Thoughts about November often involve images of falling leaves, family meals over turkey, and crisp autumn weather. However, if you’re a car enthusiast November also marks the first North American auto show of the season in Los Angeles, California. Here are our five favorite new cars from the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show to rip us all out of our tryptophan-induced lulls.
The Jaguar XF is such a pretty car, and it drives well, too. But our favorite recent Jaguar is the drives-like-a-bat-of-hell XKR-S…until now. Take one part XFR, one part XKR-S, and a bucket of French Racing Blue paint and, voilà! Enter the XFR-S, a sultry British sport sedan packing 550 hp from its aurally delicious 5.0-liter supercharged V-8. Aesthetic improvements border between restrained (the front fascia) and boy-racer (the huge, carbon-fiber rear wing). Pricing starts just a hair under six figures at $99,875, but act quickly – Jaguar is bringing just 100 copies to the U.S. market next year.
We love the 2013 Porsche Boxster; in fact, we love it so much we named in our 2013 Design of the Year. It stands to reason that we’re also going to love the 2013 Porsche Cayman, which is essentially a coupe version of the Boxster. The same two flat-six engine options from the droptop appear in the Cayman: either a 274-hp 2.7-liter in the Cayman or a 325-hp 3.4-liter in the Cayman S; both available with a six-speed manual or seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission. With a 0-to-60-mph time of just 4.4 seconds for the Cayman S, we can’t wait for the even hotter Cayman R when that appears down the road.
It can be hard to remake a legend without ruining it. Mercedes’ last attempt to replace the venerable G-Class (the GL) was met with such animosity, the automaker decided to let the box-on-wheels SUV soldier on. Now we have a glimpse at the future of the G, and it looks awesome. While much of the design and technology of the ENER-G-FORCE is pure fantasy, the concept car gives us confidence that when Mercedes-Benz finally does give the 33-year-old G-Class a makeover, it won’t mess things up. The ENER-G-FORCE has He-Man-like looks that are all too familiar: the overall profile design is almost identical to the current G, the front fascia harks back to the original design with a dark grille surround, and the taillights are a clear evolution of the Galendewagen theme.
When we think of Los Angeles, we think of sunny skies, beautiful weather, and convertibles. Volkswagen must be thinking along the same lines, unveiling the all-new Beetle Convertible in the last week of November. The new ragtop Bug adheres to the same formula as the coupe (2.5-liter, 2.0-liter turbo, and 2.0-liter turbo-diesel engines; six-speed stick, auto, or DSG transmissions), but it’s the three special editions that caught our eye at this year’s L.A. show.
To celebrate the Beetle Convertible’s launch, VW has churned out 50s-, 60s-, and 70s-edition cars, each with its own unique paint, trim, and wheels. Most fetching is the 50s Edition Beetle Convertible, with its black pearl paint, beige leather sport seats, and chrome dog-dish hubcaps. A close second is the rich brown 70s Edition car – done up in a delicious toffee brown hue. The 50s- and 70s-edition models both come with the 2.5-liter and six-speed auto. Extroverts will be more inclined toward the 60s Edition Beetle Convertible: bright denim blue over two-tone blue leather seats powered by the mighty 2.0T and DSG.
Although we may be in the minority of U.S. buyers, we love diesels. Audi understands us and is helping the cause: in addition to the Q7 TDI crossover it already offers, the German automaker introduced not one, not two, but four new oil-burning models for our market. Buyers looking for frugal-yet-fun powertrains will now be able to opt for a 3.0-liter TDI V-6 engine making 240 hp and a massive 406 lb-ft of torque under the hoods of the A6, A7, A8, and Q5. Audi expects stellar fuel economy numbers from all of its TDI models, estimating that the big A8 will achieve around 24/36 mpg city/highway; the current Q7 TDI is rated at 19/28. The four new Audi diesels will go on sale next fall.