As sedans go, the Panamera is unique. While most of its competitors look like family cars, the 5-door Panamera looks like a sports car for four. In fact, it resembles a 911—a bloated one, some say. But styling aside, the Panamera is the luxury sedan to own. Even the nicely appointed base model with its fuel-frugal 300-bhp V-6 does a respectable 160 mph, 7 mph less than the Panamera S Hybrid whose V-6 gasoline engine/electric motor combination produces 380 hp while merely sipping fuel. But few sedans can touch the sensational new 550-bhp Panamera Turbo S, whose 190-mph top speed and 3.6-second 0-to-60 time make this sedan as fast as a sports car—like Porsche’s own 911.
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 MINI Coupe provides the driving enthusiast with a unique combination of fun-to-drive performance, engineering and unconventional attitude.
The Coupe is available in three different trims: the Cooper with a 121-hp 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine, the Cooper S with a direct-injection, 181-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter engine, or the John Cooper Works with a 208-hp version of the Cooper S turbo engine. All trims are mated to either a six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic transmission. Standard safety equipment includes four airbags, electronic traction and stability control and anti-lock brakes. A wide variety of interior trim materials and colors are available, as well as features such as bi-xenon headlights, sport suspension, Dynamic Traction Control, navigation system, harman/kardon audio, parking sensors, and satellite radio. Bluetooth and HD radio are standard equipment.
The Ford Edge is a five-passenger crossover sport utility that answers the call for a roomy vehicle with utility and style. It isn't a truck. Nor is it a minivan. Yet it's more than a car.
The front-, or all-wheel drive Edge is powered by a 285-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine, while the Edge Sport adds a 305-hp 3.7-liter Ti-VCT V6; both engines use a six-speed automatic transmission, the Sport adds steering wheel shift paddles. Available on the front-wheel drive SE, SEL and Limited trims is a 237-hp 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine which boasts enhanced fuel economy. Standard safety features on all models include six airbags, four wheel anti-lock brakes, AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, auto-locking power locks, an occupant classification system and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Optional safety equipment includes adaptive cruise control, collision warning, blind spot detection, rear-view camera and rain sensing wipers. MyFord driver connect technology manages all the information the driver needs, with minimal distraction to actually driving.
For 2013, the SE is now available in all-wheel drive, and four new paint colors have been added.
The Mitsubishi Lancer offers an enticing range of compact cars from practical economy to sensible all-wheel-drive sedan to sporty liftback to rally rocket. The Lancer sports a tidy, sleekish shape with a bold and distinctive shark mouth. Its interior is clean, seating is comfortable, instrumentation is blessedly simple.
Good engines give it good value, with its base model bringing 26/34 miles per gallon City/Highway, according to the EPA. Seven airbags, including one for the driver's knee, help make it safe, in addition to anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and the mandated tire pressure monitor. Lancer was last redesigned for the 2008 model year.
The 2012 Lancer SE is a new model. It uses Mitsubishi's all-wheel drive system called AWC (all-wheel control), with the proven 2.4-liter engine making 168 horsepower. Ready for the Snow Belt, the Lancer SE comes with heated seats and mirrors.