LA AUTO SHOW 2011…A MATTER OF SURVIVAL!

It was my own fault for waiting until the busiest day to go to the 2011 LA Auto Show.  I kept trying to make it sooner if only my schedule had allowed.  When I woke up on this rainy Sunday morning I had no excuse, this was the perfect weather to be indoors gawking at cars.  I had made my decision, today was the day! Umbrella, check! Camera, check! Cash, coffee, check check!

2011 LA Auto Show

2011 LA Auto Show

Upon arriving at the LA Convention Center I could already tell by the herds of people scrambling to run inside that chaos was about to ensue.  Buying my $12 ticket at the automated machine was the easy part, getting past the gates was a different story.  It felt like a scene from “Saving Private Ryan”; everything was in slow motion as fear and terror lie in their tear-soaked eyes.  Once I made it through the carnage of crying babies, lost children, confused parents and the occasional hit in the ankles by those rental strollers, things started to clear up like a fading storm.  I managed to block out most of the noise and after entering, I saw a sign in the distance that read “Tuners and Aftermarket”; yes, my specialty!  Many of the cars were repeats from this past SEMA show however I did see some interesting customs like a gorgeous Bugatti Veyron, a matte red Ferrari F430, and a pretty cool Lotus Evora to name a few.

Bugatti Veyron

Bugatti Veyron

Back upstairs to the main hall, better dodge that stroller headed directly for me, close call!  While all the major car companies had representation at the show only a few actually impressed me with some innovative and creative models.

Cadillac Ceil Concept

Cadillac Ceil Concept

Cadillac ELR

Cadillac ELR

Cadillac was among the few that really made a splash with their lineup of cutting edge design and the debut of their new electric ELR model.  There was a lot of excitement at Cadillac’s  booth as they had on display the Ceil Concept among all the other current models including the record breaking CTS-V’s.

BMW displayed their much advertised iSeries electric car, which is slated for production in 2015, and their much awaited new M5 model.

BMW iSeries

BMW iSeries

Hyundai has made great strides in breaking free of the “inexpensive” label and into more of a “luxury” or “high-end” label.  They’re doing a great job with their new line up; the Equus, Genesis, Sonata Hybrid, Elantra to name a few.

Mini’s booth was bustling with people as they reveled at all the options and aftermarket parts that bestow the new cars.  Many people waited in lines to try on the new Countryman Model for size.  The new Mini Cooper Coupe S looked great and received a lot of attention as well.

Fiat’s Abarth model, a “high performance” version of their popular 500 model, seemed to be well received judging from the lines of people waiting to sit inside.

Fiat Abarth

Fiat Abarth

Audi finally showed off their much anticipated S6 and S7 models due to be out this March.  Audi also had on display the e-tron Spyder concept and A3 model; their new electric car technology.

Audi e tron Spyder

Audi e tron Spyder

KIA GT Concept

KIA GT Concept

KIA’s booth was riffled with excitement as they had a very impressive concept car they called the “KIA GT”.  I was barely able to snap off a few pics due to the crowds of people attempting to do the same.

It was very exciting to see many of the car companies’ step up to the plate with their innovative designs and technology.  It feels like we are entering a new era in the automotive world.   The combination of a lagging economy coupled with the high demand for new technology is forcing car companies to push the envelope in all areas.  Much like my experience attending the Auto Show, it’s a matter of survival for these car companies, and staying on the cutting edge is a matter of life or death.  The 2011 LA Auto Show left me wounded, frightened, exhausted and excited to see what next year will bring!

KOENIGSEGG AGERA & AGERA R…WORTH EVERY PENNY!

My views of Swedish cars usually don’t include hypercars or even sports car for that matter.  I usually envision a happy nuclear family safely motoring down the road on their way to apple picking.  There is a car company however that may very well change my opinion.

Koeniggsegg Agera

Koeniggsegg Agera

Koeniggsegg has been around for a while, since first coming on to the scene in 1994 with their CCX model.  I’ve seen the car from time-to-time, showing up in random B-list movies and rap videos, although I never really took an interest in learning more about it.  I thought it was one of those boutique car companies that would soon fizzle away after the rich owner got bored and moved on to the next thing to check off his bucket list.

Koenigsegg Agera

Koenigsegg Agera

Well 17 years later founder Christan von Koeniggsegg is still as passionate as ever dreaming up the impossible and making it a reality.  His latest creations, the Agera and Agera R (2012), are nothing short of technical masterpieces.  While I could literally write novels about the cars’ technical feats I thought I’d touch upon some of the more distinctive characteristics that make the Agera so special.

