Whilst Porsche captured the headlines at the LA motor show, fellow Germans Mercedes were displaying a few alternatives in the shape of the AMG GT four door coupe and rather more aggressive GT R Pro. Both featuring the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, but on the Pro, new aero and suspension packages make this extreme performance, limited edition coupe a force to be reckoned with. Ideal for the executive in a very great hurry.
Sticking with German manufacturers, BMW was showing its largest SUV yet, the seven seat X7, which will be available from the Spring of 2019. The X7 features air suspension and is available either with an inline six-cylinder 335 horsepower engine or the 458 horse twin-turbo V8. A locking rear differential and optional off-road packages can be ordered for the xDrive 50i.
If you prefer your SUVs a little more frugal, the Honda Passport is a five seat V6 powered SUV with torque vectoring and traction management to give it capable off road handling, whilst at SUV heavyweights Lincoln, their top of the range Aviator will, they hope, attract customers away from European and Asian purveyors of luxury 4x4s.
It was inevitable that a full size pick-up EV would appear on the scene but what is surprising is that it was little known Illinois company Revian, who hit the market first with their R1T truck.
The styling takes cues from Ford and Land Rover but manages to have its own distinct appeal and though the vertical headlights are likely to divide opinion, they’re certainly a talking point. The R1T has astonishing power, its 180kWh battery packing giving a 640km range and four electric motors provide the equivalent of around 750 horsepower, so this truck can haul 800kg in the bed or tow a 5,000kg trailer. With a wading depth of one metre the R1T can outperform all standard trucks on the market too. The central storage area between the cabin and the bed allows secure storage for large products, whilst the drop down access doors create both a seat and a step up to load items onto the roof. All in all a very well thought out vehicle. Orders can be placed now for 2020 delivery.
As a petrol engine alternative, Jeep had their not so subtly named Gladiator pick up on display, the first time the truck based on the new JL platform has been seen. Its 3,500kg towing capacity and 725kg payload don’t match the R1T but the Gladiator is available now, from US dealers. Jeep’s appeal in the Middle East should see sales benefit from the region’s love for pick-ups.
Volvo managed to attract attention to their large stand by not putting any cars on display... A brave move which allowed them to focus more on technologies and connectivity applications for the future, including their ‘Key In Car’ cooperation with Amazon which allows goods to be delivered to the boot of parked cars, and their Volvo Care vehicle subscription service — why buy a car when you can simply call upon one when needed?
Back to GTs and Audi presented the e-tron GT, a four door ‘near finished concept’ e-coupe based on the Porsche Taycan platform and featuring, amongst other things, a vegan interior. No leather in here, oh no, just a 400km range with high performance guaranteed thanks to power output equivalent to almost 600 horses. Expect production to commence at some point in 2019.
Still on the e-concept theme, Mitsubishi brought to LA their e-Evolution, aimed at bringing attention to Mitsubishi’s focus on control systems and dynamics thanks to its single front, dual rear motor Active Yaw Control. With the emphasis on EVs growing ever stronger, expect plenty more manufacturers aiming to differentiate their offerings in the future.
So plenty of big burly SUVs to choose from at this year’s show but the steady progress of EVs and an increasing number of EV body types, power options and control and management systems continues to pick up pace.