2003 L.A. Auto Show Preview

December 9, 2002

updated 12/12/02

The New Year begins each year with a battle between Detroit and L.A. And oddly enough, it has nothing to do with Eminem and a West Coast posse.

For the past decade, Los Angeles and Detroit have warred over which show will make more impact in the first days of the new year. Usually, the L.A. show gets in the first punch by virtue of timing. And this year it’s no different – the Los Angeles show media days will be Jan. 2-3, with only a day to recuperate before the Detroit show begins in earnest.

The L.A. show benefits too from the timing dilemma between Detroit, Tokyo and Stuttgart and within the car companies themselves. For instance, you’ll see the Dodge Magnum concept in Los Angeles because Chrysler doesn’t want to crowd out the new Durango and other products set for a Detroit debut the next Monday.

Our latest information on the debutantes and newsmakers for the L.A. auto show follows. Stay with TCC until Jan. 2 as we update and add to this preview — and of course, join us from the show floor as we hit 2003 running.

2004 Dodge Magnum
Shown here is the wagon-like Dodge Magnum. Or is it the Allsport? Both names have been associated with this newest entry to the station wagon …er… crossover segment. Even the name CrossRoads has been mentioned – but we believe that name may be referring to a closely related Chrysler crossover. Sources tell us this “crossover” will hit dealerships in the spring of 2004 as a mid-year introduction. As part of the lineup that will replace the Intrepid models, this tall (six inches taller than the current LH models) wagon will be available in rear-wheel or optional all-wheel drive, and will be powered by a Hemi V-8 with 300 hp. Our sources also tell us the grille is similar to but more macho than the current Stratus Coupe, with very obvious Ram influences.

2004 Pontiac GTO

2004 Pontiac GTO

2004 Pontiac GTO
The revered Pontiac GTO nameplate is about to make a comeback to U.S. showrooms. But the GTO for the 21st century won't be built in the States — instead it will be a rebadged version of the Holden Monaro, a home-brewed muscle car from General Motors' Australian subsidiary. As the Monaro, it carries a 290-horsepower version of the LS1 alloy V-8, a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission and the sort of rear-drive handling that will appeal to those for whom the GTO was such a hit all those years ago. We expect minor power and styling tweaks for the U.S. version set to debut at L.A.

2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII

2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII

2004 Mitsubishi Evolution VIII
Mitsubishi has set out on an aggressive product schedule — and a new 276-hp version of the Lancer compact is high atop the enthusiast drool list. The Lancer Evolution scheduled for L.A may be joined by a new Galant, which goes on sale in the fall of 2003 as a 2004 model, or a Lancer Sportback, a five-door wagon meant to compete against the five door Ford Focus and Mazda Protégé5, which will debut in 2003.

2002 Scion bbX concept

2002 Scion bbX concept

2004 Scion lineup
Toyota’s youth-oriented brand, which made a concept debut last year in Los Angeles, will show two production vehicles at this year’s show. The first will be a production version of the boxy BBX concept which, perhaps not so coincidentally, bears a strong resemblance to Honda’s new Element. The other vehicle hasn’t been pinned down, but both vehicles will start at around $18,000, says Scion’s new boss, Jim Lentz. Scion products will be built in Japan with only minimal variations in color and transmissions but will be available with a wide range of accessories, which will be retrofitted once vehicles are shipped to the U.S. Toyota hopes the division will reach 100,000 sales annually by 2005.

2004 Audi A8

2004 Audi A8

2004 Audi A8
Audi will show its new A8 for the first time in the U.S. in Los Angeles. The company will offer U.S. buyers two engine choices—at least initially. There’s a 3.7-liter V-8, but look for the 330-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8 to be the prime pick for American motorists. It will turn 0-60 times of 6.3 seconds, thanks to a lightweight aluminum body. Audi has come up with an all-new six-speed automatic (a variation of the six-speed used in BMW’s new 7-Series) that is geared for good launch acceleration. As you might expect, all A8s will come with the all-wheel-drive quattro system as standard equipment.
Preview: 2004 Audi A8 by TCC Team (9/9/2002)

