Los Angeles is the haven for the rich and famous, a city that’s practically dripping with luxury everywhere that’s west of the 110 freeway.
It’s a natural fit for automakers to unveil the latest in their luxury wares once a year at the Los Angeles auto show, but this year, things seem even more luxurious than usual.
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There are the usual luxury players, like Porsche, which is using the L.A. show to unveil its Targa and Cayman GT4 Clubsport models, which may not carry a six-figure pricetag, but expand each model’s respective lineup to niche buyers. Alfa Romeo has a new model. Aston Martin is riding the high of showing its DB10 James Bond show car. Hyundai is planning tolaunch its Genesis brandin December, just after the auto show concludes. (Interestingly, Cadillac and Audi are rather quiet this year.)
Ultra-luxury comes in many forms at the L.A. auto show. Start with the exterior design of the Bentley Bentayga, which uses visual tricks like oversized headlights and scaled-up emblems and emblazonments to mask its king-size presence—but looks perfect in a garden setting in West Hollywood. Sang Yup Lee, a native of Los Angeles, led the Bentayga’s design, and noted that it was important from the vehicle’s inception that it fit in, in L.A. “We don’t make small cars,” Lee said, explaining how the Bentayga differentiates itself in a segment crowded with high-dollar SUVs. Lee points to the Bentayga’s bespoke design elements, like inset headlights and the multi-tier, oversized mesh grille, as well as its overall fit and finish, as proof points that Bentley is primed to introduce an SUV and succeed with it. Lee smiled when we asked him if the Bentayga had to be Bentley’s only SUV. With a Maybach version of the Mercedes-Benz GLS rumored, as well as Rolls-Royce’s “Project Cullinen” upcoming, it’s an interesting time to launch in an entirely new category for the brand.