Los Angeles Auto Show – November 2019

It has been well documented that the traditional Motor Show – something that has been in existence almost as long as there have been cars – is under threat. The costs of displaying increase constantly, and whilst attendance figures seemingly remain high – or so it feels as an attendee – there is a growing concern that actually the Show is no longer seen by many manufacturers and visitors either as relevant for a launch platform or a place which prospective buyers will visit to make their comparisons before heading to a dealer. So it is perhaps no surprise that a significant and growing number of manufacturers are choosing not to attend many of the world’s major Auto Shows. Of course, the fact that they do undermines the case for those who do still show up, as there is simply less for the press and public to see. So it all risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy of relative irrelevance. In America, there’s an added challenge, and that is one of timing. America is a vast country, so the concept of a single National Auto Show never really worked for anyone other than the Press. Detroit, for obvious reasons associated with the city being the historical heartland of the domestic motor industry has long claimed pole position in the calendar, and was selected by most manufacturers as the launch pad for their latest products leaving the major shows in the rest of the country, those in cities with much larger markets, namely Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, to play second fiddle, with far less that is genuinely brand new to help pull in the crowds. The Detroit show has been held in early January for a long time now, and so it was not a surprise that just over a decade ago, the organisers of the Los Angeles Show decided to put a few more weeks between their show and the Detroit one, pulling it forward to a timing around the end of November, usually wrapping around the Thanksgiving Holiday time. The policy was largely successful and the Los Angeles Show in recent years has seen a number of significant cars premiered there, even if they were first shown with an even longer wait before they would be available for customer to purchase and drive. With the news from the Detroit organisers that they have decided from 2020 to move their Show from its traditional January timing to one in the June, when the legendary Michigan winter should not compound the reasons not to attend the Show, it seemed logical to assume that Los Angeles 2019 would see more new car launches than in previous years. But as the event got near, and the rumour machinery struggled to find anything very significant that was in the offing, it looked as if, at least for 2019, this hope would be dashed. Of course the new model cupboard was not totally bare, and as the Show dawned there was plenty to generate press releases, with a handful of completely new models, a number of refreshes and updates and some US premieres all taking place.

Almost regardless of how much that is new, I see the Los Angeles Show as a high priority in my personal events calendar having only missed it once since 2005 (because I was at the date-conflicting event in Dubai), attracted not least by the appeal of a few days of Californian sunshine in a period of the year where this tends to be in short supply at home. 2019 was no exception, with 9 days out of the 10 I spend in the area blessed with glorious weather. Sadly the one wet day was before the Show opened, but even so I’d have plenty of nice days so when the time cane to spend a few hours indoors it was no hardship. And here is what I saw in the whole day (all 11 hours of it!) at the 2019 Los Angeles Show.


Star billing on the Acura stand went to the Concept S, which made its first appearance during Monterey Car Week in August. This is the first use of the the Type S moniker for 11 years. It’s not being used on a production car yet, but on a very attractive concept which serves as a preview for the TLX Type S. With curves in all the right places, a new and more elegant grille design, large air intakes at the front, a clean silhouette and a rear end that could scare away an Alfa Romeo Giulia driver, the Type S Concept is one head-turning car. Unfortunately, Acura hasn’t opened it up yet, but it says it has a functioning interior. There’s no word on what powers it either, but when Acura announced that they will revive the Type S brand early last year, they confirmed the development of a new turbo’d V6, paired to the latest iteration of the brand’s all-wheel drive system. The show car also gets high-performance brakes from Brembo, with four piston calipers.

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There were examples of all the Acura models that you can buy. Sales of Acura have recovered a little since the dark days of the rather gawky looking models that were inflicted on the market a few years, but the sad reality is that this remains a brand with rather niche levels of appeal. That’s certainly the case for the sedan models. Three feature in the range: the ILX, based on the previous generation Honda Civic, and which underwent something of a refresh; the mid-sized TLX; and the executive RLX. There was one of each on display.

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The SUVs fare rather better. There are two, the RDX and slightly larger MDX. The RDX reached a new generation last year and the MDX is not a lot older than that, so these are still relatively new models, both of them.

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New here was the MDX PMC Edition, which follows in the footsteps of the TLX PMC Edition that was unveiled earlier this year. Just like the sedan, the crossover will be hand-assembled at the company’s Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) in Marysville, Ohio where they build the NSX. Besides being built at a special plant, the MDX PMC Edition will have a unique exterior with exclusive Valencia Red Pearl paint. The model also has a black mesh grille, black chrome exhaust tips and 20-inch wheels with a gloss black finish. Gloss black paint will also be applied to the roof, exterior mirrors, door handles and window trim. The two-tone styling continues in the cabin as drivers will find black Milano leather seats with Alcantara inserts as well as red contrast stitching. Other highlights include an A-Spec sport steering wheel, A-Spec floor mats and an individually numbered plaque on the centre console. Since the PMC Edition is based on the MDX Advance Package, the crossover also has heated / ventilated front seats, heated second row captain’s chairs and a heated steering wheel. Other niceties include a 10-speaker premium audio system, GPS navigation and an infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. There’s also rain-sensing wipers, front / rear parking sensors, a blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert. Power is provided by a familiar 3.5-litre V6 engine that produces 290 bhp and 267 lb-ft (362 Nm) of torque. It is connected to a nine-speed automatic transmission and a super-handling all-wheel drive system. The 2020 MDX PMC Edition will be launched early next year and production will be limited to 330 units. 300 of them are destined for the United States, where pricing will begin in the “mid-$60,000 range.” Canada will get the remaining 30 units, but there’s no word on local pricing.

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Most exciting cars on the stand were the NS-X sports cars, of which there were a couple to have a look at.

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Acura’s racing program was also reflected here with a number of cars ranging from the NSX to an LMP entrant.

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Making another appearance after its reveal at the Geneva Show in March was the concept which will eventually become Alfa’s first-ever compact SUV. Dubbed ‘Tonale’, the concept utilises a hybrid system and, like the Stelvio, is named after a mountain pass in Northern Italy. According to Alfa, the Tonale Concept is inspired by the “beauty and nuances associated with human forms, and the organic movement of light resulted by pure lines and volumes.” In other words, you might call it stylish. The front end features Alfa Romeo’s signature “Trilobo” light graphic as well as the distinctive “Scudetto” grille. The rear meanwhile comes with an enveloping window design, complemented by the suspended wing and a special light graphic that’s said to be reminiscent of a hand-written signature, rather than a more traditional optical lighting element. As for the wheels, they measure 21-inches in diameter and are said to create an “honest and impactful execution of the circular theme”. Step inside the Tonale Concept and you’ll find a driver oriented layout, surrounded by rich materials such as aluminium, leather and Alcantara. Features include translucent backlit panels, the DNA drive mode selector, a 12.3-inch fully digital cluster, plus a 10.25-inch touchscreen central head unit. The infotainment system has two new functions in ‘Alfista’ and ‘Paddock’ – where the former is described as an immersive Alfa Romeo Lifestyle experience, providing users with a fully connected interface with select Alfa Romeo clubs and Community events, like gatherings, drives and meets. The in-vehicle app also allows the driver access to live news and updates regarding Alfa Romeo, while providing the opportunity to win VIP access to special events. The ‘Paddock’ function on the other hand is all about purchasing the latest interior and exterior performance upgrades and equipment, letting you scroll through the latest offerings of Alfa Romeo merchandise and apparel. Alfa avoided giving out specific technical details, but it said the concept is motivated by a hybrid engine, most likely a variant of the plug-in hybrid unit introduced in the Jeep Renegade, while the SUV is likely based on a modified version of Fiat Chrysler’s front-wheel drive compact platform, instead of a shorter version of the rear-drive Giulia and Stelvio architecture. In the Tonale, Alfa Romeo’s drive modes now implement specific energy management functions. Dynamic mode for example evolves into ‘Dual Power’ and offers the maximum output from the two engines – the electric and ICE units. By pushing the E-mozione button on the touchscreen you can then fiddle with specific throttle settings, make the brakes sharper and gain a more direct steering response. Then there’s Natural mode, which is all about maintaining the best optimisation between electrical and internal combustion engines, while the Advance E mode handles performance while operating just under battery power. I think it looks fantastic and hope that this will finally finally finally be the car to bring Alfa the sales volume the brand so desperately needs.

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Cars you can buy now filled most of the rest of the stand. These are the Giulia and Stelvio, and whilst it is true to say that neither has found the number of buyers that their maker was probably hoping for, I did notice quite a few examples of both on the streets of California during this visit, so there have been some takers. A mild update to both cars was announced globally a few days before the Show, and this was my first opportunity to see the changes for myself. I never had the same concerns about the interior as seem to be have amplified by the world’s press, but the general conclusion is that the changes announced here are all a big step in the right direction. Changes start on the outside. Both the 2020 Stelvio and Giulia get a body-colour appearance kit for Sport models. Additionally, Sport models can be optioned with a Dark Miron kit that features fender flares, side sills, and a rear fascia in a dark-painted finish. There is also an exterior carbon fibre package available. New paint options include Anodised Blue, Lunare White, and Verde Visconti. The interiors have also been updated. One of the most significant updates is the fitment of a new standard 8.8-inch centre touchscreen display that includes a host of new performance pages while also offering digital HVAC and other controls. Users are also able to customise the homepage by selecting their ideal layout. A 12-month trial of SiriusXM radio is also offered standard on all models. Additionally, Alfa Romeo has redesigned the standard 7-inch TFT instrument cluster screen of the Giulia and Stelvio with a new layout and improved graphics. The display has also been updated to provide real-time data for the driver. A new centre console has also been developed for the duo complete with a machined-knurled aluminium-look rotary dial, upgraded knob materials, and increased storage capacity. There is also a small Italian flag placed at the base of the shifter. The Italian car manufacturer has also enlarged the cup holders and incorporated wireless phone charging. Other alterations include a new premium leather-wrapped shifter and race-inspired steering wheel. Complementing the host of interior upgrades is a level 2 autonomous driving system that includes Highway Assist System, Traffic James Assist System, Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Keep Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Driver Attention Alert, and Standard Full Speed Forward Collision Warning Plus. Other updates include a WiFi hotspot, Mobile App with Remote Operations, Vehicle Finder, Stolen Vehicle Locater and Assistance, as well as Over-The-Air updates for the vehicle’s firmware. Prices in the US for the 2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia start at $39,345 excluding a $1,295 destination fee while the 2020 Stelvio starts at $41,345 plus this $1,295 fee. That’s an increase of $800 over the respective 2019 Giulia and Stelvio models. As for the performance-focused 2020 Giulia Quadrifoglio, it starts at $74,445 while the Stelvio Quadrifoglio will be available from $80,445, a modest $200 increase of the 2019MYs. Several examples of both Giulia and Stelvio were here.

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Among the cars on display was a neon-green Giulia Quadrifoglio from the upcoming Netflix movie ‘6 Underground’ staring Ryan Reynolds that will air December 13, 2019.

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Final vehicle on the stand was a reminder of Alfa’s motor sport contributions with this F1 car.

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Audi used the event for the global unveiling of the new e-tron Sportback. Essentially a sportier version of the standard e-tron, the Sportback is a stylish crossover coupe with an electric powertrain. The front end is instantly recognizable and features a prominent Singleframe grille with a light platinum gray finish. It is flanked by sporty air intakes and newly available digital matrix LED headlights. The latter are a first for a mass-production vehicle and the light projected from them is broken down into tiny pixels which can be controlled with “exceptional precision.” Audi says the headlights each feature a micromirror that can be tilted up to 5,000 times per second. This allows them to illuminate or mask out areas with amazing accuracy. More interestingly, they can project animations on the wall or ground and effectively turn the area in front of the car into an “illuminated stage.” Of course, the Sportback’s most distinctive feature is the coupe-like design. While the standard model looks a little ho-hum, that’s certain not the case this time around as the crossover has a rakish windscreen and a steeply sloping roof. The icing on the cake is a sporty tailgate with an integrated rear spoiler. Other notable features include slender taillights, muscular rear fenders and a modest diffuser that draws attention to the missing tailpipes. The model comes standard with anthracite body cladding, but customers can also opt for gray or body color trim. Likewise, the standard 19-inch wheels can be swapped out for ones that measure up to 22-inches. Speaking of options, the S line variant has an even more aggressive appearance thanks to a sportier front bumper, a rear spoiler and 20-inch wheels. The package also includes a sport-tuned air suspension and illuminated door sill plates with an S logo. The swoopy styling and digital mirrors give the S Line variant a drag coefficient of 0.25. This isn’t just a meaningless boast as the improved aerodynamics mean the Sportback can travel about 6.2 miles (10 km) further than the standard model. As expected, there are some concessions made in the name of styling. The most obvious victim is rear seat headroom which is down by 0.8 inches (20 mm). Storage space also takes a hit as the boot can only accommodate 58.4 cubic feet of luggage when the rear seats are folded down. On the bright side, there’s a frunk which can hold 2.1 cubic feet (60 litres) of gear. While some dimensions change, the cabin is instantly recognizable. It’s high-tech and comes equipped with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 12.1-inch infotainment system and a lower 8.6-inch display that provides access to climate control and convenience settings. An assortment of options will be available including heated, ventilated and massaging front seats as well as ambient lighting and a Bang & Olufsen premium audio system. Customers can also order a number of driver assistance systems including adaptive cruise assist, park assist, night vision assist and a surround view monitor. The range-topping e-tron Sportback 55 quattro features a 95 kWh battery that powers two electric motors which develop a combined output of 355 bhp and 414 lb-ft (561 Nm) of torque. This enables the crossover to accelerate from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 6.6 seconds, hit a top speed of 124 mph (200 km/h) and travel up to 277 miles (466 km) on a single charge in the WLTP cycle. When drivers put the Sportback 55 into S mode, the electric motors can generate 402 bhp and 490 lb-ft (664 Nm) of torque for eight seconds at a time. Thanks to the extra juice, the 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) time drops to just 5.7 seconds. Buyers looking to save a few bucks as well as the planet can opt for the e-tron Sportback 50. It uses a smaller 71 kWh battery and less powerful electric motors that develop 308 hp (230 kW / 313 PS) and 398 lb-ft (540 Nm) of torque. Due to these changes, the dash to 62 mph (100 km/h) takes 6.8 seconds and the top speed is 118 mph (190 km/h). Those aren’t the only trade offs as the entry-level variant has a range of just 216 miles (347 km). While Audi is famous for quattro all-wheel drive, the Sportback is actually rear-wheel drive most of the time. This helps to improve efficiency and all-wheel drive can be activated instantly if needed. This can happen even before a slip occurs, if the car detects icy conditions, fast cornering, or over- / understeer. When it comes time to recharge, owners can get an 80% charge in less than 30 minutes using a 120 kW (Sportback 50) or 150 kW (Sportback 55) DC fast charger. However, most charging is done at home and Sportback comes standard with a charger that works with a 230-volt connection. To highlight the all-new model, Audi will offer an “Edition One” variant that has a plasma blue exterior, digital side mirrors and exclusive 21-inch alloy wheels. Other highlights include a panoramic glass sunroof, a Bang & Olufsen audio system and Valcona leather. The e-tron Sportback will go up for order later this month and a European launch is scheduled for next spring. In Germany, pricing will start at €71,350.

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It was not the only newcomer on the stand, as there were two more cars on a raised plinth at the back of the stand which are also new to the range. The new Audi RS Q8 arrived at the Los Angeles Auto Show as the brand’s most powerful SUV and brings with it a host of eye-popping figures and an equally-as-evocative design. Sitting atop Audi’s Q family of SUVs, the RS Q8 is powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 pumping out 591 bhp and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm) of torque between 2,200 rpm and 4,500 rpm. Audi quotes a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) time of just 3.8 seconds while the sprint to 200 km/h (124.3 mph) is dealt with in 13.7 seconds. The RS Q8 will continue to accelerate through to a 250 km/h (155 mph) electronically limited top speed, but should customers opt for the Dynamic package, that figure rises to 305 km/h (190 mph). Like the engine used by the latest Audi RS6 Avant, the RS Q8’s powertrain is based on a 48-volt main electrical system and is therefore a mild-hybrid. During deceleration and braking, the powertrain can recover up to 12 kW of power and store it in its compact lithium-ion battery. Should the driver take their foot off the accelerator between speeds of 55 km/h (34.2 mph) and 160 km/h (99.4 mph), the car will decide whether to shut off the engine and coast or recuperate energy under engine braking. To aid in the powertrain’s efficiency, there is a cylinder on demand system that deactivates cylinders 2, 3, 5, and 8 at low to intermediate load and rpm in the upper gears. There is also a start-stop system. Power is sent through a quattro performance all-wheel drive system mated to an eight-speed tiptronic transmission that usually distributes power in a 40:60 ratio to the front and rear axles, though if needed, up to 70 per cent of power can be directed to the front wheels and up to 85 per cent to the rear wheels. Audi has also developed an optional quattro sport differential for the SUV to distribute torque between the rear wheels as required to improve handling. Included as standard with the Audi RS Q8 is an adaptive air suspension system that can vary the ride height by 90 mm (3.5 inches). There is also an electromechanical active roll stabilization system to minimize body roll during fast cornering. Eight different driving modes are available; Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Efficiency, Allroad, Offroad, and the individually configurable RS1 and RS2. Braking is provided by 420 mm front and 370 mm rear discs. Optional carbon ceramic brake discs measuring 440 mm up front and 370 mm at the rear are also available. The exterior design of the RS Q8 is much more aggressive than lesser variants. For example, 22-inch aluminium wheels with a 10-spoke design come standard and should customers wish, larger 23-inch rims are also offered. At the front, the new SUV adopts a menacing new fascia with enlarged air intakes and gloss black accents while at the rear there are Audi Sport’s familiar oval-shaped tailpipes. Customers can choose between two different LED headlight configurations, including optionally tinted RS Matrix LED headlights. In the cabin, it sports with a headliner in lunar silver cloth, Alcantara lunar silver, and Alcantara black. There are specific RS displays in the Audi virtual cockpit and central MMI display, while a Head-Up Display is optional. Audi has also developed new sports seats finished in a combination of Nappa leather and Alcantara. The new Audi RS Q8 will arrive in dealerships worldwide during the first quarter of 2020, with prices in Germany starting at 127,000 euros ($140,650). Audi hasn’t said yet if it will be marketed as a 2020MY or 2021MY in North America nor has it announced pricing yet.

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The global press launch of the latest RS6 Avant was taking place at the same time as the Show, and I saw evidence of this with one of the cars going up and down the Little Tujunga Canyon Road. This generation RS6 Avant will actually be sold in America, so this was a not inappropriate place to bring the press to drive it. There was one example on the stand here, too. The model made its global debut at the Frankfurt Show back in September, so we already knew that the 2020 RS 6 Avant has a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 that produces 592 bhp and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm) of torque. It is connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission which sends power to a quattro all-wheel drive system. This setup enables the car to rocket from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 3.6 seconds, before hitting a limited top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h). Speaking of performance, the wagon comes equipped with a specially tuned adaptive air suspension and a sport differential which promises to “enhance cornering agility by actively splitting torque between each of the rear wheels.” There’s also an optimized steering system which “develops significantly higher return forces as [the] steering angle increases, to provide precise steering feedback.” Customers will also be able to order an RS sport suspension with Dynamic Ride Control. The car’s drive select system has six different modes including auto, comfort, dynamic and efficiency. That’s not too unusual, but the RS 6 Avant features two unique modes dubbed RS1 and RS2. They’re individually configurable and can be pulled up by pushing the RS Mode button on the steering wheel. On the styling front, the model follows in the footsteps of the A6 and S6 Avant. However, there are a handful of changes which indicate this isn’t your typical grocery getter. Starting up front, the RS 6 adopts a prominent grille Singleframe grille with gloss black mesh inserts which are unique to the model. We can also see a bulging hood, massive air intakes and a silver splitter. The sporty styling continues further back as the RS 6 Avant has aggressive side skirts and a liftgate-mounted spoiler. There’s also massive wheels which are backed up by a carbon ceramic braking system. Other notable features include a dual exhaust and a unique rear bumper with an integrated diffuser. Audi didn’t say much about the interior, but the cabin largely carries over from the standard model. As a result, owners will find a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10.1-inch infotainment system and an 8.6-inch lower display. While the cabin is instantly recognizable, there are a handful of RS-specific touches including RS-branded sport seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel. We can also see carbon fiber trim, alloy pedals and a red quattro badge on the dashboard. Audi also confirmed the digital instrument cluster has RS-specific displays which “provide information on tire pressure, torque, power output, engine oil temperature, boost pressure, lap times, acceleration measurements and g forces.”

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Audi also introduced the new RS 5 Panther Edition. Available in both coupe and sportback form, the cars are dressed in stylish Panther Black crystal effect paint from Audi exclusive. They also ride on two-tone 20-inch alloy wheels that have been sourced from the European RS 4 Avant. The unique styling continues in the cabin as the models have been equipped with an RS interior design package that features black Nappa leather seats with crescendo red contrast stitching. Drivers will also find black seatbelts with red edging, and black Alcantara upholstery on the steering wheel and centre console. The changes aren’t massive, but Audi noted this is the first time the package has been offered in the United States. Both the coupe and sportback are powered by a twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 that produces 444 bhp and 443 lb-ft (600 Nm) of torque. It is connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to a quattro all-wheel drive system. This setup enables the RS 5 Coupe to accelerate from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 3.7 seconds, before hitting a top speed of up to 174 mph (280 km/h). The RS 5 Sportback is a tad slower as the dash to 60 mph (96 km/h) takes 3.8 seconds, but the top speed remains the unchanged. Production will be limited to 100 units, with 75 of them being Sportbacks. The special edition will arrive at dealerships next month and pricing starts at $88,000 – excluding a destination charge of $995.

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The stand included representative models from the A3, A4, A5, A6 and A7 families. Only a subset of the versions offered in Europe are on sale here and the market tends to favour different versions from the ones that are most popular in the UK and elsewhere  and that was reflected in the particular variants which were shown here.

