LA Auto Show electro

plated

Los Angeles auto show 2016, sign
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Audi Q5, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Audi S5, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
BMW M760i xDrive, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Ford EcoSport, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Hyundai Ioniq, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Jaguar I-PACE, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Jaguar I-PACE, rear, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Jaguar I-PACE, interior, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Jaguar I-PACE, boot, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Land Rover Discovery, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Land Rover Discovery, interior, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Lincoln Navigator concept, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Lincoln Navigator concept, boot, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Mazda CX-5, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Mazda CX-5, boot, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Mazda RT24-P, nose, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Mazda RT24-P, side, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Mercedes-AMG E63 S, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet, interior, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
MINI Countryman, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
MINI Cooper Countryman S E ALL4, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Executive, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Volkswagen Atlas, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Volkswagen e-Golf, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Volkswagen Beetle Dune, 2016, Los Angeles auto show
Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, 2016, Los Angeles auto show

CALIFORNIA dreaming takes on a new dimension when it's auto show time in Los Angeles.

Masses of motoring exotica fills the LA Convention Centre for the best part of two weeks each November and for many a European car brand it's an opportunity too good to miss.

Impressing the West Coast wealthy is a vital enterprise for the likes of Jaguar and Land Rover and even MINI whose British background gives an edge.

But in the Golden State being swish is only part of the equation - being good to the planet is also key.

Cutting edge technology is as important as style and performance for those who inhabit the land of Silicon Valley and Jaguar exploited that to the full at this year's LA extravaganza with the I-PACE all-electric SUV.

Taking Tesla to task on its home territory is a challenge but with Jaguar sales soaring stateside the ‘fast cat' is on the prowl.

And as Jaguar's design chief Ian Callum told the crowds in LA the I-PACE is ‘exotic, intriguing and relevant' to a changing world.

Emission free and with a range of some 220 miles Jaguar's first electric vehicle is powered by two motors each developing 200 horsepower resulting in four wheel drive and supercar statistics of 0 to 60 in four seconds.

Twenty minutes of charging adds an extra 100 miles to the range and in the EV world the I-PACE is about as good as it gets at the moment.

The futuristic SUV - and it looks as remarkable inside as it does from the outside - will be on sale in 2018 on a mission to turn petrol heads into electro heads.

As an SUV the I-PACE is right on trend not just in California but across the world and it's a rich seam that Land Rover is also hoping to tap into with the all-new Discovery.

It may not have the same sort of green credentials - yet - as its Jaguar sister but it is fully connected for the hooked-up age - a car which can upload even going downhill as Jaguar Land Rover chief executive Dr Ralf Speth claimed, calling it the ‘can do SUV for the can do world'.

The new seven seat Discovery made its first appearance in the USA in sporty Dynamic trim, looking a very modern evolution of the original off-roader which became such a hit back in Yuppie days.

Such style stands it in good stead as does the appearance on the new MINI Countryman, also having its premiere just down the road from Hollywood.

The second generation of the pumped up MINI four-door will be going on sale in the UK next year and will be available in two or four wheel drive set ups with petrol or diesel engines and an all-electric version.

Make no doubt about it, cars which use electricity to get along - in part or whole - are now must-have models in any inventory.

But everything that is green in LA may not be seen across the pond in good old Blighty.

Some great American marques such as Chevrolet, Cadillac and Chrysler are no longer part of the British new car scene although it's a different story for Ford - the daddy of them all and whose models are now becoming standardised across the world.

Centre slot on the Ford stand at LA was given over to the latest EcoSport compact SUV while other familiar shapes included the Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo, known in the US as the Fusion.

Of course, in America where everything is bigger than it is over here there were some giants such as the unfeasibly huge King Ranch pick-up truck. Built Tough it said on the licence plate and that's an understatement.

Equally large was the Lincoln Navigator concept with massive gull wing doors and a novel way of stowing your belongings in the boot with everything slotted away in the rear bulkhead - a wardrobe cum workbench on wheels.

Size still matters and that goes for firepower too. Mercedes-Benz packed no less than 1,799 horsepower into just three models which dominated its corner of one exhibition hall where it showed off the AMG E 63S, the GT C Roadster and the super-luxurious Maybach S 650 Cabriolet.

Just three of these ultra-exclusive convertibles will be coming to Britain out of a limited run of only 300 models worldwide - and each carries a 300,000 euro price tag. Post Brexit that works out at close on £260,000.

Not to be outdone, BMW had its £130,000 V12 flagship M760i on display while Porsche was showing off its new Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Executive, the latest version of its plug-in hybrid which offers supercar performance of 0 to 60 in 4.6 seconds, a top end of 173mph yet has an official fuel return of 113mpg and a zero emission range of 31 miles. Yours for a shade under £80,000.

Audi, celebrating its achievement of seeing the new A4 chosen as the ‘best buy' model of the year by America's automotive bible the Kelley Blue Book, gave the Californians their first glimpse of the new Q5 SUV - now built over the border in Mexico - as well as the latest A5/S5 coupes and the venomous R8 V10 two seater.

World firsts that will be coming our way included a new Mazda CX-5 with even sharper styling than before and an SUV from an unlikely source, Alfa Romeo.

The Stelvio is based on Alfa's new Giulia sports model and made its debut at LA in Quadrifoglio high performance trim with a 505bhp V6 engine which makes it an SUV with a maximum speed of 177mph and a sub four second 0 to 60 time.

With four-wheel-drive, the Stelvio - named after the famous pass crossing the Italian Alps - is due for release in 2018 and the line up will also feature 2.0-litre engines which still pack a punch with 280bhp on tap.

Mazda also revealed its new racer in the shape of the RT24-P prototype which will be taking to the track in America next year bringing the brand's Kodo design theme to the motorsport circuit for the first time.

Developing 600bhp from a 2.0-litre engine it demonstrates the potency of Mazda's SKYACTIV engineering on a chassis weighing less than a tonne. However, Mazda says it has no plans to race the car in Europe.

Volkswagen, still smarting from the ‘Dieselgate' scandal, was on something of a charm offensive revealing its new Atlas pick-up truck, aimed mainly at the American market and a pair of Beetles - the new activity-oriented Dune and a turbo-charged convertible.

And to prove there can be no quibbles about emissions from its current models, VW also used the LA show to introduce its latest electric car, the e-Golf now with an extended ‘real world' range of some 125 miles on a single charge.

But perhaps the car that ‘trumped' as America moves to a new era of presidency was the Hyundai Ioniq - the world's first three-in-one eco car.

It's already available with hybrid, pure EV and plug-in powertrains and now Hyundai plans to introduce a fully autonomous, self-driving version.

It's due to start road trials next year and with an armoury of smart technology, laser systems and pinpoint GPS navigation is a clear indication of where motoring is going.

Never forget, it's less than 10 years since the iPhone arrived.

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