November. A month of holiday preparation, anticipation of what the new year will have in store and, for most, a harbinger of the cold weather season. Unless, of course, you live in beautiful Southern California – Los Angeles to be specific, where the Los Angeles Auto Show ushers in the yuletide once a year.
2019 LA Auto Show video recap by Jester Jungco
Rather than chimneys billowing smoke and stockings hung from the mantle, you will find exhaust pipes pumping adrenaline and dashboards alight with the latest infotainment and telematics innovations. You will also find a myriad of ever more present alternative fuel vehicles that push the boundaries of what is possible when thought and skill are pushed forward by action and intent.
For gearheads, this is truly the most wonderful time of the year…
The L.A. Auto Show begins 4 days before it is open to the public. During this time, press and academia are allowed to get early access to new models and technology, which will form the future of our favorite brands and the automotive industry as a whole.
This year’s highlights included the Mustang Mach-E, Ford’s first Mustang SUV and first EV, as well as the BMW M8 Gran Coupe, a 4-door variant of BMW’s recently released 8 series and replacement for the M6 Gran Coupe. Then we have the RS Q8 from Audi, which is the brand’s performance version of the popular Q8 SUV and, for all intents and purposes, is to the Urus what the R8 is to the Huracan.
Once the initial 4 day restricted access period comes to an end, it’s time for the big show to begin and for the general public to finally experience the latest and greatest from their favorite automotive brands.
As you enter the massive, imposing atrium of the Los Angeles Convention Center, which evokes a sense that a space shuttle may have at one time been launched from the facility, you are greeted by a floor full of unique, purposeful and just plain fun automotive expressions.
Tucked next to the Lego display and its full sized and functional Bugatti Chiron is an exposed carbon fiber bodied Bugatti EB110 SuperSport by Dauer, the only one of its kind – a Unicorn. This mythical creature is part of the AlphaLuxe collection. In partnership with Malibu Autobahn, Autobahn Alliance, the L.A. Auto Show and L.A. Mobility, it has been made available for the public to appreciate in all of its 700+hp (in the ‘90’s!) 3.5L Quad-Turbo V12 fairytale glory.
About that Lego Bugatti…a fitting neighbor to the EB110, sitting in the adjacent booth, is a blue Bugatti Chiron made entirely of Legos with functional electronics that can be controlled via a tablet – “just plain fun.”
As you walk past the impressive displays on offer in the atrium, the doors to the main hall, which sits on the 2nd level, slowly come into view below the massive brand banners hanging from the ceiling, beyond which lies the next bit of magic that the L.A. Auto Show has conjured up. Here, you will find the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lincoln and Alfa Romeo among others showing their offerings for all to enjoy.
Across from the 4 rings from Ingolstadt, Genesis, the luxury offshoot of Hyundai, prominently displayed the latest iteration of their flagship G90 model.
The 2020 G90 continues the popular trend of ever wider and taller grilles and may even take the crown from the meme-inspiring BMW X7 for largest grille-to-body ratio… we’ll have to run some measurements to be certain…
Speaking of BMW, their booth is just a few steps away. As you enter, you are presented with the new Alpina B7, the independent Bavarian automaker’s range topping sedan tuned by the boys from Buchloe.
Also shown was the new 4-door M8 Gran Coupe which replaces the M6 Gran Coupe, a 4-door version of a 2-door car that was based on a 4-door car…
The 8 series platform, though, designated G16 for the Gran Coupe has been developed from the ground up to usher in a new design language that will no doubt trickle down to all models in BMW’s lineup.
We reach the end of the showroom floor where another German luxury brand, Mercedes-Benz, has taken over what may well be the largest floor space at the event. (Ford holds this title, in West Hall)
But undoubtedly the Star (yeah, i did it) of the Stuttgart based company that invented the automobile’s presentation is the Vision Mercedes Simplex Concept.
The Simplex Concept is a very interesting juxtaposition between old-world, game changing innovation and futuristic simplicity in design. You would however be mistaken in believing that this is the first time a 3 pointed star was affixed to a model bearing the name Simplex – the Mercedes-Benz Simplex was originally developed over 116 years ago in 1902. It was a massive jump forward in technical innovation and is widely considered to be the great grandfather of all racing and supersport cars – thank you Mercedes.
