Now that the global automotive industry has found its footing again, manufacturers from around the world chose the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show to strike a bold note and display the kind of machines that buyers not only covet, but dream about. In a far cry from the mostly barren wasteland of last year's show, this year's contenders are almost all real-world, production-ready models that deliver excitement with their restyled sheet metal, chopped tops, boosted engines or new powertrains. Here are the biggest stars on display, and our picks for best in show.

2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible
Sure, a certain extended-range, plug-in hybrid Chevy has been winning some awards, but after the initial public-relations push, the Volt is about as fresh on the auto-show scene as 2-day-old bagels. On the other hand, one of the most compelling automotive stories of the past several years has been the resurgence of Detroit muscle, and a drop-top version of the muscular Camaro deservedly grabbed a whole bunch of eyeballs in Los Angeles.
2012 Range Rover Evoque
The Range Rover Evoque isn't just the most fuel-efficient Land Rover ever it runs on a 2-liter 4-cylinder engine it's also one of the most striking. Its low-slung, aggressive stance is more reminiscent of a MINI than the tall, boxy SUVs that Land Rover is known for. At a sticker price of more than $40,000 when it arrives in 2012, you will certainly pay for the Range Rover badge but then again, you'll get the Range Rover level of interior luxury and comfort in a package that will cause more than a few cases of onlooker whiplash.
2011 Hyundai Elantra
Selecting this car for our top 10 created some internal debate probably an ingrained reaction, the residual effect from years of saying, "Wait, you like a Hyundai?" But everyone who went to the Hyundai booth to see this elegant, fluid sedan, which admirably echoes the design successes of the Genesis and Sonata, changed their minds. There are of course more powerful cars at the show the Elantra's 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine makes 148 horsepower and 137 lb-ft of torque but the Elantra is yet another well-timed vehicle that lets us watch, in real time, the evolution of Hyundai into a class-leading automaker.
2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG
The newest iteration of the genre-defining CLS is styled for serious business, runs wickedly fast and, perhaps most importantly, wears the AMG badge. Its 5.5-liter V8 engine puts out 550 horsepower when equipped with the performance package, shooting the car from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. Mercedes' legendary tuning house is looking to throw down the gauntlet to the other vehicles from Audi, BMW and Infiniti in the overcrowded performance-sedan market, and it's coming to the fray with aggressive new styling and a higher price tag than the previous model.
2011 Fiat 500
The Chrysler 200 was the big news, according to Chrysler, and it's a great-looking sedan, to be sure. But the crowds don't lie: There was a group of gawkers around Fiat's MINI-hunter for two straight days, and the excitement was palpable. The 500 marks the return of Fiat to the American market after a 27-year absence, and judging by the scene that played out around the sleek, diminutive 2-seater, Fiat has an out-of-the-gate hit on its hands.
Jaguar C-X75 Concept
The C-X75 is one of only three concepts on this list but oh, what a concept. This vehicle was a chance to let Jaguar flex its conceptual muscles a bit, and what it delivered could be considered a bit of showing off. We know the brand can do high-end luxury sedans, but hybrids and EVs? Each wheel is powered is a 145-kilowatt electric motor. A pair of micro gas turbines kick in an additional 140 kilowatts to keep the beast electrified when the batteries run low. Range is about 560 miles, and performance is equally impressive: zero to 60 mph in just over three seconds on its way to a top speed of 198 mph.
2011 Dodge Charger
As the American muscle wars rage on, Chevrolet's Camaro lost a roof while Dodge gave the Challenger a stable mate: the all-new Charger. This mean-looking beast gets a 3.6-liter 292-horsepower V6 engine — and that's standard. Speed freaks can opt for a 370-horsepower V8; both are backed by a 5-speed automatic transmission. Designer Ralph Gilles called the Charger a vehicle that will make other cars "wet their pants," and with a menacing stance and the power to back up its business, he has a point.
Subaru Impreza Concept
Subaru would normally make a list like this by unveiling a superbly built rally machine with laudable engineering. This year, though, the manufacturer showed off its Impreza Concept, a vehicle designed as visual shorthand for what the model, and the brand at large, will look to create down the road. And we're impressed: The sedan looks to appeal to a more mature crowd than the current Impreza, while upping the style points from what the average Forester buyer expects.
2011 Nissan Murano Cross Cabriolet Convertible
We'll say it again: The Murano convertible is an unlovely vehicle. But if that bears repeating, so does this: The concept of a crossover convertible can work. It may not be this $46,390 example, but kudos to Nissan for taking the leap. Whether it's a future better-looking, cheaper iteration of the Murano Cross Cabriolet or a vehicle from another manufacturer, Nissan had the foresight, and the fortitude, to try something really different.
Mazda Shinari Concept
Every few auto shows, Mazda comes along and smacks everyone around with its design chops. Luckily, this was one of them. The long, lean Shinari Concept would be at home in any valet line with assorted Maserati and Aston Martin super-luxes. The massive front end is nothing short of intimidating, with narrow, scowling headlights and a sharp outline around its gaping grille. The sparse interior suggests this concept was created mostly as an exercise, but should Mazda decide to build this beast, you can bet at least a few Mazda fans will start saving up.

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