Gallery: the best cars of the LA motor show
All the new metal that debuted in the home of Hollywood. Pick your favourites
BMW i8 Roadster
BMW used the LA show to finally show off the i8 Roadster. It looks every bit as desirable as an i8 drop-top ought to and was revealed alongside an updated BMW i8 Coupe.
The good news is it brings more of everything: improved battery technology means more energy, so the motor now produces 143bhp – up 12bhp, taking the car’s total petrol and electric output to 374bhp. The electric-only range tops 30 miles now, too.
The Roadster is very similar to the Coupe, using the same carbon-reinforced plastic core, whose rigid structure has maximised the size of the roof opening and negated the need for lots of extra strengthening. So the Roadster weighs just 60kg more than standard, at 1,595kg, while it retains the bold dihedral doors, albeit frameless versions.
Its roof is a folding fabric item that whirs backwards or forwards in “almost silent hush”, which is handy given the car’s powertrain tries to do the same thing. Opening or closing takes 16secs and can be done at up to 31mph, while the roof’s storage is designed to barely impede on luggage space. It folds in a Z-shape and is stored vertically, while some of the mechanism’s shapes have only been possible via 3D printing. Because the future.Advertisement - Page continues below
Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for the new Mercedes-Benz CLS, the third generation of the genre-busting saloon/coupe, showing off Merc’s svelte new design language.
Yep, third generation. Remember how astonishing the first one was? Fair to say it knocked it right out of the park design-wise, followed up by the second-gen’s ‘difficult-second-album’ syndrome. Third time around? That’s up to you to decide.
The new car serves up a sleek new profile with a high arching waistline, low roofline and frameless side windows to squish the whole thing down and make it look less four-doory. Around the CLS you’ll notice fewer creases and simpler lines than before, making it easier on the eye. Plus there's a host of all new engines.
Corvette ZR1 convertible
The ZR1 convertible was one of very few surprises at the LA show, coming just two weeks after the quite mad coupe. And yep, there's no special name or confusing spelling of the word spider. Just ‘convertible’ with a lower-case C. Simple.
It uses the same 755bhp supercharged 6.2-litre V8 as the coupe, with the option of seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearboxes. With the auto, the hard top has a top speed of 212mph and does 0-60mph in sub-3.0secs, but that’s with a special aero package.
Chevrolet says the convertible will still have a top speed ‘over 200mph’, though, which is probably more than enough. And all that unholy supercharger whine and V8 roar – unencumbered by a roof – should make up for any performance deficit.Advertisement - Page continues below
And here's the more roofy ZR1 - the fastest and most powerful ‘Vette ever.
Under the bonnet is a new supercharged 6.2-litre ‘LT5’ V8 engine good for 755bhp and 715lb ft of torque. Yes, you read that correctly. Seven hundred and fifty-five horsepower.
All that extra oomph from the ZR1’s new, dry-sumped pushrod V8 is largely thanks to a 52 per cent larger supercharger, the largest throttle bodies (95mm) ever fitted, as well as an upgraded crankshaft and a dual-injection system (direct injection as well as supplemental port injection) that’ll mean the ZR1 will spit flames like Spyro the Dragon.
That adjustable rear wing is known as the 'high wing' option and is part of the ZTK Performance package. Amazingly, it's bolted straight to the chassis like the Corvette Racing C7.R. Which is a brilliant bit of pub ammo. More than that, it can be manually adjusted by five degrees and gives 430kg of downforce at its top speed. That’s like driving around with a grand piano bungee corded onto the back.
Mercedes-AMG Project One
You may remember Project One – Mercedes-AMG’s Formula One car for the road – from Frankfurt. But this was the first time the 1,000bhp, 217mph hypercar has been seen Stateside. And you don't want the Americans to miss out.
Talking to AMG's boss Tobias Moers, he gave us a status update on the project. "After a delay, we are back schedule regarding the powertrain," He told TG. "As expected, we did have a little delay so we've got to hit the track next year, rather than this year. We've run the whole powertrain on the dyno doing the Nürburgring and it's performing great."
When we asked Tobias about Tesla's claimed sub-two-second 0-62mph acceleration time for the fully-electric Roadster (one that betters the Project One's) he was very clear on the subject. "Project One runs at the slip limit of all four tyres in two-point-something seconds. It's unachievable in under two seconds."
Say hello to the new Jeep Wrangler. Yes, really. It’s a brand new Wrangler that’s lighter and techier than ever. Jeep, perhaps sensibly, has just kept it looking largely the same as before.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t tweaks. A more steeply raked grille might actually introduce a modicum of aerodynamics to the Wrangler, while the lights are familiar in shape but are fancy LEDs. Aluminium panels drop the weight. Interestingly, there are several choices of body style.
But it’s beneath the skin where the really new stuff happens. While a distinctly old-school V6 engine kicks off the range, there’s a 2.0-litre turbo four with less power (268bhp) but more torque (295lb ft) sitting above it.
