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Games on wheels: Eclectic cars roll into E3

Amid the countless games and rows of hardware at E3, new and custom cars studded the halls and lobbies of the Los Angeles Convention Center. Some were for sale, some were for giving away, and some could be downloaded into your games.

Ferrari loaned out its 2011 458 Italia to help promote itself--and Microsoft's Forza 4 racing sim. John Scott Lewinski/CNET

LOS ANGELES--A varied collection of new and custom cars rolled into this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo to promote car-friendly games and hype 2011 models appealing to younger drivers with a little money to burn.

Automakers know they have a captive E3 audience in the much-beloved "young adults with disposable income" demographic as the game mega convention invites only professionals connected to the industry. So car companies put their new, tech-enhanced midrange models on display in hopes that attendees will head their way with their game industry paychecks.

This year's E3 featured an interesting cross-marketing scheme enabling players of EA games such as Sims 3 and Monopoly to download cars on display--like the 2011 Prius or the 2011 Ford Fiesta Platinum--directly into the games as playable options.

Last year's E3 served up more extreme super cars on the floor as EA's Need for Speed line rolled out new titles for consoles and mobile devices, opening the door for the appearance of the rare Pagani Zonda F and Mercedes Benz AMG SLK. But this year saw THQ choose a beat-up, aging Honda Civic owned by Enrique Trinidad of Henderson, Nev., for a complete overhaul to promote its Saints Row 3 game.

For a look at the cars of E3 2011, see our gallery below.