Wild sports cars, crossovers jump-start 2019 model year

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The 2019 BMW i8 Roadster can can hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds.

Auto show season ushers in the future by debuting everything from high-horsepowered supercars (and a wagon) to so, so many crossovers. The Los Angeles show heads the major auto show cycle in the first week of December, followed by the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January — the tent pole of global auto shows — then the largest consumer auto show in Chicago in February, concluding with the New York Auto Show in April. Here are the hits from Los Angeles and what we can expect in regional shows and dealer lots in 2018.

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Convertible – The Corvette is America’s supercar, and the 755-horsepower 2019 ZR1 is the sickest two-seat supercar made in America.Yet the ZR1 hasn’t been offered as a convertible since its debut in 1970, until now.

The drop top on the most powerful production Corvette ever made adds about 60 pounds, but it’s expected to perform close to the hardtop’s estimated 60 mph (96 kph) time in under three seconds, as well as a top speed of over 210 mph (336 kph). Keep the wigs off. It’s powered by Chevy’s tweaked LT5 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine and comes with a standard seven-speed manual or new eight-speed automatic. There is a front underwing and a second rear wing, either as a standrad low wing or an available two-way adjustable giant wing as part of the performance package, which should have an additional modifier, like super epic crazy wicked performance package. At $123,995, the convertible costs $4,000 more than the coupe.

2019 BMW i8 Roadster – BMW takes the top off its plug-in hybrid sports coupe with the scissor doors. It only has an 18-mile range but the combined 369-horsepower powertrain can hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. The soft top folds down in 16 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph (50 kph).


2019 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo – Don’t let the name fool you: this is a high-powered 680-horsepower station wagon that hits 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 192 mph (307 kph). The twin-turbo V-8 engine is supplemented by a 136-horsepower motor, with all the luxury conveniences expected from the Panamera full-sized sedan, which was redesigned last year. This anti-family truckster starts at $188,400 and is due next spring.

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS – The four-door sport coupe gets its first redesign since 2011 with a new in-line six-cylinder engine and mild hybrid system combining for 362 horsepower in the gas variant. It’s sleeker than the outgoing model, with a sloping rear roofline that is more sports car than sedan, despite being able to seat five people.

2019 Subaru Ascent – Subaru wagged the tail of the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show with the launch of the 2019 Subaru Ascent three-row SUV, presented by a family of frolicking golden retrievers. The largest Subaru ever, Ascent comes standard with all-wheel drive, three rows and an all-new 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Boxer engine mated to a continuously variable transmission making 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft (375 Nm) of torque, good enough to tow 5,000 pounds.

2019 Infiniti QX50 – The mid-sized crossover debuts Infiniti’s new platform and evolutionary variable compression ratio engine dubbed the VC Turbo. The 2-liter turbo four-cylinder adjusts the piston stroke based on throttle input to maximize efficiency, helping it to achieve 35 percent better fuel economy than the outgoing V-6 engine. It has diesel-like specs, churning out 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque for a combined fuel economy of 26 mpg in all-wheel drive.

2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross – Remember the Eclipse affordable sports coupe? This isn’t it. The compact crossover proves Mitsubishi is still committed to the US as its product line has expanded to three models. It comes with an available 152-horsepower turbo four-cylinder engine, but is more of a tech showcase inside than other Mitsu models.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE/TNS

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