2016 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 3 – Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen

By Steve and Tamami Laser

In this third and final part of our series on the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, we take a look at some of the new models and concept vehicles from Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen.


Launched nearly five years ago, the CX-5 featured Mazda’s Skyactive technology and Kodo design. It went on to capture about one-quarter of Mazda’s global sales with 1.4 million units in 120 countries. The all-new CX-5 debuting in L.A. is preparing to offer even greater dimensions of driving pleasure.

An evolution of the Kodo Soul of Motion theme, the CX-5 design team adopted “Refined Toughness” as the key for the new premium exterior. Inspired by traditional Japanese crafts, Mazda said it pursued a minimalist aesthetic free of non-essential elements. A new color, Soul Red Crystal, offers a high-depth appearance that appears to be hand sprayed.

Global powertrain choices include Skyactive-G 2.0 and 2.5 direct-injection gas engines and a 2.2-liter diesel that Mazda says it will bring to America. Transmissions feature a 6-speed manual gearbox and 6-speed Skyactive-Drive automatic. Also available is Mazda’s predictive i-Activ AWD system plus new Skyactiv Vehicle Dynamics.

17mcx5int1Inside the cabin, the Multi-Information Display in the instrument cluster gains a 4.6-inch color TFT LCD display. An Active Driving Display that projects information from the navigation system onto the windshield is a new option. Mazda Connect is a new car connectivity system offering audio functions, hands-free phone operation, Aha™ by Harman and navigation. A 10-speaker Bose® premium audio system is available.

Mazda Motorsport’s new RT-24P racecar was also introduced in L.A. It’s slated to compete under Daytona Prototype international rules in the Prototype class, the top-level of the IMSA WeatherTec SportsCar Championship. The racing debut is planned for the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

The RT-24P is powered by a Mazda MZ-2.0T engine that raced during the 2016 IMSA season. The 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder puts out about 600 horsepower. Managing the two-car Mazda Prototype factory race team is Florida-based SpeedSource Race Engineering. The team will race the new Riley Mk. 30 chassis, developed by Riley Technologies in relationship with Multimatic.

img_2347While Mazda in the U.S. has sold out of its 1,000-car allocation for the new 2017 MX-5 Miata RF Launch Edition (all painted Machine Gray) the regular production Club and Grand Touring models (above) are being built. The retractable fastback’s power top is designed to deploy from closed to open in just 13 seconds.

mazda_mx-5rf_interiorIn addition to its coupe-like design with a sporty silhouette, the MX-5 RF is fitted with a 2.0-liter Skyactive-G engine paired with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Club models include standard Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. All MX-5 RF models have a 7-inch Mazda Connect™ touchscreen infotainment system.


The first cabriolet from the Mercedes-Maybach brand made its debut in L.A. With limited production slated for just 300 units and only 75 coming to the U.S., buyers of the new Maybach S650 Cabriolet are guaranteed exclusivity.

The new model is based on the open-top S-Class while gaining a new lower front fascia and lots of shiny trim. The S650, which rides on 20-inch Maybach forged wheels, is powered by a 6.0-liter V12 biturbo engine with an output of 621 horsepower sending power to the rear wheels via a 7G-Tronic transmission. Airmatic suspension with steplessly variable damping control offers a smooth ride.

Auf 300 Exemplare limitiert: Neues Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet: Ultimative Open-Air-ExklusivitätThe four-passenger interior is dressed in waterfall-like seat upholstery with progressive perforations and outer diamond quilting on the seat side bolsters. The automaker says a unique “yacht” ambience is inspired by the Mercedes-Benz Style “Arrow 460-Granturismo” yacht. An exclusive travel luggage set from Maybach Icons of Luxury “The Affinity” includes two travel bags plus two lifestyle bags made of the same material as the interior.

