While scouring the LA Auto Show floor we came across some brilliantly cool features that made us exclaim more than once- "Why isn't THIS in more cars?" Some are simple, some are complex, but here's our top 10....
Dual Passenger "Oh Shit" Handles (Jaguar F-Type)
If you're like yours truly and born with a lead foot, your hapless passenger will doubtlessly find themselves grasping like mad for something that can support them from ramming their head into the windscreen as you barrel about like you're being chased. The designers of Jaguars stunning new F-Type came to the passenger's aid with the courtesy of a sturdy brace near the center console to go along with the more typical door handle. It'll come in handy with nearly 500 horsepower on tap.
Solar-Powered Sunroof (Fisker Kharma)
Think of all the heat that slams into a car's sheet metal on a sunny day. Fisker sure did, and installed the largest-ever solar powered sunroof into their hybrid supercar. Fisker estimates that it draws enough electricity to drive the car an extra 200 miles a year on sunroof power alone. Technically 80 small cells were laid out to give the roof its stylish curvature, but it's a shame they felt the need to gussy it up with yellow paint that distracts from the cars beautiful form.
Power-Flipping Front Seats (Lexus LF-CC Concept)
If you've ever been unlucky enough to have to inelegantly clamber into the backseat of your buddy's two door, you'll realize just how elegant a solution Lexus put into its gorgeous coupe concept. The buttons are right there, impossible to miss, and with a press of a button slide forward for easy entry. Who knows how much of this car will make it into production, but this is something that should be installed in every coupe out there.
Sliding Top/Bike Slot (Hyundai Veloster C3 Roll Top Concept)
The vast majority of buyers for hot hatchbacks tend to be younger people who only own one vehicle. As such, they use their car for everything from carving backroads to moving furniture. Many of them bike, but don't want gas-hogging barges that are hard to park. Hyundai's concept solves this spatial dilemma by offering a flip-down tailgate with a notch for the back wheel of the bicycle, and installing a massive sliding canvas top. This kind of thing has been tried before with the GMC Envoy XUV years ago with little sales success, but when your vehicle's already the size of a barn there's a lot less need for the flexibility offered in this little coupe. And when you're not carrying a bike, it can be pushed back for a targa-like open air experience. Please Hyundai, build it.
Pillar-Free Windows (Mercedes Benz E-Series Coupe)
Mercedes has offered this B-pillarless feature in its coupe for years now, and it's startling more automakers haven't copied it. The high-strength structure alleviates any rollover safety concerns. It gives an open-air feeling and improved visibility, plus it just looks friggin' cool.
Classy-Ass Table/Office Center (Jaguar XJ)
The executives who can afford the over 100-grand price tag for a car such as this Jag are likely not only being chauffeured, but also are quite busy. So Jaguar has decked out the rear with iPads in the seats, adjustable seats and climate control, and the coupe-de-grace, a drink carrier with a top that swivels out to double as a table. Doubtlessly it will help you spread your Grey Poupon with considerable ease.
Rotary Speedometer/Nav Center (Mini Paceman)
Mini's typically have their speedometers in the center console. But that's also where one would put your in-dash nav/infotainment system. So how to marry the two? Mini's artful solution was to have this little red peg that zooms around the outside of the screen, leaving the inside space to do its thing. The rotary speedo is beautiful to watch in motion and gives you yet another reason to goose the gas in this fun little rocket.
Twin Sun Visors (Mini Cooper)
Another clever Mini feature is a separate side visor. Coupled with the standard front visor, it makes it easy to fill all the nooks and crannies that sunlight always seems to escape through in other cars and onto your face.
Glass-Sliding Sunroof (Lincoln MKZ)
What if you want to let the sunlight in? Lincoln's sales haven't been doing well lately, and the brand has an average buyer's age of 65 years old (as evidenced by the consumers who were actually standing around their stand). Much of this has to do with lack of ingenuity in the past few decades, but the new sliding glass top on their new MKZ at least shows that they're trying. Porsche has had a similar feature in their 911 Targa for years now, but putting it on a four door sedan is a stroke of genius. It's too bad they didn't think to have to roof go all the way back like the Porsche's, which would've opened up the world to rear passengers as well as giving it a smoother look when slid back. Keep at it, Lincoln.
Machine Guns/Ejector Seat/Bullet Shield/Smoke Ejection/Tire Slashers (Aston Martin)
Aston Martin revealed a startlingly retro concept car that we swear we've seen somewhere else before. Nevertheless we were impressed by its bevy of clever features. The offensive accessories include machine guns in the front and tire slashers in the side, perfect for moving slower traffic aside. What if you find your ex-wife chasing you with machine gun? The folks at Aston thought of that too, and installed a bullet shield behind the rear window and a smoke system that emits from the rear taillights to aid in your escape. And if your passenger complains about the choppy ride, you can eject them through the roof with a simple push of a button. Let's hope this puppy makes it to production!