After a Covid-19-fueled absence in 2020, the Los Angeles Auto Show returned this November. Following a slew of online reveals and renderings, we traveled to LA to see the hottest cars, trucks, and EVs of the year in person. Our takeaway after scouring the show floor: Automakers’ display booths around the convention center presented a balance between tried-and-true internal combustion vehicles and their burgeoning electric brethren.
With the F-150 being the most popular vehicle in the U.S., it made sense for Ford to build an all-electric version in the F-150 Lightning. Ford’s minority stake in Rivian, a new and exciting startup producing electric trucks, has us very excited to compare Rivian’s R1T to the Blue Oval’s offering. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take a ride in the Lightning at the show, so we’re looking to get behind the wheel sometime next year.
We know that two powertrains will be available: a standard-range model that will go 230 miles and an extended-range variant that will do 300. Both will come with dual-motors and all-wheel drive along with a power station at the back and a frunk where the engine would normally sit. Starting MSRP will be around $39,974 (before incentives), and production is set to begin in the spring of 2022.
Ford Eluminator Concept
Gearheads have been swapping various internal combustion engines into vehicles for decades. As such, automakers have since developed “crate motors,” which are off-the-shelf motors that enthusiasts can buy to drop under the hood of any vehicle they fancy. Ford’s Eluminator is the EV equivalent, giving you the ability to purchase the same traction motor used in the Mustang Mach-E GT Performance.
Based on a 1978 Ford F-100, the Eluminator show truck features two motors at the front and one at the rear, producing a grand total of 480 horsepower and 634 pound-feet of torque. Each motor is capable of putting out 281 hp and 317 lb-ft. Now available at authorized Ford parts warehouse dealers and online at Ford Performance Parts, the first e-crate motor will cost $3,900. A more expansive parts list including battery systems, controllers, and traction inverters is on the way.
While Subaru is relatively late merging onto electric avenue, the Solterra looks to be a solid package. Built on the new e-Subaru Global Platform, the EV shares its underpinnings with Toyota’s bZ4X (the automakers have previously worked together on the BRZ and GR86). Rolling off the tongue much easier than bZ4X, the Solterra’s name combines the Latin words for sun and earth.
Despite its electric powertrain only being able to supply 220 miles of range, the Solterra retains the adventuring acumen associated with Subaru vehicles. This includes standard symmetrical all-wheel drive along with 8.3 inches of ground clearance and short overhangs. As standard, the Solterra will also arrive with X-Mode terrain selection to tune the AWD system for different conditions.
Chevrolet Corvette Z06
The naturally aspirated, 5.5-liter V8 in the new 2023 Corvette Z06 is the most powerful engine offered in a production vehicle, pumping out 670 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, along with an 8,600 rpm redline. Drive goes to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Along with its higher redline, the LT6 motor features a flat-plane crankshaft (as opposed to the previous generation’s cross-plane), giving the new Z06 a unique exhaust note by changing the firing order of the engine. This gives the car a high-pitched snarl, rather than a deep rumble.
The example above is optioned with the Z07 performance package, giving it extra goodies. This includes carbon-fiber aero appendages like a front splitter, dive planes, and rear wing along with carbon-ceramic brakes, better suspension, and stickier tires. The model on the show floor also had carbon-fiber wheels that reduce unsprung mass by 41 pounds.
Hyundai Seven Concept
This concept is a sneak preview of what Hyundai’s upcoming Ioniq Seven could look like. Sporting a 10.5-foot wheelbase—a whole eight inches longer than Ioniq Five—it’s a great example of the scalability of the brand’s E-GMP platform. For consumers, the three-row SUV aims to offer next-level interior functionality with a space that blends the home and automotive worlds.
The interior features a radical rethink, sporting a rear bench seat that wraps around the side of the vehicle along with a series of swivel chairs. This funky and exciting design ethos carries through to the exterior. One of my favorite points on the outside was the massive glass panel on the hatch that was flanked by a cascade of square-sectioned rear lights—the same pattern on the Ioniq Five. While the Seven was incredible to look at, boasting massive wheels, suicide doors, and a retractable steering wheel, I am curious to see which design features stay for the production variant.
Porsche Mission R
Unlike most automakers that release a concept but never follow through, Porsche has a track record of making its dreams a reality—most recently, the Mission E in 2015, eventually being sold as the Taycan. The German automaker also followed roughly the same pattern with the Boxster, Carrera GT, and 918.
The Mission R aims to be a sneak preview of what’s to come for Porsche’s customer racing program—and the well-heeled drivers with the cash to afford it. Despite only being able to race for 30 minutes on a single charge, it’s quite a potent package. While race mode unleashes 680 hp to maximize range, qualifying mode pumps out 1,088 hp to the dual-motor propulsion system, resulting in a sub-2.5 second 0-60 time. Between races, the 900-volt charging system can take the battery from five to eighty percent in just 15 minutes.
While most concept cars begin on a blank sheet of paper, Mission R was honed in computer-aided design (CAD) software from day one. Porsche says that it treated every stage of development as it would with a pre-production vehicle. Unsurprisingly, the model on the show floor wasn’t the actual working prototype.
Porsche Cayman GT4 RS
The non-RS Cayman GT4 was already a stupendously quick package, able to lap the Nurburgring Nordschleife in just seven minutes and twenty-eight seconds. And now, following countless spy shots from the Nordschleife, the world release of the GT4 RS wasn’t all too surprising. To offer some perspective, the new vehicle recently lapped the Nordschleife 23.6 seconds quicker than the non-RS model.
Sporting the same naturally aspirated, 4.0-liter flat-six engine as the 911 GT3, the flagship Cayman now puts out 493 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque. Contrary to the ethos of the manual-only GT4 variant, the latest RS model will only be available with a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission. With the increased cooling demand from the new engine, Porsche also added air intakes behind the side windows.
With the optional Weissach package, the GT4 RS gains a carbon-fiber front luggage lid, air intakes, airbox lid, exterior mirror caps, a rear wing along, titanium exhaust tips, and an Alcantara-wrapped dash. You can buy center-lock magnesium wheels (as seen on the car above) if you spec the Weissach package.
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