2018 L.A. Auto Show: Top Cars

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCars, Cars and More Cars
Based on U.S. sales, it seems like most auto shoppers prefer new trucks and SUVs over the typical passenger car; however, that said, the car is far from dead. Coming in all shapes and sizes with varying levels of luxury and performance, there were plenty of new cars on display at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show to capture the interest of all sorts of new cars shoppers. What follows are the new cars introduced at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi e-Tron GT Concept
This German car company continues its march toward producing fully-electric vehicles with the introduction of its latest e-Tron model, the e-Tron GT. This stunning, low-slung four door possesses sleek styling, thanks in part to its flat-floor architecture and further emphasized by captivating 22-inch wheels. Looking a bit like a futuristic A7, the GT is adorned with the familiar Audi Singleframe grille as well as large air inlets that cool the battery and brakes. The overall look features a sloping roofline that flows smoothly to incorporate the rear hatch. At the rear is a light strip that widens into taillights at each side.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi e-Tron GT Concept
The e-Tron GT will have power appropriate to its sporty styling. Twin electric motors — one powering each axle — combine to generate a plentiful 590 horsepower. Audi expects that the production version would be able to sprint to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds, and 124 mph would come up in around 12 seconds, with an eventual top speed limited to almost 150 mph. The GT should be able to travel up to 249 miles between charges. The e-Tron GT is expected to go into production in late 2020, following the e-Tron SUV and e-Tron Sportback. Audi plans to offer 12 fully-electric vehicles by the year 2025.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW 3 Series
BMW introduced the seventh generation of its best-selling model ever — the 3 Series — at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. For more than four decades, this iconic sport sedan has been the benchmark against which all other sport sedans are measured — a standard that is unlikely to change. The BMW 3 Series originally arrived in the U.S. in 1976 as a 1977 model, and the all-new BMW 3 Series offers the next step forward in design, suspension, engines and technology. Still easily recognizable as BMW, the new 3 Series is built low and wide with large BMW kidney-shaped grilles surrounded by a single frame and wide bars that connect to the headlights. The new 3 Series hood includes four contour lines that flow forward to the kidney-shaped grille, and the front bumper contains horizontal T-shaped outer air intakes that also integrate optional fog lights.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW 3 Series
Initially available as the 330i or all-wheel drive 330i xDrive, the new 3 Series is powered by an upgraded TwinPower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 255 horsepower between 5000 and 6500 rpm, and 295 lb-ft of torque from 1500 to 4400 rpm. The new engine delivers 7 horsepower and 37 lb-ft of torque more than the previous version. Joining the 330i next spring will be the M340i, which gets a new turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine producing 382 horsepower as well as M Sport chassis tuning and M Sport rear differential.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW 8 Series Convertible
Following the introduction of the sexy BMW 8 Series coupe at the Paris Motor Show earlier this fall, BMW took the wraps off the open-top version in L.A. — the BMW 8 Series Convertible. With seating for four, the 8 Series convertible features a fully-electric soft-top that can open or close in 15 seconds at speeds up to 30 mph. The top is fully insulated with multiple fabric layers designed to keep the cabin quiet; the top’s light weight also lowers the center of gravity, thus improving ride and handling. A standard wind deflector keeps breezes down in the front seat, and optional neck warmers are welcome on a cold day.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW 8 Series Convertible
BMW hasn’t sold an 8 Series in more than 20 years, and this new one will be initially available only as the M850i xDrive. This new flagship convertible is powered by the latest version of the BMW 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V8 engine. Power is sent to all four wheels via an 8-speed Steptronic Sport transmission. With 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque on tap, the 8 Series Convertible can sprint to 60 mph in a mere 3.8 seconds on its way to a governed top speed of 155 mph.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceKia Niro EV
When Kia introduced the Niro hybrid a few years back, the company promised that a plug-in hybrid and pure EV would be coming soon. The plug-in hybrid went on sale last year, and at this year’s L.A. Auto Show the all-electric Niro finally debuted. Offering the functionality of a typical compact crossover, the Niro EV utilizes a liquid-cooled 64kWh lithium-ion polymer battery stored under the floor so cabin space is unaffected. With a unique front fascia and dummy grille (no engine cooling is needed), the Niro EV stands out from the rest of the lineup. Niro also sports unique 17-inch alloy wheels designed to reduce wind drag.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceKia Niro EV
The Niro EV gets its motivation from an electric motor that produces 201 horsepower and a strong 291 lb-ft of torque that comes on instantly for great acceleration. Range hasn’t been announced, but based on the battery power it should be in excess of 200 miles. With a DC fast charger, Niro EV can gain about 100 miles of range for every 30 minutes of charge. With a Level 2 charger, a full charge will take around 9.5 hours — or overnight for most owners. Since electric cars run silent, Kia has given the Niro EV an artificial sound described as a “techy whirring noise.” While this does make the Niro EV sound pretty cool, the noise is actually designed as a safety feature to alert pedestrians to the car’s presence.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceKia Soul