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There was a long wait for the latest generation A8 series to reach America, but it finally went on sale for the 2019 model year. Two new variants are being added to the range for 2020 and they were oth on show here, with the all-new 2020 S8 being perhaps the more eagerly awaited. This flagship model is powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine producing 563 bhp and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm) of torque. Hooked to an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission and standard quattro permanent AWD with self-locking centre diff, the new S8 sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and can hit a limited top track speed of 155 mph (250 km/h). As with the Euro-model, the U.S.-spec 2020 S8 comes equipped as standard with dynamic all-wheel steering, a quattro sport differential and predictive active suspension. Illuminating HD Matrix-design headlights are also standard on the S8, with customers also being offered the option of Audi Laser Light and OLED animated taillights. While on the outside the all-new Audi S8 features subtle upgrades such as more aggressive bumpers, sharper side sills, silver mirror caps, unique wheels and quad exhaust pipes, the interior is more lavish than understated. Features include Valcona leather front sport seats with diamond stitching, upper dash inlay made of Carbon Vector with a special 3D depth effect, brushed matte aluminium lower inlay, a Premium Air Quality system with cabin air ionisation and refreshing scents, and dual-pane acoustic glass. The 2020 Audi S8 is priced from $129,500. Besides the new S8, the 2020 Audi A8 lineup adds another model, the A8 TFSI e plug-in hybrid. It combines a 335 bhp 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 with a 100 kW (134 bhp) electric motor for a total output of 443 bhp and 516 lb-ft (700 Nm) of torque. The TFSI e is only marginally slower than the S8, going from 0 to 60 mph in approximately 4.9 seconds. However, it’s 0.7 seconds faster than the standard A8 V6 thanks to the assistance of the electric motor integrated into the torque converter of the eight-speed automatic transmission. Also part of the powertrain is a 14.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that enables an all-electric driving range of up to 46 km (28.6 miles) in the Euro model (WLTP) – the EPA certified range for the U.S. model is not available yet. The 2020 A8 lineup also includes the $96,800 60 TFSI that’s powered by a 453 bhp 4.0-litre V8 and the entry-level 55 TFSI which uses a 335 bhp 3.0-litre V6 and starts at $85,200. Prices for the plug-in hybrid version will be announced at a later date.

Audi’s crossovers were represented with one example of each of the models that are offered on the US market. That means no Q2, as this one is denied to Americans. The range starts with the second generation Q3 and the proceeds through the Q5, show here in hybrid form, then reaches the full-sized Q7 and Q8 and also includes the all-electric e-Tron.

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There was just one example of the sporty TT here.

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Final Audi on the stand was a lone example of the R8 sports car, this one being a Spyder model in the top spec V10 Performance Plus guise.

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BMW had a sizeable stand, located in the same place as they have been for a number of years, towards the far end of the South Hall, and positioned right next to arch rival Mercedes-Benz. Even though the range that they sell in the US is not quite as large as the one they offer in Europe, there was still only space for a representative selection of cars from the vast number of different model types that they offer, with no more than one example from most of the model ranges that they offer.

Particular prominence was given to the 8 series which has grown in the last 12 months from being a high end Coupe to a full range of bodystyles, with the four door Gran Coupe joining the Cabriolet and Coupe, and M8 versions of all being added for the even more well-heeled buyer who might choose one of these cars. Even if I could afford one (which I can’t), that would not be me. The cars are an epic fail on looks alone, with all of them exemplifying what is so wrong with the styling of everything coming out of Munich at present. Even the basic silhouette of the Gran Coupe is awkward, but factor in the superfluous creases, grilles, vents and design fripperies and these cars are a visual mess, such a long way of the elegance of the last 6 Gran Coupe or the first generation 8 Series. This Show marked the debut for the M8 Gran Coupe. Set to arrive in the United States early next year, the high-performance model follows in the footsteps of the M8 Coupe and Convertible. As a result, the car is powered by a twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 engine that produces 592 bhp and 553 lb-ft (750 Nm) of torque. The engine is connected to an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission which sends power to a rear-biased and defeatable all-wheel drive system. This setup enables the M8 Gran Coupe to rocket from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 3.3 seconds, before hitting a limited top speed of up to 190 mph (305 km/h) when equipped with the optional M Driver’s Package. Buyers looking for more performance can order the M8 Competition Gran Coupe. It features an upgraded engine that develops 616 bhp and 553 lb-ft (750 Nm) of torque. Thanks to the extra power, the dash to 62 mph (100 km/h) is cut to 3.2 seconds. However, the top speed remains unchanged at 155 mph (250 km/h) and 190 mph (305 km/h) with the M Driver’s Package. Of course, the performance upgrades don’t end there as the M8 has been equipped with a double-wishbone front axle that has “specially designed swivel bearings, torque arms and control arms.” The updates continue out back as the five-link rear axle has M-specific forged links and “extremely stiff” anti-roll bars. Elsewhere, the car has been equipped with a shear panel and a tower-to-bulkhead strut to increase torsional strength up front. Likewise, there’s a steel X-brace and an aluminium transverse strut to beef things up in the rear. Other performance-oriented features include an Active M Differential, an M Servotronic steering system and an M-specific adaptive suspension. There’s also a high-performance braking system and optional carbon-ceramic brakes. In terms of styling, the front end carries over from the coupe and convertible. As a result, the model has a black kidney grille which resides above aggressive air intakes. The sporty styling continues further back as the Gran Coupe has aerodynamic mirrors, a carbon fibre-reinforced plastic roof and 20-inch lightweight alloy wheels. Other highlights include an aggressive rear bumper, a trunk-mounted spoiler and a four-tailpipe exhaust system. For a more exclusive look, customers can order an optional M Carbon exterior package. It adds an assortment of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic components including mirror caps, a rear diffuser, a rear spoiler and inserts for the front air intakes. Moving into the cabin, drivers will find an assortment of M-specific touches. These include M Sport seats, an M leather steering wheel and a unique gear selector. The model also has a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10.25-inch infotainment system and a head-up display. Other highlights include carbon fibre trim, ambient lighting and a wireless smartphone charger. Buyers looking for something even more exclusive can get the M8 Gran Coupe First Edition. Production will be limited to 400 units – 50 are coming to the US – and it features a BMW Individual Aurora Diamond Green metallic exterior with Gold Bronze accents. The model also has unique wheels, special door sill plates and Taruma Brown Merino leather. In the United States, the M8 Gran Coupe will start at $130,000. The more powerful Competition variant costs an extra $13,000 and that’s before the $995 destination charge.

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Sadly, the same criticisms of the looks apply to what is commercially a much more significant new car, the 2 Gran Coupe. This really does look like 3 people designed it, one doing the front (which shows the link to the new front wheel drive 1 series that American buyers will not be offered very clearly) one the middle and one the back. The overall silhouette is awkward, and the details are just dreadful to my eyes. And I am not alone. BMW’s designers might keep asserting how wrong we all are to dare to object, but the much repeated views in the press and on line is that BMW are wrong, not the public. Will it stop people buying the car? Well in the case of this one, it might, especially when people discover it is not just the challenging looks you have to put up with. This CLA rival shares some of the same issues with very restricted access to the rear seats and a really cramped and claustrophobic experience when you do manage to get in. I really was not impressed at all. In the United States, there will be 228i and M235i variants which both come standard with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The 228i is slated to have around 228 bhp and 258 lb-ft (349 Nm) of torque, while the M235i should boast 302 bhp and 332 lb-ft (450 Nm) of torque. US-spec models will come with all-wheel drive, though of course the 2-Series Gran Coupe is actually based on the front-wheel drive UKL platform. BMW has previously said the car will deliver a typical BMW driving experience. Sales start during 2020.

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Also making its debut here was the eagerly awaited M2 CS. This features a 3.0-litre TwinPower Turbo six-cylinder engine that produces an estimated 444 bhp and 406 lb-ft (550 Nm) of torque. The engine can be connected to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox. With the manual, the car can accelerate from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 4.0 seconds before hitting a top speed of up to 174 mph (280 km/h). The optional dual-clutch transmission lowers the 0-60 mph time by 0.2 seconds, but the top speed remains unchanged. Besides being more powerful than the M2 Competition, the M2 CS has an Active M Differential and an Adaptive M suspension. The latter is all-new to the M2 lineup and it features Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes. When it comes time to stop, drivers will be happy to know the car has a high-performance braking system. It features six-piston calipers and 15.7-inch (400 mm) discs up front as well as four-piston calipers and 15-inch (380 mm) discs out back. Drivers who plan to spend time on the track can upgrade to optional M Carbon Ceramic Brakes which are being offered on the M2 for the first time. BMW didn’t say much about them, but noted they’re lighter than the standard brakes and offer “increased thermal resistance capabilities under extreme track driving conditions.” Speaking of carbon, the M2 CS has it in spades as the model is equipped with a number of a carbon fibre reinforced plastic components. Key among them are the hood and roof which reduce weight and help to lower the car’s center of gravity. Other carbon fibre components include the front splitter, rear spoiler, rear diffuser and mirror caps. The M2 CS will be available in four different colours – Alpine White, Misano Blue Metallic, Black Sapphire Metallic and Hockenheim Silver Metallic – and the model will ride on 19-inch wheels with either a Matte Gold or High-Gloss Jet Black finish. Another detail worth mentioning is the car’s unique exhaust system with electronically-controlled valves and engraved “///M” logos. Moving into the cabin, drivers will find M Competition seats which are covered in leather and Alcantara upholstery and feature red contrast stitching as well as embroidered stripes on the headrests. Alcantara is abundant elsewhere as the material also covers the sport steering wheel, centre console and dashboard trim section. Getting back to the centre console, it’s constructed out of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. This helps to reduce weight by over 6 lbs (2.7 kg). BMW declined to mention the car’s overall weight, but the company confirmed US-spec models will come equipped with adaptive LED headlights, a rearview camera and park distance control. The model will also have ambient interior lighting, dynamic cruise control and an infotainment system with GPS navigation as well as Apple CarPlay compatibility. Other niceties include a universal garage door opener and a Harman / Kardon premium audio system. Standard Equipment includes: 6-Speed Manual transmission; Adaptive M Suspension; Active M Differential; 19-inch Forged Jet Black M Style 763M wheels with mixed performance tyres; CFRP roof, bonnet, front spoiler, rear spoiler, rear diffuser and mirror caps; Front Power, Heated M Competition Seats; M Seat Belts; Dynamic Cruise Control; Ambient Interior Lighting; Navigation; Harman/ Kardon Premium Sound System; Shadowline exterior trim; Anthracite Headliner; M Alcantara Steering Wheel; Apple CarPlay Compatibility; Adaptive Full LED headlights; Universal Garage Door opener; Rear View camera and Park distance control. Optional equipment includes: 7-Speed DCT transmission with Drivelogic; M Carbon Ceramic brakes; Matt Gold wheel finish; Michelin Cup 2 tyres. None of this comes cheap. The 2020 BMW M2 CS will go into production in March and the car will only be available for one model year. German pricing starts at €95,000 while UK customers will need to shell out £75,320, a massive premium over an M 2 Competition. Unfortunately, there’s no word on how much Americans will have to pay.

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Visually rather less difficult is the latest M5 and the Competition version of this now rather pricey car was also on the front road of the stand, and it was hard to miss it, given its rather distinctive yellow-gold paint finish.

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The latest versions of the new 3 Series, the more established 5 Series and the facelifted 7 Series were all appear, with single examples of each, though an additional 7 was here in the B7 Alpina format.

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The X1 was conspicuous by its absence, but there were examples of all the other X models, which now form a complete progression up to the gargantuan and somewhat controversial X7.

The X3 and X4 were both here, on either side of the show stand.

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For the X5, refreshed with a new generation this time last year and the related X6 a new third generation of which was announced the summer, there are now the 2020 X5 M and X6 M versions, making their US debuts here following a reveal a few weeks again ahead of the DTM race at the Hockenheim circuit. Starting under the bonnet, both models have a 4.4-litre M TwinPower Turbo V8 engine that produces 592 bhp and 553 lb-ft (750 Nm) of torque. It is connected to an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission which sends power to a specially tuned all-wheel drive system with an Active M Differential. This enables the X5 M and X6 M to accelerate from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in just 3.9 seconds. The models are electrically limited to 155 mph (250 km/h), but the optional M Driver’s Package increases that number to 180 mph (290 km/h). Buyers looking for something more powerful can opt for the new Competition variants. They feature an upgraded engine that develops 617 bhp and 553 lb-ft (750 Nm) of torque. This lowers the 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) time to 3.8 seconds, but the top speed remains unchanged. The performance features extend beyond the engine compartment as the crossovers have been equipped with an adaptive suspension that features active roll stabilisation. There’s also a unique steering system and an upgraded chassis that features a bespoke shear panel and M-specific bracing. Since the crossovers can hit high speeds in a matter of seconds, they’ve been outfitted with a high-performance braking system that features six-piston calipers and 15.5-inch (395 mm) discs up front. Out back, there’s single piston calipers which grab onto 15-inch (380 mm) discs. On the styling front, the models have aggressive fascias, a revised grille and aerodynamically optimized side mirrors. There’s also a four-tailpipe exhaust system which produces an “aural accompaniment that stirs the emotions” and corresponds with the selected drive mode. The Competition variants feature a more vocal M Sport exhaust system and it will be offered as an option on the standard X5 M and X6 M. The base model comes standard with 21-inch lightweight alloy wheels, while the Competition variants have staggered wheels which measure 21-inches front and 22-inches rear. The Competition models are also distinguished by black accents on the mirror caps, grille surround and badges. The cabin largely carries over from the mainstream X5 and X6, but drivers will find an assortment of special touches. Highlights include a leather-wrapped M steering wheel, illuminated door sill plates and multi-function sport seats with an illuminated model badge. Other niceties include aluminium crossline or carbon fibre trim and a unique gear selector that features an embossed M logo and special stitching. In the United States, the models will go on sale next spring. Pricing starts at $105,100 for the X5 M and $114,100 for the X5 M Competition. Likewise, the X6 M begins at $108,600 while X6 M Competition will cost $117,600.

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Familiarity with the leviathan X7 does not make it any more aesthetically pleasing. It is by all accounts quite decent to drive, and there is lots of space in it, but those looks really are challenging and make the rival Mercedes, which looks far less polarising seem like the preferable option for those who want a premium-badged 3 row 7 seater.

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Completing the display of production cars were examples of the latest i3 and i8 electric vehicles.

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Tucked away at the back of the stand was the Vision M Next, a concept which was unveiled in the summer at BMW Welt, where the automaker is also showcasing its latest technological advances in the fields of design, autonomous driving, connectivity, electrification and services. “The BMW Vision M Next provides a glimpse into the future of sporty driving,” stated the company’s senior design VP, Adrian van Hooydonk. “Where the BMW Vision iNEXT illustrated how autonomous driving is set to transform life on board our vehicles, the BMW Vision M NEXT demonstrates how state-of-the-art technology can also make the experience of driving yourself purer and more emotionally engaging. In both models, the focus is firmly on the people inside. Design and technology make the ‘EASE’ and ‘BOOST’ experiences more natural and more intense.” What is ‘EASE’ and ‘BOOST’ you might ask? Apparently they represents the two available modes of travel, with EASE encompassing what it means to have the vehicle drive you around, whereas BOOST stands for the ultimate driving experience. Visually, this concept draws its inspiration from the iconic BMW Turbo as well as the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid. It also features futuristic design elements such as the low-slung, wedge-shape silhouette, gull-wing doors and a very interesting colour scheme – the front and rear ends are finished in Thrilling Orange, whereas the rest of the car features a Cast Silver metallic paintwork. Other fascinating exterior design details include the Laser Wire headlights, the blade-shaped air intake below the kidney grille, recycled carbon fibre side skirts, three-dimensional multi-spoke wheels, a clearly sculpted profile and a low-slung rear end with Laser Wire taillights and a BMW M1-like rear window. Inside, there is facial recognition technology, allowing the car to unlock automatically when the driver approaches. By pressing the touch sensor on the gull-wing doors, a minimalist interior is revealed. “The entire interior is focused on the BOOST Pod. The geometry has a deliberately low-key feel so that the driver can concentrate fully on the driving experience,” says Domagoj Dukec, VP of BMW Design. The BOOST Pod represents the interface between the driver and vehicle, giving the former all the control options and information he or she might need using three distinct visual tiers positioned in their field of view – two of them placed behind a steering wheel that even K.I.T.T would be envious of. The third is the full-surface Augmented Reality Head-Up Display, which is in the windshield. As for materials, they range from woven synthetic fibres to anodised titanium and painted surfaces. BMW kept the use of leather to a minimum on purpose, which is why it can only be found on surfaces that the driver’s and passenger’s hands touch directly (steering wheel, door grab handles). The rest of the cabin is upholstered in a Midnight Blue microfibre fabric, which actually looks and feels similar to leather. As a finishing touch, there are Thrilling Orange contrasting inserts found throughout. In the end, it always comes down to performance, especially with these types of vehicles. The BMW Vision M Next features a Power PHEV drive system that offers the choice between electric all-wheel drive and pure rear-wheel drive, with either all-electric propulsion or petrol power courtesy of a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol unit. In total, the concept has a maximum system output of 592 bhp which translates into a top speed of 186 mph (300 km/h). In a straight line, it can accelerate from zero to 62 mph (100 km/h) in just three seconds flat. As for its range in all-electric mode, that would be 62 miles (100 km), making this car suitable for city centres with zero-emissions zones.

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The world of extreme rugged off-roaders welcomed two more members which were shown in an area in the main vestibule area between the entrance point and the West Hall. They are the all-electric Bollinger B1 SUV and B2 crew cab pickup. Priced at $125,000 each, they will enter production in 2020, with deliveries planned for some point during the year. To secure a build slot now, you’ll have to place a $1,000 refundable deposit. Powering the two trucks are two electric motors, one on each axle, which develop a combined output of 614 hp (623 PS / 458 kW) and 668 lb-ft (906 Nm) of torque. Providing the juice for an EPA-estimated range of 200 miles (322 km) on a single charge is the 120 kWh battery back, with regenerative braking, which supports AC and DC fast charging. Bollinger said the B1 and B2 have 15 inches (381 mm) of ground clearance and 10 inches (254 mm) of wheel travel. The hydro-pneumatic suspension with self-leveling is manually adjustable, so the truck can be lowered or raised by another 5 inches (127 mm). Drivers can also shift between high and low range using the column-mounted shifter that’s tied to an electronic actuator, and engage the electronic locking differentials via the dashboard-mounted toggle switches. The rugged SUV and pickup truck feature black paint and carbon-kevlar-treated underbodies to minimize catching rocks, branches or roots. Furthermore, the easily-removable windshield, windows, doors and roof panels can make for a more pleasant driving experience on arduous terrains, as long as you do not venture far away from charging stations. Inside, the B1 and B2 have four identical seats with heating, which can be had in cloth, leather or vegan leather. There are also IP68-rated light strips, water resistant LED dome lights, ten 110v AC outlets (optional 220v), air conditioning, heating, wood floor strips and aluminum and chrome trim. All interior components have been sealed or protected for fording water up to 36 inches (914 mm) deep. Bollinger has also patented a pass-through door located in the dashboard, which connects the frunk to the passenger compartment and comes in handy when hauling longer items.

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Buick’s newcomer here was the Encore GX, which will enter the range between the smaller Encore and the larger Envision and Enclave SUVs and will be offered both in front- and all-wheel drive variants. An optional Sport Touring package will also be available, spicing up the exterior styling with exclusive features like a unique front grille, wheels and rear fascia. The engine range consists of two options; base models are powered by a turbocharged 1.2-litre three-cylinder unit that pumps out 137 bhp while the more powerful variants use an also turbocharged 1.3-litre unit with 155 bhp. Both engines are paired to a CVT transmission but only the more powerful 1.3-litre unit will be offered with the AWD option that includes a nine-speed automatic transmission. AWD models will also feature a disable switch for better fuel economy when the extra grip is not needed. “Premium SUV buyers are looking for features that fit their lifestyle priorities, and Buick is giving customers more segment choices with our new Encore GX,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president, Global Buick. “As we look to the future of Buick, and customer demand trends, our four-SUV portfolio puts us in a strong competitive position across the most popular SUV segments.” The new Buick Encore GX will feature a range of advanced driver assistance and active safety systems as standard, including Forward Collision Alert; Automatic Emergency Braking; Front Pedestrian Braking; Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning; Following Distance Indicator; and IntelliBeam headlights with automatically adjusting low/high beams. Inside the cabin of the 2020 Encore GX you’ll get a modern infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and support for Sirius XM, as well as wireless charging and the company’s signature QuietTuning, which aims to minimize road noise. The new 2020 Buick Encore GX and Encore GX Sport Touring will launch in the US market in early 2020.

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With the demise earlier in the year of the LaCrosse luxury saloon and the Cascada convertible, Buick’s range is almost exclusively a Crossover one. The sole remaining model that is not, the Regal, was conspicuous by its absence, so the remaining cars were all of the Crossover type, with an array of the European-originated Encore, the Chinese-built Envision and the full-sized Enclave all on display.

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Cadillac have introduced a number of new models during 2019 and this was my chance to have a first look at them, as most have yet to go on sale. Two of them are traditional saloons. Cadillac revealed a common ATS and CTS replacement, the CT5, in March, ahead of its public debut at the 2019 New York International Auto Show. According to Caddy, the CT5 will be classified as a compact sedan, even though its mid-size saloon dimensions would have you think it’s positioned to take on the likes of the BMW 5-Series, Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class. The 2020 CT5 measures 193.8 inches (4,924 mm) in length, 74.1 inches (1,883 mm) in width and 57.2 inches (1,452 mm) in height, with a wheelbase of 116.0 inches (2,947 mm). Despite its Fastback styling, it’s almost as long as a BMW 5-Series, which measures 194.3 inches (4,936 mm) bumper to bumper. Meanwhile, the CT5’s wheelbase is actually longer than that of an Audi A6 (115.1 inches / 2,924 mm). Also, here’s how it compares to a 2019 CTS: 114.6 inches (2,911 mm) wheelbase, 72.2 inches (1,834 mm) width, 195.5 inches (4,966 mm) length – the CT5 is bigger in every way except overall length, but again, that’s because of its styling. Before you voice your objections in the comments, we spoke to Cadillac for clarification, and they insisted on describing it as a “compact premium sedan that will be competitively priced within that segment as well”, which includes the likes of Audi’s A4, Mercedes‘ C-Class and BMW’s 3-Series. Cadillac says that the 2020 CT5 features a blend of distinctive design, performance and comfort, and that its all-new Fastback styling underscores its refined ride, as well as the driver-centric interior. Buyers can even tailor the car to their preferences with unique designs and trim in Luxury and Sport versions. “Every element of the CT5 is focused on delivering an unrivaled experience, from the 10-speed transmission to Cadillac’s Super Cruise technology,” said Cadillac president, Steve Carlisle. ” The Expansion of Super Cruise to CT5 reinforces our commitment to bringing the most innovative technologies to our customers.” Opt for the CT5 Luxury or Premium Luxury models and you’ll get bright exterior accents and unique grilles and fascias. The Sport version on the other hand has darker accents and performance-inspired details, like unique grilles, fascias, rocker extensions, a spoiler and standard 19-inch wheels. The 2020 CT5 also features an “all-LED exterior” with signature vertical lights at all four corners. Step inside the CT5 and you’ll be greeted by elegant, wide surface lines and simple interfaces. You’ll also notice the 10-inch touchscreen display mounted high within the instrument panel for improved visibility. There’s also a standard Adaptive Remote Start function and an available hands-free power-release decklid. The former automatically activates features like the available heated/ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel and other climate systems, while the latter allows you to activate the trunk release with your foot – same as in many other new cars. If you’re still not satisfied, then you can look to the Platinum Package, which can be added to Premium Luxury and Sport models. It features an exclusive Sedona/Jet Black motif with Opus semi-aniline leather seating surfaces in Sedona Sauvage. Both front, heated, ventilated and lumbar massage seats feature additional bolstering and 18-way adjustability. Also available are the upgraded leather-trimmed armrests and centre console, unique carbon fibre decorative trim and a thicker-rimmed steering wheel with authentic magnesium paddle shifters and alloy pedals. “Cadillac demonstrates its commitment to technology by bringing the Super Cruise driver assistance feature to the CT5. Cadillac’s Super Cruise driver assistance feature enables customers to drive hands-free on more than 130,000 miles of limited-access freeways in the U.S. and Canada, using LiDAR map data, high-precision GPS, a state-of-the-art driver attention system and a network of camera and radar sensors. The driver attention system helps keep drivers engaged by detecting and signaling when drivers need to pay more attention to the road.” The 2020 Cadillac CT5 is available with a 2.0-litre Twin-Scroll turbo engine, as well as a more powerful 3.0-litre twin turbocharged V6, both working alongside a 10-speed automatic transmission. The four-pot packs 237 bhp and 258 lb-ft (350 Nm) of torque, while the V6 is good for 335 bhp and 400 lb-ft (542 Nm) of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels, unless you opt for the available AWD system, which you can get on all models. Then there are the driving modes: Tour, Sport, Snow/Ice and My Mode. They work by letting you calibrate your transmission, steering and brake feel, front/rear torque split and the exhaust note. GM will build the new CT5 at its upgraded Lansing Grand River facility, with sales to begin in autumn. Pricing along with additional information on the range will be released closer to its sales date.

