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2012 Los Angeles Auto Show Preview

By Nelson Ireson | HighGearMedia.com,

It's that time of year again: auto show season. With most of the biggest and best events of the year lined up over the next six months, we'll be seeing the best of the industry's new offerings as well as concepts for what's to come. The 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show promises to impress with more than 40 debuts, including 24 world debuts.

The show, held in the Los Angeles Convention Center, brings journalists and industry executives from around the world, as well as design competitions, technology showcases, green car awards, and, of course, thousands and thousands of car lovers who come to see the future of the car industry first-hand.

As always, Motor Authority will be at the show to bring you our live photos, videos, news, and impressions from the floor of the L.A. Convention Center.

In the mean time, here's our hand-picked list of some of the best cars to be on the lookout for, as well as what we know so far about them. Be sure to join us for the full show experience when press days kick off, November 27-29. 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series

Easily the most impressive--both statistically and visually--of the cars already announced for their world debut at the 2012 LA Auto Show, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series promises to take the already sharp SLS AMG and hone it to a razor's edge with more aggressive styling, better handling, and more power. We aren't going to argue with any of that.

2013 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder

With the refreshed 2013 Lamborghini Gallardo just shown a couple of months ago at Paris, the soft-top Spyder's debut was just a matter of time--and that time is almost up. Packing a slightly revised look and some new equipment and options, the Gallardo Spyder carries forward into 2013 largely unchanged mechanically.

New Porsche Cayman

Porsche  confirmed a "new compact sports car" for a premiere at the 2012 LA Auto Show last week, and today, undisguised photos of an all-new Cayman emerged on Instagram. Combining the fantastic new looks of the 2013 Boxster with the Cayman's typical styling cues and hardtop form factor, the new Porsche Cayman promises to be one of the best buys in Porsche's lineup.

Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster

While it won't technically be at the 2012 LA Auto Show, the new Aventador Roadster is running parallel to it, having just seen its official web debut this week. We'll have to wait until the middle of 2013 for sales to start so we can see them on the road, but in the mean time, there are still plenty of new debuts to come in LA.

2014 Fiat 500E

If you're in the mood for something fun, small, and electric, the 2014 Fiat 500E might be just the ticket. Expected to produce about the same power as a standard Fiat 500, but with an all-electric drivetrain, the 500E promises to be one of the most compact and stylish of the road-going EVs--but it's mostly a "compliance car," so don't expect to see many of theme reach buyers hands outside of a handful of U.S. states.

2014 Subaru Forester

Subaru is also planning a range of updates for its Forester. The Forester XT continues to be one of our favorite sleeper vehicles, with a new turbocharged flat 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive, room for your gear, a turbo Boxer four, and still small enough to be fun to drive? It's a solid combo, even if the looks are a bit frumpy.

2013 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

If you'd like a lot more speed with your gear/passenger hauling, not to mention even better handling, you'll have to give up any pretense at sleeper status for the 2013 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. While the exterior is aggressively Porsche, with large air inlets, big wheels, and huge Turbo S badging, it's the 550-horsepower twin-turbocharged V-8 engine that will really impress, slinging the SUV to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds and on to 175 mph top speed.

2014 Acura RLX

Shown as a concept at the 2012 New York Auto Show, the 2014 Acura RLX is coming in production form to the 2012 LA Auto Show to replace the current RL. Unlike the concept, however, the production RLX won't feature a hybrid all-wheel-drive powertrain--at least not at launch. Instead, a 310-horsepower V-6 engine will power the front wheels. A whole whose of new features and equipment will also come with the new RLX, including four-wheel steering, AcuraLink communications, LED headlights, and a range of passive and active safety systems.

Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio

No photos of the drop-top version of the Fiat 500 Abarth have surfaced yet, but Fiat has confirmed just such a car will be at the 2012 LA Auto Show. We expect it to be quite literally what its name conveys: a retractable cloth top like the 500C's draped over an otherwise standard 500 Abarth--meaning 160 horsepower of turbo fun, a growling exhaust note, and surprisingly capable handling for a tiny front-drive car. Oh, and a heavy dose of Abarth style, naturally.

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

Like the 500 Abarth, the 2013 VW Beetle Convertible is expected to be a straightforward soft-top take on the hardtop we already know so well. Some quirky and fun vintage styling and equipment packages may come along with the Beetle Convertible's launch, but we won't know for sure until the show gets closer, so keep an eye on our LA Auto Show page for more details as they break.

For more of the goings on at the 2012 LA Auto Show, check out the links below:

2013 Honda Civic to receive mild updates at the 2012 LA Auto Show.

2014 Kia Forte gets sharp new design, fuel-efficient engines.

The BMW i4 Concept Electric Coupe could make an appearance in LA.

(c) 2012, High Gear Media.

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