It’s been about 10 years since Kia introduced the uniquely-styled Soul. At the time, there were a number of “boxy” design models on the road, but Soul is the only one that has not only survived but flourished. Now the Soul is entering its third generation with the introduction of the completely new 2020 model, featuring all-new styling and an array of new features. While the Soul retains its iconic shape, it gets a modern look with slim headlights, LED daytime running lights and boomerang-shaped taillights that frame the rear window. Inside, the Soul features integrated tweeter speakers and optional mood lighting with multiple color choices that synchronizes to the beat of the music emanating from the audio system.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceKia Soul
The new Soul will be available with a choice of two gasoline engines as well as a pure electric powertrain. A 147-horsepower 2.0-liter engine is standard, but for those looking for a bit more grunt a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine generates 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque, teamed with a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox. And for those seeking a more environmentally-friendly option, there’s the fully-electric Soul EV. With similar underpinnings as the Kia Niro EV, the Soul EV gets 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque. The Soul EV stands out with a unique front bumper and fog lights, exclusive EV 17-inch alloy wheels and a front-mounted charging port.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMazda Mazda3
A year ago Mazda showed the beautiful Kai Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show and the reaction was very positive. Now the company is showing off the production version of the all-new Mazda3 and it remains surprisingly similar to the original concept. Available as a hatchback or sedan, the Mazda3 adopts the latest evolution of the company’s KODO design, with the goal of giving the hatchback more emotional styling, while the sedan is designed to have a more elegant stance.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMazda Mazda3
Mazda hasn’t announced which powerplants will be available in America; however, expect the lineup to be similar to the current offerings, which include a 2.5-liter Skyactiv G motor. The Mazda3 will also be available with Mazda’s i-Activ all-wheel drive system as well as a suite of available high-tech safety features. These include i-Activsense which uses both an infrared camera and infrared LED to observe the driver’s condition while driving, checking to see how wide open the driver’s eyelids are and the number of times he or she blinks in order to determine the level of drowsiness or fatigue. It also monitors the driver’s line of sight and eye movement to determine when the driver is being inattentive.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-AMG GT
The flagship sportscar of the Mercedes-AMG lineup was on display in Los Angeles, sporting updated styling that brings it closer in line with its new 4-door sibling. At first glance the GT Coupe and Roadster don’t look very different but make no mistake — changes have been made. The LED high-performance headlights now feature an arched light that functions as daytime running lights as well as turn signals. The AMG GT and GT C get an updated rear bumper with a contrasting black diffuser insert. Adding to the sporty look are updated LED taillights that appear even deeper set within a dark background. Tailpipes have also been updated — the AMG GT now has twin round outlets, while the AMG GT C has trapezoidal-shaped twin pipes.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-AMG GT
Inside, the AMG GT adopts the 4-Door’s digital dashboard with a 12.3-inch instrument cluster along with a 10.25-inch center display. Three distinct AMG-specific display styles are available for the instruments — “Classic,” “Sporty” or “Supersport.” The latest AMG steering wheel can now be found in the AMG GT with its flat bottom section and heavily contoured rim. The steering wheel is trimmed in black Nappa leather with perforations at the sides to for optimum grip. Performance remains outstanding —the AMG GT gets an AMG 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine producing 469 horsepower, while the AMG GT C upgrades to 550 horsepower. Both models can sprint to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds with a top speed for the GT C reaching 196 mph.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-AMG GT R Pro
Mercedes-AMG also revealed the latest version of its street-legal race car in Los Angeles — the AMG GT R Pro. Taking lessons learned from the AMG GT3 and AMG GT4 race cars, the GT R Pro gets improvements in suspension, aerodynamics, construction and appearance. The AMG GT R Pro is already lightweight through its use of multiple carbon fiber components. Now further weight savings is achieved via ceramic composite high-performance braking system standard. The lightweight AMG Performance Twin 5-spoke forged wheels reduce the car’s overall weight as well.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-AMG GT R Pro
Aerodynamics have been fine tuned for the AMG GT R Pro to improve performance. The front apron has been redesigned and is fitted with two flics at the sides made of clear-coated carbon fiber. The front splitter is extended forward with small metal braces to stabilize at higher speeds. At the rear, the spoiler is fitted with a lip that increases downforce at the rear axle. The spoiler now sits on milled aluminum brackets, similar to those found on racing cars. Powering the AMG GT R Pro is a more powerful version of the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that produces 577 horsepower. With AMG GT3 racing driver Maro Engel behind the wheel, the GT R Pro completed a lap of Germany’s famed Nurburgring racetrack in 7.04.632 — considerably quicker than the previous version of the AMG GT R.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNissan Maxima
