BMW X5 and X6 M
It was two for the price of one on molten hot SUVs at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show, with BMW unveiling sporty M versions of both its X5 and X6 crossover vehicles. Both cars receive all-new 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 engines that develop a staggering 567bhp, resulting in a 0-62mph sprint time of just 4.2 seconds. One BMW spokesperson said the potent Sports Activity Vehicles are "Nordschleife fit", hinting that they've both spent time pounding the Nurburgring during development. BMW's intelligent xDrive all-wheel drive system also features, just in case customers also fancy participating in a spot of off-roading, and the interiors receive a serious shot of luxury for good measure.
Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
Porsche has been busy slapping the GTS badge on its ever expanding range of products so it was only a matter of time before the brilliant 911 received the race-ready treatment. The GTS tune-up means this latest 911 sits somewhere between the everyday practicality of a Carrera S and the all-out madness of the 911 GT3. Notable new additions include a revised seven-speed manual gearbox; an extra 30bhp on tap, wider bodywork and a sports exhaust system for annoying the neighbours. It's basically a pre-selected options package with a power hike but one that transforms the Porsche 911 from really good to ruddy excellent.
Mercedes Maybach S600
The ultra-luxurious Maybach nameplate has been resurrected and it will appear on a top-of-the-line, V12-powered Mercedes-Benz S600 model next year. The flagship vehicle is 200mm longer than the standard -and already pretty fancy - S Class, offering more space inside for sumptuous surroundings. Every single surface and panel is lavished in leather, while niceties such as seat-back TV screens for rear passengers, mood lighting, massaging seats, heated elbow rests and storage compartments for champagne flutes all comes as standard. Expect to part with at least £130,000 if you fancy cruising with this high roller.
Jaguar F-Type AWD
Four-wheel drive and a manual gearbox are both coming to the ferocious Jaguar F-Type next year, in a move that the British marque hopes will tempt buyers away from the aforementioned Porsche 911. The all-wheel-drive (AWD) model will be distinguished from its rear-wheel-drive counterpart with deeper vents in the bonnet, unique slashes in the front wings and bespoke alloy wheels. There will also be the option to specify a six-speed manual gearbox on V6-powered F-Type and F-Type S, which will appeal to those wanting a more 'involving' driving experience from their two-seater sports car. Thankfully, the out-dated infotainment system also benefits from a refresh and will soon feature Jaguar's excellent InControl apps that allow text and email messages to be read out on the move, certain online apps accessed and select car data to be beamed to smartphones remotely. And, to top it all off, there's even a new 8-inch touch screen display with gesture control.
Shelby Ford Mustang GT350
American muscle cars don't get much more athletic than this, the Shelby-tuned Ford Mustang GT350 that produces in excess of 500bhp thanks to a specially tuned 5.2-litre V8 engine. Like any good American brawler, power is sent straight to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. The addition of a low front splitter, a lightweight front grille and boosted bodywork will ensure the latest Shelby Mustang is instantly distinguished from its standard siblings. A European Mustang is making its way to our shores but it's highly unlikely Ford will decide to import this thirsty brute to the UK. Not with current petrol prices, anyway.
It has been a long time coming but this is Mazda's Nissan Juke rival - a neat little compact crossover that will do battle in the busy SUV arena. There's plenty of Mazda's classically 'flowing' design language on the outside and a whole host of neat tech inside. Customers will get a large seven-inch display with a rotary dial control, which is also hooked up to a head-up display unit to reduce driver distraction. There's also all the connectivity from the current Mazda 2 and 3 models, so expect voice command and access to social media functionality on the road. The engine choice isn't quite as enthusing though, with only a 1.5 petrol or a 1.5 diesel on offer from launch.
There are plenty of vehicles at the LA Auto Show that us Brits will just never see on our roads but one that will thankfully be imported in small numbers is the awesome Cadillac ATS-V. The car's 3.6-litre engine develops 455bhp, which its makers claim is enough to propel the brute from 0-60mph in just 3.9 seconds. It's expected to tempt US buyers away from German rivals, such as the BMW M4 and Mercedes C63 AMG (a new version of which was also unveiled a the show), with refined handling and performance. The interior also boasts a performance data recorder, which allows drivers to record high-definition video with key data overlays and share on social media.
Audi R8 Competition
This is quite simply the fastest R8 Audi has ever produced and serves as a fitting swansong for the soon-to-be-updated model. The R8 Competition gets an extra 20bhp - boosting power to 562bhp - as well as carbon ceramic brakes and a revised seven-speed S tronic gearbox. There is also no pesky German speed limiter here, with the R8 Competition permitted to race to 199mph. Only 60 models will be built and all will be sold to US customers, so you might want to think about relocating if you fancy one.