Built in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the new VW Passat is a bona fide competitor for the likes of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. It’s super roomy inside, especially in back, and there’s a choice of three engines: a 2.5-liter 5-cylinder with 177 bhp, a 2.0-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder with 140 bhp and VW’s 3.6-liter VR6 with 280. Don’t be fooled by the diesel’s low bhp; this oil-burner has lots of torque, and although it does not make this new Passat exceptionally quick, it’s very efficient, able to squeeze 43 miles out of a gallon of diesel fuel when mated to the 6-speed manual transmission. If you value luxury over efficiency, get the 3.6 SEL Premium, which has leather, keyless entry, navigation, power seats and interior chrome accents.
So you're in the market for a small SUV, but don’t want to sacrifice any capability.It literally has to do it all—something that gets carlike gas mileage and handling, but has a taller stance for some mild off-roading and the ability to roll over obstacles. Consider the Forester, as it combines wagon-like styling and interior appointments with a higher-than-average 8.9-in. ground clearance. Throw in Subaru's standard all-wheel-drive system, torquey flat-4 engine and the cargo hauling flexibility of a 60/40-split folding rear bench seat and tall greenhouse, and you’ve got a handy everyday vehicle. If more power is needed, upgrade to the 2.5XT Premium or Touring models; they have a 224-bhp turbocharged engine.
The Infiniti G37 is available as sedan, a coupe, or hardtop convertible. Responsive and agile, the G37 has a sporty flare while offering a comfortable ride and a luxurious interior.
The rear-wheel drive G37 is named for its 3.7-liter V6 engine, available with between 325 and 330 horsepower depending on the model. This smooth, powerful engine comes with a seven-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. The G37 comes in Premium, Sport, or Premier trims depending on model. Styling of the G series is aggressive yet subtle with abounding curves and the heritage is apparent in both design and performance. Standard safety features include six airbags, traction control and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. Optional is an intelligent cruise control system that matches the speed of the car ahead and an upgraded audio system with Bose sound.
The made-to-order, Mercedes-Benz-owned Maybach ultra-luxury sedan becomes even more bespoke with the addition of the new Landaulet. Not so much an actual model as it is a treatment, the Landaulet has a folding soft-top for the rear-passenger compartment. The cost? Think, “Well, if you have to ask…” The Maybach may be the ultimate show-the-world-you’ve-made-it-thing on four wheels, particularly the long-wheelbase 62 editions replete with first-class airline-style reclining rear seats. And be it a 57 or 62, occupants will be treated to a remarkably smooth-riding active air suspension, sumptuous leather and wood and optional Internet access; potent S models boost the twin-turbo V-12’s power output to a massive 612 horsepower (up from the standard unit’s 550 bhp).
R&T Overview:While the Mazda6 is unchanged for 2012, it remains a popular seller among the sporting-sedan crowd. The 6 offers six variations on the theme, ranging from the I Sport to the S Grand Touring and two drivetrain choices: the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and the 3.7-liter V-6 that pumps out a delightful 272 bhp. In any form, the Mazda6 is an enthusiast's prize with very sports carlike handling, fine ride character and plenty of space for the family and the luggage. Fuel efficiency is competitive with other sedans in this class. With traction control, stability control and anti-lock braking, the Mazda6 offers a full package at a reasonable price. We only wish Mazda still sold the wagon.