Nissan’s flagship sedan came to the L.A. Show with revised exterior styling including a larger V-Motion grille, interior updates and available Nissan Safety Shield 360 with advanced driver-assist systems. Safety Shield 360 includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, high-beam assist and rear automatic braking. Maxima’s new updated exterior is the product of Nissan Design America in La Jolla, California, which showcases the evolution of V-Motion design with a larger grille and a deeper V that flows into the hood. The grille is flanked by standard LED headlights and Nissan signature boomerang daytime running lights.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNissan Maxima
Inside, the Maxima features a driver-oriented cockpit and seating for five occupants, with a new seat insert pattern and charcoal headliner for the Maxima SR and Platinum Reserve Package. Depending on the trim level, the instrument panel, door panels, steering wheel, seat materials, headliner and pillars have been upgraded. The exclusive powertrain for all trim levels of the 2019 Nissan Maxima is a 300-horsepower version of Nissan’s award winning 3.5-liter V6 engine combined with a CVT transmission. Standard equipment for all trim levels is sport-tuned steering, brakes and suspension. The 2019 Nissan Maxima is scheduled to go on sale in December 2018.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 911
California is one of the most important markets for Porsche, so it is fitting that the German car company chose the L.A. Auto Show to debut the 8th generation of the legendary 911. “California is the ideal place to introduce the new 911. California has been like a second home to Porsche for decades,” said Oliver Blume, CEO of Porsche AG. “The 8th generation of the 911 is even more powerful, even more emotional, and even more efficient than its predecessor.” Of course, like all the generations before it, this new version still looks like a 911, but there have been a number of updates. The new 911 is wider thanks to larger fenders, and features newly-developed LED headlights. Exterior mirrors have been redesigned to reduce wind noise.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 911
The initial trims of the 2020 Porsche 911 will be the Carrera S and Carrera 4S. Both are powered by the next-generation turbocharged flat-six motor that produces 443 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque. The new 911 gets a number of feature updates — one of the most interesting is Wet Mode. This function detects water on the road, then adjusts the stability control and anti-lock brake systems accordingly and warns the driver. The 2020 911 Carrera S will have a base price of $113,200, and the 4S will start at $120,600. Dealers are accepting orders now, with deliveries expected to begin next summer.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche Panamera GTS
The Porsche Panamera and Panamera Sport Turismo are excellent grand touring cars offering spacious, luxurious interiors and proper Porsche-like performance. But for those who seek a more sporting Panamera without giving up any of its GT qualities, there’s the all-new Panamera GTS. GTS stands for Gran Turismo Sport — a blend of a comfortable GT-type ride with Sport performance. The new Panamera GTS is available as either a standard Panamera or a Panamera Sport Turismo. Although standard features and equipment are identical on the two versions, there are some slight performance differences given the additional weight of the Sport Turismo.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche Panamera GTS
The GTS sets itself apart from the rest of the Panamera lineup in both style and performance. From a visual standpoint, the GTS comes with a SportDesign package that features high-gloss black trim all around. This includes window trim, exhaust outlets, side vents, front grille and GTS logos on the doors. The Porsche logos are also in black, and the taillights get a dark tint. The car’s outstanding capability comes in part from adaptive air suspension and a sport chassis, as a well as massive 6-piston aluminum monobloc fixed-caliper brakes in front, 4-piston in the rear, and Pirelli P-Zero tires. Powering the new Panamera GTS is a 4.0-liter biturbo V8 engine producing 460 horsepower and 457 lb-ft of torque at a low 1800 rpm. Power gets handled through a quick-shifting 8-speed dual-clutch PDK gearbox, sent to all four wheels via Porsche’s active all-wheel-drive system.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota Avalon TRD
Avalon is Toyota’s flagship sedan, offering luxury features in a quiet, comfortable ride – as such, this is not the vehicle one would expect to receive a makeover from Toyota Racing Development. But that’s exactly what the Japanese car company has done, showing off the Avalon TRD at this year’s L.A. Auto Show. With added aero elements, red pinstriping, red brake calipers, a stainless steel TRD exhaust tip, red seat belts and matte-black 19-inch alloy wheels, the Avalon TRD certainly isn’t subtle.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota Avalon TRD
The Avalon TRD is based on the XSE trim and sports a 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 301 horsepower. With a sport-tuned cat-back dual exhaust the Avalon gets a bit more roar at idle as well as under acceleration. Handling is improved with thicker underbody braces for increased torsional rigidity and unique coil springs that lower the vehicle by 0.6 inches for a reduced center of gravity. Specially tuned shock absorbers help improve body control and handling. The front brakes are larger with 12.9-inch diameter rotors and dual-piston calipers, compared to 12.0-inch rotors and single piston calipers found on XSE grades. The Avalon TRD will go on sale in the fall of next year as a 2020 model.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota Camry TRD