AMG is extending its in-house developed family of sports cars with the addition of three new models. Offering racing technology for the road, the Mercedes-AMG GT R with its hand-built 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine provides 585 horsepower while a modified suspension, AMG Speedshift DCT 7-speed transmission, enhanced aerodynamics and lightweight construction contribute to its character.

mamggtr300Inside, AMG performance seats are trimmed with Nappa leather and Dinamica microfiber. For even more pizzazz, optional yellow seatbelts, dials with yellow highlights, and AMG Black Piano Lacquer trim and controls, including those for the new AMG Traction Control, are offered. A free-standing central display is an eye-catching feature while the AMG Drive Unit controls are arranged like eight cylinders in a V layout on the center console.

Two roadster variants of the two-seat sportscar include the Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster and GT C Roadster (above). The latter offers an output of 550 hp and employs some of the technical refinements of the GT R including active rear-axle steering and electronically controlled rear-axle locking differential. The fabric top opens and closes in a reported 11 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph.

AMG GT C RoadsterThe available AMG performance seats can be fitted with the Airscarf® neck-level heating system to help enjoy top-down motoring in cool weather. For warm days, seat climate control offers three settings. The Burmester® Sound System and a high-end variant turn the roadster into a concert sage. An Extended Coupled Subwoofer reproduces bass using the entire interior as a bass box.

For 2017, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 is preparing to go racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Riley Motorsports will campaign two cars as “AMG-Team Riley Motorsports” and the other as WeatherTech Racing. The cars will race in the GTD class, for which cars to the international GT3 regulations are eligible. Among the 12 rounds of racing are events like the Daytona 24 Hours, Sebring 12 Hours and “Petit Le Mans” at Road Atlanta.


The world premiere of the new MINI Countryman was staged in L.A. All three variants of the new model were on hand including the Cooper, Cooper S and all-new plug-in hybrid Cooper S E ALL4.

The hybrid is equipped with a 3-cylinder MINI TwinPower Turbo gas engine and an electric hybrid synchronous motor. With an option to plug-in, the S E ALL4 gas engine works in tandem with an electric motor to produce combined output of 221 hp with the e-rear axle enabling all-season ALL4 traction.

minplgla165Offering enhanced traction on wet or dry surfaces, the new fully automatic ALL4 system delivers power to the wheels that grip and is said to react to road conditions in as little as .25 seconds.

minplgla164Countryman models offer a Technology Package that includes a new 8.8-inch touchscreen navigation system driven by MINI Connected 5.0, a redesigned new-generation user interface and operating system, as well as Qi wireless device charging capability.

minictrla167The biggest MINI yet provides more space for cargo with an increase of 30 percent compared to the previous generation. It offers sliding, folding rear seats, a high roofline and an adjustable trunk floor for added versatility.


The eX Concept is Mitsubishi’s vision of a future pure electric crossover vehicle. (It appears to be similar to the concept that we saw at the last Tokyo Motor Show in October 2015.) The automaker says the concept employs Mitsubishi’s electric-powered technologies and all-wheel control combined with automated driving, connected car interfacing and active safety technologies.

A next-generation EV system includes a new drive battery with improved energy density, and front and rear compact high-output motors with total system output of 140 kW (188 hp). Mitsubishi claims a cruising range of 248.5 miles (400km). The Twin Motor 4WD drivetrain incorporates S-AWC vehicle dynamics control that uses braking to control the front wheels and a transfer mechanism to vary torque split between the rear wheels.

Mitsubishi Motors eX ConceptMitsubishi says that features like Smart Valet Parking use connected car technology to allow the vehicle to find its own parking spot, park itself and be retrieved without driver input. Semi-autonomous running on highways and other public roads is said to use information from vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-road communications as well as from camera and radar on the car to vary speed or change lanes.


It was easy to find the Nissan display. We just looked for a 21-foot tall, 3,000-pound TIE fighter replica. In addition to introducing new models at the show, Nissan created an immersive “Rouge One: A Star Wars Story” inspired experience. Costumes and model props used during the production of the movie were on hand including a Y-wing, AT-ACT and X-wing, as well as appearances by “Stormtroopers.”

