In a bid to compete with the incoming crop of miniaturized crossover vehicles, such as the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, Buick is set to introduce the Encore in early 2013. With roughly the same interior volume of a Chevrolet Sonic 5-door, the Encore will also share its turbocharged 1.4-liter Ecotec engine, outputting 140 bhp with 148 lb.-ft. of torque. This should return some respectable fuel economy figures, thought we're slightly concerned about its acceleration potential. Manufacturer specs have the Encore carrying an additional 415 lb. over the Sonic LTZ for the front drive model, and around 535 lb. more with all-wheel drive. BMW's slightly heavier X1, by comparison, will come with no less than 240 bhp (and 260 lb.-ft.) and as much as 300 bhp (with 300 lb.-ft.). Regardless, the Encore promises an environment of luxury within a tiny package. It'll come with features such as remote ignition, dual climate control, Bose premium audio, as well as Buick's first application of active noise cancelling technology—dubbed QuietTuning. As safety is always a concern, especially with smaller vehicle segments, the Encore is available with a number of electronic aids (forward collision alert, lane departure warning), as well as 10 standard airbags to shield occupants when things head south. Only time can tell if this new ilk of automobile will find success in the U.S. market, though the Encore should have a leg up on price over the competition.
Chevy's quickest and most technologically advanced Camaro ever gains a Convertible sibling this year. The hardware that allows the ZL1 to make such claims is the supercharged LSA V-8 engine, making an incredible 580 bhp and 556 lb.-ft. of torque, and its electro-magnetic suspension (Magnetic Ride Control) that can alter damper settings in milliseconds. Like the SS Convertible, the folding soft-top is available in black or beige and will deliver sunshine, endless headroom and heightened aural pleasures in under 20 seconds. The ZL1 Convertible has to deal with the same structural rigidity issues that all other Convertibles are subject too, though Chevy engineers have effectively reduced the inherent cowl and steering wheel shake by adding a strut tower brace, as well as braces that span the underbody drive tunnel, the engine cradle, the rear underbody and further reinforce the transmission support. Moreover, there are hydroformed tubes within the A-pillars and reinforcements to the windshield header, front hinge pillars and rockers that elevate the ZL1 Convertible's chassis soundness even over the Camaro SS'. All 2013 ZL1 models will be available in a new Blue Ray Metallic exterior color, get a new frameless rearview mirror, and come with a 7-in color touchscreen (Chevy's MyLink) for Bluetooth audio and smart phone integration (navigation is optional).
The BMW 428i is the latest addition to the ever growing vehicle line-up from Munich. Formerly the 328i coupe, the new 4-series looks to separate itself from the 3-series sedan on which it is based by offering more aggressive styling and sportier driving.
The 428i is available in rear- or xDrive all-wheel drive and is powered by a 240-hp 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder mated to a six-speed manual transmission (RWD only) or an eight-speed automatic. Standard safety features include eight airbags, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with adaptive brakelights, traction and stability control, active anti-whiplash head restraints, and BMW Assist eCall which includes emergency request and automatic collision notification. BMW's Air Curtain, auto stop-start, and Brake Energy Regeneration alternator help to make the 428i more efficient.
The Audi Q5 provides the versatility of an SUV with the driving characteristics of a sport sedan, with the goal of being the sportiest in its class.
The quattro all-wheel drive Q5 is powered by one of three engines: a 220-hp 2.0T four-cylinder engine, or a 272-hp 3.0-liter supercharged six-cylinder engine, or a 240-hp 3.0-liter V6 direct injection diesel (TDI). All bolted to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. Standard features includes 12-way power front seats, aluminum trim, 10-speaker DSP sound system, leather seating, LED rear lights, a trip computer, garage door opener, satellite radio, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, Audi Music Interface with iPod integration, and tri-zone climate control. Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes with brake assist, electronic stability control, five seatbelt pretensioners and six airbags.
For 2014 the Q5 now comes standard with Bluetooth and garage door opener on all trims. Also, a new diesel engine is offered.
The LR4 is Land Rover's fourth generation of versatile mid-size SUV combines responsive on-road performance with go-anywhere off-road capability in a single rugged vehicle that still retains typical Land Rover levels of comfort and luxury.
The five-passenger LR4 is powered by a 375-hp 5.0-liter V8 engine with direct fuel injection, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with CommandShift manual shift control. Full-time four-wheel drive with Land Rover's acclaimed Terrain Response system, an electronic air suspension and hill descent control help the LR4 tackle any off-road situation. Standard features include a glass alpine roof, 19-inch alloy wheels, leather seat upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control and Bluetooth wireless connectivity/audio streaming; an optional third row boosts seating capacity to seven. Safety equipment includes four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist, electronic stability control with traction control and roll mitigation, rear park assist and a tire pressure monitor, as well as front, front side-impact and overhead curtain airbags for all rows. An available Vision Assist Package offers adaptive front lighting and automatic high beam assist, as well as a surround camera system.
For 2013, five premium paints have been introduced, along with Black Design Packages and an extended Windsor leather option.