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Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

Opinion: Why blue is the colour at the 2019 LA Auto Show

Lexus LC Convertible

If the photos taken by our man in LA are anything to go by, the world’s carmakers are feeling blue. Quite strange, given the fact that we’re being encouraged to go green.

Maybe the car manufacturers are trying to tell us something. Is blue destined to become the colour to be seen in next year? Perhaps we should ask Trinny and Susannah. Are they still the go-to women for fashion advice?

Richard’s postcards from Los Angeles paint a very blue picture. Forget Fifty Shades of Grey, LA is more like 25 shades of blue.

It’s 20 years since blue was the best-selling car colour in the UK, which keeps detailed records of what hue new cars are painted in. It slipped to second in 2000, just as Messrs Ryan, Webbe, Costa and James were about to storm the pop charts, sending teenage girls into a frenzy.

For blue (the colour), it was less a case of All Rise, and more one of Curtain Falls. Other Blue hits are available.

Blue Turns to Grey

Lexus LC 500 Convertible

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) suggest that blue held on to second spot until 2005, when it dropped to third until 2010. In 2011 and 2012 it was fifth, but blue was notable for its absence in 2013. It returned to fourth spot in 2014, where it has remained ever since.

Last year, 381,591 cars were registered in blue, which represents a 16.1 percent market share. It would take a massive shift for blue to break into the top three. The sombre hues of grey, black and white have been the dominant shades for nearly a decade.

Leading the charge is Lexus, with its drop-dead gorgeous LC 500 Convertible. The LA stunner is painted in a glorious shade of Structural Blue, with a blue top thrown in for good measure.

Tangled up in Blue

Lexus RC

Without going all M&S about this, Structural Blue is no ordinary paint colour. Good luck getting this one colour-matched at your local DIY store.

Lexus says it took 15 years to develop the colour, with its team drawing inspiration from the Morpho butterfly. The production process takes eight months, 12 production steps and 20 quality inspections.

You can read more about the paint here – it’s more interesting than it sounds – but one thing’s for sure: LC 500 drivers are going to fear stone chips like an ice cream seller fears the rain. Following a gritter lorry in a Structural Blue Lexus is a definite no-no.

More evidence of a blue renaissance comes from Alfa Romeo, with the 2020 Stelvio and Giulia showcasing a new Anodised Blue hue. It’s always slightly off-putting to see a Giulia Quadrifoglio in anything other than Alfa Red or Competizione Red, but it certainly wears it well.

Visions in Blue

Ford Mustang Mach-E

Still not convinced that blue is the next big thing? The most eye-catching colour available on the Ford Mustang Mach-E is Grabber Blue Metallic, which just happens to be one of three colours available on the limited-run First Edition cars.

Here’s the thing: blue is a very flattering colour – it can work on cars of all shapes and sizes. From slab-sided SUVs to convertibles that look like they’ve been poured from a bottle, blue is light a little black dress: perfect for any occasion.

If car manufacturers are doing their bit to tempt you away from colours more akin to darkness, drizzle and electrical appliances, the least you can do is take the bait. Let’s make blue the number one hue in 2020…

Blue cars at LA Auto Show 2019

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.

More on Motoring Research:

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.

Audi E-tron GT LA Auto Show

The Audi E-tron GT Concept is here to scare Tesla

Audi’s E-tron GT concept has been revealed at the LA Auto Show – and shows Tesla how the establishment makes a cool electric saloon

Porsche 991 992 comparison

Spot the difference: Porsche 911 new and old compared

The new ‘992’ Porsche 911 is – as expected – hardly a visual revolution. We compare it with the car that came before

LA Auto Show 2017

LA Auto Show 2017: the star cars

LA Auto Show 2017The LA Auto Show is a feel-good show. Local hotels and restaurants are putting out the Christmas decorations, despite the sunshine and 25-degree temperatures outside, and the just-right size and just-so layout of the stands means it’s a show it feels churlish to gripe about.

Manufacturers reward it by showing some interesting cars, and bringing along Grade-A execs to present them. Sure, the list of genuine world-firsts is slight, but this doesn’t stop LA having its own share of surprises – this year, there were certainly some prominent ones on the roster that proved its status as serious car show. Such as? Let us be your guide…

Alfa Romeo Stelvio QVLA Auto Show 2017

America is back in love with Alfa Romeo. The Giulia was the warm-up: now, the Stelvio SUV is the car winning over hearts, few more so than the potent-looking QV version. Its V6 turbo engine produces 510hp and has, literally, more than a whiff of Ferrari about it, while the gorgeous Alfa red paint of the show stand car couldn’t help but draw onlookers. Your writer remembers when Alfa was relegated to a corridor at LA, merely in the way of the other big brands. Not anymore.

