Hottest Cars from the Detroit Auto Show

The Detroit Auto Show's Hottest Cars

The Detroit Auto Show
Jonathan K. Li | CNBC

The 2013 North American International Auto Show -- the most important event on the U.S. automotive calendar -- features more than 500 vehicles from brands as diverse as Ferrari and Ford, all displayed in a new 30,000 square foot atrium in Detroit's Cobo Center. This is also the American consumer's first glimpse at what next year will look like for the automotive industry, and dozens of new models will debut.

Detroit is one of 65 shows held in the U.S. this year, from Toledo to New York and Chicago. With an estimated 800,000 visitors expected at this year's Detroit show, companies will be gauging whether their newest offerings satisfy consumer demands. Polk, a research consulting firm, said it expects U.S. auto sales to hit 15.3 million in 2013, an increase of nearly 7 percent from 2012.

Take a look at these new models, all on the market this coming year. Then check back for updates, as the show continues through the weekend.

By CNBC

Posted 15 Jan 2013

Maserati Quattroporte

6th Gen Quattroporte
Jonathan K. Li | CNBC

The new Quattroporte -- Maserati's flagship model -- is larger, lighter, more luxurious and more practical than previous versions, the company says. With a 307 km/h top speed, it's also as fast as most two-door super cars.

The powerful Maserati engines and large cabin are core to the Quattroporte's design. Dominated by a long, powerful nose and a concave Trident grille, the new Quattroporte boasts a 530 hp twin turbo V8 -- making it not only the fastest four-door Maserati has ever built, but also the most powerful and fuel efficient, company officials said.

Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible

Bentley GT Speed Convertible
Jonathan K. Li | CNBC

The world's fastest four-seat convertible has a top speed of 202 mph, and a 625 PS (616 bhp) twin-turbocharged 6.0 liter W12 -- all the while delivering 15 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, Bentley said. The eight-speed transmission, lowered suspension and re-tuned steering provide exhilarating acceleration and sharp handling.

Design features include 21-inch alloy wheels, dark-tint grilles and 'rifled' exhaust tail pipes. The front wings of the GT Speed Convertible are created in super-formed aluminium, their crisply-defined body creases creating a "muscular" impression.

Mercedes Benz E-Class Coupe

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coup at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.
Jonathan K. Li | CNBC

Mercedes-Benz calls the coupe one of the "emotional highlights" of the E-Class family, with its sculpted rear fenders that visually emphasize the rear wheel drive. New tail lights and a wing-design rear bumper with chrome trim elements emphasize width and further accent the athletic appearance.

"The designers applied the new Mercedes-Benz design idiom to reinterpret the brand's classic design values, upon the existing E-Class foundation," according to the press materials. "With its new design, the E-Class captures the very essence of efficiency, intelligence and emotion."

Infiniti Q50

Infiniti Q50 unveiled at the 2013 Detoit Auto Show.
Jonathan K. Li | CNBC

This car's first impression is anchored by the smooth yet dynamic character line arising from its "double arch" grille, according to Infiniti's press materials. "It energetically flows through the body side like a wave and merges with the rear end, creating a highly fluid and intriguing profile."

At launch in North America, two advanced power trains will be available, followed by additional engine options in other global markets later in the year, according to the company. The Q50's 3.7-liter aluminum-alloy DOHC 24-valve V6 is rated at 328 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque.

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

Ferrari F12 berlinetta
Jonathan K. Li | CNBC

The new F12 Berlinetta's body and chassis are made from aluminum and materials and technologies originating in the aeronautical industry. As a result, it attains 730 horsepower at 8,250 rpm and 509 pound-feet of V12 torque at 6,000 rpm. And it hurtles to 60 miles per hour in 3.0 seconds, heading to a top speed of 211 mph.

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X prototype
Jonathan K. Li | CNBC

The Model X is "designed from the ground up to blend the best of an SUV with the benefits of a minivan, as only an electric car can," according to Tesla Motors. With a center of gravity lower than other SUVs, the electric power train delivers instant torque -- even when loaded with seven adults, Tesla says. Its doors, called "Falcon Wings," open up and out of the way, so that drivers and passengers step, instead of climb, into the car.

Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

The Mercedes-Benz CLA-class displayed at the Detroit Auto Show.
Jonathan K. Li | CNBC

Designed to compete with the BMW 1 Series and similarly sized small luxury models such as the Audi A3, Acura ILX and Buick Verano, the CLA is based on the same platform as the Mercedes A-Class -- four doors with the sleek styling of a coupe. Its turbocharged 2-liter 4-cylinder engine produces 208 horsepower. The new model includes details like smooth roof pillars, contoured wheel arches, and panels and louvers under the car to promote airflow.

The CLA, due in American dealerships by this fall, is a front-wheel-drive vehicle, but all-wheel-drive will be an option about six months after launch.

Cadillac ELR

Cadillac ELR
Jonathan K. Li | CNBC

The Cadillac ELR uses the same technology as the Chevrolet Volt: it's a plug-in electric with a backup gas engine. But as a luxury car, it has leather seats, Cadillac's CUE navigation system, plus Cadillac's advanced systems, including forward collision alert, blind-spot detection and cross-traffic alert.

If its range ends up like the Volt, the ELR can be plugged in overnight for electric-only driving -- about 35 miles in the Volt -- before the gas engine takes over.