Like most of its corporate stablemates, the Town & Country was sent in 2011 to refinement school, and returned with a re-engineered suspension, richer interior and new 3.6-liter 283-bhp V-6 with 6-speed automatic. For 2012, Chrysler burnishes the Town & Country's luxury credentials by making leather seating and rear-seat DVD standard equipment on all models. Also new is Sapphire Blue interior lighting. Returning are the T&C's many virtues: one-touch fold-down Stow 'n' Go seating, standard power sliding doors, power liftgate, Uconnect Web, side-curtain airbags for all three rows and overhead ambient lighting. The SafetyTec package includes the latest features such as blind-spot monitoring, rear crosspath detection and rain-sensitive wipers.
As much as we enjoy the base Mustang's powerful V-6 engine, we understand how tempting it would be to tick the option box for an old-fashioned wallop of American V-8. The Mustang GT coupe is a retro-themed muscle car that, thankfully, has very little in common with its ancestors — other than massive amounts of tire-smoking power and attitude. Included in the GT is a 412-bhp 5.0-liter V-8 engine, coupled to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Selectable electronic steering offers three driving modes: Normal, Sport, and Comfort. There are tons of wheel, tire and trim choices available, so customization is never a problem when speccing your Mustang. Cynics (i.e. Camaro and Challenger owners) will deride the solid rear axle that soldiers on for another year. And there's no denying some of the cabin plastics feel a bit chintzy. But measured in terms of price-versus-performance, the Mustang GT coupe is an absolute steal.
R&T Overview:While Audi's streamlined second-generation TT has certainly gained much popularity among female buyers, the performance potential of these dual clutched, aluminum-bodied, Quattro equipped 2+2s prove that there's more to them than pretty fascias. Most significant for 2012 is the long-awaited arrival of limited-run RS models (available in Coupe form only) that steps everything up in the chassis and exterior styling departments and trades the already excellent turbo 2.0-liter inline-4 for a more potent turbo 2.5-liter inline-5, good for 360 bhp and 343 lb.-ft. of torque. Add to this an excellent 6-speed manual gearbox (that's the only choice in the RS) and you've now got something for those who like to shift themselves and those who don't.
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.
The modern Nissan 370Z falls in line with the Z cars of the past. Designed with performance, style and value in mind, it's a pure two-seater sports car in every respect.
The 370Z is offered in both coupe and roadster body styles, with three trim levels: Base, Touring, and the track-inspired NISMO edition (coupe only). The Base and Touring models are powered by a 332-hp 3.7-liter V6 engine, paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed automatic with manual mode and paddle shifters. The performance-oriented NISMO boasts a 350-hp 3.7-liter V6, mated to a six-speed manual transmission with SyncroRev Match, providing smooth and seamless transitions from gear to gear. The Base trim is equipped with bi-xenon HID headlamps, 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, a CD player and the Nissan Intelligent Key passive entry system with push-button start; Touring trims are further outfitted with heated leather-appointed seats, satellite radio and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. An available Sport package for Base and Touring trims adds items that are standard on the NISMO, including 19-inch forged alloy wheels, spoilers, a limited slip differential, larger sport brakes and SynchroRev Match with the manual transmission. Safety features found on every 370Z include six airbags, electronic stability and traction control systems, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, active anti-whiplash head restraints, LED tail lights and a tire pressure monitoring system.