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There is going to be a CT4 in the range, effectively a heavily revamped ATS, though Cadillac don’t want you to think of it that way. The CT4-V was the first version to be announced, when it premiered in the summer along with the CT5-V, and this is what was on show here.

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Sitting above these in the range, for now, is the rear-wheel drive CT6. A CT6-V was announced earlier in the year, though with the future of the whole range in doubt, this could remain one of the rarest of all Cadillacs.

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There is now a wider choice of crossover models with the Cadillac models, with last year’s smaller XT4 in full production, joining the established XT5 and the new for 2019 7-seater XT6 all sitting below the gigantic Escalade.

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There were two examples of the much-awaited mid-engined C8 generation Corvette here. The Convertible version, presented to the press only a few weeks ago had a prominent place at the front of the stand and the Coupe was at the very back.

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The Camaro had to take second place to the Corvette, but the latest cars, complete with the new front end which was controversially introduced for the 2019 model year, were on show here.

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Away from the sportscars, Chevrolet’s range is starting to transition to one based on Crossovers and trucks. They have not gone as far as Ford (yet), though as current saloon models come to the end of their planned life, they will disappear without replacement. 2019 has seen the end for the Cruze and the full-sized Impala, but that does still leave the diminutive Spark, the slightly larger Sonic, and the mid-sized Malibu and there were single examples of each of these on show.

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Chevrolet hope that you will want one of their Crossovers instead, and to that end, an additional one is being added to the range, the new Trailblazer, which made its debut here. Previewed earlier this year, the Trailblazer is a radical departure from its predecessor as it’s a small five-passenger crossover that slots in between the Trax and Equinox. On the styling front, the model follows in the footsteps of the Blazer and features a prominent dual-port grille that is flanked by quad lighting units. Further below, there’s a faux skidplate and plastic body cladding that wraps around the vehicle. Aft of the A-pillar, there’s chiselled bodywork and pronounced rear fenders. Designers also installed a relatively flat roof and a distinctive C-pillar. Unfortunately, the rear end is a tad plain as it has a blocky tailgate and wraparound taillights. Despite being called the Trailblazer, the model is a soft-roader. However, buyers can make it look more capable by ordering the ACTIV trim package. It includes rugged fascias, a unique grille and a trapezoidal dual exhaust system. Other highlights include off-road focused dampers, a two-tone roof and 17-inch wheels with Hankook Sport Terrain tyres. Buyers can also go in the opposite direction and opt for an RS variant. It has a massive mesh grille, black bowtie emblems and a sporty dual exhaust system. The model also has a unique rear bumper with an integrated diffuser. Chevrolet didn’t say much about the interior, but it has a three-spoke steering wheel, gloss black trim and metallic accents. The crossover also promises to have modern infotainment system which supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. While the Trailblazer is relatively small, it has plenty of practicality. With the second row seats folded down, the model has a cargo capacity of up to 54.4 cubic feet. The front passenger seat can also folded and this enables the vehicle to accommodate items up to 8.5 feet (2.6 meters) long. All Trailblazers will come equipped with an assortment of driver assistance systems including Forward Collision Alert, Automatic Emergency Braking and Front Pedestrian Braking. Other safety features include Auto High Beam Assist, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Rear Seat Reminder and a Rear Vision Camera. Customers can also order more advanced systems including Adaptive Cruise Control, Rear Park Assist and Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert. Other options are Rear Cross Traffic Alert and an HD Rear Vision Camera. Under the bonnet, customers will have a choice of two turbocharged engines displacing 1.2- and 1.3-litres. Chevrolet didn’t release detailed specifications, but they’ll develop up to 155 bhp. The engines will be paired to a nine-speed automatic gearbox or a continuously variable transmission. All-wheel drive will be optional, but even front-wheel drive models will have a special snow mode. The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer will go on sale in the United States next spring and pricing will start under $20,000.

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Chevrolet’s other crossover models were also here and there are now lots of them: the Trax marks the start of the range, and then there are Equinox, Blazer and Traverse all sitting below the long-lived Tahoe.

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Final passenger car here was what is now Chevrolet’s sole all-electric model, the Bolt.

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There was quite an array of the Truck range here. The full-sized ones, the Silverado, were refreshed last year and the general view is that Chevrolet missed the mark. Buyers would seem to agree as the model has ceded its market second place to RAM this year. The smaller Colorado was also present.

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There are just two models in the Chrysler range now, and both are familiar and were shown here with minimal changes compared to their 2019 equivalents. They are the Pacifica minivan and the 300 luxury saloon.

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2019 has been another year with no all-new metal from Dodge, so to keep interest in the remaining models in the line-up, it was down to the launch of a special edition and some minor tweaks to the available models and specs. In the last decade, there have been so many variations, it’s almost hard to keep up, especially with those that are simply visual packages – the new 50th Anniversary Edition being one of them. If you opt for one of these, you’ll also get a choice of high-impact paint finishes (like the new Gold Rush hue), a Shaker hood scoop for the now satin black bonnet, unique ‘Gold Rush’ wheels, special badges and headlights with illuminated ’50’ logos. Other novelties include the black-wrapped roof and decklid and the satin black fuel-filler door with “Fuel” lettering – you know, in case you’re new to…cars. As for the interior, it’s definitely not a bad place to be by Challenger standards. You get black Nappa leather/Alcantara seats (heated and ventilated) with Sepia contrast stitching (also found throughout the cabin) and embroidered ’50’ badges. Also, there is real carbon fibre trim on the dashboard, which is a nice touch. Dodge will only build a total of 1,960 units of the 50th Anniversary Edition Challenger, with 70 examples per colour for the four available specs (GT RWD, R/T Shaker, R/T Scat Pack Shaker and R/T Scat Pack Shaker Widebody). Aside from Gold Rush, the other available colours are Frostbite, Hellraisin, Sinamon Stick, TorRed, F8 Green and Go Mango.

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Making another appearance was the Challenger Sleigh that was first shown on this stand a year previously. It was joined by a number of other production Challenger models.

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There were several examples of the equally well-established Charger on show.

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With the Grand Caravan having finally ceased production and no sign of the Journey, the only other model in the range is the full-sized Durango and a couple of these completed the display.

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Centrepiece of Fiat’s rather small stand, housed at the back of the Dodge and Jeep areas were the latest 500X models, the car which will become the range mainstay for the foreseeable. New here was the North American version of the 500X Sport which was premiered here following an equivalent European launch a few weeks earlier. As the name suggests, the new Fiat 500X Sport offers a more aggressive take on the Italian SUV, featuring new front and rear fascias, body-coloured side mouldings and dark-finish exterior accents, along with the exclusive “Rovente Red” paint colour. Unlike the Euro-spec models, the 2020 Fiat 500X Sport will be offered with just one powertrain option and all-wheel drive; more specifically the turbocharged 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol with 177 HP and 210 lb-ft of torque, paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Fiat claims a fuel economy of up to 30 mph highway, saying that the 500X Sport is the only model in its segment to offer this fuel economy on the highway and standard all-wheel drive. “Our Italian-designed, fun-to-drive Fiat 500X is the only vehicle in its class to feature standard all-wheel drive and achieve 30 miles per gallon,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of FCA’s Passenger Car Brands,North America. “With standard turbo power, the Fiat 500X Sport is a fresh, new alternative in one of the fastest growing segments in the industry.” There’s no mention of any changes on the chassis setup of the new NA-spec 500X Sport in Fiat’s press release; we do know however that European models are getting special FSD dampers and a recalibrated steering rack. The 2020 Fiat 500X Sport comes with 18-inch alloy wheels as standard, with a set of 19-inch alloys shod in Michelin CrossClimate all-season rubber being an option. Inside the cabin, we find a dark headliner and pillars, new door and console bezel surface finishes, a techno-leather steering wheel with red stitching and Alcantara inserts, aluminium pedal covers, new cluster graphics and an Alcantara-trimmer instrument cluster cowl. Finally there are exclusive Sport seats dressed in black fabric with vinyl inserts and a seven-inch Uconnect 4 infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. In addition to the exclusive “Rovente Red” exterior paint color, the new Fiat 500X Sport will also be available in White, Black, Moda Grey and Italia Blue. Fiat will also offer the option of a contrasting black roof. Prices for the new 2020 Fiat 500X Sport start from $26,895, excluding destination charges. The rest of the 2020 500X lineup includes the Pop, Trekking and Trekking Plus models, with the more affordable Pop starting from $24,590.

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Completing the display was a single example of the 500, which surprised me, as I believed it had been announced that production for the US market had ended, as well as a 124 Spider Abarth.

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Ford had a huge stand in the very centre of the West Hall, and although there were fewer cars on it than you might have expected, this was a reflection of the fact that all the regular sedans and hatches apart from he Fusion (which was not on show) have now ceased production, leaving the US range as one of Crossovers, Trucks and the Mustang.

Centre of attention, and for many people, me included, the star of the entire LA Auto Show was the Mustang Mach E, unveiled just a couple of days before the doors opened. Putting the aside the obvious sullying of the Mustang name, the Mach-E is a relatively stylish crossover with an aggressive front fascia and a fully enclosed grille. The latter is surrounded by slender LED lighting units and a sporty lower bumper. The aggressive design language continues further back as the Mach-E has a rakish windscreen, a coupe-like roofline and softly curved surfaces. The model also boasts bulging rear fenders, a dynamic greenhouse and hidden door handles that bring a touch of class to a mainstream brand. Unfortunately, the rear end isn’t as lucky. It features a bloated tailgate with Mustang-inspired taillights that appear to have been tacked on with little thought to aesthetics. Putting those criticisms aside, the crossover also has a rakish rear window, a tailgate-mounted spoiler and a black lower bumper. While the exterior has hints of Mustang, the interior says Explorer. However, it’s not as bad as that reference would suggest as the Mach-E has higher quality materials and an improved design. Drivers sit behind a Mustang-branded steering wheel and find themselves looking at a freestanding 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster. To their right is a 15.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with a portrait orientation. Other notable highlights include a stylish dashboard with slender air vents and aluminium-like trim. An assortment of options will be available including a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, a panoramic glass roof and ambient lighting. Customers can also get a heated steering wheel, heated front seats and alloy pedals. In terms of space, the Mach-E has a front trunk – or frunk – that provides 4.8 cubic feet of storage. The rear luggage compartment has a capacity of 29 cubic feet, but that can be expanded to 59.6 cubic feet by folding the rear seats down. Five different variants will be available including an entry-level Select grade that starts at $43,895 before tax credits (up to $7,500). The model is available with rear- or all-wheel drive, and both feature a 75.7 kWh battery pack and a output of around 255 bhp. The rear-wheel drive variant will have around 306 lb-ft (414 Nm) of torque, while the all-wheel drive model will up that number to roughly 417 lb-ft (565 Nm). The rear-wheel drive model will accelerate from 0-60 mph in the low six second range and have an overall range of approximately 230 miles (370 km). The all-wheel drive variant drops the 0-60 mph time to the mid five second range, but the range also falls to 210 miles (338 km). Moving up the trim ladder is the Mach-E Premium which starts at $50,600. It will be offered in standard and long range configurations, with and without all-wheel drive. The specs are a mouthful, but the standard range variant will have the same powertrain as the Mach-E Select. However, the big news is the extend range Mach-E which has a larger 98.8 kWh battery. The extended range variant also has more power as the rear-wheel drive model will have around 282 bhp and 306 lb-ft (414 Nm) of torque. This will enable the crossover to run from 0-60 mph in the mid six second range, and have an estimated range of 300 miles (483 km). Likewise, the all-wheel drive variant will have approximately 333 bhp and 417 lb-ft (565 Nm) of torque. This lowers the 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) time to the mid five second range, and also drops the overall range to around 270 miles (435 km). Things are less confusing from there as the $52,400 Mach-E California Route 1 is simply an extend range variant with rear-wheel drive. As a result, it uses the aforementioned powertrain that develops 282 bhp and 306 lb-ft (414 Nm) of torque. The model also has a range of around 300 miles (483 km). The $59,900 Mach-E First Edition is the opposite as it’s a long-range model with all-wheel drive. This means it has 333 bhp and 417 lb-ft (565 Nm) of torque, as well as a range of around 270 miles (435 km). The last of the five models is the high-performance Mach-E GT which starts at $60,500. The company is keeping detailed specifications under wraps, but said the crossover will have around 459 bhp and 612 lb-ft (830 Nm) of torque. The model will be available exclusively with all-wheel drive and the 98.8 kWh battery. The focus on performance lowers the range to around 235 miles (378 km), but the 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) time falls to the mid three second range. Putting aside the performance specs, owners will need to recharge their vehicles. In order to do this, each Mach-E comes with a mobile charger than can deliver 22 miles (35 km) of range for every hour of changing when connected to a 240V outlet. Customers can also purchase an optional Ford Connected Charging station. It uses a 240V outlet, but delivers 32 miles (51 km) of range for every hour of charging. When travelling, customers can use a growing network of DC fast chargers. Ford says the standard-range Mustang Mach-E can go from a 10 to 80 percent charge in approximately 38 minutes using one of these 150 kW chargers. People interested in the 2021 Mustang Mach-E can make a reservation for a $500 deposit. However, they’ll have a bit of wait as the first vehicles won’t arrive until late next year. Fans wanting the entry-level Select and high-performance GT will need to wait even longer as a launch isn’t scheduled until 2021. By the time the Show closed, it was announced that the Launch Editions have sold out.

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A large area of the stand was dedicated to a stage with a raised seating area for launch presentation shows which took place every 30 minutes or so. The Mach E was the star of the show, though other newcomers were not ignored. The script was full of the usual sort of PR guff and not many facts.

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I came across a press launch event for the 2020 Mustang up in the mountains earlier in the week, where the emphasis was on the Shelby GT500. It was here, of course, along with the less potent Ecoboost and GT cars, as well as the Bullitt version which has proved popular since its introduction a year ago.

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Ford’s out and out sports car, the GT was also here.

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Not yet on sale, but it will be soon, following an unveiling earlier in the year was the third generation Escape. Ford’s all-new Escape crossover is meant to be safer, smarter and more versatile than any past iteration. It’s also available with both a standard hybrid and a plug-in hybrid powertrain, to go with various drive modes and driver-assist features. Every model in the Escape lineup is said to target an EPA-estimated range of at least 400 miles (643 km), with the regular hybrid in FWD spec targeting a best-in-class EPA-estimated range of more than 550 miles (885 km). “This all-new Escape brings a sleeker, sportier design with the capability to take you on just about any of your life’s adventures,” stated Ford president for North America, Kumar Galhotra. “With our class-leading hybrid powertrains, customers will spend less time at the gas station and more time on the road.” The all-new Escape stands lower, wider and is longer than the current iteration, not to mention 200 lbs (90.7 kg) lighter. Its shield-shaped trapezoidal grille is inspired by the 6th-generation Mustang, while the lower front end is said to borrow from the Ford GT, although overall, the crossover reminds us most of the latest Ford Focus hatchback. According to Ford, the new Escape isn’t just about looking sporty, but also driver enjoyment – the automaker claims this is the most fun-to-drive Escape ever. “This new vehicle performs like no other Escape before,” said Escape chief program engineer, Jim Hughes. “It’s quick, it’s responsive and, in staying true to the standard set by three generations of Escapes before it, it’s a heck of a lot of fun to drive.” Opt for the new 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine, available on Titanium grade, and you get 250 HP and 275 lb-ft (372 Nm) of torque, allowing for a 0-60 mph (96 km/h) acceleration time that’s up to 10% faster than in the outgoing model. When properly configured, it can tow 3,500 lbs (1,587 kg). Meanwhile, the all-new 3-cylinder turbocharged 1.5-litre EcoBoost, standard on S, SE and SEL grades is projected to put down 180 bhp and 177 lb-ft (240 Nm) of torque, and is rated to tow 2,000 lbs (907 kg). For the sake of fuel efficiency, the 1.5-litre EcoBoost unit can shut down one of its cylinders in just 14 milliseconds. Then there’s the all-new 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle hybrid engine, mated to an electronic continuously variable transmission. The front-wheel drive model is expected to produce a combined system output of 198 bhp, while also allowing for a top speed of 85 mph (136 km/h) in EV mode. The plug-in hybrid variant, available on every trim level except S and SE Sport, projects an EPA-estimated range of at least 30 miles (48 km) in EV mode. As for charge times, it takes 10 to 11 hours to fill up the battery at a 110-volt Level 1 charger, while a 240-volt Level 2 charger will drop that time down to 3.5 hours. Both hybrid models come with the following four EV modes: Auto EV (car decides whether to run on gas or electric), EV Now (driver selects all-electric driving), EV Later (petrol-powered driving to conserve juice for later) and the all-new EV Charge mode, where drivers can continue to charge the battery while driving and “generating electric-only miles” for later use. The sliding second-row seats in the petrol-powered versions give rear-seat passengers of the new Escape class-leading legroom. In fact, Ford executive VP of product development and purchasing Hau Thai-Tang said that you get more leg room in the second row of the new Escape than you do in a full-size Chevy Suburban. In terms of cargo space, you get 37.5 cu.ft in petrol-powered models, while the regular hybrid’s briefcase-shaped battery measures just one-third the size of the old Escape Hybrid’s battery. The Escape Hybrid by the way still features more headroom, shoulder room and hip room than the current model, despite the slight drop in height. Finally, let’s talk convenience features. Titanium models come with the all-new heads-up display system, which is a first for Ford in North America. Then there’s the available Active Park Assist 2.0 and Evasive Steering Assist, the Ford Co-Pilot360 (this one is standard), plus other clever tech like Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Lane Centering. In terms of connectivity, FordPass Connect is standard across the range and provides occupants with 4G LTE Wi-Fi for up to 10 mobile devices. You also get wireless charging, an 8-inch touch screen (standard on SE models and above), an available 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and SYNC3 software with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Ford Alexa and Waze navigation. Last but not least is the available 575-watt 10-speaker B&O sound system. Ford’s all-new Escape, available in S, SE, SE Sport, SEL and Titanium grades, will be built at the Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky. While it will reach showrooms this fall in gasoline and regular hybrid guise, the plug-in hybrid version won’t hit the market until next spring.

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The all-new, rear wheel drive Explorer has just gone on sale, although the launch has been blighted by a number of quality control problems. There were plenty of examples on show here. I have to say that the interior quality showed clear signs of cost cutting that had been taken too far, undermining the case for selecting one of these above a plethora of market rivals.

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Also present were the other Ford crossovers, from the one that even its maker cannot pronounce properly, the EcoSport (they call it the EchoSport!), the mid-sized Edge and the massive Expedition, a car which I had sampled earlier in the week.

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The Transit Connect will be familiar as this model is also sold in Europe. It has struggled in the US, as although there are 7 seats in it, compared to rival minivans, it is far less spacious, something which counts against it. Hertz had some in their rental fleet when the model first appeared in 2015 and they were a complete failure for this reason, even though I found it quite decent to drive and to have lots of room inside compared to the external footprint.

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Joining the F Series Trucks, a number of which were on show, is the slightly smaller Ranger. Several of these were on display.

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Parent company Hyundai set up Genesis as a stand-alone marque a few years ago, in an attempt to compete more directly with the likes of Lexus, Infiniti and Acura as well as American prestige brands such as Cadillac and Lincoln. The range will extend to cover a number of Crossovers before long, but for now, it amounts to three traditional sedans, none of which will be familiar to Europeans as they have not been sold here.

Top of the range is the G90 and a new for 2020 version was unveiled here. The South Korean automaker first launched its new-and-improved flagship sedan at the end of 2018 in Korea before going on to show it at the Montreal Auto Show in January. Consequently, we’re already quite familiar with its design – which leaves no room for mistaking it for its predecessor. Dominating the front-end of the new Genesis G90 is a triangular-shaped grille and a pair of intriguing headlights with LED daytime running lights running through their centre. Also particularly interesting is the redesigned rear-end, where there are split LED taillights and an LED light bar stretching the width of the car. There are also chrome tailpipes with a similar shape to the front grille. All in all, it looks rather premium. As this is a facelift and not an entirely new model, changes made to the interior aren’t as radical as those found on the outside. In fact, on first impressions, the cabin seems largely unchanged. What Genesis has done is update the 12.3-inch display to a touchscreen while also adding support for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Mirror Link. Additionally, the infotainment system supports over-the-air wireless updates for maps and software. Elsewhere, Genesis has developed Active Noise Cancellation to make the interior more serene than before. The adaptive control suspension has also been updated to minimise vibrations. Included as standard with the 2020 G90 are key safety features including Lane Following Assist, Rear Cross-traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Safe Exit Assist, and Highway Driving Assist. The car also features 10 airbags as standard, including a passenger-side knee airbag. Customers in the U.S. have two engines to choose from. The first is a 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 also found in the sporty G70, with 365 bhp and 376 lb-ft (509 Nm) of torque sent to the rear wheels as standard and all four as an option. Should customers want a little extra grunt, a 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 with 420 bhp and 383 lb-ft (519 Nm) of torque is available. U.S. sales of the 2020 Genesis G90 will start in December 2019, with prices yet to be announced.

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Also on display were a number of examples of the smaller G70 and G80 saloons, which are in size terms equivalent to a 3 and 5 Series BMW respectively. Both have received positive reviews, especially the G70 which debuted last year, but they remain minority players in the market. It takes time and several generations to get established in the market, clearly.

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There was nothing truly new on the GMC stand, but plenty of vehicles to look at. Crossover models range from the mid-sized Terrain through the slightly larger Acadia to the massive Yukon and Yukon XL.

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The trucks comprise the Canyon and the new for 2020 Sierra.

