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by Tim Beissmann

CarAdvice’s 2014 Los Angeles auto show production and concept car highlights:


Audi A7 h-tron_11

Audi A7 h-tron quattro concept

The hydrogen-powered Audi A7 h-tron quattro is designed to showcase how a fuel-cell vehicle could form part of the German luxury car maker’s line-up.

The h-tron utilises a 130-litre hydrogen fuel cell that is said to offer a range of 550km and a refuelling time of just three minutes.

Dubbed the world’s first “sports hydrogen” vehicle, the A7 h-tron produces 172kW and 540Nm, helping it hit 60 miles per hour (96km/h) from standstill in 7.8 seconds and a top speed of 180km/h.

Read more about the Audi A7 h-tron concept.


Audi prologue

Audi Prologue concept

The first creation of Audi’s new head of design, Marc Lichte, the Prologue concept provides a first taste the design language that will inspire the next generation of Audi models.

The Prologue features a new interpretation of the brand’s signature hexagonal radiator grille, piercing wedge-shaped headlights, and technical body lines and contours, along with tail-lights that span the boot and rear quarter panels, and a curved rear windscreen.

Four-wheel steering, a bendable touchscreen, and additional screens that enable digital interaction between the driver and front occupant also hint at features that may make their way into production cars in the near future.

Our man on the ground in LA, Matt, also calls this his car of the show:

“This is a car that means a lot to the German luxury brand,” he reckons. “It signifies the future direction of the company’s design language, and not just the way the car looks from the outside. 

“The man behind the show car, newly appointed head of design for Audi, Marc Lichte, said at the show that the cockpit design points to the way forward, with its sweeping touchscreen display doing away with buttons but also moving away from the rectangular shape to which we’ve all become so used to.

“If this is the way Audi is going, I can’t wait to see it on a production car.”

Read more about the Audi Prologue concept.



Bentley Grand Convertible

The Bentley Grand Convertible is the British ultra-luxury car maker’s effort to test the water for a high-performance flagship convertible.

It’s a pretty serious one too, with the show car inheriting its twin-turbocharged 395kW/1100Nm 6.75-litre V8 from the Mulsanne Speed, which should launch it to a top speed around the 300km/h mark.

The company shied away from describing it as a concept, choosing instead to call it a signal for “Bentley’s intentions for the future”.

Read more about the Bentley Grand Convertible.



Galpin Rocket Ford Mustang

Californian Ford tuner Galpin Auto Sports and automotive designer Henrik Fisker collaborated to create what they have dubbed “the ultimate American muscle car” – a carbonfibre-bodied super-Mustang called the Rocket.

With a supercharged 540kW V8 engine hauling its lightweight frame, the Rocket is said to be one of the fastest road-legal Mustangs in history.

And it will hit the road too, with Galpin confirming small-scale production will commence next month ahead of the first deliveries to customers prepared to part with about US$100,000 early next year.

Read more about the Galpin Rocket Ford Mustang.



Lexus LF-C2 concept

The topless Lexus LF-C2 concept gives us our first insight into the Japanese car maker’s vision for a roadster version of the RC coupe.

The metallic yellow concept features an exaggerated interpretation of the RC’s spindle grille with a new mesh pattern, and prominent bulges on the boot that bleed from the rear seats, and an elegant paint strip that flows from the exterior into the cabin along the centre tunnel.

Lexus says the LF-C2 is a design study rather than a precursor to a production model, though the car’s designer says a road-going version is very much on his to-do list.

Read more about the Lexus LF-C2 concept.



Mazda CX-3

The most significant new model to debut in Los Angeles from an Australian perspective was definitely the Mazda CX-3.

The new Mazda 2-based baby SUV will go on sale locally around March, slotting in beneath the top-selling CX-5 to rival the likes of the Holden Trax and Nissan Qashqai with an anticipated low-$20,000s starting price.

Under the bonnet sits a pair of four-cylinder engines – a 1.5-litre diesel and a 2.0-litre petrol – while the interior shares much of its tech and style with its city car sibling.

Read more about the Mazda CX-3.


Mercedes-Maybach S 600 (X 222) 2014

Mercedes-Maybach S-Class

The Maybach name will return to Australia late next year on Mercedes’ new flagship S-Class limousine.

At almost 5.5 metres long, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is more than 20cm longer than the regular S-Class and treats its occupants to an ultra-luxurious cabin with reclining and massaging rear seats with footrests, individual entertainment screens and climate controls, and paddocks of leather.

Expect the Maybach to start above $500,000 but well under the old model’s million-dollar entry price.

Read more about the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.



Scion iM concept

The Scion iM concept offers a thinly veiled look at a new sporty hatchback based on the top-selling Toyota Corolla that will debut in production form at April’s New York auto show.

The iM gets a more dynamic appearance than the regular Corolla, featuring aggressive bumpers, heavily flared wheel arches and sporty side skirts, as well as forged 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in low-profile performance tyres, height-adjustable racing suspension, and vented brake rotors with four-piston front calipers.

Read more about the Scion iM concept.



Toyota Prius C facelift

The first update for the city-sized Prius C introduces a fresh exterior comprising a black hexagonal grille that dominates the front end, reshaped headlights with LED headlamps, a restyled front bumper with new fog lights and indicators, shark-fin roof antenna and redesigned ‘light pipe’ LED tail-lights.

Toyota has also refreshed the cabin, adding new “premium materials” across the dashboard and throughout the interior, new seat upholstery, and a revised centre stack with new climate controls and an upgraded infotainment system.

The Prius C facelift is due to reach Australia in the first quarter of 2015.

Read more about the Toyota Prius C facelift.


Der neue Volkswagen Golf R Variant

Volkswagen Golf R wagon

The Volkswagen Golf R wagon has become the hottest load-lugger this side of an Audi RS4.

The R wagon (a very different beast to Suzuki’s similarly named Wagon R kei car…) combines the mechanical package of the German hot-hatch with a body offering greater practicality than a medium SUV. Its numbers read 221kW, 380Nm, 0-100km/h in 5.1 seconds, and a boot capacity of 605 litres.

Volkswagen Australia says the Golf R wagon would be “a great model for our market”, but it remains unconfirmed for us at this stage.

Read more about the Volkswagen Golf R wagon.


What was your favourite car of the show? Let us know in the comments section below.