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2019 LA Auto Show recap: Debuts from BMW, Ford, VW and more

The LA Auto Show brought a wide variety of cars to the City of Angels, from Ford's Mach-E to VW's wild EV wagon.

Ford Mustang Mach-E
The Ford Mustang Mach-E is one of LA's most important debuts.
Nick Miotke/Roadshow

The 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show, like every other major auto show, doesn't have a specific theme. While LA makes an excellent backdrop for cushy luxury vehicles and other metal that best fits into a Hollywood lifestyle, there really is something for everyone at the LA Auto Show.

This year, we were to a wide variety of cars, both concepts and those destined for production. An electric Ford Mustang SUV? Sure! A wild space-wagon concept from Germany? Why not? Heck, there's even a 300-horsepower Toyota RAV4 here. Let's take a look at what's out.

Acura MDX PMC Edition

Even though it briefly made an appearance at a previous auto show, the MDX PMC Edition makes its debut at the LA Auto Show.

Like the TLX PMC before it, the important part of this special edition is that it will be hand-built at Acura's Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC... get it?) in Ohio, the same place where the NSX is built. These thoroughly optioned models will be limited to a run of just 330, only 300 of which will stay in the US, with our frosty northern neighbors receiving the rest. The sole color on offer is Valencia red pearl, which looks stunning in person. 

Alfa Romeo 2020 updates

Alfa Romeo's presence at the 2019 LA Auto Show isn't about a single car. Instead, the automaker chose to debut a wide variety of updates to all its current models.

Both the Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV receive some infotainment updates, including a new 8.8-inch touchscreen on their dashboards. Connectivity will get a boost, thanks to the availability of a Wi-Fi hotspot and emergency-calling capability. Both cars also receive new driver assistance systems, including traffic-jam assist, blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist. The Giulia, Stelvio and 4C sports cars also pick up new colors and updated interior trims.

Aston Martin DBX

Aston Martin's first SUV is here, and you're definitely not going to mistake it for a car from any other automaker.

The Aston Martin DBX borrows most of its looks from the Vantage coupe, but most of its familial location is out back, where the rear of the DBX looks like it was lifted straight from the Vantage. Its 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 produces an ample 542 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Its 48-volt electronic anti-roll system should give it handling chops that befit an Aston Martin, and inside, owners will find plenty of comfort (and leather). With a price tag north of $190,000 in the US, it's certainly priced like an Aston, too.

Audi E-Tron Sportback

Just as we expected -- and saw in a thinly  veiled "prototype" guise -- the E-Tron Sportback is a sleeker, "coupe-over" variant of the E-Tron electric SUV. Under that body is the same hardware as the regular E-Tron, sporting an electric motor on each axle that combines for a net 355 horsepower, with 402 hp possible in overboost mode. Its EPA-estimated range hasn't been published yet, but there are some hidden tweaks that might see the E-Tron Sportback post a higher number than its flat-roof sibling.

The E-Tron Sportback's front motor can completely decouple from the rest of the powertrain when it's not needed, which will reduce mechanical drag and provide some of those aforementioned range benefits. It's also capable of using more of its 95-kWh battery pack, and there some thermal management improvements tucked away in there, too. Heck, even the silhouette itself is a contributor to improved efficiency, offering less drag. 

Audi RS Q8

Audi's top-tier SUV finally has a variant spicy enough to earn the RS badge.

The 2020 Audi RS Q8 is the latest addition to the automaker's SUV stable, rocking a body that's wider and lower than the standard Q8. The interior gets a new flat-bottom steering wheel, in addition to other RS-specific aesthetic upgrades. The real meat and potatoes lies under the hood, where a 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 produces 592 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. Think of it as a Lamborghini Urus for people who don't need to be that shouty.

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe

BMW's latest sedan might rankle some cankles with its transverse front-drive powertrain, but in our personal experience, it's nothing to worry about -- and, in fact, it might well be a top contender in its space.

