Less than a week out, the Los Angeles Auto Show promises to be one of this year’s big ones. In fact, we’ve covered so many concepts that have already been teased – Mercedes’s 2017 SL-Class and GLS-Class, and the Cadillac XT5, to name a few – that a few have slipped through the cracks. This doesn’t mean that this is some best of the rest list, however; if any of these vehicles slipped out at any other time this year, they’d have our full attention.
But automakers know this, and in recent years it’s become seemingly more important to orchestrate the perfect pre-show leak then has been to nail the public debut. Some players, like Buick and Mazda, have leaked an artfully coy image or two to whet the public’s appetite. Others, like Cadillac and Mercedes have gone all in with photos and specs long before the we’ll get to see the cars in the metal.
Still, until the lights go up at the premiers, there’s a lot of mystery surrounding most of these models. Here’s a look at five big ones, and with Autos Cheat Sheet setting up shop on the floor next week, you’ll be hearing a lot more about these models.
1. Honda Civic Coupe
Can you believe that Honda hasn’t sold a two-door Civic in the U.S. since 2005? In LA, the company is looking to end this decade-long draught this by unveiling an new hatch for 2016. Honda says the new Civic has “even sportier lines, with an intimate, high-tech interior and engaging powertrain options,” and is key in making this generation the “sportiest and most expansive Civic lineup in brand history.” If it looks anything like the Civic Coupe Concept we saw at this year’s New York Auto Show (above), we might begin to believe the hype.
2. Mazda CX-9
Mazda’s striking Kodo styling has hidden the CX-9’s age well, but it doesn’t change the fact that underneath the sheet metal, it’s a 10-year-old SUV riding on a 12-year-old Ford platform. From what little we’ve seen, it looks like Mazda’s seven-seat people mover will take its styling cues from the Koeru concept that bowed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Keep an eye on this one, because it’ll likely be the best looking and best handling full-size SUV on the market by this time next year.
3. Buick LaCrosse
Like Cadillac’s outgoing SRX, the current generation LaCrosse is so old that when it debuted it shared its underpinnings with a Saab. But now, Buick’s big sedan is getting a total redesign, and ditching the aging Epsilon platform in the process. From the brand’s few teaser images, the will LaCrosse’s styling borrows heavily from Buick’s recent Avenir concept, a car that we have a serious soft spot for.
4. Fiat 124 Spyder
Usually, badge-engineering is a bad thing, but in the case of the Fiat 124 Spyder, we’ll take it. Very closely based on the Mazda Miata (above), FCA has kept a pretty tight lid on the car so far, but spy shots of the 124 Spyder show that designers didn’t go to great lengths to hide its Mazda DNA, and that’s really not a bad thing. Under the hood, however, it’s all FCA. The Spyder’s base engine is the 1.4 liter turbo four from the Abarth 500, which is good for 180 horsepower (compared to the Miata’s 155 horsepower mill). If you’re looking for something a little more exotic, the Abarth version is likely to use the engine and transmission from the Alfa Romeo 4C.
5. Lamborghini Huracán
No, it isn’t an all new Huracán. Following in the footsteps of Porsche’s rumored 911 R, Lamborghini is ditching the Huracán’s all-wheel drive system and sending all 610 horsepower to the rear wheels in a lightweight, even more performance-focused limited edition model. Aimed at brand purists who bemoan the company’s Volkswagen ownership for sucking the soul out of the brand, it should be plenty of proof that Lambo’s can still do crazy better than just about anyone else.
Like classics? It’s always Throwback Thursday somewhere.
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