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Honda had a large stand right by the entrance door of the West Hall, but nothing that was new to present. Perhaps the most interesting part of their display was the area allocated to celebrating their 50th anniversary in America. A beautifully restored S800 sports car was joined by a couple of classic bikes on the back of, erm, a Chevy pickup.

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The one car on a turntable, which was being presented to the public by one of those awful PR-filled monologues delivered to whomever is listening, whether there is anyone or not, was a Hybrid version of the latest CR-V. The CR-V is now Honda’s best seller in America, so this is an important model, and a challenger to the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

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Elsewhere on the stand was a single example of the small Fit and also the family-sized Accord.

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The Civic was better represented, with Coupe, Sedan and Hatch versions on display, as well as the hairy looking Type R.

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The hybrid-only Insight was joined by the Clarity, a model initially launched solely as a fuel-cell car but now available with a variety of different fuel technologies. The odd looks cannot help the cars appeal, though.

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Completing the range were examples of the HR-V, Passport and Pilot crossovers as well as the Odyssey minivan.

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Cars are only a part of the range of things which Honda produce and reminder of that came from this exhibit on the s

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Making its world premiere here was Hyundai’s Vision T SUV Concept. It is a plug-in hybrid compact crossover that’s meant to express the Korean brand’s Sensuous Sportiness global design language while also looking to balance its eco-lifestyle focus with the environment in which it is driven. While Hyundai hasn’t specified any interior or powertrain characteristics, other than it is a plug-in hybrid, its styling obviously reflects everything seen from previously-spied 2021 Hyundai Tucson prototypes, from the front fascia to certain angles and creases found on the bodywork. We don’t need to tell you that the production Tucson will be a lot less visually aggressive. It measures 181.5 inches (4,610 mm) in length, 79.3 inches (1,938 mm) in width, stands 67.1 inches (1,704 mm) tall, and has a 110.4 inches (2,804 mm) long wheelbase. “We pursue innovative solutions in design and add emotional value to our product experience through sensuous sportiness design language,” said the automaker’s senior VP and head of global design, SangYup Lee. According to Hyundai, the Vision T’s side profile is meant to convey a continual sense of speed and moving forward, while the long hood, short overhangs and level roofline reflect a “ready-for-anything dynamic.” Visually, the Hidden Signature Lamp is derived from the Le Fil Rouge concept, while the Parametric Air Shutter is an original developmental feature that actively influences aerodynamics. When stationary, the grille is closed and static, but once the car is in motion, “each individual cell of the grille design continues to move in a prescribed sequence, creating a truly dynamic forward demeanour.” As for the hidden signature headlights, they hide behind a half-mirror system that has a chromium appearance, transforming into functional lighting on demand. Other design features include the large satin chrome alloy wheels, dark orange brake calipers, glass roof, the passenger side charging port with its sliding cover and more. Also, since there are no exterior mirrors, we assume it would utilise cameras in the same way as the Audi e-tron.

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Also making its first global appearance was Hyundai N’s RM19, the latest prototype in its RM series of mid-engine test vehicles. Going by the full name of RM19 Racing Midship Sports Car Prototype, the vehicle serves as a development platform for future N brand products, including a potential brand-halo car. The Hyundai RM19’s key feature is its “Racing Midship” layout with a powerful engine placed just behind the two-seat cabin. Combined with rear-wheel drive, this is said to provide “supercar-level handling balance and low-polar-moment-of-inertia agility for outstanding connection to the tarmac at all speeds and driving conditions.” Power comes from the most powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged, direct-injected petrol engine of its kind. Rated at 390 bhp and mated to a TCR-sourced six-speed sequential transmission, the four-cylinder unit is expected to yield a 0-60 mph time in under 4 seconds. Shared with Hyundai’s Veloster N TCR and i30 N TCR race cars but unrestricted in any way by regulations, the 2.0-litre turbo four is said to offer “race car-like levels of performance, balance, braking and grip while retaining daily road-going capability.” Hyundai N says the RM19 prototype can also be adapted to feature state-of-the-art electrified powertrains for “clean, yet thrilling propulsion.” Thanks to the recent investment and strategic partnership with Rimac Automobili, the two companies are working closely together to develop high-performance electric and FCEV prototypes. “Hyundai N will not only increase heartbeats per minute via powerful internal combustion engines, but also through the instantaneous torque and environmental sustainability of electrified powertrains moving forward,” said Thomas Schemera, executive vice president and head of Hyundai Motor Group’s Product Division. Hyundai Motor Group plans to deploy 44 eco-friendly models by 2025, with some of them will come from the N performance division.

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Of the cars that you can buy now, or at least very shortly, the new 2020 model Sonata was the one I most wanted to see. This boldly styled mid-sized sedan was revealed in its 2020 format at the New York Show back in April but the one that Hyundai brought to LA this week is different than the model they showcased earlier in the year and for good reason. Unlike the NY car, this particular example is a finished product (back then we didn’t know specs/pricing). It is the flagship Limited version, equipped with the 1.6-litre turbo-four unit and wearing a shade of blue called Story Sea. It is the best-equipped 2020 Sonata money can buy and it costs upwards of $33,300 In return for your money, you get a Colour Head Up Display, Hyundai Digital Key, Blind-Spot View Monitor with Blind-Spot Collision Warning, Remote Smart Parking Assist, and loads more as standard. A quick glance at the interior also confirms this is no mere entry-level or even mid-level trim, as you get a dual tone leather aesthetic, the available 12.3-inch instrument cluster, 10.25-inch touchscreen sat-nav display, Bose audio system, heated and ventilated front seats and more. As for performance, the turbocharged 1.6-litre engine develops 180 HP and 195 lb-ft (264 Nm) of torque, channelled to the wheels with the help of an eight-speed automatic transmission, where the shifter features buttons instead of a traditional knob. While the 2020 Sonata won’t arrive in dealerships until next month, the folks from Kelley Blue Book did manage to take one for a spin and it was precisely the top-spec Limited 1.6T version, which they praised for its high interior quality and modern onboard tech, calling it a “strong” offering as far as midsize sedans are concerned. Sales start around the turn of the year. It is certainly distinctive, with the new headlight units being especially unusual, and with the higher quality interior, as well as all the attributes that epitomise the modern Hyundai, it could do very well indeed, We shall see.

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There was a neat line of the established models in the current range here. The remaining sedan models are the Accent and Elantra and these were to one side of the sole Sonata that was on show.

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To the other side were the Crossover models. Latest addition to the range is the Venue, which was premiered at the New York Show and just going on sale now. The sub-compact crossover market is sizzling hot and Hyundai is looking to expand their presence in the segment by introducing the all-new Venue, and it also is effectively the replacement for the 5 door Accent Hatch. The 2020 Venue has a bold front fascia with a cascading grille that is flanked by cube-shaped headlights and slender LED lights. The crossover also has pronounced wheel arches, strong character lines and “confident body forms.” 15-inch wheels are standard, but 17-inchers are optional. Since the crossover was designed to be funky and fun, Hyundai will offer the Venue in eight “youthful” colours called Black Noir, Ceramic White, Denim, Galactic Gray, Green Apple, Intense Blue, Scarlet Red and Steller Silver. Buyers will also be able to order a power sunroof, rear privacy glass and a contrasting roof. The Venue slots under the Kona and measures 158.9 inches (4,036 mm) long, 69.7 inches (1,770 mm) wide and 61.6 inches (1565 mm) tall with a wheelbase that spans 99.2 inches (2,520 mm). To put those numbers into perspective, the Venue is 5.1 inches (130mm) shorter than the Kona, 1.2 inches (30 mm) narrower and 0.6 inches (15 mm) taller. The Venue is also down 3.2 inches (81 mm) in wheelbase. The cabin is relatively basic, but the model has a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an 8-inch Display Audio system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Other highlights include USB charging ports, a rearview camera and a 3.5-inch display in the instrument cluster. Sticking with the technology theme, the Venue offers an impressive list of driver assistance systems. These include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Blind-Spot Collision Warning, Rear Collision Cross-Traffic Warning and Driver Attention Warning. Hyundai was coy on powertrain details, but confirmed the Venue has a 1.6-litre four-cylinder Smartstream Gamma engine. Essentially an upgraded version of the previous Gamma engine, the Smartstream variant has a high tumble combustion system, improved thermal efficiency and dual port fuel injection with improved injectors and optimised spray targeting. These modifications help to improve fuel-efficiency and Hyundai says the Venue is expected to return 33 mpg combined. The four-pot can be paired to either a six-speed manual or an intelligent variable transmission. All models will apparently be front-wheel drive, but Hyundai noted the Venue will come with a snow mode to help improve performance in wintry conditions.

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Also here were the Kona, Tucson, Santa Fe and Palisade, an increasing size progression but with all the models visually linked to each other yet easy enough to tell apart.

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The sporty Veloster and what Americans know as the Elantra GT (a car sold as the i30 in Europe) were on one side of the stand.

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The facelifted Hyundai Ioniq has finally arrived stateside, celebrating its North American debut at the Show. The mid-life update of the Korean compact model is introducing a series of interior upgrades along with some styling tweaks to refresh its looks but the biggest change involves the Electric variant, which now gets a bigger battery pack that boosts its driving range from 124 to 170 miles. The 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Electric now features a 38.3 kWh battery pack, instead of the old 28 kWh unit, alongside a more powerful electric motor with 134 bhp and 218 lb-ft of torque and an upgraded 7.2kW on-board charger. Compatibility with 100kW fast charging also means that the 2020 Ioniq Electric can reach an 80 percent charge in as little as 54 minutes. Changes in the exterior design of the 2020 Ioniq include a new radiator grille for the Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid models and a new distinctive pattern on the closed-off grille panel for the Electric. The redesigned headlights now feature integrated daytime running lights while both bumpers have been updated. The entire Ioniq range also benefits from Hyundai’s latest Blue Link infotainment system that features embedded telematics and a bigger 10.25-inch touchscreen display while the HVAC controls have been redesigned as well, featuring touch-type buttons. A seven-inch digital instrument cluster is also new, as well as blue ambient lighting. The cabin also makes use of recycled or ecologically-sensitive materials; for example, the door cards are made out of plastic combined with powdered wood and volcanic stone that still provide a soft feel to the touch and is 20 percent lighter than normal plastic. As for the Ioniq Hybrid, it continues using a combination of a 1.6-litre four-cylinder GDI engine with 104 bhp and 109 lb-ft of torque with a 43 HP electric motor and a 1.56kWh battery pack. Total system output is set at 139 bhp and 195 lb-ft of torque while fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 58 mpg combined – the highest rating of any non plug-in hybrid model available in the US market. The 2020 Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid uses the same 1.6-liter engine, only in conjunction with a more powerful 60 HP electric motor and a bigger 8.9kWh battery pack. Combined output is rated at 156 bhp and 195 lb-ft of torque, with Hyundai claiming 29 miles of EV range. Both the Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid variants also gain a set of steering paddles to modulate the regenerative brake levels. Hyundai has also updated the active safety features of the new Ioniq; changes include the addition of Cyclist Detection ability and Driver Attention Warning to the Front Collision Warning and Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection system as standard, as well as the Stop & Go function in the Smart Cruise Control. Prices for the 2020 Hyundai Ioniq start from $23,000 for the Blue Hybrid model and $26,300 for the SE Plug-In Hybrid. Hyundai will reveal the pricing details of the Ioniq Electric in the coming weeks but all three variants are available to order now.

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Final model on the stand was the hydrogen fuel-cell powered Nexo, a car which was launched in 2018.

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Although there had been rumours that Infiniti would be bringing a new QX55 coupe crossover to the Auto Show, they did not. Instead the main focus of this large stand was an armada of Edition 30 special editions with which they hoped to get some time under the limelight. Getting the special trim treatment are the brand’s most popular models, namely the Q50, Q60, QX50, QX60 and QX80. With an MSRP of $43,700, the Q50 is the most affordable model, followed by the $49,700 Q60 and $45,300 QX50. The QX60 and QX80 start at $50,850 and $66,750, respectively. “For our 30th anniversary, we’ve been focused on looking 30 years forward while celebrating the momentous technological and design innovations of our past and present, said VP Jeff Pope. “This includes our Edition 30 line of vehicles, which we are honored to showcase at the Los Angeles Auto Show this year. In addition to the new nomenclature, the Edition 30 cars boast a new look, with distinctive design features that are unique to them. They are available in one of three exterior paint finishes, named the Majestic White, Graphite Shadow and Black Obsidian, have an ‘Edition 30’ badge and ride on 19-inch wheels for the Q50 and Q60, and 20- or 22-inch for the QX50, QX60 and QX80, with a dark chrome look. The interiors are complete with handcrafted materials and the limited-run vehicles also sport a few safety assistance systems. Part of the ProAssist package, these are the around view monitor, distance control assist, backup collision intervention, predictive forward collision warning and intelligent cruise control.

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Also present at the Infiniti stand in Los Angeles are the Project S and Qs Inspiration concepts.

The Project S is based on the familiar Q60 Red Sport 400. Developed in conjunction with the Renault Formula 1 team, it features two energy harvesting systems. The electricity generated by them is stored in a 4.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and it is then used by the e-turbos and an electric motor that is integrated into the rear axle. This setup enables the car to produce 563 bhp which is 163 bhp more than the standard model. Thanks to the extra oomph, the model can accelerate from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in less than four seconds. A production decision is expected in the coming weeks.

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The Infiniti Qs Inspiration sports sedan concept was introduced at the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2019 as a vehicle “developed for the electrified era.” It previews a future electrified model from Infiniti and may also preview the styling of the next Q50 and Q70 sedans. The design of the Qs Inspiration is similar to the QX Inspiration Concept which was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January and adopts the design language which Infiniti’s forthcoming electrified vehicles will feature. It is aggressive, sporty, and shows that the car manufacturer is ready for what the future of the automotive industry holds. There are a number of talking points found at the front of the concept. For example, there are a pair of thin LED headlights and most noticeably, the lack of a traditional grille. The car makes do without a grille because it features an all-electric powertrain but Infiniti’s designers clearly didn’t want to leave the concept’s front fascia bare. Consequently, there is a large illuminated Infiniti logo, illuminated ‘INFINITI’ text and a sharp, U-shaped LED light ensuring that despite the car not having a grille, it still has a face complete with a big grin. Spin around to the sides and you will notice a set of large wheels and cameras rather than normal wing mirrors. The car also has blacked-out A-pillars and makes do without any B-pillars, allowing for easy ingress and egress. Making things even more simple are rear suicide doors. The rear fascia of the concept incorporates LED taillights and more illuminated ‘INFINITI’ text. If you thought the exterior was wild, just wait until you see the interior. The roof of the Infiniti Qs Inspiration seems to be made up of some kind of lattice-work which despite clearly not being realistic for a production car, does provide the cabin with a unique ambiance. Further adding to the open and spacious feeling of the cabin are two large, couch-like chairs in the rear. Move up to the front and there are two modern bucket seats and a dashboard dominated by a digital gauge cluster. Speaking about the car, senior vice president of global design for Nissan, Alfonso Albaisa, said “As designers, we are constantly inspired by the technology of our engineers and the Japanese design influences which are part of our DNA.”

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Of the entry level QX30, there was no sign. Infiniti announced a while back that along with their side to pull out of the ill-fated effort to sell cars in Europe, that production of the Q30 and QX30 hatches would end in 2020 and it would seem that they have stayed true to their word.


Jaguar introduced the facelifted 2020 XE earlier in the year and this was on show here. Looking more aggressive than its predecessor, the model has been equipped with a sportier front bumper that features larger air intakes. Designers also installed new LED headlights which have a ‘J’ blade accents. The changes are continues out back, as Jaguar installed slimmer LED taillights. The rear bumper has also been changed and it looks a tad sportier than before. Drivers looking for something more aggressive can order the R-Dynamic variant which features dark mesh accents and special wheels. The changes continue in the cabin as the model has sport seats, contrast stitching and “R-Dynamic” sill plates. The interior of the XE has always been a bit lacklustre, but Jaguar claims “Every aspect of the cabin has been enhanced for increased convenience, improved stowage and better passenger comfort.” As part of this effort, the 2020 XE gains a new steering wheel and an available Touch Pro Duo infotainment system which features a lower 5.5-inch touchscreen display. The model can also be equipped with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a new ClearSight rearview camera mirror which promises to give drivers an “unobstructed view of the road behind.” Other new additions include a wireless smartphone charger and a SportShift gear selector sourced from the F-Type. There’s also Smart Settings technology which “uses artificial intelligence to learn the preferences of individual drivers and adjusts seat, mirror, audio and climate settings automatically.” In the United States, there will be only be two engine options. The XE S starts at $39,900 and features a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder that produces 247 bhp. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel is available for an additional $2,000. Fans can also order the XE R-Dynamic S which has a base price of $46,295. That’s a sizable jump, but the car comes standard with all-wheel drive and upgraded four-cylinder producing 296 bhp. Jaguar didn’t mention whether or not the diesel-powered XE will continued to be offered in America, but the company stated “We will introduce a portfolio of electrified products across our model range, embracing fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles as well as continuing to offer the latest diesel and petrol engines.” In Europe, the diesel lives on as customers can order the XE D180 which features a diesel engine that produces 177 hp. and 317 lb-ft (430 Nm) of torque.

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Sitting above it is the XF, a facelifted version of which is expected shortly. US buyers are able to select the Sport Brake version as well as the regular Saloon.

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Jaguar announced the end of production for the current XJ in the summer, so it was a surprise to see a new variant launched here, the 2019 XJ Collection Special Edition. It will be available exclusively to US customers. The new Jaguar XJ Collection is limited to the final 300 examples of the model, offering several unique elements that include a custom ‘XJ One of 300 Collection’ engraving and gloss rich oak veneer with linear laser inlay. The limited Collection Special Edition is based on the RWD long-wheelbase XJ L Supercharged variant, which is powered by a, er, supercharged 470 HP 5.0-liter V8 engine, paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Standard equipment includes Adaptive Cruise Control, 360-degree Degree Parking Aid, 360 Degree Surround Camera and all-season tyres. “The Jaguar XJ has always represented the pinnacle of Jaguar’s model line-up,” said Julian Thomson, Jaguar Design Director. “With its skillful blend of beautiful design, engaging performance and revered luxury, it has always proved a class apart, rewarding its driver just as much as it cossets and comforts the passenger. The limited edition XJ Collection is the ultimate expression of refinement and timeless luxury.” The British automaker also partnered with famed photographer Max Montgomery for an exclusive photo shoot with the new XJ Collection and actress Alexandra Daddario. “What better way to honour the timeless and elegant XJ Collection Special Edition than through the lens of Max Montgomery,” said Kim McCullough, Vice President, Marketing, Jaguar Land Rover North America. “Combing those two elements with Alexandra Daddario’s style truly captures the essence of this model.” The new Jaguar XJ Collection Special Edition, which will debut at the LA Auto Show, is on sale now, priced from $86,025 (including destination and handling fees). Jaguar plans to offer the next-generation XJ with an electric powertrain that will reportedly offer a driving range of up to 292 miles (470 km) thanks to its 90.2 kWh battery pack.

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There are three crossover models in the range, and all were present here: the all-electric I-Pace was joined by the E-Pace whilst the slightly larger F Pace was represented by the potent SVR version which finally went on sale in the summer, months later than originally planned.

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Final Jaguar present was the F Type, again in familiar form in advance of the imminent facelifted version.

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Jeep is the real sales growth engine in the FCA Group with strong sales of all their models no longer confined to the US. Accordingly, they had a large stand area in the middle of the space allocated to all the other FCA marques (the exception being Alfa Romeo who were by themselves in the other Hall, nearer to their market rivals). Central within the Jeep display were plenty of examples of the latest Wrangler a model which entered its latest generation for the 2018 model year and the Gladiator pickup version which joined it a few months ago.

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Several examples of the rest of what is now quite an extensive range were here, too: Renegade, Compass, Cherokee and Grand Cherokee.

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In a small hall area all by itself were a number of cars from the reborn Karma company. Karma launched their high-performance 2020 Revero GTS model at this year’s Show, featuring a 0-60 mph time of less than 3.9 seconds, and an electronically-limited top speed of 130 mph (209 km/h). The GTS is now available for pre-orders through Karma’s North American retail partners, with production scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2020. As for pricing, the 2020 Revero GTS retails for $149,950. “The Karma Revero GTS is a special continuation of the success of our definitive luxury electric Revero GT,” said Karma CEO, Dr Lance Zhou. “The GTS offers enhanced performance for the driving enthusiast, adding diversity to our growing product range. All the vehicles are hand-built in the $100-million-dollar Karma Innovation and Customization Center in Southern California. For the exterior, the GTS version gains carbon fibre trim, while the interior features the automaker’s new in-house Soloscape audio technology and haptic tactile steering wheel switches – also available on the SC2 electric hypercar concept. “There is much more to the GTS than a beautiful design and outstanding performance,” stated Karma VP of engineering, Todd George. “We’ve developed a number of in-house technologies, including our own inverters to maximise and maintain full software control for fast over-the-air updates, and our own proprietary 7.1-channel 570-watt Soloscape audio system.” Like the regular GT, the GTS also boasts dual electric motors and a TwinPower Turbo three-cylinder in-line engine, to go with the on-board electric generator. Its driving range is 360 miles (580 km), with 80 emissions-free miles (128 km) courtesy of a 28 kWh NMC lithium-ion battery. On the move, drivers can select from three different modes (Stealth, Sustain and Sport). If performance is what you’re after, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a Launch Control feature too, which can be selected through the Sport mode, before applying the brake and accelerator pedals. As the on-board generator starts the range extender for maximum electrical power, the car’s digital instrument panel will start a countdown for launch. After releasing the brake, the car takes off and your speedometer turns into a stopwatch to show the elapsed time. The Revero GTS also comes with ventilated seats, touch-sensitive steering wheel controls, oak and elm interior inlays, high-quality leather, active noise cancellation and more. Customers can even choose one-off paints, interiors, seats, stitching and jewels to make their vehicle unique, thanks to Karma’s in-house customization options.

