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.
Introduced in the mid-1990s, Chevrolet's Tahoe presented an idea that was novel at the time: Chevy Suburban capabilities minus the Suburban's mass. The idea was obviously a good one, since the Tahoe and its GMC Yukon fraternal twin have inspired many competitors. With three V-8 engine choices, the Tahoe is a capable beast of burden. It can tow up to 8500 lb., has three rows of seats, contemporary telematics and family peacekeeping options like a rear seat DVD system. A 2-mode hybrid option continues to be available, boosting the EPA city rating to 21 mpg, but its price premium relegates it largely to green fleet sales. Essentially unchanged for 2013, the Tahoe is expected to undergo an extensive 2014 renewal.
What you're looking at is the most potent Cadillac sold today, available in Coupe, Sedan and Sport Wagon forms. Lurking under your right foot is a supercharged 556-bhp V-8, with a whoppin' 551 lb.-ft. of torque. Some of you would opt for the Tremec 6-speed manual, others for the 6-speed automatic; both are good. The high-quality interior of the CTS-V is luxurious, with well-arranged controls. The independent suspension, tuned at the Nürburgring in Germany, features Magnetic Ride Control damping, which Cadillac had even before Ferrari adapted it for its road cars. These rumbly Vs routinely hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. Enough said.
The big BMW off-roader that drives like a sports sedan won't see any real changes for the 2012 model year. Those changes came last year when the engine options went all turbo and were mated to an 8-speed automatic rather than the six. The 6-speed remains only on the staggeringly quick X5 M. We expect a midyear update of the X5 to focus mostly on styling and technology, but little on drivetrain. However, the X5 M could get the new M5's slightly revised and more potent twin-turbo V-8. We think most owners will be quite happy toting 6 passengers with the turbodiesel X5 xDrive35d's 425 lb.-ft. of torque, although the $1700 optional third-row seating is a tad expensive and only for use by children.
The BMW 428i is the latest addition to the ever growing vehicle line-up from Munich. Formerly the 328i coupe, the new 4-series looks to separate itself from the 3-series sedan on which it is based by offering more aggressive styling and sportier driving.
The 428i is available in rear- or xDrive all-wheel drive and is powered by a 240-hp 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder mated to a six-speed manual transmission (RWD only) or an eight-speed automatic. Standard safety features include eight airbags, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with adaptive brakelights, traction and stability control, active anti-whiplash head restraints, and BMW Assist eCall which includes emergency request and automatic collision notification. BMW's Air Curtain, auto stop-start, and Brake Energy Regeneration alternator help to make the 428i more efficient.