Performance Returns as a Mainstay in a Recovering Auto Industry

More than half a dozen mass-market and premium brands displayed models with higher-horsepower powertrains at this week’s L.A. Auto Show, many with the capability to hit speeds nearing 200 mph without limiters.

Ford introduced a new Shelby Mustang GT500 with an engine that exuded 650 horsepower.

• The 2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 convertible will be equipped with a 580-horsepower supercharged V-8.

BMW showed one of its performance models, the M5, powered by its most powerful street engine—a 560-horsepower unit that can propel the M5 to 60 mph in 4 seconds, according to the automaker.

VW officials acknowledged that performance is as important as fuel economy, and that’s why they are bringing the Golf R and new Beetle R models to the US market.

• The Chrysler brand equipped its 300 sedan with a more powerful Hemi V-8 that produces 540 horsepower, though it’s not certain that model will be built.

Dodge unhinged power in its Challenger and Charger models by adding 470-horsepower Hemis.

• Even Chrysler’s parent Fiat added power to its 500 for the US market.

Mercedes-Benz unveiled the luxurious and fuel-thirsty ML63 AMG, which is powered by a 5.5-liter turbocharged V-8.

Nissan’s 2013 GT-R sports a turbo-charged 3.8-liter V-6 that produces 545 horsepower.

• Tata’s Jaguar brand burnished its image by introducing the most powerful convertible in the brand’s history—the XKR-S, with a 550-horsepower powertrain and a suggested retail price tag of more than $135,000.

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