LOS ANGELES — A bevy of new SUVs, some exciting concept cars and a sprinkling of everything else — from convertibles to station wagons.

That’s how this week’s press preview of the Los Angeles Auto Show will be remembered.

As the show opens its doors to the public Friday, here are the seven must-see cars that made their mark, the most significant ones, from the many introductions this week.

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Alfa Romeo Stelvio

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Alfa Romeo launches its new Stelvio, the company’s first SUV, at the LA Auto Show.
USA TODAY

With the 2018 Stelvio, Alfa Romeo is brazenly setting the bar high for itself with a host of promises that will continue to stoke anticipation among Alfisti, as the brand’s enthusiasts are known.

The Stelvio and Stelvio Ti models feature an all-new, all-aluminum, 2-liter, direct-injection turbo engine that delivers 280 horsepower, allowing it to achieve a top speed of 144 miles per hour.

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio — the top-of-the-line variant of the SUV — is equipped with a 2-liter, direct-injection turbo engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission that generates 505 horsepower, powering it from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds.Top speed is 177 miles per hour.

 The Quadrifoglio model also comes with performance features that include an ultra-lightweight carbon fiber shell

The Stelvio joins the Alfa Romeo Giulia, which should begin reaching U.S. dealerships this month, and the 4C roadster that has been on sale for just over two years. The Stelvio also will give the brand its first SUV in Alfa Romeo history.

Subaru Viziv-7 concept 

Subaru unveiled a concept family-hauling SUV — its largest vehicle yet — that hints at its upcoming flagship.

The Viziv-7 concept lays the groundwork for a seven- or eight passenger family hauler Subaru expects to go on sale in the first half of 2019.

The new SUV will be the biggest vehicle in the fast-growing brand’s history. It’ll be sold exclusively in North America, and very probably built here. The as yet unnamed production model is a key to Subaru’s plan to increase sales from a projected 600,000-plus this year to 800,000 in 2020.

The Viziv-7 concept has an upright, traditional-SUV profile that’s very different from Subaru’s previous attempt to sell a three-row SUV, the peculiar B9 Tribeca.

The Viziv-7 stands tall and may well require a new architecture and engines from the automaker’s current model line. While the proportions of its styling do not represent the production model, touches like LED lights, an upswept shoulder line beneath large windows and prominent wings on either side of the grille’s badge could influence the brand’s future look.

Jaguar I-Pace concept

The new Jaguar I-Pace concept has the potential of becoming a breakthrough vehicle, a luxury electric SUV that could cause quite a headache for Tesla Motors.

The concept could give way to a luxury vehicle that would be among the first long-range electrics from a mainstream maker to compete directly against Tesla.

It will be both powerful and capable of long-distance cruising. Jaguar built electric motors into both axles, with 200 horsepower each for a total of 400. With the battery pack built into the floor, it is expected to have a range per charge of 220 miles.

I-Pace is smaller than Tesla’s Model X crossover, but because of its cab-forward design that means less space is needed up front, it’s roomy inside — at least in the concept. What would normally be the engine space up front is for a small trunk.

Design chief Ian Callum says that the decision was made to build the car from scratch because electric vehicles appear to be here to stay.

“We decided this was going to happen. We saw Tesla. We saw this is inevitable,” he says.

Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet

The Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand introduced the super-posh S650 Cabriolet.

Based on the S600 sedan, the S650 adopts similar traits to its seductive counterpart, including a coupe-like soft top and a dynamic, sleek design. The limited-production convertible — limited to 300 models worldwide, with 75 bound to the U.S. — is powered by a 6-liter V-12 bi-turbo engine and offers an output well over 600 horsepower, assisted by a seven-speed automatic transmission.

The fun doesn’t stop there, folks.

Bringing the visionary ideas of the concept S-Class Coupe show car to real life, the cushy four-seat cabin includes finely crafted leather upholstery, unique trim lines accents — inspired by Mercedes-Maybach’s yacht ambiance — and special Maybach embroidering and lettering.

