LA Auto Show 2019

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible heading to dealerships in time for summer

Lexus is adding a convertible variant of its flagship sports coupe to its lineup for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

Summer is waiting. Lexus has debuted the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible in Los Angeles, signaling the realization of a model that first debuted as a concept nearly a year ago.

This isn't just a topless LC 500. With the LC 500 convertible, engineers wanted to improve the car's chassis rigidity while adding and relocating key structural braces that would allow for the top to be off. At the same time, the company wanted to ensure that the car didn't lose its superb handling or balance, which was a careful equation to get right as the car's weight changed.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible On the outside, the 2021 LC 500 Convertible looks nearly identical to the LC 500, except for its soft top.Photo courtesy of Lexus

The result is a car with a die-cast aluminum suspension brace, performance dampener, and an un-sprung weight reduction in the front. Lexus says that the changes give the rear-wheel drive car the desired effect.

Each LC 500 Convertible has a 5.0-liter V8 engine under the hood that is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and achieves 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque.

The convertible features a four-layer soft top that includes a tonneau covering for when it is retracted, allowing the cabin to appear completely open front to rear. The roof can be opened or closed at speeds up to 31 mph. It takes just 15 seconds to open and 16 seconds to close. Lexus will sell the LC 500 Convertible with either a black or beige roof.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible Lexus will offer the LC 500 Convertible with a black or beige roof.Photo courtesy of Lexus

The car's spoiler has been broadened over the LC 500 hard top design and the car's center is integrated into the trunk lid. On the LC 500 the brake light is in the rear windshield. A wind screen is available. Active noise control is standard.

Lexus will sell the car in the buyer's choice of 10 paint jobs: Ultra White, Smoky Granite, Liquid Platinum, Atomic Silver, Obsidian, Caviar, Infrared, Cadmium Orange, Flare Yellow, and Nightfall Mica. A black, Circuit Red, or Toasted Caramel interior is available depending on paint choice.

Each LC 500 Convertible comes with automatic climate control that works to keep the cabin temperature stable whether the top is up or down. Lexus Climate Concierge and Upper Body Heating work in sync to manage the air conditioner, seat heaters, neck heaters and steering-wheel heater to ensure the cabin is at the ideal temperature. Lexus says that the HVAC system has been optimized to send warm or cold air to the back of the driver's hands when gripping the steering wheel.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible The car's interior contains the same modern design as the LC 500.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Lexus is equipping the model with the same 10.3-inch infotainment screen that's in the LC 500. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is standard, as are Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integration.

Each new Lexus LC 500 Convertible will come standard with Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+). This suite of safety and driver assistance technology includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with active lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, and high beam assist. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert are also standard. Lexus Enform Safety Connect is complementary for the first 10 years of ownership.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible Lexus has made the car more rigid, allowing for the cabin's sight lines to be uninterrupted front to rear.Photo courtesy of Lexus

The 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible Inspiration Series show at the Los Angeles Auto Show is a limited edition offering. Just 100 will be made of the unique model with a Structural Blue paint job, white semi-aniline leather interior trim, unique blue top, gray headlamp garnishes, side intake garnishes, and taillamp garnishes. It comes standard with 21-inch wheels. Pricing is not yet available.

Pricing for the special edition and more traditional variants has yet to be released. The 2020 Lexus LC 500 starts at $92,950 and it's likely that the convertible variant will be priced higher to start.

Mazda has introduced the CX-30 for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Mazda

Fresh off the launch of the redesigned Mazda3 last year as the first model in the Japanese automaker's seventh generation of design, Mazda has introduced the 2020 Mazda CX-30. The model is a crossover, or a high-riding hatchback (six of one, half a dozen of the other), that resides adjacent to the Mazda CX-3 in the stable.

On the outside, the Mazda CX-30 features similar design characteristics of the Mazda3 including rounded styling that grabs the light and moves it along its body without the aid of creases. Sharp angles reappear at the very front and back where the CX-30 sports very Mazda-like design including neat rounded taillight housings and metal accents at the front that jut out abruptly from the car.

2020 Mazda CX-30 The front of the CX-30 is more rounded than many other models in its class.Photo courtesy of Mazda

Every CX-30 is powered by Mazda's 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine that has class-leading 186-horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. Front wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are also standard. All-wheel drive is available.

The spirit of Mazda DNA lives in this crossover. While its competitors are often knocked for delivering numb steering and a disconnected drive experience, the CX-30 has none of that. Especially when equipped with all-wheel drive, the model takes to winding roads with ease allowing for a drive experience that doesn't feel like a compromise.

The car's interior is plush for its segment and right in line with recent offerings from Hyundai, Nissan, and Kia. Still, there are some questionable materials choices like the sticky faux leather dashboard covering and flimsy speaker housings on the doors. The overall aesthetic is simple and straightforward allowing for the driver to focus on the purity of a driving experience. How very on-brand.

