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 weeks every year, LA 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: starting with a media preview next week, the event will host over 65 new vehicles, including 25 world debuts.
But even fast fingers will get tired swiping through more than 65 posts, so we’ve whittled the list to 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 — but all are ridiculously cool. Keep tabs on this link for updated photos and info in the days ahead.
2020 Land Rover Defender
When the convention center doors open, we’re making a beeline to the Land Rover display. Why? Because 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 2020 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 90 or 110 variants (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 two months ago, 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 296hp 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 early next year.
2020 Aston Martin DBX
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. Though we don’t yet have photos of its exterior or engine specs, we can expect DB11-inspired styling with AMG-sourced twin-turbo V8 power.
There’s a chance Aston Martin’s twin-turbo V12 will find its way under the hood, but more likely, hybrid and all-electric variants will follow the V8. The initial interior photos look inviting, 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 model, the DBX could become the brand’s most popular model.
Audi RS6 Avant
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 for brands to market and sell 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 591hp 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.
Ford Mach E
As a signal of the changing times, Ford will unveil a Mustang-styled, all-electric crossover SUV – in complete seriousness. The Mach E will compete directly with Tesla’s upcoming Model Y, and thanks to a keen observer on the Mach E forum, we know what it will look like. The forum member did some digging to find a hidden (though public) reservation site with images of the Mach E and all its juicy specifications.
What we can see is a swoopy, muscular crossover with clear Mustang design details – especially at the nose and rear. We might even call it attractive, but we’ll hold our final judgment for when we see it in person. 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 EV is priced beneath the Model Y, though its range and acceleration doesn’t match the Tesla. Time will tell how consumers receive a tall electric Mustang.
Bollinger B1 SUV and B2 Pickup
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 614hp 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.