The 2010 LA Auto Show
Photos by Andrew Gates
Written by Nicolas Bates
Although not known for anything related to style or power, that is all about to change with Kia's newly redesigned Optima. The 2011 Kia Optima is a real eye catcher, and will certainly give the other vehicles in its heavily saturated market some guaranteed competition. The great looking, mid-sized sedan will come in three trims: The LX, EX, and SX, respectively. All models will come equipped with a 200-hp 2.4-liter inline-four, in either manual or automatic 6-speed. To be released later this year, is the 274-hp 2.0-liter inline-four (available only in auto) and a hybrid version. Paddle shifters will be available on automatics, and even when in 'D,' the driver can opt for an up or down shift. The Kia Optima is based off the Hyundai Sonata platform and both do share a respectable amount of parts. As both Kia and Hyundai have made a gigantic advancement as of late, I would certainly have no issue with this.
Suburu Impreza WRX STI
Suburu had quite the display this year, showing off its newly designed slew of vehicles. The vehicle that caught our eye the most was this pictured 2011 Suburu Impreza WRX STI Sedan; however, this Impreza was far from stock. This was the actual Impreza Tommi Mäkinen piloted that gave Suburu their fastest lap ever at the Nurburgring – 7:55:00. Rock chips, paint flubs, and a splintered front lip proved this car had seen some real world time, and that excited me. This particular Impreza is a prototype. Basically, a hybrid based off two special edition Japanese models: The Spec C and the R205 Impreza. The car sits 5mm lower than the 2010 models, gets stiffer springs and new rear sub-frame bushing and its anti-roll bars are 1mm thicker. This Impreza's larger turbo comes from an Impreza R205 and the motor out of an Impreza Spec C. Suburu claims 320 hp, and with a lightened aluminum hood and front fenders and Impreza R205 six-piston front brakes, this JDM hybrid is quick to go and quick to stop. A full in car video of Tommi Mäkinen's record breaking run down The 'Ring can be seen online from Suburu.
SMS Dodge Challenger 570X
Steve Saleen, no stranger to the world of highly modified American Muscle Cars, has now started SMS Supercars as his latest endeavor. SMS has produced its latest version of the Dodge Challenger: the 570 and 570X. The SMS 570 Dodge Challenger has previously been released, but the 570X is now ready to hit the streets. The 570, through use of an SMS 296 supercharger on its 5.7-liter HEMI, will produce 500-hp; however, the supercharged 570X, with its 6.0-liter HEMI, forged internals and aluminum heads, will see a mind blowing 700-hp and 650-lb-ft of torque. The 570X also includes SMS suspension and exhaust, 20-inch wheels, 6-speed transmission and external goodies like a carbon fiber front splitter, new rocker panels and rear diffuser. The two behemoths are already in production and the 570X will set you back about $70,000.
The engineers and production team at Lotus have been extremely busy lately, as they have just unveiled 5 newly designed vehicles – one of which is the well-known Esprit. The new Esprit, which will go into production in late 2012, and has been confirmed to go on sale in spring of 2013, is quite unrecognizable as the car it once was. Styled more like an extreme exotic (read: Lamborghini, Bugatti, etc), the Esprit will surely turn heads once its spotted on public highways. Although it is staying a mid-engine, rear-drive vehicle, it will lose its trademark turbocharger for a supercharger. This supercharger will be mated to a 5.0-liter V8, which it will be borrowing from the Lexus IS F. The car is said to be rated at 620-hp and accelerate from 0-60 in under 3.5 secs. Lotus released that the Esprit will also be available in a Hybrid model and with KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), in which heating from braking is stored and turned into energy that, with a push of a button, can give the driver a substantial boost in power. The car is said to have a fairly lower price at $175,000. Keep your eyes peeled in 2013 for this gem!
Mazda's newest concept car, the Shinari, is a 4-door, 4-passenger "sportier-than-average" sedan, although Mazda calls it a "sports coupe." This seems to be a love it or hate it design, but you be the judge. This RX-8 inspired concept is based off Mazda's newest design moto: "Kodo – Soul of Motion."
With images of strength flowing across every panel and part, the Mazda SHINARI looks ready to leap at any second. This form incorporates the expression of a strong backbone running through the body, the sudden release of pent-up energy, and the interplay of beautiful, supple movements. The distinctive front fenders represent the further evolution of the prominent fenders introduced on the RX-8. They highlight the dynamic movement expressed in the sides of SHINARI, in a style that is both sporty and elegant. Together with the further three-dimensional sculpting of the front grille, the design proudly emphasizes the Mazda lineage. There is a powerful line of movement originating at the grille and continuing through the bonnet, fender, front lamp modules and bumper. Finally, an aluminum floating bar linking the grille with the headlights enhances the three-dimensional expression of speed.