The 2 Series Gran Coupe is a compact sedan slotting beneath the 3 Series. Two variants will go on sale in the US: the 228i and the M235i, both of which will carry all-wheel drive in the US. The M235i Gran Coupe sounds beefy, with a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 producing 301 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, good for a sprint to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds.


Do you like carbon fiber? Good, because BMW's hottest version of its M2 coupe has a whole lot of the flashy, lightweight stuff.

The BMW M2 CS is the most hard-core M2 to date. Its 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged I6 produces 444 hp, a bump of 39 hp over the M2 Competition, but torque remains the same at 406 lb.-ft. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, but a seven-speed dual-clutch is also on offer. The car is further equipped with an active exhaust, as well as carbon-fiber reinforced plastic on the splitter, rear spoiler and mirrors. The hood utilizes regular carbon fiber, as well, meaning this car should be nice and light.

BMW M8 Gran Coupe

If you're looking lustily at the BMW M8 performance coupe, but you wish it had a couple of extra doors and some more interior space, then the M8 Gran Coupe is the car for you.

The M8 Gran Coupe is a fair bit larger than the M8 coupe, measuring some 9.1 inches longer and 1.4 inches wider. The engine remains unchanged, though -- it's a twin-turbocharged V8 putting down 600 hp, or 617 if you opt for the Competition variant. What's most interesting about the M8 Gran Coupe is that it's actually less expensive than the coupe, starting at $130,995 including destination.

BMW X5 M, X6 M

We've seen both of BMW's super-SUVs, the X5 M and X6 M, albeit only digitally. At the LA Auto Show, we'll get up close and personal with these two for the first time.

Both the X5 M and X6 M carry a 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 engine, producing 600 hp and 553 lb.-ft. of torque. If that's not enough, the Competition variant will produce 617 hp -- the same numbers found in BMW M8 variants. Both SUVs will reach 60 mph in less than 4 seconds, making these big brutes mighty quick. And, like every other M car out there, the X5 and X6 carry much more aggressive looks than the more-pedestrian variants.

Buick Encore GX

Buick's smallest SUV has spawned a slightly larger model that will slot between the standard Encore and the larger Envision.

The Buick Encore GX occupies the "white space" between those two SUVs by taking the Encore and giving it a li'l stretch. There's 5 more cubic feet of cargo space, and folding the seats will let the Encore GX handle items up to 8 feet long. The base engine is a 1.2-liter inline-3 producing 137 hp, and there's also a 1.3-liter I3 available with 155 hp. Front-wheel drive is standard, as is a continuously variable transmission, but all-wheel drive is available on both engines.

Chevy Trailblazer

No, you didn't stumble into a time machine. The Chevy Trailblazer is back, but it's more than a little different.

The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer is now a small SUV, slotting between the Trax and Equinox much in the same way the Buick Encore GX lives between the Encore and Envision. With a starting price under $20,000, this little guy is aiming for efficiency with a dose of brawny aesthetics, packing the same three-cylinder engines as the Encore GX. It's also loaded to the brim with safety tech. Expect this diminutive ute to hit dealerships next spring.

Dodge Challenger 50th Anniversary Edition

The Dodge Challenger soldiers on, offering a full-size coupe with a variety of engines that range from mild to absolutely wild. For 2020, the automaker is rolling out a new special edition that celebrates a Challenger milestone.

The 2020 Dodge Challenger 50th Anniversary Edition celebrates the half-centennial that has taken place between the debut of the original Challenger and right now. 70 cars will be available in one of four different trims: GT, R/T Shaker, R/T Scat Pack Shaker and Scat Pack Shaker Widebody. Retro paint colors are the name of the game, and the wheels have a clever vintage look to them, too. These upgrades are a relative bargain, too, adding between $4,000 and $6,000 to the car's bottom line.

Ford Mustang Mach-E

Oh, yes, it's here. Ford has taken the wraps off the Mustang Mach-E, easily the most controversial vehicle to wear the Mustang badge -- except for the Mustang II, perhaps, but that's because it was bad.

