LA Auto Show 2019: the best cars

LA Auto Show 2019

As the last international motor show of the year, the LA Auto Show has an end-of-term feel to it. It’s a chance to recap on the motoring year just gone and look forward to the most important new releases of the next 12 months. Here are some of the hottest new cars on show.

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Ford Mustang Mach-ELA Auto Show 2019

A new Ford Mustang will always grab top billing at a U.S. motor show, but this one is a little different. The fact that it’s electric will have some raising a few eyebrows, but the use of the Mustang name makes a lot of sense. As does the fact that it’s an electric SUV, because that’s what the world is demanding. Available with a choice of two batteries and three power outputs, the Mach-E could offer up to 370 miles of electric range. It’s packed with the latest tech, while a large 402-liter boot and 100-liter ‘frunk’ mean it’s practical, too. Still want that V8, etc, etc?

BMW M2 CSLA Auto Show 2019

From the dawn of a new era to a last hurrah. The BMW M2 CS is a run-out special before this compact coupe is discontinued. Its 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged straight-six engine has been tweaked to deliver an extra 40 horsepower, while a strict diet has saved a few kilos. The front splitter, boot spoiler and rear diffuser are all carbon fiber, and the vented carbon hood is half the weight of a standard steel item. The 19-inch forged wheels weigh 9 kg at the front and 10 kg rear (and are available in gold finish).

Audi E-tron SportbackLA Auto Show 2019

One of two Audi debuts, the E-tron Sportback shares its platform with the E-tron SUV and will be built in the same Brussels factory. The styling is very conventional, with a face that’s similar to the SUV and a more sloping roofline at the rear. Audi says its Digital Matrix headlights are a first for a production vehicle. They use around a million micro-mirrors to illuminate the road ahead with ‘unprecedented precision’, the company claims. Key figures are a 277-mile electric driving range, a 0-60 mph time of under 5.7 seconds and an ability to recharge to 80 percent capacity in just 30 minutes.

Lexus LC 500 ConvertibleLA Auto Show 2019

If they were dishing out awards for the most alluring car at the LA show, the Lexus LC 500 Convertible would waft away with a prize. It’ll go on sale next summer, with power sourced from a 5.0-liter V8 engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The four-layer soft top – which is available in black or beige – takes 15 seconds to open and 16 seconds to close. The LA show car is one of 100 models offered in Structural Blue paint with white leather and a unique blue top. There’s no word on the price, but you can expect to pay a premium for the convertible.

Porsche Taycan 4SLA Auto Show 2019

The 4S follows the Turbo S and Turbo as the third member of the Porsche Taycan family. The entry-level Taycan is available with two battery sizes and delivers up to 390 kW (530 hp) with the Performance battery or 420 kW (571 hp) with the Performance battery Plus. In both cases, the Taycan 4S sprints to 62 mph 4.0 seconds, before hitting a top speed of 155mph. Its range is 407 km (253 miles) with the Performance battery and 463 km (288 miles) with the Plus.

Audi RS6 AvantLA Auto Show 2019

At last, Audi is offering its famed RS6 Avant wagon to North American enthusiasts. It goes on sale in 2020 and, judging by the interest it’s generated at the 2019 LA Auto Show, it’s certain to prove popular. Prices and U.S. power figures will be announced nearer to launch: in Europe, it puts out a full 600 horsepower, so fingers crossed Audi can match it here.

Hyundai Vision T Plug-in Hybrid SUV ConceptLA Auto Show 2019

Meet the seventh concept from the Hyundai Design Center. It’s described as evolving the firm’s Sensuous Sportiness global design language, and teases the upcoming new Tucson urban SUV. The plug-in hybrid drivetrain gives a useful slice of all-electric running and warrants the matte-green exterior finish, says design chief SangYup Lee.

Dodge Challenger 50

The Dodge Challenger is 50 in 2019, and to celebrate, FCA is launching a special 50th Anniversary Edition custom pack, priced at $4,995. It’s offered on Challenger GT RWD, R/T Shaker, R/T Scat Pack Shaker and R/T Scat Pack Shaker Widebody. There’s 70 of each, all individually numbered, and a bold new colour called Gold Rush also joins the range. Certain to be collectable, the 2020 Dodge Challenger 50th Anniversary Edition arrives in dealers early spring 2020; ordering opens next month.

Chevrolet Corvette ConvertibleLA Auto Show 2019

We’ve seen the new mid-engined Corvette, and Motor Trend has recently voted it car of the year, but that didn’t stop the crowds from gathering here in LA. Both coupe and Convertible models were on display.

Mini John Cooper Works GPLA Auto Show 2019

How much would you pay to get your hands on the hottest Mini? The John Cooper Works GP will cost from $45,750 (plus $850 destination), and 3,000 will be built. Each car will pack 306 hp, new chassis technology, bespoke aerodynamics and the bragging rights associated with a sub-eight-minute Nurburgring lap time. What a way to celebrate 60 years of the Mini nameplate.

