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.
Taller, wider and longer the Toyota 4Runner is a sport utility vehicle that combines true off-road competence with everyday driving comfort, refinement and safety. Refreshed and updated inside and out for 2014 the mid-size 4Runner is a distinctive choice in the SUV market.
The SR5 and Limited trims are available in rear- or four-wheel drive. A Trail Edition with rear locking differential, crawl control, rock rails and moonroof is only available in four-wheel drive. Each trim has a five-speed automatic transmission and a 270-hp 4.0-liter V6 engine. An optional third-row seat expands passenger capacity to seven. Stability control, traction control, 12 airbags and roll-over sensors are standard. The 4Runner now includes Toyotas' Entune Audio Plus infotainment system and a rearview camera as standard equipment. Premium audio with navigation, SmartKey keyless entry with pushbutton start, front and rear sonar system, and a power moonroof are all available features.
The Audi RS 5 is the high-performance variant of the A5 Coupe. Flared fenders, a unique front fascia, and a sporty stance give the RS 5 a muscular presence.
The RS 5's claim to fame is its normally aspirated 450 horsepower V8. A seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic transmission sends the power to the ground via Audi's legendary quattro all-wheel drive system. Eight piston front calipers, a sport-tuned adaptive suspension, and quattro sport rear differential enhance this cars sporting character. The exterior features aluminum-look mirrors, front and rear fascia accents, 19-inch forged aluminum wheels, dual oval exhaust tips and a power rear spoiler that automatically deploys at speed. The interior features power adjustable sport seats with the RS 5 logo embossed into the fixed headrests, carbon-fibre trim and a flat-bottom sport steering wheel. Available features include a navigation system, ceramic brake rotors, reverse camera and a 505-watt 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Audi's solid sport compact sedan/wagon remains fundamentally unchanged for 2012. Small model tweaks include an upgraded S line exterior package, now standard on A4 Premium Plus and Prestige trims, that comes with 18-in. 10-spoke wheels, while a new optional Style Package helps to spruce up the base Premium model. The latest turbo 2.0-liter (not shared with the A3) is incredibly torquey (258 lb.-ft.) thanks to Audi's variable valve timing and lift, and remains the sole engine for the A4, while the versatile supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 powers the amazingly spry S4. Between the two, four different transmissions can be had; a CVT (base A4), 6-speed manual (A4, S4), 8-speed automatic (A4) and 7-speed dual-clutch (S4). Quattro comes standard on everything but the CVT.
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.