The Mustang Mach-E, on the other hand, looks promising as hell. Wearing more than a little 'Stang influence on just about every surface, it's handily the sportiest SUV Ford has ever built, and its electric underpinnings prepare the automaker to enter the EV foray in earnest. With a variety of trims on offer, each promising different performance and range figures, there should be something for everyone. If you like tech, there's a ton of that in here, too, including one of the biggest in-car screens we've ever laid eyes on. We can't wait to drive it. Heck, we can't wait to just get closer to it on the show floor.

Genesis G90

The latest iteration of Genesis G90 has finally arrived in the US, and it's definitely a polarizing one, adopting a whole bunch of new design elements, including a front grille that's nearly the size of the car itself.

The US-spec 2020 Genesis G90 has upgrades on many fronts. Its new 12.3-inch infotainment screen packs not only Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but over-the-air updates, as well. There's also a whole new suite of active and passive driver aids, like adaptive cruise control with lane centering. The powertrains, on the other hand, are the same as before, with Genesis offering either a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 or a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8. It should arrive at dealers in December.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

The Hyundai Ioniq is available as a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and an electric vehicle, and the latter has received some serious updates at the 2019 LA Auto Show.

The 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Electric sports a larger battery, measuring 38.3 kWh against the outgoing battery's 28 kWh. That improves its range from 124 miles to 170, a solid upgrade. It can charge faster, too, thanks to a new 7.2-kW charger. Rounding out the powertrain changes is a bigger electric motor, which now makes 134 horsepower, an improvement of 16.

Hyundai RM19

The Hyundai Veloster is already a pretty solid car, but Hyundai decided to get real weird with it and turned the entire idea of the Veloster on its head with the new RM19.

The Hyundai RM19 is not your average Veloster. A tuned 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 produces about 390 horsepower, more than the Veloster N TCR race car that donated the four-pot. It's also mounted midship, for extra weirdness. Combined with a six-speed sequential transmission and rear-wheel drive, the RM19 will sprint to 60 in under 4 seconds, which is impressively quick. Better yet, Hyundai might actually build the darn thing, and it could even be electrified.

Hyundai Vision T concept

It was briefly teased ahead of the show, but now we've seen it in person, and it's pretty wild.

The Hyundai Vision T concept likely points to the next-generation Tucson small SUV, if its name is any indication. Its grille is basically a light show, and its fenders have some serious sculpting. It's a fair bit bigger than the current Tucson, measuring some 5.3 inches longer. Also, unlike the current Tucson, this concept packs a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The future of Hyundai's crossovers is plenty bright.

Jaguar XJ Collection

Jaguar's biggest sedan will sing its swan song in LA.

The Jaguar XJ Collection bids farewell to a model that will disappear -- at least temporarily -- for the first time in more than 50 years. That's a long run for this cat, and sending it off is this new trim level. Only 300 will be built, all of which are destined for the US. Its 470-hp V8 will provide more than enough motive force, while the interior picks up a few unique touches to help send this car off in style. With a starting price of $85,500 less destination, it also represents an $11,000 price cut over the usual V8 XJ. 

Karma Revero GTS

We've already seen -- and driven -- the latest iteration of Karma's new Revero. But we haven't seen everything up this fledgling company's sleeve.

At the LA Auto Show, Karma debuted the Revero GTS, the performance variant of the Revero GT. Acceleration is improved, with the GTS reaching 60 mph in under 3.9 seconds, about a half-second improvement over the GT, but top speed is limited to 130 mph. Torque vectoring is standard, and its twin electric motors produce 536 hp and 635 lb.-ft. of torque. Using a combination of the battery and a gas-powered range extender, the GTS offers a net range of 360 miles. 

Karma SC2 concept

In addition to the Revero GTS, Karma has a second follow-up vehicle at the 2019 LA Auto Show, albeit a slightly more theoretical one.

