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-wheel, or xDrive all-wheel drive, the 528i features a 240-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic with Steptronic. 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, 17-inch alloy wheels, electric power steering, 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 and BMW Assist telematics and bi-xenon adaptive headlights.
For 2014, there are subtle styling changes inside and out, a navigation system with real-time traffic and a new touch-pad is now standard, and LED headlights are now an option.
Those who live life large and want a coupe to match would do well to consider the Mercedes CL-Class. Loaded with luxury and charisma, the CL550 sports a 4.7-liter bi-turbo direct-injection V-8 with 429 bhp and 4Matic all-wheel drive. The C63 AMG ups the ante with a 536-bhp 5.5-liter V-8, Eco stop-start technology, 7-speed multiclutch automatic transmission, sport suspension and unique styling cues. Moving up to the CL600 nets a 5.5-liter V-12 with 510 bhp. The range-topping CL65 AMG boosts 6.0-liter V-12 output to 621 bhp. A new spotlight function for the Night View Assist Plus safety feature coordinates infrared headlights and a night-vision camera to identify and warn roadside pedestrians while alerting the driver on a display screen.
The Toyota FJ Cruiser, with styling cues reminiscent of Toyota's famed FJ40 4x4 utility vehicle, blends off-road legacy with modern power, comfort, safety, and convenience technology.
The FJ Cruiser is available in one trim with a choice of three drivetrains: a rear-wheel-drive version equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission, a part-time four-wheel-drive version with a five-speed automatic transmission, or a full-time four-wheel-drive version with a six-speed manual transmission. All versions are powered by a 259 hp 4.0-liter V-6 engine. The FJ Cruiser seats up to five passengers. Safety features include Toyota's STAR Safety System that includes vehicle stability control, traction control, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. Dual-stage front airbags, side-curtain and front-seat side airbags, and front active headrests are standard.
As the Toyota of minivans, the Sienna appeals to families on the go by offering a wide range of models and options. Seating is available for up to eight passengers in a variety of configurations, and the third-row bench seat vanishes neatly into the floor. A cavernous cargo compartment swallows 4 x 8 sheets of plywood. Available in both front- and all-wheel drive versions, the Sienna’s motivation is supplied by a 3.5-liter V-6 teamed with a 5-speed automatic transmission. Out on the road, the Sienna drives like a big Camry, which is to say the ride is smooth, but far from sporty. Budget permitting, passengers can revel in the lap of luxury with available leather seating, a rear seat DVD player and JBL Synthesis audio with 10 speakers.
R&T Overview:An all-new third-generation Mercedes M-Class arrives for 2012. Slightly larger than its predecessor, the ML350 receives sleeker styling inside and out, new technologies plus advanced safety features. Powertrain choices include a new 302-bhp 3.5-liter direct-injection V-6 plus a 240-bhp 3.0-liter BlueTEC diesel, both fitted with 7-speed automatic transmissions, paddle shifters and 4Matic awd. Agility Control Suspension is standard while an optional Active Curve System helps reduce body lean in corners. Roomier cabins gain a hooded twin-gauge instrument cluster, 7-in. display screen and optional heated and cooled cupholders. An 830-watt Harman-Kardon audio system, 80-gig hard-drive navigation and a rear-seat iPad docking station are available.