2003 Enzo Ferrari

2003 Enzo Ferrari

2003 Ferrari Enzo
Going, going, gone — if you haven’t ordered your Enzo, you’re out of luck. Named for the automaker’s sainted founder, the 2003 Enzo will churn out 650 horsepower, hit a top speed of 217 mph, and launch from a dead stop to 60 in 3.6 seconds. Making extensive use of carbon fiber, this high-tech wonder will feature a computerized instrument panel and borrow heavily from Ferrari’s dominant Formula One car in concept, technology and design. The V-12-powered Enzo is expected to command a $670,000 price tag. But the Enzo does have one problem: a limited production run. In a rare bow to market demand, Ferrari has increased production — from 249 to 399. But even then, the car was sold out before its official September premier at the Paris Motor Show.

2003 Porsche Cayenne S

2003 Porsche Cayenne S

2003 Porsche Cayenne
It’s here at last – the first family car from Porsche, the Cayenne. Showing up in L.A. for its American coming-out, the Cayenne is a four-door Porsche first and an SUV second – it just happens that the most profitable route to a Porsche for buyers in the middle years between no family and an empty nest was through SUV country.
Preview: 2003 Porsche Cayenne by Ian Norris (11/25/2002)

2004 VW Touareg

2004 VW Touareg

2004 Volkswagen Touareg
Volkswagen’s Touareg SUV bears plenty of relation to the Cayenne — VW and Porsche developed the vehicles together from a common platform. The big difference in the two is powertrains: the Touareg sports a 220-hp V-6 version that will hit U.S. showrooms late next spring, as well as the high-line 313-hp V-10 turbodiesel that is on tap for sometime in 2004. A V-8 version will also be added at launch in the second quarter of 2003.
2004 Volkswagen Touareg by TCC Team (10/7/2002)

2004 Jaguar XJ

2004 Jaguar XJ

2004 Jaguar XJ
Jaguar’s range-topping vehicle is new for 2004, and the most obvious change in the ’04 XJ is its size. The car is about four inches longer, an equal amount wider and a good five inches taller. And that’s the short-wheelbase model. A long-wheelbase version is likely to follow in about two years. The new car will offer several different powertrains, but the primary package will feature the smooth and powerful 390-hp 4.2-liter V-8—supercharged in the XJR—mated to a six-speed automatic.

2003 Maybach M57

2003 Maybach M57

2004 Maybach 57
After a five-year gestation, the reborn ueber-Benz brand is back, and buyers willing and able to plop down at least $300,000 will have two distinct models to choose from. The substantial M57 and downright huge M62. The numbers refer to the vehicle length in meters, meaning the bigger of the two measures in at almost 20 feet bumper to bumper. The 57 is set for an L.A. launch; the shorter of the two vehicles is billed as the “driver’s car,” and with a V-12 producing 550 horsepower and seemingly endless amounts of torque, there’s no question it’s got more than enough muscle to burn up the Autobahn.

2003 BMW 330i Performanc Package

2003 BMW 330i Performanc Package

2003 BMW 330i Performanc Package2003 BMW 330i Performance Package
Another auto-show debut has already been revealed — and this time it’s from the performance gurus at BMW’s M division. The new Performance Package for the 2003 330i sedan will show itself for the first time at the Los Angeles auto show on January 2nd, 2003. The package has been tuned by BMW Individual, a division of BMW’s M performance division. The 330i’s 3.0-liter in-line six-cylinder engine gets different camshafts and performance-modified Digital Motor Electronics for a ten-horsepower boost to 235 hp. The uprated motor is paired to a standard six-speed manual transmission with a short-throw shifter and a shorter final drive ratio. With them, the Performance Package 330i is said to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in six seconds, about half a second faster than a standard 330i. Eighteen-inch wheels are included too, along with an aerodynamic package, black headlight trim, and a new exhaust.
2003 Detroit Auto Show Preview by Marty Padgett (12/9/2002)

ALSO SCHEDULED:

2004 Mazda RX-8 (special movie car from the X-Men sequel)

2003 Mercedes-Benz C320 Sports Coupe

2003 Mercedes-Benz C320 Sports Sedan

2003 BMW Alpina Roadster

Kia Sorento Surf concept

Kia Rio Cinco Swim concept

Ford (unconfirmed production model)

Ford 427 concept

2003 Volvo V70-R

2003 Volvo S80

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