Automotive News

The Italians Have Crossed Over With Fiat 500X


Compact Crossovers, AKA lifted hatchbacks, are the new fad this year with car manufacturers. Mercedes-Benz took the A class, lifted it up a few inches, and called it the GLA. Honda raised a Fit and called it the HR-V. Fiat, which has previously unveiled the 500X in Paris, is showing SUV crazy North Americans it’s version of the compact crossover here at the LA Auto Show.

Pumping out 160hp, the base 500X is powered by a 1.4L four cylinder and coupled to a six speed manual. The higher end models come equipped with a 2.4L four cylinder pushing out 180hp, which should be make the 500X fairly peppy with it’s hatchback dimensions. All wheel drive is only available with this drivetrain if you want some SUV like capabilities.

Fiat is expecting the 500X to be their halo car, and you know what? I think it’ll work. North Americans despise hatchbacks, and love SUVs, and the compact crossover sleight of hand trick that car manufactures have pulled has so far proven to be a success in this segment. The 500X does even more than that, it takes a feminine looking hatchback, and adds a bit of masculinity to the mix. The result is a car that male drivers can cruise around in without their sexual preference being questioned. Take a look for yourself and see what you think of the 500X after the jump.

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Mini brings the 5-door hardtop to LA.


Shelton wrote about the Mini 5-door hardtop in Paris. Nothing has changed.

Enjoy the gallery of live shots here in LA.

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2015 Mercedes-AMG GTS. LA Auto Show 2014


I think that everything that needs to be said about the AMG GT has been said already. The spiritual replacement for the Mercedes-AMG SLS is a big hit on the review circuit.

I would love the opportunity to review its driving characteristics, but the opportunity has not presented itself yet. Shame. It is such a beautiful car in person. The lines are quite different from what we are used to from Merccedes-AMG. In place of the stronger lines are soft round curves.

The rear end still looks like a Porsche to me. I don’t know if that was intentional being that the GT is a “911 fighter,” or if it is just co-incidental.

You’ll notice the grey car in the gallery has a carbon roof.

The seating position of the car is fabulous with decent visibility out the rear. The seats hug you without being too tight. It is noticeably smaller inside than the outgoing SLS AMG.

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2015 Mercedes-AMG C63. LA Auto Show 2014

Seeing the 2015 C63 again here in LA has confirmed why I like the brand. Some might call me a fanboy. Haters will hate. I appreciate nice things. Especially ones with a lot of horsepower.

Mercedes-AMG (not AMG or Mercedes-Benz AMG) brought the car to LA for its North American debut. It was a sight to behold.


All of the technical details were discussed and revealed before and in Paris. Here and here and here. This time around, I wanted to pay special attention to the smaller aspects that we simply didn’t have time or access to in Paris. We had the same problems here in LA.

Things like the S-model’s exhaust flap which I couldn’t get a picture of because of how low the car is and where the flap is located. I did find a switch in the console that allows you to change the tone of the exhaust.


I wanted to get a picture of the engine, but Mercedes decided to take the hood release right off the car and only left the cable end.

The one thing we saw in Paris that is missing here in LA is the wagon variant. It’s a pity that wagons aren’t more popular in North America.

Enjoy the live shots we took of the car here in LA.

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LA: Toyota Sienna SpongeBob Edition


I’ve been very excited over the new SpongeBob SquarePants movie coming out next year. Now that I have kids, it’ll be a bit less creepy catching the movie in theaters this time around. There’s nothing more awkward than going to a kids movie with adult friends, surrounded by parents wondering WTF we were doing there. I’d like to believe that I was tasked to write about the Toyota Sienna SpongeBob edition because I was a SpongeBob fan, and not because of the long running joke that I’m solely responsible for covering minivans because I have kids.

The Sienna in SpongeBob trim is an interesting vehicle, not because it’s as extreme as an Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, but the fact that it’s at the LA Auto Show, and not something like SEMA where it would fit right in. It’s a blatant cross promotion for the upcoming movie, and in no way would it be safe to drive, as steering motion is heavily hampered by the captain’s wheel intruding into where your crotch would be. I guess if SpongeBob was driving it, it could work. Fellow drivers around you would also be susceptible to danger, as the roof mounted bubble blower would blanket everyone behind you with bubbles. Oh, did I say bubbles? I hope I don’t get beaten senseless by every able-bodied patron in the bar. *kneeslap*

All jokes aside, as ridiculous as it is, it’s an awesome looking vehicle. Check it out for yourself in our gallery.

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LA: Audi TT Roadster and TTS Coupe US Debut


At the 2014 LA Auto Show, Audi finally brings the new TT and TTS Roadster for an official US debut. Already unveiled in our Paris Motor Show coverage, the new TT and TTS Roadster modernizes the TT line, with a virtual cockpit concept that focuses on presenting information to the driver, allowing you to concentrate on the road.

The TT in US guise will feature a 2.0L four cylinder pumping out 220hp, while the TTS variant massages the same engine to a tune of 295hp. While the TT will be available as either a coupe or a convertible, the TTS will only be available as a coupe. Both trims come standard with the latest generation of Audi Quattro AWD, fitted with the 6 speed S Tronic dual clutch transmission. Magnetic suspension comes standard on the TTS, and is optional on the TT.

While the new TT and TTS will be available in 2015 as a 2016 model, Audi has even bigger plans for the line. The following year should see the introduction of an even more powerful TT RS coupe, as well as a front wheel drive entry level model. No word on pricing yet on the show floor, but we will surely update you as soon as we know.

Check out the gallery for more pics of the TT and TTS.

