On May 2nd Audi Pacific hosted the private preview for Iron Man 3 in Torrance. A BIG thank you to the over 160 customers that came out to experience the fun and see the Audi R8 and Tony Stark in action.
This special preview was before the Midnight first showing for the general public, in fact as the Audi Pacific showing was being ushered into the theatre, there were 10 lines of people waiting for the midnight showing.
This was the second time that Audi Pacific has hosted an Iron Man movie night at the AMC Del Amo in Torrance and it was great to see so many friends out to see it.
There were a number of people from the Audi Pacific and LAcarGUY team at the event including Mike and Sean Sullivan, Jeff LaPlant, Chris Prodromides and his wife Stephany, and many more.
The Audi R8 e-tron® was front and center in the latest Iron Man movie, it was the perfect choice for Tony Stark, power, technology, style, and all done in a way that defies convention!
Over the last 18 months you can really see Akio Toyoda’s fingerprints on the Lexus brand. For many years Lexus was considered a brand of fine cars with excellent build quality and a dealer network that set the standard for the industry. However, they were also thought of as bland and emotionless vehicles. Cars and SUV’s for those that wanted something nice, but didn’t care about cars or want to think about cars.
Akio’s statement was that cars bearing his family’s name WOULD have emotion, would have a connection to the driver, they would NOT be thought of as just a commodity item.
The all new GS was the first real statement along those lines and now with the 2014 Lexus IS, the third generation of the car, Akio has focused Lexus’ efforts into not just drawing event with cars like the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4, but setting the standard for the small luxury performance segment.
The new IS draws from it’s larger stablemate, the GS, in several areas. The front end is a further, more aggressive evolution of the spindle grill, the interior continues the horizontal theme dash, and the rear suspension is derived from the GS as well.
The new IS gains 2.5 inches in wheelbase allowing for a further 1.6 inches of rear seat legroom. The overall length has been extended 3.5 inches, the trunk now has an additional .5 cubic foot of space and the first time offering a 60/40 split folding rear seat for additional cargo capacity.
When the new IS is ordered with Satellite Navigation, it comes loaded with 3D mapping including Street View. Traffic and weather information are now subscription free, weather is updated every 10 minutes and traffic every 2 minutes. Traffic also has the addition feature of Predictive Traffic which can forecast ahead 15, 30 and 45 minutes so that you can see what your route may look like, and if you should choose a different way. Also when you are running low on fuel gas stations will appear as Points Of Interest on the map.
The 2014 IS has all of the safety features you’ve come to expect on a car at this level, 10 air bags, Blind Spot Warning with Cross Traffic, lane departure alert, and Pre Collision Radar cruise control down to 25 miles an hour.
The F-Sport version of the new IS, available on both the IS 250 and the IS 350 is distinguished by a different nose and bumper, different seats, LED daytime running lights, variable adaptive suspension and additional drive modes of Sports S and S+. Also in the F-Sport is a different gage cluster that draws it’s inspiration from the LFA Supercar. The center dial slides from the center to the right and alters the information on the LCD gage cluster.
Optional on all models is the 15 speaker, 835 watt Mark Levinson audio system. The system features a full digital (Class-D) amplifier, 5.1 channel/7.1 channel surround system, a total of 15 GreenEdge™ ultra-high efficiency speakers and a Lexus-first Auto Volume System,which automatically adjusts volume when changing between sources or radio channels.
The IS 250 and 350 can be had either as Rear Drive or All Wheel Drive. Power comes from either a 2.5 liter V6 in the IS 250 offering 204 horsepower and 184 lb/ft of torque, or the 3.5 liter V6 in the IS 350 which offers up 306 horsepower and 277 lb/ft of torque.
Fuel economy is rated in the IS 250 at 21/30/24 (city/highway/combined) for the Rear Drive and 20/27/23 for the All Wheel Drive model. The IS 350 rates as 19/28/22 for the Rear Drive and 19/26/21 for the All Wheel Drive.
All IS 250’s, plus the IS 350 AWD will use a six speed automatic transmission, while the Rear Drive IS 350 will use the eight speed automatic from the outgoing IS-F.
