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 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 big news at Honda for 2013 is the all-new, ninth-generation Accord. It’s a bit smaller on the outside for improved handling, and edgier styling sets the tone for the new sedan, coupe and plug-in hybrid. New engines include a direct-injected 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with a choice of 6-speed manual or continuously variable transmissions. The new 3.5-liter V-6 offers a 6-speed automatic. A 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder teams with a 120-kW motor and lithium-ion batteries for the hybrid. Honda claims an electric range of 10–15 miles in city driving at speeds up to 62 mph with battery recharging taking less than four hours via a 120-volt outlet. New features include Lane Watch blind-spot display plus a standard rearview camera.
Now that Mercedes offers a trio of roadsters, the long-running SL-Class occupies the sweet spot between the smaller SLK and new flagship SLS. To make room for the latter, the top V-12-powered SL65 AMG has been discontinued. That leaves a choice of two V-8 models: the SL550 with a 382-bhp 5.5-liter and the SL63 AMG that develops 518 bhp from 6.2 liters. Both are fitted with a power-folding hardtop that retracts in a scant 16 seconds. Mercedes introduced the industry's first automatic rollbar on the SL that pops into place if sensors detect an impending rollover. Other standard features include Airscarf heating that delivers warm air via the front seat head restraints, an Active Body Control suspension system and Comand audio with navigation.
Survival of the fastest; that’s the 911 Turbo’s storyline. As Zuffenhausen phases in the new 911, models such as the GT2 RS and various GT3s, which were based on the previous 911, are history. Only the Cabriolet, Targa, GTS and the all-wheel-drive versions of certain models carry over into 2012. Among them are the awd-only Turbo and Turbo S, which are also available as Cabrios. Because Turbos are the fastest Porsches, they’re worth a special mention. Both versions will do about 195 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 60 in about 3 seconds, thanks in part to their standard slick-shifting PDK gearbox. And while Turbos are pricey, nearly everything you’d want is standard. That makes them survivors. And keepers.