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.
The Cruze is Chevrolet's newest entrant in the highly contested compact sedan segment. It is based on a global platform that has been refined for America with an emphasis on fuel economy.
The Cruze features two new small-displacement four-cylinder engines; a 140-hp 1.4-liter turbo, or a 138-hp naturally-aspirated 1.8-liter. Depending on trim, a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels. Available safety features include ten airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, traction control and anti-theft alarm with engine immobilizer. The Cruze can be equipped with features such as heated leather power seating, sunroof, remote start, satellite radio, navigation system and automatic climate control.
The big news for this classically sensuous Grand Tourer is the addition of the XKR-S, which is Jaguar’s most powerful road car ever. The engine is based on the supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 in the XKR but revised mapping delivers 550 bhp and a massive 502 lb.-ft. of torque, giving it a 0–60-mph time of 4.2 seconds. All XK models utilize Active Dynamic technology, which continuously adjusts ride and handling characteristics. Both the XKR and the XKR-S also have Jaguar’s Active Differential Control to help provide grip. The suspension in the XKR-S is further upgraded beyond that found in the XKR. All XK models get some minor exterior and interior changes while the XKR gets other design cues to differentiate it from the “base” XK.
Recently introduced in late in 2011, Chevrolet’s subcompact Sonic picked up where the old and outdated Aveo left off—and not a model year too soon. Where the Aveo felt underpowered and dreadfully cheap even at its price point, the Sonic shines with great design inside and out. And now in 2013 the Sonic gets even better with the new RS Hatchback model. The RS comes standard with the same 138 bhp 1.4-liter turbo Ecotec, available in the LT and LTZ, but rides on a 10-mm lower suspension that’s been firmed up for better motion control. New four-wheel disc brakes live behind 5-spoke 17-in. alloy wheels, while sporty new front and rear fasciae are complemented with RS-specific fog lamps, thicker rocker moldings, a new rear spoiler and a prominent exhaust outlet. We originally anticipated Chevy to crank the boost up for the RS’ turbo inline-4, but instead of retuning the engine they swapped in shorter gear ratios for the 6-speed manual (a shorter final drive ratio in the automatic’s case) to improve acceleration. Also included in the RS’ $20,995 price of entry are heated leather front bucket seats trimmed with a suede-like microfiber, as well as a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel and shifter knob, all of which feature red contrast stitching that nicely sets off the exclusive Jet Black interior. Aluminum sport pedals and RS-specific gauge cluster graphics finish the treatment alongside a longer standard-equipment list: MyLink infotainment includes SiriusXM radio/Bluetooth audio/and smart phone integration for access to streaming Pandora and Stitcher Radio. The Sonic RS may not be the hard-core Fiat Abarth fighter we wished for, but it is, without a doubt, a very attractive offering in the subcompact segment.
The Chevrolet Traverse crossover utility vehicle combines the smooth ride and responsive handling of a car with the cargo capability and high seating position of a traditional truck-based sport utility vehicle.
The Traverse comes in three trim levels: LS, LT and LTZ. Each trim is available in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. A direct injection 3.6-liter V6 engine sends power to the wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. The well-equipped interior features two front bucket seats and two different seating configurations for the second and third row seats, accommodating a maximum of eight passengers. An extensive list of safety features come standard; these include: side curtain overhead airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags for driver and front-seat passenger, an available front center airbag, anti-lock brakes, and electronic traction and stability control.