On the road the new IS has a very comfortable and controlled ride quality, the cabin is very quiet, as you’d expect. However, when you put your foot down, there is a very sporty sounding exhaust, and when tossed aggressively into corners, the body stays very flat, and the handling is very neutral, with just a hint of understeer to keep you safe.
Lexus believe you can have your cake and eat it too with the suspension in the new IS. They have soften the springs at all four corners to make the ride more supple, yet larger anti roll bars allow the handling to be very sporty and controlled without being overly stiff. When you want a more aggressive suspension you can dial it up with the drive mode selector. In the standard IS you have a Sport mode, and in the F-Sport there are Sports S and S+ options. The additional modes will not only change the suspension calibrations, but alter how aggressive the throttle is as well.
For 30 years the BMW 3 Series has set the benchmark for the small sport luxury segment, and Audi in the last decade has been running neck and neck with BMW with their A4. Lexus have now gone all in on this segment, and just like when Lexus entered the market with the original LS, the Germans will be may need to re-evaluate their current efforts.
Pricing for the IS 250 begins at $35,950 and $39,465 for the IS 350, All Wheel Drive adds $2,515 to the IS 250 and $2,235 to the IS 350, all models of the new IS will be available mid Summer.
If you were to rank all of the cars the Toyota builds and list them in order of “drivers car” the Toyota Avalon may rank at or near the bottom of that list. To most people, the Toyota Avalon was always the Buick Roadmaster that you would no longer built, a car for your grandparents.
With the 2013 model Avalon, Toyota’s looking to change the demographic for the Avalon buyers, as of now the average age of a Toyota Avalon buyer is 64, Toyota is looking to drop that to the mid-50s. How they are going to do that is by completely changing the nature of the car. In fact, as the title of this article suggests, the Japanese have come to America to build a German sedan.
The 2013 Toyota Avalon is the first car that Akio Toyoda oversaw from start to finish. When you drive this car, you will field his fingerprints all over it, in that his emphasis was to make Toyota’s cars that people would enjoy driving. The Avalon was designed in California, engineered in Michigan, and will be built in Kentucky, and when it goes on sale, it will have the highest US content of any vehicles sold in North America.
There will be two versions of the Toyota Avalon available, a V-6, and a hybrid version. There will be several modes in which you can drive in both cars. In the V-6 model you have ego, normal, and sports, while in the hybrid version you get those 3 plus an EV mode.
The V-6 model will definitely slant much more towards the “drivers car” then the hybrid. The V-6 will have 268 hp and 248 foot-pounds of torque, and can do a 0 to 60 run in 6.7 seconds. In eco-and normal modes the car feels very composed, switched into sport mode the steering firms up very nicely, the ride is just a bit more firm, and if you didn’t know, you’d think you were in a German performance sedan, and that’s no joke.
The hybrid version of the Avalon is geared much more towards comfort. It still handles well, steers well, but in driving them back to back, the differences are noticeable. The hybrid Avalon, while maybe not having the driving dynamics of its V-6 version, is still very composed, and does not feel like some boulevard cruiser.
There are some very interesting design dynamics going on with the new Avalon. It seems to borrow from quite a number of cars. In the front it has a trapezoidal grille reminiscent of some current Ford products, taken from certain angles in the rear, or the side, you can see design elements from the Mercedes-Benz S class, the Jaguar XJ, and even the Audi A7. All that amalgamation comes out very well and while some people may not care for the nose of the car, there can be few complaints about the design of the rest of the car, save the need for a larger wheel and tire package.
The interior gets a massive upgrade on the new Avalon from the previous model. Again with the German sedan theme, if you were familiar with the interiors of current Audi products, there are many similarities with the new Avalon. The use of materials textures and colors really make the interior standout, and give it a very high-quality feel. The stitching on the leather of the–Israel hand stitching. There are a select number of people in the factory in Kentucky who hand stitch these together on machines, there is no automation, and the attention to detail is obvious. The use of contrasting and complementary colors and materials again gives the car a very upscale look, in addition to a center stack that draws inspiration from modern midcentury design.
Many modern cars that have a swoopy rear end styling to give the illusion of a coupe, sacrifice rear seat head and leg room in the name of style. This is not the case with the Avalon. Toyota have done a nice job of creating space for rear seat passengers so that even those well over 6 foot will have plenty of room. Toyota feel so strongly about this design, that they are pursuing the livery market with the Toyota Avalon.