Nissan introduced the 2017 Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition model at the show. It’s billed as the first production vehicle to include Star Wars-branded elements. Nissan plans to build 5,400 copies of the crossover that comes with a numbered, full-size replica collectible “Death Trooper” helmet.

Based on the 2017 Rogue SV with Sun and Sound Touring Package and offered in front- and all-wheel-drive versions, it features LED headlights, black grille and lower finisher, rear door finisher, roof rails and door handles, plus D-pillar “Rebel Allliance” and “Galactic Empire” decals, “Star Wars” logo clear bumper protector and Rogue One badging on the front doors.

Nissan Rogue: Rogue One Star Wars Limited EditionInside, special features include logo carpet floor mats, “Star Wars” logo illuminated kickplates, “Rebel Alliance” and “Galactic Empire” logos in cupholder inserts and interior accent lighting. It’s offered in just two colors, Magnetic Black and Glacier White with a charcoal interior.

Like all Rogues, the Limited Edition is powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower. (A new Rogue Hybrid is also on tap, yet won’t be offered with the Star Wars theme.) Also standard are the Nissan Xtronic transmission with Sport and Eco modes, Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Nissan Intelligent Key™ with push-button start, Bluetooth®, SiriusXM® Satellite Radio and Bose® audio system with nine speakers.

The first Sentra NISMO made its debut at L.A. as the latest in a long line of compact Nissan performance sedans going back nearly 50 years to the Datsun 510 and original Sentra SE-R. It brings motorsports-inspired NISMO factory tuned performance to the Sentra. There’s a sporty exterior treatment, performance-oriented interior, stiffened body structure and unique suspension tuning.

Nissan Sentra NISMO 2017 debuta en el Auto Show de Los ÁngelesA “layered double wing” design in the front, side and rear lower body panels includes a thin red stripe accent. And there’s a NISMO dark chrome grille, 18-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, exhaust finisher and NISMO badges. At the heart of the new Sentra NISMO is a 1.6-liter direct-injection turbocharged engine rated at 188 horsepower. It’s matched with a choice of 6-speed manual or tuned Xtronic automatic.

Nissan Sentra NISMO 2017 debuta en el Auto Show de Los ÁngelesOn the inside are unique NISMO front seats with additional side bolstering and logos. Red accents throughout the interior include an Alcantara and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Push-button start has a red ring, there’s a NISMO meter cluster with red tachometer, a leather shift knob and NISMO embroidered carpets.


Following its debut at the Paris Motor Show, Porsche showed the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid in L.A. This improved plug-in model combines a 2.9-liter V6 biturbo engine with an electric motor for 462 hp system power. Porsche says that its improved lithium-ion batteries offer increased electric driving range. With 100 kW and 400 Nm torque available from a standing start, the automaker quotes a 0-62 mph sprint of 4.6 seconds.

The standard Porsche Advanced Cockpit offers touch-sensitive panels and individually configurable displays. A 12.3-inch touchscreen functions as a central PCM control and display unit. The driver can access hybrid-specific information. The boost assistant display shows the energy available for boosting, while the hybrid assistant provides visual signals for regulating the electric drive power.

ppanhyla161Porsche introduced four new Panamera Executive models in the 4, 4 E-Hybrid, 4S and Turbo range. In addition to a lengthy list of standard features, Executives receive a panoramic roof, heated multi-adjustable seats and adaptive air suspension.

ppanhyla165Also offered is a rear enter console which can be equipped with two integrated folding tables, plus a rear seat entertainment system with dual screens.

With the new 911 GT3 Cup, the Porsche motorsport department has developed the next generation of the production-style GT racing car for the global brand cups. The lightweight one-seater is powered by a 4.0-liter flat-6 engine delivering 485 hp with variable inlet and camshaft control.

prsrla162The driver is protected by a solid safety cage and a bucket-style racing seat with a heavily molded section around the head and shoulder area. Porsche says it builds the 911 GT3 Cup on the same line as the regular 911 in its main plant in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. The basic race tuning is performed at the Weissach motorsport center, where vehicles are tested by a professional race driver prior to delivery to customers.