Aston Martin VantageLA Auto Show 2017

Aston Martin wasn’t there in person, probably because it was still giving itself high fives over the successful UK launch of the new Vantage. That didn’t stop massive local dealer Galpin Motors convincing the firm to ship over one of the first models for it to display on its incredible hall-of-its-own stand. In what other colour, but vivid lime green? Perfect.

BMW i8 RoadsterLA Auto Show 2017

BMW has been chopping the roof off the i8 almost as long as it’s been making the i8. But only now is it an official production car, as opposed to a concept. And it looks even better than we ever imagined. The i8 Coupe, as it’s now called, is a cool car, but don’t be surprised if the majority of buyers choose the i8 Roadster instead.

Corvette ZR1LA Auto Show 2017

Monster power from a monster Corvette. But also a dinosaur. This is a last hurrah for the front-engined Corvette: its replacement will have an engine in the middle, one producing even more power than this ludicrous powerhouse. If that’s progress, hang the history: we’re all for it.

Infiniti QX50LA Auto Show 2017

This is the most important Infiniti there’s ever been. Sure, it’s an SUV; god knows, how could it not be? It replaces a similarly-sized SUV that was forgettable. This one won’t be, though. Because it’s powered by the first production-ready variable compression engine in the world. A colossal breakthrough two decades in the making, that means it’s as economical as a diesel but as powerful as a V6. Infiniti’s so confident in the merits of this engine, it’s not offering the pretty new QX50 with any other motor. How rival makers must be stomping their corporate feet at the Japanese premium brand’s potential engineering-led big break into the big time.

Jaguar Project 8LA Auto Show 2017

It costs £150k, but for good reason. Very little of a regular XE is actually left. And the reward for Jaguar indulging its SVO engineers with this wild flight of fantasy? A record-breaking Nürburgring lap time. No four-door production-spec car has lapped the Green Hell more quickly than this. It’s 11 seconds faster than the previous record holder, the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV. Dammit, it’s even faster than a Ferrari Enzo. £150k, you say? Bargain.

Mercedes-Benz CLSLA Auto Show 2017

The Mercedes-Benz CLS. First one, great. Second one, not so. Here’s that tricky third album, make or break for the CLS. The initial signs are good, with a sexy body shape drawing back to the reason why people loved the original, and steered clear of the ham-fisted second one. Will it sell, for upwards of £55k at a minimum? We’ll see. But we hope so. Not everything needs to be SUV-shaped these days. There’s still room for a bit of beauty.

Porsche 911 Carrera TLA Auto Show 2017

The Porsche 911 Carrera T has already gone on sale in the UK, and if you’re one of the people who have placed a deposit on the £85,576 stripped-back 911, you can expect to take delivery in January. That’s one way to chase away the new year blues. Speaking of which, we’d take ours in optional Miami Blue, a snip at £1,877.

Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport TurismoLA Auto Show 2017

This is a formidable machine. With a combined output of 680hp, the all-wheel drive Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo will sprint to 62mph in just 3.4 seconds, before reaching a top speed of 192mph. Driven carefully – some chance – you can expect an electric range of 15 to 30 miles. The price: £139,287, before options.

Range Rover faceliftLA Auto Show 2017

The Range Rover’s facelift is subtle, but the big changes lie under the skin, most notably the arrival of a new plug-in hybrid version. The P400e boasts a 31-mile electric range, 101mpg NEDC fuel economy and total power output of 404hp. Prices start from £86,965, but you’ll pay £105,865 for the Autobiography.

Volvo XC40LA Auto Show 2017

The original XC90 and XC60 were hugely successful in North America, and we expect the XC40 to follow suit. We’ve driven the compact SUV and can confirm that it’s every bit as good as it looks. We had no hesitation in giving it a maximum five-star rating, and the word on the floor in LA is that Volvo has another hit on its hands.

>NEXT: Chevrolet Corvette: 65 years in the making

2018 BMW i8 Roadster

BMW has finally revealed the i8 Roadster in LA

2018 BMW i8 RoadsterAfter years of teasing us with the i8 Spyder concept, BMW has at last introduced open-top i8 Roadster at the 2017 LA Auto Show. It joins the range as part of the facelifted 2018 i8 line with prices for the i8 Coupe starting from £112,730 and the new i8 Roadster priced from £124,730.

A fact we didn’t know: the i8 has been the world’s best-selling hybrid sports car since it was launched in 2014, something BMW aims to continue with the 2018 revisions. Something that benefits both Coupe and Roadster buyers is a boost to the battery; cell capacity is up, taking cross emergency capacity from 7.1kWh to 11.6kWh. This gives more energy to the motor and boosting EV power by 12hp to 143hp.

