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Sneak a peek at the cars of the 2012 LA Auto Show

The 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show is just around the corner. We take a moment to look ahead at some of the rides we expect to see.

2013 Honda Civic
Chevrolet Spark EV
Chevrolet claims that the Spark EV's 100kW motor is good for an instantaneous 400 pound-feet of torque. What?! Chevrolet

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV
Chevrolet takes its electric vehicle program a step further than the Volt with the fully electric 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV. This battery-powered version of the smallest Chevy model is targeted at urban motorists. Small, parkable footprint? Check. Torque-friendly electric motor? Check. Quick charger that juices the lithium ion battery to 80 percent in 20 minutes? Check. Cruising range hasn't been announced yet, but rumors put it at 80+ miles.

Fiat 500e
Fiat is debuting an electrified version of its only U.S. model, the 500e. Fiat

2014 Fiat 500e
The Spark EV won't be the only lilliputian electric at the show. Fiat is also bringing the fully electric 500e, which builds on the stylish and popular Fiat 500, which we've already reviewed. Not much has officially been announced about the 500e's power train, but we do know that it will feature unique exterior styling and badging.

2013 Honda Civic
The Honda Civic is being refreshed after only one year on the market. Why so quick? Honda

Redesigned 2013 Honda Civic
After only one year on the market, Honda is already turning out a midcycle refresh of the ninth-generation Honda Civic. Honda's not given many hints about what sort refinements we can expect, but it appears that this is mostly an exterior styling update. Now, I've driven all three power train variants of the 2012 Civic with mixed results, but the curb appeal of the current generation wasn't anywhere near the top of my list of complaints. Let's hope that this update is more than skin deep.

Acura RLX
Acura's attempt to build a better Lexus LS 460 debuted as a concept at the 2012 New York Auto Show and will make a return appearance in Los Angeles. The production model will be available with the next generation of Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system (SH-AWD) that uses an electric motor to drive the rear axle and four-wheel steering that enhances lane-changing stability and vehicle rotation while cornering.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series
And you thought that the standard Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG was ridiculously exclusive and insanely hard core? Now Benz is dangling a Black Series variant even further outside of the reach of mere mortals. With inspiration and technology derived from the GT3 racecar version, the Black Series is faster, lighter, angrier, and -- apparently -- not left wanting of proper ventilation.

Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force concept
Designed as a futuristic successor to the dinosaur that is the Benz G-Class from the year 2025, the Ener-G-Force concept is a fuel-cell-powered vehicle that runs on recycled water, which is converted into hydrogen via an onboard "hydro-tech" converter. Electricity from the fuel cells is used to power four wheel hub motors, giving this rock crawler fantastic all-wheel control. (I have no idea how the Ener-G-Force's designer plan on getting around the fact that it takes energy to convert water to hydrogen, but it's a concept, so it doesn't really have to make sense.)

2014 Subaru Forester
The more powerful, turbocharged Forester models will be differentiated by a more aggressive front fascia and wheels. Subaru

2014 Subaru Forester
The fourth generation of Subaru's Forester grows a bit in exterior dimensions, gets a complementary increase in interior volume, and -- if the new front facia is any indicator -- has been gently crashed into a brick wall. Subjective styling aside, the next Forester will be powered by a version of the 170 horsepower, 2.5-liter engine that powers the current model or a new 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injected option that output 250 horsepower. Like the new Impreza, Subaru is going with a pair of CVT gearboxes to complement the engine options and, like any good Subaru*, the automaker's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is standard.

*No offense, Subaru BRZ fanatics.

Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
The convertible version of the vastly improved Volkswagen Beetle will make its North American at the show in LA. We'll finally be able to get a good look at the folded rag top in the round, which was curiously obscured in all of the photos VW released to preview its debut.

2013 Toyota RAV4
What do we know about the next generation Toyota RAV4? Well if the video above is any indicator, all that we really know is that the crossover is getting a dramatic styling update that brings its looks in line with those of the current-generation Camry, Avalon, and Corolla, which is good, because the current model's looks are best described as "forgettable." Expect 'Yota to copy and paste its Entune infotainment system wholesale into the new RAV4's dashboard, as well.

Porsche Cayman
We knew that the next Cayman wouldn't be far behind the 2013 Boxster. Instagram photo by @frod1966

Rumored, but unannounced
The 2013 Porsche Cayman was recently leaked via Instagram and Porsche is scheduled to present a new model at the show. Coincidence? I think not. The new Cayman will be based on the same underpinnings as the 2013 Porsche Boxster -- a car that I recently praised as "possibly the best car that Porsche currently makes" -- so the coupe should be a pretty sweet ride.

Lamborghini recently dropped the top on its new Aventador LP700-4 Roadster. The automaker isn't listed as a presenter at the 2012 LA Auto Show, but it seems odd that Lambo would skip an opportunity to show off its newest supercar in one of its largest North American markets. At the other end of the spectrum, the recently debuted Ford Transit Connect Wagon, a panel van version of Fords small commercial minivan, may also make an appearance in the City of Angels.