2018 LA Auto Show preview

© Provided by Motoring Research

By Gavin Braithwaite-Smith, Motoring Research

As the last big motor show of the year, the LA Auto Show has an end-of-term feel about it. It’s a chance to recap on the new cars of 2018 and look ahead to the hottest new models of 2019.

Our man is flying to LA to deliver all the latest news and gossip from the floor, but in the meantime, here are the cars you can expect to see when the show opens at the end of the month.

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The new Porsche 911 – known as the type 992 – will make its debut in Los Angeles, following a gruelling development schedule that has seen the sports car travel to all corners of the globe. From hot-weather work in the Middle East and Death Valley, to high-speed laps at the Nürburgring and Nardo, the test cars will have completed around 1.8 million miles in total. The 911 heads to LA for a rest.

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Consider this LA international debutant the warm up act. The Mini John Cooper Works Knights Edition is a special edition debuting at the LA Auto Show, based on a Mini Hardtop and carrying a range of accessories. It only comes in Midnight Black with Melting Silver roof, custom silver bonnet stripe and side stripes in silver and red. Other special details abound and it’s the first Mini ever to feature piano black decals. It arrives in U.S. dealers from Q1 2019.

And what’s it warming us up for? The arrival, in 2020, of the Mini John Cooper Works GP. We saw the concept back at the New York International Auto Show and Mini’s chosen the LA build-up to confirm its production. The Knights Edition is likely to be a tasty starter to a pretty extreme main course…

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‘The arrival of all-new Mazda 3 marks the beginning of a whole new generation of Mazda cars that will deliver new dimensions of driving pleasure to customers around the world.’ From some manufacturers, we’d take that quote with a pinch of salt, but when it’s Mazda, we’re less cynical. The Japanese company consistently sets the benchmark for performance and dynamics, so the launch of both five- and four-door versions of the Mazda 3 is kind of a big deal.

Audi SQ8

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Audi will unveil a performance version of the Q8 SUV (pictured) in LA as it continues to overhaul its entire range of vehicles. We know that the SQ8 will be offered with a diesel engine for Europe, because a TDI-badged test car has been caught at the Nürburgring. Other options for the rest of the world will include a 3.0-liter V6 turbo (the high-output one Audi co-developed with Porsche) and, in the future, a V8-engined RS Q8.

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Until the launch of the new BMW M3 in 2020, this is as hot as the new 3 Series gets. The four-wheel-drive M340i xDrive is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six engine developing 374-horsepower, making it more powerful than the original BMW M2. What’s more, it’ll hit 60 mph in less than 4.4 seconds. It’ll arrive in summer 2019 – get your order in now to avoid disappointment.

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The Mercedes-AMG GT R is a pretty hardcore supercar to us, one with an incredibly loud exhaust. But it’s clearly neither hardcore nor loud enough for Merc’s fast car division. At LA 2018, a new Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro will be revealed, with even more on-track focus, not least because it’s to use bits first developed for the AMG GT3 and GT4 racers. Best pack our earplugs…

Jeep Scrambler

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The Jeep Scrambler is essentially a Wrangler with a pick-up bed. We don’t know what it will look like yet, but we wouldn’t expect the styling to stray too far from that of the Wrangler (pictured). Truth be told, we’re not 100 percent certain that it will be called the Scrambler, but it’s a name from Jeep’s back-catalogue that sounds more evocative than ‘Wrangler Pick-up’.

Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition

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It’s the end of an era, with Volkswagen saying goodbye to the Beetle with two runout specials, the Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL. Two retro-inspired colours will be available – Safari Uni and Stonewashed Blue – and ordering for the farewell Beetle is open in the US, with prices starting from $23,045. Production will end in July, with Volkswagen opting to concentrate on electrification. 

Hyundai Palisade

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Hyundai is upping its SUV game with the launch of a new flagship model. Its name references the Pacific Palisades, an affluent and beautiful neighbourhood in Southern California, with the Palisade sitting above the Santa Fe in Hyundai’s SUV range. Leaked photos show that it will look like the current Santa Fe, but offer three rows of seats, providing space for up to eight people and their luggage.

Mercedes-Maybach GLS

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Auto makers reckon there are two ways of making an SUV more desirable – create a performance version or build a more lavish model. The Mercedes-Maybach GLS will be the flagship version of the flagship SUV and is expected to feature a five-seat cabin with an emphasis on luxury and space. Still want that Rolls-Royce Cullinan? That’s a rhetorical question.

Mercedes-Maybach GLS Auto makers reckon there are two ways of making an SUV more desirable – create a performance version or build a more lavish model. The Mercedes-Maybach GLS will be the flagship version of the flagship SUV and is expected to feature a five-seat cabin with an emphasis on luxury and space. Still want that Rolls-Royce Cullinan? That’s a rhetorical question.


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Autos Magazine: 2018 LA Auto Show preview
2018 LA Auto Show preview
Autos Magazine
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