R&T Overview:The Charger was given a major refresh for 2011, with a new skin, powerful new V-6 and greatly updated interior. For 2012, the rest of the makeover package arrives with the addition of an optional ZF 8-speed automatic transmission, available on rwd and awd V-6 models. The extra gears add 4 mpg to the Charger's highway rating. The SRT8 returns for 2012 as well, with a 6.4-liter Hemi that delivers 470 bhp and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. It also incorporates the Fuel Saver Technology used previously only on the 5.7 Hemi. Buyers with more modest power requirements can choose either the base 3.6-liter V-6 with 292 bhp or the R/T with 5.7-liter Hemi and 370 bhp. An optional Rallye Package spiffs up the V-6 model, while R/T buyers can order awd for extra security in foul weather.
From mild to wild, Mercedes offers E-Class models to suit everyone's fancy. The E350 sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon gain a new 3.5-liter 302-bhp direct-injection V-6 and 7-speed automatic. An unchanged BlueTEC diesel remains a sedan option. E550 models receive a new 402-bhp 4.6-liter twin-turbo V-8. A wagon joins the sedan for the hot E63 AMG treatment including a new 518-bhp 5.5-liter V-8 and 7-speed MCT transmission. The former also features a panorama roof and rearview camera. E-Class safety, infotainment and luxury equipment varies by model. Convertibles are fitted with a 2-piece Aircap wind deflector to help reduce turbulence with the top down. Wagons have standard 7-passenger seating, a power tailgate and rear air suspension.
The Cadillac Escalade ESV is largest of the Escalade luxury family, stretched an additional 21-in. in length for a truly cavernous cabin. Not just for passengers, when need you the hauling capacity, the ESV is good for 137.4 cu.-ft. of it with all rows folded—plenty of room for transporting cases of Dom Perignon. This interior space is decked from door to door in leather and wood trim, with standard equipment like heated and cooled seats, touchscreen navigation, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, keyless entry/ignition and power everything. One item exclusive to the ESV however is a second 8-in. flip-down screen when you opt for the rear-seat DVD entertainment. This way, the back cabin passengers don't need to strain their eyes to enjoy movies on the go. Hauling all this luxury around, and an entourage of 7, is a powerful, left-lane friendly, 402-bhp 6.2-liter V-8, equipped with Active Fuel Management to help stretch your fuel load whenever possible. Available with rear or all-wheel drive, a locking rear differential comes standard when light off-road duty calls for it, with new revised grade braking performance for 2013. Opt for the Escalade ESV Platinum model and Cadillac's proven Magnetic Ride Control suspension technology is included as are ultra bright LED headlights, rear DVD entertainment, Platinum exclusive interior treatments and last but not least, huge fender-filling 22-in. chrome alloy wheels. Though its shear size could be counted as a safety measure, all Escalades come with roll-over prevention/mitigation through Cadillac's StabiliTrak, and comprehensive airbag protection throughout the cabin.
Saab was just about to introduce the all-new 9-5 sedan when General Motors sold off the company. It is based on the same platform as the Buick LaCrosse and despite its GM heritage, it maintains a distinctly Saab family look to it. According to Saab, the SportCombi version, unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show, will become available during 2012. The seats can be folded down to provide an almost flat floor with an absence of intrusions to maximize cargo space. Both models have a choice of a turbocharged 4-cylinder or turbocharged V-6 engine and can be optioned with Saab’s XWD all-wheel-drive system. The old Saab 9-5 was loved for its enormous load-carrying capacity and the new version carries on the tradition—as long as you can find one.
The modern Nissan 370Z falls in line with the Z cars of the past. Designed with performance, style and value in mind, it's a pure two-seater sports car in every respect.
The 370Z is offered in both coupe and roadster body styles, with three trim levels: Base, Touring, and the track-inspired NISMO edition (coupe only). The Base and Touring models are powered by a 332-hp 3.7-liter V6 engine, paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed automatic with manual mode and paddle shifters. The performance-oriented NISMO boasts a 350-hp 3.7-liter V6, mated to a six-speed manual transmission with SyncroRev Match, providing smooth and seamless transitions from gear to gear. The Base trim is equipped with bi-xenon HID headlamps, 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, a CD player and the Nissan Intelligent Key passive entry system with push-button start; Touring trims are further outfitted with heated leather-appointed seats, satellite radio and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. An available Sport package for Base and Touring trims adds items that are standard on the NISMO, including 19-inch forged alloy wheels, spoilers, a limited slip differential, larger sport brakes and SynchroRev Match with the manual transmission. Safety features found on every 370Z include six airbags, electronic stability and traction control systems, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, active anti-whiplash head restraints, LED tail lights and a tire pressure monitoring system.