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Karma also had a brand new electric concept car dubbed the SC2. It is said to feature cutting-edge technology and a look that’s meant to preview the automaker’s future design direction. Its front and rear mounted twin electric motors produce 1,100 HP and 10,500 lb-ft (14,000 Nm) of wheel torque. Yes, we know that torque figure is crazy, so we contacted Karma and got confirmation that it is, indeed, correct. It’s worth noting, though, that wheel torque is influenced by gearing, so you multiply the engine torque by gear ratio and final drive to get that number. At the same time, the SC2 provides a range of 350 miles (563 km) on a single charge and can accelerate to 60 mph in less than 1.9 seconds. “Karma’s SC2 is a signpost to our future as a technology-driven brand. More than that, it previews our future design language, and is a thought-provoking expression of Karma’s future Intellectual Property and product offerings,” stated the company’s CEO, Dr Lance Zhou. “Our open platform serves as a test bed for new technologies and partnerships, where we are to provide engineering, design, technology and customisation resources others.” Features include carbon ceramic brakes, a pushrod racing suspension and the automaker’s torque vectoring gearbox. Then there’s the ultrasonic dynamic regenerative panel, which is said to give the SC2 high performance handling. “SC2 presents an optimistic and bold message about Karma’s future as we enthusiastically accept the challenge of elevating experience-driven mobility,” said Karma design exec Andreas Thurner. “In creating SC2, we have enhanced the thrill of the open road through connected, interactive patented technology, beyond that of a traditional high-performance luxury vehicle.” Karma’s exclusive Drive and Play technology is incorporated in the SC2 concept, allowing automotive and gaming enthusiasts to re-live their previous drives through a simulated driving experience within their own vehicle. This technology works using a triple high definition camera under the windshield and frequency-modulated continuous wave (FMCW) lidar sensors that provide a 360 capture of the car while in motion, within a 3D environment. After the drive, the SC2’s adaptive laser projector replays the journey while the car is parked, when “a mounted smartphone acts as the cabin’s rear-view mirror; transforming SC2 into a driving simulator where the user can re-experience their drive and fine-tune their skills.” You can even share the experience with others while also streaming routes from around the world within your own vehicle. As for the way this concept looks, it features a bespoke Vapor Grey hand-painted exterior with patented articulating hinge winged doors that rise upward and forward to reveal a fiber optic headliner. Meanwhile, an I-shaped 120 kWh battery is housed within the centre tunnel and beneath the dashboard and seats. Other available tech includes fingerprint and facial recognition sensors for vehicle entry, while the Biometric seats and steering wheel provide both control and comfort. There’s also a 3D audio system that creates individual zones for the driver and passenger, while the electro-chromatic glass shifts from clear to opaque in order to offer privacy or protection from light. “SC2’s extreme design and proportions are expressive of Karma’s unique intersections of technology, performance and luxury,” added Thurner. “We challenged ourselves to design a street-ready hypercar concept, using Karma’s in-house IP and components. Now, through Karma’s open-platform, SC2’s technology can be integrated into a variety of future vehicles.”

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One of the few all-new models making its debut here was the Seltos, a car already revealed elsewhere in the world (just not Western European where the similarly sized Stonic has been on sale for a couple of years) which now enters the US market as a “right-sized” SUV with characterful looks and filled to the brim with features. The new Seltos will be available with two engine options: a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre with 146 HP and 132 lb-ft of torque paired to a CVT and a turbocharged 1.6-litre that pumps out 175 HP and 195 lb-ft of torque and comes only with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. In addition, Kia will offer the option of an AWD system that features torque vectoring and a centre locking differential that can split torque equally between axles, depending on driving conditions. The range of the new Kia Seltos will include five trim levels: LX, EX, S 2.0L, S 1.6T and SX. Kia hasn’t revealed the full pricing details just yet, but they did mention that the base LX AWD model will start below $22,000 and the turbocharged S model will have a similar starting price. The Korean car maker is also making bold claims about interior space, with the Seltos said to be punching above its class, offering generous room in both rows, a reclining rear seat and an adjustable luggage board. The new Kia crossover will also offer an abundance of technology, with highlights including a 10.25-inch HD infotainment system with satellite radio, telematics, as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, an eight-speaker Bose premium sound system, wireless phone charging and three USB ports. The ever important range of active safety systems include Blind Spot Collision Warning, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist, Highway Driving Assist, Smart Cruise Control with stop & go and more. Sales of the 2021 Seltos, which will slot between the Soul and the Sportage in Kia’s range, are expected to begin during the first quarter of 2020.

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Shortly after unveiling the Seltos, Kia presented two concepts of the small SUV, named the X-Line Trail Attack and X-Line Urban. Boasting revised looks that make them seem ready for arduous terrains, the show cars are based on the production model and retain the interior behind those heavily tinted windows. Inspired by the glass and steel used in skyscrapers, the Seltos X-Line Urban Concept wears a gray paint finish, contrasted by glossy black, orange and gold accents. It comes with a hood scoop, custom bumper, roof rack with auxiliary lights and 8×17-inch wheels. Riding 2 inches (51 mm) higher than the production Seltos, the study is powered by a 175 bhp and 195 lb-ft (264 Nm) of torque 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that’s paired to a 7-speed DCT gearbox and electronically controlled AWD system with torque vectoring. Finished in a custom two-tone paint scheme, the Seltos X-Line Trail Attack is the more off-road-oriented version of the two. It sports a front winch, roof rack, two sets of auxiliary lights, 2-inch (51 mm) lift kit that raises the ground clearance to 9.2 inches (233.7 mm) and chunky off-road tires that wrap around 8×17-inch wheels. Like the Urban, the Trail Attack packs the same 1.6-litre turbocharged lump, hooked up to the 7-speed transmission, and is equipped with all-wheel drive and a center differential lock that equally distributes the power between the two axles when engaged. “The Seltos is an exciting addition to Kia’s tough and rugged line-up of SUVs”, said KMA President Michael Cole. “But the Kia brand is always looking toward the future and we are eager to show what may wait just around the corner. These new concepts are meant to get creative juices flowing and illustrate what the ultimate Seltos could be.” Despite those comments, Kia has no immediate plans of launching off-road-inspired versions of the Seltos. However, it obviously doesn’t rule them out either, and the company itself leaves the door wide open to that possibility. “While the production Seltos is planned to go on sale in the first quarter of 2020, there are currently no plans to produce either concept”, Kia said. “But it is worthy to mention that Kia said the same about the GT Concept and the Telluride Concept, both of which eventually found their way onto driveways across America in the form of the Stinger sport sedan and Telluride SUV.”

There were plenty of examples of the traditional front wheel drive saloons that sit within Kia’s US range, the Rio, Forte and Optima, all three of which sell in decent quantities.

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And then there is the Stinger, a couple of which were on show. This rear wheel drive hatch was launched to critical acclaim a couple of years ago, and it was still attracting the crowds here, but sadly, great car though it is (and I’ve now driven one and thought it was very impressive), sales have not matched Kia’s expectations and its future does look uncertain.

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There are two larger Kia models available, too. The Cadenza was not on show, but the range topping K900, now in its second generation, was here. It ticks pretty much every box, but struggles to find buyers, probably largely because of the badge on the front which buyers still do not equate with a luxury saloon.

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The long length of the stand was lined by Kia’s other crossover vehicles, which range from the refreshed for 2019 Soul, the mid-sized Sportage and larger Sorento to the recently available and well-received Telluride.

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As it approaches its fourth birthday, the Kia Niro Hybrid has undergone a mid-cycle refresh, emerging with updated styling and new technology features at the Show. Compared to the outgoing model, the new one has redesigned front and rear bumpers, wider skid plates, LED DRLs, LED taillights and new 16- and 18-inch wheels. The 7-inch instrument cluster has been restyled for the 2020MY and an 8-inch infotainment system equips base models. Upgrade, and you will get the 10.25-inch screen, as well as the Harman/Kardon premium sound system and mood lighting with six different colours, while an electronic parking brake, paddle shifters and regenerative braking control are available as optional extras. Speaking about the restrained updates of the 2020 Niro Hybrid, KMA’s President, Michael Cole, said: “It’s difficult to improve on a winning formula, but we’re always striving to improve every product we sell, and the enhanced 2020 Niro provides new owners the latest and greatest while retaining the value, utility and performance of the original Niro.” The powertrain carries over with no changes and combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and a 1.56 kWh lithium-ion-polymer battery. The total output is 139 bhp at 5,700 rpm and 195 lb-ft (264 Nm) of torque at 4,000 rpm and, on 16-inch wheels, it returns an EPA-estimated 52/49/50 mpg (4.5/4.8/4.7 l/100 km) in city/highway/combined. Kia will launch the facelifted Niro Hybrid early next year, with pricing to be announced in due course. The 2019MY has an MSRP of $23,490. Moreover, the 2020 Niro PHEV will get identical updates, according to the Korean automaker, and will go on sale in early 2020 as well.

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The Sedona MiniVan is now the longest-lived model in Kia’s constantly-refreshed product range and it continues into 2020 with only very minor changes.

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Kia had a separate stand in the South Hall, occupying space which in previous years had been allocated to Volvo (who were not present at all) and they used this for a display of their Plug-In Hybrid and all electric vehicles, with an array of Soul, e-Niro and Optima production cars on show.

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As well as the production cars, there was a concept vehicle. This is the HabaNiro, whose name is a clever pun and which was first shown at the New York Show back in April. Billed as a “prescient look into the future of mobility,” the HabaNiro is an electric crossover which features a Level 5 autonomous driving system and “more advanced tech than what helped land men on the moon.” Created by Kia’s California design studio, the concept has a streamlined white exterior with chunky metallic grey cladding. The latter extends into the grille which Kia says resembles a shark’s snout complete with gloss black aluminium ‘teeth.’ Other unique features include contrasting red aero panels and butterfly wing doors which open to reveal a four-seat interior. The HabaNiro also has satin aluminium skid plates, billet aluminum tow hooks and 20-inch wheels with red accents. Last but not least, the model has been outfitted with daytime running lights that have a unique “heartbeat pulse.” The distinctive styling continues in the Lava Red interior as there are Bouclé trimmed front seats that appear to float above the geometrically-patterned floor. More notably, the concept is devoid of traditional screens and switchgear. They have been replaced by a futuristic head-up display that spans the entire width of the windshield. It is controlled by a concave acrylic instrument panel which features an interactive touchpad display with sensory light feedback. The concept also has a Technical Option Sharing System (TOSS) system which allows users to “swipe and move vehicle options across the HUD screen as though moving chess pieces.” That’s pretty neat and so is the fact that the HabaNiro’s steering wheel and instrument panel retract when the car is in autonomous driving mode. This creates more room for front seat occupants and they can use this extra space to sit back, relax and watch a movie while they travel to their destination. The concept has also been equipped with Kia’s real-time emotion adaptive driving system which optimises and personalises the cabin based on the driver’s emotional state. Artificial Intelligence and eye-tracking cameras are also used to project a rearview video onto the windshield when the driver’s look at where a traditional rearview mirror would be located. Kia didn’t say much about performance specifications, but the automaker confirmed the concept has an electric all-wheel drive system with front and rear motors. This, combined with state-of-the-art battery technology, allows the HabaNiro to travel more than 300 miles (483 km) on a single charge. While the HabaNiro is a concept, Kia suggested people shouldn’t be “betting the farm” against a production variant. However, they did say a road-going model would likely eschew the butterfly doors.

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Star attraction here, and the car I really wanted to see in the metal was the new Defender, three examples of which were on show, for its North American debut. The short Land Rover Defender 90 will offer up to six seats –if you opt for the front jump seat– while the longer 110 bodystyle will offer five, six or 5+2 seating options. The revived off-road icon is also the company’s first model to feature the new Configurable Terrain Response, which will allow the driver to fine-tune a wide range of settings to suit the driving conditions more precisely than ever. Customers will get to choose between the base P300, which uses a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with 296 bhp, and the more powerful P400, which employs a mild-hybrid 3.0-litre straight-six unit with 395 bhp. Both powertrains are combined with an eight-speed automatic transmission with a two-speed transfer case and AWD system. U.S. pricing for the short-wheelbase 90 variant was announced as “will kick off from around $50,000”. However, if you want to be one of the first to get the short Defender 90 in the States in the summer of 2020, you’ll have to shell out at least $65,100 for the special P400 First Edition as the full range of the three-door variant will become available later in the fall. We already know that the longer Land Rover Defender 110 will be priced from $49,900 and will reach dealerships across the country in the spring of 2020.

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In addition, Land Rover had the Defender featured in the upcoming James Bond movie ‘No Time to Die’ on display at the Show. The new James Bond movie is expected to hit theatres in April 2020.

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Now going on sale in the US following its initial presentation at the Chicago Auto Show was the second generation Evoque. This features a stylish design that borrows a number of cues from the more expensive Range Rover Velar. Key highlights include slender LED headlights, power retractable door handles and optional 21-inch alloy wheels. The interior allows draws inspiration from its larger sibling and the cabin is significantly more luxurious than before. Depending on the trim, the crossover can be equipped with premium leather upholstery, 16-way power front seats and an air ionization system. Customers can also order a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a colour head-up display and a Touch Pro Duo system with two 10-inch displays. Thanks to the new Premium Transverse Architecture, the Evoque has a slightly longer wheelbase which allows for additional rear seat legroom. Luggage space also climbs to 50.5 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down. Pricing will start at $42,650 – excluding a $995 destination and handling fee – and the Evoque will be available in five different trims called S, SE, R-Dynamic S, R-Dynamic SE and R-Dynamic HSE. The company will also offer an Evoque First Edition which will be available exclusively for the first model year. The S, SE and First Edition are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that produces 246 bhp and 269 lb-ft (364 Nm) of torque. It is connected to a nine-speed automatic transmission and a standard all-wheel drive system. This setup enables the crossover to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds, before hitting a top speed of 143 mph (230 km/h). The R-Dynamic variants have a mild-hybrid powertrain that features a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, an electric motor and a 48 volt lithium-ion battery. This setup allows the model to develop 296 bhp and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque. Thanks to the extra power, the dash from 0-60 mph is cut to 6.3 seconds. The top speed also climbs to 150 mph (241 km/h).

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The stand also contained examples of the rest of the range, from the Discovery Sport to the regular Discovery, the Velar and the Range Rover in standard and Sport guises.

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Lexus presented one new production car on their stand, the LC 500 Convertible. It could hardly be called a surprise as a concept version did the rounds of the Shows in recent months, and it looked production ready. And sure enough what was shown here really did look very similar. Set to go on sale next summer, the model closely echoes the coupe but adopts a four-layer soft top that has been designed to recreate the flowing roofline of the coupe. It can be opened or closed in approximately 15-16 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph (50 km/h). The top will be offered in black and beige, and be paired with a stylish body in one of ten colours. Speaking of the latter, the convertible features a unique rear end with a new tonneau cover and a modified trunk with an integrated third brake light. Since owners will drive their cars in a variety of conditions, the LC 500 has been equipped with an advanced heating and cooling system. Dubbed Lexus Climate Concierge with Upper Body Heating, the system automatically adjusts the climate control system, seat heaters, neck heaters and heated steering wheel to ensure occupants are comfortable regardless of the outside temperature. Speaking of comfort, the convertible has a specially designed beltline and rear moulding which help to reduce wind noise. There’s also a transparent wind deflector and an optional wind screen that reduces buffeting at high speeds. Inside, drivers will find a stylish cabin with leather and Alcantara upholstery. Other highlights include alloy pedals, an ambient lighting system and a 10.3-inch infotainment system with Android Auto, Amazon Alexa and Apple CarPlay compatibility. The convertible comes standard with the Lexus Safety System+ which includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Lane Keep Assist and All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. There’s also Intelligent High Beam Headlights and a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. Lexus didn’t release detailed performance specifications, but the convertible has a 5.0-litre V8 engine that produces 471 bhp and 398 lb-ft (539 Nm) of torque. It is connected to a 10-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels. While there’s no word on weight or 0-60 mph times, the automaker beefed up the chassis and fined tuned the suspension. In particular, the rear has a die-cast aluminium suspension brace and a performance dampener to improve ride comfort. Pricing remains a mystery, but Lexus will offer a limited edition model dubbed the Inspiration Series. Only 100 units will be available and they will each have a Structural Blue exterior with a blue top, gray accents and 21-inch wheels. Additional information will be announced in the future as will details about a one-off LC 500 Convertible that will be auctioned off by Barrett-Jackson on January 17th.

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There was a line of the Lexus crossover models across the back of the stand starting with the space-compromised UX, and going through the established NX, popular RX and reaching the large GX and LX models.

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The saloon cars were displayed in the middle of the stand: IS, ES, GS and LS all here and with a clear family look apparent between them.

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The more sporting models are the RC and LC and these completed the array of production cars on show.

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Without question the most spectacular car on the stand if not the whole show was this futuristic Concept LF-30, created by the Japanese car manufacturer as a vision for an upcoming generation of electrified vehicles. It premiered at the Tokyo Motor Show a few weeks prior to making an appearance here. Immediately distinguishing the LF-30 Electrified Concept from most other EVs, whether they are production models or concepts, is the fact that it features in-wheel electric motors at all four corners to deliver a combined 536 hp. The use of in-wheel electric motors provides superb handling characteristics aided by Lexus Advanced Posture Control technology that regulates the driver-power output from the high-power electric motors. The car can also be driven in front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and rear-wheel drive modes depending on the driving conditions. The Lexus LF-30 Electrified Concept imagines a world where chunky charging cables are no longer required for EVs as it features advanced wireless charging technology. Another technology found is an advanced autonomous driving system that includes a self-parking function and a front-door pickup function similar to Tesla’s Summon system. Because the concept features small in-wheel electric motors, designers have a great deal of freedom with the car’s overall shape. As such, there is a glass canopy that stretches from over the front wheels all the way back to the rear decklid. Lexus has also altered the look of its spindle grille while fashioning a set of large wheel arches. Move to the inside and things get even more impressive. The driver and front passenger sit in futuristic-looking seats designed to mimic the openness of a first-class seat on an airliner. These seats also include artificial muscle technology to mould to the occupant. An audio system from Mark Levinson is also featured.

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Lincoln pulled the wraps off the 2020 Corsair compact SUV, the all-new replacement of the MKC at the New York Auto Show and it was here again, with pride of place on the stand. As with other newer Lincoln models, the brand’s entry in the compact luxury SUV segment eliminates the alphanumeric moniker of its predecessor for a name that has both nautical and aeronautical connections. The 2020 Corsair slots under the full-size Navigator and three-row Aviator, adopting the brand’s familiar (and successful) design identity. The front end is dominated by the company’s upright grille while the rear is all about that full-width taillight. You won’t be able to tell by looking at it, but underneath the skin, the Corsair shares its underpinnings with the Ford Escape. For the first time in a Lincoln, there’s a rear integral bush suspension that allows a smoother ride. “Entering the fastest-growing luxury segment, the all-new Corsair is artistically crafted, expertly designed and infused with our unwavering attention and commitment to detail; it’s unapologetically Lincoln,” said Joy Falotico, Lincoln’s president. Customers will be offered a pair of turbocharged four-cylinder units to choose from: a base 2.0-litre with 250 bhp and 275lb-ft of torque and a 2.3-litre with 280 bhp and 310lb-ft of torque. Both engines are paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. In both cases, front-wheel drive is standard but Lincoln will offer the option of all-wheel drive, which can switch from front- to all-wheel drive seamlessly depending on the road conditions. There are five driving modes: Normal, Excite, Slippery, Deep Conditions and Conserve. Lincoln’s focus with the new Corsair is to provide a real luxury experience in the premium compact SUV segment; the interior is said to be super-quiet, thanks to a dual-wall dashboard in the engine bay that keeps vibrations outside the cabin and an Active Noise Control system. Even the six different chimes that alert the driver are unique, as they were recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to help the cabin remain a calm place, or as Lincoln calls it “a sanctuary for the senses”. Options include a specially tuned 14-speaker Revel audio system, Lincoln’s Perfect Position 24-way adjustable seats with massage function and wireless charging but features like Wi-Fi and an eight-inch SYNC3 infotainment are standard fit. There are also three new interior colour options with the Corsair: Beyond Blue (vivid blue and white), Cashew (tan and black), and Medium Slate (soft gray with Ebony details). Driver-assistance systems include the optional Lincoln Co-Pilot360 Plus bundle that adds Adaptive Cruise Control with stop-and-go traffic jam assist, Evasive Steer Assist, Reverse Steer Assist, Active Park Assist Plus and more. Drivers will also be able to use their smartphone as a key through the Lincoln Way application. Sales of the new 2020 Lincoln Corsair start soon, with production to take place at the Louisville Assembly plant in Kentucky. Prices will be released closer to launch, but expect a small bump from the current MKC that runs from around $34,000 to $47,000.

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At this Show, the Corsair adds a plug-in hybrid version that adopts the Grand Touring name. As with the Aviator Grand Touring, the smaller Corsair Grand Touring is an electrified model featuring e-AWD. However, the Corsair does not get the same plug-in hybrid powertrain that churns out an impressive 494 bhp and 630 lb-ft (813 Nm) of torque in the plug-in Aviator. Instead, the Corsair Grand Touring has to settle for a targeted combined output of 266 bhp from a 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder petrol engine and a permanent magnet synchronous motor. The peak torque has not been disclosed yet but Lincoln does say the plug-in hybrid Corsair gets electric all-wheel drive. Lincoln says the Corsair Grand Touring features a PowerSplit electric continuously variable transmission which includes two electric motors that “work together to provide an extremely smooth driving experience.” Those are distinct from the electric motor integrated into the rear axle that drives the rear wheels via a single-speed gearbox with a differential. The lithium-ion battery pack placed under the vehicle floor has a capacity of 14.4 kWh, enabling a targeted EPA-estimated all-electric range of more than 25 miles (40 km). Using a 110-volt Level 1 charge, the battery can be fully charged in 10-11 hours, while a 240-volt Level 2 charge drops the charging time to 3-4 hours. We also learn that the battery can be recharged up to 75 percent of its capacity during driving in Preserve EV mode. Besides this mode, which saves battery power for a later time, driving modes include Normal, Conserve, Excite, Slippery, Deep Conditions, and Pure EV. You’ll be able to recognise the Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring thanks to its unique grille with the Lincoln star in Spirit Blue, as well as the exclusive 20-inch wheels and Spirit Blue badging. Inside, the plug-in hybrid Corsair is as practical as regular models, offering features like sliding second-row seats with up to 6 inches (152 mm) of travel and a 60/40 fold-flat or split-bench option. With four passengers aboard and the seats in the full forward position, the Corsair Grand Touring can accommodate four sets of golf clubs or up to four full-size pieces of luggage. Available amenities include Lincoln’s Perfect Position seats with 24-way adjustability, massage capability and additional lumbar support for driver and front passenger, Phone As A Key tech, Head-Up Display, and more. The Lincoln Co-Pilot360 safety suite comes standard and includes Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Detection with Cross-Traffic Alert, a Lane-Keeping System, rearview camera and auto high beam headlamps. The pack can be upgraded to Lincoln Co-Pilot360 Plus which adds Adaptive Cruise Control with Traffic Jam Assist, Evasive Steering Assist, Reverse Brake Assist and Active Park Assist Plus. The Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring will be available across the U.S. next summer, likely as a 2021 model – Lincoln does not mention that explicitly in the press release.

The Corsair’s larger relatives were here, too: the Nautilus, Aviator and the massive Navigator.

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Just two sedan models are in the range: the swoopy MK-Z which shares its underpinnings with the Ford Fusion and the luxury Continental, seen here in the limited production Coach Edition which has unusual rear opening rear doors.