The Karma SC2 concept is a sort of successor to the SC1 concept that debuted earlier this year in China. Not only is the follow-up sporty and gorgeous, it packs a serious punch. A pair of electric motors combine to produce a claimed 1,100 hp, which is generally accepted as enough. Its 120-kWh battery permits a theoretical range of 350 miles. The interior not only has a unique style, but it's loaded with some fancy materials. It also has this wild system called Drive and Play, which records a person's entire drive and plays it back on a laser projector when the vehicle is stopped.

Now a little spicier.


Kia Niro

The Kia Niro, like the Hyundai Ioniq, is available in three different electrified flavors, and now it's a little more appealing.

Kia debuted the 2020 Niro at the LA Auto Show with a host of mild changes. The front fascia has been changed up a bit, with LED running lights on the sides. New wheel designs round out the aesthetic updates. Inside, there's new tech to take in, like a standard 8-inch touchscreen that's expanded to 10.25 inches in certain configurations. Unlike the Ioniq, which features some powertrain updates for the 2020 model year, everything under the skin of the 2020 Niro remains unchanged.

Kia Seltos

The Hyundai Venue isn't the only super-subcompact Korean SUV in town.

The 2021 Kia Seltos brings small style to the Korean automaker. Sporting a wild style that's reminiscent of recent concepts, the Seltos was originally confirmed for Europe before its introduction in LA, which cements its availability stateside, too. Two different engines are on offer: A naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter with 146 hp, and a 1.6-liter turbocharged I4 with 176 hp. For those in frostier climates, all-wheel drive will be available, too. Inside, an 8-inch touchscreen is standard, but options can bump that up to 10.25 inches. Expect the Seltos to arrive at US dealers in the first quarter of 2020.

Kia Seltos X-Line concepts

In addition to rolling out the real-deal Seltos, Kia brought a pair of concepts to LA that take the Seltos in a weird, wild direction.

The Kia Seltos X-Line concepts are clearly ready for some off-road action.The gray Urban Concept is a little milder, with a gloss-black roof and gold accents on its rally-inspired wheels. The brighter Trail Attack Concept picks up a set of quad rally headlights, in addition to even more lights on the roof rack, and it's capped off with a whole bunch of orange accents. Don't expect to see these at dealers, though -- Kia said it has no intention of bringing these fun concepts to production.

Lego Top Gear rally car

Is this a car? Only sort of. But it's still wicked cool, and it'll be at the LA Auto Show, so here it is.

The Lego Top Gear rally car is, as the name suggests, a creation built in conjunction with the BBC show Top Gear that has enthralled enthusiasts for decades. Based on legit rally cars of various provenances, this 463-piece contraption looks ready to hit the dirt. Best of all, it can hit the dirt, because it's motorized. Combined with a Bluetooth smart hub and a smartphone app, kids (or adult kids) will be able to whip this thing around at speed. Just try not to freak your pets out too much.

Lexus LC 500 Convertible

Lexus has made its intention of dropping the LC's top clear for months, and now, it's finally ready to make a public appearance.

The 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible is, well, a LC 500 without a fixed roof. Its electrically operated soft top can raise or lower itself in about 15 seconds. Why would you want to do that? Well, in addition to making the car even more gorgeous than it was as a coupe, lowering the soft top lets you bring in more of the dulcet tones from the LC 500's sweet naturally aspirated V8. 471 horsepower seems more than adequate, considering you'll want to slow-roll this thing everywhere you go.

Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring

Lincoln's Grand Touring plug-in hybrid trim offers some serious efficiency and performance, and now, it's headed to yet another Lincoln SUV.

Lincoln debuted the Corsair Grand Touring at the LA Auto Show. It won't make as much power as the Aviator Grand Touring, which is a bummer, but it's still pretty stout. Its 2.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle inline-4 gas engine mates to electric motors to produce 266 horsepower, putting it between the other two engines on offer. Its 14.4-kWh battery pack should provide enough juice to go 25 miles on electricity alone. The Corsair Grand Touring debuts next summer, and pricing will likely arrive closer to that date.

