USA TODAY auto team members James R. Healey, Chris Woodyard and Judith Barra Austin are in Los Angeles for the Los Angeles Auto Show press preview days. Here, you'll find reports on the cars and trucks being unveiled at the show, which opens to the public Friday and runs through Nov. 25.
Nissan GT-R: "Just what the world is crying for: "an affordable, everyday supercar," says Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn.
That's the GT-R, the car you can race to the track, to work or the supermarket depending on your tolerance for speed and speeding tickets.
The car made its official production-version debut at the Tokyo Motor Show recently. But the Los Angeles show gets perhaps the most critical information of all: when you can buy one and how much it will cost.
The answer: On sale next June for $69,850.
Yeah, it's sure to make a dent in bank accounts, but it is less than other near-racing machines dubbed supercars, which typically cost in excess of $100,000.
Ghosn stressed its accessibility. GT-R is "a car to be experienced by anyone, anywhere, anytime." And it's not a necessary part of the automaker's lineup, but just an interesting one. "We are not bringing GT-R because we have to."
The twin-turbo V-6 produces 480 horsepower, clearly in the supercar range, combined with a six-speed transmission.
Hyundai Genesis coupe: For a more affordable sports car, here's an entry from Hyundai. Racy looks, 300 horsepower and less than half the projected price of the Nissan GT-R.
The rear-wheel-drive Genesis coupe will arrive in showrooms in early 2009 as a 2010 model. And it will be priced at about $25,000.
Genesis is "the most emotional" Hyundai ever with its graceful curves and powerful 3.8 liter V-6, says Vice President John Krafcik. It will have a six-speed transmission.
The version presented at the auto show is a concept, but Krafcik says that it's 90% close to the basic design of the production version. The concept had a carbon fiber hood and other elements, and Krafcik says he is not sure yet which of those elements will make it to the final production version.
It will be preceded by a sedan version that will make it to showrooms next year as a 2009 model.
The two-plus-two sports coupe Genesis is a product of Hyundai's Southern California design lab under former GM designer Joel Piaskowski, which is cranking out an increasing number of products for the South Korean automaker.
Volkswagen space up! blue: Imagine it without the emblems, and you think you're looking at the old Scion xB "box."
But you're not. Volkswagen introduced a fuel-cell concept vehicle called the spaceup! blue — yes, that's lower case with an exclamation mark in the middle.
It's meant to be reminscent of a VW microbus, with lots of space inside.
The four-seat space up — who named this thing? — has what is billed as the world's first high-temperature fuel cell coupled with 12 lithium-ion batteries. Having the cell work at higher temperatures allows it to be more efficient and compact, VW says. Besides the fuel cell, its batteries can be charged from a wall socket.
But wait! There's more!
The space up also has a solar panel on the roof that can supply a bit more energy to the battery.
Space up can be driven up to 65 miles on the electric motor alone. The fuel cell is good for another 155 miles for a combined range between the two power sources of 220, VW says.
The "green" theme carries through to the interior, which makes extensive use of recycled materials.