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2014 Los Angeles Auto Show: The A-List

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Photo: Mark Stevenson

Photo: Mark Stevenson

If you’re a member of the Hollywood A-list, the world is your oyster. The great unwashed will roll out the red carpet anticipating your arrival wherever. An auto journalist can feel the same way when attending an auto show, especially in the City of Angels, where we can judge the creations of others, carved in clay and moulded in metal, for us to admire or admonish.

While the vehicles might be limited in their actual live performances, as a stage cannot provide proper space for a car to show its true theatrical potential, here are the best premieres of the week.

I’ll by (May)bach . In 2012, Daimler (the parent company of Mercedes-Benz) killed off its ultra-exclusive line of Maybach automobiles. But in 2015, they return in the form of Mercedes-Benz S-Class models. The first will be the Mercedes-Maybach S 600, basically a Mercedes-Benz S-Class with a modified rear passenger area for those who are driven from place to place by a man probably named Jeeves.

Photo: Mark Stevenson

Photo: Mark Stevenson

I do my own stunts. With the arrival of the sixth-generation Ford Mustang usually comes a special Shelby badged model with ludicrous amounts of horsepower. The newest Shelby GT350 shows some restraint, packing just over 500 horsepower under the hood in the form of a 5.2-litre V8, which is a considerably less than the over 650-horsepower available in the last Shelby GT500. This new GT350 can do its own stunts, though, as it’s tuned for the track and ready to carve corners.

Photo: Mark Stevenson

Photo: Mark Stevenson

I can predict the future. Audi, at the end of where its current design language can take it, rolled out the “prologue concept” (this is not a typo—Audi just doesn’t like capitalizing the names of its cars). The concept itself may or may not be the basis of a future production vehicle but if you look at the bits and pieces individually, you can see the next generation of A4s, A6s, and A8s.

Photo: Mark Stevenson

Photo: Mark Stevenson

I’m a sequel. The Jaguar Project 7 is a limited run, highly exclusive convertible based on the current F-Type. In a way, it’s a sequel to a modern sports car. But, if you look at the details, especially that hump behind the driver’s seat, the Project 7 harkens back to the D-Type. This car, for all intents and purposes, is a sequel to two movies, tying together horsepower and prestige.

Photo: Mark Stevenson

Photo: Mark Stevenson

I’m that documentary you’re supposed to like but don’t. With global warming, Peak Oil, and the price of a litre of gas trending upwards over the last few years (short-term dips aside), we should all embrace alternative powertrains and the wrappers they come in. This year, Los Angeles provided a multitude of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles from Toyota, Honda, and Audi. The Japanese offered up vehicles somewhere between ugly and Rated N for Nobody while the Germans gave us their newest hydrogen technology in a handsome and clean four-door wrapper. Folks, we are in for a hydrogen revolution. It’s coming whether we want it or not.

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