2003 Auto Shows: Greater Los Angeles Auto Show
|LA starts the fun with new cars from Mazda, Pontiac and a new brand named Scion|
Mar 17, 2005 19:41:50|
93 ( -10 -10.75% )|
It's official. Milk trucks are in. And coming soon to a neighborhood near you, with stereo blasting something other than the ice cream come-hither song. Yikes. At least that's what Toyota has planned for us, and on Thursday at the Los Angeles Auto Show, amid much fuss, steam, lights and noise, they finally showed off the production version of their Gen Y dream -- Scion. And what a dream it is. With the xA and xB, Toyota is aggressively going after a group of now-and-future buyers with a daring style. More importantly, however, is the way they plan to do it, with a hands-off sales approach and a mono-spec offering.
What Auto Show car would you most like to "borrow" for a few hours on a sunny Saturday?
Take our survey...
The Lucky Seven
Our Best Bets for Success
New vehicles Take Aim at Low-Volume Markets
No Longer a Civil War
Have automakers lost their minds?
Chicago's not the place to showcase fuel economy
Minivans and super sedans
Toyota's big truck, Suzuki's big move and the VW GTI
Nissan Titan, GM's Big Day
Back, Nissan on a Quest
Performance and Utility
Endeavor and FX45
VW and Aston Martin
General Motors Dominates Final Day
North American Car and Truck of the Year:
Toyota's Scion launches the xA, xB.
Debuts and Previews
The Future World of Cars, according to teenagers...find out what car they think President George W. Bush should drive.
What is a Scion, anyway? And why is Pontiac debuting a GTO when fuel economy's the thing? Click here and register you opinion!
But it's not all about the kids in Los Angeles, though Mitsubishi is debuting the Lancer Evolution to North America at the show. For many years, the Lancer "Evo" has had a strong following on the rally car circuit, and should do well here, though the price -- more than $28,000 -- is a bit high. Bright yellow with a carbon fiber wing, a super-charged turbo and huge Brembo brakes, the Evo is, indeed, ready for the rally circuit --whether that's the freeway or on a track.
Mitsubishi Motors of America, Inc. also announced that it will be the exclusive sponsor for the Fast and the Furious II, and has identified the Evo's prime market as twenty-something hipsters, amny of whom came to know the Evo through the video game Grand Turismo. Mitsubishi expects to sell 4500 2003 Lancer Evos in the US.
Grown ups get to dream about an altogether different kind of car -- the Maybach 57, the new-old luxury brand for DaimlerChrysler. This is extreme luxury, so much so that Maybachs will be individually commissioned. That's right: these machines aren't sold, they're commissioned, and only 1,000 will be built in the first year. Features include a 543 horsepower, V12 beast under the hood, brakes big enough to stop a plane and comfort that challenges first class on that same plane. Prices start at too much for you and me.
Also in dreamland: the new 2003 Aston Martin DB AR1. If it's possible, this two-seat roadster is even more limited than the Maybach. A it should be, because it epitomizes sun-worship driving with an international flair. Based on the Aston Martin DB7, the DB AR1 will have a specially-tuned V12 engine that smoothly delivers more than 400 horsepower and 400 lb. ft of torque. An active sports exhaust system will give the roadster a unique sound, and the look is straight out of James Bond.
On a more realistic scale, there's the new Audi A8. It seems that Audi is answering the BMW 8-series with a extended wheel-base A8, and it's quite a car. While it's sure to be a joy to live with, the most significant thing about the new A8 is what's underneath - namely an all-aluminum frame that's touted as the next generation in the Audi SpaceFrame innovation. The 2004 A8 L also features a 330-horsepower 4.2-liter V8 five-valve engine and quattro permanent all-wheel drive system. A Tiptronic Â® automatic six-speed transmission is standard. According to Audi, the new A8 will go 0-60 miles per hour in 6.3 seconds, an improvement over the previous version.
And then there is the Pontiac GTO, eating grass and primed for a comeback. Judging from the debut model, GTOs -- at least the 14,000 or so they plan to build -- will be in very high demand. Buy the red, and stay away from the yellow model -- that may wind up looking too much like a very cool Impala. One thing's for sure -- it won't sound like an Impala, not with a specially tuned LS1 5.7-liter V-8 aluminum-block engine currently estimated at 340 horsepower, with an appropriately tuned Pontiac exhaust note. The GTO shares the same basic engine configuration with the base-level Chevrolet Corvette, but has been modified with a high-lift camshaft and increased airflow induction to create greater horsepower and low-end torque than the Holden Monaro.
Also on display in Los Angeles will be the BMW Alpina Roadster, the 2003 Porsche Cayenne, 2004 Touareg, 2003 Volvo v70-R and XC-90 front wheel drive, 2003 Mercedes C230 AMG sport coupe, 2004 Mazda RX-8 (X Men Car), 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix, and 2003 Ferrari Enzo. The Alpina is the first automatic transmission version of the Z8, and will be offered for only one year. The Cayenne is the first Porsche SUV, as is the Touareg for Volkswagen. The Ferrari is perhaps the most expensive and incredible Ferrari ever built -- certainly worth an ogle or two.
Last Year's Highlights
It was a year to take notice for even the most non-enthusiastic car shopper. A show season of landmark debuts and promising previews, with very few boring cars sweating under the showroom lights. From the controversial BMW 7-Series to the Nissan 350Z, the Ford GT-40 and the Toyota Corolla, automakers put on a show that will be hard to beat in 2003...
2003 Show Gallery
More Show Photos...