Here are some of the most buzz-worthy new models and concept cars getting their world debuts at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which opens to the public Nov. 18. Media previews began Wednesday at the show, which is an important venue for carmakers because California is by far the largest car market in the U.S.:
— CADILLAC XTS: General Motors Co.’s luxury brand unveils the replacement for its old land yachts, the DTS and STS. The company promises space and elegance with technology for a new generation of buyers. It looks like a larger, rounded version of the CTS, and is powered by a 300 horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 engine. The all-wheel-drive sedan will hit showrooms in the spring. Pricing hasn’t been released.
— CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 CONVERTIBLE: The convertible version of the fastest Camaro ever. It’s due out this summer as a 2013 model. The ZL1 sports car has a 550-horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 and recently hit 170 miles per hour on a German test track. Pricing hasn’t been announced.
— CHEVROLET SPARK: General Motors enters the tiny car market, aiming at young city dwellers with the Spark. It’s smaller than Chevrolet’s newly released Sonic but still seats four. The Spark will be powered by a 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine with 85 horsepower and will come standard with a five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic also is available. Chevy promises “vibrant” paint colors. It goes on sale in mid-2012. The price wasn’t announced.
— FIAT 500 ABARTH: Italian automaker Fiat SpA rolls out a high performance version of the round and cute 500 mini car. The car, which seats four, is more aggressive looking and its turbocharged 1.4-liter engine cranks out 160 horsepower, 59 more than the base version of the car. It has aluminum racing wheels, a heavy-duty five-speed manual transmission, a spoiler and a racing stripe at the bottom of the door. The Abarth gets to dealers in the first half of 2012. The price was not released.
—HONDA CR-V: Honda unveils a new version of its five-seat crossover, which is one of the most popular vehicles in a fast-growing segment. This is the CR-V’s first update in four years. Expect modest updates to styling and power that should help keep the vehicle competitive.
—HONDA FIT ELECTRIC: The electric version of the Fit subcompact, which was shown as a concept car at last year’s Los Angeles show, is expected to go around 100 miles in a charge. It goes on sale in the U.S. next year. Pricing hasn’t been announced.
—HYUNDAI AZERA: The Korean automaker rolls out a new version of its larger midsize car with a sleek body design and side creases. It comes standard with a 3.3-liter six-cylinder engine with gasoline injected directly into the cylinders for higher efficiency. Hyundai claims it will have best in class combined city-highway fuel economy of 23 mpg. Pricing hasn’t been announced.
—INFINITI JX: Infiniti launches an all-new seven-passenger crossover with an exclusive new feature: A system that automatically engages the brakes if the driver is about to back into something crossing behind the vehicle. Nissan Motor Co. plans to reveal the price and other details at the show.
— SUBARU BRZ: The automaker famous for rugged all-wheel-drive cars and small SUVs enters the sports car market with the rear-wheel-drive BRZ sports car. Subaru is showing off a concept that will look a lot like a BRZ slated for production in the spring of 2012. It’s sleek and low with an aerodynamic front spoiler and a rear wing. The BRZ will have a new direct-injected 2-liter Subaru Boxer engine. Pricing wasn’t announced.