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2012 Detroit Auto Show: NAIAS Highlights

Photo Tour of Concept Cars

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When the enormous screens power down, strobe lights are turned off and celebrities fly home, the 2012 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will be remembered for its panoramic moon roofs, plethora of battery-powered cars and Jon Lovitz. These trends not withstanding, some cars just stood out while walking amidst the hundreds of models displayed. Here are just a few of the NAIAS highlights in 2012:

Concept Cars:

Concept cars are custom-made vehicles that are exhibited as a means of testing out and getting feedback on new ideas, features, engines and/or designs. While the input is utilized by automakers, the particular ideas and features incorporated into a concept car may not make it into the final production design of the model displayed.

BMW i8 Concept Sportscar

BMW i8 Concept Sportscar at the Detroit Auto Show, 2012
Photo © Laura Sternberg, Licensed to About.com
The BMW i8 Concept Sportscar is all about making fuel efficiency sexy. It is a plug-in hybrid that can be charged through a standard electrical outlet. The i8's distinctive features include gull-wing doors, a "surge forward" appearance, transparent panels and color layering inside and out. The car also utilizes Laser Light headlights.

Infiniti Etherea

Infiniti Etherea Concept at the Detroit Auto Show
Photo © Laura Sternberg, Licensed to About.com

The Nissan Infiniti Etherea Concept hybrid explores Infiniti's version of a compact luxury car, but it doesn't stop there. It's design incorporates the height of a crossover SUV, interior cabin of a coupe, hatchback of a wagon and styling/performance of a sports car.

Lexus LF-LC Concept Sport-Coupe

Lexus LF-LC Concept Car at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show
Photo © Laura Sternberg, Licensed to About.com
The Lexus LF-LC Concept Sport-Coupe has a hybrid powertrain under its hood.

Lincoln MKZ Concept Car

Lincoln MKZ Concept Car
Photo © Laura Sternberg, Licensed to About.com

The Lincoln MKZ Concept car is a sleek and elegant with a split-wing grille and a panoramic-glass roof. The interior of the car is done in warm colors with wood trim and leather seats.

Smart-for-us

Smart-for-us
Photo © Laura Sternberg, Licensed to About.com

Smart's "Mobility Concept" car can otherwise be thought of as a environmentally friendly, mini pickup truck with a futuristic design. Of course, it could probably fit in the bed of an all-grown-up pick up. Its cargo space is the perfect size for a couple of electric bikes.

Volkswagen E-Bugster

Volkswagen e-bugster at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show
Photo © Laura Sternberg, Licensed to About.com

The Volkswagen's E-Bugster Concept Car is an all-electric, sportier-looking Beetle. Its most distinctive feature is a low, flat roof reminiscent of a speedster.

New Models Available Soon

These cars manage to turn heads amidst the 700 or so cars at the Detroit Auto Show. Best of all, they're available for purchase in the coming year.

Falcon F7

Falcon F7 Sports Car
Photo © Laura Sternberg, Licensed to About.com

The Falcon F7 is a high-performance, exotic (read rare and expensive) sports car. The car on display at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show is the first car produced for sale in the Falcon F7 Series 1. The high-performance sports car was designed and fabricated by Falcon Motor Sports in Michigan.

Must Sees

These exhibits include neither concept cars nor production debuts, but they do include one-of-a-kind/exclusive models with a "wow" factor. In other words, they are "must see" stand outs at the 2012 North American International Auto Show.

College for Creative Studies

College for Creative Studies Display at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show
Photo © Laura Sternberg, Licensed to About.com

The College for Creative Studies display showcases designs and models from its students and represent the future of automotive design.

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