November is the most wonderful time of the year for auto enthusiasts and the companies that exist to thrill them. Between the L.A. Auto Show and the Tokyo Motor Show of 2013, attendees have had countless jaw-dropping experiences viewing super cars, fuel-cell vehicles, and American muscle icons. Here are the nine cars stealing the thunder at global auto shows.
Volkswagen (VLKAY.PK) had its share of electric vehicle offerings for L.A. Auto Show attendees, but it didn’t shy away from old-fashioned combustion-engine power in the slightest. The Design Vision GTI on display packs a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 capable of generating 503 horsepower on 413 pounds-feet of torque. It can blast off to 186 mph and sprint from 0-62 in 3.9 seconds. It’s Autobahn ready.
The Chrysler Group (FIATY.PK) didn’t cause a press sensation in L.A., but the automaker did flash impressive versions of its iconic vehicles. Most thrilling for muscle-car lovers was the hundredth-anniversary edition of the Dodge Challenger. It marks 100 years since the Dodge brothers produced their first automobile, and Dodge will have two versions of the Challenger ready for consumers by January of 2014. The base SXT model starts at $30,795.
Japanese automakers laid down the gauntlet in hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles at the Tokyo Motor Show and L.A. Auto Show. Honda’s (NYSE:HMC) FCEV, which uses hydrogen to power an electric motor and emits only water vapor, featured the most futuristic design among offerings at either show. Honda hopes to bring the FCEV to market by 2015. It already has its fuel cell FCX Clarity on the road in Southern California in limited leases.
Toyota (NYSE:TM) was busy dazzling attendees at the Tokyo Motor Show with six world premieres, as well as the Japanese premiere of this FT-86 Open Concept convertible. Toyota developed the Flash Red color specifically for its rear-wheel sports car experiment that has produced the Scion FR-S and the Subaru (FUJHY.PK) BRZ.
The name Kia (KIMTF.PK) doesn’t inspire visions of luxury right off the bat, but the Korean automaker is out to change that with the debut of the K900 at the L.A. Auto Show. This grand rear-wheel-drive sedan offers space, comfort, and performance consumers typically associate with high-end German automakers. Kia is entering the luxury market from the value angle, with most analysts expecting the K900 to start below $50,000. Its largest engine delivers 420 horsepower.
Ford (NYSE:F) is keeping mum about its 2015 Mustang ahead of the December 5 sneak peek, but it showcased some of the aftermarket blasters by Shelby at the L.A. Auto Show. Mustang lovers will undoubtedly delight in the opportunity to get a 2014 Mustang GT V8 Shelby supercharged to a maximum 624 hp.
While Toyota’s fuel-cell vehicle and other concept cars snatched headlines at the Tokyo Motor Show, the automaker had a ferocious offering from its luxury brand on display as well. The Lexus LF-NX Turbo crossover looks like a vehicle one of the Batman villains would drive, but is most notable as having the first turbocharged powertrain in the Lexus product line. Its 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine aims to provide power and efficiency in a seamless format.
Mercedes Benz (DDAIF.PK) wasn’t sporting any new vehicles headed for dealerships, but the German automaker had some breathtaking specimen on display at the L.A. Auto Show. Topping the list was a 1:1 scale concept of the super car Mercedes created for the “Gran Turismo” racing video game. The real-world model has your run-of-the-mill bi-turbo AMG V8 capable of generating 577 hp on 590 lb-ft of torque. Ho hum.
Toyota probably had to answer the question “What the hell?” more than any automaker displaying at the Tokyo Motor Show. In fact, this concept car is among the most innovative vehicles showing around the world. Instead of a steering wheel, the FV2 is guided by body movements in what Toyota says mimics the relationship between horse and rider.
The world’s top automakers were out to dazzle in an epic series of auto shows around the globe. The future of automobiles is arriving sooner than everyone guessed.
Don’t Miss: 8 Hot Cars & Trucks From the LA Auto Show.