2018 BMW i8 Roadster

It’s thus faster, with system total power going up to 374hp for 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds with the Coupe, 4.6 seconds for the Roadster. But the EV range is greater too – now 34 miles for the i8 Coupe and 33 miles for the i8 Roadster. That’s a hefty 50 percent boost for the Coupe.  

Economy? Take the official figures with a pinch of salt – 149.8mpg for the Coupe and 134.5mpg for the Roadster, with respective CO2 emissions of 42g/km and 46g/km. Instead, note BMW’s claim that fuel economy is typically 50 percent better than other sports cars with similar power…

There’s a new headlights option – ‘non-dazzling laser headlights’ with a high-beam range of 600 metres, double that of the LED headlights fitted as standard to the i8. And there’s a new pedestrian warning system: at speeds of up to 18mph, the i8 is so quiet, BMW’s been encouraged to fit an acoustic system to alert those whose heads have not already been turned.

Other upgrades include fresh infotainment systems with touchscreen functionality, BMW ConnectedDrive tech and upgrades to the electric battery’s charging tech.

BMW i8 Roadster: in detail

2018 BMW i8 Roadster

The fabric soft-top roof on the i8 Roadster is fully electric and folds down in 16 seconds, at speeds of up to 31mph. It ingeniously stows perpendicular, so doesn’t take up much space: BMW says this leaves an extra 100 litres between the roof box and seats, enhancing the tiny 88-litre rearmost boot.

2018 BMW i8 Roadster

Cleverly, the ‘gullwing’ doors of the i8 Coupe remain, and the rear deck is a work of sculptural art. There’s a rear window that doubles up as a windbreak and the C-pillars gain ‘Roadster’ badges: the Coupe thus gets its own badges too.

As if the design of the car wasn’t enough, BMW’s introduced some flashy new colours – E-Copper metallic and Donington Grey metallic (nice to see the East Midlands racetrack getting a namecheck by BMW there). And there are some new ultra-lightweight alloys, each weighing 1kg less than the outgoing car’s rims.

2018 BMW i8 Roadster and i8 Coupe: in pictures

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>NEXT: 2017 LA Auto Show preview in pictures

2017 Los Angeles Auto Show preview: in pictures

2017 Los Angeles Auto Show preview: in pictures

2017 Los Angeles Auto Show preview: in pictures

The last big motor show of the year is always LA. Automotive chiefs are taking a break from the winter chill and enjoying a few days of sunshine at the annual feel-good event. It always has an end-of-term feel to it, but also serves as a great warm-up for the new cars that will start the year ahead with a bang. Read on to see what we already know will be there in 2018…

Mercedes-Benz CLS

Mercedes-Benz CLS

Mercedes-Benz invented the modern four-door coupe segment back in 2003 with the CLS. After the slightly humdrum current car sapped some of the excitement of the original, the firm is set to take LA by storm with an all-new third-generation CLS. Using plenty of tech from the E-Class again, we hope the styling has rediscovered the elegance of the original, although we’re happy to bet the drive is going to impress. With a welter of autonomous tech, it could be the CLS back to its best.

Infiniti QX50

Infiniti QX50

The Infiniti QX50 could not be more market-perfect. It’s as spot-on a replacement to its predecessor as the old one was wholly ignorable. Because not only does it look pretty, it also has a brilliant new engine, and we don’t use the adjective ‘brilliant’ lightly. Called VC-Turbo, this is a variable compression unit that can become bigger or smaller, as the needed arises. No engine on sale before has been able to do this. The QX50 looks smart but could also, quietly, be the single most significant new car revealed at LA 2017.

Aria FXE

Aria FXE

Not heard of Aria Group? Don’t worry – it’s an expert engineering firm that usually makes the concept cars for big-name manufacturers. Now it’s decided to make one of its own, and the FXE teased here is our first look at the start-up supercar. Yes, we’re excited to see more.

BMW M3 CS

BMW M3 CS

There’s a new BMW 3 Series next year, so this one is trying to go out on a high with a zippy new CS-tuned version of the M3 range-topper. Taking much of the carbon fibre styling addenda from the M4 CS, it also gets a power boost to 453hp and two criminally cool features – a ducktail-style rear spoiler and ultra-lightweight staggered wheels: 19 inches on the front and 20 inches at the rear. The current M3 has always slightly disappointed. Is BMW saving the best until last?