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The 2020 Mazda CX-30 had its global debut earlier in the year at the Geneva Show and here it was being showcased in U.S.-spec. All CX-30 models sold in the United States will come as standard with a 2.5-litre Skyactiv four-cylinder engine delivering 186 HP and 186 lb-ft (252 Nm) of torque mated to a Skyactiv-Drive six-speed automatic transmission. Crossovers like the Mazda CX-30 spend the vast majority of their lives handling everyday driving duties on regular roads, but Mazda has equipped its latest model with an off-road traction assist feature that helps drivers on uneven terrain. According to the automaker, the system kicks in when the diagonal wheels lose traction, reducing the engine torque and increasing the brake force on the wheels that slip. This transfers power to the wheels that do have traction, enabling the driver to have control of the vehicle. Other important aspects of the vehicle’s drivetrain is G-Vectoring Control Plus and front-wheel drive as standard as well as Mazda’s i-Activ all-wheel drive that’s available as an option. Visually, the crossover looks virtually identical in U.S. guise as it does in international form. It is Mazda’s second model to adopt the latest evolution of its Kodo design philosophy, has a sleek silhouette and will be available in seven body colours. The cabin features Mazda’s human-centric cockpit. There is an 8.8-inch central display as standard and an available Head-Up Display. Also included as standard is an eight-speaker sound system with HD Radio, Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio, a host of storage cubbies, and two front USB ports. One step up in the range from the entry-level model brings customers to the CX-30 Select that gains Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and Mazda’s Advanced Keyless Entry. One step further up in the range is the Mazda CX-30 Preferred, which includes a Bose 12-speaker premium audio system, gloss finish speaker grilles, shark fin antenna, heated front seats, eight-way power and memory driver’s seats with lumbar support, memory position door mirrors, and SiriusXM with a three-month trial subscription. Last, but not least, is the CX-30 Premium that adds Mazda’s Active Driving Display (HUD), leather seats, power liftgate, power moonroof, Adaptive Front Lighting system, roof rails, paddle shifters, cylinder deactivation, and LED Signature headlights and taillights. Key safety features that come standard across the range include Driver Attention Alert, Mazda Radar Cruise Control with stop and go, Lane Departure Warning with Lane-Keep Assist, Smart Brake Support, and High Beam Control.

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The stylish new Mazda 3 made its debut at this Show a year ago, and has been on sale for some months, though I have to say that I’ve only seen a very few on the roads of America so far. Both hatch and sedan versions were displayed here.

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Mazda is the latest automaker to engage in touring car racing, just unveiling its all-new Mazda3 TCR that’ll make its racing debut on January 26, 2020 at the Rolex 24 as part of the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and will be offered to privateers from $175,000. The Mazda3 TCR retains the striking design of the 2019MY hatchback but tacks on a host of serious aerodynamics components including a bold front splitter, distinctive side skirts and a large fixed rear wing. Mazda is still putting the finishing touches to the race car’s powertrain that be powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder delivering 350 bhp coupled to a paddle-shift six-speed transmission. The car has been co-developed with Long Road Racing, who is also responsible for the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup car, and has been homologated to compete in any of the 36 TCR-sanctioned championships around the world. “TCR represents a great opportunity for us to showcase the new Mazda3 and provide our customers another avenue to race Mazda vehicles,” chairman and chief executive of Mazda North American Operations Masahiro Moro said. “Some of our most important successes in IMSA and SRO TC Americas have been thanks to dedicated customers who chose to race with Mazda, and we hope the next generation of Mazda racers see the same potential in the Mazda3 TCR.”

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Sitting above the Mazda 3 in the range is the Mazda 6, which received a comprehensive update a year ago. Sales remain far lower than they should be given the excellence of the car.

Mazda has slightly revised the U.S.-spec CX-9 for the 2020MY, adding new gear and adjusting its price list. The 2.5-litre turbocharged engine now produces an extra 10 lb/ft (14 Nm) of torque, delivering 320 lb-ft (434 Nm) on 93 octane gasoline, and 250 bhp. It’s paired to the six-speed automatic transmission and the i-Activ all-wheel drive system that’s standard in the Signature and optional in the rest of the range. When paired with AWD, the 2020 CX-9 is Mazda’s first vehicle to be offered with the new off-road traction assist feature. It replaces the usual traction control and senses when diagonal wheels start to slip, so it reduces the torque and increases the brake force at those corners, transferring power to the wheels that are still on the ground and helping the vehicle regain traction. The G-Vectoring Control Plus is standard as well. Other novelties include the addition of the optional second-row captain’s chairs, which enhance comfort on long journeys. Mazda has also added the electric-operated tailgate on the Grand Touring and Signature models. In terms of equipment, the base CX-9 Sport gets heated front seats with electric adjustment on the driver’s side, heated side mirrors, dusk-sensing headlights and rain-sensing wipers, High Beam Control and 18-inch aluminium alloy wheels, with a Gray Metallic look. It also comes with LED exterior lights, rear privacy glass, 7-inch infotainment system, Bluetooth, 3-zone climate control, reversing camera, keyless entry&go and others. The i-Activsense suite of safety features is also standard and includes Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Advanced Smart City Brake Support with Pedestrian Detection, Smart Brake Support with Collision Warning and radar cruise control with stop&go function. Pricing for the 2020 CX-9 Sport starts at $33,790 with FWD and $35,690 with AWD, whereas the CX-9 Touring costs $35,610 and $37,510, respectively. The latter adds a 9-inch infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, leather trim, power liftgate, power-sliding and tilting second-row seats and others. The Touring Premium Package includes a power-operated moonroof, Bose premium audio, SiriusXM with 3-month trial subscription, two USB ports in the third row, second-row retractable sunshades, front and rear parking sensors and LED fog lamps for a $2,100 premium. The CX-9 Grand Touring is available from $41,450 with FWD and $43,350 with AWD, and can be ordered with the optional heated second-row captain’s chairs. Rear-seat occupants can set the desired temperature by using the HVAC controls located on the backside of the front centre console. Finally, the CX-9 Signature starts at $46,115, is available solely with AWD and gets the aforementioned second-row individual seats as standard, as well as a centre console with extra storage space and access to two USB charging ports and cup holders. The revised interior trim includes choices between the Deep Chestnut and Parchment Nappa leather, and Mazda has also added the Soul Red Crystal exterior paint option.

Also on show were the CX-3 and CX-5 as well as the MX-5 (Miata) in both open-topped and RF guises.

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Without question, the most striking car on Mercedes’ large stand, situated at the back of the South Hall where it has been for many years, was this cute little hot rod, dubbed the Vision Mercedes Simplex and has been introduced as a way to symbolise the transition into a new era of design and technology. Inspiration has been drawn from the Mercedes 35 PS, unveiled back in the spring of 1901. At Race Week in Nice that year, the 35 PS developed by Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft was unveiled and caused a stir unlike any other vehicle at the event. The vehicle ushered in a new era of vehicle design and the Vision Mercedes Simplex has a very similar shape to this icon. Most notably, the battery-powered concept features freestanding wheels and is a two-seater with a completely open cockpit. Dominating much of the front is a grille frame finished in rose gold and complete with digitally superimposed ‘Mercedes’ lettering. The concept also complete omits a windshield and lacks headlights. “Only a brand that is as strong as Mercedes-Benz is capable of the physical symbiosis of history and future,” Mercedes-Benz chief design officer Gorden Wagener said. “The ‘Vision Mercedes Simplex’ symbolises the transformation of the brand-specific luxury of Mercedes-Benz.” The classic design continues across the dashboard where instruments inspired by both motorcycles and nautical design are featured. Small details include precision screws throughout the cabin and across the bench seat inspired by stylish furniture and complete with hand-made Chesterfield quilting. Minimalism was the name of the game for the instrument cluster with a physical rose gold-coloured instrument where dynamic digital content is projected.

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The AMG GT is now quite a family with not just the 2 seater Coupe and Roadster models, examples of which were on display, but also the very good (and exceedingly expensive) 4 door version and that was here, too.

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Available for closer inspection were a number of examples of the saloon-based range. This is extensive, with lots of different models many of them available with alternative body styles, even if not quite everything that is offered in Europe is on offer in America. The entry point is the A Class, which is only available in the US with the saloon body. Hertz have got them on fleet and customer feedback is about as positive as it was for the CLA – which means that a lot of people are seduced by the badge and then disappointed by the execution.

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The new generation CLA has now reached the US, where it will be sold just in the saloon version which Mercedes are now calling a Coupe, partly in an effort to justify the higher price tag that it bears relative to the A Saloon, and also a recognition of the fact that the swoopy body styling does still compromise rear seat access and accommodation.

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Sitting above it in the range are the C, E and S Classes and these are all available to American buyers in saloon, coupe and convertible body styles. A representative selection of these were presented on the stand.

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Also here was the latest CLS Saloon.

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As well as the cabriolet versions of the regular saloon models, Mercedes still offer a couple of cars with names starting SL. The smaller SLC is in the final months of production, with no successor in plan. THe larger SL is also not long for this world in its current guise, but a follow-on models is expected. It was the SL400 that was shown here.

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Top of the whole range is the S600 Maybach and this imposing limousine was here, duly locked so you could only inspect it from the outside, peering in through the windows to see the interior.

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An all-new GLA is waiting in the wings, with a reveal expected before the end of the year, but this was not the place where it was presented, which meant that the established model was the one on display here.

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What is new is the GLB, a rather boxier and more practical but similarly sized crossover.

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Both the regular and Coupe versions of the mid-sized GLC models were here.

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The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 and 63 S are the direct descendants of the original ML 55. However, while the latter featured a 342 bhp V8 engine, these newest iterations produce 563 bhp and 603 bhp (612 PS) respectively. Their 4.0-litre V8 biturbo unit also works alongside with the EQ Boost starter-alternator, delivering an additional 22 HP (16 kW) to go with a 48-volt on-board electrical system. Other goodies include the TCT 9G transmission, all-wheel drive, adaptive damping and active roll stabilisation. The GLE 63 packs 563 bhp and 750 Nm (553 lb-ft) of torque, while the S variant puts down 603 bhp and 850 Nm (627 lb-ft), with the aid of the 9-speed automatic and 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive. In a straight line, the base 63 will hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.0 seconds flat, whereas the S needs just 3.8 seconds. These acceleration figures are near identical to those of the BMW X5 M and X5 M Competition, which pack more oomph at 592 bhp and 617 bhp respectively, with 750 Nm (553 lb-ft) of torque apiece, completing the sprint in 3.9 and 3.8 sec respectively. As for top speed, the quickest GLE you can buy will max out at 280 km/h (174 mph), slightly slower than the X5 M when fitted with the M Driver’s package (180 mph). In terms of looks, the GLE 63 family gains an AMG-specific grille, imposing power domes in the hood, front splitter, side skirts, vehicle-color flared wheel arches and large AMG wheels (20-inches for the GLE 63 and 21-inches for the 63 S). At the back, there’s a new rear apron with AMG-specific details such as the silver shadow trim strip, but also the AMG exhaust and a roof edge spoiler.
Inside, you get AMG seats in nappa leather, AMG badges, ambient lighting as standard, a performance steering wheel with aluminium shift paddles, AMG-specific control panel for the centre console, stainless steel sports pedals, door sill panels and black floor mats with AMG lettering. It’s worth noting that the steering wheel features a black nappa leather rim in the GLE 63 model and a nappa leather / Dinamica microfibre design in the S variant. Other tech features include the latest MBUX infotainment system with dual screens (and specific AMG displays), AMG-specific Dynamic Select drive programs, the optional Energising package Plus, Warmth Comfort package, Air-Balance package and the Driving Assistance package. There’s little chance you won’t feel perfectly safe with the following available driver aids: Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, Active Speed Limit Assist, extended automatic restart on motorways, speed adjustment based on the route with End of Tailback Function, Active Steering Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, Active Emergency Stop Assist, Emergency Lane Function; Active Brake Assist, Cornering and Cross-Traffic Function, End of Tailback Emergency Brake Function, Evasive Steering Assist; Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Exit Warning Function; PRE-SAFE PLUS and Traffic Sign Assist. Meanwhile, the Driving Assistance package Plus adds Active Stop-and-Go Assist, while the PRE-SAFE Impulse Side system can offer additional protection in the event of a side collision.

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If you feel as though neither the 2020 Mercedes GLS 450 nor the 580 version is quick enough, then the brand new Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 4MATIC+ variant might just be what you’re looking for, thanks to its 603 bhp twin-turbo V8 engine. This flagship spec also comes with a 22 bhp EQ Boost unit, providing assistance at low engine speeds. Other major features include the variable 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system, 9-speed gearbox and AMG ACTIVE RIDE CONTROL air suspension. As for performance, the previously-mentioned EQ Boost starter-alternator adds 22 bhp and 250 Nm (184 lb-ft) of torque to the 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine’s 603 bhp and up to 850 Nm (627 lb-ft) of torque. This means that the 2020 GLS 63 4MATIC+ can accelerate to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.2 seconds, with top speed electronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph) – although the optional AMG Driver’s package unleashes you all the way to 280 km/h (174 mph). Compared to the previous-generation GLS 63, this new one is quicker to 62 mph by less than half a second (0.4 sec). Drivers will also benefit from the high-performance AMG 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system, with fully variable torque distribution from 0:100 to 50:50, and an AMG electronic rear-axle locking differential. This flagship GLS model is of course available with AMG’s speed-sensitive sport power steering system, as well as high-performance brakes. Since this is an SUV, its six available driving modes also include Trail and Sand settings, to go with the Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual settings. The exterior gained an AMG-specific radiator grille with gloss-chrome vertical louvres, while Multibeam LED headlights are included as standard. There’s also a newly designed AMG front apron with an integrated high-gloss black jetwing, a front splitter and sporty side air inlets, vehicle-colour side skirts and exterior mirror housings, high-gloss chrome window surrounds, an AMG rear apron, rectangular tailpipes for the AMG exhaust system and 21-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels – buyers can opt for wheel variants with diameters of up to 23 inches. As an optional extra, one can also opt for the AMG Night package, which adds high-gloss black trim features. Other options include the black-chrome tailpipes, matte-black AMG wheels, anodised window surrounds and more. Inside, this is a regular all-new 2020 GLS with special touches and additional kit. These include the AMG sports pedals in brushed stainless steel, illuminated door sill panels with ‘AMG’ lettering, black floor mats with ‘AMG’ lettering, AMG instrument cluster with a choice of four display styles (Modern Classic, Sport, Discreet and Supersport), plus the AMG seats, badges and steering wheel. Aside from getting the latest MBUX infotainment system with the Widescreen Cockpit, the new GLS 63 4MATIC+ also comes with a wide range of driving assistance systems such as Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adjustment, while the Active Stop-and-Go Assist is able to keep you in your lane and maintaining a safety distance at speeds of up to around 60 km/h (37 mph). “With the new GLS 63 we are offering a vehicle to those customers who are not willing to accept compromises when it comes to versatility, effortless superiority and spaciousness,” stated Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers. “We have further increased the powertrain’s efficiency in conjunction with the EQ Boost starter-alternator and 48-volt electrical system, so making our GLS 63 the ideal companion for long distances, on a par with the S-Class, with rough-terrain attributes and space for up to seven people”. The less potent GLS450 was also here.

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Completing the range of Crossover and SUVs is the legendary G Class, and there was one example of the model which received a complete replacement a couple of years ago.

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Final model on the stand was the EQC, Already on sale in European markets, Mercedes were able to announced that that this all-electric crossover will be priced from $67,900 when it goes on sale in the United States early next year. That’s $17,090 less than the entry-level Tesla Model X which starts at $84,990. Mercedes didn’t release full details, but confirmed there will be three trim levels called Progressive, Premium and Advanced. Even in base form, the EQC comes equipped with a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch infotainment system. The latter has a number of EQC-specific features including range, charge status, and energy flow displays as well as a navigation system that calculates the most efficient route. The Progressive trim also has LED headlights, illuminated door sill plates and an ambient lighting system with 64 colors. Other highlights include Active Brake Assist with autonomous emergency braking and Car-to-X communications technology. The mid-level EQC Premium has a sportier appearance as it comes standard with the AMG Line and Aero Packages. The latter adds faux aluminium running boards that are aerodynamic and help to increase the crossover’s range. Buyers will also find a wireless smartphone charger, NFC connectivity and natural grain wood trim. The model also comes with the Parking Assistance Package which includes a 360-degree surround view camera system. The range-topping EQC Advanced includes all the aforementioned equipment as well as leather upholstery, heated / ventilated front seats and heated rear seats. Another highlight is the standard Driver Assistance Package. All models are powered by an 80 kWh lithium-ion battery pack which feeds front and rear electric motors. This setup gives the EQC all-wheel drive and a combined output of 402 bhp and 561 lb-ft (760 Nm) of torque. The crossover can accelerate from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 4.8 seconds and hit a limited top speed of 112 mph (180 km/h). Unfortunately, Mercedes didn’t reveal the EQC’s range and the model still isn’t listed on the fueleconony.gov website. While one of the most important figures remains unknown, the EQC can go from a 10–80% charge in approximately 40 minutes using a 110 kW DC fast charger. At home, a 240V wall box can take the battery from 10–100% in around 10 hours.

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MINI is one of those marques that has decided not to attend many of the world’s major Motor Shows, but they were here, as this was the launch place for a new version of the specialised MINI JCW GP, the brand’s fastest street-legal car ever and the most powerful in the subcompact hatchback class. Packing a 301 bhp and 332 lb-ft (450 Nm) of torque, 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo four, it has the ability to make your neck stiff in a fraction of a second. Nought to 62 mph (0-100 km/h) is dealt with in 5.2 seconds and the ungoverned top speed is 165 mph (265 km/h). Power is sent to the front wheels via an 8-speed Steptronic transmission with integrated differential lock. Peel away the bad-boy body kit and you will see lots of similarities to the regular Cooper S JCW. Nonetheless, the added parts contribute to the theatrical presence of the car and include CFRP fender flares that extend to the front and rear bumpers, as well as a huge roof-mounted wing, restyled diffuser that incorporates the central-mounted exhaust pipes, GP badging on the grille and tailgate, red accents and 18-inch alloy wheels shod in 225/35 Hankook tyres. Moreover, the ‘2020’ number applied to the front wheel arch panel is individual to each car, as it symbolises the production number and was applied using a newly developed paint transfer process. The JCW GP is strictly a two-seater, as MINI has dropped the back seat to make room for the roll cage. At the front, it has bucket seats with contrast stitching and GP badge underneath the integrated headrests, red seatbelts, another custom ‘GPXXXX’ logo incorporated into the dashboard on the passenger side and 12 o’clock mark on the meaty steering wheel, with 3D printed paddle shifters. More GP logos are found throughout the interior and the gear selector boasts double red stripes. The equipment list is generous and includes an infotainment system, digital instrument dials and dual-zone climate control, alongside the usual fancy lighting and trim. Production is limited to 3,000 units worldwide, and all of them will be put together at the company’s plant in Oxford, UK. The first examples will be delivered on March 2020, whereas on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, you should expect to take delivery next summer. Pricing starts at $45,750 (including destination), or just $50 short of the BMW M240i Coupe, which gets a 335 hp, 3.0-litre, inline-six. Well, you pays, your money… I certainly would not, but I can see why some will.

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Also making a debut, at least for American buyers, was the electric version of the familiar hatchback, called the MINI Cooper Se. This will set you back at least $30,750, destination and handling included. However, with the federal and state electric vehicle tax credits, customers will pay as low as $17,900 in certain states. The Cooper SE packs a 181 bhp and 199 lb-ft (270 Nm) of torque electric motor, powered by the 32.6 kWh battery pack. It does the 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 6.9 seconds and maxes out at 93 mph (150 km/h). With the battery fully charged, it can travel for 146-167 miles (235-270 km).

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There was ample space on the stand for a number of examples of the rest of the range from the 3 and 5 door hatch models, the Cabrio and the larger Clubman and Countryman.

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At the back of the stand there was also an example of the classic Issigonis Mini. These were sold in the US for a few years back in the 60s and they do have a certain cult following even today, and as this is the year when the model marks its 60th anniversary, it was a bit of a surprise that rather more was not being made of the car. It seemed to be attracting remarkably little attention compared to the new models.

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Revealed just before the Show opened was the 2020 Nissan Sentra, roughly six months after being previewed by the very similar-looking Sylphy model over in Asia. The Sentra is Nissan’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S. of all time so redesigning it is rather significant, and had become something of a priority, as the current car was not that well -received when new and had fallen ever further behind a class of more accomplished rivals. Underpinning what is the eighth-generation Sentra is a new platform that makes the sedan two inches lower and two inches wider than its predecessor. This lower and more aggressive stance works beautifully with the re-designed front and rear fascias, particularly the front that supports Nissan’s signature V-motion grille, thin LED headlights, and floating roof. A sole powertrain in the form of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder with 149 bhp and 146 lb-ft (197 Nm) of torque is sold with the Sentra, offering 20 per cent more power and 16 per cent greater torque than the previous-generation’s 1.8-liter engine. Nissan also says the 2.0-liter will be more fuel efficient although it has stopped short of issuing EPA estimates just yet. Numerous safety features come standard with the 2020 Sentra as part of the Nissan Safety Shield 360. For example, there is Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, and High Beam Assist. In addition, the new Sentra comes standard with 10 airbags, Rear Door Alert, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, and Intelligent Driver Alertness. “The all-new Sentra delivers the whole package, with features and value that are hard to ignore,” division vice president of Nissan Sales & Regional Operations, Nissan North America, David Kershaw said. “It’s stylish, confident and connected – a true breakthrough in compact sedans.” Inside, the 2020 Sentra is drastically improved over the outgoing model thanks in part to new leather-appointed, heated front seats. There is also an 8-inch touchscreen display infotainment system supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other amenities include heated exterior mirrors. This one looks – and as there was only one on the show and it was on a display plinth, so you could not get close to it – to be a massive improvement on the outgoing and little-loved car. No doubt it will appear in the rental fleets soon after an on-sale date, at which point we will all get to find out if it now challenges for class honours or not.

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The new Sentra was on a display plinth and there were a couple of cars to one side which you could sit in, so I thought that this would be my chance for a better look. And then I realised that in fact these were the new 2020 model Versa. Nissan unveiled it earlier in the year at the Tortuga Music Festival in Florida and its show debut was at New York in April. Looking like a shrunken down Altima, the 2020 Versa has a slender V-motion grille which is flanked by angular headlights. Moving further back, there’s a sculpted hood and a more rakish windscreen. The redesigned sedan sports sleeker bodywork and a prominent character line that continues all the way to the wraparound taillights. Designers also give the Versa a more dramatic roofline and a sportier greenhouse with a “kick-up” near the C-pillar. The model also has a faux floating roof which will likely prove controversial. One thing everyone can appreciate is Versa’s all-new interior which no longer looks like it was made by Playskool. Nissan didn’t say much about the cabin, but the pictures show the SR variant will have a flat-bottomed steering wheel and a high-tech instrument cluster. The latter has a large display with a digital tachometer, but the speedometer is analogue. Elsewhere, there’s an upholstered “Gliding Wing” dashboard and a modern infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. We can also see two-tone upholstery and tasteful chrome accents. Nissan didn’t go into details, but confirmed the entry-level Versa will have remote keyless entry, a push button ignition and power windows. Customers will also be able to order an assortment of high-end options including heated front seats and an automatic climate control system. Speaking of options, the 2020 Versa can be equipped with the Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of driver assistance systems. It includes Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Intelligent Driver Alertness and Intelligent Cruise Control. This is on top on standard safety features such as Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Warning and High Beam Assist. Power is provided by an upgraded 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine that produces 122 bhp and 114 lb-ft (154 Nm) of torque. This is a modest improvement of 13 bhp and 7 lb-ft (9 Nm) of torque. Despite the updated engine, Nissan decided to retain the old five-speed manual transmission. Thankfully that isn’t the only option as customers can also chose an “enhanced” CVT. The 2020 Versa went on sale this summer at somewhat higher prices than its predecessor, thus eliminating one of the prime advantages the car used to have relative to its competitors. Whether the new style and feeling of quality will be seen as compensation remains to be seen.

