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.
The BMW 550i Gran Turismo offers a new form of versatility and style as an extension of the 5-series line-up.
The 550i Gran Turismo is offered in both rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive (xDrive) layouts, and is powered by a 400-hp 4.4-liter twin turbocharged V8 engine. An eight-speed automatic with manual shift control is the only transmission choice. Standard features include leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, an AM/FM/HD/CD audio system with 12 speakers, bi-xenon adaptive headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels and a panorama sunroof. The unique dual-access tailgate provides a small trunk-like opening, or a large liftgate for oversize items. Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, six airbags, LED brakelights, headlight washers and front and rear parking sensors; while more advanced safety features such as a lane-departure warning system, blind spot detection and night vision are optional.
For 2013, the 550i Gran Turismo adds auto stop-start and ECO PRO to standard equipment
The Lancer is Mitsubishi's answer to the compact segment, and with numerous trim levels, there's sure to be one that interests you. Starting from the bottom, the DE model returns unchanged, but the ES features new interior fabrics and 16-in. wheel covers. The SE sedan will come equipped with all-wheel drive and the race-proven All-Wheel-Control system. Top-level GTS models get a name change; they'll now be called GT, and they are fitted with Ralliart front fascia, new 18-in. alloy wheels and interior fabrics, soft-touch door trim and instrument panel trim. The Evo GSR, Mitsubishi's turbocharged all-wheel-drive top-level sports sedan, gets an upshift light in the instrument panel, while the MR will let you know when you're driving economically with an Eco light.
The Ford Explorer has long been one of the best-selling SUVs in the market. A capable tow vehicle and off-roader, it also offers the generous interior space, comfort features and safety technologies necessary for day-to-day tasks.
The 7-passenger Explorer is available in both front- and four-wheel drive configurations, with a choice of four trim levels: Base, XLT, Sport and Limited. A 290-hp 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine is standard on Base, XLT and Limited trims, with the Sport boasting a 365-hp 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6; both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode. The 4x4 models get a user-friendly terrain management system, while an efficient 237-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged Ecoboost four-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection is available for FWD models. Explorer Base trims are well-equipped with 17-inch wheels, air conditioning, cruise control, MP3 capability and MyFord driver connect technology; XLT trims add 18-inch aluminum wheels, fog lamps and a reverse sensing system, along with a USB port, satellite radio and the SYNC communications and entertainment system. Sport trims are further outfitted with a sport suspension, 20-inch aluminum wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, leather upholstery, HD radio and a rearview camera, while the Limited deletes the sport suspension but adds power-folding exterior mirrors, heated rear seats, a garage door opener and Intelligent Access with push-button start. Standard safety features consist of AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control and Curve Control function, traction control, anti-lock disc brakes and a tire pressure monitor, as well as Ford's MyKey owner control feature and seven airbags. Industry-first second-row inflatable seatbelts are available on XLT and Limited models, packaged with a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with cross-traffic alert; additional options include Lane Departure Warning & Lane Keep Assist, Active Park Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning.
The Ford Explorer carries over with minimal changes for 2014. Fully automatic headlamps are now standard on all trim levels, while rear heated seats are added to the Limited, and both the Limited and Sport trims get HD radio.
In standard form, the Audi TT is already stylish and fun to drive. The all-wheel-drive TTS roadster adds an extra dose of performance thanks to its 265-bhp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 and dual-clutch 6-speed automatic transmission. There is no manual transmission offered even in this performance-oriented model. However, the TTS still offers sports car performance, minus a sports car appetite for fuel — a 29-mpg average on the highway is pretty impressive. Choosing the roadster means sacrificing the rear seat; this car is strictly a 2-seater. That's no great loss, since the backseat in the TT coupe is best used for kids or cargo. The power-operated folding soft top can be opened or closed at speeds up to 31 mph, and a wind deflector keeps noise and buffeting to a minimum.