Press Days 1 and 2
Welcome back to Los Angelese, where the 2017 auto show of the same name is well underway, and certainly being far more interesting than the teasers would have had you believe.
Kishiwo, a Japanese start up that, no, I haven’t heard of either, introduced the Yoko E Drive concept. It’s set to release with both a conventional ICE, electric or hybrid powertrain, the first of which is connceted to an 8 speed automatic. The styling is decent, if uncohesive at the front, and I seriously don’t see anything paying $16k for a petrol supermini, let alone $35k for a hydrogen. If anything, it’s the cost that really confuses me here, when other companies are offering far more car with similar drivetrains for much less money.
Scagliati gave us a right show with a new version of the Cinquetorri. Holy god it’s vulgar at the front, and I’m fairly sure I could fit inside that front grill, but I am weirdly attracted to it. The rear end is stunning, and that’s the first time I’ve ever said that about the SUV. You don’t need any explanation of the interior, it’s simply astonishing, and it even has a 7 seater trim, something unheard of at this end of the market. Naturally, it’s way too pricey for its own good, but then again, you’ll need a Title and a claim to a mansion house in the UK just to own one.
As if it couldn’t get anymore spectacular, they unveiled a new trim for the La Serenissima. Called the Quattrocento, it takes the brilliantly different GT cruiser I drove last month and shoves nine-hundred and twenty-two italian horses down its driveshaft. It’s amazing it can’t go from 0-60 without bending space time around it, but flat out, it’ll top 250 mph. God its so stupid, but of course you want one. You’d have to be clinically unintelligent not to.
Miller gave a very minimalist presentation of two cars. The Arghonaught, which they teased earlier on, was revealed with one photo and some very basic information, and the same again for the smart looking Prestige. Perhaps its part of a new marketing strategy, which their marketing executive seems to have taken on board when it comes to revealing new cars. It isn’t that “some people made it clear that they don’t care”, it’s that Miller, for me at least, haven’t given me enough reason to care that they’re releasing new cars.
Zenshi presented the facelift Gamaru SUV along with some new engines for it, as well as facelifts across the board with the new Shinka Ken design languge. They’re shaping up to be handsome cars, even if the rear lacks some of the finesse and fineness of the front end. Of particular note was the Nimessa Newman R/A, a more-faster-sportier-but-not-quite-as-sportier-as-the-Newman-R-Zero-variant variant of my (beloved) Nimessa Newman R…starting to become a bit of a tongue twister that. It’s slightly more powerful, slightly lighter and has a smacking great wing on the rear! Certainly one for the more extreme driver then. Think I’ll be sticking with the standard model for now.
AL Autos were up next. It really says something about how far the company has come recently in that they’re now pricing their cars reasonably, and with this new Volatillis, they’ve put a huge amount of work in to develop a well equipped and affordable sports coupe. The low end RGS trim, with the 3.3l i6, is of particular note; at a price of around $30k, it’s an awfully tempting alternative to the hot hatches in this class, especially with its performance.
However, there is something to be said about the styling. It’s a little hard to explain, though I feel this rather adequatley sums it up: I was hosting a dinner date a few years back at my flat, with this girl I was really keen to impress. I’d cooked everything perfectly, the mood was just right and she certainly seemed to be enjoying herself. It was all going so well that my dog decided to come and poke his nose in - he’d obviously smelt the lamb joint I’d cooked - and leapt up at me, which we all found very funny, before promptly being sick in my lap and walking off.
I had the gall to think nothing could possibly be worse than wiping yellow vomit from your shirt in front of a girl I was trying to impress. I spoke too soon.
Conan gave us the majestic CS67. It looks a little Beverley Hills, circa 2007 with that chrome grille and sharp-curvy design style, but there’s no denying there is an elegance to it. V12 engines, proper GT performance figures and plenty of luxury. It continues a heritage of Coupe S models, and certainly seems to tick all the boxes for a luxury coupe. Price wise, not a clue, but it’s worth keeping on your radar - if you can deal with the styling.
Deponte’s exceptionally bland advert couldn’t have been further away from the smartness of the Atem’s styling; the new supercar is a classy and well sculpted MR machine, named after (and do correct me if I’m wrong) the Egyptian ‘God of Gods’. A 200+mph supercar for £123k sounds particularly good value, although someone might want to correct them on their spelling of “Howitzer” (not that it isn’t a great name for an engine). A number of other trims are planned, though where they will find their place in the saturated supercar market is another question.
DiMarino’s range of cars look absolutley incredible, and I was blown away by…nope, wait, this isn’t 2001. DiMarino’s cars certainly stand out on the spec sheets, but they look positively outdated, and the double crhome chrille of the Elbrus is hardly a picturesque feature. The DE30, which apparently has been restyled and renamed to the Hussar (great name by the way) may still look very old, but it certainly seems to offer a lot of comfort and a lot of performance. The only catch? That 1990kg weight; it’s considerably heavier than a lot of its mid-size performance sedan rivals.
Contendiente gave perhaps its most cohesive display to date. Of particular note was the new Conquista lineup; the companies mid-size sedan (I think) has a lovely new range of engines (efficient, decently powerful etc etc) whilst the S trim is getting something properply phenomenal: a 500hp 3.0l Turbp I6. Wow. That’s a hell of a lot of power even for a performance sedan, and with a quoted 0-60 time of 3.4 seconds and an asking price of just $35k, this might be the bargain of the century. The rest of the competition ought to be worried, though one does wonder what corners they had to cut to get to such a price.
The company also revealed its Crossover-Wagon-crossover thing with the Enemgio Tourer (mmmm yes) and the Efecto (mmm no). Little needs to be said about the Tourer, the transition from sedan to estate has been handled well and its a lovely looking car, plus the same bargain prices and good range of engines can be had on this model too. The Efecto however, well, suffers from the fundamental flaw of being a crossover…nope, wait, I’m not allowed to get that opinionated with these reviews. It’s quite a bit more expensive than the Tourer, and you are only paying for that extra ride height. I certainly don’t think it’s worth it, but then again, I’m not one of the Yummy Mummy’s who’s going to buy one of these things. At least they’re pushing it’s AWD capability to some extent…
Then, Abra appeared. No word, no warning, no specs either, Abra revealed some sort of sports sedan. It looks like a fish at the front, has very odd 80-spoke wheels in the middle and looks like someone from the Burnout 3 developers team designed the rear. What is it, where it comes from and what its even for? Not a clue.
Another unusual and unexpected appearnce came from Arrowhead. They claim their Ayla V8 Blackmamba Coupe is “one of the best looking cars your can find in the market”. I claim to have the ability to walk on water but there’s no prizes for guessing that I can’t. Hence, I beg to differ.
Still, 630hp sports coupe? Could be worth a look.
Cornaldie appeared with Project Ghost, an LMP2 race car that’s been developed by a factory team…er, unless they intend to sell that to other teams before it gets raced, the FIA are gonna want to have a word with them.
Well, LA certainly threw up some surprises, and I didn’t even have time to cover them all properly! Don’t worry, they’ll be covered in the next update. For now though, it’s adios from me, I need to find a bar and an insider at Contendiente to see if they’ll reveal any drunk secrets about what they’re working on to me…
- Gavin Anderson
Edit 30/11/17: corrected Zenshi section re: aircon on Nimessa Newman R/A