There’s a choice of two- and four-wheel drive and manual and automatic gearboxes, while a diesel and hybrid should follow in due course. The turbo engine comes with a mild hybrid system, but a proper petrol-electric powertrain has already been hinted at.
GMC Sierra All Mountain Concept
We’re rather partial to the notion of a car – a wheeled vehicle designed for road usage – being fitted with tank tracks for use on snow. It’s a recipe that’s been used to strong effect by Nissan with the Juke Nismo RSnow concept that we drove on a not-very-frozen lake, and by the master of mechanical mayhem himself Ken Block in one of his earlier video stunts. Relive the off-piste lunacy here.
And now, digest the fact that GMC has utterly demolished these piffling offerings with the magnificent Sierra All Mountain Concept. The result of a union between a luxury SUV, a snowmobile, a tank and a quantity of terrible American light beer, we presume.
The Sierra All Mountain is effectively a Sierra 2500HD Crew Cab truck balanced on four separate miniature tracks. It’s been fitted with extra lights, bigger speakers and snowboard racks. It is powered by an engine that appears to have been designed for a cross-Channel ferry.Advertisement - Page continues below
Lexus RX L
Trying to accommodate the families that just can't stop having, erm, what leads to kids, Lexus has introduced the RX L, a stretched RX with three rows of seats to make it a seven-seater.
With a sweeping roofline with a weird stylistic pinch in the D-pillar, the new RX is longer by 110mm and features a steeper tailgate window angle than two-seat-row model.
The RX L comes in two flavours, a 350 L and 450h L. The first gets a 3.5-litre V6 with 290 horsepower and 263lb ft of torque. In classic Lexus style, the latter is a hybrid with two electric drive motor-generators producing 308bhp combined. All-wheel drive is optional on the base car and standard on the hybrid. They start at $47,670. So Lexus fans, go back and make some more kids, as there's now more room for them.
Hard Hat Hauler
Don't do drugs kids. Otherwise, you'll end up driving this George Barris contraption called Hard Hat Hauler.
It came to life in 1971 from a 1/25th scale model and features a triple blown 500hp Chrysler Hemi engine, handmade headers, Cragar wheels, and 15-inch rear Goodyear slicks. Oh, and there's a working forklift mounted ahead of the front axle.Advertisement - Page continues below
Meet the Bollinger B1, a deceptively clever EV SUV from an American start-up. It might look simple, but we’re assured it’s not. The B1 is a clean-sheet design that uses an all-aluminium chassis (and steel rollover structure) to keep weight down and proportions in check. Its wheelbase is just 105in, and at a mere 150in long it’s almost four feet shorter than a Land Rover Discovery – a very good, if massive off-roader.
Bollinger quotes approach and departure angles of 56 and 53 degrees respectively, with a break-over angle of 33 degrees and 15.5 inches of ground clearance. However, because the B1 rides on fully adjustable, self-leveling, four-wheel independent, hydro-pneumatic suspension with “disconnectable” anti-roll bars, it can be raised through many more inches as required. Up to 20, in fact. Weight balance is a perfect 50/50, the power steering is hydraulic (yay) and it’ll tow almost three tonnes worth of miscellany.
Context? A Jeep Wrangler has approach and departure angles of, in its most rough-terrain-friendly configuration, 42 and 33 degrees, a break-over angle of 25.8 degrees and a non-adjustable 10 inches of ground clearance.
Redspace city car
Remember Chris Bangle? The former head of design at BMW who penned such cars as the E65 7-Series with the famed ‘Bangle butt’? Well, he’s back. And designing electric city cars for the Chinese that look like extras from Blue Planet II.
The Redspace electric city car, to be produced by Chinese EV lorry manufacturer CHTC Group, is 2.97m long (8cm shorter than the original Mini) but really, really boxy to maximise interior space within a small footprint. A bit like Postman Pat’s van.
Nissan Star Wars cars
Have you ever wondered what Star Wars would’ve looked like if it had been set in a world where all spacecraft looked like US-market Nissans?
Well wonder no more, people of the Internet. Somehow, Nissan has anticipated our wildest sci-fi-based fantasy and at this week’s LA motor show revealed six Star Wars-themed cars. Because why the hell not. And, you know, there’s a new movie out soon…
Honda NSX GT3
This sinister carbon-bodied brute above can be yours for £415,000. A steep price over a normal NSX, we admit.
But this is a full-bore GT3 racing car, eligible for championships across North America, Europe (N24 and Blancpain), Asia, Japan (GT300), Australia and the Intercontinental GT championship. And look how much carbon you get for that...
Acura ARX-05 IMSA DPI
Want a crazier racecar than that? Meet the Acura ARX-05 IMSA DPI. As you can see, it has much aero.
So much aero, in fact, that it's gone straight into the number one spot of 'Cars We Don't Want To Be Ran Over By'.
Jaguar XE SV Project 8
Nürburgring cynics, look away now. As this is the Jaguar XE SV Project 8, the same car that lapped the Nordschleife in 7min 21.23sec, “the fastest ever time by a four-door sedan in production-intent specification.”