Transport & Technology special
With a limited edition cover by Julio Le Parc
The fastest road-going saloon in Jaguar's history debuted in LA boasting bright blue bodywork, 0-62mph dispatched in 4.6 seconds, plus a 186mph top speed. The ultimate go-faster version of the acclaimed XF also gains suspension upgrades, 20-inch wheels and exclusive interior materials for £79,995 from its May 2013 launch.
The first Cayman got rave reviews for its incredible driving ability - and rightly so - but its design, especially from the rear with its overt flying rear buttresses, seemed a little awkward. The mk2 Cayman - under the excellent direction of head of styling Michael Mauer - smoothes that rear into something of consummate beauty. An excellent Porsche now made aesthetically more pleasing.
BMW i3 Coupe Concept
The i3 Coupe is not the first i-monikered concept to herald BMW's forthcoming electric-powered sub-brand, but it's certainly the closest to production seen to date. Fortunately, getting closer to something you can buy - rather than a motorshow dream - hasn't diluted the i3's design integrity. The biggest changes over the previous five-door i3 shown at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show is the non-glass lower door area and interior cabin refinements. However, BMW Group design boss Adrian van Hooydonk also confirmed to Wallpaper* that other key details will all make it through to the showroom, including the teardrop-style window graphic, dropped rear belt line - so kids and small adults in the back get a better view - a minimal dashboard, steering wheel-mounted auto gear selector, twin free-standing iPad Mini-style screens plus exposed carbon fibre structure. Indeed, van Hooydonk confidently asserts the i3 three-door Coupe concept is 90% realistic to the five-door production i3 that goes on sale in late 2013, with plug-in hybrid or full-electric options.
Mercedes SLS AMG Coupe Black Series
The Black Series SLS is now the fastest gull-wing model of all time, hitting 62mph in 3.6 seconds, and the first SLS to receive the ultra go-faster Black Series treatment. Weight reduced to 1550kg, aero and racing tweaks plus 60hp more power from the 6.3 V8 engine result in a whopping 196mph top speed. Mercedes gives you wings.
His fashion designs are widely worn by popstar royalty - from Kanye West to Lady Gaga - but news that Jeremy Scott was to collaborate with city runabout brand Smart on its latest concept car for the LA Auto Show was greeted with a mixture of curiosity and fear by car aficionados. For the most part they're justified, but we'll say one thing: the Smart forjeremy concept is surprisingly thorough in its execution, not simply a lazy colour and trim-only exercise. Yes, it's kitsch, but surely that was Scott's intention? Think of it as a kind of Jeff Koons on wheels, with carefully integrated rear wings that are actually far more solid than the flimsy ones added to the designer's well-known Adidas high-tops. The interior is the best bit of all, with shiny chrome conical metal air vents that ape the look of Madonna's famous bra and upscale quilted leather interior that mimics a sophisticated designer handbag. Smart is sticking to its guns and intends to make 200 or so of the concept to buy (after a few changes for safety reasons). Petrolheads will no doubt scoff and we might even point and laugh, but potential buyers will no doubt thrive on that kind of attention.
VW Beetle Cabriolet
Not all cars suit having their roof cut off, but the new mkII Beetle Cabriolet unveiled at the LA show is one that does. Better still, the car is being offered with special 50s, 60s, and 70s trim levels to denote significant eras in the previous Beetle's long history. Our favourite is the 50s trim model with 1950s convex chrome hubcaps with black-painted outer sections, a black-painted body, chrome door mirrors, plus beige (or black) leather interior available for a premium of £600 over the equivalent 1.4 TSI petrol Sport version at £24,655 in the UK.
LA Design Challenge: winning Subaru concept
The classic TV show CHiPs proved a sideways inspiration for many designers entering this year's virtual-only LA Design Challenge competition judged at the LA auto show. Tasked with imagining a highway patrol vehicle for 2025 that was technologically advanced, eco-friendly and agile enough to catch criminals and rescue citizens, many entrants' creations offered similar multi-fleet solutions ranging from police on flying bikes to unmanned drones according to need and environment. But the winner this year - among stiff competition from BMW, Mercedes, GM and Honda - came from Subaru's Japanese studio (pictured), which envisioned a highly cost- and eco-conscious future police force that could save money by 24-hour monitoring of the highways through intelligent and flexible vehicles capable of autonomous operation.
LA Design Challenge: Mercedes Ener-G Force
LA Design Challenge: BMW concept
LA Design Challenge: GM Flying Bike
LA Design Challenge: GM concept
Read our report from the LA Auto Show 2012
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