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LA Auto Show to showcase new, greener models

November 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The Los Angeles Auto Show is around the corner, where manufactures are unveiling new models, many with a greener side.

One manufacture looking to be more green is Jaguar. The luxury line offered a sneak peek of its new CX-16 Hybrid Concept model, a striking vehicle that evokes the heritage of Jaguar. It has a twin turbo V6 engine with a hybrid power train. The company has yet to confirm if it will actually build the car.

Eyewitness News also got a sneak preview of BMW's electrified concept cars, the i3 and the i8. The i3 is a plug-in electric vehicle, and the i8 is a hybrid. Both models are concepts, but the i3 may be on the road by 2013. BMW spokesman Rich Steinberg said the electric models are still BMWs and have great performance.

"This car, with lithium ion-technology as well as carbon fiber, that's sort of unique that we've added to the mix when it comes to electric cars. Carbon fiber is extremely strong, extremely light weight, and it allows this car to perform like a BMW like you would expect," said Steinberg about the i3 model.

As for the i8 model, Steinberg said it will be featured in the upcoming film, "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol," starring Tom Cruise.

Steinberg said the i8 is a plug-in hybrid vehicle with two motors - an electric motor up front that drives the front wheels and a small gasoline motor that drives the rear wheels.

"Zero to 60 well under five seconds, almost 400 horsepower and 78 miles per gallon," Steinberg described.

One splashy debut Wednesday was Cadillac's XTS, the first new large sedan from them in many years.

"This car, while it's a beautifully dramatic car, it's going to be a blast to drive," said Mark Ruess, president of GM North America. "It'll be very entertaining, very fun, but also in a spirit of luxury, very refined."

There's even a ramping up of the horsepower war between Chevy and Ford. The new Camaro ZL1 will make 580, but Ford's Shelby GT 500 counters that with 650.

Efficiency is now part of the plan as well. Mercedes' new AMG models will have slightly smaller engines than before.

Not far away, Audi is highlighting its new S8 sedan. If you want luxury and power, this big German ride gets it done with 520 horsepower.

Small rides are showing off their speedy side, too. Among Wednesday's debuts at the show was the new Abarth version of the Fiat 500. Pocket size fun, Italian style.

One other thing to note is that as consumers become more technology conscious, the auto industry follows suit with more gadgets and devices in new models.

Automakers are busy rolling out new ways to integrate handheld devices into vehicle platforms. After hearing complaints about them being too complicated, they're also trying to make them simpler.

In the past, technology in cars often became outdated before a lease was up. Cadilllac says its new system will be able to remain current.

"It's an iPad-like display," said Cadillac spokesman Jeff Massimilla. "CUE has technology integrated into it that will allow content developers to add features to CUE that are purposeful, useful for driving down the road."

Ford took criticism recently for its MyFord Touch system being too complicated. So inside the restyled Flex is a re-worked interface. It features clever things we didn't even know we needed.

"We've made some updates on the screens where you're going to see larger fonts, simplified layouts that are all going to work together to make it easier for the user," said Jennifer Brace, a Ford spokeswoman.

Technology can also make cars cleaner and more fuel efficient, too. Mazda developed a combination of technologies they call SkyActiv.

The Los Angeles Auto Show opens Nov. 18 - 27 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. You can get more information about the L.A. Auto Show at www.laautoshow.com.


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