Key luxury, prestige and sports cars unveiled at the LA Auto Show
01 December 2019
The 2019 Los Angeles motor show has kept the fire burning in the hearts of discerning customers, collectors and general fans of luxurious, premium and rapid cars from the Germans, Brits and other marques, with some scintillating derivatives and a clutch of new models on the way some of which may well be electric and therefore ‘green’ but certainly pack a punch. Here are the highlights we’ve picked out at Leama Specialist Cars.
Audi e-tron Sportback
Bang on trend, Audi came out of the traps with a sleeker Sportback variant of the e-tron, order books for its new and elegant ‘SUV Coupe’ opening early in the New Year with S line representing the entry-level specification. The e-tron Sportback’s visual emphasis on sportiness is clear, with a chamfered-off rear and more muscular styling overall, conveniently resulting in an improved aerodynamic drag coefficient that will help it eke out a 278-mile electric battery range. Exclusive plasma blue has been added to the palette and one of the highlights on the options list has got to be the virtual wing mirrors that see conventional glass replaced by cameras whose images are relayed to OLED displays between the instrument panel and each front door.
Drivers already familiar with Audi’s remarkable Matrix LED headlights will be smitten by the e-tron Sportback’s introduction of digital lights, while icy conditions and other challenging surfaces are set to be shrugged off by the new, continuously-regulated electric quattro system. Complete with a battery capable of recharging from flat to 80% in around 30 minutes, we envisage Audi’s second entirely electric car proving extremely popular.
Audi RS Q8
It was music to our ears that the already imposing Q8 has been sent to the gym and handed a mammoth box of protein shakes, Audi choosing the newer model over its Q7 sibling to be the first to get the full-on RS treatment. Beefed up by all the usual RS body-styling elements, alloys and badges, unique garnishes to look forward to on the RS Q8 are its RS HD Matrix HED headlights with 3D digital DRLs and the car’s RS-specific rear light animation. Inside, it’s much like an ordinary Q8 but with plenty of added reminders that it’s an RS.
It’s no secret that the Audi RS Q8 is essentially a Lamborghini Urus but with a cheaper price tag, the tried and tested 600PS twin-turbo V8 TFSI packing a whopping 800Nm/590lb ft and shoving the brute to 62mph in 3.8 seconds. All-wheel steering, RS-specific suspension dampers and motorised active roll stabilisation will try to help keep it in check, and in a nod to the polar bears, the cylinder-on-demand powertrain incorporates a camera-based 48V mild-hybrid setup that stores up to 12kW in its battery. Needless to say, the RS Q8 will be an awesome piece of kit and customers can start ordering them during the first quarter of the New Year.
BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe
Some say that Munich’s new addition to the 2 Series family is nothing more than a niche-filler but we think the introduction of a Gran Coupe version will prove justified, distilling the 4 Series and even 8 Series GCs into a compact, affordable and stylish package. Ironically, the new 2 Series Gran Coupe is built on the latest 1 Series’ architecture and shares the hatchback’s face, clever packaging resulting in 33mm more leg and knee-room plus 40 litres of extra boot space compared to the 2 Series Coupe.
The 218i and 220d Sport and M Sport variants get full-LED headlights as standard along with those pretty frameless doors, but our pick is the 306bhp M235i xDrive M Performance with a 3D mesh grille in Cerium grey. The styling of the rear may not be everyone’s cup of tea, blending a 5 and 6 Series GT vibe with a strong dose of the new 3 Series - but we’re fans. BMW has borrowed the electric i3s’ wheel-slip limitation system and incorporated it on all 2 Series Gran Coupe models along with DSC, while the M235i xDrive has been treated to a special mechanical Torsen limited-slip diff’ and sees Adaptive suspension and VDC on its options list.
BMW OS 7.0, Live Cockpit Plus/Professional, iDrive with gesture control, a head-up display, BMW Digital Key, ‘Hey BMW’ personal assistant, a Harman Kardon audio system, a procession of safety and assistance systems plus a raft of connected online services finish off the customisation potential for the new 2 Series Gran Coupe, which is available to order now priced from £25,815, with some very tempting BMW car leasing deals around too.
Ford Mustang Mach-E
Leama may be used Mercedes specialists but Stuttgart didn’t bring any new metal as such to the LA Auto Show 2019, its electric EQC joined by predictable GLE 63 S and GLS 63 badges, whereas Ford left far more jaws hanging open by revealing an all-electric SUV coupe modelled around the Mustang, which has of course always been a coupe or convertible. The Mach-E has the Jaguar I-PACE, Tesla Model 3 and other prestige EVs in its sights and although the way it looks may raise a few eyebrows amongst traditional Mustang customers, Ford knows that jacked-up SUVs are where it’s at these days. Not a single blue oval badge will be found anywhere and the Mach-E has followed the premium boys in incorporating retractable flush door handles, smartphone key access and control, fully digital instrumentation and a 15.5-inch touchscreen that would be unfair to call Tesla-like just because it’s a portrait affair. They’ve even sneaked a Bang & Olufsen sound-bar into the fabric section of the dashboard.
More practical than any Mustang in history thanks to a 100-litre washable storage compartment under the bonnet supplementing the 400-litre boot, it’s also obviously the cleanest, emitting diddly-squat and offering up to 370 miles hushed driving from its battery that can be topped up by a whisker under 60 miles in 10 minutes. The Mach-E is available now and the lineup currently includes an AWD dual motor version with a 335-mile range and a 60mph time of less than 7 seconds, plus a First Edition model, but we’re holding out for the GT variant set to arrive in 2021 with 830Nm torque breaking the 5-second barrier and a fake grille that we feel looks better than the smoothed-off chin of other Mach-Es.
We will continue to keep our luxury, prestige and sports car-buying and leasing customers informed on new car launches, motor shows and industry news plus other tips, advice and views throughout 2020, and you can also follow us on Instagram to see what Leama Specialist Cars is up to on a daily basis.