SEMA News—February 2014
By John Stewart
Los Angeles Auto Show Highlights
The Los Angeles Auto Show is the first international auto show of the season, so it provides an early look at some of the vehicles that could be important to SEMA-member companies in 2014.
Shown here are a few of the most interesting cars and trucks. Many of these vehicles and others will be available to SEMA members for measuring sessions in the near future.
Colorado Breathes Life Into Midsize Truck Segment
Chevrolet unveiled the all-new ’15 Colorado, a midsize truck for customers who don’t require a fullsize pickup. The Colorado goes on sale in fall of 2014 as a ’15 model.
A 2.5L inline-four engine is standard, and a 3.6L V6 is available. Each engine is designed specifically for truck use, and each features direct injection and variable valve timing to make the most of power and efficiency. Each is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The Colorado will also offer the segment’s only diesel engine in its second year—a proven Duramax 2.8L I4 turbodiesel that is already offered in global markets. The diesel engine will expand the Colorado’s powertrain lineup to cover the broadest range of needs.
When properly equipped, the Colorado is expected to offer class-leading payload capacity and trailering capacity of more than 6,700 lbs. (3,039 kg). The ’15 Colorado’s configurations will include an extended-cab model with a 6-ft. bed, a crew cab with a 5-ft. bed and a crew cab with a 6-ft. bed. With the tailgate down, the 6-ft. bed allows hauling of 8-ft.-long items.
WT, LT and Z71 trims are available in 2WD or 4WD. The off-road-inspired Z71 is shown on a truck unveiled at the Chevrolet press conference. It also features a gunmetal grille surround—a change from the chrome that is standard on the other models—as well as projector headlamps and unique 17-in. aluminum wheels. Safety features include an available forward collision-alert system and lane-departure warning.
Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec
Hyundai showed the Turbo R-Spec, a sport-tuned version of the Veloster, at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The Turbo R-Spec is based on the responsive, aftermarket-tunable 1.6L, direct-injected, turbocharged engine, along with unique design cues, enhanced chassis tuning, a short-throw B&M Racing sport shifter and the lowest price point in the Veloster Turbo lineup. R-Spec production was slated to begin in December 2013, with availability in early February 2014.
The Veloster Turbo R-Spec’s sport suspension and steering settings have been retuned for optimum responsiveness, with higher spring rates and a more rigid transmission mount. On the powertrain side, R-Spec is available with only the six-speed manual transmission, and the short-throw B&M sport shifter was added for a tighter, more direct shift feel.
Adding to the focused driving experience for all ’14 Veloster Turbo R-Spec and Turbo models is Torque Vectoring Control (TVC). This active cornering feature, utilizing capabilities from the electronic stability control (ESC) and powertrain control systems, improves dynamic cornering during more enthusiastic driving.
TVC uses wheel-speed sensors coupled with ESC algorithms to apply precise braking force to the inside front wheel during spirited cornering. This active braking redirects power to the outside front wheel in the turn, reducing wheel spin for enhanced cornering grip and corner-exit acceleration. Overall, TVC is intended to provide Veloster Turbo R-Spec drivers with enhanced cornering precision.
Hyundai also showed an ultra-clean hydrogen fuel cell version of the Tucson that is designed to launch in spring 2014. To address the issue of affordability, Hyundai announced a sales program of $2,999 down and payments of $499 a month, with unlimited free hydrogen refueling.
’15 Subaru WRX
Amid much fanfare and bursts of steam, Subaru of America unveiled the ’15 WRX, a more powerful and better-handling version of the brand’s iconic high-performance model. Powered by a new 268hp, 2.0L, direct-injection turbo boxer engine, the ’15 WRX debuts the model’s first six-speed manual transmission and a new, optional performance automatic transmission, the Sport Lineartronic, with two manual modes. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard.
The world debut of the ’15 WRX marks a major evolutionary step for the rally-bred performance car. The WRX will employ a new torque-vectoring system that supplements the standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system and allows for improved cornering speeds and handling. The new powertrain also yields higher fuel efficiency than the previous model. At the same time, a roomier interior, upgraded cabin comfort and materials and a wide array of new user technologies were included to give the new WRX a more refined feel.
Nissan GT-R NISMO
Nissan emphasized performance by making the North American debut of the most powerful Nissan GT-R supercar ever, the GT-R NISMO. As the fourth model in the ’15 GT-R lineup, along with the GT-R Premium, Black Edition and Track Edition, the GT-R NISMO features extensive engine, suspension, exterior and interior enhancements. It is scheduled to be available later in 2014, following the January on-sale date of the other ’15 GT-R models. Nissan Divisional Vice President of Sales & Marketing Fred Diaz said that the GT-R NISMO would offer 600 hp and be capable of blistering acceleration.
The new GT-R was joined at the Nissan press conference by the world debut of a custom-built Sentra NISMO Concept and the debut of the production version of the new ’14 Nissan Juke NISMO RS. The press conference also featured a surprise appearance by Usain Bolt, six-time Olympic gold-medal winner and 100-meter world record holder. Bolt, who owns a special gold-painted Nissan GT-R, assisted Diaz in revealing the new GT-R NISMO.
Kia’s Big Step
Marking 20 years in the U.S. market, Kia Motors America took the wraps off its new flagship amid a packed house of media representatives from around the world at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show. The all-new ’15 K900 is designed to challenge the fullsize, rear-drive luxury sedan segment with an extensive list of standard equipment, world-class accommodations and refined design that will redefine consumer perception and expectations of the Kia brand.
The K900 will be offered with a V6 or V8 engine. The range-topping V8 equipped with the VIP Package will add additional luxury amenities, including reclining outboard rear seats. The K900 Premium V6 will launch with an available Luxury Package as well as a Technology Package. The all-new K900 is expected to go on sale during the first quarter of 2014; pricing will be announced closer to launch.
Viper GTS Limited Edition
The Chrysler Group’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) brand announced that it will produce an exclusive, limited-run, Anodized Carbon Special Edition package for the SRT Viper GTS model.
Under the hood is a handcrafted, all-aluminum, 8.4L, mid-front V10 overhead-valve engine. Performance ratings are 640 hp and 600 lb.-ft. of torque—the most torque of any naturally aspirated sports-car engine in the world.
Part of the special-edition package is the new metallic matte exterior color that is being used for the first time by the Chrysler Group to add to the exclusivity of the SRT Viper. A limited production run of 50 Viper GTS models with the Anodized Carbon Special Edition Package began January at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit.
1,024hp Galpin Ford GTR1
Building on Galpin Ford’s 60 years of customizing vehicles, Galpin showed the GTR1—an ultra-high-performance mid-engine supercar based on the Ford GT. Concept car builder Metalcrafters constructed the handcrafted all-aluminum body. Notable components include Pirelli P-Zero tires, six-piston brakes with full carbon rotors and 20-in. forged-aluminum knock-off wheels. A twin-turbocharged 5.4L V8 engine that produces an estimated 1,024 hp and 739 lb.-ft. of torque powers the car. The transmission is a six-speed manual with dual clutches.
The car is said to be capable of 0–60 acceleration in 3.1 sec. and a top speed of 225 mpg. According to Galpin, GTR1 will be extremely limited in production, with a choice of aluminum or carbon-fiber bodies.
The upcoming BMW X4 made the scene at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, shown as a concept in a Long Beach Blue paint job and original 10-spoke wheels.
This second compact Sports Activity Coupe—BMW speak for SUV—will be built at BMW plant in Spartanburg [South Caroline], along with the X3, X5 and X6 models, on the same platform as the X3.