What can we expect to see next week at the Los Angeles Auto Show that we’ve not seen before? It’s the first major North American auto show of the season, open to the public on Dec. 1 with press events in advance. Check out globedrive.com for news and updates.
Undoubtedly the star of the show, Jeep’s new Wrangler has been teased and leaked and tweaked all year, with parts of it shown already at the SEMA Show in LasVegas, but we’ve never seem the whole thing in the metal. This is the first major redesign since the Wrangler was launched in 2006, and the new generation features an eight-speed automatic transmission and a pair of new engines, additional to the current 3.6-litre V-6. The bodywork’s been overhauled but it still looks like a Jeep, with a fold-down windshield and a floating axle.
BMW will have two world debuts at the show. The M3 CS is a special edition of the M3 that weighs 50 kilograms less than the standard model, and its extensive use of carbon fibre means it will be expensive. The other debut is probably even more expensive: It’s the roadster version of the i8 electric car, teased for the past year and finally set for introduction three years after the hardtop model.
Jaguar Land Rover
Jaguar Land Rover promised recently to provide electrified versions of every vehicle on its fleet by 2020, and the new plug-in hybrid electric models of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport that will debut in L.A. are part of that promise.
The new Mazda6 is “re-engineered and refined” for 2018, though Mazda stops short of calling the latest version of its flagship sedan a new generation. Its cabin is redesigned (for the third time since this generation was introduced in 2012) and driver-assistance technology is now up to date. The turbocharged 2.5-litre engine that’s in the current CX-9 is now available as an option, and the regular 2.5-litre engine includes standard cylinder deactivation.
Mercedes CLS, the “four-door” coupe, enters its third generation with a new 3.0-litre engine taken from the S-Class that makes 376 hp, but built on the same platform as the smaller E-Class. Its exterior design is subtly altered, but it has a new interior and the same digital dash as the top-of-the-line S-Class.
One of the most interesting debuts is the all-new Infiniti QX50 from Nissan’s premium brand. The mid-size SUV is built on an all-new platform and features the world’s first production-ready variable compression gas engine. The Infiniti’spistons vary their reach within the cylinders automatically, changing the compression ratio anywhere from 8:1 for performance to 14:1 for fuel efficiency. Theoretically – and hopefully in practice – this offers the advantages of both a performance gas engine with a high-torque and frugal diesel engine, creating 268 hp and 280 lbs-ft of torque.
The new Infiniti QX80 is also on the stand. It was officially debuted this month at the Dubai auto show. It’s a full-size SUV built on the same platform as before, and uses the same 5.6-litre 400 hp engine, but the cabin and the bodywork are revised for its new generation.
The new 718 Boxster GTS and Cayman GTS will debut with their 2.5-litre flat-four turbo engines now creating 365 hp, up 15 hp from the 718 S models and up to 35 hp more than the previous, naturally aspirated GTS models.
We don’t know much about the new seven-seater Subaru Ascent, except that it will be the largest vehicle in the auto maker’s lineup. It’s the third vehicle to be constructed on Subaru’s Global Platform, after the Impreza and Crosstrek, and it will surely be an SUV.
The Lexus RX 350 is the top-selling model for Toyota’s premium brand, and now the RX 350L that we’ll see in L.A. adds a third row of seats for more passengers. Apparently, the wheelbase is unchanged but the rear cargo overhang is stretched to make the space for the extra seats. An RX 450L hybrid is expected soon, perhaps in time for the Detroit auto show in January.
The compact XC40 crossover has already been to Toronto to shoot nighttime commercials, and it was officially revealed in September at Milan Fashion Week, but it’s never been seen at an auto show before now. The biggest deal about Volvo’s smallest car is that it can be bought in the U.S. and six other countries with “Care by Volvo,” a two-year subscription that provides absolutely everything, including tires, maintenance and insurance – but not yet in Canada.