Nissan SentraLA Auto Show 2019

“The lower stance and more athletic design cues from the Maxima sports sedan give Sentra a sexy new look,” said a Nissan spokesperson. While ‘sexy’ might be a stretch, it’s certainly a good looking saloon. It’s Nissan’s best-selling U.S. model of all time, so the launch of the eight-generation Sentra is a big deal. Highlights include a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, a more upmarket interior, a full range of safety assistance systems and a ‘floating’ eight-inch touchscreen display.

Volkswagen Atlas Sport CrossLA Auto Show 2019

Volkswagen has been building the regular seven-seat Atlas SUV in Tennessee for almost three years. The new Cross Sport version is shorter than its more practical sibling, but keeps the same width and wheelbase. There’s a choice of a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6 with 276 hp or a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo gasoline with 235 hp, while an eight-speed automatic transmission is standard. Luxury options include wireless smartphone charging, a 12-speaker audio system and a Digital Cockpit instrument display.

BMW 2 Series Gran CoupeLA Auto Show 2019

A month on from its online debut, time has done little to improve the aesthetics of the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe. Not that this will stop it from selling like hot cakes. It’s one of five 2 Series variants available and it sits alongside the 2 Series Coupe, 2 Series Convertible, 2 Series Active Tourer and 2 Series Gran Tourer. Three trim levels are offered – Sport, M Sport and M235i.

Kia SeltosLA Auto Show 2019

The Kia Seltos is an entry-level new SUV that’s been inspired by the award-winning Telluride luxury seven-seater. Kia is planning a starting price from under $22,000, and is offering either a 2.0-litre gasoline engine or a 1.6-litre turbo. It slots into the gap between Soul and Sportage and, says Kia, completes its SUV line-up – for now, at least.

Acura MDX PMC EditionLA Auto Show 2019

Acura will build just 330 MDX PMC Edition models at its Ohio factory, with 300 for the U.S. market and 30 destined for Canada. Each one will be powered by a 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine developing 290 hp, mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Highlights include Valencia Red Pearl paint, 20-inch alloy wheels, leather seats and an individually numbered plaque.

Fiat 500X SportLA Auto Show 2019

The North American Fiat 500X Sport is making its debut with a new Rovente Red paint colour, plus body-colored bumpers and side-mouldings. New 18-inch alloy wheels come as standard and, for the first time on a 500X, you can have 19-inch alloys with Michelin CrossClimate all-weather tires. Power is sourced from a 1.3-liter turbocharged engine, with U.S. prices starting from $26,895.

Toyota RAV4 PrimeLA Auto Show 2019

The Toyota RAV4 is one of the world’s most popular crossovers, so the arrival of a new plug-in hybrid version will be of interest to many people – particularly one that combines 302 horsepower, a 5.8-second 0-60 mph time, AND a 39-mile electric range. Estimated MPGe? A cool 90. It arrives summer 2020 as a 2021 model year vehicle. We can’t wait.

BMW M8 Gran CoupeLA Auto Show 2019

Production of the BMW M8 Gran Coupe is already underway ahead of the car’s European sales debut in January. The entry-level version is powered by a 4.4-liter TwinPower turbo V8 producing 600 hp and 553 lb ft of torque, although the Competition version boosts this output to 617 hp.

Volkswagen ID Space VizzionLA Auto Show 2019

‘The ID. Space Vizzion is a wagon of tomorrow,’ says Volkswagen, claiming the electric car combines the characteristics of a GT with the practicality of an SUV. In other words, it’s an electric estate car. And doesn’t it look great? Volkswagen says it will offer a range of 590 km (367 miles) and will hit 60mph in 5.0 seconds. Although it’s a concept, the LA show car previews a potential production car Europe and North America. Time to start badgering your local VW dealer.

Audi RS Q8LA Auto Show 2019

Even before its LA debut, the Audi RS Q8 has a Nurburgring lap record to its name. It tamed the German circuit in seven minutes and 42.2 seconds, setting a record for the fastest production SUV. The RS Q8 is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8, which gives it a 0-62 mph time of 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 190mph. It’ll go on sale in July 2020.

Bollinger B1 and B2LA Auto Show 2019

All-electric. All-wheel-drive. All-aluminium. All-American. The Bollinger B1 and B2 look a little out of place in LA, because these things would be more at home in the Angeles National Forest or tackling the San Gabriel Mountains. The B1 SUV and B2 pick-up are strictly utilitarian, with a 120 kWh battery pack offering a range of up to 200 miles. The specs are impressively hardcore, with a price tag to match. Bank on paying $125,000 to crack open a Bollinger.

Porsche Macan TurboLA Auto Show 2019

It’s already available in Europe, but the Porsche Macan Turbo is making its American debut in LA. The Turbo model boasts a unique front end and a fixed roof spoiler with a double-wing design. At its heart is a six-cylinder twin-turbocharged engine producing 434 hp, which is enough for it to hit 60 mph in 4.1 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono package.

