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Detroit takes centre stage
The XC Coupe concept will likely provide styling cues for Volvo’s SUV range.

Despite the lights having been barely switched off at the Los Angeles Auto Show last month, news is already trickling through about what will take the stage at another US show, the North American International Auto Show, in Detroit next month.

Volvo has confirmed Detroit will see the unveiling of the second of three important global concept models from the Swedish company. The first, the ultra-sexy Concept Coupe, broke cover at Frankfurt in August, however the upcoming XC Coupe concept will focus on where Volvo is planning to go with its range of SUVs.

Though little has been revealed save for some screen grabs from a short video, the XC Coupe does carry over some of the Concept Coupe's key features. It has split headlights, an open grille with slats and slim, elongated rear tail lights.

It will also further showcase how the brand's upcoming SUV range will work on its new Scalable Platform Architecture, which will underpin all large and mid-size Volvos in the future.

The design will likely provide styling cues for the next generation of its mid-sized XC60 SUV and the large XC90 - the latter of which is expected in 2015.

Sticking with SUVs, Audi has announced its main vehicle at the show will be a small two-door crossover. As reported last week, the German marque will begin production on a Q1 baby SUV soon and the unnamed concept could offer significant clues as to what the Q1 could look like.

Sketches show the 4.2m-long concept will be in keeping with other recent Audi models and concepts, such as ribs in a honeycomb grille and dual headlights.

"The show car is a compelling blend of form and function," an Audi statement read.

"The characteristic all-road design features reduce the volume and underscore its off-road character. The aluminium underbody guard at front and rear emphasises the width and protects the car off road."

German rivals BMW also have movement in the small-car sector, using Detroit for the premiere of its BMW 2 Series Coupe. As with the Coupe versions of the 3 and 5 Series, BMW has given an even number to the coupe version of the 1 Series.

It will also showcase a stylistically updated version of its smallest SUV, the X1.

Moving up in size, BMW has revealed pictures of its M3 and M4 performance twins ahead of their official debut at the show after weeks of teaser images and drip-feeding information. The key technical specifications have already been released and reported in WestWHEELS - each will have a 3.0-litre straight-six turbo in favour of the old 4.0-litre V8 - though BMW has revealed it will launch both models at the same time, meaning there shouldn't be a waiting period for the M4 coupe when the models make it to Australia.

Infiniti, meanwhile, will show off a rival for the M3 and others of its ilk such as the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and Lexus IS-F. Its Eau Rouge concept - named after a corner at Spa-Francorchamps - is a "Formula One-inspired" high- performance luxury sedan based on the Q50.

With the Q50 range set to arrive in Australia early next year, should an Eau Rouge-type performance car make it to production it could also be a chance to make it to our shores.

However, West Australians may have to look east to get their hands on one, with the long-awaited Perth Infiniti dealership still in the works but yet to open.