L.A., From Afar

Although silently lamenting that all the cool car people are in Los Angeles this week for the L.A. Auto Show (Hi Jean! Hi Deb!), social media actually allows me to see quite a lot of what they are seeing (but without all the fun). Having been bombarded on Twitter and Instagram by all of the show’s new reveals, I must now pontificate to you, dear readers, on the state of the L.A. Auto Show.

Jaguar F-Type Coupe

From what I can tell, the most hotly anticipated car of the show was the Jaguar F-Type Coupe. The F-Type (a convertible) was just introduced to Jaguar’s lineup this year, and the coupe version was theatrically revealed to the world last night (I watched it live on Facebook). Takeaway: this car is HOT, and will undoubtedly be a blast to drive. You may remember I had quite a fun two-three minutes in the F-Type a few weekends ago. Since I generally prefer coupes to convertibles, I’m even more excited about the F-Type coupe, and was relieved to see it wasn’t fugly. But how could it be? Jaguar, under Design Director Ian Callum, has been turning out its best cars in generations. Tip of the hat to Jag on another beautiful offering.

The F-Type Coupe will be available in three versions, two with a V6 and one, the R, with a V8 making 550 horsepower. Sadly, only automatics are on offer, although they will have paddle shifters. The base Coupe starts at $65,000, putting it in Porsche Cayman/Boxster and BMW M3 territory. It will be a formidable foe, methinks.

Read more on the F-Type Coupe reveal here.

Read the press release and see more photos here.

SIX-WORD-OR-LESS CONCLUSION: Sexy, sexy feline. I want.

Audi A3

The A3 hatchback, Audi’s entry-level offering, has been around for several years. Now the lineup is being expanded to include a sedan, a cabriolet, and a plug-in hybrid.  All three were introduced at the show today.

Read more about the new A3 lineup here.

SIX-WORD-OR-LESS CONCLUSION: Choices, choices. Who is Audi – BMW??

Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo Concept

Just a concept, but may indicate aspects of the upcoming M-B GT AMG. It also borrows a few design cues from the Mercedes GTs of old. And hoo boy, is it sexy.

Read more and see photos here.


MINI Cooper re-design

It’s time for the third complete re-do of the “new” MINI Cooper (meaning MINIs produced since 2002). I have owned a 2004 Cooper and now own a 2012 John Cooper Works hardtop, so I feel especially entitled to my opinion on the latest iteration. Having seen photos of what we MINIacs are getting in 2015, all I can say is, Nooooooooo.

It’s bigger and goofier, and has sacrificed its sporty and impish demeanor for something that I guess BMW/MINI think will be more palatable to a wider audience, aka they’ve dumbed it down.

As described here, the most radical changes to the new-gen MINI are under its skin, including a new three-cylinder engine. I have no problem with that. But this. THIS. This is not my MINI. I’m sure it will sell.

SIX-WORDS-OR-LESS CONCLUSION: Middle-of-the-road kitschdom.


Porsche Macan

Okay, I’m better now. Meet the Macan, Porsche’s new crossover (aka li’l SUV). Much lovelier than its bigger SUV sibling, the Cayenne, this thing has “bestseller” written all over it. Slightly adorable fact: during its development, it was known as the Cajun (for Cayenne Junior). Aww.

Read more here and here.

SIX-WORDS-OR-LESS CONCLUSION: Will sell in droves. I’d buy.

Maserati Ghibli

We are way ahead of those L.A. suckers, my friends. I gave you the lowdown on the new Ghibli back in September. Remember?

There you have it, the unsolicited opinions of your armchair correspondent. Time will tell if I have the gift of prescience.  Either way, I mourn the MINI.