Some LA motor show highlights

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The Los Angeles motor show has not traditionally been at the same level as similar events in Detroit, Geneva, Frankfurt, Tokyo or Shanghai.

Yet California is one of the world’s great car capitals, and this year’s event included some cool debuts and displays.

Let’s take a look at a few highlights.


Genesis X Convertible concept

Genesis completed its trio of X electric vehicle concepts with a sexy convertible using a folding hardtop and offering four seats.

The Genesis X Convertible concept shares its architecture and electric powertrain with the 2021 X Concept and 2022 X Speedium Concept.

Beyond that detail, Genesis hasn’t confirmed any other technical specs, nor has it indicated whether these presage production vehicles – though Genesis has trademarked the X Speedium name.

But damn, isn’t it hot! The concept features traditional grand tourer proportions: long bonnet, a generous dash-to-axle ratio, and minimal front overhang.

Genesis’ “anti-wedge” Parabolic Line arches from the front fenders to the rear, while there are muscular blisters over the wheels to give the car Coke bottle-like contours.

The X Convertible concept also features a long rear deck for a more stately appearance. Genesis calls the rear treatment a “concave elliptical duck tail”, with the shape interrupted by a V-shape indentation that – like the lighting – hints at the Genesis logo.

Unusually, the X Convertible concept features a folding hardtop roof with transparent moon roofs above the front occupants – somewhat reminiscent of the old Volkswagen Eos’ set-up.

MORE: Genesis X Convertible concept revealed as electric drop-top


Toyota bZ Compact SUV Concept

Toyota previewed its bZ Compact SUV Concept at the LA show, though it stopped short of providing any specifications of its next EV.

The bZ Compact SUV was one of the 16 electric Toyota and Lexus concepts previewed late last year, though Toyota didn’t reveal its interior at the time.

It has now showcased the electric crossover’s futuristic, industrial-chic cabin, which uses eco-friendly materials. For example, the seats are made from plant-based and recycled materials.

A steering yoke sits ahead of the driver, while the gear selector sits on an unusual podium connected to the floor of the cabin, next to two wireless charging pads and the start button.

There’s a wide touchscreen and free-standing digital instrument cluster, and both use curved-glass screens.

Toyota says an in-car personal assistant named Yui “connects the driver and passengers with the vehicle”, responding to requests and commands from occupants with audio and visual lighting cues.

Toyota didn’t release any power, torque, battery or range figures.

MORE: Toyota bZ Compact SUV Concept revealed


Porsche 911 Dakar

Porsche has taken the wraps off a new take on the classic 911 sports car. Dubbed the Dakar, it takes the 911 to new roads.

No version of the 911 is what you’d call common, but the Dakar will be rare. Just 2500 will be offered worldwide, with pricing to kick off at $491,400 before on-roads costs in Australia when it arrives in the back half of 2023.

The optional Rally Design Package adds $54,730 to that sticker, and frankly it’s essential.

Under the skin, the Dakar borrows from a number of different 911 models.

Power comes from a 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat-six making 353kW of power and 570Nm of torque, the same as you get in a Carrera GTS, mated with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive. The 100km/h sprint takes a claimed 3.4 seconds.

The engine mounts have been lifted from a GT3, and there’s active roll stabilisation on hand to keep the taller body in check.

How much taller? At a standstill the Dakar is 50mm taller than a regular Carrera, and it’s able to be raised a further 30mm when conditions require it.

MORE: 2023 Porsche 911 Dakar revealed, priced for Australia


Subaru Impreza

The sixth-generation Subaru Impreza, only available as a hatchback, made its debut in LA – reflecting the company’s focus on its strong US operation.

Compared to the Crosstrek SUV unveiled at the end of October, the Impreza obviously sits lower to the ground, but also has different grille and bumper designs.

“Impreza has been part of the Subaru family for 30 years, and we look forward to sharing more details for the Australian market in due course,” said a spokesperson for Subaru Australia.

According to the automaker, the Subaru Global Platform underpinning the new Impreza is 10 per cent more torsionally rigid than before, and includes a full inner frame.

With 3.4 times more structural adhesive than before, the Impreza is claimed to be lighter than before, but Subaru has yet to quantify by how much.

For American buyers there are two engines to choose from. The standard mill is a 2.0-litre horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine making 113kW of power and 197Nm of torque. Sportier variants have a larger 2.5-litre boxer-four generating 136kW and 241Nm.

Both engines are exclusively paired to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and all-wheel drive, which now comes with torque vectoring as standard. Expect a hybrid for Australia.


VinFast VF 6

Vietnam’s crack at the world of EV motoring has huge plans in the US, after failing to make a dent in Australia as once planned.

It has revealed four different electric SUVs now, with the VF 6 seen here representing an entry point.

It measures a compact 4238mm long and is front-wheel drive, using a 130kW and 250Nm electric motor power in base VF 6 Eco models, and a 150kW/310Nm setup in the VF 6 Plus.

In a bid to build trust, VinFast’s cars are backed by a 10-year warranty Stateside.

The company is investing up to $2 billion (A$3 billion) in what it’s calling “phase 1” of a new US factory, with construction to begin this year and production expected to start in July 2024.

With this first phase, VinFast expects the constructed factory to have a production capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year and employ 7500 people.

MORE: VinFast officially puts Lang Lang proving ground up for sale

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