In Depth

Los Angeles Auto Show 2018 preview: Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro, Audi R8, Porsche 911 and more

German car giants are among the star turns at the California showcase

The Los Angeles Auto Show will soon be throwing open its doors and some of the world’s biggest car manufacturers are gearing up to unveil their latest models.

The event, which runs from 30 November to 9 December, is one of the final major motor shows of the year.

Among the star attractions are the eagerly awaited 992-generation Porsche 911 and Audi’s new R8 supercar, as well as BMW’s most luxurious SUV to date, the X7.

However, don’t expect the new Toyota Supra to make its debut in LA. The Japanese carmaker recently confirmed that the sports car will be unveiled at next year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which takes place between 14 and 27 January.  

Here’s a run down of what to expect at this year’s LA Auto Show: 

Audi R8 

Audi R8 Coupé


Audi has given its R8 supercar an extensive facelift, bringing with it a significant power upgrade and aggressive looks. 

The German car giant has retained the supercar’s naturally aspirated V10 engine, although power has increased from the old model’s 553bhp to 562bhp, Car magazine reports. R8 Plus models, which will now be dubbed R8 Performance, jump from 602bhp to 612bhp.

This helps Performance models sprint from 0-62mph in 3.1 seconds, 0.1 seconds faster than the old model, before hitting a top speed in excess of 200mph, the magazine says. 

Orders open in early 2019, with prices starting at around £130,000. 

Bentley Continental GTC

Spy shots of a drop-top Bentley Continental have been circulating the web in recent weeks, suggesting a new GTC version of the British grand tourer is about to be revealed. 

The new GTC takes its design cues from the coupe (pictured above), but swaps the standard car’s fixed roof for a fabric soft top. CarBuyer also notes that the GTC sports a “deck-like” flat boot lid similar to the drop-top’s predecessor. 

Prices are expected to start at £170,000, putting it in direct competition with Aston Martin’s DB11 Volante, the reviews site says. 

BMW M340i xDrive

Those wanting a new 3 Series with a sporty edge are in luck, as BMW will be taking the covers off its M340i xDrive in Los Angeles next week.

It’s the first model of the new generation 3 Series, unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in September, that has been fettled by the company’s M Performance division, Evo reports. 

The four-door saloon’s revisions include BMW’s xDrive four-wheel drive system, the magazine says, along with an upgraded 3.0-litre straight-six engine that produces 369bhp. This is paired to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, which helps the M340i launch from 0-62mph in just 4.4 seconds. 

Along with the performance upgrades, the German firm has tweaked the car’s styling to give it a more aggressive look. For instance, the front bumper is more angular than the base model and the back-end gets a pair of brake cooling ducts.

The interior has also been given a sporty overhaul, boasting carbon fibre trim and an M Performance steering wheel.

Orders are set to open in July 2019, with prices of around £49,000 expected, says CarBuyer. That would place the M340i xDrive just below the £59,905 M3 saloon, although an all-new M3 model is due next year.


daniel kraus

The all-new BMW X7 will make its public debut is Los Angeles. The car will sit at the top of the company’s crossover range and rival the Range Rover Vogue and Mercedes GLS. 

The German carmaker has packed the X7 with the latest interior tech, including all-new switchgear and a 12.3in infotainment screen, notes Evo. There’s enough space for seven occupants, although an unconventional six-seat layout can also be specced. 

According to Auto Express, prices will start at £72,155 when the X7 hits showrooms next April. 

Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro

Mercedes-AMG has confirmed that its GT supercar is about to get even faster. The German car giant has chosen the LA show for the unveiling of its new GT R Pro, a track-focused version inspired by the company’s GT3 and GT4 racing machines. 

Ahead of its debut, Mercedes has released a single teaser image of the GT R Pro that shows the camouflage-covered car blasting around the Nurburgring circuit in Germany. The supercar appears to have undergone an extensive makeover, with tweaks including a more aggressive front bumper and added carbon-fibre winglets. 

Evo expects Mercedes-AMG to carry over the standard car’s 4-litre twin-turbo V8 engine to the GT Pro, albeit with a power bump from 577bhp to around 600bhp.

“Weight should also take a tumble, thanks to extended use of carbon components,” the magazine adds, and a larger rear wing should help keep the car stable at high speeds.

Pricing and an official release date will be announced next week, but expect the GT Pro to exceed the £160,000 starting price for the standard GT.

Mercedes-Maybach GLS


Mercedes is on course to unveil a new range-topping GLS crossover at the LA Auto Show that has been overhauled by the German carmaker’s luxury arm Maybach. 

Judging by spy shots posted by Motor1, the Maybach GLS will be based on a next-generation version of the company’s largest SUV, which boasts more sleek lines and surfaces than the current GLS. 

The spy shots also indicate that Mercedes has moved away from the saloon-styling that appeared on the Maybach Vision Ultimate Luxury concept (pictured above) at the Beijing Motor Show earlier this year. Instead, the Maybach GLS comes with more conventional SUV styling.

It’s thought that Mercedes-Maybach will announce pricing and a release date at the LA Auto Show. 

Porsche 911 (992)
Porsche 911 992

A host of spy shots and preview images showcasing the new Porsche 911 have appeared online over the past few months. The wait, however, will finally be over when the car’s covers come off in the coming weeks. 

The 992-generation sports car looks like getting a sharper and more muscular design than the outgoing model, along with a revamped interior that features a digital dashboard, Autocar reports. 

Porsche is expected to offer all launch models with turbocharged flat-six engines, along with two four-wheel drive plug-in hybrid models, the magazine says. A hardcore GT3 model has also been spied testing.

Expect orders to open next spring.


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