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.
In the spirit of bringing costs down and fuel economy up, Audi has added a potent-yet-practical 4-cylinder engine to the 2011 Audi Q5 luxury crossover line. The 200-bhp 2.0-liter four’s quick acceleration and gasoline-saving abilities benefit further from a new 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. A 270-bhp V-6 model with an edgier exterior and a 6-speed Tiptronic is also available, but less interesting now that the 4-cylinder drivetrain is here. All Q5s maintain excellent on-road composure with the help of Quattro all-wheel drive, and even their off-road capability is above the class average. And every 2011 Q5 treats you with style that includes leather seating, wood trim and the epic audio of an optional Bang & Olufsen sound system.
It is here the Nissan GT-R comes into its own and outruns most supercars worth twice as much. The car clearly has cut corners in terms of looks and interior to keep its price tag reasonable but nothing has been spared when it comes to performance.
Nissan claims the GT-R can do the 0-60 sprint in just 2.7 seconds, quicker than just about anything other than the Bugatti Veyron. It has a top speed of 196 mph and no matter how much you drive the car, you never get used to the immense power available. Shifts from the column-mounted paddles are crisp and quick. Personally, I would prefer the paddles to be mounted to the steering wheel, as under hard cornering finding them can be troublesome and clumsy. Turn the transaxle to the Race setting and shifts sharpen and spread further up the engine's broad power curve.
There are three settings to chose from: Normal, Comfort or Race for the suspension, transmission shift points and the Vehicle Dynamic Control system's various algorithms. The suspension settings are noticeable with Race mode being a little too stiff for regular city driving. Turning it to Comfort takes a subtle edge off and provides a mildly more compliant ride, making longer journeys quite tolerable and keeping all your fillings firmly intact.
The car's traction control system is easy to use and almost too inviting every time you cross path with a stop sign. Simply put all three settings in to Race mode, press the brake pedal and mash the gas and the car hovers at roughly 4500 rpm. Release the brake and away you go with a slight squeal of the custom Dunlop, nitrogen filled tires. The distribution of power is balanced and utilizes the magnitude of grip available to its fullest capacity.
Take the car to the racetrack and challenge the car's dynamics and you sense the understeer, notorious with the GT-R. We did this at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The 2013 GT-R is noticeably better than the 2012 model, but in slow corners the car is still set up cautiously. This is likely a smart idea by the Nissan engineers given the abundant drivers with less than spectacular driving skills.
With all the turmoil surrounding Saab after being sold by GM, it’s not surprising to find that the best-selling model in the three-vehicle lineup is little changed. It does not really need much alteration since it still appeals to a core group of Saab fans who love it for its unique look and style. A new version of the turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine sees power upped from 210 to 220 bhp. The three body styles—Sport Sedan, Convertible and SportCombi—continue as before but with Griffin added to their names. All models are available with a 6-speed manual in base trim or 6-speed automatic. The Sedan and SportCombi are also available with Saab’s XWD all-wheel-drive system. The Convertible Independence model celebrates Saab’s independence from GM.
The BMW 7-series is the pinnacle of BMW sedans. A big luxury sedan that is loaded with state-of-the-art technology to keep you safe on today's roads.
The rear-wheel drive ActiveHybrid 740 is powered by a 315-hp direct-injection, 3.0-litre, turbo inline-six cylinder engine, that is combined with a 55-hp electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack to give the long-wheelbase 740 a total system output of 349-hp and 367 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid engine and motor are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission for maximum smoothness and efficiency. Standard luxury features include four-zone automatic climate control, power sunroof, high-gloss wood trim, heated power seats, voice-activated navigation system on a 10.2-inch color monitor, HD radio and BMW Assist emergency and information communications. Standard run-flat tires wrap 18-inch alloy wheels, while standard Park Distance Control with a rear camera, adaptive brake lights and steerable adaptive bi-xenon headlights provide active safety. High-tech options include surround-view cameras, high-beam assistant, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, dual LCD screens for rear seat entertainment and ventilated front seats.
For 2014, the base audio system is now harman/kardon, a new Dynamic Digital Instrument Cluster is now standard, and the iDrive controller adds a multi-touch surface to the top of the control knob.