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March 30, 2017

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The wheels to watch at the North American Int'l Auto Show

DETROIT -- From hot-selling SUVs of all sizes to the redesign for the Toyota Camry, the top-selling car in the U.S., the 2017 North American International Auto Show has a diverse lineup of new vehicles.

The show opens to the public on Saturday, but some products are being unveiled as early as Sunday. Here are some of the buzz-worthy new cars and trucks at the show:

Mercedes GLA

The 2018 model year will kick off the redesigned Mercedes-Benz GLA compact SUV. Mercedes says the GLA will offer LED high-performance headlamps characterized by a color temperature similar to daylight, and new seat covers and trim parts as well as chromed control panels in the interior. It also features a 360-degree camera that records the direct surroundings of the SUV. The GLA also offers autonomous braking and is standard-equipped with an "attention assist" features that can detect typical signs of drowsy behavior.

Lexus LS

Lexus introduced its LS flagship at the Detroit auto show in 1989. On Monday, it unveiled the latest version. The 2018 LS is longer, lower and wider than its predecessor. It also weighs 200 pounds less, thanks to greater use of lightweight materials. Under the hood is a new, 415-horsepower turbocharged V6. Other new features include a system that will automatically brake and steer away from obstacles and seats that provide passengers with Shiatsu massages. The LS goes on sale at the end of 2017.

Audi Concept SUV

Audi unveiled a concept version of the Q8 SUV hybrid, which it says will roll out in 2018. Audi officials said it will open a new segment for the brand. The Q8 is sleek, features a downward sloping front end and has as sporty yet elegant look. The concept was created under Audi Chief Designer Marc Lichte's direction. His description of the vehicle also can be applied to an Olympic athlete or world-class race horse. " ... the waistline is very lean and the muscles extremely powerfully defined," Lichte said in an interview in Audi's technology magazine.

Kia Stinger

Kia Motors heads into new territory with the Stinger sports sedan. Designed in Germany and based on Kia 2011 GT concept, the Stinger has the elegant looks of a European fastback. Engines are still in development, but Kia says a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder will produce 255 horsepower; an optional 3.3-liter V6 pushes that up to 365 horsepower. Kia is targeting a 0-to-62 mph speed in 5.1 seconds. The Stinger goes on sale in late 2017. Pricing hasn't been announced.

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