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L.A. gets auto-show circuit in gear

The Los Angeles Auto Show is the first of its kind each model year. It's where carmakers hope to grab the attention of California's eco-conscious drivers as well as those who care more about speed and styling.

November 12, 2011|By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
  • The Chevrolet Spark is a five-door, four-passenger hatchback powered by a 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 83 horsepower.
The Chevrolet Spark is a five-door, four-passenger hatchback powered… (Chevrolet )

The Los Angeles Auto Show is the first major North American auto show of the new model year. It is known for automakers introducing hybrid, fuel-efficient and electric vehicles that grab the attention of California's eco-conscious drivers. It's also the place for big, splashy debuts of sports cars, the kind of vehicles that people fantasize driving on Pacific Coast Highway.

This year's show, which opens to the public Friday, will have plenty of both.

Audi plans the American debut of its S line of sports coupes. Porsche is bringing the new 911, and Infiniti plans the global debut of the sporty JX crossover. Honda plans global debuts of its Fit electric vehicle and the next-generation CR-V small crossover. Chevrolet is unveiling its tiny Spark city car and a new high-powered Camaro convertible. More conservative drivers will want to look at Hyundai's new six-cylinder Azera sedan.

Here are details about the show:

When: Nov. 18 to 27, including Thanksgiving Day

Where:Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., 90015

Admission: Adults: $12. Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.

Parking: $12 in Convention Center garages.

Five cars to check out at the Los Angeles Auto Show:

Infiniti JX: Infiniti's move to compete with successful luxury crossovers such as the Acura MDX and Audi Q7. This will have what Infiniti says will be the world's-first backup collision intervention system — it will detect objects behind the SUV and automatically apply the brakes if the driver ignores the warning bells and visual alerts.

Chevrolet Spark: The Spark is a five-door, four-passenger hatchback that Chevrolet sells everywhere but the U.S. Now the automaker believes American consumers will buy the minicar, which rivals the Fiat 500 and Smart Fortwo. A gas sipper, it will be powered by a 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 83 horsepower. The Spark will come standard with a five-speed manual transmission and optional automatic.

BMW M5: This is BMW's monster sedan, with so much power that the automaker talks about zero to 124 mph (13 seconds) instead of the standard zero to 60 measure (a little more than four seconds.) It has a 560-horsepower V-8 and a head-up display that projects important information onto the windshield directly in the driver's field of vision. Don't ask about fuel economy.

Hyundai Azera: Hyundai is debuting the second generation of its biggest front-wheel-drive sedan. The full-size Azera gets updated styling cues from its smaller Elantra and Sonata siblings as well as a 293-horsepower, six-cylinder engine rated at 23 miles per gallon in combined driving. Features such as nine airbags and leather seats come standard.

Volkswagen Beetle R: The German automaker is calling this model "a Beetle with more juice." It makes cute aggressive with 20-inch alloy wheels and engine-cooling vents on each side of the hood. VW talks about this car as a "concept" for now, but it introduces an R version of the Golf for sale in the U.S. in January, and the Beetle R also could find its way into showrooms.

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