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Showing a distinct family resemblance to the smaller cars were the larger pair, with sole examples of the Altima and Maxima. The first of these went on sale during the year and is by all accounts a big improvement on its predecessor, whilst the Maxima which has been on sale in its current form for a while now remains an impressive machine especially once you get behind the wheel.

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There are no fewer than 6 different crossover models in the range and each was presented here; Kicks, the Rogue Sport (essentially an Americanised Qashqai), Rogue, Murano, Pathfinder and the imposing Armada.

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Nissan’s pioneering all-electric Leaf was here, as you would expect.

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It’s been half a century since Nissan gave us the GT-R and the Japanese company has produced a special 50th Anniversary edition of the R35. The biggest news here is that Nissan is reviving some of the most iconic liveries in the GT-R’s long history, starting with the beautiful Bayside Blue, complete with white racing stripes, that was last featured on the R34 model. The four-coat paint is applied with double-heat treatment to ensure a vivid blue with striking highlights and deep shadows. The wheels feature blue accents as well. Customers of the new 2020 GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition will also be offered a Pearl White with red stripes and Super Silver with white stripes. Inside we find a special gray colour scheme, unique steering wheel and shift knob trim, special embossed seats, Alcantara headliner and sun visors, and more. The dashboard is wrapped in a single piece of hand-selected Nappa leather that’s been stitched with takumi-style precision. “We were highly motivated to ensure that the GT-R 50 th Anniversary Edition stands out,” said Shinichiro Irie, program design director for the GT-R. “While the exterior and interior changes may seem subtle at first glance, they’re still impactful, especially with the new paint schemes, keeping the car’s lines and overall presence modern and edgy.” The range of the 2020 Nissan GT-R will be available in three flavours for most markets, alongside the new 50th Anniversary model: Premium, Track Edition and the hardcore NISMO. Some regions will also get Pure, Prestige and Black models. The handcrafted twin-turbo 3.8-litre V6 engine still produces 565 bhp and 467lb-ft (633Nm) of torque but Nissan has made a number of upgrades to it. These include a pair of new turbochargers for better throttle response in low revs and a 5 percent improvement in efficiency, as well as optimized exhaust manifolds with improved turbo flange attachment points. There’s also a new titanium muffler that features burnished blue tips and a retuned adaptive suspension that according to Nissan offers even better cornering stability as well as a smoother ride. A new brake booster increases the initial braking response while the steering is now more linear and precise, requiring minimal corrections at speeds of up to 186mph (300km/h). Perhaps the second biggest highlight in the 2020 Nissan GT-R’s lineup is the revised Track Edition; the more track-focused variant will share the same engine with the GT-R NISMO in US-spec models, producing 600 bhp and 481lb-ft (652Nm) of torque and featuring 20 percent faster reaction times during acceleration with full throttle. Customers of the 2020 Nissan GT-R Track Edition will be offered a carbon-fibre roof and special Brembo carbon ceramic rotors and calipers -16.1 inches (410 mm) front and 15.3 inches (390 mm) rear. “With the 2020 GT-R, we kept to the car’s concept – pursuing ultimate driving pleasure,” said Tamura. “Once you take hold of the steering wheel, you will immediately know that no other car in the world delivers as much satisfaction to the driver, both physically and spiritually.”

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The display was completed with examples of Nissan’s two truck offerings, the Frontier and Titan.

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Not an official Pagani presence, but the fact remains, that there was one of these most exclusive of Italian hypercars on show, on the Brembo stand in the main vestibule outside the West Hall.

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Once again, Porsche had a display hall all of their own. I know from experience that this can get busy, and with one of the star attractions of the show, the new Taycan on display in here, suspected that might be the case thus time. Fortunately, my apprehensions were largely misplaced and as the day progressed, just as the rest of the show seemed to empty out somewhat, so return visits in here were to an ever less populated display space, so it was not hard to get to look at the cars on show, or even to get photos, generally devoid of people.

The Taycan was indeed the star attraction in here, and three of them were on show, lined up alongside each other. California is likely to be a very strong market for these cars, just as it has been for Tesla’s Model S saloon. The first versions made their how debuts at Frankfurt in September, but new here was an entry level car, called the 4S, the current base-spec version (at least until we get the inevitable non-S variant). It costs upwards of $103,800 to purchase, though if you want the Performance Battery Plus model, the prices goes up to $110,380. Even so, it’s considerably less than what you’d be paying for the Taycan Turbo, which starts from $150,000 – and don’t worry, the 4S is by no means a major compromise, regardless of configuration. Flooring the throttle in your new Taycan 4S means putting down a peak 522 bhp at the very least. That number goes up to 563 bhp with the previously-mentioned Performance Battery Plus package. Both configurations will help you hit 60 mph (96 km/h) from a standstill in just 3.8 seconds, which almost begs the question of whether or not you would even want the more expensive Turbo or Turbo S variant. While EPA range estimates have yet to be released, Porsche says the Taycan 4S can travel 252 miles (405 km) in the WLTP cycle, while the Performance Battery Plus package (270 kW instead of 225 kW) increases your range to 287 miles (462 km). Unlike its flagship spec siblings, the 4S features aero-optimised 19-inch alloys, as well as black-finished side sills, rear diffuser and front apron. The interior however is pretty much the same, featuring a curved digital gauge cluster, 10.9-inch infotainment display and an optional passenger display. The partial leather upholstery and front comfort seats with eight-way electric adjustment are both offered as standard. Is this enough to beat a Tesla Model S? Well, technically no, the Tesla wins especially if you care less about badge culture and more about what the numbers say. The top of the line Tesla Model S Performance is priced from $99,990 (without potential incentives), and can hit 60 mph (96 km/h) in just 2.4 seconds. On top of that, it also has an EPA estimated range of 348 miles (560 km). The Model S Long Range is however more of an equivalent to the Taycan 4S in terms of straight line acceleration. It will hit 60 in 3.7 seconds, yet its range is a staggering 373 miles (600 km) – and all this for upwards of $79,990, also without incentives.

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The Taycan was not the only all-electric Porsche though, as also unveiled here was the 99X Electric, which marks Porsche’s entry into the exciting world of Formula E. Porsche has hopes for the model as they said its name uses the ‘9’ twice to emphasise the “importance of the Formula E project” for the company. The automaker also said the race car will serve as a development platform for future production electric vehicles. On the styling front, there isn’t much to report as the car largely echoes the competition. However, the company applied a traditional Porsche motorsport livery which features black, white and red. The model also has prominent Porsche badging as well as labels promoting everything from Hugo Boss to Vodafone. Porsche noted Formula E regulations stipulate a standardised chassis and battery, but the drive system is left up to manufactures. As a result, the company developed a special E-Performance Powertrain that leverages their experience in LMP1. The powertrain produces up to 335 bhp, but is limited to 268 bhp in Race Mode and 316 bhp in Attack Mode. Without any restrictions, the car can accelerate from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 2.8 seconds and hit a top speed of 174 mph (280 km/h). The racer will compete with the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team and Porsche Motorsport vice president Fritz Enzinger said “With the premiere of the Porsche 99X Electric, we are taking a big step towards the Porsche works entry in Formula E.” He added, “I am looking forward to seeing the Porsche 99X Electric on the racetrack.”

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It was at this show one year ago that Porsche first showed the world the 992-generation 911 model. Slightly surprisingly, the range has not expanded as much as you might have expected though the Cabriolet body has been added during the year. Three examples of the 992 were on show.

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Although some have criticised the 992 generation 911 Porsche, at least in the versions currently released, for being more of a GT and less of a sports car, the reality is that this is still very much a sports model, as evidence by the fact that there are still race series for the car and the latest iteration was on show to remind us of that fact.

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Representing the 718 family were examples of the top of the range Boxster Spyder and the Cayman GT4, cars which reinstate the much-missed 6 cylinder engine that was dropped from the lesser models when the facelift came in a coupe of years ago.

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Regular and Sport Turismo versions of the second generation Panamera were here, too.

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Last year Porsche presented the third generation Cayenne and the range has now gained the Coupe version as well, with a more rakish rear end.

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Also new last year was a facelift for the Macan and since that time Porsche have augmented the range. Making its US debut, following a premier at Frankfurt back in September was the 2020MY Macan Turbo which has gained a twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6, replacing the old 3.6-litre unit. Despite its significantly smaller displacement, it puts out 434 bhp and 405 lb-ft (550 Nm) of torque, or 10 percent more (+40 bhp) than the outgoing model. It’s basically the same engine you’ll find in the Panamera and Cayenne, and its turbochargers are placed within the V angle for a sharper response. Paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, it’ll send the new Macan Turbo to 62 mph (100 km/h) from a standstill in 4.3 seconds, 0.3 of a second faster than the old model, and all the way up to 167 mph (269 km/h). The new Macan Turbo isn’t just faster than before, but it’s also more efficient, as fuel economy is rated between 23.5 and 24.8 mpg Imperial (20.6-19.6 mpg US) per the WLTP cycle. The range-topping Macan features LED headlights with the Porsche’s Dynamic Light System, 20-inch alloy wheels and surface-coated high-performance brakes with white calipers as standard, while an adjustable air suspension with newly tuned dampers, Porsche Torque Vectoring and carbon ceramic brakes are optional. The cabin features 18-way adjustable sports seats dressed in leather, an Alcantara roof lining combined and brushed aluminium trim, as well as a 10.9-inch full-HD infotainment system with connected features paired to a 14-speaker Bose audio system. Optional features include a heated GT sports steering wheel, an LTE telephone module, an ioniser for better air quality in the cabin and Porsche’s latest traffic jam assistant, which offers an automated driving mode for speeds up to 37 mph (60 km/h).

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The final part of the massive FCA stand was the area allocated for the RAM Trucks and Vans. RAM launched a new generation of 1500 and 2500 Truck last year, and it has done well, surpassing its Chevy Silverado rival in the sales charts on a consistent basis throughout the year.

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The Vans look more familiar to European eyes as these share much with the Fiat Doblo and Ducato models that are sold in Europe. Here they are called the CityMaster and ProMaster and they come with petrol engines as opposed to the diesels that tend to feature in Europe.

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Subaru had one of the more imaginative stands with a focus on the outdoors manifest in the structure and displays associated with forestry and conservation. The central part of the display included the Forester which was updated for 2019 and the new sixth generation 2020 model Outback which was premiered at the New York Show. As ever, the 2020 Subaru Outback is a jacked-up wagon version of the also new Legacy, adopting the same design but with added ruggedness, featuring plenty of body cladding and model-specific bumpers to show off its more adventurous character. By switching over to Subaru’s latest global platform, the Outback will benefit from better rigidity and more refinement, as well as improved handling. The new model also features 8.7 inches of ground clearance, which is greater than most competitive SUV models in the market. The new generation of the Subaru Outback has ditched the six-cylinder powetrain of the outgoing model in favour of the turbocharged 260hp 2.4-litre unit found in the Legacy and the Ascent. Base models will get the naturally aspirated 182 bhp 2.5-litre flat-four unit. Both powertrains will be paired to the company’s latest CVT gearbox that also features an 8-speed manual mode. The 2.4-litre turbo XT models deliver a 3,500-lb towing capacity, the biggest ever in the Outback’s history. In addition, fuel economy is estimated at 26/33 mpg city/highway for the 2.5-litre and 23/30 mpg city/highway for the turbo. Perhaps the biggest highlight of the new Outback can be found inside; the cabin is made out of better quality materials and features a huge 11.6-inch high-definition infotainment display with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and over-the-air updates. Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist system with Lane Centering Function is standard fit, with systems like DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation system, Front View Monitor, LED Steering Responsive headlights and Reverse Automatic Braking to be optional. The range of the new 2020 Subaru Outback will include the Base, Premium, Limited, Touring, Onyx Edition XT, Limited XT and Touring XT models. The Onyx Edition XT features black detailing on the exterior, with matching 18-inch alloys and badging over an exclusive grey two-tone interior. Sales have already started.

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The Forester entered a new generation for the 2019 model year. Outwardly quite similar to the model it replace, though with even fussier detailing which makes it gawkier than ever before, the big news was what you could not see with the model based on Subaru’s new platform which is gradually being used to underpin all its models. In America, this vehicle is seen as being about best in class, and it boasts strong sales, whereas in Europe it remains very much an also-ran.

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A line of Impreza and XV Crosstrek was parked to one side of the countryside structure. I’ve now driven a couple of these and found them perfectly pleasant but pretty characterless. They continue to sell strongly in America, where the standard all-wheel drive is clearly a major attraction.

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Presented by itself was the 7-seat Ascent SUV which was launched for the 2019 model year.

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Although you might not realise it, as the cars barely register in Europe, Subaru do still offer thrilling sedan models which carry on from those much-loved Impreza cars of 15 – 20 years ago. They’ve dropped the Impreza badging these days and are simply called the WRX. Subaru has announced yet another limited edition of the North American 2020 WRX and WRX STI models at the Show, this time it’s the new Series White series. As the name suggests, the new limited edition of Subaru’s all-wheel drive performance sedans feature an exclusive Ceramic White exterior paint finish over matte bronze wheels and a long list of kit offered as standard equipment. The new WRX Series White builds on the WRX Premium, including the Performance Package that adds ultrasuede Recaro seats, a sunroof delete for less weight and the bigger Brembo braking system. In addition, the 2020 Subaru WRX Series White comes with a high-performance Bilstein suspension, LED steering responsive headlights, LED fog lights, keyless access and matt black badging among other. Power still comes from a turbocharged 2.0-litre flat-four unit producing 268 bhp and 258 lb-ft of torque and paired to a six-speed manual transmission. The new Subaru WRX Series White is priced from $34,895, including a $900 destination and delivery fee. The more focused WRX STI Series White gets the same exterior treatment, only the wheels are forged BBS items measuring 19-inch in diameter -instead of the WRX’s 18-inch wheels. The powertrain also remains the same, meaning a 310 HP turbocharged 2.5-litre flat-four engine paired to a six-speed manual and the company’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive with active torque vectoring. The chassis of the new WRX STI Series White however has been given a few upgrades, including a Bilstein STI-tuned suspension, new heavy-duty steering rack mounts for better response and feel, and stickier Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. The brakes are also from Brembo, featuring six-piston calipers up front. Inside the cabin of the latest special WRX STI we find black ultrasuede Recaro seats with carbon black leather bolsters, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with red stitching and more. Prices for the new 2020 Subaru WRX STI Series White start from $43,595, including a $900 destination and delivery fee. Production will be limited to 500 examples for the WRX and another 500 for the WRX STI, with both to arrive at US dealers early next year.

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Final car here was an example of the BRZ, the small sports car that was jointly developed with Toyota. In America, this one sells in larger quantities than the Toyota badged model, the opposite of the situation in Europe.


Toyota have a huge stand, which gives plenty of space for a display of the wide range of cars and trucks that they offer. It also means that there is room for what is like an almost non-stop Game Show, though whenever I was in the vicinity, it appeared that the hosts – who made an awful lot of noise, with all heir forced jollity and cheer-leading efforts – nearly outnumbered the participants. I have to say I would hate to be working on a stand nearby as this was painful to listen to once, but to get the same script every few minutes must be very wearing indeed. It is something that Toyota inflicts on everyone every year and I get ever less tolerant of it the more times I have to endure it!

Fortunately there were plenty of cars to see as well. Probably the most significant was the new RAV4 Prime. This is a Plug-in hybrid, something which in a crossover makes a lot of sense, even though most mainstream automakers have avoided them. Set to go on sale next summer, the RAV4 Prime takes everything that was good about the standard model and improves it. As a result, the crossover is the most powerful, most fuel-efficient and quickest RAV4 ever created. In order to achieve these seemingly conflicting goals of performance and fuel efficiency, Toyota gave the model a plug-in hybrid powertrain. It’s loosely based on the one in the RAV4 Hybrid, but it features more powerful electric motors and a high-capacity lithium-ion battery pack. The 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine has also been retuned to produce 176 bhp and 168 lb-ft (228 Nm) of torque. Like the RAV4 Hybrid, the RAV4 Prime has an electronically controlled all-wheel drive system which uses a rear-mounted motor to power the rear wheels. Toyota didn’t say how powerful the motor is, but the RAV4 Prime has a combined output of 302 bhp. That’s 83 bhp more than the RAV4 Hybrid, and the extra power enables the crossover to run from 0-60 mph in just 5.8 seconds. The impressive numbers don’t end there, as the RAV4 Prime has an estimated electric-only range of 39 miles (63 km). Toyota says that’s the longest range of any PHEV crossover on the market and it’s only 8 miles (13 km) less than the Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid. Furthermore, the model has an estimated combined fuel economy rating of 90 MPGe. Thankfully, practicality hasn’t been sacrificed. As Toyota noted, the battery pack is mounted under the floor and this means interior space isn’t compromised. It also helps to lower the centre of gravity and improve stability. The 2021 RAV4 Prime will be offered exclusively in SE and XSE trims. The SE features a unique grille, an aerodynamic front spoiler and piano black accents and 18-inch alloy wheels. Moving into the cabin, drivers will a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats and an 8-inch infotainment system with Amazon Alexa, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Other standard features include an 8-way power driver’s seat, a power liftgate, a Blind Spot Monitor and a 7-inch multi-information display in the instrument cluster. If that isn’t luxurious enough, buyers can opt for the Weather & Moonroof Package. It adds a moonroof, a heated steering wheel and heated second row seats. Other additions include rain-sensing wipers and a windshield wiper de-icer. The XSE is the more stylish of the two, sporting a two-tone exterior with a contrasting black roof, vertical LED daytime running lights and larger 19-inch alloy wheels. The latter are exclusive to the model and are the largest wheels ever fitted on a hybrid RAV4. The interior has an upscale vibe as there’s synthetic leather seats, ambient lighting and a moonroof. Toyota also installs a wireless smartphone charger, a larger 9-inch infotainment system and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with an integrated garage door opener. Last but not least, there are paddle shifters which are a first for the RAV4. While they typically feel gimmicky in crossovers, Toyota said drivers can downshift to increase regenerative braking. An available Premium Package ups the ante by adding ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and a panoramic moonroof. Other additions include heated second row seats, a head-up display and a digital rear-view mirror. Rounding out the highlights are a power passenger seat, a Bird’s Eye View Monitor and a JBL premium audio system. Besides the aforementioned equipment, the SE and XSE come equipped with the Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assist systems. It includes automatic high beam headlights, adaptive cruise control and a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection. The suite also features lane departure alert with steering assist, lane tracing assist (lane centering) and road sign assist. This, then, is everything we need to know about the latest and greatest addition to the RAV4 range – bar the pricing, of course, which should be revealed closer to launch.

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The regular RAV4 was well represented here. This is now Toyota’s biggest selling vehicle in the US, so an important car. The general view is that the latest one, which went on sale earlier in the year, is a big improvement on its predecessor. I’ve not driven one yet, though they have started to appear in the rental fleets so it is only a matter of time before I do.

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Toyota announced a new version of the larger Highlander at the New York Show back in April. It is not on sale yet (that happens soon), so it was being treated still as a new announcement, and certainly this was the first chance for me to see it. Compared to its predecessor, the all-new Highlander is claimed to be safer, more comfortable, more durable and of a higher built quality, relying on a new vehicle platform dubbed Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA-K). At heart, the 2020 Toyota Highlander remains a family-friendly SUV. However, the Japanese automaker wanted to make sure that this new-generation model had a more powerful stance and a more elegant exterior, while also featuring greater aerodynamic efficiency (reducing wind noise while enhancing stability). In terms of design, L, LE and XLE grades come with a black front grille with silver trim, while Limited and Platinum models are distinguished by a black grille with chrome trim, chrome-plated lower rear fascia, premium projector headlights and 20-inch wheels (a Highlander first). Only three colours were carried over from 2019: Blizzard Pearl ($395 option), Celestial Silver Metallic and Midnight Black Metallic. The following five colours are brand new: Magnetic Gray Metallic, Moon Dust (blue), Ruby Flare Pearl (red), Blueprint and Opulent Amber (brown). This fourth-gen SUV is 2.36 inches (60 mm) longer than its predecessor, while its second row can be slid an extra 1.2-inches further up in order to increase distance between the 2nd and 3rd rows. As for practicality, the L and LE grades feature a second-row bench (seating for 8) as standard, while the XLE and Limited grades come standard with a Captain’s Chair second row with seating for seven (seating for 8 optional). The Platinum grade also has a Captain’s Chair second row design as standard. With all the seats in use, the Highlander offers 16.1 cu.ft of cargo room behind the third row. Fold everything and you end up with 73.3 cu.ft of room. Even though Toyota chose to keep the current Highlander’s 295 bhp 3.5-litre V6 engine for this all-new generation model, a new hybrid system is used for the electrified version, combining an efficient 2.5-litre DOHC four-cylinder engine with two electric motors instead of the outgoing Hybrid’s more powerful, but thirstier V6. In total, the 4-cylinder hybrid returns a system output of 240 bhp with an EPA-estimated 34 combined mpg (6.9 l/100km), a 17 percent improvement over the previous-gen Highlander V6 Hybrid’s 28 combined mpg (8.4 l/100 km), although the latter was rated at a much higher 306 bhp. “The Highlander Hybrid’s Predictive Efficient Drive (PED) analyses the driver’s daily driving habits and upcoming road and traffic conditions to more efficiently charge and discharge the hybrid battery accordingly alongside actual driving. The more the vehicle is driven, the more data is accumulated, contributing to practical fuel efficiency. Many actual roads chosen to represent common usage scenarios, such as in urban congestion or on mountain roads, were driven on and analysed to create control that feels natural to the driver when operating to enable more efficient driving.” It’s the same system found on the latest RAV4 Hybrid, in which, the more the vehicle is driven, the more data is accumulated, contributing to practical fuel efficiency. Many actual roads chosen to represent common usage scenarios, such as in urban congestion or on mountain roads, were driven on and analysed to create control that feels natural to the driver when operating to enable more efficient driving. On the move, drivers can choose between Normal, Eco and Sport modes for the Highlander Hybrid, while both versions get a choice of either 2WD or AWD with Dynamic Torque Vectoring. Facing a sticky situation? You can engage the Multi-Terrain Select control dial for Mud & Sand or Rock & Dirt. Step inside the 2020 Highlander and you’ll be greeted by softer padded surfaces (compared to its predecessor), available Qi wireless charging, new ambient LED lighting and more. The flagship Platinum grade even has embossed perforated leather trim. As far as tech, all grades come standard with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Alexa In-Car compatibility, Waze, SiriusXM and Wi-Fi connectivity through AT&T. The Platinum grade offers standard Dynamic Navigation and a 12.3-inch screen, to go with the JBL Premium Audio System with 1,200 watts and 11 speakers. The entry-level L grade is equipped with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, 18-inch alloys, 3-zone automatic climate control, 4.2-inch instrument panel display, 8-way power driver’s seat, auto up/down for all power windows, 8-inch touchscreen display, front seat reading lights and cargo area light, LED headlights and taillights, privacy glass on rear side, quarter and liftgate windows and Smart Key entry. Opt for the LE and you gain a power liftgate, blind spot monitor, additional multimedia capability, LED fog lights and a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob. The XLE meanwhile adds a 10-way power driver’s seat, 2nd row sun shades, 4-way power front passenger seat, 7-inch instrument panel display, auto dimming rear-view mirror with garage door opener, auto LED headlights with Auto High Beam, plated interior door handle, LED fog lights, power tilt and slid moon roof and roof rails. The Limited spec however offers ambient interior lighting, driver’s seat memory, heated and ventilated front seats, the JBL audio system and more. Finally you have Platinum, which boasts the 12.3-inch multimedia head-unit, 20-inch wheels, adaptive and self-levelling headlights, head-up display, heated 2nd row seats, panoramic moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, Birds Eye camera and the embossed perforated leather-trimmed seats. The 2020 Toyota Highlander is equipped with the second-generation of Toyota Safety Sense, which means you get Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert as standard on LE grade and above, while Rear Cross Traffic Braking is available with clearance sonar on Limited and above. The previously-mentioned Birds Eye camera with Perimeter Scan is available on Limited and standard on Platinum.

