Welcome to Motoring Monday for November 24th, 2014. I’m Sam Haymart for TestDrivenTV.

Today we’ve got highlights of the LA Auto Show including some beautiful new metal from Mercedes-Maybach, Lexus, Lincoln and Chrysler just to name a few.

Lexus LF-C2

Forecasting what a drop-top version of the new RC Coupe will look like, the sexy Lexus LF-C2 concept was one of the showstoppers at the LA Auto Show.

Calling it a design study, Lexus unveiled the 2+2 roadster concept which is clearly based on the 2015 RC-350 and RC-F which just went on sale.

While the concept car is clearly based on the RC, Lexus plays with the design elements giving it a uniquely noodled grille, fascia and LED lighting treatments that are a bit more daring.

Along the sides the lower rocker gets an air inlet, pushing air in for rear for brake cooling. As you come around you see air extractors just behind the rear wheels to pull it out.

Out back artfully straked tail lamps and a more detailed rear fascia is seen than the production RC, with integrated exhaust outlets in a chrome cross bar.

The rear deck is playfully designed with a dual cowl tonneau cover treatment that we can only hope makes it to a production version. Like the current IS Convertible, that tonneau cover hides a power folding hard top.

We can expect a production version to carry the 3.5 liter V6 found in the RC-350 coupe and can hope Lexus sees fit to offer the rip snorting 5.0 liter V8 from the RC-F.

If I had to guess, we’ll see this car unveiled production form about this time next year if not sooner.

Unveiling a third and substantial facelift for the car, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles unveiled their freshly re-designed 2015 Chrysler 300 sedan.

The look is somewhat familiar as the basic body structure remains the same as when the Chrysler 300 started life in 2005.

New is a softer and more rounded front fascia and grille with what the brand calls a bolder “face of Chrysler” now featuring LED lighting accents.

At the rear, a new LED tail lamp design and deck-lid sheet metal also bring a more rounded and sculpted look that is indeed fresh and more upscale to the eye.

New wheel designs across the line help bolster the newness factor, but the greenhouse and wheel arches are still pretty much the same as we’ve been looking at for a while.

The interior gets nuanced updates including a standard 7” color infotainment display and inherits Chrysler’s console mounted rotary transmission shift selector.

For 2015 the 300 also gets a new Platinum trim grade with quilted Nappa leather seat and interior trims, genuine hand-sanded wood accents throughout, and a Poltrona Frau leather-wrapped instrument panel and console. Swank.

Engines and powertrain options are essentially carryover from 2014, which starts with a 300 horsepower 3.6 liter V6 and ranges up to a 363 horsepower 5.7 liter HEMI V8, all of which come with that nice eight-speed automatic transmission.

Production of the new 2015 Chrysler 300 starts about now and they will be arriving at dealers toward the end of this calendar year.

Mercedes-Maybach S600

The Maybach name returns with the improving economic climate this year as the Mercedes-Maybach S600 is unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Now a sub-brand of Mercedes-Benz, the new Mercedes-Maybach line will be exclusive and bespoke with even higher levels of zoot, bling and accoutrements.

At nearly 215” long with a 132.5” wheelbase, the new ultimate flagship is over 8” longer than an S-Class. And powering this super liner is a 6.0 liter V12 biturbo engine with 523 horsepower.

But this car really isn’t about driving, it’s for the rear passengers. Much of the stretch length goes to serving their needs and comforts with living room and coddling comforts.

Now the the world’s quietest production sedan says Mercedes, the rear passengers will rub elbows with rich Nappa leather on nearly every surface which isn’t made of high-end wood trims or polished chrome.

Rear passengers have their own sets of controls for not only infotainment, heating and ventilation, and connectivity but also for the adjustable massage lounge-style seats. The center console can offer fold-out tables for writing or use of a small laptop.

That rear seat is set back behind a shortened rear door, which provides a fixed triangular window ahead of the C-Pillar for a bit of a Rolls Royce like touch.

Exterior design isn’t as boldly different as the Maybach sedans of the last decade, rather takes a more subtle approach to its exclusivity.

A more prominent grille and fascia along with more upscale treatments at the rear are combined with Maybach logos and more streamline trims.