Walking past the likes of Infinity, Cadillac, and Acura all showing off their latest and greatest, we exit the main hall, then, set off on a short journey through the corridor (where Karma has set up a small yet impressive booth) to arrive at the Galpin Motors section where we will encounter one of the show’s most inviting presentations.
Feeling more like an exclusive nightclub than an auto show booth, the Galpin hall presents itself with a more playful, organic tone, complete with music bumping and energetic Galpin team members welcoming you, as if you were family. Galpin deals in many popular brands ranging from Ford and Jaguar to Lotus, Aston Martin and coming in early 2020, Porsche – all of which are on display here.
If you’ve ever visited Galpin’s North Hills compound you know that it’s more of an automotive playground than just another dealership. Their presentation at the L.A. Auto Show very much reflects this approach to the automotive experience.
As hard as it is to leave “Club Galpin,” we must now move on to “The Garage” – this is where we find all sorts of aftermarket customized cars, trucks and everything in-between. You will even find miniatures of just about every model you can think of, thanks to Burning Rubber Toy Company.
After leaving The Garage, we move on to the very end of the venue, here we encounter Honda, Kia and very impressive displays by Subaru and Ford. Subaru’s booth encompasses you in a wrap-around, back-lit projection of a forest complete with a waterfall and a moving pool of water projected onto the floor.
Right next door is Ford’s booth. And here, we find the new 760hp Mustang Shelby GT500, as well as the innovative Mustang Mach-E, the first of its kind – an all-electric Mustang SUV, words I’m sure that most people (myself included) never thought they’d be stringing together in the same sentence.
Before we conclude our journey through the automotive utopia that is the L.A. Auto Show, there is one more brand that we must drop in on – Porsche.
Porsche has a tucked away section of the venue that feels the most disjunct, futuristic and exclusive. Upon entry, you feel as though you are part of a team of newly trained cadets entering a spaceship and preparing to embark on a great sci-fi adventure. But this isn’t science fiction. This is the world of Porsche.
The words “Perfectly Irrational,” which are splattered on the walls of the spaceship bridge that is the Porsche booth, are put to perfect use to describe the bright yellow 718 Cayman GT4 that is on display.
Other familiar models, including the 992 range, Macan and Panamera, are dotted throughout the booth, but the car that undoubtedly draws the most attention is the highly anticipated, all-electric Taycan.
The Taycan is a very exciting proposition – an all-electric 4-seater that comes with the build quality, design language and, most importantly, the performance that Porsche is known for. The Taycan is offered in 3 trim levels – 4S, Turbo and Turbo S. The latter two designations, as you may be aware, have been generating a bit of controversy amongst the Porsche community…
Only time will tell if the Taycan can dethrone Tesla’s Model S as the darling of the EV sphere. But one thing is for sure, the Taycan has moved the EV design benchmark higher; and, for this reason alone, it is worthy of wearing the Porsche badge.
Now that we have taken in the considerable presentation on offer at the L.A. Auto Show, we approach the end of the year with quite a few new items to add to our list for Santa. We just hope that he can fit all of them on his sleigh…
2019, for the automotive world, has been a year of technological innovation, a renaissance of design and, for some brands, a chance for a new beginning. All of this has culminated in the experience that is this year’s L.A. Auto Show and serves to benefit us – the enthusiasts.
Author’s Biography: Charleston Silverman
Interested in everything that goes into design and engineering, Charleston began disassembling and reverse engineering everything he could get a hold of at an early age – from his first Nintendo Entertainment System to his first bicycle and many of his toys. It reached to the point that his parents told him they would no longer buy him things if he kept taking them apart. He was more interested in what made them work than actually playing with them. Fast forward to adulthood, Charleston has the same fascination with engineering and design especially when it comes to automobiles.
Having owned and operated a digital media company, produced and directed content, and developed pipelines utilizing the latest technology for most of the biggest entertainment and tech companies, Charleston is driven by any opportunity to create, innovate and help others do the same.