The 2018 LA Auto Show is well underway, and our man is pounding the floor in search of the latest metal. Here, we select some of the hottest new cars and the important concepts to create a Los Angeles mega-gallery. We’ve done the walking, so you don’t have to…
Searching for the star of the show? Look no further than the new Porsche 911, codenamed 992. Some might not approve of the evolutionary styling, but Porsche was hardly going to stray too far from such an iconic shape. Besides, Porsche is talking about a revolution beneath the surface.
The big news is the 30hp boost for the flat-six turbocharged engine, with the Carrera S and Carrera 4S now offering 450hp. It means that every 911 at launch will hit 62mph in less than 4.0 seconds. It’s on sale now, and with prices starting from £93,110 before options. We suspect most 911s will leave showrooms with a six-figure price tag.
The 2020 Gladiator has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? We knew Jeep would be launching a pick-up at the LA show, but we didn’t know it would look this good. Jeep can trace its truck roots back to 1947 when Willys Overland introduced a one-tonne truck with four-wheel drive based on the CJ-2A. The Gladiator name was formerly used in the 1960s and early 70s.
The Jeep Gladiator would laugh in the face of a lily-livered crossover – this is a truck for outdoor adventures and properly tough jobs. For a start, there’s a 4,370kg towing capacity and a 1.5m load bed capable of carrying up to 725kg of gear. Two V6 engines will be available – one petrol and one diesel – but we’ll have to wait until 2020 before we can get down and dirty with the best truck in LA.
This might be the best looking real-world car at the LA show. We knew it would look good – the Kai concept provided more than a subtle hint – but the Mazda 3 deserves to upstage the Golf and Focus based on styling alone. And, because it’s a Mazda, you know it will offer class-leading dynamics when it goes on sale in 2019.
There are two versions on show in LA: a five-door hatchback and a four-door saloon. A range of engines will be available, including an innovative Skyactiv-X, which offers the performance of a petrol and the economy of a diesel. In 2019, three could be the magic number in the family hatchback segment. Still want that Golf? And other motoring journalism cliches…
Rivian is making a big splash here in LA, which is a worry, as mixing electric with water is never a good idea. Its aim: to ‘reimagine the pick-up and SUV segments’, which is a rather lofty ambition. This is the R1T, a five-seat pick-up offering up to 400 miles of electric range, a wading depth of one metre and a 0-60 mph time as low as three seconds. Still want that Tesla? Oh wait, we’ve used that cliche.
The Rivian R1S is a seven-seat electric SUV which uses the same ‘skateboard’ platform as the R1T. In simple terms, the battery pack, drive units, suspension, braking and thermal system are packaged below the height of the steering wheel, leaving space above for the occupants. Rivian claims the R1S will be good for a 410-mile range and offer 330 litres of space in the ‘frunk’ and 180 litres in the rear bin.
Filling the gap between the CR-V and the Pilot, this is the new Honda Passport. It features a 280hp 3.5-litre V6 engine as standard, which is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard on the flagship model and an option on all others, as Honda hopes to appeal to outdoorsy types who do ‘lifestyle’ things at the weekend. The Passport will be built in Alabama for the North American market, but we won’t be seeing it passing through customs elsewhere.
Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition
Volkswagen is looking into the future, but that hasn’t stopped it paying tribute to a favourite from the past. Two special editions of the Beetle are on show in LA – the aptly-named Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL. They pay homage to Beetles of the past and will see the famous name through until production ceases in July 2019. Herbie is said to be in mourning.
Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo
The ID Buzz Cargo is a fully-connected electric van that could offer a range of up to 340 miles. Its solar roof can extend the range by up to 9.3 miles a day. The concept on show in LA is rear-wheel drive, but Volkswagen says a motor could be added to the front to make it 4WD.
Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
This is Subaru’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle, which makes it a big deal for the Japanese company. It should offer fuel economy previously unavailable to American customers, including a 17-mile all-electric range to deliver a total of 480 miles when using both petrol and electric power. It’ll hit 65mph in electric mode and will be priced at $34,995 when it goes on sale in North America before the end of the year. It might be sold in the UK, too.
Porsche Panamera GTS
The new 911 might be hugging the limelight on the Porsche stand, but the Panamera GTS is large enough to cast a shadow over the showstopper. Available in both Panamera and Panamera Sport Turismo guise, the GTS is powered by a 4.0-litre V8 engine developing 460hp offering top speeds of 181mph and 179 mph respectively. You can order them now – prices start from just under £106,000.
Everything seems bigger in America, including this, the new BMW X7. We knew it would be huge – the press release told us as much – but it’s not until you see it in the metal that you truly appreciate what a monster this is. To be fair, it needs to be big – a 7 Series SUV with seats for seven and enough tech to fill an entire series of The Gadget Show wouldn’t fit in anything else. It goes on sale in April with a starting price of £72,155.
Meanwhile, back in the real world… Fiat launched an updated version of the 500X in Europe earlier this year, but now it’s time for the North American version. There a few blink-and-you’ll-miss-them exterior changes, but the big news is fitment of the newly-developed 1.3-litre petrol engine and standard all-wheel-drive capability. Customers in the US will have to wait until the spring of 2019 before they can get their hands on the car.
Fresh from its European debut in Paris, the revised Audi R8 arrives in Los Angeles to ensure the Porsche 911 doesn’t have everything its own way. Two versions of the V10 engine are available, producing 570hp in the ‘entry-level’ car and 620hp in the Performance flagship, formerly known as the Plus. Coupe and Spyder models are available, with customers taking delivery in the new year.