The new Mercedes-Maybach S600 will launch in North America next April. And the price? It you need to ask, well you know.

Lincoln MKX Concept

Ford’s luxury brand showed their mid-size crossover Lincoln MKX Concept for the first time in North America at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Forecasting the replacement for the Lincoln MKX in the 2016 model year, the concept shares its architecture with the 2016 Ford Edge crossover.

Distinctive style separates the two well as the MKX Concept pushes further into Lincoln’s subtle evolution of design DNA.

I think it’s the best form and composition yet of their design themes with contoured fender lines which create shoulders and hips boldly.

Lincoln’s face is also coming together more cohesively with each project, becoming more defined and of its own path. It looks more dimensional now, less wall-papered on than some current products.

Look for the new Lincoln MKX to offer some unique powertrain options above and beyond the Ford Edge. EcoBoost power is a given, likely to include the 2.3 liter four-cylinder and perhaps even a V6.

Inside, the big news will be high quality bespoke style trims and materials that include House of Weir leather hides, genuine woods, and plenty of satin finish metals.

The new MKX will also host all the latest technologies from driver warning aids to powered assistance systems for lane keeping, crash avoidance and of course parallel parking.

The new 2016 Lincoln MKX will be unveiled in 2015 with actual production likely start by about this time next year.

Test Drives

In our test drives this week we drove the Ford Escape compact-crossover sport utility out in the desert here near Phoenix to see how well it lives off the pavement.

To our surprise it did remarkably well in our small off-road test course showing that while it is really more skewed toward paved roads, it has the traction capabilities to get you out of tight spots.

The Escape is happiest however offering up a sporty and crisp handling character on windy mountain roads, in town and on the highway with its stiff suspension and 19” wheels.

It was off the paved roads where the ride got a bit rough and less composed, showing that Ford like Mazda with their CX-5 really skewed the balance toward on-road handling.

Also tested this week was the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI equipped with a six-speed manual, a powertrain rated up to 46 mpg highway.

For 2015 the Jetta received well needed trim updates inside to improve the look and feel. Outside it got new styling at the front and rear with new fascias, trims and now available Bi-Xenon headlamps.

Under the hood is a brand-new 2.0 liter turbo-diesel engine for 2015 which comes across smoother and a bit quieter than before and picks up an extra 10 horsepower.

In our week with the Jetta we achieved 44 mpg combined city and highway without trying that hard, and impressed enough to make it to our I’d Buy It list for 2014.

For these and many other test drives log onto TestDrivenTV or our YouTube Channel

Reality Check

Our reality check this week takes a look at the big takeaway from the Los Angeles Auto Show this year, the biggest trend afoot.

At the forefront this year for me is that the sub-compact crossover segment seems to be emerging as the new hot spot for automakers for both entry level and luxury segments.

Mazda unveiled their new 2016 CX-3 sub-compact utility which goes on sale next year. Honda also pulled cover off their own, the 2016 HR-V. Both of these have a smaller foot print then their current entry compact sedans.

Fiat also wowed the crowd with their cheeky new 500x which looks like a 500 who’s been working out at the gym and stopped by the mod shop on the way home for a lift kit. It certainly comes across as more fun than the 500L.

While not a debut at Los Angeles, Lexus is fresh to market with their new NX luxury-crossover too with Nissan, Infiniti, and Chevrolet all coming to market soon with their own entries in this space.

When you add these to some who have already been here like the Buick Encore, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Audi Q3 and so forth you we have what is undoubtedly a trend.

It just makes sense doesn’t it? Many of our so-called entry level crossover utilities have grown in size and price over the last decade to mid-size levels. We’re just getting back to squares.

Money Shot

Now its time for our money shot where we pick the hottest photo from this week’s news and show it to ya!

This week Ford kicked the sleeping dog off the porch with their new 2016 Shelby GT350 Mustang. With a high-revving 5.2 liter naturally aspirated V8 and bulging muscles, it promises to be the next track toy or garage queen depending on who buys it.

Well that’s it for Motoring Monday. If you’re celebrating the holiday this week make some memories with someone you love and please be careful out there on the roads.

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I’m Sam Haymart for TestDrivenTV, I hope you enjoyed the ride!