Editor’s Note: I’ve dragged countless friends to auto shows, each not entirely sure what to expect. After the fact, no doubt most have found no allure in these supermassive, humanity-clotted convention center mosh pits brimming with shiny cars, models and strobing flashbulbs. But car shows are incredibly important for the industry and for consumers — this is the World’s Fair of motoring, where tech, design, innovation are on display, all previews of what is to come in the marketplace over the next few years. Hayden was on the scene at the 2016 L.A. Auto Show, happening now, to take it all in; these are the dreamiest new cars there. — Nick Caruso, Motoring Editor
Porsche RSR 911
Porsche 911 RSR has been redesigned from the ground up for the first time since 2013. Revealed on Wednesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the “latest fighting machine,” as executive Detlev von Platen called it in a press conference, offers completely retooled suspension, body structure, aerodynamics, transmission, and perhaps most notably, an engine that sits all the way in front of the rear axle. Which is a major change; the Porsche 911 on which the RSR is based has, for its decades-long life, been famous for its behind-the-axle, rear-engine layout.
Lamborghini Huracán RWD Spyder
Lamborghini is growing their Huracán family again, adding the soft-top convertible Spyder into the mix. It’s got all the greatest hits from the Huracán RWD coupe, like the 580 horsepower V10, but with a top that will go down (or up, I guess) in 17 seconds. It also adds in a couple new bits of design flair, like larger front air intakes and touched-up rear fins.
The model will arrive on the streets in January 2017, and while pricing is not yet announced, it will slot between the AWD and two-wheel-drive version of the Huracán coupe. If drifting in a mega-expensive motoring machine with the wind in your hair sound appealing, the time is now.
Divergent 3D Blade
Sure — the past decade of the auto industry is riddled with the bankruptcy filings of companies who thought they might be the next disruptor. But Divergent 3D’s Blade is pretty compelling. The company displayed their 3D-printed supercar along with a 3D-printed motorcycle, and the upside is obvious: slashing manufacturing costs, further reducing emissions, and making a light, mega-fast vehicle. The concept version of the car has a chassis that weighs 102 pounds and a 700 horsepower engine (that part isn’t 3D printed).
Mercedes Benz-Maybach S650 Cabriolet
“When we talk about exclusivity, we talk about Maybach,” CEO Dietmar Exler said moments before he debuted the Mercedes Benz-Maybach S650 Cabriolet. He’s not bluffing, as the gentle giant is limited to only 300 units worldwide, 75 of which are expected stateside. It has the classic Maybach dish wheels, a blinding chrome grille, and a 621 horsepower V12 engine boasting 738 lb-ft of torque. Essentially, it’s the S-Class Cabriolet, extrapolated to the extreme.
Concepts abound at car shows, but they can “mean” different things. Some are production-ready. Some are just vessels for new tech. Some are pure hyperbole. In the case of the Escala, Cadillac says this is an accurate rendering of design to come. In fact, a clay model of the Escala sits conspicuously as a reminder in the company’s design offices.
This is great news, as the jaw-dropping Escala offers an exterior that is wonderfully long without being bulky, and an ornate interior filled with OLED lighting, walnut trim, and brushed aluminum accents.
So, the Lucid didn’t officially make an appearance at the L.A. Auto Show. The sort-of-stealth start-up car company opted for more of a renegade approach: cruising surrounding streets in camouflage (I, for one, never saw it in the flesh). The car, which is built in part by ex-Tesla engineer Peter Rawlinson, will allegedly make 1,000 horsepower, go 0–60 in under 3 seconds, and have an all-electric range of over 300 miles. It’s expected in late 2018.
Mercedes again referenced their Hypercar at the L.A. Auto Show, with AMG boss Tobias Moers leaving zero doubt that it will show up on streets soon. “We’re going to see the Hypercar next year,” he told me. “And the idea was born last year in October.” AMG doesn’t drag their feet, then.
What we know so far: It’s a street-legal cruiser using the exact hybrid engine from the company’s F1 car, and it will generate around 1,000 horsepower with a 10,000 or 11,000 RPM redline. The company will produce between 200 and 300 examples, and it will no doubt compete with cars like the McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 (it’s too bad they didn’t have it ready for the series premiere of The Grand Tour, though).