Last week, Ignition attended the media preview days ahead of the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show to get a first look at some of the new luxury and performance vehicles bound for Canadian showrooms in 2018. In our preview here, we mentioned some of the vehicles we expected to see unveiled in Los Angeles.
Most of the vehicles we mentioned were shown, along with a few surprises we didn’t anticipate. Listed below, in alphabetical order, are the ones that caught our eye and are worth looking out for in the year ahead. For the purposes of this review, we're focusing primarily on cars that had not been seen previously or are being shown in North America for the first time.
The Munich-based company staged a lengthy press conference that included several North American reveals, along with one world premiere. We’re going to focus on two of those here. First up is the 2018 M3 CS (above), a low-volume special-edition variant of the M3 sports sedan. The M3 CS makes extensive use of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) in the chassis to help bring the weight in at 25 percent less than the standard M3. The powerplant is a M TwinPower Turbo 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine that produces 453 horsepower and 443 lb-ft. of torque. The M3 CS is a very quick car with a 0-100 km/h time of 3.9 seconds and a top track speed of 280 km/h. Canadian allocation and pricing hasn’t yet been revealed, but if you’re interested you’d better contact your BMW retailer soon because they won’t last long. Ordering is set to begin in the spring.
The second big unveiling was the world premiere of the 2019 i8 roadster (above), the first ever droptop version of BMW’s hybrid supercar. Like the coupe, the roadster is powered by a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor and an 9.4 kWh lithium-ion battery. Total power output is rated at 369 horsepower that can launch the all-wheel drive i8 roadster to 100 km/h from rest in just 4.6 seconds. The i8 roadster features extensive use of CFRP and aluminum in its chassis and body panels which helps it check in at a rather trim 1,595 kg. The launch of the roadster, along with the refreshed 2019 i8 coupe, is slated for spring. BMW Canada has indicated pricing will be announced closer to on-sale.
Ignition was present for the reveal of the 2019 Corvette ZR1 coupe and convertible (above) thanks to the generosity of General Motors of Canada. We have a separate report that examines the car in greater detail (available here), but here’s a brief rundown of what you need to know about this monster ‘Vette: both cars are powered by a 6.2-litre LT5 supercharged V8 that produces 755 horsepower and 715 lb-ft. of torque. Two transmissions are available, a seven-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic (first ever autobox for the ZR1). 0-60 mph (96.6 km/h) time is less than three seconds and a top speed of 210+ mph (338 km/h). GM Canada did not announce pricing or allocation for Canada, but both models are slated to go on sale next spring.
Nissan’s luxury division had two big SUV reveals in L.A., one North American, one worldwide. The 2019 QX50 mid-size (above) was shown for the first time in production trim. Carrying the brand’s new Powerful Elegance design language, the new QX50 marks a significant departure from the outgoing model. Built on an all-new platform, the QX50 will be powered by a 2.0-litre variable compression (VC) turbocharged engine that can adjust its compression ratio on demand for better power and efficiency. Output is rated at 268 horsepower and 280 lb-ft. of torque. The only transmission available will be the company’s Xtronic CVT that works in concert with standard all-wheel drive. The QX50 will go on sale early next summer. Pricing will be revealed closer to on-sale.
The full-size 2018 QX80 (above), first revealed at the Dubai Motor Show last month marks a design refresh for Infiniti’s three-row, seven-seater. Like the 2019 QX50, the QX80 incorporates Infiniti’s Powerful Elegance design language, which is most apparent at the front where the vehicle gets a new front fascia, grille and headlights. Modest updates to the interior are also on tap. Under the skin, the powertrain is unchanged: 5.6-litre V8 (400 hp / 413 lb-ft.) mated to a seven-speed automatic. The 2018 QX80 goes on sale early next year. Pricing should be announced in the coming weeks.
Lexus took the wraps off a three-row, seven-passenger RX 350L (above), a longer variant of the brand’s popular mid-size SUV. The 2018 RX 350L is powered by a 3.5-litre V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 263 lb-ft. of torque, is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and can be equipped with AWD. A hybrid version, the RX 350hL, pairs the 3.5L V6 with two electric motors for a combined 308 horsepower. The RX 350L goes on sale early next year, with the hybrid model following in the spring. Pricing for both models will be revealed closer to on-sale.
In one of the more intriguing moves in L.A., Lincoln revealed the 2019 Nautilus (above), a facelifted MKX mid-size that will see the brand retire the alphabet-soup name when the new car goes on sale next summer. Like other new and updated Lincolns of late, such as the Continental, Navigator, MKC and MKZ, the Nautilus will feature the brand’s large signature grille with a prominent star emblem and new headlights. The interior also receives an update which will include available Ultra Comfort 22-way adjustable seats, a 12.3-inch digital configurable instrument cluster and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Two engines are available: a standard 2.0-litre four-cylinder that produces 245 horsepower, and a 2.7-litre V6 (335 hp / 380 lb-ft.). Both engines are mated to a standard eight-speed automatic transmission and come with AWD. Canadian pricing will be revealed closer to on-sale.
The big reveal for Mercedes in L.A. was the 2019 CLS (above), a sleek, four-door coupe that is slated to begin arriving at Canadian dealers next summer. All models will be powered by an all-new 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine that produces 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission and standard 4MATIC all-wheel drive. The new CLS also carries Mercedes’ new design language that emphasizes, ‘clear contours and reduced lines’ according to the company, which means sharp, wedge-style LED headlights and an inverted trapezoidal pin grille, like other Mercedes cars of late. On the inside, the new CLS will be available with a ‘widescreen’ cockpit, like the one in the new E-Class, which employs twin 12.3-inch digital displays that are housed under a single glass cover. The CLS will also feature Mercedes’ full suite of advanced safety and semi-autonomous tech, with some AMG kit thrown in for good measure, notably in the standard 19-inch wheels. Pricing will be released closer to on-sale.
Three new Porsche models made their North American debuts in L.A. Two new 2018 GTS models have been added to the range for the 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster (above). The big story with these cars is the increased power being extracted from the 2.5-litre turbocharged flat four-cylinder engine which, thanks to a new intake plenum, produces 365 horsepower and 317 lb-ft. of torque. Like other 718s, a six-speed manual transmission is standard, with a seven-speed PDK automatic available as an option. 0-60 mph (96.6 km/h) has been pegged at 3.9 seconds, with a top track speed of 180 mph (290 km/h). Porsche Torque Vectoring, the Sport Chrono Package and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), which adjusts the ride height up to 10 mm, also come standard. Both models are available for pre-order now and will go on sale in the first quarter of 2018 with starting MSRPs of $90,600 for the 718 Cayman GTS and $93,000 for the 718 Boxster GTS.
Porsche also showed the 2018 911 Carrera T (above), which harkens back to the 1968 original both in terms of style and structure. The Carrera T is lighter, has a manual transmission and comes with a shorter transaxle ratio and a mechanical rear differential lock. Other standard kit includes PASM Sport Suspension with a 10 mm lower ride height, shorter gear shifter (with a red shift pattern), and optional rear-axle steering. The Carrera T is powered by a 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat six-cylinder engine that produces 370 horsepower and 331 lb-ft. of torque, which can produce a 0-60 mph (96.6 km/h) time of 4.3 seconds and a top track speed of 182 mph (293 km/h). Manual and PDK transmissions are available. The 911 Carrera T is now available for pre-order, and it goes on sale in the first quarter of 2018 with a starting price of $116,500.
Photography by Lee Bailie and Infiniti Canada