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Sporty Cars of the 2017 L.A. Auto Show
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Sporty Cars of the 2017 L.A. Auto Show


L.A. show lives up to its reputation


L.A. show lives up to its reputation

It wouldn’t be a proper Los Angeles Auto Show without a variety of luxury high-performance cars on display, and this year was no exception. From production cars to concepts and from the exotic to the everyday, the show proved enthusiasm for driving is still alive and well amid the threat of soulless autonomous pods taking over the future of transportation. Here are some of the sports cars that made an appearance at the 2017 L.A. Auto Show.

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS

For its third generation, the CLS becomes a little more practical with the addition of a fifth seat. It’s also plenty powerful even without a V-8 engine. A new 3.0-liter inline-six with 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque pairs with an “EQ Boost” electric motor that adds 21 hp and 184 lb-ft over short periods. Paired to the electric motor is a lithium battery that supplements the gas engine’s power.

Mercedes isn’t saying whether the CLS will keep a V-8 engine option at this time. If not, at least the new six-cylinder should deliver better fuel economy than the current CLS550, which gets 18/26/21 mpg city/highway/combined.

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Convertible

After the ZR1 coupe made its debut in Dubai, the convertible version made its first showing in L.A. It’s the first drop-top ZR1 to arrive since the original came out for the 1970 model year. And it looks great in orange.

Like the coupe, the Corvette ZR1 convertible packs a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 making 755 hp and 715 lb-ft of torque. Preliminary testing points to a 0–60 time of under 3 seconds for the ZR1. The convertible reaches a top speed of more than 200 mph. Because the ZR1’s aluminum chassis is so strong, the only structural changes Chevrolet had to make to the convertible include concessions for the folding top and repositioned safety belt mounts. The weight difference between the coupe and convertible is less than 60 pounds, and most of that discrepancy is due to the top device.

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo

Porsche makes no compromises when it comes to plug-in hybrids. Or wagons, for that matter. Powering this unusual beast is a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 that produces 542 hp and an electric motor that adds an extra 136 hp. With this combo, Porsche says it can reach 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 192 mph. Pretty impressive.

2019 BMW i8 Roadster

After delaying the model a couple of years, BMW has finally introduced a convertible version of its plug-in hybrid supercar. Its fabric soft top features lightweight 3-D-printed aluminum components, and we never get tired of seeing those butterfly doors open.

BMW also updated the existing coupe, and now both i8 versions make 369 hp from a powertrain consisting of a three-cylinder 1.5-liter gas engine powering the rear wheels and an electric motor driving the front. Thanks to a new battery with a higher energy capacity, output is up 12 hp from the current i8, giving it just a little more punch. The roadster should hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, BMW estimates, making it 0.2 second slower than the new coupe. All-electric driving range has improved to 18 miles.

Mazda Vision Coupe Concept

The Mazda Vision Coupe, which is actually more of a sedan, previews the automaker’s future design direction. And we’re already starting to see some of its influence in the new Mazda6, which also made its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Both cars feature a large, gaping grille and narrow headlights. Perhaps future Mazda cars will also adopt this concept’s dramatic roofline, swept-back proportions, and tapered rear-end design.

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake

If you want an F-Type with more space, this might be the vehicle for you. OK, that’s a bit of a stretch, but the XF Sportbrake packs a healthy punch in a sleek package. Under the hood is a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 shared with the F-Type, making 380 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque in this wagon. Hitting 60 mph takes 5.3 seconds, the automaker estimates.

BMW i Vision Dynamics Concept

In the next eight years, BMW Group wants to offer 25 electrified vehicles, including a dozen pure EVs. Looking ahead to this future is the BMW i Vision Dynamics concept, a fully electric vehicle promising around 370 miles of range. BMW says the vehicle can reach a top speed of over 120 mph and accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 4.0 seconds. Future “I” cars should take hints from this concept, which features a unique interpretation of the automaker’s kidney grille, minimal panel gaps, and glass that is flush with the rest of the body.

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman, Boxster GTS

They might look like your standard Porsches, but these models pump out an impressive amount of power from a four-cylinder engine. Through a 2.5-liter turbo flat-four, the new Cayman and Boxster GTS produce 365 hp—an increase of 25 hp from the previous GTS with a 3.4-liter flat-six. When paired with a PDK dual-clutch transmission, these models also deliver a healthy 317 lb-ft of torque (309 lb-ft with the six-speed manual).

Mercedes-AMG Project One

This $2.7 million hypercar always seems to draw a crowd. Its design is breathtaking in person. From the bold air intakes to the black shark fin, the two-stage deployable rear wing, and large wheel arches, the Project One is imposing. Daimler chief designer Gorden Wagener called it “the hottest and coolest car we have ever designed” in a recent press release.

Under the sheetmetal lies a 1.6-liter turbo V-6 and four electric motors. In all, the hypercar produces more than 1,000 hp.

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By Kelly Pleskot

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