R&T Overview:It’s no secret that the 444-bhp 2012 Boss 302 has garnered rave reviews, even if its limited production means price negotiation will be virtually nonexistent. And though otherwise mostly a carryover for 2012, we think Ford’s Mustang has never been better. Its base 305-bhp Ti-VCT V-6 is good for up to 31 mpg highway, while the Mustang GT’s 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V-8 generates 412 bhp and up to 26 mpg highway. Handling and braking are now fully on par with power output, and interior refinement is worlds ahead of Mustangs of yore—and the pony car competition. New options for 2012 include selectable steering effort, made possible by electric power-assist steering (EPAS). And the supercharged 550-bhp Shelby GT500 is back with optional Recaro bucket seats.
The DB9 Volante is one of the best convertibles to drive – or even just to ride in. Its superb sound is even better than the DB9 coupe's, as you can lower the roof for a much more exciting experience. The 6.0-litre V12 has a massive 510bhp and delivers an instant surge of power whenever you use the accelerator. Its three-mode suspension offers a comfortable ride, with the light steering making traffic easy to negotiate. Select the firmer Sports or Track settings and the Volante's stiffer ride delivers supreme agility for a car of its size. The standard-fitted 20-inch alloys provide lots of grip, so you can head into corners very quickly and easily control your speed with the brilliant brakes. This predictability and strong performance makes you confident at the wheel when driving quickly. And the comfortable leather seats and quiet interior – when the roof is up –make it nearly as enjoyable at slower speeds.
The Avalon is Toyota's flagship passenger car, with quality craftsmanship and dynamic styling that make it a desirable choice among full-size sedans.
The front-wheel drive Avalon is available in four trim levels: XLE, Premium, Touring and Limited. All are powered by a 268-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. All trims feature heated exterior mirrors, automatic headlamps, heated leather seats, wood-grain style interior trim, automatic climate control, steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth wireless audio streaming and phone connectivity, cruise control, Smart Key, and a leather wrapped steering wheel. Safety features include anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist, vehicle stability and traction control systems, front and rear side-impact airbags, overhead curtain airbags for front and rear occupants, a driver-side knee airbag and active anti-whiplash front head restraints. Entune, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alerts, Safety Connect, rain-sensing wipers, three-zone automatic climate control, dynamic radar cruise control, eBin, pre-collision system and a rear camera parking aid are available high-tech features.
The Toyota Avalon was redesigned inside and out for the 2013 model year. Designers developed the concept in the US leaving nothing untouched in their quest for modern sophistication.
The Audi TT coupe continues to offer all-weather driving fun, thanks to its compact dimensions and Quattro all-wheel-drive, in one of the car world's most seductive shapes. But don't think the TT is all style and no substance. Top models, like the fire-breathing TT RS, give many Porsches a serious run for their money. Yet even the base TT coupe has the agility and performance of a true sports car. Granted, the 211-bhp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 might not sound intimidating, but it's more than enough to scoot the TT down the road with aplomb. The TT and TTS are available exclusively with a dual-clutch 6-speed automatic transmission. This is a great gearbox, so it's hard to bemoan the lack of a manual. That backseat is awfully tight, however, so look elsewhere if you often need room for more than one passenger.
Last year, the MKZ gained the Hybrid model with a 4-cylinder engine and electric motor combination good for a total of 191 hp and an impressive 41 city/36 highway mileage ratings or about 700 miles per tank. Boasting one of the best hybrid powertrains available, the MKZ Hybrid can touch 47 mph on electric power alone, and is a winner in urban driving. Sales of the MKZ Hybrid are running above expectations, and with Lincoln holding the price of the base Hybrid at the same $34,645 as the standard gasoline V-6 model, the gas/electric is a compelling choice. For open-road duty, the 263 bhp V-6 shows the good MKZ chassis to advantage. Luxury features are abundant; new for 2012 is AppLink for voice control of smartphones.