Koenigsegg Agera R -1100 BHP

Koenigsegg Agera R -1100 bhp

The name Agera means, “to take action” in Swedish and also comes from the Greek word Ageratos or “ageless”.  Deemed as impossible or too expensive, Koeniggseg is among the very few, if any, boutique car companies that actually develop and produce their own engine in-house.  The 5.0-liter V8 twin turbo engine is considered the lightest and most compact hypercar engine in the world producing 940 bhp and 1100 bhp for their ‘R’ model.  This is quite an accomplishment considering the cars fuel consumption is 16 mpg and has emissions of 310g/C02.  What really impressed me was the specially designed carbon-fiber monocoque chassis that embodies a built-in 21-gallon fuel tank as to evenly distribute the weight of the fuel throughout the car.  The chassis design is not only physically brilliant it proved to be extremely safe thus allowing it to pass the U.S. crash test on the first try.  While I have only found unofficial 0-60 mph times (3.0 and 2.7 for the ‘R’) I did manage to find an official 0-200 mph time; 17.68 seconds! We are living in mad times when car companies no longer provide 0-60 mph times but rather 0-200 mph.  I love it!

Koenigsegg Agera R -1100 BHP

Koenigsegg Agera R -1100 bhp

Aside from the impressive technical attributes the Agera represents, I find this car to be strikingly sexy and aesthetically pleasing.  Scissor doors, removable roof, turbine wheels, ghost-lite dash the list goes on and on! I have often dreamt of starting my own sports car company and too be honest I don’t feel the need to do so knowing the Koeniggsegg Agera is out there.  It’s pretty much exactly the way I would want my car to look, sound and perform!  This car is very special and while I have no idea what the price tag is, I can already say it’s worth every penny.

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McLaren MP4-12C…THE BOYS ARE BACK!

McLaren Mp4-12C

McLaren Mp4-12C

We haven’t heard too much from the boys at McLaren over the past few years. I guess after creating the McLaren F1 there wasn’t really much more to say.  Being heralded as “the finest driving machine built for the public road” or having statements made like “the McLaren F1 will be remembered as one of the great events in the history of the car” would make anybody lazy, right? Wrong!

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

The boys are back with the much-anticipated predecessor to the McLaren F1, the McLaren MP4-12C.  Few cars arrive to the scene with as much pressure and expectation for nothing less than mind blowing stellar performance than McLaren.  Do you blame us?

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren boss Ron Dennis was quoted as stating the MP4-12C will out perform the competition in all areas: speed, emissions, and dynamics.  That’s a pretty bold statement considering the company the 12C is in.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see however considering the specs, I’d say they have a damn good chance of holding true to that claim.

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

Powered by a 3.8L Twin Turbo V8 producing 592bhp, the 12C goes 0-62 in 3.3 seconds and has a top speed of 205 mph.  Following in the McLaren F1’s footsteps, the 12C is the first production car to use the most cutting edge and latest space age materials like Magnesium and a single-piece Carbon MonoCell; weighting in at just under 3000lbs.  Additionally, words like “fuel efficiency” and “CO2 emissions” aren’t really spoken about when it comes to supercars.  McLaren however thought they would start that conversation with the 12C managing nearly 25mpg and an mpg/CO2 ratio being one of the best in the modern world.

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

While the interior’s forensic attention to ergonomic detail and the rear-tail brake-assist is quite impressive, the one thing I appreciated when learning about the McLaren MP4-12C was the price.  I’m not saying $250K +/- is affordable by any means, however considering the McLaren F1 was $1M car I think they have made great strides in making this car more attainable to not only the Saudi princes but to their sons and daughters as well!

McLaren MC4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

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2011 BUGATTI 16.4 VEYRON SUPER SPORT…BECAUSE THEY CAN!

The Bugatti Veyron to most of us is like the Loch Ness monster.  We have heard of the beast and know of its capabilities but few of us have ever gotten to see the mythical creature in person much less in action.  Perhaps even more elusive than Nessy is the 2011 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport.

2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

For starters there have only been 46 of these cars produced, all of which have been spoken for, and 6 have made their way to the US.  The cost is a mere $2.7M and it comes with a set of shinny $35K run-flat Michelin tires, but these aren’t the staggering numbers.  The staggering numbers lie deep within the belly of the beast, with its W-16 Quad-Turbo Charged (4 turbos) power plant that produces 1200 horsepower.  The Super Sport rockets from 0-60 in 2.5 seconds, which is the same time as a Formula 1 car however the metal and carbon fiber mass weighs in at 4545 lbs.

2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

The car just set a new top speed world record for production cars at 268 mph although you need a special key to go above 233 mph (see video below).  In case your curious, the gauge cluster actually has a “horsepower gauge” to keep you well informed as to why your fuel consumption is 8/14 city/highway at all times.

2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

Although I suggested retro-rockets to slow this car down, Bugatti went with a quieter 15.8” ceramic disc 8-piston caliper brake for the front and 15.0” ceramic disc 6-piston caliper brake for the rear.

2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

Knowing that this is a commuter car for many of their clients, Bugatti designed the cockpit with the utmost luxury in mind and makes it quite comfortable to go 200+ mph.  So why does Bugatti push the envelope and make what is already the fastest car in the world faster? Because they can!  You really can’t beat what Bugatti has been able to accomplish and for the time being this is one of the most advanced road-going cars in history.  I may consider putting my name on next year’s waiting list depending on what interest rates they offer.

 

Check out the below below as Top Gear max’s out the Veyron Super Sport on a 30 mile track!

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