2002 L.A. Auto Show Preview

December 31, 2001

2002 Detroit Show Preview (12/16/2001)


The New Year’s a time for celebration — especially in Los Angeles, where some of the city’s best weather comes in January. It’s short-lived but for a brief few days, you can drop the inhaler and actually see why they call it the Valley.

Los Angeles’ car show also comes a few days before the colossal outpouring of product at the Detroit auto show. Sometimes it makes for a bonanza — automakers seek out L.A. and stand out in a smaller crowd — and sometimes it’s a relative bust, geared more toward local buyers than international media.

For 2002, TheCarConnection is getting up to speed for a banner L.A. show — and we’re bringing you along with us in this L.A. preview. We’ll be updating it as more cars are announced, up until the show’s press days of Jan. 3 and 4. And of course, we’ll be bringing you the news from the Left Coast in twice-daily show reports. Plus, we promise to let you in on the stars that brush by us rudely in Skybar.

2002 Maserati Spyder

2002 Maserati Spyder

2002 Maserati Spyder
After a 10-year absence, Maserati plans to christen its comeback in the U.S at the 2002 Los Angeles Auto Show. The exterior design of the new Spyder comes from Ital Design, while Maserati’s own engineers tooled up a new, race-bred 390-horsepower V-8 engine that delivers an unrestrained top speed of 175 mph. The price tag for the new Spyder will run about $90,000, and even at those prices, Ferrari executives have predicted 40 percent of Maserati's total production of 3800 units next year will be sold in the U.S.
Maserati to Debut at L.A. Show by Joseph Szczesny (11/26/2001)

2002 Pontiac Vibe

2002 Pontiac Vibe

2001 Toyota Matrix

2001 Toyota Matrix

2003 Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix
Twins beneath their Gen-Y sheetmetal, the Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix arrive in showrooms shortly after the beginning of the year. Based loosely on the Toyota Corolla chassis, the five-door wagons each come in three trim levels: base Vibes and XR Matrices get the Corolla’s 130-horsepower, 1.8-liter, DOHC, 16-valve four, while the Vibe GT and Matrix XRS sport the 180-hp engine from the Celica GT. Both come in 130-hp all-wheel-drive versions, too. While the Vibe is built in the NUMMI GM/Toyota plant in Fremont, Calif., the Matrix will be assembled in Cambridge, Ont.

Chrysler Crossfire Concept

Chrysler Crossfire Concept

2004 Chrysler Crossfire
Earlier this year, DaimlerChrysler announced plans to put the Chrysler Crossfire concept vehicle into production. At the Los Angeles show, the sleek sports car will be displayed in its final form. To be built in Europe in volumes of about 20,000 units a year, the Crossfire is said to be loosely based on the last-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe.

2002 Jaguar S-Type R spy shot

2002 Jaguar S-Type R spy shot

2003 Jaguar S-Type R
Distinguishable by its unique mesh grille — and by its supercharged 400-hp 4.2-liter V-8 — this is no ordinary S-Type. Jaguar will be introducing this all-new S-Type R to the world in Los Angeles. Blacked-out trim, a new front bumper with a large air intake, auxiliary lamps and a lowered ride height with a multiple-mode suspension distinguish it from the S-Type, while low-profile tires and 18-inch wheels, along with new badging integrated into the grille, round out the new look.
Spy Shots: ‘03 Jaguar S-Type R by Brenda Priddy (11/26/2001)

2003 Infiniti G35

2003 Infiniti G35

2001 Nissan Z Concept

2001 Nissan Z Concept

Infiniti G35 and Nissan 350Z
Two new rear-drive additions to the Nissan/Infiniti lineup are set for L.A. debuts. The Nissan 350Z, shown in final form at the recent Tokyo Show, is to be joined by the Infiniti G35, a new midsize sports sedan. Both are expected to share a 260-hp V-6 engine and a base price of less than $30,000.

Lincoln flagship concept

Lincoln flagship concept

Lincoln Flagship Concept
While the current Continental front-drive sedan sails into likely its final year, Lincoln is prepping a possible replacement in concept form. This flagship concept has a V-12 engine under its squared hood, which appears similar to the MK9 concept from last year's Detroit show. No more details have been supplied, but it's assumed the flagship concept will be rear-wheel driven.

2002 Mini Cooper S

2002 Mini Cooper S

2003 Mini Cooper S
The more powerful Mini gets its debut in L.A. before the first Mini has gone on sale. In the past, the ‘S’ stood for Special; this time it means ‘supercharged,’ which explains the car’s main identifying feature, an air intake in the hood. Using modern supercharging technology and an intercooler, the S squeezes 163 horsepower out of its 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, giving the sports version a top speed of 135 mph and zero to 60 mph acceleration in just over seven seconds. Parent company BMW has aimed the Cooper S directly at the enthusiast market; in addition to the extra power the car gets sports suspension, bigger wheels with run-flat tires, Automatic Stability Control and traction control and a six-speed manual gearbox.

Other intros:

From Lincoln, we’re expecting the updated 2003 Navigator, as well as a flagship concept that may already have approval to replace the Continental in 2004. A rear-drive chassis and V-8 power are expected…An updated NSX might be shown, with improvements akin to those on the NSX-R shown at the Tokyo Motor Show… A BMW M3 with a sequential gearbox is set for an L.A. launch...The long-anticipated hot Neon is said to be ready for the Dodge display in custom-crazy L.A.

updated 12/18/01

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