How do you update an already retro design? You flatten its roof, make it look more masculine and hope the design attracts more male buyers. Longer, lower and wider than the New Beetle, the new Beetle is based on an all-new chassis (related to the Golf's), fitted with either a 170-bhp 2.5-liter 5-cylinder and a 6-speed automatic or the 200-bhp direct-injected 2.0-liter turbo mated to VW's dual-clutch 6-speed automatic. Manual transmissions, says VW, will come at a later date. Also coming later (in 2012) is the super-efficient 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine, which is expected to give this 4-seat front-driver highway fuel economy of 40 mpg. The Beetle Turbo, of note, has multilink rear suspension, whereas the standard Beetle has a twist beam.
The XK combines Jaguar's new modern design style with traditional luxury car touches like genuine wood and supple leather.
Available as a coupe or convertible, the XK packs a 385-hp 5.0-liter V8 engine. The XKR features a 510-hp 5.0-liter supercharged V8. A special-order only, XKR-S uses a 550-hp 5.0-liter supercharged V8. A six-speed automatic transmission with console mounted rotary shifter and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters channels all that power to the rear wheels. Standard equipment includes touch screen navigation, keyless entry with keyless start, a seven-inch video display, Bluetooth, front and rear park assist with rear camera, and electronic parking brake. The XKR-S adds forged wheels, aerodynamic enhancements, and race inspired seats.
The Xterra is the most rugged, adventure-oriented SUV that Nissan offers, a truly "go anywhere" vehicle designed for the outdoors and an active lifestyle.
The Xterra is offered in both rear-wheel (4x2) and four-wheel drive configurations, with a choice of three trim levels: X, S and PRO-4X (4x4 only). All models are powered by a 261-hp 4.0-liter V6 engine, while available transmissions include a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic. Building on the value-oriented X trim, the S adds a roof rack, 16-inch aluminum wheels, 8-way driver seat, satellite radio, 4.3-inch color display and easy clean rear cargo area. For the off-road enthusiast, the PRO-4X trim is exclusively fitted with a locking rear differential, upgraded shocks, skid plates, all-terrain tires and roof-mounted lamps; additional features include a premium audio system with 6-disc CD changer, along with a navigation system that includes a 5.8-inch color display, real-time traffic information and NissanConnect, offering wireless audio streaming, selective internet access, and smartphone integration. Standard safety equipment includes anti-lock disc brakes, stability control with integrated traction control and tire pressure monitoring, as well as front, side-impact and overhead curtain airbags. For 2014, a rearview camera monitor is now standard on PRO-4X trims.
The Nissan Xterra carries over with minor changes for 2014. The X and S trims get enhanced standard equipment, including Bluetooth wireless connectivity, steering wheel audio controls, and an overhead console with sunglass holder, while heated front seats are added to the PRO-4X. The X trim also gets a new AM/FM/CD audio unit with auxiliary input and USB port.
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.
Audi A6 is a luxurious midsize sports sedan that seats four people in comfort. The A6 lineup was completely redesigned for the 2012 model year, and a new high-performance S6 follows suit for the 2013 model year.
Also new for 2013: The 2013 Audi A6 2.0T is available with all-wheel drive. The 2013 Audi A6 3.0T comes with a top-view camera system and a fuel-saving start/stop system.
The A6 2.0T uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that makes 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and comes standard with front-wheel drive. Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system with an 8-speed automatic transmission is optional on the 2013 A6 2.0T. Fuel economy for the A6 2.0T is very good, with an EPA-estimated 25/33 mpg City/Highway with the CVT and 20/30 mpg with the 8-speed automatic and Quattro.
The A6 3.0T is silky smooth, and fast. It gets 310 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque out of a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 310 hp and 325 lb.-ft. of torque. Quattro and the 8-speed automatic transmission are standard, as is Audi's stop/start technology, which turns the engine off during long idles to save fuel. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 18/27 mpg City/Highway. Premium gasoline is recommended.
After a one-year hiatus, a new 2013 Audi S6 returns on the same new chassis the A6 received for 2012. The high-performance S6 is Audi's answer to the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG. The Audi sits between the two in terms of sportiness, with the BMW suited more for the racetrack, and the Mercedes more of a luxurious cruiser.
Like the A6, the new S6 now has a longer wheelbase and is slightly shorter and wider. The new body is better balanced and more athletic. What differentiates the S6 from the A6 models is a more powerful engine, a sport-tuned adaptive air suspension, upgraded brakes and high-performance tires, as well as unique exterior and interior trim.