While it may not be America’s motor city (hat tip to Detroit), Los Angeles is a hub for car culture. And for a couple of weeks every year, the city invites the world’s biggest and most promising automakers to display the future of their brands. This year’s LA Auto Show is going to be a big one: the event (November 22 through December 1) will host over 65 new vehicles, including 25 world debuts.
But even fast fingers will get tired swiping through more than 65 articles, so we’ve whittled the list to the five vehicles we are most excited to see. Some are firsts for well-known brands, some are firsts for newcomers, and some are long-awaited reboots — and all are ridiculously cool. Keep tabs on this link for updated photos and info in the days ahead.
When the convention center doors open, we’re making a beeline to the Land Rover display. Why? Since the Defender — and before it, the original Land Rover Series —- first entered production in the 1940s, it’s been forbidden fruit for Americans. With the introduction of 2021 Defender, we finally get a bite of the apple (which will probably be dirty because of all the time it spends off-road).
Still boxy, still rocking a tire on its back door, and still offered in either a 90 or a 110 variant (which no longer reference the wheelbase, but two and four-door iterations, respectively), the new Defender pays homage to its predecessors while incorporating the latest in all-terrain and convenience technology. First shown in Germany in September, the Defender is offered in six different trims with four accessory packs (aka gear treatments). If you can make do with two doors, the 90 is mated to a turbocharged six-cylinder making 395hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. The 110, meanwhile, features a turbocharged four-cylinder good for 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.
Pricing starts at $49,900, but reaches $80,900 for a loaded Defender X edition. Look for the new Defender at dealers in early 2020.
Speaking of British high-riders, Aston Martin is taking the wraps off its very first SUV. Set for reveal somewhere in LA (don’t worry, we’ve got the invite), the DBX will bring Aston Martin’s renowned design to a burgeoning segment that includes Lamborghini’s Urus, Bentley’s Bentayga, and Rolls-Royce’s Cullinan. Wearing a DB11-inspired front end and a Vantage-derived rear, the DBX has a distinctive, handsome design from most angles (though the profile is a little ambiguous).
Power comes from a Mercedes-AMG sourced 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 delivering 542 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels. There’s a chance Aston Martin’s twin-turbo V12 will also find its way under the hood, but more likely, hybrid and all-electric variants will follow the V8. The interior is inviting and appropriately spacious, with leather and Alcantara covering everything that isn’t brushed metal, wood, or glass. A panoramic roof brings light into the five-seater cabin. With the promise of more cargo and passenger volume than any other Aston Martin, the DBX could become the brand’s most popular model.
For the last 25 years, America has been without an RS-badged wagon. It’s our own fault – we just don’t buy enough high-output long roofs to warrant the effort involved in marketing and selling them in the states. Still, Audi wants to give us another chance with its new RS6 Avant. Following its debut in Europe in September, the handsome, brusque RS6 Avant will bow for the first time in North America next week.
Powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 mated to a 48-volt hybrid system, the RS6 Avant develops 591 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. Utilizing an eight-speed automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel-drive system, the Avant will rush to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds before hitting a top speed of 174 mph. When it does hit dealers next year, the RS6 won’t be the only German super wagon available stateside – Mercedes-AMG’s 603-hp E63 S Wagon and Porsche’s Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo each offer grunt to match their girth. We hope at least a few folks yield to the RS6 Avant’s charms, because we’d love to see it on the open road.
As a sign of the changing times, Ford will unveil a Mustang-badged, all-electric crossover SUV — in complete seriousness. Whether you think the use of Ford’s nameplate is a mistake or not, it’s hard to argue with the Mustang Mach E’s attractive physique and solid specs.
There will be five trims for the Mach E, with the entry-level Select starting at $43,895 and the priciest GT model costing $60,500 (both before $7,500 in federal incentives). Driving range depends on trim, but the Mach E will at least travel 230 miles and the long-range version will hit 300 miles. 0-60 mph will take between 3.5 to 5.5 seconds depending on trim. Ford’s new EV is priced beneath Tesla’s Model Y crossover, though its range and acceleration lag behind the Tesla. Time will tell how consumers receive a tall electric Mustang.
On the topic of electric utility vehicles, let’s take a peek at Bollinger. The Michigan EV startup will showcase its prototype electric SUV (B1) and pickup truck (B2) ahead of production in 2020.
Priced from $125,000 each, the vehicles will feature dual-motor powertrains sending 614 hp through all four wheels. Driving range is estimated at 200 miles, which isn’t dazzling, but isn’t terrible for what are certainly heavy machines. Exterior design will split opinion – either you like the military-style boxiness or you find it half-baked. Handsome or not, unless Tesla can rush its forthcoming EV truck through the assembly line, Bollinger’s B2 pickup will be the first of its kind on sale.