R&T Overview:When you build one of today's most potent performance cars, how do you make it better? Easy. Up the horsepower, which is what Nissan has done with the GT-R. By increasing turbocharger boost pressure, modifying valve timing and the fuel-air ratio, then cutting exhaust backpressure, the 3.8-liter V-6 ups horsepower from 485 to 530 and torque from 434 lb.-ft. to 448...laid down via the ATTESA E-TS all-wheel-drive system. To go with the added power comes revised exterior styling, which cuts the coefficient of drag to 0.26 and adds 10 percent more downforce. There are two GT-R models, Premium and, new for 2012, the Black Edition. The latter has a unique seat trim, interior colors and 6-spoke wheels. Two exterior colors are added: Deep Blue Pearl and Jet Black.
Leave it to Porsche to put the “sport” into Sport-Utility Vehicle. With the handling and performance you’d expect from one of its sports cars, the Cayenne is more than a gussied-up truck. And it’s brimming with technological features, as you’d expect in a Porsche: dynamic chassis control, self-leveling air suspension and torque vectoring. Although the 300-bhp base model admits you to the club, most buyers prefer the Cayenne S, a nice balance between frugality and fun. The Hybrid with 8-speed automatic speaks to the ecologically conscious, but if your conscience is clear and your wallet is fat, then the 500-bhp 172-mph Turbo, which is loaded with equipment that’s optional on other models, is for you.
As the Touareg was heavily revised for 2011 (larger, lighter, more refined), not much changes with VW’s SUV this year. The new Touareg Sport with Navigation model has an 8-in. color touchscreen and a 60-gig hard drive. The VR6 and TDI models get a touchscreen radio with an in-dash 6-CD player. As before, the base engine is a 3.6-liter V-6, plus a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 (that gets 28 mpg on the highway!) and a hybrid powertrain that blends excellent performance with great economy. The hybrid system mates a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 with an electric motor fed by nickel-metal hybrid batteries. This pricey ($61,110) Touareg Hybrid can travel at speeds of up to 30 mph on electricity alone before the gasoline engine automatically kicks in.
From its inception, the BMW X5 has defined an expanding group of big, powerful SUVs that shine for their on-pavement agility and responsive acceleration, with an emphasis on safety, comfort and luxury appointments. It features BMW's xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system, and offers optional third-row seating that increases capacity to seven passengers. The X5 enters its third generation in 2014, setting higher standards with enhanced power and driving dynamics, cutting edge safety technologies, and the availability of rear-wheel drive.
The X5 is now presented in four configurations: the new rear-wheel drive sDrive35i model, and the all-wheel drive xDrive35i, xDrive35d and xDrive50i models. Both the sDrive35i and xDrive35i variants get BMW's venerated single-turbo 300-hp 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine, while the xDrive50i boasts a 445-hp 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8; the xDrive35d is powered by a new 255-hp 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline six-cylinder clean diesel engine. All engines now provide an auto stop/start feature and ECO PRO driver-selectable mode, and are mated to BMW's latest eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode; an eight-speed Sport automatic with paddle shifters is available. Standard equipment on all X5 models includes: a Panorama glass moonroof, power tailgate, 18-inch aluminum wheels, power-folding auto-dimming exterior mirrors, Adaptive Xenon headlamps, LED front fog lamps, heated front seats, SensaTec upholstery, a new 40-20-40 split-folding rear seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, HD radio and Bluetooth wireless connectivity for phone and audio streaming, as well as a revised voice-activated hard drive-based navigation system with Advanced Real Time Traffic information, 20 gigabytes of dedicated internal media storage and a 10.2-inch high-resolution screen. The xDrive50i is further outfitted with 19-inch aluminum wheels, multi-contour front seats, leather upholstery and a rearview camera system with Top View. Also new for 2014, BMW ConnectedDrive is incorporated on all models, providing access to a range of mobility and web-based services for office, travel and infotainment applications. For BMW drivers seeking to add additional elements of individuality, new Luxury Line, xLine and M Sport exterior packages are proffered, as well as Ivory White and Mocha Interior Design Packages. Safety features on every X5 include anti-lock disc brakes, Dynamic Stability Control with integrated traction control and rollover sensor, and front and rear park distance control, along with front side-impact airbags and overhead curtain airbags for all rows; new standard safety enhancements for 2014 include BMW Assist eCall, providing an Emergency Request (SOS button) and Automatic Collision Notification. Additional technologies such as Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection, Active Cruise Control with Stop& Go, Automatic High Beams and Head-up Display are optional, while a new Driver Assistance Plus package - comprised of Active Blind Spot Detection, Surround View, Speed Limit Info and Active Driving Assistant (includes Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Pedestrian Warning and City Collision Mitigation) - is also offered.
The BMW X5 is completely redesigned for 2014, with a distinctive new exterior design language that still retains signature BMW features, along with a revised interior environment that is even more exclusive and luxurious. The xDrive50i engine gets a 45 horsepower increase, while the xDrive35d is outfitted with a new, more efficient diesel engine; the steering system on all models is now electric power-assist. Additionally, a new sDrive35i model is added to the lineup, marking the first time rear-wheel drive has been offered on the X5.
Toyota's curvaceous crossover now comes in a choice of three trim levels. The LE replaces the former base model while gaining standard heated mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer. Moving up to the midrange XLE adds leather trim, Smart Key with push-button start, a backup camera and power tailgate. Carryover 2.7-liter 4-cylinder and 3.5-liter V-6 engines team with front- or all-wheel drive. The flagship Limited V-6 has standard navigation, panoramic sunroof, JBL Synthesis sound with satellite radio, USB/iPod port and Bluetooth streaming audio. Option packages enable these features to be added to the XLE. Designed at Toyota's Calty Southern California studios, the Venza continues to deliver a smooth, carlike ride with SUV-style cargo capacity.