By Steve & Tamami Laser
Our coverage of the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show continues with the MINI, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Porsche exhibits.
The British brand from the German BMW Group held the North American debut in Los Angeles of two vehicles that premiered at the Paris Motor Show. This international cooperation highlights the fact that the auto industry has become a multicultural business in a world without boundaries.
Should we call this new MINI a MAXI?
The new MINI Hardtop 4 Door offers seating for five and added cargo space while maintaining the character of the 2 Door model. It has more legroom in the rear, more shoulder space in the front and back, and additional cargo room making it more practical for a family or those looking for more MINI.
The new model is the first four-door MINI to be built on shared front-wheel-drive global architecture with BMW Group. It’s powered by the same 3- and 4-cylinder MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology engines found in the two-door model. The new MINI Hardtop 4 Door goes on sale in January 2015.
This design study imagines a future-retro MINI roadster.
A collaborative venture between MINI and the Italian design and body manufacturing specialist Touring Superleggera produced this study of a compact roadster whose design and concept focuses on the essentials: driving fun and aesthetic appeal. Elaborately crafted by hand, the MINI Superleggera™ Vision presents a modern interpretation of a classic open-top two-seater. Its minimalist yet highly emotional design combines British style and Italian flair.
Designers must have been channeling their inner ’60s when sculpting this beautiful MINI concept.
First shown at Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2014 in Milan, the roadster’s characteristic MINI proportions derive a fascinating charismatic touch by being synthesised with the lines and surface finish that are typical of Touring Superleggera.
The finely crafted cockpit is long on style and short on frills.
The interior of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision is purist and timeless in its aesthetic appeal. Designers crafted the cockpit with high-quality materials which are authentic since they’ve largely been left in their original state.
We felt a sense of déjà vu during Mitsubishi’s press conference. Exactly a year ago at the Tokyo Motor Show, we attended Mitsubishi’s Japanese press conference and witnessed the unveiling of the XR-PHEV concept.
Mitsubishi’s XR-PHEV concept sets the stage for its future designs.
We were glad to see it made the journey to Los Angeles. Of course, many of the concepts at the L.A. show made their North American debuts. Mitsubishi doesn’t plan to build a vehicle exactly like XR-PHEV, yet it’s viewed as a preview of its future design language.
Mitsubishi calls the XR-PHEV a “futuristic next-generation compact crossover that blends the functionality of an SUV, the dramatic, eye-catching appeal and performance of a sports coupe and the drivetrain of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) into one.”
The XR-PHEV concept looks like it’s in motion when standing still – a hallmark of a great design.
XR-PHEV employs a front engine/front-wheel drive 1.1-liter inline-3-cylinder turbocharged gas engine (with 134 horsepower/100 kW) paired with a compact electric motor (161 horsepower/121 kW), a high-boost converter and a main drive lithium-ion battery pack with storage capacity of 14 kWh.
Mitsubishi’s advanced “connected car” technology makes use of next-generation information systems. The automaker says it not only provides an additional level of information and driving-related logistics, but can potentially reduce the risk of accidents involving other drivers as well as pedestrians/cyclists by keeping the driver better informed about traffic signal status, and vehicles and objects surrounding the car.
With its polarizing styling Nissan’s Juke turned heads when it was introduced a few years ago. This small crossover has become a trendsetter, paving the way for other automakers to field their own entries in the rapidly expanding B-segment (see Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3).
Los Angeles is the home of the custom car craze so it’s the perfect place to introduce made-to-order Juke color schemes.
To keep Juke fresh, Nissan is giving it an update for 2015 with enhanced front and rear styling. But the big news is personalization. Nissan says anyone can give Juke the “colors of their school” or even “match their own surfboard” using a new configurator called the “Juke Color Studio.”
As Nissan stated during its press conference, customers can personalize Juke any way they desire with eight color options and 12 accessories for thousands of combinations and nearly endless possibilities. Color accessories can be ordered individually or as an entire package and are said to fit previous model year Jukes.
Trojan fans will likely line up to make a Juke trimmed like this one.
Customers can select a range of “color packs” to change the look and feel of the vehicle. For example, new accessory 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels are available with color inserts to match or contrast the body color. Special color accents can also be applied to the outside rearview mirror caps, side sills, rear roof spoiler and door handles. Interior color packs will be offered for the door trim and other elements.
Nissan says the look of a personalized Juke can be configured from its USA consumer website, on a smartphone or at a dealership. If this trend catches on, perhaps it won’t be long before every Juke has a unique look.
Petree Hall at the Los Angeles Convention Center has been the annual home of Porsche’s auto show display for many years. This market is so important to the German automaker that it rents this entire hall to give enthusiasts an immersive experience into its latest products.
Entering Porsche’s display in a separate hall is like stepping into another world.
The sports car manufacturer presented two new GTS models, the 911 Carrera GTS and the Cayenne GTS, during the Porsche press conference.
New Carrera GTS looks ready for action dressed in red.
The 911 Carrera GTS closes the gap between the 911 Carrera S and the 911 GT3. Available as a coupe or convertible, it’s equipped with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive and develops 430 hp. Porsche says that when fitted with PDK (dual-clutch transmission), it sprints from zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds (Cabriolet: 4.0 seconds) – one-tenth of a second faster than the S model.
Meanwhile, the new Cayenne GTS develops 440 hp and has an especially sporty air-suspension-equipped chassis with a ride height lowered by 20 millimeters, boosting driving performance to even higher levels.
Exterior cues that identify the new Cayenne GTS include 20-inch “RS Spyder” wheels and tinted LED taillights.
Cayenne GTS is powered by a 3.6 liter V6 twin-turbo engine, which is a performance-oriented enhancement of the new powertrain recently offered in the Cayenne S. Porsche says the Cayenne GTS accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 5.2 seconds. A sport exhaust system is standard, which provides a characteristically GTS sound.
In the Porsche tradition, the interior of the new Cayenne GTS puts the driver in command.
The sporting character continues on the inside. Eight-way electrically adjustable GTS sports seats clad in leather/Alcantara® upholstery, including GTS lettering on the headrests, are standard. Alcantara® is the main upholstery material used inside the car. The interior is optionally available in Carmine Red or Rhodium Silver with rev counter face, decorative stitching, headrest lettering and safety belts in a contrasting color.
Visit the links below for our full coverage of the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show:
Story and photos © 2014 CarNichiWa.com