Thursday, November 20, 2008

2008 LA Auto Show Highlites

The LA Auto Show is in full swing and, unfortunately for me, no one is willing to pay me to go check these shows out live so I'll just have to make due with the web coverage. There are several new or updated models making their debuts at this show along with some new concepts.

2009 Nissan 370Z
So far the production car I'm most excited about is the 2009 Nissan 370Z which was officially revealed in LA. Sure we've all seen photos of the new Z for weeks now, but we finally have some more details to check out. Aside from the new exterior and interior, major changes have been made to the chassis which is now stronger and lighter. The new 370Z will weigh around 225 pounds less than the 350Z which, along with the bump in HP, should make the car scoot pretty good. The car should have a comparable power to weight ratio of a BMW E46 M3. Not too shabby. That car was capable of mid 4 second 0-60 sprints and mid to low 13 second 1/4 mile times. Handling as well as fuel economy should be improved with the reduction in weight . Mileage for the new 7 speed automatic and 6 speed manual are estimated to be the same 18 city/ 26 hwy.

Standard on the base model 370Z will be 18inch wheels with 225/50/R18 front and 245/45/R18 rear Yokohama ADVAN Sport summer tires. The optional sport package upgrades to lightweight Rays 19inch wheels covered with meaty 245/40/R19 front and 275/35/R19 rear Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires. The Sport Package also includes Nissan Sport Brakes with large diameter 14.0-inch front and 13.8-inch rear rotors with 4-piston front and 2-piston rear aluminum calipers. Standard brakes are 12.6-inch front/12.1-inch rear.

Only two 370Z models will be offered - base and touring and there will be two option packages - sport and navigation. So far I like what I hear and see for the most part. I never thought the 350Z was a great looking car but it grew on me. I'll have to see the 370Z in person before I make my decision on the styling. With a base price of $29,930, it's a pretty good performance deal.

Honda FC Sport Concept
On the concept car side of things, I'm very intrigued by the surprise Honda FC Sports fuel cell sports car concept. This came out of nowhere and shows that Honda is thinking of the future of sports cars. There aren't a lot of details but the car uses aerodynamics, light weight and the power of the hydrogen fuel cell system from the Honda FCX Clarity to provide performance and zero emissions and zero reliance on fossil fuels.

I really like the look of the car and I hope that it is a hint of what future Honda sports cars will look like. The car is a three seater like the McLaren F1 and has the fuel cell powertrain mounted mid-ship driving the rear wheels. I'm not big on the whole "green" movement or electric cars but if they all looked like this I'd be on board.

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