Last week kicked off the 2015 Auto Show Season, with the LA Convention Center opening its doors to press from across the country and globe. Now open—until November 30th—to the general public, we’d like to share our favorites of the affair. Our handful of winning categories were admittedly crafted after-the-fact, but we stand by every one!
Best Revival: Return of the Maybach
We could have made some clever quip like “It’s ‘Bach!” but then we’d have to punch ourselves in the face. Wordplay aside, the Maybach moniker, most recently having operated as a standalone luxury-offshoot of Mercedes-Benz, has been resurrected as a sub-brand. Buyers not moved by the already posh S-Class will now be able to opt for the 8.1” longer (yes, the .1 matters!) Mercedes-Maybach S600, expected to fetch around $200K for starts.
Best Model Upgrade: Tie–Jaguar F-Type Manual & Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang.
In all the grand hoopla of “What’s new?” at any given auto show, it’s easy to overlook what’s better. Ford, whose newest pony first galloped out of the barn about a year ago, has announced the Shelby GT350 Mustang; a 500hp, 400 lb.-ft. naturally aspirated tire-shredding beast that may not outnumber the SRT Hellcat—but it wouldn’t surprise us if it’s a better overall performer. And speaking of cats, Jaguar’s F-Type—a two-year-strong favorite of ours—is now available in a manual.
Best From the Family Planning Aisle: Volvo V60 Cross Country
You may be a grown-up now, but it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to drive some bloated minivan, painfully marketed as a crossover. Volvo, whose Cross Country offerings were lumbersexual before the term existed, has announced the return of the classification in the V60 Cross Country. Look for its US debut early in 2015—plenty of time for you to source the right flannel, or to just come to grips with reality.
Best Tease: Mazda MX-5 Miata in White
The fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata looks amazing in red. You, your mom, and all of the Internets know that. We wager it to drive on equally swooning levels, but still haven’t been afforded the opportunity. Now, just to ring our bells a little more, they’ve brought the damn thing out in white. Mazda, how many different ways do you need to hear “You’re gorgeous!” before you let us hit it?
Best Post-Jackpot Purchase: Bentley Grand Convertible
Got a couple stacks burning a hole in your pocket? Before you do anything silly, you may want to type up an email to Bentley’s Chairman and CEO, Wolfgang Dürheimer, who had this to say about the brand’s new drop-top Mulsanne Speed: “We are eagerly awaiting the response of our customers to this car. We will ensure that this car—if it reaches the roads—will be a highly exclusive, extremely limited collector’s piece.” That means they want deposits. PayPal the man over a $100K or so with your note and help get this ship sailing!
Best Overall Concept: Audi Prologue
It’s hard to take shots at Audi’s current design language, and yet the brand is still ready to punch things up for the remainder of the decade. Fittingly named the Prologue, the über-crisp and clean coupe—which has speculation of a future “A9” running rampant—is at the very least a show of what’s to trickle down to existing models. Striking enough from the outside, the interior is loaded with touch-screen displays that make its competitors look like they’re using first-generation smartphones.