Saleen S1

Saleen S1

Saleen is a US performance car firm that used to make its own supercar, but more recently has tuned up versions of other hot cars, such as the Ford Mustang. The S1 was originally revealed in China, as it’s a joint venture development with Jiangsu Saleen Automotive Technology Co, and will be built from 2018 for sales in both the US and China. Boasting up to 450hp, it’s an intriguing proposition that we’re keen to see more of.

Land Rover Discovery SVX

Land Rover Discovery SVX

Even a standard Land Rover Discovery can pretty much go anywhere. We proved as much on the launch earlier this year. But the way it looks is, well, just a bit too posh and elegant for some to believe it can do all this. Enter the SVX, hand-built by the same Coventry, England division that makes ultra-posh Range Rover SVAs and ultra-fast Jaguar SVRs. Land Rover reckons it’s the most extreme car it’s ever made – yes, more off-road-ready than any Defender – and we’re going to pore over it in LA ahead of its launch in 2018.

Range Rover and Range Rover Sport facelift

Range Rover and Range Rover Sport facelift

The Range Rover and Range Rover Sport have been facelifted and LA show-goers get to see them up-close for the first time. The big news is the introduction of a plug-in hybrid model that can do up to 31 miles in full EV mode, but we’re also looking forward to checking out the new front end in the metal, and the even posher interior in all its leather-laden glory. You don’t even have to stop with the regular Range Rover: Land Rover will also be showing the SVAutobiography range-topper, aiming to redefine – again – just how luxurious you can make a Range Rover.

Genesis G70

Genesis G70

Hyundai’s premium division, Genesis, has already caused a stir with its excellent G90 luxury car, a cracking first attempt at taking on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Now it has the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 in its sights. The G70 was only revealed a few months ago, so this is still a relatively fresh first-show. It’s aimed at sports saloon drivers in the U.S. but we’ll be checking it out to see if Hyundai UK should take an interest.

BMW i8 Roadster

BMW i8 Roadster

How long have we been expecting this? A roofless i8 has been years in the making, but might at last be arriving in LA, and we can’t wait to flip-up the doors and jump straight in on the show stand floor – before possibly being escorted away, depending on the humour of the security guards. Honestly, we’ll take our shoes off.

BMW X7 iPerformance Concept

BMW X7 iPerformance Concept

LA will be another opportunity for us to see the rather large BMW X7 luxury SUV concept. This is BMW’s Range Rover, focused on the Chinese market, and all kinds of massive. LA is so connected, we might take up residence in the back of it and order some takeout once we’ve charmed the security guards.

Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Wrangler

While Land Rover dillies and dallies over the new Defender, finding itself in the bizarre situation of phasing out a model without a replacement ready to jump into its shoes, Jeep shows the way to treat an icon with the all-new Wrangler. It’s familiar, of course, but jam-packed with new stuff, to both make it even better off-road and even more connected inside.

Lexus RXL

Lexus RXL

The sales figures prove how much people love the Lexus RX SUV. But in all this time, it’s remained a two-row five-seater. No more. LA 2017 marks the debut of the three-row seven-seat RX, ingeniously called RXL. If you’re eco-thinking and have three children, each with an inseparable best mate, bingo.

Mazda 6 facelift

Mazda 6 facelift

You tell us. The Mazda 6 is a marvellous car, a premium BMW rival sold at Ford Mondeo money, but if you can tell what’s different about this one, you have keener eyes than us. Still, we will nevertheless head over to check out and admire the people’s BMW 3 Series.

Porsche 911 T

Porsche 911 T

Yes. This is the one enthusiasts have been waiting for. T means turbo, of course, but T also harks back to the 911’s 1960s heritage, where things were oh-so simple. Here, T means Touring, and Porsche’s made sure it’s a driving holiday with rear-wheel drive, a limited-slip differential and a manual gearbox. It has 20mm lower suspension than a regular Carrera, standard adaptive dampers, and is 20kg lighter thanks to thinner glass, no rear seats and even straps for the doorhandles. Where do we sign?

Porsche 718 GTS

Porsche 718 GTS

What enthusiasts really want is the return of the six-cylinder Porsche 718 Cayman and Boxster. With the GTS… they don’t get it. But they do get more power, 365hp, from the 2.5-litre turbo flat-four, which Porsche reckons will accelerate one from 0-62mph in just 3.9 seconds if you go for the fast-shifting PDK automatic. Quick enough to knobble a 911 or two, while GTS accoutrements give it a bit more focus in corners too.

