The 100th Anniversary of the LA Autoshow promised to be special with the launch of several new innovative debuts and concept cars from the worlds top manufacturers. Despite the torrential downpour outside, the LA Convention Center was packed out and numbers were certainly boosted by the very reasonable $10 entry fee!
The exhibition consisted of a wide variety of manufacturers from mainstream to exotic and certainly provided something for every taste. The majority of manufacturers provided interactive cars on display and encouraged you to jump in and get a feel for the car; I wasted no time testing out the cockpit of a white 911 GT3, the impressive new 2007 Hyundai Tiburon and a stunning yellow S2000. One of the major themes of this years show was the continuing evolution of ‘clean-air’ and ‘hybrid’ technology. The recent increases in ‘gas prices’ in the USA have seen major increases in the sale of hybrid vehicles – spearheaded primarily by Toyota. These cars not only return up to 50mpg but are also allowed access to restricted areas of freeways avoiding queues and jams and are exempt from strict smog-testing and regulations. However, true to form, Tesla Motors of California were displaying their Tesla Roadster which boasts performance capabilities of 0-60 in just 4s, a top speed of 130mph and a maximum range of 250 miles from its all-electric powerplant which delivers maximum torque from 0 RPM; the instant you touch the throttle. BMW also launched the ‘Hydrogen 7’ which offers the driver the option of switching between a 19 gallon petrol tank and an 18lb liquid hydrogen tank, the latter is reputed to dramatically increase vehicle range and reduce emissions to water vapour. Saab followed suit with the ‘Aero X.’ This concept car has no doors or windshield pillars but adopts a cockpit canopy, as seen on jet aircraft, resulting in full 180 degree vision. It is powered by a 400-hp, twin-turbo, BioPower V6 engine that is fueled by ethanol to deliver anticipated 0-60 mph in just 4.9s and a top speed of 155 mph.
Other interesting debuts were the Hyundai ‘Hellion,’ a very strange creation inspired by a generation of dune buggies, desert racers and military personnel carriers. This free spirited “hellion’s” most striking feature is the external roll cage. Audi have done a magnificent job with their latest implementation of Vorspuring Durch Technik. The stunning R8 drew a large audience and it’s not hard to see why. The R8 is simply an aesthetically gorgeous car and with a 420 hp V8 engine and 4WD I’m sure it drives just as well as it looks.
The highlights of the show were to be found in the concourse hall with the world debut of the Lamborghini LP640 Roadster. I can’t imagine anything more poetic than dropping the top on the LP640 and listening to the rasp of the V12 640hp engine. The Concourse hall was also home to Ferrari, Callaway, Bentley and Morgan. Spyker were also in attendance with the C8 Spyder and C12 LaTurbie which both certainly caught my eye. Last but by no means least and well and truly in a class of its own, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 production model was a sight to behold and at a reputed price tag of $1.44 million, well worth every cent!