The North American International Auto Show, to give it its official title, may have lost a little of its pre-eminence with the decline of what used to be known as the Big Three, but it is still one of the world's premier motor shows, held in January each year in the Cobo exhibition centre in downtown Detroit.


The 2013 edition will open to the media on 14 January, and to the public from 19-27 Janauary and, while many of the 50 or more new models on display will be intended for the North American market only, many will be true 'world cars', which can be expected to reach South Africa with the foreseeable future - and some are just pure automotive magic, whether or not they ever see the light of day in right-hand drive format.

Two of those are from GM - the seventh-generation Corvette, and the Cadillac ELR hybrid, the production version of the slinky Converj concept. They won't come to South Africa, but we can expect to see, in the fullness of time, the 4 Series - a two-door version of the new 3 Series that BMW is still calling a concept, but fooling nobody; this is a production-ready prototype.


Definitely en route to sunny SA after their world debut at Detroit are the Mercedes CLA compact sedan and revised E-Class - in both sedan and convertible flavours - as well as the Audi RS7 Sportback, the Mini Paceman John Cooper Works and a very slinky facelifted Volvo S80.

The Maserati Quattroporte, which we've already driven, will lead the Italian delegation - Ferrari says the F150 supercar isn't ready yet, but don't bet on it - while the automotive samurai will showcase the new Lexus IS sedan and Infiniti has the first of its new Q-cars, the Q50.