Subaru Ascent

Subaru Ascent

Subaru is such a well-loved brand by people who know their cars, so why shouldn’t it too get on the modern SUV bandwagon and try to attract more of those to whom it’s unknown? The good-looking Ascent, pictured here in concept form, is its first three-row seven-seat SUV, thoroughly on-form and set, more than likely, to sell like hot cakes in North America. Those who know their cars would love it in the UK, but would it sell?

Toyota FT-AC

Toyota FT-AC

We’ve only seen a teaser of this, and it frankly looks fantastic already. Packed with LED lights and a bulging body, we don’t quite know if it’s an SUV, a pickup, a van or what, but we’re still hoping it’s the cool post-apocalyptic Toyota this image suggests it is. One to keep an eye on.

Mini Electric Concept

Mini Electric Concept

We saw this at the 2017 Frankfurt auto show, and now Mini’s showing off the battery electric concept in the market destined to take a substantial proportion of sales. Expected to use BMW i3 electric tech, it will be fast, have a decent range and generally thoroughly Mini-flavoured, just with zero emissions from the (non-existent) tailpipe.

Mazda Vision Coupe Concept

Mazda Vision Coupe Concept

Meet the future of Mazda styling. This is another car we’ve already seen, but it’s still worth a second look because of just how pretty and elegant it is. Who says they don’t make jaw-dropping and achingly beautiful cars anymore? Join us at LA to see yet more lovely pictures.

Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo

Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo

The car with the longest name at the show. To decipher it, this is a shooting brake Panamera with a 55 hp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, a 140hp electric motor and a 14.1 kWh lithium-ion battery good for 30 miles on full EV power. But, more importantly, a total system output of 680hp and 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds. Not bad for an estate, huh?

Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40

A Volvo at a motor show is a rarity – the firm has pared back the number of events it attends, preferring instead to do things its own way. Luckily, LA is one of the events it is attending, and lucky for Los Angeles, the XC40 is yet another marvellous modern Volvo. It rivals the Audi Q3 and BMW X1. It is also, according to early drive reports, better than the new Jaguar E-Pace, which isn’t quite what the British firm had planned.

Corvette ZR1

Corvette ZR1

First revealed in Dubai, the monster Corvette now gets its homeland reveal. A production Corvette has never been faster or more powerful car than this: 755hp may even see it dip beneath seven minutes for a Nürburgring hot lap, the firm hints. We’ll join the throng and lust over it in LA.

Lincoln MKC

Lincoln MKC

The posh compact Lincoln SUV gets a new look for 2018, with the same cool front end we’ve seen on the Continental. It’s much nicer than the current setup and the interior is, to follow a bit of a trend of LA 2017, said to be even posher and more luxurious as well.

>NEXT: Chevrolet Corvette: 65 years in the making

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV revealed at LA Auto Show

Alfa Romeo StelvioAt long last, Alfa Romeo has revealed its first ever SUV, called Stelvio. Debuting at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, the new Alfa Romeo Stelvio will in 2017 launch to take on the Porsche Macan and Jaguar F-Pace in the battle of the sporty premium SUVs.

And Alfa reckons it’s in the running with the first SUV it’s made in over 100 years of production. Read on to find out why…

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is the next part of Alfa’s rebirth as a sporting premium alternative to BMW, Audi and Jaguar. The Giulia saloon set the ball rolling, but it’s the Stelvio SUV that’s the most important of the two. This is the model that should deliver the strong sales and fat profit margins necessary to make Alfa sustainable. There’s a lot riding on the Stelvio, alright – hence launching it in LA, one of the world’s key SUV markets.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

It certainly packs a visual punch, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. Derived from the look of the Giulia saloon, this is much bolder and more substantial, particularly its prominent, huge Alfa grille and the inset bonnet shutline. Air intakes are suitably enormous on this Quadrifoglio variant too.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Cloverleaf crests feature on the front wings (that’s what Quadrifoglio means in Italian) and the extended wheelarches are colour-keyed, as are the side skirts. Carbon fibre trim features on this launch model too – more mainstream models will be toned down a bit. Even so, whereas many SUVs go for colour contrasts with the plastic bits to reinforce their tough off-road nature, Alfa’s instead given the Stelvio more of a performance car finish. Its intent is clear.

The rear hatch has a steep rake and a big roof spoiler, plus quad exhausts on this Quadrifoglio variant. The sculpting around the rear lights is smart and we like the ‘Kamm tail’ design of the tailgate itself. This crisp cut-off is likely to benefit high-speed aerodynamics. The rear haunches are powerful too, although from this angle it does also remind us a little of the Maserati Levante…

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Inside, the command-like interior is familiar from the Giulia, but perhaps even more elegant and premium than that car. Alfa’s had a bit more time to work on the Stelvio dash, and it shows. The cowled dials, flat-bottom steering wheel and huge central screen dominate: also check details such as the Ferrari-like starter button on the steering wheel, and the Alcantara dash top with red stitching.

