In Depth

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

Mazda 3 hatchback unveiled and Jeep reveals its first pickup in 26 years

Many of the world’s largest car manufacturers are preparing to present their latest models as the Los Angeles Motor Show kicks off.  

The event, which runs until 9 December, is the last major motor show of the year - and carmakers intend to end 2018 in style.

Star attractions in LA include the Porsche 992-generation 911 sports car and a hardcore track-focused version of Mercedes-AMG’s GT R, with more eagerly awaited models set to debut in the coming days. 

Here are the motor show’s biggest reveals so far:

Jeep Gladiator

Jeep has taken the wraps off its heavy-duty Gladiator, its first new pickup since the Comanche was discontinued in 1992, says Autocar.

The Gladiator combines pickup practicality with the off-road capabilities of the company’s Wangler SUV. Much of the styling also derives from the Wrangler, although the Gladiator gains an extra set of doors and a long loading bay at the rear. 

According to Car magazine, Jeep is developing a right-hand drive version of the Gladiator, which suggests the pickup may head to the UK after sales open in the US in the first half of 2020.

Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro

Mercedes-AMG released a single teaser image of a camouflage-wrapped GT Pro on the run-up to the LA showcase. Now that all the covers are off, fans can take a closer look at the track-focused supercar in its final production form. 

The GT R Pro is based on the hardcore GT R that launched in 2016 and features the same 577bhp 4.0 litre V8 bi-turbo engine, says Auto Express. However, the new car’s styling has been updated with a more aggressive front bumper, which improves high-speed grip, as well as a track-inspired roll-cage and four-point harnesses.

Prices for the GT R Pro start at around £170,000 - £30,000 more than a standard GT R.

Mazda 3

The new Mazda 3 is a stylish mid-size hatchback that will go head-to-head with the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. 

The Japanese carmaker’ has used “clever panelling and reflections” to give the market newcomer “a purposeful and sporting look”, says Top Gear

The hatchback also features a clever petrol engine that mimics the workings of a diesel unit, so drivers “get the performance of a petrol but the economy of a diesel”, the site adds.

Orders for the Mazda 3 open next spring, with prices expected to start at around £20,000. 

Porsche 911 (992)

The LA debut of the all-new Porsche 911 follows months of teasers and rumours. The 992-generation sports car marks a big step forward in interior tech and is on course to become the first 911 to come with an electrified engine.

Porsche will only offer the new 911 in Carrera S and four-wheel drive Carrera 4S form at launch, with cheaper Carrera and Carrera 4 models expected to follow. Fans can expect track-focused GT3 and turbocharged GT2 variants to arrive in the near future, too. 

Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport 

Joining the new 911 in LA is a track-only version of the hardcore 911 GT2 RS. Based on the previous 991-generation 911, the Clubsport retains the standard car’s 691bhp 3.8-litre flat-six bi-turbo engine, but Porsche has managed the make the new model 155kg (24 stone) lighter through various race modifications, says Top Gear.

Porsche’s vice president of motorsport, Frank Walliser, told Top Gear’s Chris Harris on Twitter that the Clubsport will be eligible for the GT2 racing category when it launches in 2020. The category will race alongside the highly popular GT3 series and is intended to draw in amateur racing drivers. 

The company will produce just 200 examples of the Clubsport, which will each cost from €405,000 (£361,000).

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