We're packing up our cameras and laptops and heading out of the Los Angeles Convention Center, but before we seal the lid on the 2011 LA Auto Show, it's time to reflect on our staff's favorite debuts of the past two days. Unlike previous shows, there was nothing here in LA that truly stood out as the clear Best In Show winner, but because of that, there were plenty of good arguments amongst the staff about the five best cars on display in Los Angeles.

We won't give away the winner just yet (you'll have to click past the break to see the results), but we'll say that the first and second place cars were nearly tied, with the Number One car only winning by one vote. But enough with this fluff – hit the jump to see Autoblog's picks for the five best debuts of the 2011 LA Auto Show.

#5: 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG



It's easy to think that there isn't anything special about the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG. After all, it's a familiar treatment given to a familiar crossover, but the end result is something truly excellent. All of the high-powered luxury CUVs are totally absurd, but we love them all the same. In debuting the ML63 here in LA, Mercedes-Benz is showing its commitment to this gaudy, miles-per-gallon-be-damned segment, and with a fresh new 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 under the hood, we're sure that the ML63 will continue to be one of our biggest (and most expensive) guilty pleasures for years to come.


#4: 2013 Cadillac XTS



Get ready retirees and Floridians, Cadillac has a new flagship sedan. But unlike the ancient DTS it replaces, the 2013 XTS is chocked full of style, refinement and technology. We really like the way it looks, and inside, General Motors' focus on better interior refinement is very apparent. It's a truly luxurious place to be, and senior editor Damon Lavrinc could not stress enough how awesome the purple contrast stitching is. Most importantly, the XTS marks the debut of Cadillac CUE – the automaker's new infotainment system that we've had the chance to check out extensively. Look for this big beauty to hit the streets in the first half of 2012.


#3: 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth



When the base Fiat 500 arrived, everyone immediately started comparing it to the Mini Cooper. That didn't work out so well for the Fiat in most cases, but this, the hot new 500 Abarth, has the Cooper S in its sights. With good reason, too – the Abarth uses a turbocharged version of the 1.4-liter MultiAir engine good for 160 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of twist, and when you consider that the 500 weighs in at a scant 2,833 pounds, we don't doubt that it'll be a hoot on the road. Here's hoping, anyway.


#2: 2013 Ford Shelby GT500



To quote associate editor Chris Shunk, "What's not to love about a Mustang with 650 horsepower?" We can't argue with that logic, and the new Shelby GT500 certainly delivers in the "holy crap that's a lot of power" factor. Camaro ZL1? Forget about it. The new Shelby offers classic style, tons of suspension and performance tweaks, and is backed by a legendary name in the automotive world. We can already see the rear wheel wells filling up with smoke. Let the terror ensue.


#1: Subaru BRZ Concept STI



We know, this isn't the first (or second, or third, or fourth) time we've seen some version of the Subaru BRZ concept or its kin, the Toyota FT-86/Scion FR-S. But before we see the final production car in Tokyo next month, Subaru has rolled out an STI-tuned concept version of the new rear-wheel-drive sports car, complete with all the aero and chassis upgrades that we'd want for a truly excellent lightweight sports car. There may only be around 200 horsepower on tap (official numbers haven't been confirmed just yet), but with a focus on a low center of gravity and lightweight materials, you don't need tons of power to make for an exciting driving experience. What this car does need, however, are gold wheels. (It's an STI, after all.)

Why'd we pick it as our Best In Show? Perhaps its because this concept means that the production BRZ is right around the corner. Maybe its because, while not the prettiest thing in the world, Subaru has actually designed a car that looks downright furious. Regardless, when it came time to poll the staff, the BRZ is the one that topped the lists of the majority of our editors.


Honorable Mentions

Sure, this list is the consensus of the whole Autoblog staff, but there are a couple of cars that were nominated that didn't quite make the cut. Here are the other cars that rounded out our personal top-five lists:



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 54 Comments
      Capn
      • 3 Years Ago
      scooby totally stole the show and with good merit
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Jimmery
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd say #1 the BRZ, #2 the 500 Abarth. The rest are fun but no deal--the Mustang, Cadillac, and Mercedes always have something new and shiny... so nothing very new with them.
      J
      • 3 Years Ago
      This auto show was very boring. Nothing was exciting. We heard about most over and over months prior...
      Francesco
      • 3 Years Ago
      The weight of 500 Abarth in Europe is 1110 kg and Mini Cooper S is 1130 kg almost the same I don't see the problem. Regarding the Fix Tony again, I have 500 Abarth SS about 2 years here in Japan non one single noise, no any little or big problem, I should considering my 500 is lucky car? I bought a Lexus Is200 and I got a very strange problem like rpm engine sometime get height and certainly drop and engine stop. I discovery later at dealer they recall few number, but not my IS. So I should say Fix It Again Tony for Lexus?
      goatcars2
      • 3 Years Ago
      Where's the Nissan Leaf??? I thought that was the innovative car of the century. You mean people have finally figured out they don't want to own a car with the real possibility of becoming stranded every time they drive it????
      lorenzo
      • 3 Years Ago
      5 - too expensive and gas ******* - where would you use its potential 4 - it is a caddy, I personally see no point in huge 4 door sedans 3 - perfect, should be #1 2 - obnoxious, and old 1 - great platform, but styling is too boy racer (and I am 45)
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @lorenzo
        5. Where would you use ANY performance car's potential? 4. You see no point in huge 4 door sedans? Really? Because there's a lot that I'd rather not list because I'm too tired. 3. It's perfect? So you've driven it? 2. Obnoxious? Isn't that what muscle/pony cars are SUPPOSED to be? Old? The styling has been around since late 2009. I wouldn't call 2 years old. 1. You're 45? That explains a lot...
      Compliance
      • 3 Years Ago
      BRZzzzzZZzzzz...zzz...snore
        Shiftright
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Compliance
        Have to agree. I love the idea of a RWD Subaru turbo coupe, but design wise it's just meh, and kinda strangely proportioned, with no real individuality. I'm sure it will be a great drive, but jeez Subaru, hire soe good designers already.
      dan1malk
      • 3 Years Ago
      Abarth is my pick. Relevant, realistic performance in a good looking, no-excess-styled body combined with a relevantly affordable (probably) price. A manual-only optioned car is an indicator of a true drivers car. Yeah, a 200 mph Mustang is INCREDIBLE, but in my life, no more relevant than a Veyron SS. The BRZ is cool, but a little too boy-racer for me (and I'm 26).
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Sixspeed
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow I am so surpised that none of the Lincolns were on this list, with their striking beautiful new design ;D
      Dane Grant
      • 3 Years Ago
      Mine was: 1. Ford Focus ST 2. Ford Fiesta ST 3. Ford Escape 4. FIAT 500 Abarth 5. Cadillac XTS
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