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Sales of the regular GR Supra started earlier in the year, so now it is time to see how the model evolved. Toyota took five 2020 Supra tuning concepts to SEMA a couple of weeks before this Show and now one of them was here, for a further look. This is the GR Supra Heritage Edition and it is inteded to show what progress looks like when you take an iconic Japanese product and insert some German DNA. Now, when we say progress, we don’t just mean the sheer obvious fact that this is the latest-generation Supra. In reality, the Heritage Edition was inspired by the Mk4-gen model, hence that familiar rear wing design. Its design was inspired by the vision of Toyota marketing VP Ed Laukes, who tasked Marty Schwerter of Motorsports Technical Centre to take elements from the Mk4 Supra of the late-90s and blend them together with the new 2020 GR Supra – a pretty clever way to pay tribute to the nameplate’s heritage, hence the Heritage Edition moniker. Custom bits include the new headlights and taillights, integrated front splitter, the previously-mentioned wing and the diffuser, which houses the central-mounted exhaust tips. It also comes with Brembo brakes, adjustable coilovers and 19-inch wheels from HRE, wrapped in 295/30 and 305/30 rubber. Then there’s the colour, which is a very vibrant red dubbed ‘Re-Entry Red’, which also takes us back to the Mk4. The best part however is the performance, and while Toyota hasn’t released any acceleration or top speed figures, at least we know that this is more than just a visual tribute. The 2020 GR Supra Heritage Edition was tuned to produce over 500 bhp on a stock long block.

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There were several production GR Supra cars here, too, and they were popular among show go-ers who all seemed to want a closer look.

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The GR Supra is positioned above the established GT86 model in Toyota’s range. In the US, this model started out with Scion badges but when that branding was abandoned, the car gained Toyota branding instead. In the US it is outsold by its Subaru BRZ by almost as large a margin as that by which it outsells the Subaru in Europe.

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Of the Yaris there was no sign, but the big-selling Corolla was here in both hatch and saloon guises. The latter went on sale during the year and is now starting to become evident on the roads, whilst the hatch, which sells in smaller quantities looks familiar as this is the same visually as the models sold in Europe.

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Sitting above it in the range is the rather, erm, distinctive C-HR. Whilst this has done well in Europe, it has found the going rather harder in the US, where its small size and rather limited space inside it limits its appeal.

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Toyota’s larger saloons were also here, the big-selling (if no longer the market’s best-selling car) Camry and its upmarket and larger brother, the Avalon. New to both ranges is the option of AWD. For those keeping count, this is the first time ever that the Avalon will be available with an AWD option, and the first AWD Camry in 28 years, after the 1988-1991 Camry AllTrac. Toyota’s Dynamic Torque Control AWD system will be available as a standalone option on the Avalon XLE and Limited grades and on the Camry LE, XLE, SE and XSE grades. Toyota says that the all-wheel drive system doesn’t steal any space from the cabin or the trunk and that it can revert to front-wheel drive when it’s not needed for greater fuel efficiency. The system can send up to 50 percent of the torque to the rear axle the moment it senses any slippage of the front wheels. You’d assume that AWD would be offered with the more powerful engines, but you’d be wrong. Customers will be able to tick the AWD option only in conjunction with the 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, which makes 202 bhp on most Camry models and 205 HP on the Camry XSE and both Avalon grades, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The more powerful V6 models will remain front-driven, at least for the time being. The original plans for the current generation Camry and Avalon didn’t include an AWD version, but thanks to the flexibility of the TNGA platform -and the market demand for AWD sedans- Toyota Motor North America was able to develop them in-house. The engineering team used the same engine, transmission, transfer case and rear differential from the RAV4, as well as its multi-link rear suspension that was adapted and modified to suit the needs of the Camry and Avalon. Finally, both sedans use a modified version of the propeller shaft from the all-new Highlander. Suspension tuning, wheel, and tire differences between the Camry and Avalon grades will carry over to the AWD models as well. For example the Camry XSE will offer the same sporty suspension setup and 19-inch wheels in both front- and all-wheel drive models. The 2020 Toyota Camry AWD will arrive at dealers next spring, with all grades to be offered with an optional Cold-Weather Package which adds heated seats and mirrors on the LE, heated seats, mirrors and steering wheel on the SE, and heated steering wheel on the XLE and XSE. The new Toyota Avalon AWD will be offered as model year 2021, launching later in the fall of 2020. Pricing for both AWD models will be announced closer to launch.

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A full range of Prius models were on show. At present there is only the one basic body style on offer, as the smaller Prius C has been deleted at the end of the 2019 model year and the Prius V ceased production a few months before that.

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Following its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota brought the Mirai stateside and show-cased it here. Technically, it’s called a concept, but even Toyota admits it’s a pre-production version of the 2021 model. This thinly veiled concept is a radical departure from its predecessor as it eschews the angular Prius-like styling. It has been replaced by an upscale design that would fit right into a Lexus showroom. Toyota acknowledged this and said the Mirai has been “rebooted as a premium sedan with cutting-edge design, technology and driving performance.” Starting up front, the Mirai has a shark nose front fascia with a massive grille that nearly spans the entire width of the vehicle. The model also has slender lighting units and a long sloping bonnet. Moving further back, there’s flowing bodywork and prominent shoulder lines. We can also see a more dynamic roofline that gives the Mirai the appearance of a sporty five-door hatchback. The concept measures 195.8 inches (4,973 mm) long, 74.2 inches (1,885 mm) wide and 57.8 inches (1,468 mm) tall with a wheelbase that spans 114.9 inches (2,918 mm). This means the concept is 3.3 inches (84 mm) longer, 2.7 inches (69 mm) wider, 2.7 inches (69 mm) lower and has a 5.5 inch (140 mm) longer wheelbase than the current model. Thanks to the increased dimensions, there’s a roomier cabin with a proper three-person rear seat. Speaking of the interior, it’s more luxurious than before. Drivers sit behind a meaty steering wheel and find themselves looking at an 8-inch digital instrument cluster. To their right is a 12.3-inch infotainment system and a distinctive center stack that flows into the air vents. We can also see gloss black trim, bronze accents, a wireless smartphone charger and premium leather seats with contrast stitching. Toyota also said the model will be offered with a 14-speaker JBL audio system and a digital rearview mirror. The company was tight-lipped on performance specifications, but confirmed the Mirai will ride on a rear-wheel drive platform and offer a more engaging driving experience. That experience will also last longer as the car has been equipped with an improved fuel cell system and larger hydrogen storage tanks. This extends the range approximately 30%, so we can expect the car to travel around 405 miles (652 km) before needing to make a quick five minute fill up. The second-gen Mirai will go on sale in late 2020 as a 2021 model. There’s no word on pricing or availability, but the car’s chief engineer, Yoshikazu Tanaka, has previously said “I want customers to say, ‘I chose the Mirai not because it’s an FCEV, but because I really wanted this car, and it just happened to be an FCEV.’”

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The current and very odd looking Mirai was also here. You do see these on the roads of California surprisingly frequently.

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Across the back of the stand was a comprehensive display of the available Toyota trucks, with plenty of both the Tacoma and Tundra on show.

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A small display at one side of the stand concentrated on future mobility, with the i-Road included.

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The stand also included a couple of examples of Toyota’s entrants in the popular NASCAR racing series.

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VW unveiled the contribution to the growing number of Coupe SUVs, the all-new 2020 Atlas Cross Sport a few weeks before the show. Like other such offerings, this is a shorter, lower and arguably more stylish version of its regular mid-size SUV. In terms of size, the Cross Sport is 2.8 inches (7.1 cm) shorter than the current Atlas, and sits 2.3 inches (5.8 cm) lower. However, its wheelbase is identical, allowing for generous space inside – 111.8 cu.ft of passenger space with 40.3 cu.ft of luggage space. Fold down the second row and you get a massive 77.8 cu.ft. “Building off the success of the Atlas seven-seater midsize SUV, we see an opportunity for a five-seater model that offers even more style and almost as much interior space,” said VW Group of America CEO, Scott Keogh. “We look forward to entering this growing segment with the Atlas Cross Sport, which offers outstanding Volkswagen technology, driver-assist features, style, and value.” Aesthetically, the Cross Sport has a sleeker profile than the Atlas thanks to the raked rear pillar. The rear end also features new lights and a sculpted bumper to give the crossover more road presence. The chrome accents on the lower body sides, rear bumper and windows also help with that. Meanwhile, R-Line trims come with even more heavily sculpted bumpers, boasting chrome and piano black treatments to go with the 21-inch alloy wheels. Overall, the Atlas Cross Sport is definitely a more stylish-looking product than the model on which it is based. Moving on to the interior, we spot a new steering wheel, contrast stitching on the door inserts and seats, and there are also new tech features like available wireless mobile charging. Buyers who don’t mind spending a little extra can also opt for heated rear seats and steering wheel, ventilated front seats, rear sunshades, and the 12-speaker Fender Premium Audio system. Eight trim levels will be made available in total: S, SE, SE w/Tech, SE w/Tech R-Line, SEL, SEL R-Line, SEL Premium and SEL Premium R-Line. There are also upgraded Volkswagen Car-Net connected features through the mobile app (offered at no additional charge for five years from the purchase date). Owners can remote start and stop the engine, lock and unlock the doors remotely, honk remotely, flash the lights, find the last parked location and check the vehicle status – fuel level, mileage, door and window status. Furthermore, Car-Net Hotspot allows passengers to connect to the internet with up to four devices simultaneously, using 4G LTE-enabled speeds. Moving on to driver assistance systems, the following two are new: Traffic Jam Assist (TJA) and Dynamic Road Sign Display. The former uses the front camera and front radar sensor to maintain a following distance from the car in front, operating alongside the Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping System. As for the latter, it can display speed limits, no passing zones, school zones and so on. Finally, the engine range. There are two available powertrains in a 276bhp V6 and a 235 HP four-cylinder turbocharged TSI petrol unit. Both work with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and are available with 4Motion all-wheel drive. Also, the V6 version is said to have a 5,000 lbs (2,268 kg) towing rating when equipped with the V6 Towing Package. Pricing for the 2020 VW Atlas Cross Sport will be announced closer to the model’s launch date, which is this upcoming Spring.

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Several examples of the regular Atlas were displayed on the stand as well, so it was easy to make the comparison as to what you lose and gain between the two versions.

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Volkswagen will race a custom Atlas Cross Sport R race truck in next year’s Baja 1000 in the Class 7 Open Production Limited class. As you can see for yourself, the racer has nothing really in common with the production car other than a shell that tries to mimic some of its design traits. The prototype race truck, unveiled at the Show, was developed in conjunction with VW driver Tanner Foust and Baja race veteran Rhys Millen. It features a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine that’s capable of delivering 600 bhp but has been detuned to roughly 480 bhp for an optimised balance of performance and reliability. This engine was first developed by Volkswagen for its WRC and Rallycross programs. The final touches are being put to the car before everything is finalised for the race. “Racing as a sport has historically been limited to a very privileged group,” said senior vice president of VW Brand Marketing, Saab Chehab. “However, Volkswagens competed at the very beginning of Baja racing, and we’re excited to help keep the fun, youthful spirit of the competition alive by way of our Atlas Cross Sport R.” Volkswagen has been particularly keen in recent years to clean up its carbon footprint, especially in motorsport through the launch of the ID.R. While the Atlas Cross Sport R guzzles down fuel, the German automaker is keen to point out that next year’s Baja 1000 will be fully carbon-neutral thanks to a carbon offset initiative via The Conservation Fund that will plant more than 1,000 trees or one per mile raced. Foust, who will be one of the drivers, said “I know what this combination of engine and drivetrain is capable of. I’m really excited to see this bit of Beetle DNA live on in the Atlas Cross Sport R and am itching to get behind the wheel.” Volkswagen will hold a special competition across schools and colleges allowing designers to create the vehicle’s race livery in early 2020.

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A car you will have to wait rather longer before you can buy is the promised production version of the concept ID.Space Vizzion which made its global debut here. This is the seventh concept built off the MEB platform. It’s an all-electric model that looks more sporty estate than crossover, and it previews a production model for Europe and North America. While the concept car is only fitted with a rear-mounted 275 HP motor, a second motor could be added to give it all-wheel drive capability and a total output of 355 bhp. Thanks to an 82 kWh battery, the concept features a predicted range of up to 300 miles on the EPA cycle and 590 km on the WLTP cycle. In terms of looks, the ID. Space Vizzion concept is sort of 2/3 wagon, 1/3 crossover. According to VW, it combines the “aerodynamic design of a Gran Turismo with the spaciousness and versatility of an SUV”. It measures 195.2 inches (4,958 mm) in length, 60.2 inches (1,529 mm) in width and is 74.7 inches (1,897 mm) wide, with a 116.7-inch (2,964 mm) long wheelbase. It also has a very low drag coefficient at 0.24 Cd, and 22-inch alloy wheels. At the front, there are slender white light strips, an illuminated VW logo, IQ Light LED matrix headlights, honeycomb-style LED daytime running lights and of course, no radiator grille. Move to the side of the concept and you’ll notice that there are no door handles. Instead, the vehicle features illuminated touch surfaces that light up as soon as its Keyless Advanced function detects someone approaching with a vehicle key or a synchronized mobile key on a smartphone. When a person makes contact with the touch-activated surface, the light pulsates, the touch pad vibrates, and the door opens. Moving on to the rear, there’s a roof spoiler, a spoiler lip and a diffuser, while a transparent red light strip extends around the entire section and through the LED taillight clusters. All of the concept’s lighting elements activate when the driver opens the car. Inside, all driving information is displayed primarily in the Augmented Reality (AR) head-up display, which replaces the traditional cockpit. A smaller secondary display shows only basic information, while infotainment, comfort, online functions and vehicle settings are grouped on a 15.6-inch touchscreen. As you can see, this concept is a four-seater, however, the German automaker will also consider a 5-seat version once the vehicle goes into production. As for other features, we count the tactile AppleSkin material, 20.7 cu.ft of luggage space behind the rear seats, ambient lighting with 30 colors to choose from, voice control, Smart Climate, steering wheel with capacitive touch panels, a steering wheel column shifter, online features, plus a wide range of light functions with animations that signal Hello and Goodbye, Lock and Unlock, Charging times, Brake prompts, Navigation, Incoming calls and more. As is, the ID. Space Vizzion is powered by a 275 bhp and 406 lb-ft (550 Nm) of torque rear-mounted electric motor and an 82 kWh lithium-ion battery. Total system output can be boosted to 335 HP with all-wheel drive thanks to a 101 HP coaxial drive, allowing you to hit 60 mph from a standstill in 5 seconds flat. Top speed meanwhile is electronically limited to 109 mph (175 km/h). Charging time to 80% at 82 kWh takes approximately 30 minutes.

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The rest of the stand comprised a mixture of models that will be familiar to European eyes and those which are not, even though the names are. The Jetta, no longer sold in Europe, is the big-seller for Volkswagen and the latest generation went on sale in 2018. It is joined by a heavily facelifted US-built 2020 model year Passat, a lone example of which was here, along with the more familiar Arteon, the outgoing seventh generation Golf and the Tiguan in standard and Allspace 7seater guises.

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Galpin is a local and renowned dealer known both for selling an away of different brands as well as for the customisation and modification work. Once again they had an entire Hall all to themselves, where they could represent all these facets.

Along one end of the hall were an array of Aston Martin models, which meant that the British marque was represented at an event where its competitors were not. As well as the DB11, Vantage and recently launched DBS Superleggera Volante they had one of the limited edition DBS Zagato Shooting Brake cars here.

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Special versions of the Mustang have long been a Galpin speciality and there were a number of their cars here.

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And not just Mustangs from the Ford range, as they also had a a Shelby-badged F150 truck here.

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And then there was the Ford GT seen here in its latest guise as well as one of the original GT40 cars.

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Jaguar models presented were the F-Pace and I- Pace.

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This was a line of the Lincoln crossover range, all of them with Galpin modifications.

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This Lotus Evora was modified into the same style and livery as the Esprit that featured in the James Bond film “For Your Eyes Only”. It features skis for a quick get away!

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Mazda models included a Miata in the same livery as this Le Mans entrant, the 767-B. The precursor to the 787B (the first Japanese car to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans), the 767B won its class at the 1989 Le Mans race and showed that Mazda was capable of challenging for the win. This particular car finished second in class and ninth overall in 1989. It was recently restored by Mazda’s American arm and makes regular appearances at vintage races and other events.

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Porsche models included Paul Neuman’s 935 as well as a 918 Spyder.

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VW models were the Jetta and Atlas.

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And then there were these rarities: the odd-looking 1981 Zimmer Golden Spirit which once belonged to Liberace and a 1987 de Tomaso Pantera GT5-S which was sold as part of Carroll Shelby’s personal collection by Bonhams in 2018. According to the auction description, this car was used as a test bed for the Dodge Viper and was once equipped with a twin-turbo V-8 that Shelby thought should also power the Dodge. It sold without an engine, but has since been restored by Galpin.

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This is “The Grasshopper”. Famous for gracing the cover of Hot Rod magazine in 1959, The Grasshopper grew into a hot-rodding legend and popular model kit. This one here is a re-construction done by Dave Shuten and a crew at Galpin Auto Sports.

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Final car in here was Dean Moon’s Moonliner. Built by Jocko Johnson, this streamliner was mostly used for promotional purposes, although according to archive photos on Getty Images it made at least one trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats where it was also painted red, white, and black for a Budweiser television ad.

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Out in the corridor that connects the South and West halls, as well as a number of large panels that show the history of the Los Angeles Show – the same panels that appear every year, it has to be said – were a number of Ford pickups from the past 50 years, these again provided by Galpin.

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There is one further Hall, officially known by the venue as the Kentia Hall, which is situated one floor below the main entrance foyer, at the South Hall end of the complex. This has been christened “The Garage” by the event and this the place to go to find all manner of customised and modified cars and trucks, as well as a number of trade stalls. Some might be what you are expecting to see, but others go way, way beyond your wildest imagination. There was little in here that was to my personal taste, though there was denying the quality of work and the levels of imagination, so it was definitely worth a wander and pointing the camera at a few of the different things that I saw. A real medley.

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There was one final display, and this was in the large vestibule area leading to The Garage. Contained in here were a number of cars from a collection called The Lost Corvettes. They’re the Corvettes that time forgot. And 30 years ago, they were the ultimate prize in one of the most outlandish sweepstakes ever. And now this rare armada of 36 Chevrolet Corvettes has once again seen the light of day. The incredible fleet, which originally cost cable music network VH1 $610,000 in 1989 for a sweepstakes, has sat nearly abandoned in a New York City storage lot for about 25 years. As it turns out, the tale of how thirty-six Chevrolet Corvettes can go instantaneously from making TV headlines to disappearing in plain sight for a quarter-century isn’t as nefarious as one might suspect. Back in 1988, long before VH1 dumped actual music for reality-based programming, the network figured it could tap into its then baby-boomer demographic and snag some ratings with a mega promotion based on the iconic Corvette. So the network enlisted a producer to gather 36 Vettes, one from each production year from 1953 to 1989 (the 1983 model year was skipped when production was halted to prepare for the launch of the ’84 C4). The giveaway was a call-in affair that required contestants to enter by dialling a 900 number at the cost of $2.00 per call. By the time VH1 had milked this promotion for all it was worth, more than a million people had entered. In the end, it was Dennis Amodeo, a carpenter from Long Island, who came out on top and flew to California to accept his prize. But before he even hatched a plan to get all the cars back to New York, German-American artist Peter Max intervened, purchasing the collection from Amodeo for a reported $250,000 in cash, $250,000 in artwork, and a portion of future sales of the Corvettes up to $1 million. Apparently, Max had grand visions of using the Corvettes as an integral part of an art project. Although Max did retrieve the cars to NYC, the art project never came to fruition; paper colour-test strips affixed to some of the cars remain the only clue of the artist’s original plans. For the better part of the last twenty-five years the Corvettes remained interned in a series of garages until the Heller and Spindler families finally convinced Max to sell, although they won’t disclose the price. Now they have possession of the entire collection, restoration work under the watchful eye of Corvette aficionado and occasional concours judge Chris Mazzilli has begun, starting with the 1953 Corvette, which is number 291 of the 300 Corvettes produced in its inaugural year. The remainder of the cars will be either restored or simply reconditioned, as determined on a car-to-car basis. As well as making for a great display of some of the earlier generations of America’s long-lived and much loved sports car, these were all available to win, as a part of a raffle competition that was underway.

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For sure, 2019 will not go down as a Show blessed with lots and lots of significant new models, but to write it off on that basis would be unfair and inappropriate. There was stuff that was new to see, some of which although previewed earlier in the year at other US Shows is still not on the roads or in the rental fleets so this was a great place to catch up on what is available now or coming soon. What I really like about this Show is that it is rarely, if ever, anything like as crowded as the other ones I attend. That means that it is so much easier to get a good look at the cars, actually to get the chance to sit in them without having to wait or risk being pushed out of the way as can happen even at Geneva, let alone Frankfurt or Paris. And life is a lot easier for the photographer, too. Whilst some of the makes of the truly exotic do not attend, the fact that almost all the mainstream brands do (only Mitsubishi, Tesla and Volvo were conspicuous by their absence) is also very welcome. Couple in all the pluses associated with a stay in the Los Angeles area and it should perhaps be no surprise to learn that I have the 202 dates of 20 – 29 November marked in my schedule already.

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