The 2013 Toyota Avalon is a major change in direction from its past models. No longer a Boulevard cruiser for the retirement community, the Toyota Avalon is now an upscale luxury sedan ready to challenge the Germans, but with the quality, dependability, and reliability that you would expect from a Toyota.
by Zach McDonald: HybridCars.com
According to a recent report by What Car, Audi has plans to release a small plug-in hybrid boasting fuel efficiency in the neighborhood of 1 liter per 100 km—or roughly 235 mpg. Audi’s head of research and development, Wolfgang Durheimer, told What Car that although the car hasn’t yet been confirmed for production, it’s one of several new plans for high-efficiency vehicles he has been trying to institute since taking over his post in September.
The vehicle would be built around the carmaker’s A1 platform, but would likely be fine-tuned for optimal aerodynamics and outfitted with ultra-lightweight materials. The conceptual and technological underpinnings of the car are based around parent company Volkswagen’s “one-liter” program, which has been experimenting with vehicles capable of hitting the vaunted efficiency mark for more than a decade.
Confirmed for release in Europe for 2014, the Volkswagen XL1 will be the first “one-liter” production vehicle ever sold. A prototype of the two-seat XL1 was photographed testing in March sporting a set of gullwing doors. The car draws its power from a two-cylinder turbo-diesel engine paired with a 27-hp motor attached to a small lithium ion battery pack. The car will be tuned to switch between electric and gas-electric modes depending upon use to ensure maximum efficiency. Audi’s version of the vehicle would likely carry a very similar configuration.
Despite the range of measures geared at optimizing efficiency, Audi’s attempt at a one-liter would remain true to the carmaker’s luxury standards. “I’m not talking about a car with a lot of deficiencies and things lacking, but a car that delivers everything that a car needs to deliver to the customer, in terms of seat space, climate conditions and comfort,” said Durheimer to What Car.
It’s still not known how much the VW XL1 will cost when it hits the market next year, but given the cost of high strength, light-weight materials, it figures to be very expensive for a two-seat car. An Audi version of the vehicle would likely add a significant luxury premium to whatever the XL1 costs. Neither car would be expected to post earth-shattering sales numbers, and at this point it’s a relative long shot that either are headed to the U.S. market.
Still, Volkswagen and Audi are further demonstrating their commitment to high-efficiency vehicles through a wide range of drivetrain configurations headed to different markets around the world. After establishing a reputation for clean diesel TDI vehicles in the 2000s, both Volkswagen and Audi have lagged somewhat in releasing battery powered hybrids or plug-ins. Now, with multiple plug-in concepts headed to market and in test fleets, it’s beginning to look like the Volkswagen Group’s answer to fuel economy will be “all of the above.”
Well, Audi Pacific has been open now for almost 2 weeks, and it’s all very fresh and new! We are about to have our Grand Opening…so we really hope you come and check us out, from the building, to the cars, of course. But for this blog, we’ll stick to being excited about the building!
Walking around the new space, the first word that comes to mind is … BIG. It’s really big. I could easily come up with more to describe the place, but you’ve been reading us for 7+ months now. Wouldn’t you rather hear about the experience of being in the building from those who are actually there every day? We thought so…
Joe, Sales Manager: “The building is just so much nicer to do business in. It’s big, airy and well lit. With all the windows, and especially lit up at night, you can’t not look at our building! And you know how in most new places you notice the new paint smell? I didn’t realize it until now, but there is none because of the green materials.”
Adam, Service Consultant: “It’s a better atmosphere. There are a number of ‘cold’ materials like stone and metal, but it’s really inviting and has a great urban feel. My favorite thing is having a view of the trees and garden outside; I don’t feel as claustrophobic as in our old building.”
Chris, Assistant Service Manager: “In my opinion, the building promotes the same sporty, luxurious feeling that one of our cars does.”
Juana, Cashier: “We changed to greener soaps and cleaning supplies. I really notice the difference.”
Angel, Audi Brand Specialist: “Aside from being ten times bigger [than our last space], it’s nice to just have a modern, green, beautiful building. It’s like I have a small hand in having made the building, just because I’ve been here a few years!”
