Lexus pulled the veil off its new ES today at the New York International Auto Show. There will be two models offered, the ES 350 and ES 300h. The ES 350 is powered by a gasoline 3.5-liter V6 engine with Dual VVT-i that produces 268 bhp. It comes mated to Lexus’ electronically controlled transmission with intelligence (ECT-i) that’s been designed to deliver good performance, smoother shifts and improved fuel efficiency through use of low friction materials. The ES 300h is a hybrid version of the sedan that features a new low-friction VVT-i-equipped 2.5-liter inline-4 Atkinson-cycle engine that utilizes a sophisticated power management system and has a 12.5:1 compression ratio. This engine, combined with a beltless electric motor, is designed to improve fuel economy and durability, and a near zero evaporative fuel system helps reduce emissions. Power will be 200 hp combined. The ES 300h hybrid offers four driving modes: Normal, Sport, Eco and EV, the last allowing short drives at reduced speed, using only the power from the hybrid battery pack. Normal mode provides a blend of performance and efficiency that is suited to everyday driving, while Eco mode favors fuel economy. Sport mode increases performance and responsiveness. Lexus says the ES 300h will get 39/40 mpg city/highway.
The new ES ought to handle better than its predecessor, thanks to suspension and steering changes and a stiffer body. Opposite-wound coil springs on the front suspension enhance straight-line stability, while revised rear suspension geometry and improved shock absorber damping characteristics enhance ride comfort. A reduction in the steering gear ratio delivers better steering feel. Increased body rigidity is achieved through lightweight, high tensile strength steel, added bracing and additional spot welds. Despite the car’s larger size, the weight of the new ES is reduced by almost 90 pounds.
The ES will be equipped with standard 215/55R-17 low rolling resistance tires on 17-inch alloy wheels, and for the first time, available 18-inch high-gloss alloy wheels.
The car’s exterior design adopts the new Lexus signature “spindle” grille, making it look remarkably similar to the new GS sedan, but this isn’t a bad thing. The new ES features a lower, progressive profile and clean, continuous styling lines from front to rear. The wheelbase of the new ES has been lengthened by 1.8 inches, while the overall length of the vehicle has grown by just one inch, resulting in a more spacious interior. Look for the new ES to reach dealer showrooms in August of this year.
It's no secret that Lexus is a division of Toyota and that many of its vehicles are based on more plebian Toyota products. So it stands to reason that when a new Toyota model bows, its Lexus equivalent will soon follow suit. Such is the case with the new ES 350. Based on the new Toyota Camry introduced last year, the all-new 2013 ES builds on this proven platform with oodles of luxury features and the refinement you'd expect from a Lexus. Now in its sixth generation, the new ES features edgier styling outside and standard NuLuxe synthetic leather inside. The real stuff is also available, as are a number of luxury option packages. Feeling green? Then go for the new Lexus ES 300h hybrid, for an EPA estimated 40 mpg city/39 mpg highway.
Four doors and a hatchback don’t sound like a recipe for seductive sheet-metal. Yet the Audi A7 manages to transform this practical packaging into a shape that makes many other sport sedans look downright frumpy (we’re talking to you, Porsche Panamera). The big news is the long-awaited arrival of the S7 model, which combines a 420-bhp twin-turbocharged V-8, Quattro all-wheel-drive and 8-speed automatic transmission into one refined and very rapid offering. Too bad you can’t bring more friends along for the ride – all A7s have a rear seat that only offers room for two passengers. The standard engine is a 310-bhp supercharged 3.0-liter V-6, which also comes with the slick 8-speed gearbox and Quattro. Some car snobs might be turned off by the fact that this is a hatchback. Audi actually prefers you refer to it as a “Sportback.” Forget the name games, the A7 is an amazing vehicle.
For 2013, a new lower priced Touring version of the XK grand tourer, coupe or convertible, is available. Starting at $79,000 for the coupe, it offers the same performance as before with a sticker price that’s $4500 less. A new Portfolio Pack for the XK and XKR gives you special features and finishes such as chrome mirror caps and grille, more exterior color options, a leather headliner from the XKR-S and more. New 20-in. alloy wheels are now standard, up from last year’s 19s. A Dynamic Pack on the XKR coupe and convertible is now available, bringing XKR-S suspension tuning to the XKR. All XKs have a variation of Jaguar’s 5.0-liter V-8 (385 bhp in the XK, 550 bhp in the XKR-S) mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The Dodge Avenger is an attractive midsize sedan, most notably for its sporty features and standard equipment which it typically found in higher class vehicles.
The Dodge Avenger is offered in three trim levels: SE, SXT, and R/T. Two engine choices are offered on the Avenger, a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, or a 3.6-liter flex-fuel V6 engine. Four cylinder engines can be had with either a four-speed automatic transmission, or six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. The V6 engine is matched to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. Standard and optional equipment include leather wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, cruise control, LED brake lights, aluminum wheels, multimedia center with 28 gigabytes of internal memory, USB port, and Bluetooth streaming audio. Safety features found on every Avenger include stability and traction control systems, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, active front head restraints, six airbags, tire pressure monitoring and a security system.
For 2013, the lineup has been simplified by removing the SXT Plus trim. The SXT trim now features fully automatic headlights and fog lights as standard equipment.