We’re not alone in wishing that Subaru would re-enter the seven-seat crossover segment in the U.S. Its previous entry, called the Tribeca, ended production a few years ago. While a new model, called the Exiga Crossover 7, was introduced in Japan last year, it’s too small for the American market. Thus Subaru held the world debut in L.A. of a new concept called “VIZIV-7.”

Subaru showed the first VIZIV concept, a diesel-electric hybrid with scissor-style doors in 2013 at the Geneva Motor Show (we saw it the same year at the Tokyo Motor Show). The VIZIV 2 debuted in 2014 as another spin on a diesel-electric hybrid. Next up was the VIZIV Future Concept, a hybrid, that we saw at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2015.

The latest concept VIZIV, which is said to be derived from “Vision for Innovation” previews the design direction of a future three-row crossover that the automaker plans to introduce to the North American market in early 2018.

With the VIZIV-7 concept, Subaru show how the model might look. “The concept expresses our core brand values, safety, dependability, capability for outdoor activities and a forward-looking attitude,” said Takeshi Tachimori, corporate executive vice president, Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd. “We know customers in this segment want a full-sized vehicle and the next three-row from Subaru will be the biggest Subaru vehicle ever. We plan to introduce an all-new three-row SUV to our lineup by early 2018. This vehicle, along with other products, will help us to achieve even further sales growth in the U.S. market.”

We expect to hear more news in the coming months regarding the actual model name for the production model, as well as powertrain choices, features and specs.


Originally slated to come to the U.S. as a Scion, the C-HR will join the Toyota lineup next spring as a 2018 model. Thus Toyota will offer a trio of crossovers from the Highlander to the RAV4 and the new C-HR as the smallest and likely most affordable entry.

The new model employs the adaptable Toyota New Global Architecture that’s also used in the current-generation Prius. “Distinctive Diamond” styling stays true to the C-HR concept vehicle with an edgy, coupe-like profile that sports door handles hidden in the C-pillars.

U.S. market C-HR models are planned to debut with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gas engine rated at 144 horsepower driving the front wheels through a Continuously Variable Transmission. A Sport mode offers simulated 7-speed shifts while electronic power steering and Sachs dampers are designed to contribute to a sporty ride.

18tchrla162Available in XLE and XLE Premium models, the cabin features a driver-centric “MeZONE” with a standard 4.2-inch Multi-Information Monitor positioned between the twin-ring cluster, a 7-inch audio display positioned centrally atop the dash, dual-zone climate control, backup camera and auto-dimming rearview mirror. XLE Premium adds features like a Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, front seat heaters and push-button start.

The Toyota display was filled with a wide variety of other models. We spent a few minutes with a new entry previously called the Scion FR-S. Joining the Toyota lineup for 2017 and adapting the beloved international “86” or “hachi-roku” name, it sports lightly revised front styling with LED headlights and restyled bumper and lower intake.

17t86la164Under the hood is the familiar 2.0-liter Boxer engine that puts out 205 horsepower, a five-hp gain from last year with the 6-speed manual gearbox or 200 hp with the automatic, transferring power to the rear wheels via a standard Torsen® limited-slip differential. For track or autocross driving, Vehicle Stability Control can be put in Track mode or turned off.

17t86la163The small-diameter steering wheel with its new 86 logo sets the stage for the sporty cabin. A large center-mounted tachometer is the focal point for the instrument cluster with an analog speedometer to the left and fuel and temperature gauges to the right. A 7-inch touchscreen is standard with Pioneer audio and HD Radio™. The optional 86 Display Audio with Navigation features voice recognition and geo-located points of interest.


The all-new 2018 Atlas seven-passenger crossover is set to become the largest vehicle ever built by Volkswagen in America. Based on the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture, the new model grew from the CrossBlue concept, yet it’s much larger and more substantial in appearance.

