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.
Luxury in the dreadnought class of SUVs is all-encompassing, and from its plush heated and cooled leather front seating to its power-folding third seat, Lincoln's Navigator delivers a rich coddling. It's all here, including rear and front radar proximity sensors to avoid dings when berthing this 3-ton vessel, and that includes generous helpings of the greatest luxury: room. With just under 160 cu. ft. of interior volume, there's little the Navigator can't carry, especially in the 15-in.-longer L version. Perfected some years ago, there's not a lot new in the Navigator, and its middle-age gasoline V-8 isn't an economy king, but it still tows 9000 lb. in style and is often priced lower than the competition.
While Nissan's Versa sedan came in for a ground-up redo for 2012, the 5-door Hatchback version carries over from the 2011 model year with two models, S and SL. Perhaps to soothe hatchback fans, Nissan ups the ante by adding four new option packages for the S model and then making what was the Premium package now standard equipment on the SL edition. With that upgrade come such extras as the Bluetooth Hands-free phone system, the "Intelligent" key and 16-in. alloy wheels. Opt for the S version and you get the 122-bhp 1.8-liter twincam four with a 6-speed manual or 4-speed automatic. SL models also have the 1.8 but are only fitted with the CVT transmission. Now the Vehicle Dynamic Control system is standard on both S and SL models.
Survival of the fastest; that’s the 911 Turbo’s storyline. As Zuffenhausen phases in the new 911, models such as the GT2 RS and various GT3s, which were based on the previous 911, are history. Only the Cabriolet, Targa, GTS and the all-wheel-drive versions of certain models carry over into 2012. Among them are the awd-only Turbo and Turbo S, which are also available as Cabrios. Because Turbos are the fastest Porsches, they’re worth a special mention. Both versions will do about 195 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 60 in about 3 seconds, thanks in part to their standard slick-shifting PDK gearbox. And while Turbos are pricey, nearly everything you’d want is standard. That makes them survivors. And keepers.
The BMW ALPINA B7 brings state-of-the-art technology, refinement, performance and exclusivity to the full-size luxury sedan class. ALPINA is a name famous in Europe for adding performance touches to BMW's, the name is not well known in North America.
Available in short and long-wheelbases, as well as rear or all-wheel drive xDrive models, the B7 is powered by a direct-injection, 540-hp 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 bolted to an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. The B7 includes such standard luxury features as four-zone automatic climate control, power sunroof, high-gloss wood trim, heated and cooled 16-way multi-contour seats, voice-activated navigation system on a 10.2-inch color monitor, HD radio and BMW Assist emergency and information communications. Standard run-flat performance tires wrap 20-spoke 21-inch alloy wheels, while standard Park Distance Control, adaptive brake lights and steerable adaptive bi-xenon headlights provide active safety. High-tech options include side-view cameras, high-beam assistant, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, and dual LCD screens for rear seat entertainment.
For 2013, the exterior has been refreshed, the engine power has been bumped up 40 more horsepower and an eight-speed automatic replaces last years six-speed.