Oh sure, you'll see those fast, powerful, concepty machines in the list of our favorites. We aren't going to rock the boat too much here, and the final vote tally was seriously close, as you'll see. But rather than cast our first-place vote to something outrageous and fantastical, we went for something that checks all the right boxes and is actually a production vehicle. Rather than spoil the results for you, though, we invite you to scroll down and check out the full roster.
5th Place –
2016 CADILLAC ATS-V
GREG MIGLIORE: This thing oozes aggression. It's sharp, gutsy and rippling with power. Wow – 455 ponies in an ATS. Yes, please.
JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: I've always liked the ATS, and I've long waiting for a true hardcore performance version from Cadillac. Here it is, and it doesn't look to disappoint, with 455 horsepower, 445 pound-feet of torque, a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 185 miles per hour. And I even like the color.
CHRIS BRUCE: It seems that Cadillac is hoping to have a direct threat against the likes of the BMW M3/ M4 and Mercedes-AMG C63. It should be an interesting fight.
4th Place –
AUDI PROLOGUE CONCEPT
SEYTH MIERSMA: If this car points the way ahead for big coupes and sedans from Audi, consider me onboard. Clean and modern, inside and out, this is a concept car that looks almost turn-key to me, which speaks to the good design work Audi has already done with its production range.
CHRIS BRUCE: The Prologue's slashing headlights and full-length rear lights make it look like a malevolent robot on the prowl, and the B-pillar-less shape is a great touch too. The turbocharged V8 with 605 horsepower isn't so bad either. I can't wait to see how much of this makes it to production.
NOAH JOSEPH: As a way of showing the way forward for Audi design (and a possible flagship coupe), the Prologue concept looks promising.
3rd Place –
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF R VARIANT
PETE BIGELOW: I want one of these instead of my Jetta wagon in the driveway. Curse them for not planning to sell it here.
NOAH JOSEPH: Crossover? Who needs a crossover when you can get a nimble power wagon like this?
SEYTH MIERSMA: This. 100 times, this. Having recently tested the standard Golf R hatchback that is assuredly coming to the US, I'm more or less frothed over the idea of a wagon version of the thing. It would cost well into the $40k-range should that ever happen, and sell in the low four digits at best, but the halo-effect of a 292-horsepower, turbo-beastie station wagon is too dear to my car-geek heart to pass up. I want one.
STEVEN EWING: This is like, my favorite thing ever. I just need Volkswagen to build the Golf R 400 concept and offer it in the same longroof style.
2nd Place –
2016 FORD SHELBY GT350
JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: It looks great, it sounds great, and I'm quite sure it will go rather well, too. There's really nothing here not to like, except, of course, the lack of a concrete on-sale date or price point. Welcome back, Shelby.
BRANDON TURKUS: I've long been concerned that Ford simply wasn't willing to compete with Chevrolet in the realm of track-bred performance. The Boss 302 is a great offering, but it's hard to find and can't hold a candle to the Z/28, while Ford has nothing to challenge the Corvette with. The GT350, though, finally gives Ford a real, honest-to-goodness track star. Finally.
GREG MIGLIORE: The GT350 had serious presence on the stand in LA. I loved the white and blue livery-it made for a tasteful Le Mans vibe-and the way Ford redesigned critical pieces of the bodywork to differentiate this from the rest of the pony car stable. With 500-plus horsepower, this GT350 is nearly as potent as some of the not-so-old GT500s.
1st Place –
2016 MAZDA CX-3
SEYTH MIERSMA: A taller hatchback with unique packaging, Mazda driving dynamics and razor-sharp looks compared with most small crossovers. The hit parade just keeps on rolling for the Mazda team. If the CX-3 drives at least as well as it's CX-5 big brother, I will be highly enthused.
BRANDON TURKUS: The rapidly growing compact crossover segment has finally got what it needed all along – some Zoom-Zoom. The new CX-3 promises to be the most driver-oriented vehicle in the segment, and it does so with the promise of handsome looks and Skyactiv efficiency.
CHRIS BRUCE: The CX-3 combines the looks of the already attractive CX-5 in a smaller footprint.
STEVEN EWING: I have to believe this thing will be an absolute hoot to drive, given its Skyactiv engineering – Mazda makes some of the best-driving vehicles around these days. Who says crossovers have to be dull?
As we've done with our past Editors' Choice lists, each staffer had 25 points to distribute amongst five cars, with no one car receiving more than 10 points. After everything was tallied, here's how the Top Five fell. Pretty close, eh?
- Mazda CX-3 – 38 points
- Ford Shelby GT350 – 37 points
- Volkswagen Golf R Variant – 35 points
- Audi Prologue Concept – 33 points
- Cadillac ATS-V – 29 points
After the super-close Top Five, things kind of fell way to the back from there. But that's not to say a bunch of votes weren't cast for other cars on display in Los Angeles. Here's what else we liked from this year's show:
- Chevy Chaparral 2X Vision GT Concept – 27 points
- Toyota Mirai – 20 points
- Audi A7 Sportback H-Tron – 17 points
- Volvo V60 Cross Country – 11 points
- Mercedes-Maybach S600 – 10 points
- Galpin-Fisker Rocket – 8 points
- Mercedes-Benz S550 PHEV – 8 points
- Fiat 500X – 7 points
- Jaguar F-Type 6MT – 5 points
- Bentley Grand Convertible – 5 points
- Chevy Colorado ZR2 Concept – 3 points
- Audi R8 Competition – 3 points
- Volkswagen HyMotion – 3 points
- Mullen 700e – 1 point