Mazda CX-30

We originally saw the Mazda CX-30 earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show, but the automaker has yet to show the US-spec version. That changed in Los Angeles.

The US-spec CX-30 sort of splits the difference between the Mazda CX-3 and CX-5 crossovers, with a bit more striking style. With a solid starting price of $22,945 including destination, this "coupe-over" offers a lot for its price point, including standard equipment like adaptive cruise control, LED daytime running lights and automatic high beams. All CX-30 trims utilize the same 2.5-liter, naturally-aspirated I4 with 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S, GLS63

Do you like large SUVs with entirely too much power? Then you're going to love the two latest additions to the Mercedes-AMG lineup.

Mercedes brought both the GLE63 S and the GLS63 to the LA Auto Show. Both vehicles utilize a 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 that produces a prodigious 603 hp and 627 lb.-ft. But that's not all, because there's also a 48-volt EQ Boost mild hybrid system that can add an extra 21 hp and 184 lb.-ft. to the mix. Both are proper sprinters, and they're loaded with the usual AMG frippery like sportier bumpers, more aggressive interior design and AMG's trademark quadruple tailpipes.

Mini John Cooper Works GP

The hottest Mini to date has been long teased, but at the LA Auto Show, we finally get to see the fully undisguised Mini John Cooper Works GP.

The JCW GP packs 301 hp, putting it up against other supercompacts like the VW Golf R and Honda Civic Type R. This sprightly little front-drive hatchback has already made its way around the Nurburgring Nordschleife in less than 8 minutes, so we know its performance bite can match its bark. If you want one, though, you'll have to act fast, as only 3,000 will be built.

Nissan Sentra

Many of these pie-in-the-sky concepts and production vehicles are all well and good, but when it comes to cars that appeal to the mass market, fans will be excited to get their eyes on the next-generation Nissan Sentra.

The 2020 Nissan Sentra debuted at the LA Auto Show. Carrying many of the improvements we found on the Chinese-market Sylphy, in addition to other new Nissan vehicles, the Sentra is ready to rumble in the low-cost sedan segment. Three trim levels are available, all of which utilize a 2.0-liter I4 that's good for 149 hp and 145 lb.-ft. Front-wheel drive and a CVT are standard, as is a bevy of safety systems.

Subaru WRX, STI Series White

Subaru loves itself a good special edition, and the latest one is all about the brightwork.

The 2020 Subaru WRX and STI Series White vehicles are the latest special-edition Subies on the block. These unique trims start with a special shade of white paint, with bronze wheels providing just a splash of color. The WRX gets a standard performance package with Brembo brakes, Recaro seats and a moonroof delete. Otherwise, it's just a pleasant aesthetics package. The WRX Series White and STI Series White will cost $34,895 and $43,595, respectively.

Toyota RAV4 Prime

Toyota's electrification strategy has been heavy on standard gas-electric hybrids, and now, one of its best-selling vehicles is about to get an extra dose of electricity.

Toyota introduced the RAV4 Prime this week, bringing a plug-in hybrid to the RAV4 lineup for the first time. It is a surprisingly potent machine, offering a net 302 horsepower, which is sent to all four wheels through standard all-wheel drive. It should reach 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, making it the second quickest Toyota on sale, behind the Supra. Best of all, it's still mighty efficient, with its battery permitting an electric-only range of 39 miles.

VW ID Space Vizzion concept

Volkswagen's ID electric concepts have covered just about every corner of the industry, with the exception of station wagons. That, however, is set to change in LA.

VW announced that it will bring a new concept to Los Angeles. The ID Space Vizzion concept is an electric station wagon that looks the absolute business, building on the electric sedan previewed under the ID Vizzion name. Not only does it give us yet another look at VW's future electrification strategy, it gives wagon fanatics the peace of mind that they won't be left behind.

Originally published Nov. 15. 

Update, Nov. 20: Adds live photos from the show, in addition to updated information for a number of debuts.