Mazda's proud of the new seat engineering in the Mazda3 and CX-30, and they should be. The front seats are comfortable, even for long spells, and easy to get into position. Rear seat passengers have a very limited amount of legroom to work with making this crossover best for empty nesters or young professionals.

2020 Mazda CX-30 The back side of the Mazda CX-30 is more interesting than the front.Photo courtesy of Mazda

Despite lacking active noise control technology, the CX-30 delivers a fantastically quiet ride. When you want to turn up the volume on the available 12-speaker Bose audio system, you'll be thoroughly impressed. The engineers have a true winner with this system, which excelled in enveloping the passengers with pure sound.

As tested, the car came with heated front seats, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a seven-inch digital gauge display, 8.8-inch infotainment screen, and head-up display. The screen is nestled in the same style dashboard cubby that it is in the Mazda3, which meant that the bottom of the screen may be unviewable depending on your height and seating position.

The current version of the car's infotainment system is easier to use than the last and the resolution of the screen is greatly improved over the last-gen.

It has a reasonable amount of cargo capacity for its class, with a number of suitcases easily able to fit in the back.

The car's safety technology is unobtrusive and its adaptative cruise control was quick to respond to changing conditions.

2020 Mazda CX-30 The interior of the CX-30 features premium materials that would be at home in much more expensive models.Photo courtesy of Mazda

Mazda is billing this crossover as being for activity-focused individuals. That includes an Off-Road Traction Assist button that performs many of the typical light off-roading duties crossovers need assistance with, including traction control and hill descent control. Its functionality is not unlike similar system that are found in the Toyota RAV4 or Subaru Outback.

The 2020 Mazda CX-30 has a value-focused starting point of $21,900. Its most premium model, which fits in with the Acuras and Infinitis of the world, comes in around $28,000. That's right in line with many of the less well-appointed and less engaging crossovers and SUVs currently on the market.

Buyers looking at the Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-3, and Buick Encore, among others, owe it to themselves to cross-shop the CX-30. It's really a job well done.

A new bespoke creation from the Rolls-Royce team features a flower motif.

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

A Stockholm-based entrepreneur with an affinity for flowers has commissioned a new Rolls-Royce Phantom. When he ordered the car, he challenged Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective, the company's high-level customization team, to envision a car that wrapped its occupants in a floral scene.

The result is a new Phantom with one million embroidered stitches.

2019 Rolls-Royce Phantom Rose embroidery interior The embroidery encompasses the entire cabin.Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

"The Rose Phantom is a stunning iteration of a contemporary Rolls-Royce," said Torsten Müller Ötvös, Chief Executive, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. "Our extraordinary craftspeople at the Home of Rolls-Royce have achieved, with this car, something which can only be described as sublime. The work of our Bespoke Collective is the best in the world. When I look at creations like this car, it is with a sense of pride that I know that these skills could not be replicated anywhere else in the world. This is undoubtedly one of the greatest Rolls-Royce Phantoms of its generation."

Ieuan Hatherall, one of the Bespoke Designers on the Rolls-Royce team, took inspiration for the design from the rose garden at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex. It is in that garden that a special breed of flower, the Phantom Rose, is exclusively grown. It was bred exclusively for Rolls-Royce by British Rose Breeder Philip Harkness of Harkness Roses.

2019 Rolls-Royce Phantom Rose embroidery interior The owner's family chose the exterior paint color of the sedan.Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

"There is a transcendent beauty when a rose garden is in full bloom," Hatherall said, "The patron wanted to create that same feeling of awe; an abundance of flowers to lift the spirit and celebrate nature's decadent beauty, in the Rose Phantom's serene interior."

The exterior of the new Rose Phantom car is covered in a Peacock Blue paint job. It features a Charles Blue twinned-coachline designed to intertwine like the stem of a rose. The wheels are the same color as the pinstripe.

2019 Rolls-Royce Phantom Rose embroidery interior The flowers on the car's interior were inspired by the garden at Goodwood.Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Inside the model is the one-million stitch embroidery. Starting with the inside of the rear doors and opening up to engulf the cabin in the stitched mastery of a season in full bloom. The Phantom Roses depicted appear in various stages from bud to bloom, in an asymmetrical design that appears to naturally grow across the roof lining. The roses are interspersed with the individual fiber-optic lights of the car's headliner.

2019 Rolls-Royce Phantom Rose embroidery interior At the patron's request, butterflies were added to the design.Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Charles Blue leather fills the interior and is accented with Peacock Blue piping. Stems of embroidered roses fill the Phantom's Gallery, climbing through the element's glass-fronted fascia.

In addition to the flowers, Peacock and Adonis Blue butterflies were added to the motif.

2019 Rolls-Royce Phantom Rose embroidery interior Embroidered flowers and butterflies surround the driver and passengers.Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

While the car was inspired by nature, it was designed to haul around a family, who also played an integral role in its design. The patron has a wife and two children. His daughter Magnolia chose the exterior color of the car while his wife designed the Rolls-Royce's umbrella.