Contrary to popular belief, auto shows aren’t quite dead. But even before the pandemic, the glory days of every nameplate filling gargantuan conference halls were waning. Instead, automakers, especially in the luxury segment, began to spend those millions of dollars in ways that would better reach their target customers, such as private receptions and more elite gatherings including the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and Goodwood Festival of Speed.
But there’s something about the City of Angels that keeps car lovers devoted to returning to the Los Angeles Convention Center for the LA Auto Show. Although some brands were conspicuously missing this year, that didn’t stop executives, designers and international media from descending upon the metropolis for car-related celebrations both official and unofficial. Notably, many vehicles introduced this year were electric, foreshadowing a time in the not-too-distant future where the majority of car owners may be stopping at the nearest charging station instead of the gas pump. Of the formal debuts held at the show, here’s what caught our eye.
Porsche’s Taycan GTS Sport Turismo and 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport
With its own smaller, dedicated hall, Porsche did not disappoint in LA, as this year saw the reveal of multiple models. The Taycan GTS Sport Turismo (from $133,300) is the amped-up variant of the EV’s wagon body style. With a larger permanent-magnet motor in the rear, the GTS Sport Turismo (as well as its sedan counterpart) makes 590 hp and 626 ft lbs of torque. It also sits lower compared to the 469 hp Cross Turismo and is set apart by a body-color rear spoiler. The model is touted to cover zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and has a range of up to roughly 300 miles, although EPA estimates for the US have not yet been announced.
At the other end of the spectrum is the 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport. It combines a 4.0-liter six-cylinder boxer engine from the 911 GT3 Cup car with a new seven-speed PDK transmission. The power plant allows for a total output of 500 hp. An optimized air intake for the race car means max power is reached at higher revs, and the engine can crank out 343 ft lbs of torque at 6,000 rpm. Other upgrades include improved suspension and aerodynamics. It’s a turnkey racer with a built-in roll cage and an optional quieter exhaust system for tracks with stricter noise limits.
Range Rover SV
We saw the standard 2023 Range Rover earlier this month, but the most elegant by far is the upgraded SV model (for Special Vehicles), shown in LA and glistened with a pearlescent white paint, mosaic interior stitching and ceramic trim on the shifter and instrument panel knobs. The engineered wood décor is created using less waste than traditional wood cutting methods, and upholstery materials are available in either an animal-free textile or high-grade leathers. The Range Rover SV will be available later in 2022, after the standard model goes on sale.
Fisker’s All-Electric Ocean SUV
Car designer and entrepreneur Henrik Fisker has tried his hand at several automotive ventures over the years—from his modified Mercedes SL Roadsters and BMW 6 Series coupes to souped-up Ford Mustangs and the electric Karma. Fisker, however, is now hanging his hopes on the Ocean EV, a compact electric SUV with a revolving infotainment display and interior elements made from recycled materials.
The platform underneath is built by Magna Steyer and will be offered in four trims, starting with the single-motor, 275 hp Sport model with an estimated range of 250 miles and a starting price of $37,499. The top-of-the-line Extreme edition features two motors and an all-wheel-drive configuration. It will also have a purported range of more than 350 miles and a zero-to-60 mph time of 3.6 seconds—all for just $68,999.
VinFast’s e35 and e36 Crossover EVs
Nascent automotive company VinFast unveiled two models in Los Angeles, the e35 and e36 crossover BEVs. Both were penned by design house Pininfarina, the same firm responsible for some of the most iconic designs in automotive history. Owned by Vietnamese conglomerate VinGroup, VinFast’s offerings may not be competing in a concours d’elegance anytime soon, but the vehicles offer good proportions, a unique face and a spacious interior dominated by a large central display screen and a unique shifter on the center console. A single-motor version makes 201 hp and 236 ft lbs of torque, while a dual-motor option makes 402 hp, although it isn’t yet clear whether both power trains will be available stateside. VinFast says deliveries of its EVs should begin at the end of 2022, with pricing yet to be announced.