2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 4 – Lexus, Mazda and Mercedes-Benz

By Steve & Tami Laser

It’s difficult to believe that Lexus is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. We remember when it launched in 1989 with two models – the ES 250, which was based on the Camry, and the LS 400, a rear-drive V8-powered luxury sedan that proved Toyota’s new brand could compete with established luxury players.

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Will Lexus build another sports car like the LFA?

There have been many Lexus models that have come and gone since then yet the most collectible is undoubtedly the LFA supercar. Even though it’s now out of production, it was nice to see that Lexus had a primo example on the floor of its display at the L.A. Auto Show this year.

Lexus

Lexus introduced the RC coupe this year, so it’s only natural to think what it might look like as a convertible. With that thought in mind, Lexus created the new LF-C2 “design study” and staged its world premiere at L.A.

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New LF-C2 wears brilliant golden-yellow paint.

Designed to explore the key styling themes coming to future Lexus vehicles, this 2+2 roadster is billed as a “Grand Touring concept inspired by the brand’s passion for driving.” As a pure design concept, Lexus didn’t bother fabricating a top for this stunning machine.

Lexus press conference introduced the new LF-C2.

Lexus says the exterior styling of the LF-C2 was influenced by the way various surface shapes interact with different types of light. Designers created edges, planes and curvature that would allow the LF-C2 to exude a different character when seen from different angles and under different lighting conditions.

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The roadster looks like a sunflower surrounded by a field of white Lexus production models.

The brilliant, golden-yellow is produced by a multi-layer paint process. The first coat is a primer, followed by silver, a clear coat, then the yellow that reflects off the silver to give the brilliant luster. A final top coat is then applied.

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As a pure design study, LF-C2 doesn’t have a roof.

The profile shows a swooping line from the car’s front bumper fin to the steeply-angled A-pillar. Small vents in the side sills direct air to the rear brakes and out the fin-like rear diffusers. The rear end of the LF-C2 is highlighted by Lexus L-shaped taillight bulbs, an exhaust system with chrome-covered quad tips, and a new rear diffuser design.

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The interior looks simple and elegant…until the power is switched on.

The exterior extends into the cabin as the center console originates from the rear deck and runs down the length of the cabin all the way to the dashboard. The dashboard design presents a central video monitor controlled by a remote touchpad on the center console.

As a pure design study, Lexus didn’t talk about the LF-C2’s potential powertrain or plans for production. Even if the LF-C2 is never built, some of its design cues may appear on future Lexus models.

Mazda

Mazda is on a roll with a full slate of new and interesting products. The automaker revealed the all-new 2016 CX-3 compact crossover at L.A. Sharing the spotlight with the CX-3 on the stage was the 2016 MX-5, the fourth generation of the world’s best-selling roadster, as well as updated and revised models of the Mazda6 midsize sedan and CX-5 crossover.

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Mazda’s CX-3 will compete in the growing small crossover segment.

The all-new compact crossover is the fifth model in Mazda’s line-up of new-generation vehicles that feature the full suite of the company’s award-winning SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and KODO-Soul of Motion design. With a global launch starting in Japan in spring 2015, and in the U.S. during the summer, CX-3 is set to become a core model in the automaker’s line-up.

CX-3 will be powered by a SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter gas engine in North America. Available in other markets will be the new SKYACTIV-D 1.5-liter clean diesel engine. Mazda says output details and specifications will be revealed at a later date, closer to launch.

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The CX-3’s front styling is sporty and elegant.

Power is transferred to the front wheels, or through Mazda’s new-generation all-wheel-drive system. CX-3 also will be equipped with Mazda’s SKYACTIV-Drive automatic transmission.  CX-3 will offer a wide range of Mazda’s latest in-car-infotainment technologies, including the Mazda Connect infotainment system plus i-ACTIVSENSE advanced safety features.

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Mazda applies its KODO-Soul of Motion design to CX-3.

The 2016 MX-5 is the latest iteration of the world’s best-selling two-seat roadster, with more than 930,000 sold globally and nearly 40 percent of those in the U.S. After making its global debut in three cities around the world in early September, it’s making its North American auto show debut in Los Angeles.

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Mazda’s future looks bright with these great new products for 2016.

Powered by a specially tuned SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter engine, MX-5 is every bit a sportscar. With a curb weight approximately 200 pounds lighter than the outgoing model, Mazda says the new MX-5 will perform like enthusiasts and weekend-racers alike would expect, “a true embodiment of the lightweight sports Jinba Ittai (literally ‘horse and rider as one’) ethos.”

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The 2016 MX-5 is ready to compete on the track.

We already spent time with the new MX-5 during a press event at Mazda’s R&D studio in October. Yet this was the first time we saw the new MX-5 dressed in racing attire. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel of Mazda’s new roadster.

Mercedes-Benz

It was appropriate for the L.A. show that Mercedes-Benz introduced two new models that bookend its traditional pillars of performance and luxury. The first was the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S while the second was the rebirth of the legendary Maybach brand.

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The AMG GT S will deliver serious performance.

With the new Mercedes-AMG GT, the sports car brand is moving into a new segment. The GT is the second sports car developed entirely in-house by Mercedes-AMG. Its front mid-engine design with a rear transaxle and use of intelligent aluminum lightweight construction form the basis for a highly dynamic driving experience, says the automaker.

Mercedes-Benz press conference at LA Auto Show.

Its new AMG 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine underscores the hallmark of AMG driving performance. The first sports car engine from AMG with internally mounted turbochargers (“hot inside V”) and dry sump lubrication is configured in two output ratings: as a GT with 456 hp (340 kW) and as a GT S with 503 hp (375 kW).

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Rear styling brings to mind coupes from Porsche.

The combination of aluminum spaceframe, V8 biturbo engine with dry sump lubrication, 7-speed dual clutch transmission in transaxle configuration at the rear axle, locking differential, sports suspension with aluminum double-wishbones and a low curb weight delivers racetrack performance.

Upon opening the door, the driver is greeted by the AMG start-up screen as an animated “GT” appears on the TFT display in the instrument cluster. The sporty cluster in carbon fiber pattern provides information with two classic circular instruments within a two-tube look and a 220 mph speedometer scale. The sports seats featuring the AMG logo come in Nappa leather as standard with integral head restraints and provide optimized lateral support.

The US will launch the 2016 AMG GT S first in spring 2015 with the AMG GT on tap for the following year.

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The new 2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 rolled into L.A.

The second intro was all about luxury. With the world premiere in Guangzhou and the reveal in Los Angeles, the new Mercedes- Maybach S-Class was unveiled almost simultaneously in its two key markets of China and the U.S. At 214.6 inches long and with a wheelbase of 132.5 inches, the flagship of the Mercedes-Benz model range is 8.1 inches larger in both dimensions than the S-Class Sedan.

Rear passengers benefit from this increased size as well as from standard equipment that includes executive seats on both the left and right sides. In the rear, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is also “the world’s quietest production sedan.” The U.S. will launch the Maybach in April 2015.

The big sedan will provide its occupants with swift transportation. Its V12 biturbo engine has an output of 523 hp. With a displacement of 5980 cc, the maximum torque of 612 lb-ft is available from 1900 rpm.

Click on the links below for our full coverage of the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show:

2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 1 – Acura, Audi, BMW and Cadillac

2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 2 – Chevrolet, Chrysler and Fiat

2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 3 – Ford, Honda, Jaguar and Land Rover

2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 4 – Lexus, Mazda and Mercedes-Benz

2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 5 – MINI, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Porsche

2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 6 – Scion, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo

Story, photos and videos ©2014 CarNichiWa.com

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