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.
Audi A6 is a luxurious midsize sports sedan that seats four people in comfort. The A6 lineup was completely redesigned for the 2012 model year, and a new high-performance S6 follows suit for the 2013 model year.
Also new for 2013: The 2013 Audi A6 2.0T is available with all-wheel drive. The 2013 Audi A6 3.0T comes with a top-view camera system and a fuel-saving start/stop system.
The A6 2.0T uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that makes 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and comes standard with front-wheel drive. Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system with an 8-speed automatic transmission is optional on the 2013 A6 2.0T. Fuel economy for the A6 2.0T is very good, with an EPA-estimated 25/33 mpg City/Highway with the CVT and 20/30 mpg with the 8-speed automatic and Quattro.
The A6 3.0T is silky smooth, and fast. It gets 310 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque out of a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 310 hp and 325 lb.-ft. of torque. Quattro and the 8-speed automatic transmission are standard, as is Audi's stop/start technology, which turns the engine off during long idles to save fuel. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 18/27 mpg City/Highway. Premium gasoline is recommended.
After a one-year hiatus, a new 2013 Audi S6 returns on the same new chassis the A6 received for 2012. The high-performance S6 is Audi's answer to the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG. The Audi sits between the two in terms of sportiness, with the BMW suited more for the racetrack, and the Mercedes more of a luxurious cruiser.
Like the A6, the new S6 now has a longer wheelbase and is slightly shorter and wider. The new body is better balanced and more athletic. What differentiates the S6 from the A6 models is a more powerful engine, a sport-tuned adaptive air suspension, upgraded brakes and high-performance tires, as well as unique exterior and interior trim.
The Audi allroad is a four-door wagon based on Audi's successful A4 sedan. Unique styling and a raised suspension offer a more rugged character.
The allroad is powered by a 220-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. An eight-speed automatic with Tiptronic manual shift mode sends power to the wheels via Audi's legendary quattro all-wheel drive system. Exterior features include 18-inch aluminum wheels, contrasting color wheel arches and lower body, fog lights and a panorama sunroof. The interior is outfitted with front power bucket seats, a 60-40 folding rear seat, leather upholstery, automatic climate control, satellite radio, an Audi music interface with iPod integration, and more. Available options include Xenon Plus headlights, 19-inch aluminum wheels, a power tailgate, three-zone climate control, Audi Advanced Key passive entry/start, voice-activated navigation and a Bang & Olufsen sound system. Standard safety equipment consists of stability and traction control systems, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist, front side-impact airbags, overhead curtain airbags for front and rear passengers, and a tire pressure monitor. Audi Side Assist blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, parking assist with rearview camera and rear outboard side airbags are also offered.
All-new last year, the Audi allroad carries over with minimal changes for 2014. Engine output is increased to 220 horsepower, while Bluetooth wireless connectivity and a Homelink universal garage door transmitter are now standard.
Not much has changed on the six versions of Aston Martin DB9s that are available. The big news, perhaps, is that the 6-speed manual gearbox is no longer available, so the only transmission now is the 6-speed Touchtronic that most buyers have been choosing. The close observer may also note that the traditional 5-spoke forged-alloy wheels are no longer available and the 10-spoke is now standard. The powerplant remains the 5.9-liter V-12 with 48 valves, and it is a sweetheart of smoothness and ample power. The 2+2 interior does offer room for small children but the rear seats are mostly used for parcels. The quality of interior materials and finish is excellent, and last year's addition of the Adaptive Damping System has been well received.
Bling city, here we come. Even those not enamored of big luxo SUVs have to give Cadillac credit for what it has created in this landmark machine. Such presence, normally mounted up on tall 22-in. chrome wheels. This is not your climb-every-mountain SUV, aimed more at Nordstrom than Mount Whitney, but it is one rugged body-on-frame design, the Hybrid fitted with a 6.0-liter 332-bhp V-8 matched to a 2-mode hybrid system that returns 20 mpg city/23 mpg highway in 2- or 4-wheel-drive form. That's a 33-percent bump over the non-hybrid Escalade with 403-bhp 6.2-liter V-8. Not bad for a 5900-lb. machine that will transport seven adults in quiet luxury, in heated or cooled leather seats, watching a DVD out back, drinks heated or cooled... hey, bling be me.