What to watch out for at the LA Auto Show
As the first event of the new automotive season, the Los Angeles Auto Show offers a taste of things to come. And if the new models already announced for this year's event, which opens its doors to the press on November 18, are anything to go by, 2015 is going to be a year of luxury sedans, SUVs and proper sports cars.
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SUVs that pack a punch
BMW has chosen LA to unveil not one, but two supercar-baiting, performance-focused SUVs: the X5M and the fastback (i.e., four-door coupé styled) X6M. Both have very powerful V8 engines under their hoods, and both boast performance figures that would better a Porsche Boxster.
Porsche is also revealing the latest addition to its growing SUV line, the Cayenne GTS, which is just below the existing Turbo S in terms of speed and power.
Impressive as these European off-roaders are, the SUV that is probably going to grab headlines, in the US at least, is the next generation Ford Explorer -- the car that took SUVs mainstream in North America. Details are few and far between but expect it to be packed with creature comforts, and offer frugal as well as preformat powertrain option and subtle styling tweaks, after all this car has a huge potential audience -- 7 million sold and counting.
Comfort at any cost
Mercedes-Benz will be relaunching its uber-luxury, uber-exclusive Maybach brand in LA and promises that the first new car to carry the badge will set a new standard in the sector. The company has confirmed that the car will be based on the long wheelbase version of the current Mercedes 600S, which is no bad thing.
Another car that was historically based on an existing Mercedes was the Chrysler 300C. The huge, imposing spacious sedan was built on an old Mercedes E Class platform and though it looked great and promised so much, the car was a disappointment, to European drivers anyway. Chrysler promises that the new version, making its debut next week will have learned from the old model's mistakes.
Audi is using this year's event to introduce its new head of design -- Marc Lichte -- and his concept for the brand's future visual direction via a new concept model, the A9. Potentially one of the stars of the show, it promises to be a hugely comfortable, hugely fast four-seat serious GT car.
Super sports cars
As well as luxury, Audi is also launching the fastest ever version of its R8 supercar, the R8 Competition, at LA and it will be offered exclusively to US customers.
However Porsche is also debuting the GTS version of the evergreen 911 so the Audi will be vying for attention.
But expect both to be overshadowed by homegrown talent. Ford has chosen this year's show as the venue for unveiling the hottest, fastest version of its new Mustang and Cadillac will be hoping to poach drivers that would otherwise be putting down a deposit on a BMW M4 or an entry-level Porsche 911 with the twin-turbocharged V6 ATS-V Coupé.
In all, 33 new cars are expected to make their global debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show which opens its doors to the world's automotive press on November 18 and to the public from November 21 to 30.