In-car technology is really hitting its stride and will be reflected throughout the show in everything from gadget-laden luxury rides to endless aftermarket options in the Convention Center’s Kentia Hall (which is devoted to aftermarket, tuner and custom exhibitors).
For example, Cadillac’s new flagship XTS luxury sedan — which will be making its world debut at the show — features the company’s new CUE infotainment system. The system combines entertainment, communication and navigation tools with an intuitive user interface.
“Brand-new technologies … [will] connect you in ways that were previously unimaginable and also bring safety features that border on some autonomous driving characteristics,” Flynn said. “Lexus has technology that actually scans your eye and can tell if you’re tired; Mercedes has technology that, based on an algorithm, monitors your regular driving … and will warn you [of irregularities].”
In addition to high-tech safety systems — lane departure warning, collision mitigation, dual-stage airbags, etc. — a new wave of in-car technologies offers everything from medical information systems (to monitor, for example, blood-sugar levels) to pollen-level readings to self-parking.
“Really your car is becoming like a personal assistant — advisor, doctor, chauffeur!” Flynn said.
The L.A. Auto Show traditionally includes a large luxury and performance component, and this year is no exception. Mercedes-Benz will unveil its high-powered ML63 AMG SUV (a world debut) and SLS AMG Roadster (North American debut), while Chevrolet will roll out its most powerful convertible ever, the Camaro ZL1 (also making its world premiere). Jaguar will be showing off its stunning C-X16 concept, while Cadillac’s retro-tastic hybrid convertible Ciel concept is a guaranteed crowd-puller. In fact, about half of the models debuting at this year’s L.A. Auto Show fall into the luxury/performance category.
Los Angeles Fiat fans have been thoroughly spoiled of late. Last year the Italian auto giant chose the L.A. Auto Show for its grand return to the U.S. market with the release of the Fiat 500. Twelve months later, they’re back at the show for the North American debut of that super-cute subcompact’s performance Abarth variant.
“It’s always this juxtaposition in L.A. of practical and green and then super-luxury performance cars,” Flynn said.
Among the more practical highlights of this year’s show will be a trio of new entries into the super-hot compact crossover segment: the latest version of Ford’s big-selling Escape (world debut), Honda’s redesigned CR-V (world debut) and Mazda’s all-new CX-5 (North American debut).
Expect a series of exciting announcements from auto manufacturers at the L.A. show. For example, Ford is expected to announce an entirely new sub-brand.
“BMW’s going to be making a similar announcement,” Flynn said. “Now they have BMW i, which is going to be a sub-brand that’s focused on sustainability.”
With so much to see and do, Flynn recommends spending at least two hours at the show or making a day of it in combination with a visit to the neighboring L.A. Live entertainment complex (ins and outs are permitted with a hand stamp). A little research at www.laautoshow.com can help visitors identify their favorite exhibitors in advance, and the site lists attractions like celebrity autograph-signings and musical events.
In addition to the many restaurants at L.A. Live, the Los Angeles Convention Center offers an array of dining options of its own — from sushi to burgers and pizza — plus a free Kids’ Fun Zone (weekends only), complete with bounce houses, face-painting and video games.
“When you look online for discount coupons, you end up paying $10 each for adults, and kids get in free,” Flynn said. “It’s a pretty inexpensive day.”