Mercedes revamps the C-Class sedan for 2012 and adds an attractive new coupe to the mix. Both begin with the C250 Sport featuring a new 201-bhp 1.8-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder turbo. The C350 nets a 302-bhp 3.5-liter V-6. Targeting enthusiasts, the top C63 AMG has a 451-bhp 6.2-liter V-8. Sedans also offer a C300 4Matic with a 228-bhp 3.0-liter V-6. Standard 7-speed automatics include a Speedshift multiclutch version for the C63. Redesigned interiors gain new audio with a 5.8-in. color display, Bluetooth and USB port. Coupes receive standard paddle shifters, sport bucket seats and split-folding rear seats. Attention Assist, Adaptive Brake with Hold function, Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Sport Assist are among C-Class safety features.
Toyota's curvaceous crossover now comes in a choice of three trim levels. The LE replaces the former base model while gaining standard heated mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer. Moving up to the midrange XLE adds leather trim, Smart Key with push-button start, a backup camera and power tailgate. Carryover 2.7-liter 4-cylinder and 3.5-liter V-6 engines team with front- or all-wheel drive. The flagship Limited V-6 has standard navigation, panoramic sunroof, JBL Synthesis sound with satellite radio, USB/iPod port and Bluetooth streaming audio. Option packages enable these features to be added to the XLE. Designed at Toyota's Calty Southern California studios, the Venza continues to deliver a smooth, carlike ride with SUV-style cargo capacity.
The Volkswagen Beetle is now in it's third generation and has been designed as a modern interpretation of the original Beetle that respects the past and looks forward to the future.
The Volkswagen Beetle is a front-wheel drive, four-seater in either a hatchback or convertible body. Engine choices are a 170-hp 2.5-liter inline-five cylinder engine, a 210-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, or a 140-hp turbo diesel (TDI) four-cylinder. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic for the 2.5L, and a six-speed manual or six-speed DSG with the 2.0T or TDI. Safety features include front and side-impact airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, tire pressure monitoring system, and daytime running lights.
For 2014, an R-Line trim is available on both bodystyles, while a GSR trim is new to the hatchback. Also, all trims now have multi-link rear suspension that replaces the torsion beam. Later in the model year, a new 1.8T four-cylinder engine will replace the 2.5L.
Perhaps its rounded, space-pod styling is an acquired taste, but the EX37 5-seat crossover—based on the G37's FM platform— tempts with an appealing blend of taut carlike handling, luxury and utility. Its new designation reflects its new 325- bhp 3.7-liter V-6 (previously a 3.5-liter) that's paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission in both rear- and all-wheeldrive versions. The base vehicle isn't exactly for paupers, with standard leather seating, keyless ignition and 18-in. alloy wheels. Opt for the Journey model and standard equipment includes a power tinted moonroof, Bluetooth phone and power tilt/telescope steering column. A slew of optional safety systems can be had, including Blind Spot Warning and Lane Departure Prevention.
Now that Mercedes offers a trio of roadsters, the long-running SL-Class occupies the sweet spot between the smaller SLK and new flagship SLS. To make room for the latter, the top V-12-powered SL65 AMG has been discontinued. That leaves a choice of two V-8 models: the SL550 with a 382-bhp 5.5-liter and the SL63 AMG that develops 518 bhp from 6.2 liters. Both are fitted with a power-folding hardtop that retracts in a scant 16 seconds. Mercedes introduced the industry's first automatic rollbar on the SL that pops into place if sensors detect an impending rollover. Other standard features include Airscarf heating that delivers warm air via the front seat head restraints, an Active Body Control suspension system and Comand audio with navigation.