Although the LA Auto Show is nearly two weeks away, we're already getting excited about several of the vehicles scheduled to be unveiled there. So excited, in fact, we've prepared a list of the top five vehicles we're looking forward to seeing in Los Angeles. And although we're not entirely certain what each automaker plans to bring to the show, this list is our best guess for the newest, coolest and most significant debuts of the first North American auto show of the season.
Acura's full-size RLX sedan will replace the slow-selling RL for the 2014 model year. Although the automaker showed off a concept version last year at the New York Auto Show, we'll see the production model for the first time in LA. Reportedly powered by a 370-horsepower V6, there is considerable speculation that the RLX may feature a high-tech dual-clutch automatic transmission, and possibly even a smaller V6 that produces around 300 hp. Like today's RL, the RLX is expected to include standard all-wheel drive, though the less-powerful base model could offer front-wheel drive to reduce cost. We'll find out for sure in LA, when Acura announces more details about its new flagship sedan.
We're eager for the debut of FIAT's all-electric 500 subcompact. While the automaker is likely to build the 500E in small numbers--and may even limit sales to California--the hatchback will be a hit with drivers who want to combine the 500's cute styling with an electric drivetrain. Expected to feature a fully-electric engine that produces around 100 hp, the 500E will likely be priced in the low-$30,000 range. FIAT will likely confirm those details and announce the 500E's electric range and charge times in LA.
FIAT 500 Abarth Convertible
Since the high-performance Abarth version of FIAT's subcompact 500 hatchback has been a runaway hit with car shoppers, the automaker is expected to show off a new soft-top version of the sporty model in LA. Featuring a 160-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, a 6-speed manual transmission and the same folding roof with fixed side rails as the 500 Cabrio, the Abarth convertible will likely be priced around $2,000 higher than the standard Abarth's $22,000 MSRP. FIAT will undoubtedly reveal more details--including a projected on-sale date--at the show.
The fully-redesigned, fourth-generation Subaru Forester will make its debut this year in LA. Officially designated a 2014 model, the latest Forester is powered by either a 170-hp 4-cylinder or an optional 250-hp turbocharged version of the same engine. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard, though a fuel-saving continuously-variable automatic will be optional. While Subaru has not announced pricing for the new Forester, we wouldn't expect a huge bump over today's figures, which range from $22,000 for a base model to more than $30,000 for a turbocharged Forester Touring. We expect to see the new Forester early next year, though Subaru will confirm its release date and other details in LA.
Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
Although its debut won't surprise anyone, the Beetle Convertible's appearance at the LA Auto Show is sure to excite Volkswagen fans and ragtop fans alike. Already revealed online early in October, the Beetle Convertible offers many of the same features as its hardtop cousin, including engine choices, transmission options and available features. The new model also boasts a fully automatic convertible top that can be raised or lowered in just 10 seconds, along with computer-controlled roll bars that pop up in case of a rollover. The only detail we're not sure about is the Beetle Convertible's pricing, which is expected to be announced in LA.
What it means to you: The first North American auto show of the season will mark the debut of several important new models.