Chris P., GSM: “The Audi experience redefined.”
We also wanted to share with you a couple comments from those behind the wheel, so to speak, making this building what it was meant to be:
Fred A. Lopez, Sauers Lopez Construction (GC): “We first started this project knowing that it would be a LEED certified. Understanding the day-to-day function of the facility, as well as the LAcarGUY vision for its employees and the planet, pushed us to achieve a Gold LEED building. We’re really proud this facility will now function for the benefit of the employees and the owners.”
Rudy De La O, LEED AP, Project Facilitator, Whitfield Associates (Architect): “The project is a result of owner responsibility, general contractor leadership, and design team diligence. We assumed the challenge and fulfilled an opportunity with a real holistic approach, everyone working together from the start. Let’s do it again!”
A few reminders:
➢ Come by the showroom and check out our Interactive Kiosk to learn about our LEED Gold-certified green building.
➢ While visiting, pick up a “Green Living Guide” for the area that will be a great takeaway!
➢ Feel free to go back through our last 17 posts and learn read about (with links to references) different aspects of our building, but also actions that are transferable to your own business or home!
➢ Keep learning and asking questions and then taking action on living more sustainably!
Audi Celebrates Grand Opening of Audi Pacific First LEED Certified Dealership that Features Largest Audi Showroom in U.S.
LAcarGUY’s new dealership in Torrance, CA will be among the greenest; features the largest Audi showroom in the U.S. showcasing 17 models
Audi of America, in coordination with LAcarGUY, will celebrate the grand opening of the newly redesigned Audi Pacific dealership on Tuesday, November 27. The new dealership will become the largest Audi showroom in the U.S. showcasing 17 models and is the first to be LEED Gold certified incorporating a state-of-the-art design with environmental technology aimed at improving energy efficiency, reducing water usage, as well as promoting the reuse and recycling of materials and waste. The new location marks one of 11 dealerships within the LAcarGUY family, headed by Mike Sullivan.
“Audi remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing green technology and environmentally responsible business practices,” said Mike Cagle, Director, Western Region for Audi of America. “Through the opening of Audi Pacific, we not only celebrate the largest Audi showroom in the United States, but also take great pride in achieving LEED Gold certification.”
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green building certification process promoted by the U.S. Green Building Council to assess the sustainability of a building’s design, construction and operations. To meet LEED Gold certification, the Audi Pacific dealership features energy efficient water fixtures, low energy use lighting and a 45 kilowatt (kW) DC Solar PV system.
The owner of Audi Pacific and President of LAcarGUY, Mike Sullivan has been in the car business for over 45 years and also serves on the board of Heal The Bay and the Environmental Media Association as well as the Regional Board of Directors for Global Green USA. Having owned this Audi franchise since October of 1999, Sullivan became the first to build an Audi Hangar in California. To continue his encouragment in the adoption of electric vehicles, LAcarGUY recently became the first automotive dealer in the country to offer electric charging stations open to the public at four of its dealerships.
“The LAcarGUY family of dealerships has long been committed to promoting sustainable, greener business operations and supporting environmental initiatives,” said Sullivan. “Our new Audi Pacific dealership facility exemplifies our leadership and focus on ecology, economy and social responsibility across the board.”
General Manager and LAcarGUY business partner Jeff LaPlant will oversee the newly redesigned space which has expanded from 14,000 to 45,000 square feet allowing the dealership to better serve their customers with the expanded capacity and convenience within a compelling environment. The new dealership also follows the new Audi “terminal” design, an ecologically advanced construction method promoted by the Audi’s parent company in Germany. The structure makes an impressive architectural statement on Hawthorne Boulevard, with bold signage and an open two-story showroom, as well as 22 service bays showcasing the brand’s latest collection of luxury vehicles.
“Audi Pacific is very proud to be the first LEED Gold certified dealership for the Audi brand,” said LaPlant. “Environmental stewardship is very much in line with Audi Pacific’s overall business philosophy, commitment to exceptional and award-winning customer service, as well as focus on selling some of the most innovative, quality-engineered luxury products on the market today.”