Powertrain choices include a 2.0-liter direct-injection turbocharged 4-cylinder with 238 horsepower and a 3.6-liter VR6 with 280 hp. An 8-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front or all four wheels with available 4Motion AWD.

18vwatla161The cabin offers seating for seven with room for two adults in the third row. The available Volkswagen Digital Cockpit allows drivers to reconfigure how they view vehicle information. Volkswagen Car-Net® offers App-Connected technology including Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto™ and MirrorLink®. An optional Fender® Premium Audio System features 480 watts and 12 speakers.

18vwatla162The roster of available driver assistance features includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Parking Steering Assistant and Automatic Post-Collision Braking System.

npvwpasgtla163The new Passat GT concept was designed in America at the VW Engineering and Planning Center in Chattanooga, Tenn. It previews a potential addition to the lineup. More than 20 design changes include a black honeycomb grille with red accents, unique bumper treatments, black window surrounds, black roof and rear spoiler, LED headlights, smoked taillights, dual trapezoidal exhaust and a sport muffler.

Carbon fiber trim is applied inside, while two-tone black-and-gray sport seats gain contrast stitching. There’s a black headliner and piano black center console trim. Power is supplied by the Volkswagen 3.6-liter FSI® VR6 with 280 hp, tied to a 6-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic featuring steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

vwegla164The 2017 e-Golf made its auto show debut in L.A. Volkswagen says that compared to its predecessor, the new model offers the potential for 50 percent improved driving range, plus more power and new features. A new 35.8 kWh lithium-ion battery is said to boost driving range up to an estimated 124 miles on a single charge. The electric motor develops 134 horsepower for a 19 hp gain.

The fully digital and interactive Volkswagen Digital Cockpit is available including specific e-Golf instrumentation on a 12.3-inch screen. The optional Discover Pro infotainment system sports a 9.2-inch display. Vollkswagen is planning to offer a gesture control feature within the next two years for the U.S. market.

Galpin’s Hall of Customs

Before we called it a day, we stopped by “Galpin’s Hall of Customs.” Galpin Ford is a high-volume dealer located in a suburb of Los Angeles. It offers the ability to customize and modify cars for its customers. Plus it has a fabulous car collection. We captured some of the coolest rides at the auto show display below.

The legendary Pink Panthermobile, from NBC’s “The Pink Panther Show,” has returned to Los Angeles after 14 years abroad. The one-of-a-kind limo was discovered and restored by Galpin Auto Sports. Built on a ’60s Oldsmobile Tornado chassis and sculpted out of sheet metal and top-of-the-line materials, the distinctive Panthermobile is an astounding 23-feet long and six-feet wide.

Featuring a chassis created from 4130 chromoly tubing, by legendary fabricator Kent Fuller, the MACH IV was built in eight months by Gary Weckesser. It was also driven by him in the show and drag circuit from 1969-75. This modified 1969 Mustang “Sports Roof” fiberglass funny car vehicle was sponsored by Galpin Ford and wrenched by Galpin’s Service Department. It’s freshly restored by custom paint legend Bill Carter and master sign painter/pinstriper Dennis Jones who re-created their original work.

This 1967 Volkswagen 21-Window Custom Bus was customized by Galpin Auto Sports as a tribute to “The Mystery Machine” from the Scooby series. It features a 2,006cc engine with dual carbs, an oil cooler, 1,000-Watt JVC Sound System with dual amps and component speakers, custom paint with graphics under clear coat and custom wrap graphics.

Preliminary features, specifications and prices in this story are subject to change without notice by the automakers.

Visit the links below for our additional 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show stories:

2016 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 1 – Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge and Ford

2016 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 2 – Genesis, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover and Lexus

Photos (as noted) courtesy of Mazda, Daimler, MINI, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen and Newspress

Story, photos (as noted) and videos © 2016 CarNichiWa.com