By Steve & Tamami Laser
Part three of our 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show review highlights new model introductions from Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi and Nissan, plus a concept car from MINI, and Nissan’s “Star Wars” themed concepts and display.
Mercedes S560 Cabriolet
The S-Class Cabriolet is one of our favorite flagship luxury convertibles. For 2018 Mercedes-Benz makes it even better with innovations introduced in the recently updated S-Class sedan including the high-resolution Widescreen Cockpit.
Our video highlights the magnificent S560 Cabriolet onstage at the Mercedes-Benz display in L.A.
From the black diamond grille to the front bumper with chrome splitter and large air intakes, the S560 Cabrio remains an object of desire. The automaker says the multilayer soft top can be opened or closed at speeds up to 31 mph.
With the top down, the side view presents an elegant profile. Restyled side skirts and chrome-plated twin tailpipes add to the ambience along with new taillights featuring 66 ultra-flat OLEDs. To help save weight, more than 50 percent of the car is made of aluminum, including the rear floor.
The S560 Cabriolet gains a new 4.7-liter biturbo V8 that puts out 463 hp and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. A 9G-Tronic 9-speed automatic transmission is standard. Those seeking even greater performance can opt for the sporty AMG S63 with a 603 hp 4.0L V8, or the AMG S65 and its 621 hp 6.0-liter V12.
Mercedes calls the luxurious cabin an “open-air lounge that exudes a yacht-like atmosphere.” Supremely comfortable seats are trimmed with nappa or available designo leather. The new Widescreen Cockpit with two 12.3-inch screens sharing a single glass cover lets the driver select Classic, Sporty or Progressive themes.
MINI Electric Concept
Following in the footsteps of the MINI E test cars nearly a decade ago and the new plug-in hybrid Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 comes word that MINI plans to offer a second-generation all-electric model in 2019.
The MINI Electric Concept displayed in L.A. offers a preview of the potential styling direction for a new production EV.
As a styling concept, the MINI Electric combines the familiar MINI silhouette with futuristic touches like a closed grille to assist with aerodynamics. Reflection Silver matt liquid metal paint is used for the body color while Striking Yellow is applied to the roof, side skirts and mirrors.
Clever touches abound, like the taillights that each form one half of the “Union Jack” and feature an LED dot matrix. While EV propulsion system details have not been released, MINI does say that “The responsive drive system, sublimely judged suspension tuning and use of aerodynamic add-ons produce driving dynamics very much in the MINI mold and a fine operating range.”
We like the groovy design of the concept’s 19-inch wheels. Wheel inlays were made using a 3D printing process, and so were the recessed louvered surfaces in the simulated air intakes.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
Mitsubishi is launching its next generation of fun-to-drive vehicles with the 2018 Eclipse Cross. Following our preview of this new compact crossover at the Tokyo Motor Show, we checked out the North American version in L.A.
The new Eclipse Cross brings trendy styling and a sporty attitude to the growing compact crossover class. Mitsubishi plans to introduce the new model at its U.S. dealers in March 2018.
Eclipse Cross features a wedge-shaped profile, forward-raked rear window and muscular fender flares. Up front is a bold interpretation of Mitsubishi’s Dynamic Shield design with a black lower grille and bright upper horizontal bars.
With its fastback look, the rear view of the Eclipse Cross is energized with styling touches like tubular LED lights and a horizontal bar that stretches the width of the tail (reminding us of the Lancer Evolution’s tall rear spoiler).
Eclipse Cross features a new 1.5-liter 4-cylinder direct-injection gas turbo engine with 152 hp and 184 lb.-ft. of torque teamed with an “8-speed” Continuously Variable Transmission with Sport Mode. (A 2.2-liter turbodiesel offered in Japan is not on the option list.)
The cockpit-style cabin offers sporty touches with piano-black and luminous silver accents. Available features include a 7-inch display, new Mitsubishi Connect telematics, Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™, touchpad controller with tap-and-swipe command, Head-Up Display, dual-pane panoramic sunroof and heated rear seats.
The jazzy new Nissan Kicks compact crossover that made its global debut in Brazil last year is coming to America. Kicks is larger than the Nissan Juke (that it replaces) yet a bit smaller than the Rogue Sport.
We got our Kicks at the L.A. Auto show by checking out two of the new models in our video. Nissan plans to offer cool color combos when the Kicks makes its U.S. debut including two-tone treatments.
The fun begins up front where Kicks “emotional geometry” design sports Nissan’s V-Motion grille flanked by boomerang style headlights. Intelligent Auto Headlights are standard while LEDs with signature accents and fog lights are optional.
Under the hood is a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 125 hp and 115 lb.-ft. of torque connected to an Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission. A floating roof that sports the look of a “wrap-around visor” adds to Kick’s visual appeal while boomerang taillights echo the look of the headlights.
Inside, Kicks is dressed with a “gliding wing” style dash. A 7-inch display with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ connectivity is standard. High-tech options include Bose® Personal® Plus audio and Intelligent Around View® Monitor.
Nissan Star Wars Concepts
We were wondering if Nissan could top its amazing “Star Wars” inspired display at last year’s L.A. Auto Show that featured a 21-foot tall TIE fighter replica. Then we saw this year’s display…
This Rogue-based X-wing equipped with a pair of illuminating thrusters and “laser cannons” was one of seven Star Wars-inspired concept vehicles at Nissan’s display. Our video also offers a quick look at the “Star Wars” Digital Mirror Experience tested by a crew member.
Nissan celebrated its collaboration with Lucasfilm for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” that opened in theaters this month. Nissan says the concepts for its unique show vehicles were developed from artists inside Lucasfilm and then brought to life by Vehicle Effects in Burbank.
Nissan’s display at the L.A. Auto Show was a sight to behold with a fleet of six X-wing star fighter replicas from “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” suspended from the ceiling above the concept vehicles.
“We’re back this year collaborating with Lucasfilm and the artists at Industrial Light & Magic to create these amazing concept vehicles across some of our best-selling models,” said Jeremy Tucker (above), vice president, Marketing Communications & Media, Nissan North America, Inc., as he took to the stage flanked by stormtroopers.
The Nissan Titan AT-M6 concept transports a huge megacaliber “cannon” while custom body wrap brings to mind the First Order walker in the movie. The truck also features a 12-inch lift kit plus an 18-inch bed-mounted subwoofer and surround sound system with 5,000 watts to mimic the thumping vibrations of a First Order walker.
This A-wing inspired Rogue Sport concept packs dual thrusters and roof-mounted fins while blue highlights segue with the spacecraft’s design in the movie. Meanwhile, “laser cannons” and body wrap with “damage” help bring the concept to life.
Tailgating might become a thing of the past if this TIE Silencer inspired Maxima took to the streets of L.A. It’s dressed with wing-mounted “laser cannons” and “missile launchers” while Crimson lighting and sound effects from the movie complete the concept.
Click or tap on the following links for our additional 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show stories:
CarNichiWa.com thanks the Los Angeles Auto Show for providing us with a press pass to the media preview days.
Note: Features, specifications and launch timing for U.S. market production models in this story are subject to change without notice.
Additional photos (as noted) courtesy Mitsubishi Motors and Nissan
Story, photos (as noted) and videos © 2017 CarNichiWa.com