Underneath, the Stelvio is derived from the Alfa Romeo Giulia architecture. It’s built in Modena – famous for its Ferraris – and the brand insists the Stelvio name has been chosen to reinforce its sporty SUV focus. The Stelvio Pass is the highest mountain pass in Italy and packs 75 corners into 20km. If Jeeps are Trail Rated, it seems this Alfa Romeo is Stelvio Rated.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

The engine is one of the most exciting bits. This is not quite a Ferrari engine in an Alfa, but it’s the next best thing, as the supercar maker has been heavily involved in its design. The 2.9-litre V6 twin-turbo engine produces 510-horsepower and, while performance figures haven’t been released, we’d suggest the Quadrifoglio will do 0-60mph in the fours, and top 175mph all-out.

If a 510-horsepower engine developed with Ferrari is too much, don’t worry. Alfa is also offering a 280-horsepower 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder and, later, a suitable range of turbodiesels. All will be paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Of course, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is all-wheel drive: the system is called Q4. But in normal driving, you’d never know it: 100% of drive is sent to the rear axle, to give it a suitably sporty feel. Only when the limits are reached is up to 50% of drive sent forwards. Response is rapid – indeed, the system even predicts loss of grip and will adjust drive before it actually happens.

Derived from the well-received Giulia saloon, the Stelvio has double wishbone front suspension and a patented ‘four-and-a-half’ link rear setup, called AlfaLink. Rear suspension innovation is where it’s at these days: also see Jaguar Integral Link. As for the steering, forget mud-plugging off-road stability – Alfa’s focused on maximising feel and feedback when cornering fast, by keeping loads on the tyres constant.  

Active suspension, ESC and Q4 all-wheel drive are all coordinated by the Alfa Chassis Domain Control system. This adjusts the mapping in real time, says the firm, for super-fast adaptive changes during fast driving. Alfa Torque Vectoring is also combined with the Q4 system for the first time: clutches in the rear differential control individual drive delivery to each wheel.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Brakes are more track-speck than trail-spec: on the Quadrifoglio, Alfa Romeo is fitting carbon-ceramic discs to the Stelvio. It also has the same Integrated Brake System as on the Giulia, which pairs electronic aids with a traditional servo, upping response and cutting stopping distances. It’ll need a good set of anchors if it’s to grab a hot Nürburgring lap time…

We don’t yet know how heavy the new Alfa Romeo Stelvio is, but the firm says it’s tried to make it as light as possible. There’s a carbon fibre driveshaft and the doors, wings, bonnet and tailgate are aluminium, as are the engines, suspension and brakes. All the heavy stuff has been centralised as much as possible. If you’re naming a car after the most famous sequence of corners in the world, you don’t want to make it a bit of a boat through them, do you?

Size-wise, the Stelvio is 4.68 metres long, 1.65 metres high and a healthy 1.9 metres wide. By way of comparison, a Porsche Macan is 4.69 metres long, 1.62 metres high and 1.92 metres wide. Spot-on dimensions alongside its rivals, then.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio: in pictures

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Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet

Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet revealed

Mercedes-Maybach S 650 CabrioletThe Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet is a €300,000, limited-to-300 edition that brings delicious colour (and some of the excitement) of the recent Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 concept to showrooms from spring 2017.

The ultra-exclusive model is the first convertible from the recently-reinvigorated Mercedes-Maybach brand. It debuts at the 2016 LA Auto Show.

It’s all about Sensual Purity, says Mercedes-Maybach

Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet

The Mercedes-Maybach form of modern luxurious is dubbed ‘Sensual Purity’ by the firm: apparently (it says here), it is both hot and cool at the same time. Such as its fantastically rich red paint, offset by deep polished metal and those amazing 20-inch bichromatic 20-inch forged alloys. Swarovski headlights are optional. Yes, that’s Swarovski headlights.

Inside, we’re told ‘everything flows’

Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet

It’s leather everywhere within the four-seat Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet. Check out the seats: the waterfall-like feature is created by progressive perforations. Diamond quilted side bolsters adds further decadence. If you don’t like the nut brown magnolia trim here, choose from one of nine additional interior colours, from nice porcelain and saddle brown, to more dubious pastel yellow and black.

The trim is like you’ll find on a yacht

Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet

Pretty much all the interior trim will be commissioned bespoke for each of the 300 Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolets. Some might choose the flowing lines detailing seen here – inspired, says the firm, by the Mercedes-Benz Style ‘Arrow 460 Granturismo’ yacht. A special precision-machine process ices the trim a 3D look.

