BMW i8 Spyder Concept is likely to reach production in 2015
This audacious Smart Fortwo is the work of fashion designer Jeremy Scott
Ford Fiesta ST is powered by a 1.6-litre Ecoboost engine producing 196bhp
The Ener-G-Force concept hints that Mercedes could build a Range Rover rival
BMW's i3 Concept Coupé points towards an expansion of the firm's electric range
The new Range Rover was given its official North American unveiling
In the US the Jaguar F-type will get the same three-car line-up as in the UK
Aston Martin Vanquish is on the last leg of its North American preview tour
Bentley's Continental GT3 race car has been shown off in the US for the first time
Restyled Ford Fiesta is being shown off to North America for the first time
Capacious Ford Tourneo Connect goes on sale in US and Europe in 2013
Interior revisions aim to improve the usability of the Mini Countryman
Mini is offering 500 examples of its JCW GP for sale in North America
The Mini Paceman will launch in the US with two four-pot petrol engines
Nissan has focused on improving responsive and cornering of the revised GT-R
205mph Continental GT Speed is the sister car to Bentley's GT3 racer
Charger adds muscle to Dodge's Los Angeles motor show display
Nissan Hi-Cross Concept will inform design of marque's future crossovers
Nissan has given its Sentra compact saloon an upmarket makeover
Subaru has confirmed that the new Forester will reach the UK in the summer
Toyota is promising an improved driving experience from the new RAV4
Acura's premium RLX saloon has made its first appearance in production guise
Audi A6 is part of Ingolstadt's fresh four-car diesel assault in the US
All four cars, including this Audi A7, get a 3.0-litre V6 oilburner
When the four new Audis land, the marque will have six diesel models in the US
The Q5 is already available with a variation on the 3.0-litre V6 in the US
i3 Concept Coupe points the way forward for BMW's electric strategy
Bigger Santa Fe is Hyundai's new challenger in the seven-seat market
Hyundai Veloster C3 Roll Top is apparently inspired by bicycles...
Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force points towards possible Range Rover rival
VW Beetle Cabriolet's soft-top can be lowered or raised in 9.5sec
Porsche Cayman is longer, lower, lighter and faster than its predecessor
BMW Concept K2 Powder Ride features a roof-mounted stereo and PA system
Jaguar XFR-S is the fastest saloon in the company's history
Jaguar F-type has been shown for the first time in the USA
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is aimed at hardcore off-road enthusiasts
Range Rover is being shown alongside its smaller Evoque stablemate
Volvo S60 Polestar aims to rival the class-dominating BMW M5
VW Jetta Hybrid mates a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine to a 20kW electric motor
Mitsubishi Evo X appeared in rally livery
Mitsubishi Pikes Peak competition car is all electric
Chevrolet Spark EV uses a 114bhp electric motor
Fiat 500e EV features altered bodywork for reduced drag
Fiat 500L Trekking is a lightly off-road biased of the practical 500L mini MPV
Fiat 500L is 26 inches longer than the standard hatchback, improving passenger space and comfort
Kia Forte is already on sale in Asian markets
Kia tie-up with DC comics has resulted in this Batman-themed Optima saloon
Uprated Mazda CX-5 gets new safety tech
Winter spec Mazda crossover is part of a trio of themed CX-5s
The Los Angeles motor show is one you’d struggle to mistake for another. For as California is the world’s largest market for sports and performance cars, it is here where car manufacturers come to show off their latest powered up creations.
In the recent years of economic gloom, this approach has left the show feeling a bit guilty for itself, something heightened by the fact its late in the year scheduling has people looking backwards at the year almost gone rather than forwards at the new one imminent.
But as Toyota America’s boss Jim Lentz revealed as he opened the 2012 edition of the LA motor show, the US new car market is rapidly growing. So the indulgence in performance cars can be done guilt free once again.
There was plenty to indulge in at the 2012 La motor show. Jaguar led the way with the global unveiling of its new XFR-S saloon, but the real news for the firm was the North American reveal of the F-type in what will be its largest market.
The F-type joined the new Range Rover from sibling firm Land Rover in a ‘British Invasion’ themed press conference and event on the eve of the show at the Paramount Studios. Land Rover has had its swagger back for a while now, but there was a genuine feeling among Jaguar executives that with the F-type, a model that should pave the way to future growth, it was now its time to shine.
Another big new sports car was the Porsche Cayman. All the words you want to hear when describing it next to its predecessor could be ticked off, lower, lighter and faster among them. It’s now a looker too, something you couldn’t accuse the first-generation Cayman of.
Over at Mercedes was the SLS Black Series, essentially a GT3 racer for the road. That was the brief AMG boss Ola Kallenius gave his engineers, and judging by the look of it and the spec sheet, it’s something that they’ve succeeded in. Staying with the GT3 theme, Bentley brought along its Continental GT3 racer. How long until we see a road-going version of that?
Volvo brought along an unlikely – but most welcome – performance hero in the 508bhp S60 Polestar, something that, if it makes production, would give the firm a BMW M5 rival. The only downside is that Volvo hasn’t committed to making it yet.
Volvo’s previous owner Ford brought along a model with a fair few less horses but something still significant nonetheless in the era of downsizing: the Fiesta ST. It will be interesting to see if California takes to the small performance car the same way it has the small economical car.
At the other end of the scale away from the performance cars was a strong display for the Californian motor industry’s other interest: green cars. And with the BMW i3 coupe, the Bavarian maker has perhaps created the most desirable alternatively fueled vehicle not wearing a Tesla or a Fisker badge. All-electric versions of the Chevrolet Spark and Fiat 500 also featured, but it was the 1.0-litre Ecoboost version of the Fiesta that piqued the interest the most. Surely this is a much more viable everyday option for cheap, economical and user-friendly small car motoring for the average Californian?
This being LA and California, there were the usual array of whacky design concepts, led on the Mercedes stand by the Ener-G-Force and Smart ForJeremy concepts. Another eye-catcher was a bicycle-inspired open-top version of the Hyundai Veloster.
With the growing prominence of expos in emerging markets, the motor show calendar is becoming more congested than ever. So it’s up to shows like Los Angeles – one of four international motor shows in North America alone – to remain relevant and have their own niche.
It is California’s love of performance cars, bold design concepts and fuel-sipping future technology that keeps the LA motor show’s formula relevant, and will keep it prosperous for many years yet.