Audi of America maintains a regional office, two technical facilities and a design center in California to better identify with and service the state’s strategically vital and diverse market. Since 2011, sales in the area have increased by 21.9% and represent 19.2% of total U.S. sales. Other noteworthy accomplishments for Audi in California include an increase in IHG market share from 5.56% in 2006 to 10.1% in 2012, effectively doubling the brand’s presence in the state. The Audi Pacific dealership opening marks the brand’s continued expansion and strong presence in the Southern California market.
We’ve put together a great slide show of pictures of the new store which you can view here
Audi Pacific‘s new home, a LEED® Gold certified facility and the largest Audi showroom in the country is now open. It’s been a long and rewarding process to see this vision come to life.
We’ve put together a time lapse video of the construction so that you can see where we started, and the final finished product!
If you haven’t had a chance, please stop in and see our new home, and the level of detail we went to, to make sure your Audi experience is second to none.
Theoretically the Audi S6 and S7 are more or less the same car. Both ride on the same chassis, both use the same twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine with 420-horsepower, and both route this power to all four wheels through a 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission.
Besides exterior style differences, it would seem not much differs between these two cars. Not true, say our friends at Autoblog.
Autoblog lists a variety of differences between the two cars, starting with the S7’s additional 110-pound weight penalty. Since most of this weight stems from additional structural enhancements as a result of the S7’s hatchback body style, Autoblog surmises that the S7 may have a slightly better distribution of weight compared to the more traditional S6 sedan. The S7 is also slightly wider and longer than the S6.
Answering the big question of which to purchase, Autoblog feels the slightly less expensive S6 is the mid-size Audi performance sedan to purchase – unless of course you need the practicality of the S7’s hatchback. To see the other ways that the S6 and S7 differ come into Audi Pacific and try them for yourself.
So as you know by now, LAcarGUY and Audi Pacific chose to create a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified green building, and great news is …we expect to hit the Gold level!
Now you may be asking yourself if the State of California has any such green building code, or is building green only elective through the U.S. Green Building Council’s point-based LEED system? And you’d be right to ask! With California wasting water through water leaks( 12%) , flushing (28%), and landscape (50%)…the State knew it address this and many other building issues! In our last post, we explained similarities and differences between the LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) vs. the State’s CALGreen building code, the nation’s 1st green building code.
In 2010, the State did, in fact, create the 2010 California Green Building Standards Code, otherwise known as the CALGreen Code – the nation’s 1st green building code (we ARE California, so of course we are first!). To get a little technical and if you want to find it, it is Part 11 of the California Building Standards Code in Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations.
The independent commission that created this at the Governor’s directive consulted with agencies from the Energy Commission and Dept. of Water Resources, to organizations like Green Globes, CHPS (Collaborative for High Performance Schools) and the USGBC. This code is for all of California and became mandatory for all new building design and construction as of Jan. 1, 2011.
So how to select which plan to go with? There are obviously some similarities and differences, and yes, they can both deal with residential and commercial buildings…so check up on it for your goals!
In Audi Pacific’s situation (new commercial building), there are two specific similarities between LEED and CALGreen:
- Both require 20% mandatory reduction in water fixtures over a specified baseline.
- Both require at least 50% of non-hazardous construction and demo debris to be recycled and/or salvaged, which Audi Pacific blew away with 95%!!!
- Both require an independent 3rd party to oversee systems design and installation (called Building Fundamental Commissioning).
As for notable differences (again, for our kind of building):
- LEED has multiple rating systems for specific building types and use; CALGreen hopes to capture all types and uses with one overall code.
- CALGreen is California law, but jurisdictions have wide discretion on how to enforce it; LEED (for the most part) is more strict, less discretion.
- A prerequisite to participate for LEED certification is 10% savings over baseline annual energy cost; zero improvement over baseline for basic CALGreen.
- LEED requires preferred parking for low-emission/fuel efficient vehicles CALGreen does not.
- LEED is a voluntary point-based system to earn a certification, and CALGreen has one level of mandatory measures, then there are extra voluntary levels.
In general, CALGreen used the most basic level of LEED certification as a model, and then added in some elements of another system that is an option, or guide, for green building, called Build It Green (or GreenPoint Rated). California is truly lucky to have the nation’s first mandatory green building code, and it will continue to get stronger. The LEED certification has been around much longer, and so, has a lot more options for higher levels of “greenness” and different kinds of buildings.