You get Mercedes-Maybach luggage for free

Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet

Mercedes-Benz is pleased with the Maybach luggage included with every S 650 Cabriolet: two travel backs and two smaller man/woman bags, made from the same leather used in the car. Indeed, they match the interior leather. Needless to say, they fit perfectly.

What engine does the Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet use?

Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet

Under the bonnet lies, naturally, a V12. The 6.0-litre biturbo unit puts out 630hp and, in Euro-speak, a dizzying 1,000Nm of torque between 2,300-4,300rpm. Such pulling power is enough to take it from 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds, in utter refinement. Economy isn’t so disastrous given this, either: 23.5mpg and CO2 of 272g/km.

How will it drive?

Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet

On the road, it will drive like most other S-Class Cabriolets, probably: utterly impeccably and with gloriously refined comfort. The Airmatic suspension is largely unchanged and the seven-speed auto is also familiar. Monster engine apart, creating a distinctive drive isn’t the order of the day here. Creating a jewel-like possession overall is.

So it’s pretty special, huh?

Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet

Just to underline how special the Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet is, every one of the 300 editions will be delivered with a welcome pack. This will include a keyring made of the same nappa leather as the interior, in the same colour, with ‘1 of 300’ lettering. Not special enough? How about a certificate personally signed by Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Dr Dieter Zetsche? Will that do you?

It’s a keeper, the Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet

Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet

Mercedes-Benz knows this new Maybach edition is a keeper. So it’s giving every owner a special car cover finished in the same colour as the soft-top roof. Diamond-quilted, it’s embroidered with the Maybach logo and lettering on the bonnet. Just the job to keep your prized possession spick and span.

What other Mercedes-Maybach models are on sale?

Since reviving the Maybach brand as a premium alternative to the Mercedes-AMG performance brand, Mercedes-Benz has been swelling the Mercedes-Maybach ranks. The original Mercedes-Maybach S 500 and S 600 models, launched in February 2015, have now been joined by an armour-plated S 600 Guard bulletproof limo. There’s also an S 600 Pullman, with a stretched rear that’s so big, occupants sit ‘vis-à-vis’ (one row faces forwards, the other faces rearwards). Next year, an armour-plated S600 Pullman Guard arrives.

Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet: in pictures

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Jaguar I-Pace

New Jaguar I-Pace Concept electric SUV revealed

Jaguar I-PaceThe Jaguar I-Pace Concept SUV is the British sports car firm’s first ever electric car – and if you already like the look of it, get ready: Jaguar will roll out the production version in 2017, and promises the new I-Pace will be on our roads by 2018.

In less than two years, this new zero-emissions Jaguar EV could be plugged in on your driveway. Read on to find out why it’s so electrifying…

Jaguar I-Pace Concept: revealed in LA

Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar has revealed the i-Pace Concept electric SUV ahead of the 2016 LA Auto Show: it will make the car the star of its show stand later this week. We reckon it’s already odds on to be the star of the show: with a 310-mile range, 0-60mph in 4.0 seconds, roomy and luxurious five-seat interior plus styling that’s a different take on a Jaguar, there’s lots to get excited about here.

In pictures: new Jaguar I-Pace Concept

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Jaguar reckons it has rethought the car with the I-Pace Concept. The cab-forward design references the C-X75 supercar (driven by baddie Franz Oberhauser in Bond’s Spectre), rather than being a conventional car with a bonnet. It’s tall, like an SUV, but has a silhouette more like a sports car. It seats five and is smaller on the outside than sector rivals such as the BNW X5, but bigger inside than all of them. And all because it’s electric.

New dimensions

Jaguar I-Pace

Because there’s no combustion engine, the wheelbase can be longer (almost 3 metres, in fact – longer than a Smart Fortwo is overall!), the overhangs shorter. The rear haunches can be more aggressive. There’s more interior space, better visibility and improved aerodynamics. Jaguar says the exterior mimics mid-size SUVs, but rear legroom matches full-size SUVs and luxury cars.

A Jaguar like no other

Jaguar I-Pace

The appearance of the Jaguar I-Pace Concept is intentionally different to, say, the Jaguar F-Pace SUV, despite the styling similarities. Designer Ian Callum said he was determined the look would reflect the change in mechanicals. “With the I-Pace Concept, the revolution is in the profile, not the design language,” he said. “The profile is possible because this car is electric. It’s not just that we wanted to create something that was very different from anything else we do: we wanted the design to celebrate the new battery electric technology.”

