In recent years the big American car shows – Detroit and LA – have been overshadowed by January's CES, which has become a significant car show and the place to be for leading car-related tech and futuristic stuff.
Nonetheless, with Southern California still the hotbed of American car culture, and numerous car brands having design studios and engineering facilities around LA, the LA Auto Show is always bound to throw up the odd surprise and moment of wonder.
We jumped into the back of a Boeing 787 for 11 hours, so that you didn't have to, in order to bring you all the key new cars and major announcements from the show floor.
The third-generation CLS debuted in LA, which represented a return to an aesthetic that's closer to the ground-breaking first-generation four door coupe. Odd treatment of the front graphic aside, the new CLS has a lot to like, including integrated hybrid technology and a raft of internal screens as inherited from its platform sister, the E-Class
Launched in Milan earlier in 2017, LA is the first chance for the public to see Volvo's new small SUV. It has the hallmarks of a winner, with a significantly more on-trend approach to design than the more serious, bigger Volvos, and even a new "everything included" monthly payment plan designed to appeal to millennial buyers.
BMW i8 Roadster
Only four years after the i8 coupe debuted, BMW has chopped the top off its hybrid supercar. If you want your fresh air tailpipe emission free, it's the way to go, and BMW has kept the dramatic swing-up scissor doors for this roofless version too.
The outgoing Wrangler defined the Jeep brand – and is still distantly related to the 1940s, John Wayne era. So a new Wrangler is a big deal – and although Jeep has been careful not to mess with the core Tonka toy-like looks there's new in-car tech, a host of new features and the promise of a hybrid-electric version before too long. Times, they are a changin'…
Porsche 718 Cayman GTS
A GTS version of any Porsche is always something to be celebrated. In effect a "Cayman S plus" you get goodies like the sport chrono pack, lowered suspension and sports bucket seats as standard, but the big news is 35 more horsepower. If you want to go roofless, there's a Boxster version too, but sadly the new GTS Porsches stick with the aurally soulless four-cylinder turbo engines.
Porsche 911 GT2 RS
At the other end of the Porsche range to the 718 Cayman, the 911 GT2 RS is unveiled here, fresh from lapping the benchmark Nurburgring race track in a new record time for a production car. It uses the most extreme, wide body of any 911 and sports a range-topping 700 horsepower, which goes to the road through just the rear wheels. Sounds like a handful, and if you like sweaty palms and ultimate Porsches, you'll need £207,000 (that's $293,000) to get your hands on one… except they're already sold out.
Mazda Vision Coupe
Mazda dropped this coupe concept at the Tokyo Auto Show, but brought it to LA too. Looking incredibly gorgeous, it's proof Mazda is on a roll – several people we spoke to thought it wouldn't have looked out of place on the Aston Martin stand.
Both the "full fat" Range Rover and Range Rover Sport get a mild facelift with new bumpers, colour and wheel designs. The bigger news is that inside they get the three-screen interface seen in our car of the year, the Velar. You can also now buy a plug-in hybrid version to assuage your environmental guilt.
Another worthy but dull mid-sized SUV. However, the QX50 perhaps has more going for it than most, with a handsome yet reasonably distinctive exterior and a novel new "variable compression ratio" petrol engine, which is supposed to offer the fuel economy of a diesel with none of the emissions woes.
Tesla Model 3
Yes, we've seen the Model 3 before, but while Tesla continues to struggle with "production hell", the company gets a full Auto Show stand for the first time we can remember, and reminds those southern Californians in the deposit queue just what they're missing.
A US-only model, the three-row Ascent will be Subaru's biggest car, with seven seats it's more of a high-riding estate car than true SUV, but those characteristics haven't stopped Subaru from achieving wild sales success recently in the States. A new downsized and more frugal boxer engine should help, but the interior is 80s-tastic.
You can't buy an Accord in the UK any more, but here in the US, the Accord is the best selling car. The new model is significantly more sporty, with the same sporty details Honda has recently given the Civic, with bags of space and likely unbreakable quality.
It might look like Postman Pat's van with a crazy colour scheme, but this dimunitive "car" could be the most important vehicle in LA. Designed by the man who defined/wrecked (delete as per your view) BMW, Chris Bangle, it's a car designed for up to six people, while being shorter than a Fiat 500, with a reconfigurable interior. Aesthetics are challenging, but that's Bangle's thing.