Like the Avalon TRD, the Camry is not typically thought of as a sporty vehicle, but the Toyota Racing Design improvements will definitely add a level of performance to this family sedan. The Camry TRD is based on the SE trim and receives the same suspension and braking upgrades found on the Avalon TRD. This performance Camry also uses the same 301-horsepower V6 powerplant with cat-back exhaust — talk about a zippy Camry. In addition to the TRD aero body features, the Camry TRD gets a gloss-black grille with a sport mesh insert and black exterior badging. Available colors include the appropriately dramatic Supersonic Red, Windchill Pearl, Celestial Silver Metallic and Midnight Black Metallic.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota Camry TRD
The Camry TRD gets matte-black 19-inch alloy wheels that are slightly wider than the Avalon TRD. The wheels are fitted with Bridgestone Potenza summer tires for improved handling and more precise steering. Camry’s chassis also gets upgraded with stiffer coil springs and front/rear sway bars for increased roll stiffness of 44 percent up front and 67 percent at the rear. Add to that a unique set of TRD shock absorbers. The Camry TRD also gets a sporty look inside, featuring Black Sport SofTex-trimmed front seats with fabric inserts, red accents and red-stitched TRD embroidered head restraints. The leather-wrapped steering wheel also has red stitching, and the red theme gets carried over to the seat belts. Like the Avalon, the Camry TRD arrives in showrooms next fall as a 2020 model.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota Prius AWD-e
Toyota’s groundbreaking Prius hybrid has been and continues to be one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in America, and for 2019 the Prius become one of the most fuel-efficient all-wheel drive models. The new AWD-e system uses an independent electric motor on the rear axle that will power the rear wheels from zero to 6 mph to improve launch in slippery conditions — when needed the motor will engage at speeds up to 43 mph. The new Prius AWD-e also gets updated styling which will carry through to the rest of the Prius lineup.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota Prius AWD-e
The Prius AWD-e uses the same Hybrid Synergy Drive system as the rest of the Prius lineup, consisting of a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine teamed with two motor/generators to produce a total of 121 horsepower. With expected fuel economy numbers of 52 mpg city / 48 mpg highway / 50 mpg combined, Toyota believes the all-wheel drive Prius will make up about 25 percent of Prius sales. Like the rest of the Toyota lineup, the Prius AWD-e will have the Toyota Safety Sense suite of high-tech safety features as standard equipment, which includes pre-collision braking and lane-departure alert with steering assist.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota Corolla Hybrid
A few weeks ago Toyota provided a sneak peek at the all-new 2020 Corolla, and this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show the hybrid version of this best-seller rolled out. Surprisingly, this is the first-ever hybrid version of the Corolla, which will use the latest version of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive from the new-generation Prius. This is now possible thanks to Toyota’s new global architecture. There won’t be many visible differences between the hybrid and non-hybrid Corolla, but the hybrid will ride on dedicated 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels fitted with low-resistance tires.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota Corolla Hybrid
The Corolla Hybrid will be powered by a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine teamed with two electric motors and an electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission to deliver a combined 121 horsepower. While this doesn’t seem like much power, on acceleration from a stop the electric motors will provide a small boost that should make the new Corolla feel a bit quicker. The electric motors will pull power from a nickel-metal hydride battery pack that is smaller and lighter than previous versions, allowing it to fit under the rear seat so it doesn’t infringe on available cargo space. Although it hasn’t been tested yet by the EPA, Toyota is predicting the Corolla Hybrid will achieve more than 50 mpg when it arrives in showrooms next spring.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceVolkswagen Beetle Final Edition
The party is finally over — again. In Los Angeles Volkswagen announced that production of the iconic Beetle will end following the 2019 model year. “The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle’s many devoted fans,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, president and CEO of the Volkswagen Group of America. “As we move to being a full-line, family-focused automaker in the U.S. and ramp up our electrification strategy with the MEB platform, there are no immediate plans to replace it.” When the original Beetle ended production in 2003, VW created the Última Edición (final edition) to commemorate the small car’s long run, offered in beige or blue. This time around the Final Edition colors will be represented by Safari Uni and Stonewashed Blue.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceVolkswagen Beetle Final Edition
The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition will be available as a coupe or convertible in SE or SEL trim. The Final Editions get a number of unique features and treatments depending on the trim level, and all Final Editions replace the typical “Turbo” badge on the tailgate with a “Beetle” badge. Special wheels, chrome treatment and available bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights also help this commemorative model stand out. The Beetle Final Edition will start at $23,045 for the SE coupe, ranging up to $29,995 for the SEL convertible.