Detail differences

Jaguar I-Pace

Design highlights of the Jaguar I-Pace Concept include the low cabin, sporty windowlines and heavily curved glass, the ultra-low (for an SUV) bonnet. It’s as aerodynamic as it looks: the Cd drag factor is just 0.29. At the front, the current Jaguar brand grille is retained, and there’s a C-X75-style bonnet scoop that cuts drag. At the rear, there’s no wiper, just a ‘fast’ tailgate shape and hydrophobic glass.

An interior Jaguar can be proud of, at last

Jaguar I-Pace

The I-Pace Concept seats five within a cabin that’s as futuristic-Jaguar as the outside. Interiors has been a weakness of the new-era of Jaguars up to now; only the F-Pace really passes muster. The I-Pace Concept is a massive leap forward and suggests future Jaguar interiors are going to be as appealing as the exteriors. Airy, sporty, contemporary and visually appealing, it’s a clever, warm cabin that Jaguar is rightly already chuffed with.

It has a flightdeck rather than a dashboard

Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar says the I-Pace Concept launches its new ‘flightdeck’ interface for driver controls. There’s a floating centre console, simple and clear displays, plus a combination of touchscreens, rotary dials and multi-function buttons: Jaguar hasn’t gone fully-digital here. There are smart capacitive switches on the new-design steering wheel, invisible until activated, which respond to the driver with haptic ‘micro-clicks’ when pressed. A bit like an iPhone.  

It has stowage boxes not gearboxes

Jaguar I-Pace

Because there’s no transmission, there’s a clever 8-litre stowage area in the centre console. And no transmission means no traditional gearlever, so there’s an extra stowage area where that would normally sit. Jaguar calls the seats ‘luxury slimline’ pews and calls the driving position ‘sports command’. Higher than normal, but still sporty-feeling.

There are some beautiful design details

Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar’s using some gorgeous contemporary materials within the I-Pace Concept. The burl wood on the dash is laser-etched with the (slightly cheesy) words ‘Lovingly crafted by Jaguar Est. Coventry 1935’. Paw-print labels are stitched into the seat seams (Jaguar, geddit?). There are laser-etched driving gloves on the slide-out passenger shelf. The Jaguar lozenge pattern features throughout. It’s luxury, boutique-like attention to detail we hope carries through to production.

It’s sports car fast

Jaguar I-Pace

The Jaguar I-Pace Concept uses dual 200hp electric motors, one on the front axle and one on the rear. That means a combined 400hp and 516lb ft of torque, sent to all four wheels. Jaguar says 0-60mph in 4.0 seconds, so faster than a cooking Porsche 911. There’s also no lag and no gearchanges, simply seamless surge. It’s going to be an exciting performer, alright.

It will handle like a sports car

Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar has fitted the same type of double wishbone front suspension as on the F-Type to the I-Pace Concept. Sports car suspension for a sports car SUV, it insists. With a low centre of gravity and centralised masses from having the batteries packed low within the wheelbase, chief engineer Mike Cross is promising “this will be the first electric vehicle developed for enthusiasts who love driving”.

It’s double-take roomy

Jaguar I-Pace

The Jaguar I-Pace Concept, as mentioned, is a seriously roomy five-seat SUV, insists Jaguar. Moving the front-seat occupants forwards has created more space for those in the back. And in the boot: it’s a practical 530 litres with the seats up, despite the need to pack batteries in. And because the front electric motor is space-efficient, there’s even another small 28-litre boot in the front, a bit like a Porsche 911. 

It has a Tesla-like electric range

Jaguar I-Pace

Tesla’s electric cars set the benchmark for EV driving range. The Jaguar I-Pace Concept is able to measure up though. On the European NEDC cycle, the range between battery charges is over 310 miles; on the U.S. EPA cycle, it’s over 220 miles. For the average commuter, that means once-a-week recharges. A fast charge will top up the 90kWh lithium ion battery pack to 80% full in 90 minutes.

Ian Callum on Jaguar I-Pace Concept

Jaguar I-Pace

“The I-Pace Concept is a radical departure for electric vehicles. It represents the next generation of battery electric vehicle design,” says Callum. “It’s a dramatic, future-facing design – the product of authentic Jaguar DNA matched with beautiful, premium details and British craftsmanship.”

And the best bit of all?

The Jaguar I-Pace Concept is not just a concept!

Jaguar I-Pace

The Jaguar I-Pace isn’t some flight of fantasy either. “It is a preview of a five-seat production car that will be on the road in 2018,” confirms Jaguar. “This will be Jaguar’s first-ever battery-powered electric vehicle.” Yes, things are happening fast: so fast, the production version will be fully revealed before next year is out. The Jaguar I-Pace performance electric SUV is coming, soon. Want one yet?