The 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show had pretty much everything: diesel off-road trucks, super muscle cars, uber luxury. Heck, Mini even revealed … an electric scooter. Following are highlight cars from the show, as chosen by the journalists of Motor Trend.
Ford Shelby Mustang GT350
Not just for the heritage and what it represents but because Ford has pulled out all the stops to make what we suspect will be the best-driving Mustang ever. No compromises, no excuses, just pure, unadulterated badass.
Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Diesel
We love everything about this truck — from the aggressive stance and perfect ride height to the Duramax diesel with 369 lb-ft of twist and slick integration of a winch into the skidplate. Kudos to Chevy for bringing this to the LA show, effectively dropping the mic in the backyard of the mini truck/desert racer scene — and at the doorstep of Toyota, who dominates the midsize truck segment. Now all it has to do is build it.
Even with its wide 295/35R20 rear Pirelli tires, our 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe R has been quite a handful thanks to its 550-hp (502 lb-ft of torque) 5.0-liter supercharged V-8. Now the automaker has come up with a solution to tame the big cat’s persona. The 2016 Jaguar F-Type R will feature standard all-wheel drive. While the potential for better lap times is there, we wonder if the lack of smoky full-throttle burnouts will subdue the Jaguar‘s character too much. 550 hp and all-wheel drive are also now available in drop-top form.
The most noticeable change for the 2016 Ford Explorer is the new front end with a more SUV-like grille and headlights with standard and available LED lighting elements. Other welcome updates include a more powerful EcoBoost four-cylinder (a 2.3-liter EcoBoost replaces the 2.0-liter EcoBoost) that is now available with all-wheel drive. The base 3.5-liter V-6 and optional 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 remain. Inside, the interior can be had with more luxury and tech, and a new Platinum model rolls on 20-inch alloy wheels.
BMW X5, X6M
The BMW X5M and X6M have both been given a new engine for the model year, the M TwinPower Turbo engine. This 4.4-liter V-8 engine pumps out 575 horsepower, making it BMW’s most powerful unit for an all-wheel drive vehicle. And while not much has changed for the exterior of either model, that new engine alone is enough for us to consider it one of the show’s cars we’d most like to drive.
Mitsubishi XR-PHEV Concept
With shades of the Isuzu VehiCross and Battlestar Galactica — and one of the most brilliant paint colors we’ve ever seen — Mitsubishi‘s crossover looks ready to eat commuting duties and off-the-beaten-path fire roads while being somewhat friendly to the woods and animals.
Cadillac ATS-V R
Yes, it’s a race car that we’ll likely never drive in my life. But look at it! We can’t wait to see this thing on the race circuit.
Infiniti Q80 Inspiration
Its good looks caught our eye, and the 550 horsepower from its hybrid powertrain held our attention. While the car is just a concept for now, Infiniti says the model previews a future full-size car. And if what we see is any indication, the future Q80 could give the conservatively designed BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, and Mercedes-Benz S-Class a run for their money.
We’re gonna find that this (along with the Mazda CX-3) is the crossover many shoppers have been waiting for. Gen-Yers and empty nesters alike (Remember what happened with the Toyota Matrix and Scions?) who don’t need the space of the CR-V or RAV4 but don’t like the Fit’s styling will gobble up a quality, subcompact offering like the HR-V.
Audi Prologue Concept
This car definitely needs to be seen in person. The overall look is relatively subdued, but Audi nailed the details. The taillights are a favorite feature, as are the intricate wheels and the digital interfaces packing the instrument panel and dashboard. As for the now-commonplace six-sided grille, Audi says they did theirs first.
2016 Acura ILX
It’s impressive when a company listens to drivers. Acura is addressing what customers have told them about the previous ILX’s 2.0-liter base engine: “MOAR POWER.” The new, better-styled (incuding Acura’s jewel-eye LED headlights) ILX’s new 2.4-liter four-cylinder offers 201 hp 180 lb-ft of torque. That’s 50 hp better than the current model.
Lexus LF-C2 Concept
We were never big fans of the previous IS convertible. This thing, however, is sharp. Aside from the tiny side mirrors and the garish yellow-trimmed wheels, the LF-C2 looks ready for the production line sporting RC badges.
Volkswagen GTI Roadster Concept
Now this is a car we’d want to take for a joyride. The GTI is already great, so we can’t imagine how much fun we’d have driving this thing around. We’re simply loving that sharply raked wraparound windshield, 20-inch alloys, and, of course, that in-your-face rear wing. With 503-hp and 491 lb-ft of torque on tap, it’s hard not to love this thing.
2016 Mazda CX-3
The all-new CX-3 shares the same wheelbase as the Mazda2 subcompact but is slightly longer and wider than its hatchback sibling. Expect a 2.0-liter inline-four paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Admittedly, it is hard to notice from the outside that the Mazda6 has been refreshed for the 2016 model year. New LED taillights, a redesigned shark fin antenna, and a radically updated interior spruce up the sedan and could help this constant class-leader hold off competition from the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
Seeing something like this offered by Scion is completely refreshing. The Toyota Auris looks good in a Scion badge, and with its good looks and its sporty appearance, we don’t doubt for a second that this will help pump some more life back into the brand.
We thought we loved the S-Class. This just takes it to luxury levels that are hard to quantify. We can quantify the V-12 engine that makes 523 hp and 612 lb-ft of torque. But who really cares when you’re riding on beautiful quilted leather, with more screens available than most of us have in our houses? Just gorgeous.