Los Angeles, California - Automakers are debuting key models at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.
PURE RACER: Porsche, bouyed by success of its Cayman GT4 has produced a strictly track-use version called the GT4 Clubsport. Image: Newspress
Updated versions of big sellers like Hyundai's Elantra are there, as well as new luxury vehicles like the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe and the Land Rover Evoque Convertible.
California leads other states in new car sales
There's some flash, with the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport race car, and some hints of the future, with concept cars from Volvo and Subaru and a three-wheeler from startup Elio Motors.
Automakers are showing off in California because it's a hot market. It leads other states in new vehicle sales, according to IHS Automotive, and sales there are expected to hit their highest level in a decade in 2016.
Here are some of the hot cars at the 2015 year show, which opens to the public Friday:
Subaru Impreza sedan concept: The Impreza Sedan Concept is a design concept car previewing the next-generation Impreza which is to be the first one of Subaru's next-generation strategic vehicles envisioned in FHI's Mid-Term Management Vision "Prominence 2020" announced in May 2014.
The Subaru look is seen in the Wide & Low stance with its sporty impression, and in the unified three-dimensional structure extending from the hexagonal grille that symbolizes the Subaru identity to the hawk-eye headlights.
The rich inflection of the character line extending from the front fender to the door panels and rear shoulder, and the line rising energetically toward the rear from the lower door panel, give dynamism to the solid body surface. The powerfully extended fender flares express the reliability of Subaru All-Wheel Drive.
Kia Sportage: (Headed for SA)
The Sportage compact SUV gets a totally new look for 2017 with engine and suspension updates to give it better performance and greater efficiency than the outgoing model. It's got more headroom, legroom and cargo space than the old model, too, because it's slightly longer and Kia engineers used "clever packaging."
Outside, the Sportage gets a sleeker appearance with curves, creases and a sloped roofline. The automaker says the interior has more soft touch materials for a luxury feel.
The SUV also gets automatic braking and lane departure warning for safety. Electronic upgrades include a 7" touch screen that's compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Range Rover Evoque convertible: (Headed for SA)
SUV convertibles haven't had an easy time of it. Remember the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet? It was yanked from the market after only four years because of slow sales. But Land Rover is giving it a whirl with a convertible version of its Evoque compact SUV.
Land Rover says the fabric roof can stow in 18 seconds and fully raise in 21 seconds at speeds of up to 50km/h. There's also a rollover protection system that can deploy two aluminum bars within 90 milliseconds of a crash.
The Evoque Convertible will go on sale in mid-2016 in South Africa.
Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe: (Headed for SA)
Mercedes showed off the Coupe version of its popular C-Class. The star of their stand was the fire-breathing C63 Coupe featuring flared front and rear wheel arches, a wider track and larger wheels.
The C63 uses the AMG 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine rated at 350kW or 375kW (S guise) built in-house at Affalterbach. The model uses the AMG ride control suspension with electronically controlled shock absorbers, AMG dynamic select transmission modes and features a rear-axle limited-slip differential.
Alfa Romeo Giula: (Headed for SA)
Fiat Chrysler's Alfa Romeo brand jumps into the midsize luxury sedan market with the Giulia.
Alfa Romeo with the trademark triangle grille, hood creases and beefy-looking exhaust comes with a Ferrari-derived 2.9-litre, 380kW twin-turbo V6 that takes the car from 0 - 100km/h in 3.9 seconds.
Alfa says the new rear-drive sedan has near-perfect front-to-rear weight distribution for crisp handling. Initially it comes only with a six-speed manual transmission. Production begins for North America late in the second quarter.
Fiat 124 Spider: (Headed for SA)
Fiat gets away from cute, bulbous and tiny with an Italian-designed two-seat sports car. The low-slung convertible has some classic looks of its predecessor from nearly 50 years ago, but it comes with many modern updates.
The rear-wheel-drive roadster is powered by Fiat's venerable 1.4-litre turbocharged engine that puts out 119kW and 250Nm. It comes with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.
Mercedes-Benz SL: (Headed for SA)
Mercedes showed a revised version of its SL, with a new bonnet, bumper and headlights. Also adding to the unmistakable new appearance of the SL is the new standard-fit LED Intelligent Light System with headlamp housings extending far to the outside.
The model range now comprises the SL 400 with V6 engine uprated to 270kW and 500 Nm as well as the SL 500 using a 335kW V8 engine. A new 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission is now standard
Not to be left out are two Mercedes-AMG models, the SL 63 and SL 65: the V8 Roadster develops 430kW, the top-of-the-range V12 model 463kW.
Porsche Cayman GT4 (Clubsport):
Porsche has added a new sports car for recreational and club racing to its fleet: The Cayman GT4 Clubsport celebrated its world premiere at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The 283kW mid-engine racer for motorsport newcomers, which is not road homologated, is based on the successful street-legal Cayman GT4 sports car. Sales of the racing car start with the unveiling at the trade show.
The Cayman GT4 Clubsport is powered by a 3.8-litre flat-six engine, positioned directly behind the driver’s seat. The racing version exclusively features a modified six-speed Porsche double clutch transmission with shift paddles on the steering wheel and a mechanical rear-axle locking differential specifically for racing.