2011 Los Angeles Auto Show: The Other 99 Percent Debuts You Missed

By Joel Arellano | November 18, 2011
The 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show was a madhouse this year at Automotive.com, with more than 30 debuts to cover over a scant two days period. Thankfully, we were prepared and covered such big reveals like the 2012 Cadillac XTS, 2013 Ford Escape, and the 2012 Hyundai Azera—just before wearing out the soles of our JC Penny-bought loafers. A few vehicles, though, managed to slip under the radar here and there due to the low-key nature of their changes or—most of the time—the lack of fanfare from the automaker. Thus, we scrambled heroically to snatch press releases, photos, and even a few reporter notebooks (sorry, mom) to present the following five near-debuts at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show.
Buick LaCrosse GL Concept

We first posted about the Buick LaCrosse GL a few days ago. Unlike many concept vehicles on the showroom floor, which emphasized new engine technologies or radical exterior designs, the LaCrosse GL concept showcased possible new interior directions from GM's Buick division. We found the concept "design study" almost a step back into the past, when premium and luxury vehicles wrapped driver and passengers in style with copious amounts of real leather—not Alcantara or other synthetics—and wood instead of aluminum trim and carbon fiber inserts. Most of us found the contrasting two-color scheme to be pleasing, though several of the younger set voiced loudly about being back in their grandparents' (pre-CTS) Caddies. Kids these days.
Chrysler 300S 426 Concept

Chrysler brought the aftermarket spirit to the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show with the 300S 426, a joint project between the automaker and tuner arm Mopar. "Brute in a suit" is how Chrysler CEO and President Saab Chehab describes the sedan, balancing the monster 426 HEMI V-8 engine that's the heart of the full-sized sedan a refined sound; oh-so-subtle exterior cues ala less bling; and leather seats and interior held tastefully together with "waterfall" stitching. Chehab says the 426 aims to showcase the Chrysler 300's more refined, sophisticated direction but with a "Detroit" direction, and is waiting to see the public's reaction. We think a little more "in-yo-face" design, or brighter colors, would have had us stopping to stare at the 300 instead of stopping to wonder what it was.

2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 Yellow Jacket

We didn't see the 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 Yellow Jacket during media days at the Los Angeles Auto Show, but not for lack of trying. Apparently Dodge decided to proudly display it across the street… somewhere...and we just ran out of time to brave downtown Los Angeles traffic and the Occupy LA crowds to pay a visit. The public, though, will definitely get plenty of eye candy when the show opens on Friday. Bright yellow (and how!) as its namesake, the Dodge Challenger Yellow Jacket is based on the SRT8 392 Challenger. The Hemi V-8 engine delivers 470 horsepower, while exclusive features include 20-inch wheels and all-new Yellow Jacket badge. Like the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee, the Dodge Challenger SRT8 Yellow Jacket goes on sale in limited quantities starting in early 2012.

2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee

Never have we so looked forward to being stung. As we previously wrote last week, the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee is the latest iteration of the original 1968 Dodge Super Bee. Dodge's tuner arm got a hold of the four-door and equipped it with buzzingly powerful 470 horsepower V-8 Hemi, custom hood graphics and striping, and badging which includes the 392 Hemi-logo that powered many of the Chrysler and Dodge vehicles of that era. The SRT team tastefully places its exclusive helmet-wearing "bee and SRT" badge strategically around and within the car which goes on sale in limited quantities starting in early 2012.

2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG

While the German automakers are all game to go green at the LA Auto Show (witness the BMW i3 and i8 which made their North American debuts at the show), the Teutonics continue to power up all their vehicles' power plants and drivetrains. Mercedes-Benz flexed its muscles on the show floor with the addition of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG SUV from in-house tuner branch AMG. Reception seemed to be cool with the introduction as many a press member wondered where one can actually drive a 518 horsepower mid-sized SUV in the crowded freeways typical in the City of Lost Angels. Well, the 2012 ML63 AMG keeps driver and passengers comfortable as they search for such a rare road, offers plenty of interior features like designo leather seats and media-rich COMAND system.