LA Auto Show to host new Mini, Audi A3, and Subaru WRX

Among the new models that will debut at next week's Los Angeles Auto Show will be long-awaited updates to the Audi A3, Subaru WRX, and Mini Cooper.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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Subaru WRX concept
Subaru showed off this WRX concept at the New York auto show. Expect the production version to follow its lines. Sarah Tew/CNET

Detroit may be the Motor City, but cars are a quintessential part of Los Angeles culture, often serving as status symbols among the rich and famous of this entertainment capital's sun-drenched streets. And this year's Los Angeles Auto Show will serve as a showcase for some long-awaited model updates, as well as a host of new cars and concepts.

One model I've been anticipating greatly is the new Audi A3, which will be a radically different car from the small wagon sold here previously. Two years ago, Audi revealed the new A3's cabin tech at the Consumer Electronics Show, then released the full model update in Europe. But the US was denied a new model because Audi wanted to finish developing its sedan version of the A3 for this market.

2015 Audi A3
Audi has shown the A3 sedan in other markets, but it's finally getting a US debut. Audi

The A3 sedan will finally take its place on the floor of the Los Angeles show, treating the US audience to a new premium compact sedan. The cabin will feature Audi's truly impressive connected tech, complete with a navigation system integrating Google Earth. Under the hood will be an efficient four-cylinder engine.

For those who still want a hatchback, Audi will also have on hand the A3 E-tron. This plug-in hybrid vehicle is based on the A3 Sportback model currently sold in Europe.

The Mini Cooper hatchback has seen only small changes since its launch in 2011, but now will get a complete rebuild. Mini has only released a few details of the new car, such as noting its base 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and a host of interesting new cabin tech. It will bring to the compact segment some driver assistance features, such as a head-up display and adaptive cruise control formerly reserved for big, luxury sedans.

One of the top cars on my list will be the new Subaru WRX. Very few details have been leaked about Subaru's new performance car, but a concept shown during the New York auto show last March gives a good idea of what to expect. Subaru released one photo of the new WRX's hood, which seems to match up to the concept.

Quite a number of other debuts are on the roster for Los Angeles. Jaguar will bring out a coupe version of its F-type, currently only available as a convertible. Although I'm rarely excited by roof changes in models, an F-type coupe is likely to be even more beautiful than the convertible.

Taking the opposite direction to Jaguar, BMW will show off a convertible version of its 4 Series coupe.

Lincoln MKC
Lincoln has released photos of its new MKC, to be shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Lincoln

I also expect to see BMW's Concept X4, a new coupelike SUV thing, sort of a baby brother to the X6. Porsche also has a small SUV, the Macan, slated for the show. The Macan is another long-anticipated model.

Lincoln will also have the MKC, a small SUV, to show off.

Cadillac previously unveiled the new Escalade in New York, but I expect to get my first look at it in person.

Concept cars announced for the show include a Legacy design from Subaru, CrossBlue Coupe from Volkswagen, a fuel cell car from Honda, and a Nismo performance model from Nissan.

As icing on the cake, the press preview days will be prefaced by the Connected Car Expo on November 19. During this event, I expect to hear announcements from companies pushing the capabilities of mobile data connections into cars. Audi will lead that morning with a press conference that should also show relevance to the following day's A3 sedan launch.

CNET's full LA Auto Show coverage has already begun with the preview information we've gleaned from automakers, and will shift into high gear on November 20. Check in late next week to see our photos and write-ups of all the new models at the show.