BMW X5 M Competition and X6 M CompetitionLA Auto Show 2019

In Competition guise, the BMW X5 M and X6 M models develop 625 hp to deliver 0-62 mph times of 3.9 seconds and 3.8 seconds respectively. Both versions feature 21-inch alloy wheels at the rear, 22-inch rims at the rear, an active M differential, a sports exhaust system, M brakes and an xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

Land Rover DefenderLA Auto Show 2019

Still fresh from its debut in Frankfurt, the Land Rover Defender is making waves in LA. Three body styles are available – 90, 110 and 130 – with six trim levels: Defender, S, SE, HSE, X and First Edition. U.S. prices start from around $50,000, but that’s only half the story, because top-spec versions will cost considerably more, especially when the Americans have gone crazy with the options list. We suspect this will encourage a few soccer moms and dads to ditch their soft-focus SUVs.

No Time to Die Land Rover DefenderLA Auto Show 2019

The new Land Rover Defender is starring in the new James Bond film, No Time to Die. To mark the collaboration, JLR borrowed one of the stunt cars from the movie production company – complete with layers of dirt, scrapes and scratches, and little evidence it’s had an easy life on set.

Alfa Romeo GiuliaLA Auto Show 2019

Believe it or not, this is the updated Alfa Romeo Giulia. In truth, Alfa Romeo didn’t need to mess with the styling, because its biggest flaws were on the inside. The cabin looks and feels more premium than before, while the digital instruments and infotainment system are nicer to look at. Crucially, the Giulia now gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. There’s also a suite of driver assistance systems and a revised set of trim levels.

Alfa Romeo StelvioLA Auto Show 2019

For the changes to the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, we’ll refer you to our description of the new Giulia. In truth, there’s not much we’d change about the Stelvio. Although it’s far from elegant, it’s one of the best looking SUVs on the market, and it’s also one of the best to drive. In common with the Giulia, the perceived quality in the cabin is up a notch or two, while wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard.

Toyota Camry and Avalon AWDLA Auto Show 2019

If you’re an American who yearns for all-weather traction but can’t stomach the thought of driving an SUV, Toyota has the answer. For the 2020 Camry and 2021 Avalon, it’s adding the option of the Dynamic Torque Control all-wheel-drive system from the RAV4. The system is only available with the 2.5-liter gas engine and eight-speed automatic transmission.

Lincoln Corsair Grand TouringLA Auto Show 2019

The Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring will hit North American streets next summer and is the firm’s second plug-in hybrid model. A 2.5-liter gasoline engine is paired with Lincoln’s first electric all-wheel-drive system to deliver a combined 266 hp and an estimated all-electric range of 25 miles. There are five driving modes: Normal, Conserve, Excite, Slippery and Deep. Lincoln claims the interior is like a ‘sanctuary for the senses’, with a cabin that’s ‘whisper-quiet’.

Karma Revero GTS

The new GTS is a performance version of the Karma Revero GT. In common with the GT, the GTS features two electric motors and a twin-turbo three-cylinder engine to deliver a driving range of up to 360 miles, including an all-electric range of 80 miles. It will hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds before reaching an electronically-limited top speed of 130mph. The cost? Just shy of $150,000.

Karma SC2LA Auto Show 2019

From a Karma you can buy, to one that you can’t. Not yet, anyway. The SC2 previews Karma’s future design language and provides a test bed for new tech. As it stands, the SC2 features two electric motors, carbon ceramic brakes, a push-rod operated racing suspension, and a torque-vectoring gearbox. With 1,100 hp on tap, the SC2 can hit 60mph in less than 1.9 seconds. Total range: 350 miles.

Mazda CX-30LA Auto Show 2019

Our man Richard Aucock has driven the Mazda CX-30 in LA. He tweeted: “Problem: the Mazda 3 has appalling rear seat practicality. Answer: the much roomier CX-30. It’s just as good to drive as the lovely 3, too (underpowered 122 hp engine and hunting auto ’box apart).”

Honda CR-V HybridLA Auto Show 2019

The CR-V Hybrid is the first hybrid-electric SUV from Honda in the United States. It will be built in Indiana and joins the Accord Hybrid and Insight as the third electrified Honda manufactured in America. The company is promising a 50 percent higher city fuel economy rating than the non-hybrid CR-V, along with standard-fit safety assistance systems that were previously standard only on EX and above trims.

Mini Cooper SELA Auto Show 2019

Known as the Mini Electric in the UK, the Mini Cooper SE is making its North American production debut in LA. It costs $29,900 plus an $850 destination and handling fee, although Mini says it could cost as little as $17,900 in some states. Mini is targeting California and Los Angeles as key markets for the electric Mini.

Mercedes-AMG GLS 63LA Auto Show 2019

The S-Class of SUVs gets an AMG boost for 2020. The turbocharged V8 delivers 603 horsepower for 0-60 mph acceleration in 4.1 seconds and a (restricted) top speed of 174 mph. This three-row SUV means up to seven can come along for the high-speed ride.

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