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Acura Refreshes a Car


So I recently turned 30. This doesn’t mean I’m the oldest person in the world, but I’ve clearly crossed the threshold into really ridiculously old people who enjoy things like porridge and a good sit. How do I know this? I just came from an Acura presentation thinking “Hmm, neat”.

Modern Acuras are boring. This is a fact of life almost as old as I am. If you were to ask somebody to draw a normal car, whatever scraggled output they presented would resemble an Acura. When the new RLX and TLX were revealed, I said the same thing. I talked about how much more I respected Lexus for releasing a bold new design. I said that I don’t care if Honda keeps pushing out boring cars, I just wish they’d stop pretending the white rice they put in showrooms is exciting. I posited that these cars are for boring people who pretend they know what a fun driving experience is.

This year Acura repeated the same schtick for a third time except, prior to the reveal, they droned on about the TLX instead of the NSX. They emphasized that Acura listened to the fans, who apparently love the exterior, and made the ILX more fun, more luxurious and more technological. I don’t know who these people are, but I’m skeptical of any claim where people are okay with Acura’s current styling. Anyway, the new ILX grabs the 200 horsepower 2.4L and 8 speed DCT avec torque converter from the TLX, along with a handful of AcuraWatch safety features. New technology includes a smartphone-managed nav system in addition to the onboard unit. There’s even a new top-of-the-line A-spec with bigger wheels and Acura’s attempt at sporty styling.

Due to my transition from doe-eyed youth to stick-ball aficionado, I left thinking “Huh. I’m gonna drive one as soon as I get the chance”.

“So what?”, you ask. “Wanting to drive a car is a perfectly logical response to seeing a presentation about it”.

Wrong. Wanting to drive the ILX implies that I think it’s capable of living up to its own hype.  This is awkward and unfamiliar territory for me. The car is just the same as ever. It looks like an Acura, it feels like an Acura, it’s under-powered like an Acura, it’s got all the features from the other Acuras. Clearly I’m the one who’s changed, and that’s scary. It means my thoughts are not my own, I’m just a demographic. I’m no longer an 18-29 white male, I’m a 30-DEAD  white male.

Perhaps when I slip into the grave, it will be from boredom while driving the new ILX. Or maybe it’ll be from hooning it off a cliff. I don’t even know anymore.

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Chevrolet Reveals Two Cars That Don’t Belong on the Road


Chevrolet brought two new vehicles to the 2014 LA Auto Show, the Chaparral 2X Vision GT concept and Colorado ZR2 off-road concept.

Chevrolet’s Vision GT, like Volkswagen’s, is a purely conceptual race car designed specifically for Playstation’s Gran Turismo Vision GT project and will never see the light of production. That doesn’t stop it from being cool as hell and worthy of its own gallery.


Like the Vision GT, the Colorado ZR2 is a concept meant for off-road use., but this one might actually show up in dealerships. The ZR2 features a plethora of off-road features which make it an enticing offering for anybody with one foot in the mud. A wider track, grille with integrated winch, quick release spare tire, 2″ lift, skid plates, and front/rear e-lock differential are some of the notable enhancements over the base model. Also new in the ZR2 is Chevy’s new 2.8L Cummins turbo diesel. Making 180hp and 365ft/lb of torque, the new engine may have been revealed in a concept car, but has been confirmed in the 2016 Colorado.

Both vehicles are exciting in their own right and deserve a thorough look. Check ‘em out in the gallery below.

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Jaguar Adds Manual Rowing And AWD Options to F-TYPE


When Jaguar first unveiled the F-TYPE, it was generally very well accepted. A great looking little coupe that had some pretty respectable performance. The only complaint from a vocal minority was that it was lacking a manual shift option. Apparently that minority is not so minor as Jaguar has just announced it is adding a manual shifting option for the 2016 model year. It will be paired exclusively to the 3.0L supercharged V6. It won’t however be available with another option Jaguar is adding for the new F-TYPE: An all-wheel-drive option. This shouldn’t be a problem since those that prefer to shift manually are likely going to stick with the rear-wheel drive versions. Jaguar also announced the addition of a F-TYPE R Convertible model, extending the range to 14 derivatives up from 6.

Phil Popham, Group Marketing Director, Jaguar Land Rover said: “The F-TYPE Coupé and Convertible already represent everything you’d expect from a Jaguar sports car – seductive design, stunning performance and amazing agility. The addition of all-wheel drive and manual transmission options to the range will further enhance the F-TYPE’s dynamic capability and offer even greater driver reward – broadening its appeal to sports car enthusiasts worldwide.”

The addition of AWD coupled with the 542 horsepower from the 5.0L supercharged V8 enable both the F-TYPE R coupe and convertible to rocket from 0-60 in just 3.9 seconds up to a governed top speed of 186mph. AWD is also available on the F-TYPE S models. I was quite surprised when Jaguar first announced the new AWD option for the F-TYPE

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Jaguar F-Type Project 7 Makes Me a Hypocrite

Jaguar-Project-7-LA-2014-1 I just spent a few sentences complaining that the Porsche Panamera Turbo S Executive Exclusive Series was lame because it’s expensive, super limited and doesn’t have any significant changes. Then the Jaguar F-Type Project 7 got put in front of me.

Well shit.

Carbon ceramic brakes, front splitter, racing seats and DAT HAUNCH. I don’t care that only 250 are being made. I don’t care that it’s out of the price range of everybody I know. I don’t care that I’ll likely never have the chance to see one on the street. It’s a throwback to some amazingly cool classic race cars and it works so well. The F-Type hasn’t aged a day since it’s initial release and the Project 7 just makes the entire range more interesting. There’s really not much more to say, only more to see.

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