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2012 LA Auto Show Highlights

California is widely known for its influence on car culture. With over 37 million residents, California ranks higher than many countries in terms of annual automotive purchases. Whereas the LA Auto Show was once just another mid-sized auto show, over the last few years it joined the ranks amongst the big three shows. And many argue that the LA Auto Show is the most important show for all but domestic manufacturers.

This past week we made the trip out to the show for press days and we are excited to give you a glimpse at the highlights. While we were sure to checkout all vehicles on display, our main goal was to see what our brands had to offer.

We will be piecing together our video footage shortly for each of our brands, but in the meantime we’ve put together the synopsis below to tide you over.

 

Bentley

Bentley GT3 Coupe and 2014 GT Speed

 

Undoubtedly, the most noticeable vehicle at Bentley was the new GT3 concept. The Bentley GT3 Coupe and 2014 GT Speed made their North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto show. The GT3 racecar, first revealed at the Paris Auto Show, marks Bentley’s return to competitive GT sport car racing. While the car is still considered a concept, it is currently undergoing testing with the goal of participated in motorsports events towards the end of 2013.

One thing we do know is that the GT3 coupe is loosely based on the new 2014 Bentley GT Speed, which also debuted at the show. The 205 mpg GT Speed is Bentley’s fastest car ever. The reworked bi-turbo 6.0l W12 that propels it generates 616hp and reaches 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds. Bentley reports that the GT Speed can sprint from 0 to 60 in 4 seconds and I have no reason to doubt them. The GT Speed rolls on unique 21 inch wheels, which accompanied with the 10mm decrease in ride height, really make the GTSpeed pop. Stiffened springs and anti-roll bars reportedly sharpen handling and massive 16.5 inch carbon brakes with 8-piston calipers provide substantial stopping power.

Bentley also displayed the latest Mulliner driving specification on the Mulsanne, but the two GT models certainly garnered the most attention.

 

Ford

2014 Ford Fiesta

 

This year Ford’s emphasis was on the Fiesta. For 2014 the Fiesta gets a mild refresh, but the biggest news was what is to come under the hood. At the show, amidst much pomp and circumstance including a live outdoor Ken Block Gymkhana show, Ford confirmed that their 1.0 liter Ecoboost engine will join the Fiesta lineup. Ford expects the Ecoboost Fiesta to be the most fuel efficient non-hybrid vehicle on the market in the US. Despite exceeding the current 1.6 liter engines horsepower and torque figures, the 1.0liter turbocharged 3-cylinder is expected to deliver fuel economy in the neighborhood of 45 miles per gallon. This makes the Fiesta a legitimate competitor to more expensive, fuel sipping hybrids.

Ford also announced the addition of an ST model to the Fiesta range. The Fiesta ST massages the 1.6 liter Ecoboost engine to generate 197 horsepower and 214 lb./ft. of torque. Despite the cars elevated levels of performance, it is still projected to return up to 34 miles per gallon. This of course assumes that you’re not constantly flooring the loud pedal.

Overshadowed by all of the Fiesta fan-fare, Ford also debuted the new Transit Connect 7-seat van.

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