The convertible also features a new front bumper and chrome highlights to accentuate the vehicle’s exclusivity. To round it off, the eye-grabbing 20-inch Maybach forged wheels give the vehicle an added splash of pizzazz.

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Mercedes shows off its new Maybach S650 convertible at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The company says it will only produce 300 vehicles, only 75 of which will be sold in the United States. USA TODAY takes a look at what goes into a $300,000 car.
USA TODAY

Honda Civic Si

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USA TODAY’s reports from the unveiling of the new Honda Civic Si before the official opening of the Los Angeles Auto Show.
USA TODAY

When it comes to performance, the Honda Civic Si finds itself somewhere in a middle zone. It’s hotter than a standard Civic, but not as hot (or as pricey) as the new Type R.

The new Civic derivation — the last in a series as part of the rollout of the 10th generation Civic — made its debut Tuesday ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Arriving next spring as either a coupe or sedan, the new Si will have more horsepower than the standard Civic using the same engine — a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant — that’s been hopped up.

Just how much more horsepower (or what price) is still under wraps. Because of its performance orientation, Si will only come with a manual transmission, which is sure to hold down potential sales. It will probably amount to less than 10% of over Civic sales, says Jeff Conrad, a Honda senior vice president.

Scion C-HR

Once a Scion, now a Toyota, likely to be a strong contender in the small crossover segment.

That describes the Toyota C-HR, which was just introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It was going to be Scion’s replacement for the xB, but then the Japanese automaker closed the division — and now it’s a Toyota.

C-HR will be powered by a 2-liter four-cylinder that puts out 144 horsepower. It’s coupled with a continuously variable transmission, or CVT.

In case you’re wondering, C-HR stands for “Coupe — High Rider,” Toyota says. It will come in two grades. The base model includes 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone air conditioning and heating, a seven-inch center display and Toyota’s suite of safety technologies, including 10 airbags.

In the debut of the production version this week, Toyota managed to keep most of the concept car’s sinewy lines. In particular, the back end is an interesting mix of lines and angles — not boxy. Toyota says its designers wanted the car to feel like a diamond turned on its side.

But while it has the youthful feel of a Scion, it also has cost-cutting elements that made it affordable for the brand’s young buyers, like a center screen that looks like an aftermarket add-on. There’s one styling touch we found to be cool: outside handles for the rear door that are mounted at the top, almost at the roof.

Bill Fay, the chief of the Toyota division, says not to worry — designers and engineers are gradually ironing more of the Scioni touches out of the division’s cars to make them feel more like Toyotas.

Mini Countryman

Mini, the British brand re-introduced to the U.S. in 2002, unveiled redesigned Countryman the largest Mini ever.

Mini, along with all small cars, has been struggling in recent years as consumers have increasingly flocked to larger crossovers and SUVs made more affordable with low-interest rates and low gas prices.

Perhaps that’s why Mini has beefed up its Countryman, a model it first introduced in 2010, and isn’t shy about the extra room. Mini increased the 2017 model’s length by 7.8 inches overall and increased the wheelbase by 2.9 inches. It will come in both the regular and plug-in version.

The 2017 Countryman will be powered by a three-cylinder, turbo-charged engine that produces 134-horsepower. The Countryman S will be powered by a 2-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 189 horsepower.

“The new Mini Countryman is not only the largest Mini we’ve ever built but it’s also the most technologically advanced and most versatile Mini of our product line,” said Thomas Felbermair, a Mini vice president.

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  • Ford showing off more than just cars at L.A. Auto Show
  • The rare and exclusive Mercedes-Maybach droptop
  • Get your sport on with the new Audi A5 sportback
  • Alfa Romeo introduces its first SUV
  • Audi ups the ante on the new Q5
  • Honda amps up the power in the new Civic Si
  • Hyundai makes a new connection with Amazon's Alexa
  • Ford goes Hollywood to unveil new compact SUV
  • Seats with a mind of their own: Land Rover's new intelligent seats
  • Go Rogue with the new 'Star Wars'-themed Nissan
  • Audi ups the ante on the new Q5

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