The 2013 New York International Auto Show kicks off in Manhattan’s Jacob Javits Center on Friday with 900,000 square feet and four levels of vehicular eye candy. About 1,000 vehicles will be on display, including the latest models of current favorites, cars that will hit showrooms later this year and concept vehicles that will never make it to market in their current manifestations.

On Thursday, before the public opening, the winners of the 2013 World Car Awards will be announced. Selected by auto journalists from across the global, the WCAs will shine the spotlight on some of the world’s best driving machines and honor the best car and best performance car from 20 finalists, all of which will be available during the auto show for the public to ogle up close. The nominees for best car are:

Audi A3
Land Rover Range Rover
Mazda CX5
Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Peugeot 208
Porsche Boxster / Cayman
Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ / Toyota GT 86 / Toyota 86
Volkswagen Golf
Volvo V40

The nominees for the best performance car are:

Aston Martin Vanquish
Audi RS 5
BMW M6 Coupe / Convertible
BMW M 135i
Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster
Porsche Boxster / Cayman
Renault Clio Sport
Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ / Toyota GT 86 / Toyota 86

Here are the highlights to watch out for at the show:

The Porsche 2014 911 GT3 will make its first North American appearance in New York. Porsche, a unit of Germany’s Volkswagen AG (ETR:VOW3), sold 35,043 units in the U.S. last year, a 21 percent rise in sales in the company’s largest market. The newest iteration of the 911 two-door luxury sports car debuted at the 83rd Geneva Motor Show earlier this month. It’s billed as a more powerful version of the previous GT3, hitting 60 mph from full stop in 3.3 seconds with a 475 horsepower, 3.8 liter six-cylinder engine that doesn’t redline until 9,000 rpms. Starting at $131,350, this speedy roadster isn’t for the plebes, but it will be one of the must-sees at the show.

Chevrolet, a division of General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), will be pulling the curtain back on its 2014 Corvette Stingray Convertible for the first time in North America after debuting the V-8, 6.2 liter, 450 horsepower speed machine in Geneva. This is the first Corvette with a new rigid aluminum frame that eliminates the need for reinforced components typically required of convertibles. Chevrolet claims that not only does this soft top have additional soundproofing to eliminate the outside noise when the top is down, but that you can lift or drop the cover traveling as fast at 30 mph. The iconic Corvette has been redesigned six previous times since its 1953 debut, and auto show goers – especially those old enough to remember Corvette’s heydays – are likely to enjoy seeing some of the earlier models that will be on display.

Toyota Motor Corporation (TYO:7203) is using the New York show to unveil its redesigned 2014 Highlander mid-sized SUV, which is expected to show a significant redesign to compete in the increasingly crowded segment of the so-called crossover SUVs. They’ve replaced station wagons as the preferred family car with enough room for the kids and all their after-school gear. But unlike in the past, consumers are increasingly looking for more eye-catching and less boring design cues. Gone are the days of the nondescript tan minivan; even busy soccer moms (or dads) are looking for more style in their grocery haulers.

Subaru, a division of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (TYO:7270), will use the New York show to debut is first hybrid vehicle, making it a relative latecomer to the market in gas-electric vehicles. The Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid is the Japanese carmaker’s answer to the market for small and more fuel-efficient SUVs. The non-hybrid version has been out for a few months now, and was described by Car and Driver as a tweaked version of the company’s Impreza hatchback. Fans of the Outback and Forester might look out for the latest of the company’s most popular models.

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (TYO:7201) will debut a hybrid version of its 2014 Infiniti QX60 luxury crossover. The QX60 has quickly risen to become one of Nissan’s most popular luxury brands since its 2012 debut. The company is betting that a 24-percent increase in mileage will also appeal despite the $3,000 added ticket price.

Not to be outmatched, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (TYO:7267) will be showing for the first time the production version of the 2014 Acura MDX luxury SUV, which represents a complete overhaul of the platform. It will feature Honda’s i-VTEC technology (that’s where the car runs only on the cylinders that it needs at any given time) in a V-6 engine and a bevy of safety features.

Here’s a roundup of a perennial crowd pleaser: the concept cars that will be on display:

Volkswagen Bluecross, a six-seater SUV with a plug-in hybrid powertrain with the company’s patented TDI clean diesel technology. This will take VW to the next level, marrying its patented TDI clean diesel technology with the added economy of hybrid electric. This should boost the company’s already hybrid-like TDI diesel fuel economy.

The Nissan Resonance is bound to be an eye-catcher. Though the crossover SUV seems unlikely to be produced in its current concept iteration, gawkers will certainly stop to take a peek at its swooping headlamps and a dashboard that looks like a prop for a sci-fi flick. The side mirrors have been replaced with digital cameras, a feature that will likely soon start appearing on future ready-for-the-road vehicles.

To say the BMW i3 is cute doesn’t quite describe this all-electric urban two-door concept plug-in coupe. With a rear mounted 170 horsepower engine and single-speed transmission, what the car lacks in thrust it makes up for in visual appeal. Its’ still in the concept phase, but the German automaker says it’s going to be produced sometime soon.

The Honda Urban SUV concept made its global debut in Detorit in January, albeit with it tinted windows typically ascribed to concept cars whose interiors have yet to be worked out. Nine inches shorter than the company’s popular CR-V, the Urban SUV clearly indicates the direction the Japanese automaker is heading in general design principles. The Acura NSX is the stuff of fantasy for the world’s bottom 99.99%, so the auto show may be the only time many of us will see, much less get near, this direct-injected V-6 high performance road rocket featuring an eclectic assist all-wheel drive system.