The fun and practical A3 rolls into 2013 unchanged. This is Audi's smallest model in the U.S., but don't underestimate the appeal of this compact wagon. Some might be turned off by having to opt for a 5-door — which is probably why the next A3 sold here will be a sedan. A rev-happy and direct-injected gasoline 2.0-liter 4-cylinder delivers 200 bhp and 207 lb.-ft. of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission and front-wheel-drive is standard, though you can spend a little extra for a 6-speed dual-clutch S tronic gearbox that comes paired to Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system. While it's nicely sized for city driving, the backseat still offers a decent amount of stretch out space and there's a useful 19 cu. ft. of cargo room. Fold the rear seats down, and that swells to an impressive 39 cu. ft.
The BMW 5-series puts an emphasis on the driving experience. Now in its sixth generation, this mid-size luxury car remains a true sports sedan by delivering aggressive styling, precise handling and outstanding safety.
Available in rear- or xDrive all-wheel drive, the 535i features a new 300-hp 3.0-liter, turbo, inline-six engine, with the choice of an eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. Standard features include leatherette upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control with active micro-filtration, a 12-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system, HD radio, Bluetooth, 18-inch alloy wheels, and iDrive control system with integrated owner's manual. Safety is provided by six airbags, active anti-whiplash front head restraints, electronic traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes, tire pressure monitoring, BMW Assist telematics, and bi-xenon adaptive headlights.
For 2013, the split fold-down rear seat and universal garage door opener are now standard equipment.
The Chevrolet Spark is a sporty four-passenger, five-door hatchback. It features bold styling, vibrant color choices, and impressive cargo and passenger space.
The front-wheel drive Spark is offered in LS, 1LT, and 2LT trim levels. Power comes from an 85-hp 1.2-liter engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission, or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Notable features offered include: MyLink infotainment system, heated front seats, air conditioning, power windows, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth, OnStar, cruise control, and leather wrapped steering wheel. Standard safety equipment includes stability and traction control, antilock brakes with brake assist, and ten airbags.
For 2014 the Chevrolet Spark has a new continuously variable transmission, with a revised axle ratio of 3.75, trip computer on all trims, and new exterior colors. The 2LT trim is now standard with heated power-adjustable body-color manual folding mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators.
The Shelby GT500 builds on its 1960's muscle car heritage with classic styling cues mixed with modern touches and a massive dose of horsepower.
Available as a coupe or a convertible, the Shelby GT500 possesses an intimidating 650-hp, supercharged 5.8-liter, V8 engine and six-speed manual transmission. With only one powertrain combination available, this cars reason for being quickly becomes clear. Modern amenities such as air-conditioning and leather seats for four leave passengers wanting for nothing. Safety is addressed with technical features such as four-wheel Brembo disc brakes, traction control and an assortment of protective airbags.
Now that the Monte Carlo is dead and gone, the Impala is shouldering the load for Chevy in the midsize segment and on the track in NASCAR events. The front-drive sedan is certainly no “Car of Tomorrow”; the basic platform dates back to the ’80s, although it has been updated. It is one of the few cars to come in a 6-passenger configuration and offers a wide range of engine choices. The base engine is a 211-bhp 3.5-liter pushrod V-6. The LTZ has a 224-bhp 3.9-liter pushrod six. And the relatively hairy SS has a pushrod 5.3-liter V-8 that sends 303 bhp to the front axle. Chevy has worked hard at keeping the value end of the bargain going by adding such features as dual-zone climate control, traction control, ABS, new thorax side-impact airbags and Bluetooth connectivity.