These four concepts and one production model introduced at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show are ready for their close-ups.
Cars and concepts that glowed in the L.A. spotlight
Vehicle type: Coupe concept
Engine: 4.0-liter, 605-hp turbocharged V-8
Who designed it: Audi design chief Marc Lichten
What’s cool: No-handle doors use touch sensors to open; no pillar between front and rear seats; touch-screen displays integrated into the dashboard
Will it be built? Maybe. Audi said the concept’s styling will appear in the next-generation A6, A7 and A8, but if Audi wanted to build an A9 grand coupe to vie with archrival Mercedes-Benz’s S-class coupe, it would look a lot like this.
Show reaction: Videographers argued over the privilege of getting inside the concept and shooting video. They were lucky to have the chance: Labor strikes and shipping delays meant Audi’s showpiece almost was stuck in port for the show.
Vehicle type: Racing concept
Engine: “Mid-mounted laser beamed-energy propulsion system” putting out 900 hp.
Who designed it: Frank Saucedo, director of General Motors’ Advanced Design Studio
What’s cool: Driver lies face down with arms and legs splayed out toward the wheels and, in theory, could rocket from 0 to 60 mph in 1.5 seconds.
Will it be built? Not in your wildest dreams. It’s a concept based on a car designed for the “Gran Turismo 6” video game on Sony’s PlayStation 3 system.
Vehicle type: Convertible concept
Who designed it: Yasuo Kajino, chief designer at Lexus International
What’s cool: The most angular version to date of Lexus’ “spindle” grille; jagged LED taillights; body color-matched center console that runs through the back seat to the trunk
Will it be built? Probably, but in a toned-down manner. Lexus’ only convertible, the IS C, is based on the prior-generation IS sedan. Expect a production droptop based on the RC coupe.
Vehicle type: Small crossover
Engine: 2.0-liter, 155-hp 4-cylinder gasoline
On sale: Summer 2015
Base price: Not announced, but expect it to fall between the Mazda3 five-door (base price: $19,765 with shipping) and Mazda CX-5 (base price: $22,375 with shipping).
What’s cool: All-wheel-drive option; head-up display; “floating” roofline above the D-pillar
Vehicle type: Touring car concept
Seats: 2+2n Engine: 6.75-liter, 530-hp V-8
Base price: It likely would be priced above the Mulsanne sedan, which starts at $310,125, including shipping and gas-guzzler tax.
What’s cool: Diamond-quilted leather; two-tone paint job; bejeweled shifter knob; enormous piece of burr walnut trim behind the rear seats
Will it be built? Probably, but Bentley CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer said the company plans to gauge customer reaction first.
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