While we wait for the M3 main course, the BMW M340i should serve as a decent appetiser. The four-wheel-drive saloon is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six engine developing 374hp, enabling it to hit 60mph in less than 4.4 seconds. It’ll arrive in Europe in July, which gives you enough time to wonder if you’ll be prepared to wait another year for the full-fat M3 and M4.
BMW 8 Series Convertible
Alternatively, you could opt for BMW’s new grand tourer, which will hit the streets in April 2019. The convertible version utilises a fabric roof, chosen because a metal top would have been heavier and taken up more space. The roof, which opens and closes at speeds of up to 31 mph, is its chief party trick, with the convertible versions costing £7,000 (around $9,000) more than the coupe equivalents. Prices start from £83,270 (around $106,000).
Byton is making some bold claims about the K-Byte, promising to deliver Level 4 autonomy to the four-door saloon segment. It’s one of three vehicles to share the same electric platform and follows the unveiling of the M-Byte SUV. If Byton is correct, this 325-mile range saloon will be the primary mode of transport for Americans when it hits the market in 2021.
Mini John Cooper Works Knights Edition
Sadly, the Mini John Cooper Works Knights Edition has nothing to do with Michael Knight, but at least the black metallic paint tips its hat to K.I.T.T. Other cosmetic upgrades include a silver roof and bonnet stripes, and piano black trim. There’s also a John Cooper Works exhaust flap system. It’ll be in US dealerships in early 2019.
Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport
The outgoing Type 991 Porsche 911 isn’t dead yet, as ably demonstrated by the GT2 RS Clubsport. This racing version of the road-going GT2 RS is a last hurrah for the 991, with production limited to just 200 units. The carbon steering wheel and colour display are taken from the 911 GT3 R racing car, while the Clubsport also features a ‘massive’ safety cage, a racing bucket seat, a six-point safety harness and air conditioning. The price is €405,000 (around $460,000 or £360,000), but we suspect there’ll be none left by the time you’ve finished this gallery.
We live in changing times. Lincoln’s press release for the Aviator kicks off with its advanced technologies that ‘let the luxury SUV kneel to greet you, scan the road ahead for uneven pavement, and allow you to drive away using your smartphone instead of a key’. It’s difficult for a three-row SUV to look elegant, but the Aviator is certainly handsome, while the interior is both opulent and well-appointed. Petrol and plug-in hybrid versions will be available.
Audi E-tron GT Concept
The E-tron GT concept previews a production model set to arrive in 2020, which will follow the E-tron SUV and E-tron Sportback slated for 2019. It might not come across in the photos, but the four-door GT is a big car, close to five metres in length and nearly two metres wide. A large car needs large wheels, so the Audi is riding on 22-inch rims.
Audi E-tron GT Concept
The four-wheel-drive concept, which has a centre of gravity comparable with that of the R8, develops 590hp, which is enough to hit 62mph in 3.5 seconds, before hitting a regulated top speed of 149mph. The range is quoted at ‘over 248 miles’, although this will drop if you spend too long testing that 0-62 time.
BMW Vision iNext
It’s not what you’d call attractive, but the Vision iNext wraps BMW’s strategic innovation fields into one cosmetically-challenged SUV. For the first time, autonomous driving, connectivity, electrification and services (ACES) have been incorporated into one BMW, but we suspect somebody forgot to tell the stylists.
Toyota Prius Hybrid AWD-e
This is a big deal, not least because Toyota reckons it will account for as much as 25 percent of annual US Prius sales. It’s the new AWD-e variant, which sends power to the rear wheels to create ‘one of the most fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive-equipped passenger cars available in the US’. It sends the power to the rear from 0mph to 6mph, then, when needed, up to 43 mph. The Prius also showcases new exterior styling and interior upgrades.
Toyota Corolla Hybrid
The Prius isn’t the only eco-warrior on the Toyota stand, because this is the most fuel-efficient model ever to wear a Corolla badge. The Corolla Hybrid combines a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with two electric motors to deliver an output of 121hp. But, more importantly, the 2020 Corolla, which goes on sale next year, should achieve at least 50mpg (US) combined.
The Nissan Maxima is one of the most popular large saloons in America, so the launch of a revised 2019 model is a big deal. The styling has been given a makeover, the interior has been refreshed and a full suite of safety features are available via Nissan’s Safety Shield 360. Only one drivetrain will be offered: a 300hp 3.5-litre V6 mated to a CVT transmission.
The Palisade is the largest Hyundai ever built and offers seating for up to eight people. Power is sourced from a 3.8-litre V6 engine developing 291hp and 262lb ft of torque, which is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. But the real story is inside, with the Palisade offering more first- and second-row legroom than the Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder and Ford Explorer. There’s also more luggage room behind the third row than the Toyota Highlander, Pilot and Pathfinder.
Mercedes-Benz AMG GT R Pro
The limited-run Mercedes-Benz AMG GT R Pro uses technology from the AMG GT3 and AMG GT 4 racing cars and comes with the Track Pack as standard. This comprises a roll cage, four-point harnesses and a fire extinguisher. “No other production model of Mercedes-AMG presently is as close to motor racing as the new AMG GT R Pro,” said Tobias Moers, chairman of Mercedes-AMG. Blimey.
Kia Soul EV
Last, but by no means least, this is the new Kia Soul EV. It should be a quantum leap forward for the electric Soul, with Kia promising more power, greater range and faster charging. The familiar boxy look has been given a nip and tuck, with the Soul also gaining new safety and connectivity tech. Performance and range details will be confirmed ahead of the car’s UK launch in 2019.