"Rowdy, raucous and oozing testosterone"— that was the Dodge Challenger of yesteryear, yet the modern interpretation of this iconic muscle car exhibits the same manners relative to its 21st century competitors as the 1970s Challenger did with its contemporaries. The Challenger is a straight-up blue-collar street brawler. If you're not shy, skip the V-6-powered SXT and new Rallye Redline (an SXT in sportier trim) and head right for the R/Ts (there are three versions this year) with their mighty 5.7-liter Hemi. Need more grit? The Challenger SRT8 392, cradling a 6.4-liter Hemi, is a 470-bhp, 12-second ET beast with a price-per-horsepower ratio that's tough to beat. Nothing new on the sheet this year except four exterior colors and the Rallye Redline.
Like its Dodge Charger big brother, the Challenger was given a midcycle refresh for 2011. Out went the old 250-bhp 3.5-liter V-6, and in came the new 305- bhp 3.6-liter. New chassis architecture and suspension tuning refined the ride and handling. Dodge also released the first run of 392 Hemi SRT8 Challengers, which deliver 470 bhp as well as the fuelsaver mode that shuts the V-8 down to four cylinders at loafing speeds. For 2012, Dodge continues the SRT8's refinement with a new 2-mode active damping suspension with "auto" and "sport" modes. The SRT8 also gets an exclusive leatherwrapped heated steering wheel. Those looking for middle ground should seek out the R/T, with 5.7-liter V-8 and either 5-speed automatic or 6-speed manual.
The Infiniti EX37 is a stylish luxury crossover vehicle that not only stands out in a crowd, but offers industry-leading technology typically only found in ultra-luxury vehicles.
The EX37 is offered in both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations, each with a choice of two trim levels, Base and Journey. It is powered by a 3.7-liter V6 engine, mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. The EX37 Base is comprehensively equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio and a USB port; Journey models add a power moonroof, heated front seats, genuine wood interior trim elements and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. Standard safety features include four-wheel anti-lock brakes with brake assist, vehicle dynamic control with integrated traction control, LED tail lights, six airbags and a tire pressure monitoring system. Noteworthy optional safety technologies offered on the EX37 are an Around View monitor, a lane departure warning/prevention system, intelligent brake assist with forward collision warning and a blind spot monitor.
The 2013 Infiniti EX37 replaces the 2012 Infiniti EX35, with a larger V6 engine, hence the new nomenclature.
If you'd rather have the extra space and convenience of a 4-door sedan but want to keep the style and performance of a 2-door coupe, you won't go wrong with the Continental Flying Spur that is based on the GT. If an all-wheel-drive sedan with a 557 bhp W-12 engine isn't enough, the Flying Spur Speed offers considerably more performance thanks to its 600 bhp, 553 lb.-ft. torque, version of the twin-turbo W-12 engine. Now in its sixth year on the market, the car has no changes for 2012, aside from an upgraded infotainment system. However, if you want to have a different feel, you can now order a Series 51 package, which offers 14 different "off the peg" combinations of colors and trims created by Bentley designers.
Not much has changed on the six versions of Aston Martin DB9s that are available. The big news, perhaps, is that the 6-speed manual gearbox is no longer available, so the only transmission now is the 6-speed Touchtronic that most buyers have been choosing. The close observer may also note that the traditional 5-spoke forged-alloy wheels are no longer available and the 10-spoke is now standard. The powerplant remains the 5.9-liter V-12 with 48 valves, and it is a sweetheart of smoothness and ample power. The 2+2 interior does offer room for small children but the rear seats are mostly used for parcels. The quality of interior materials and finish is excellent, and last year's addition of the Adaptive Damping System has been well received.