2013 LA Auto Show Outtakes

Auto Shows | November 26th, 2013 by 1
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Porsche Macan Porsche stuck its new Macan into a backroom in its isolated display space. Porsche was in a completely separate space from the other …

Porsche Macan

Porsche stuck its new Macan into a backroom in its isolated display space. Porsche was in a completely separate space from the other manufacturers, you had to search for it. The Macan was uncovered early Wednesday morning and, thanks to its location, there was no crowd clambering over it to take photos, poke at the switchgear, and prod the materials.

The cockpit layout gives the impression that Porsche wants to make you think you’re piloting a small airplane. It has an array of switchgear in the headliner that resembles nothing less than that found in a business jet. Granted, you should keep the Macan on the ground at all times.

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Another feature of the Macan is that the hood is punched out for the headlights. That’s an interesting design and probably not the most practical thing to manufacture. They have substantially increased the need for finished edges on the hood thanks to that feature, but it is novel.

But the pricing of the Macan is puzzling. Autoblog found the Porsche US Macan configurator and managed to ‘build’ one to over $110,000 USD. Yikes! I was able to see a $80,000 Macan with a fairly restrained set of options selected. One no cost option, however, was European Delivery – and there are two choices for German delivery sites, Zuffenhausen or Leipzig (and personally I’d opt for Leipzig – a very gorgeous and historical city).

Jaguar F-Type Coupe

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Jaguar showed off it’s follow on to the F-Type convertible, the F-Type coupe and it is a stunner. First the car has ‘hips’. It has nice haunches, the rear wheel arches are nigh on perfect. There is some busyness with seams around the rear light, but overall it is a very pretty, aggressive, car.

There is no real BMW competitor for the F-Type, the Z4 – which is getting long in the tooth – is not really positioned for the customer looking at the F-Type. However, there is substantial – and very good competition – for the F-Type coupe. Porsche’s Cayman, the Chevrolet Corvette, and you can throw the new Alfa-Romeo 4C into the mix and you see that Jaguar has its work cut out for them. And then there is always the “poor man’s” 2 seat coupe – the Nissan 370Z (or, if you must, its Infinti counterpart) – which is not a bad option either. And unlike the Jaguar the Cayman, Corvette, and 370Z are all available with a manual transmission.

One more quick item on Jaguar, one of the Jaguar folks told me that the C-X17 aluminum intensive concept was to be the basis of a Jaguar 3 series competitor that will show up in the 2015-2016 model year time frame. With its aluminum construction there should be some substantial weigh savings – and Jaguar uses a V6 engine configuration (which presumably would be the top engine available in their 3 series fighter) whose compact fore-and-aft length gives it a weight distribution advantage over an inline six (but not a smoothness advantage). We shall see how BMW pares weight in the next generation 3 series. But Jaguar has certainly been aggressive with product development and the 3 series is the target of every manufacturer hoping to do well in the premium sporting market.

Minding BMW’s Concept Cars

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Anytime BMW displays a concept car at an autoshow during press days it brings along a small group of people to watch over them. Concept cars are subject to abuse at the hands of journalists – I saw more than one yank the door handles of the X4 Concept (which did not have a completed interior) and the minder would have to shoo them away with a polite, ‘Please, it is not possible to open the door – thank you!”

Concept cars are more fragile than their production counterparts and often have to travel the world over so protecting them from ham-handed curious journalists is a must. Yes it would be nice if we had free reign over everything on the show floor, but we don’t.

Some may think this is a German trait, but it is merely being polite – if something is clearly separated from the public space (by a cordon of some sort) and you haven’t asked and received permission to touch it – don’t.

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