The 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show, which runs through November 27, features new model launches, and it’s not surprising that many of them are battery-electric and hybrid.
The industry is moving dramatically in this direction. But the internal combustion engine is still showing some signs of life, especially from performance automakers like Porsche.
Here are some highlights from this year’s show:.
2023 Porsche 911 Dakar
The name comes from the famous Dakar Rally (formerly Paris-Dakar) that started in 1978. However, the name is somewhat misleading as the rally no longer involves Senegal – it was held in South America from 2009 to 2019 and is now taking place in Saudi Arabia.
But wherever it takes place, the off-road event is a real test of competitors and their machines, covering 500 miles a day over difficult terrain. Porsche celebrated its first overall victory in 1984 at the Paris-Dakar. (René Metge won in a modified 911 Carrera.)
The Porsche Dakar celebrated its world premiere in LA. Only 2,500 Dakars will be built, with US deliveries beginning in spring 2023. Starting price is $222,000.
Offroading requires clearance. The Dakar is 50 millimeters higher than a standard 911 Carrera with sports suspension. A standard lift kit can raise the car an additional 30 millimeters in the “High Level” setting, giving the Dakar SUV-like ground clearance. Above 105 mph the car goes back to its default altitude. The vehicle rides on reinforced Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain tires.
Power comes from a three-liter, twin-turbo boxer engine with 473 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. It can hit 60mph in just 3.2 seconds, and the higher profile tires limit the car to 150mph. The Porsche has an eight-speed dual clutch transmission (PDK) and all-wheel drive with rear-axle steering. Two new driving modes are Rally (for loose ground, prioritizing power to the rear axle) and Off-Road (maximum traction on sand, with High Level activated automatically).
The Dakar has serious off-road capabilities with features like an optional roof basket and available roof tent. The Dakar uses lightweight glass and removes the rear seats, resulting in a curb weight of 3,552 pounds. Porsche spokesman Luke Vandezande says the Dakar “occupies a very exclusive part of the 911 model range and is designed for customers who appreciate Porsche rally racing history. It’s designed to be fun where the road ends, while still being a very capable sports car on tarmac.”
2023 Toyota Prius
The new fifth-generation Prius made its North American debut in LA, showcasing a new and much slimmer shape to replace the existing polarizing design, plus the promise of 57 miles per gallon combined on the LE FWD model. Toyota claims to have increased the range of electric vehicles by more than 50%. The hybrid powertrain uses a two-liter engine and produces up to 194 hp, resulting in a zero-to-60 time of 7.2 seconds (up from 9.8) on front-wheel drive models. The prizes come later in the year.
The 2023 Prius is based on the second-generation TNGA-C platform, which allows for a lower center of gravity compared to previous models, as well as reduced weight and increased rigidity. The roofline was lowered by two inches compared to the outgoing Prius. LE, XLE and Limited models are offered, as well as 4WD versions that use a motor on the rear wheels. The new lithium-ion pack increases battery performance by 15%.
Toyota also showed the battery-electric compact SUV concept bZ. Among other things, it features Yui, an in-car personal assistant who responds to requests from passengers in the cabin, using audible and visual light signals. The production 2023 bZ4X, also in Los Angeles and starting at $42,000, offers up to 252 miles of range on front-wheel drive models.
2023 Hyundai IONIQ 6
After winning converts with the fast-selling IONIQ 5 electric SUV, Hyundai introduced the IONIQ 6 four-door sedan (on the same platform). Based on the Prophecy concept, the IONIQ 6 (making its North American debut) is super slippery with a drag coefficient of just 0.22. It has a target range of 340 miles and uses a fast 800-volt DC charge to go from 10 to 80 full in 18 minutes. Prices (estimated) start at around $44,000 but will go much higher.
There will be both single and twin engine versions of the IONIQ 6. The former will likely offer 168 hp (similar to the IONIQ 5), but twin-engine versions will have 320 hp and accelerate from zero to 60 in 5.1 seconds.
Also on display at the Hyundai booth was the N Vision 74 fuel cell hybrid concept, making its US debut. It is both a hybrid electric vehicle with a 62.4 kWh battery pack and a hydrogen vehicle. The front-mounted 85-kilowatt fuel cell converts hydrogen into electricity to charge the battery pack. The 9.3-pound hydrogen tanks can be refueled in five minutes. The driving range is an estimated 373+ miles.
Lucid Air Pure and Touring
The Arizona-built Lucid Air is an impressive Tesla hunter, with the biggest obstacle being its sky-high price. The 819-horsepower Grand Touring model retails for $154,000. The Air just got more competitive with $87,400 Pure and $107,400 Touring models being shown in Los Angeles.
The 480hp Pure will go on sale in January with a range of 410 miles. With what Lucid manager Derek Jenkins describes as “dozens of small improvements,” the Pure will have a drag coefficient of 0.197, down from 0.21. The Touring, which is now in production, has a range of 425 miles and 620 horsepower from its twin-engine, all-wheel-drive configuration.
Also in conjunction with the LA show, Lucid unveiled its new three-row SUV called Gravity, which will go into production in 2024 with “supercar performance.” The company also promised excellent reach. Reservations start next year.