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.
In addition to pioneering a wealth of automotive safety features, Volvo built its reputation with wagons. For 2012, the XC70 carries on this proud tradition alone as the V50 and V70 are no more. Volvo positions the XC70 as a crossover with its increased ride height and rugged SUV-inspired styling. There's a choice of front- or all-wheel drive for the XC70 3.2 equipped with its 240-bhp inline-6. The T6 AWD packs a punch thanks to a turbocharged 300-bhp engine. Like the S80 sedan, the XC70 gains standard City Safety and the dash-mounted Volvo Sensus 7-in. color monitor. Other changes include new Premier, Premier Plus and Platinum trim levels, standard Bluetooth audio streaming and voice-control functionality for the optional navigation system.
The Audi Q7 has established itself in the luxury SUV class with bold styling, numerous tech features and five-star safety ratings.
The Q7 is available with three different engine choices, two supercharged, direct-injection 3.0-liter gasoline engines, one with 272-hp, the other, on the S line trim, with 333-hp. A 240-hp 3.0-liter V6 direct injection diesel (TDI) is also available, and they are all mated to a Tiptronic eight-speed automatic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive. Standard features include leather upholstery, heated seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, 6-disc audio system and 18-inch wheels, power liftgate, auto-dimming mirrors, Bluetooth, bi-xenon headlights. The TDI adds 19-inch wheels and chrome exterior trim. The S line adds even more standard luxuries such as Bose audio, three-panel sunroof, sunshades, side assist, advanced key and 20-inch wheels.
R&T Overview:The truck-based TrailBlazer uses old-school parts such as a solid rear axle, while its contemporaries have been shifting to independent multilink suspensions. The difference is felt when you’re on a packed-gravel county road and come to a railroad crossing—here, the TrailBlazer wiggles more than its competitors over bumps. On smoother roads, the TrailBlazer runs quietly, feeling like an oversized wagon in the way it coddles its occupants. The standard engine in the TrailBlazer is a 4.2-liter inline-6 that puts 285 bhp to the rear wheels via a 4-speed automatic; all-wheel drive is optional. The hot SS model lives up to its name with a 6.0-liter V-8 that pumps out 390 bhp and 400 lb.-ft. of torque. The TrailBlazer is a competent SUV in need of transmission and suspension updates.
The Scion FR-S is a front-engine rear-wheel drive 2-door sport coupe. Engineered and designed together with Subaru, the attractively styled and lightweight FR-S embodies a return to sports car roots.
The FR-S is powered by a 200-hp 2.0-liter flat boxer 4-cylinder engine with both direct and port injection and is matched with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Its sporty nature is further strengthened by including a Torsen limited-slip differential as standard equipment. Standard equipment includes 17-inch aluminum wheels, ventilated disc brakes front and rear, projector headlamps, and a Pioneer audio system with HD radio, eight speakers and Bluetooth connectivity. Front seats are comfortable sport buckets and the rear seatback folds forward to create more storage space. Safety features include six airbags, stability control, traction control, and brake assist.