ing of the truck and the SUV — will be pro­duced at a for­mer Mit­subishi plant in Nor­mal, IL, with the first units ex­pected to hit Amer­i­can roads by 2020.

The LA Auto Show pro­vides the pub­lic and mo­tor­ing press with their first look of ve­hi­cles that Ri­vian has man­aged to keep su­per-se­cret. In­dus­try in­sid­ers have said they’ll be called the A1T and SUV A1C.

The elec­tric A1T truck will be able to sprint from 0-60 in 2.8 sec­onds, wade through 3.6 feet of wa­ter and climb a 45 de­gree in­cline. The base trim will fea­ture a range of 200 miles and top trim up­wards of 400 miles on a sin­gle charge.

Hop­ing to chal­lenge Tesla in the U.S. mar­ket­place, Chi­nese elec­tric ve­hi­cle startup By­ton is bring­ing its M-Byte SUV and K-Byte sedan con­cepts to the auto show.

By­ton says that both mod­els will fea­ture Level 4 au­ton­o­mous driv­ing tech­nol­ogy — ve­hi­cles ca­pa­ble of com­plet­ing an en­tire jour­ney with­out driver in­ter­ven­tion or even op­er­at­ing with­out a hu­man present (when con­fined to a lim­ited geo­graph­i­cal area or within a pre­set speed limit).

Steer­ing wheel and ped­als are main­tained for those who want to as­sume con­trol of their By­ton. Range will vary from around 250 miles per charge to around the 325-mile range, the lat­ter on par with Tesla’s Model S.

BMW is de­but­ing no fewer than six ve­hi­cles at this year’s show in­clud­ing the X7 Sports Ac­tiv­ity. The new­est and largest model in the Bavar­ian au­tomaker’s X range is sched­uled to start pro­duc­tion of the SUV at the com­pany’s South Carolina plant later this year with a tar­geted March 2019 mar­ket launch.

A mashup of com­fort, tech­nol­ogy and rugged per­for­mance, the X7 fea­tures ex­tra­or­di­nary trac­tion on rough ter­rain thanks to new chas­sis, two-axle air sus­pen­sion and elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled dampers that ex­pe­dite han­dling while im­prov­ing ride com­fort.

BMW is also bring­ing the Se­ries Coupe, a paired-back ver­sion of the X5, Z4 M40i Road­ster First Edi­tion, e M340i sedan and su­per-slick 8 Se­ries con­vert­ible.

With ul­tra-sporty driv­ing prop­er­ties, dis­tinc­tive de­sign and four-per­son cock­pit, the 8 Se­ries rag­top ups the bar on open-air mo­tor­ing. The fully elec­tric roof is ex­tremely quiet and opens or closes at the touch of a but­ton in a mere 15 sec­onds — even while cruis­ing down the road at 30 mph. The soft-top comes in Black as stan­dard or An­thracite Sil­ver ef­fect as an op­tion. The wide, sporty rear-end de­sign un­der­scores the Bim­mer’s low-slung pro­file.

An­other Ger­man lux­ury au­tomaker, Audi, showed off their e-tron GT con­cept 4-door elec­tric per­for­mance coupe at the show’s Au­toMo­bil­ity LA, an in­dus­try-in­sider and press preshow event, on Tues­day.

Mean­while, Volvo made “sig­nif­i­cant an­nounce­ments” about the com­pany’s for­ward-think­ing ap­proach to trans­porta­tion at the Au­toMo­bil­ity LA event, while also de­but­ing their new S60 lux­ury sedan along­side the V60 Cross Coun­try wagon.

As some cars are in­tro­duced on the mar­ket, some bid farewell, but not go­ing out with­out a bang.

The Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle Fi­nal Edi­tion will be on dis­play. Avail­able in coupe and con­vert­ible body styles, the last of the beloved Bugs is pow­ered by a 2.0-liter TSI en­gine paired with a six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, ren­der­ing an EPA-es­ti­mated fuel econ­omy rat­ing of 26 mpg city, 33 mpg high­way and 29 mpg com­bined.

Volk­swa­gen is promis­ing a new ve­hi­cle de­but at the show, but has kept the de­tails tightly un­der wraps. But the Ger­man au­tomaker has re­leased de­tails of the new Volk­swa­gen I.D. Buzz Cargo Con­cept, en­gi­neered and de­signed to show how its com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles are em­brac­ing elec­tric mo­bil­ity.

Mazda kicks off the all-new, fourth gen­er­a­tion Mazda 3 fea­tur­ing Sky­ac­tiv en­gines for re­spon­sive speed con­trol in any driv­ing sit­u­a­tion. The Sky­ac­tiv-X mo­tor, a rev­o­lu­tion­ary con­cept that com­bines the ef­fi­ciency of a diesel mo­tor with the emis­sions of a small gaso­line en­gine, could be the sin­gle big­gest leap for­ward in en­gine de­sign since con­cepts like vari­able valve tim­ing or even com­puter con­trol.

Lin­coln is launch­ing its 2019 Avi­a­tor crossover with three­row seat­ing and rear-wheel-drive. Avail­able with a gaso­line or plug-in hy­brid pow­er­train, the Avi­a­tor comes with the new Lin­coln Co-Pilot360 suite of driver-as­sist tech­nolo­gies. Among the other de­buts at this year’s auto show are the

Kia Soul Crossover, the Hyundai Pal­isade flag­ship SUV, the re­vamped 2019 Nis­san Max­ima sedan, and the 2020 Toy­ota Corolla Hy­brid.

“Ev­ery year, we have over 1,000 new ve­hi­cles across our show cam­pus and over 100 of those ve­hi­cles are avail­able for test drives around the Los An­ge­les Con­ven­tion Cen­ter,” said Toen­nies. “Be­yond ve­hi­cles, there will be plenty of ac­ti­va­tions, gam­ing and other in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ences for guests of all ages.”

Auto Show open­ing and clos­ing times vary, so check the web­site, laau­toshow.com/dates-hours, for all the de­tails.

To re­ceive the lat­est show news and in­for­ma­tion, fol­low the LA Auto Show on Twit­ter, Face­book or In­sta­gram and sign up for alerts at laau­toshow.com.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Au­toMo­bil­ity news, visit au­to­mo­bil­ityla.com or fol­low Au­toMo­bil­ity LA on Twit­ter, Face­book or In­sta­gram. Lis­ten to past pan­els, in­ter­views, and keynotes on Au­toMo­bil­ity LA’s new pod­cast at au­to­mo­bil­ityla.com/pod­cast.

Photo by Daniel Kraus

BMW’s new 8 Se­ries con­vert­ible is an el­e­gant blend of style and tech­nol­ogy

Photo cour­tesy of By­ton

By­ton’s of­fer­ings prom­ise Level 4 au­ton­omy, which in­cludes des­ti­na­tion-to-des­ti­na­tion hands-free driv­ing

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