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2018 LA Auto Show – Performance Euro Car Roundup

Germany makes a big splash in Los Angeles this year

Andrew Beckford
Dec 3, 2018

This year the LA Auto Show was taken over by “ze Germans,” as many of the major debuts worth caring about were from the likes of BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes. We’re going to look at everything from sports cars to track-focused monsters, to performance sedans and even a sport compact! So, finish your bratwurst and tighten your lederhosen, because this article is going full deutsch!

2020 PORSCHE 911

The casual observer will be hard-pressed to spot any major visual differences between the 2020 911 and the previous gen (991). However, while slight, there are some notable cosmetic changes to the 911’s iconic design. First, the new 911 is wider than its predecessor with a 45mm wider stance in the front and a 44mm increase in the rear. The larger fenders also house bigger wheels, with 21 inch rollers in the back and 20’s up front.

The most noticeable visual difference is the rear. There are no longer individual tail lights on each side but rather one long, thin LED light bar. The new 911 also has a brand new 8-speed PDK transmission that features paddle shifters and a stubby toggle switch-like gear selector in the center. For purists, a 7-speed manual gearbox will be available. Engine displacement remains the same, but the turbos have been upgraded for total power output of 443 horses and 390 ft-lbs of torque. That’s a 23hp bump in power and 22 ft-lbs torque increase for those interested in the math.

2020 Porsche 911 Interior Photo 5/58   |   2020 Porsche 911 Interior

The inside of 911 has also been completely redone with its interior design being inspired by the 911s of the 70s, but with modern touches like LCD screens in the gauge cluster.

MERCEDES-BENZ AMG GT R PRO

AMG GTR Pro Front 3qtr Photo 6/58   |   AMG GTR Pro Front 3Qtr

This year the prize for “the car named after the longest acronym” goes to the Mercedes Benz AMG GT R Pro. What is the AMG GT R Pro? It’s basically the “super sayian level 3” version of the AMG GT. Under the hood the GT R Pro has the same engine and power as the AMG GT R. The major changes with the GT R Pro all come by way of aerodynamics and suspension.

As you can tell, front, rear, and sides of the GT R Pro are dripping with carbon fiber in the form of splitters, spoilers, canards, and a even a full carbon fiber undertray. However, it isn’t all just for show. The front spoiler, rear spoiler, and the aforementioned undertray are all active aero components, which means they will automatically change their angle to constantly optimize downforce during a track attack.

AMG GTR Pro front fender vents Photo 10/58   |   AMG GTR Pro Front Fender Vents

The GT R Pro also has exit vents on the front fenders to reduce front-end lift. To help take advantage of that extra downforce, a new coilover system with adjustable dampers is employed so that ride height and rebound can all be finely tuned to tailor a specific track. Mercedes didn’t announce a price for the GT R Pro, but they did mention it would have a “very limited” production run. Thus, even if you had the money for it, the GT R Pro is likely already sold out by the time you read this.

MINI JOHN COOPER WORKS KNIGHTS EDITION

MINI JCW KnightEdition front 3qtr Photo 11/58   |   MINI JCW Knightedition Front 3Qtr

The John Cooper Works Knights Edition is the latest edition in a long line of dope limited edition MINIs. On top of having all of the usual JCW performance additions (increased power via more boost, performance exhaust with a bluetooth flap to open up via smartphone, and stiffened suspension) the Knights Edition also has a incredibly slick paint job, with a black, silver, and red colorway.

MINI JCW KnightEdition blacked out emblem Photo 12/58   |   MINI JCW Knightedition Blacked Out Emblem

Fun fact: the JCW Knights Edition is the first MINI to come from the factory with blacked out emblems. The JCW Knights Edition will be available early next year so if you want one put in your order now as they will probably sell out quick.

2020 BMW M340i

BMW M340i front Photo 13/58   |   BMW M340i Front

While BMW put a bigger push behind it's SUVs at this year’s LA Auto Show, they still managed to give the world a subtle preview of where their classic 3 series is heading in the form of the 2020 M340i. BMW is making an interesting step here by leading with a performance-minded version of the next 3 Series rather than starting with a base model.

BMW M340i front 3qtr Photo 14/58   |   BMW M340i Front 3Qtr
BMW M340i rear 3qtr Photo 15/58   |   BMW M340i Rear 3Qtr

While the M340i definitely isn’t an official “M” vehicle, it definitely has a significant amount of grunt. It will have 382hp and 369 lb-ft of torque out of the box. Accompanying all that power will be an M Sport limited slip differential, M Sport brakes, and an M Sport adaptive suspension. There will be an xDrive version available as well for those who want AWD flavor. Even if this particular car doesn’t float your boat, it is an intriguing preview of what’s to come.

2020 BMW Z4 ROADSTER

BMW Z4 front 3qtr Photo 16/58   |   BMW Z4 Front 3Qtr

Finally, we kind of already know most of what we need to know about the next Z4 but it was still nice for me to see it in person. For those who don’t know, the Z4 will have 382hp as well as the adaptive M sport chassis package and limited slip, though I think what really grabs attention is its design. Its large headlights and massive BMW kidney grills are hard to ignore. The design is polarising among purists but personally I love it. However, I have to admit most of the time I spent looking at it I was trying to speculate which interior aspects may cross over to the Z4’s cousin: the new Toyota Supra, set to debut next year.

By Andrew Beckford
52 Articles

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