The first pot of coffee had not been brewed at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and yet we can tell you about some of the stars of the Tinsel Town extravaganza.
It has been no secret that Ford wants to breathe new life into the Lincoln brand. It took the first step with the MKZ sedan that should arrive in showrooms next summer. Gone is the old split-wing grille, with the 2017 MKZ displaying a style much like the well received Continental concept car. Where the top engine in the current model delivers 300 horsepower, the MKZ will get an exclusive 3.0-liter V6 at 400 horsepower when it is matched up with all-wheel-drive. There is also 400 lb-ft of torque. There will also be a hybrid alternative and Lincoln will offer three new Black Label trim packages plus two Revel audio systems.
The 2016 Honda Civic coupe will make its initial public appearance featuring the first turbo engine for that model. It will be offered on mid to the highest trims – a 1.5-liter direct-injected turbo with 174 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. The base engine will be a 2.0-liter VTEC turning out 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. Honda claims interior space is up by 8.4 cubic feet with rear legroom gaining a not insignificant 5 inches. Android Auto or Apple CarPlay is available along with an embedded navi system by Garmin. The new coupe will launch in March.
Honda also announced that the platform underpinning the Clarity Fuel Cell sedan will also serve as the foundation for a next-generation plug-in hybrid that will launch by 2018.
Fiat worked with Mazda to come up with a new model 124 Spider with a unique exterior design and a very MX-5 Miata interior and underpinnings. The 2017 model makes its debut today in L.A. and will be powered not by a Mazda engine, but the 1.4-liter four out of the Fiat 500 Abarth. It is rated at 160 horsepower with 184 lb-ft of torque or 15 more horsepower and 36 more lb-ft of torque than the Mazda. The 124 Spider is also five inches longer and will come with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. The original 124 of the late 60’s was one of this writer’s favorite cars, reliability problems and all.
Making its global debut and aimed squarely at Generations X and Y, Infiniti will unveil the QX30 “Premium Active Crossover.” The QX30 is said to bridge the gap between premium compact rivals and larger crossover vehicles. Prior to the formal introduction, powertrain details were not available but the guessing is it will be the 2.0-liter four rated at 208 horsepower that is included in the Q30 hatchback. Look for the QX30 in showrooms in the second quarter of 2016.
Other debuts include the 2017 Buick LaCrosse, 2016 Mazda CX-9, 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, the 2016 Nissan Sentra, and the new 2016 BMW 7-Series will make its North American debut.
It is 190 pounds lighter thanks in part to a “Carbon Core Passenger Cell,” and will offer Gesture Control, (no not that gesture), wireless charging and an MSRP of $82,295 for the 740i. Also making its North American debut is the 3 Series eDrive plug in hybrid.
BMW claims a 0-60 time of 5.9 seconds from a power system that consists of a twin turbo four rated at 248 horsepower aided by an electric motor. Total range is said to be about 370 miles. In all-electric mode, about 22 miles can be driven before its partner in power kicks in. Base price for the hybrid is $44,695 and it will arrive in the U.S. in the spring of 2016.
Auto sales may peak in 2016 without heavy incentives from manufacturers, according to Steven Szakaly, chief economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association. Sales will increase to 17.7 units next year, he predicts, a gain of 2.3 percent over this year. But he said sales cannot be maintained at that level due to a number of factors including expected higher interest rates and wage and income pressure.