Best of the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show
THE Los Angeles Auto Show may not be in the Frankfurt or Tokyo motor league for new car launches, but the 2015 edition offered plenty of highlights.
World production model debuts included the Fiat 124 Spider, Range Rover Evoque Convertible, all-new Hyundai Elantra, Mazda CX-9, Merc's refreshed GLS-Class and SL-Class and the Subaru Impreza sedan concept.
Since LA is the land of open air ocean road and boulevard cruising, the convertibles attracted considerable interest at the city's downtown Convention Centre.
Fifty years after its original introduction, Fiat's modern adaptation of the 124 Spider looks a decent Mazda MX-5 foil. The rear-wheel drive roadster is based on the latest MX-5 - and built at the same Hiroshima plant - but offers the turbocharger the Japanese don't with its MultiAir 1.4-litre good for 119kW and 250Nm.
The 124 Spider is not confirmed for Australia, but in all likelihood should make it here, probably about the same time as the confirmed-for-Down-Under Range Rover Evoque Convertible in late 2016.
The world's first luxury compact SUV convertible, to start from $84,440 on our shores, made a pre-show debut on Santa Monica beach for a photo shoot with James Bond actress Naomie Harris, who sportingly donned the requisite beachwear.
Previewing the next generation sedan, Subaru's Impreza Sedan Concept looked far more sporting than the current offering, its hawk-eye headlights, classic hexagonal grille and widened arches particularly striking.
Mazda showed off its second-generation seven-seat CX-9 with the Kodo-inspired design language seen across the current range. We should see the 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged SUV by the middle of next year.
Hyundai displayed its all-new sixth-gen Elantra model - set to launch in Australia in the first quarter of 2016 - with new styling and better economy and safety features.
Volvo unveiled its Concept 26, based around an all-new seat design for autonomous driving. If the driver chooses to delegate driving duties, the steering wheel retracts, the seat reclines and a large display emerges, presumably allowing you to enjoy television, internet connection and emails.
Performance treats included the unveiling of the rear-wheel drive Lamborghini Huracan, while Porsche's Cayman GT4 Clubsport has been developed by Porsche Motorsport for track use only.