The best new cars from the 2018 Los Angeles Motor Show

It's the land of big V8s and oversized pick-up trucks, but America turned on an electric-infused motor show with tinges of luxury in Los Angeles.

Major new model launches from big brands were complemented by significant newcomers from unknown brands.

The sorts of things that could create a Hollywood storyline.

Genovation GXE

American muscle has typically meant big V8s with big noise and big power.

The Genovation GXE has nailed the last of those points – big power – but does without the others, exchanging the V8 engine for banks of batteries and an electric motor.

Plus, there's an Aussie addition to the clean-and-green supercar.

Whereas most electric cars bypass a transmission – instead opting for a single-speed setup – the Genovation GXE drives through a choice of a manual or automatic gearbox, allowing for higher-speed running.

The company claims it'll hit 60mph (96km/h) in the "low two-second" bracket. Top speed is claimed at almost 340km/h.

It rides on carbon fibre wheels supplied by Geelong-based Carbon Revolution, which also supplies wheels to Ford and Ferrari.

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None of which is cheap: Deliver your Corvette to Genovation for modification and pay US$750,000 and you're away.

Rivian R1T

Americans know a thing or two about big trucks (they buy millions of them each year), but the Rivian R1T may challenge expectations.

Not only does it look futuristic but with a muscular stance, but it ditches a big engine for four electric motors, one on each wheel.

Up to 180kWh of batteries sit along the floor of the car and are claimed to deliver up to 640km between charges and complete the dash to 100km/h in a little over three seconds.

While it can only carry 800kg, it's claimed to be able to tow up to five tonnes.

So, a serious truck then.

Rivian has offices in California and Michigan and plans to build its all-electric luxury cars in Illinois.

The fledgling company, which has been operating since 2009, plans to have its first R1T delivered in 2020.

Audi e-Tron GT Concept

Classic proportions mixed with bold lines and aggressive details created one of the best looking four-doors ever created.

The prominent wheel arches and vented bonnet, in particular, make for an immense visual feast.

But it's beneath the sculptured skin the GT Concept has the biggest story to tell, its flat floor packed full of batteries providing electric propulsion to all four wheels.

There's a full 434kW to play with, enough to touch 100km/h in 3.5 seconds.

It's the same basic electrical architecture that will be used in the upcoming Porsche Taycan, giving a tantalising clue to how brisk that car will be.

The e-Tron GT production car will arrive in 2021 – and hopefully it won't venture far from the design of the concept.

Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro

It's Mercedes-Benz's answer to the Porsche 911 – the latest generation of which was revealed in LA – and the AMG GT just got a tad sharper and faster.

The new GT R Pro (for professional) is more than just snazzy green stickers, with an emphasis on sharper dynamics and less weight.

It picks up race track smarts from the GT3 and GT4 versions of the GT, including adjustable suspension and revisions to the suspension layout.

The engine is the same 430kW 4.0-litre V8 from the GT R, enough to dash to 100km/h in 3.6 second.

But revised aerodynamics – including a new rear wing and carbon fibre elements in the front bumper – provide more downforce.

The limited edition GT R Pro is not yet confirmed for Australia but is under consideration.

Mazda steps upmarket

Japanese car maker Mazda unleashed its wish to be all things premium with the new "Mazda Premium" target in unveiling the new 3 hatch and sedan.

On hand in LA, recently appointed president and CEO Akira Marumoto said "through products, sales and service we'd like to forge a strong bond with the customer" as part of a push to make the brand more attractive.

Already Mazda has tested the waters with the CX-9 LE, a top-line model that features unique wood finishes and more features.

But rather than make all its cars more expensive or start building limousines, the company wants to improve attention to detail and the luxury flavour on all models.

"Unlike the German three we do not have an intention to build very expensive products," said Marumoto.

Key to the Mazda Premium sales pitch is the imminent arrival of electrified models, the first of which will appear in 2020.

Jeep Gladiator

It's the ute that's as much about adventuring and enjoying the drive as it is lifting heavy things.

Based on the iconic Wrangler, the Gladiator gets a large tray and four-door body style to put it head-to-head with the likes of the Ford Ranger, Holden Colorado and Nissan Navara.

Like the Wrangler, its windscreen can be folded flat and doors removed. Plus, you can remove the roof for a full open-air experience.

They're the sorts of things that could make the Gladiator the ultimate beach buggy.

Off-road credentials are also solid, ensuring easy progress over any terrain.

It's big, too; at almost 5.6 metres long it'll outstretch its dual-cab rivals by about 20cm.

However, while it can tow almost 3.5 tonnes – matching class leaders – its payload is just 725kg, hundreds of kilos less than the class elite.

Scroll through the gallery above to get a look at the best new cars from LA.