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2012 Scion iQ: Really An Intelligent Choice?

On: Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 12:00PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

2012 Scion iQ: Really An Intelligent Choice? test 2

At first glance, it seems as though the littlest Scion is obviously targeting the other intellect-based automobile out there—the Smart Car. They have similar attributes, similar stances, and offer much the same in the way of cargo room and performance. But it is actually those latter characteristics that make us ask a single question upon hearing the name iQ: "Oh, really?"

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

On: Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 10:32AM | By: Peter C Sessler

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster test 2

Face it, you’ve been secretly saving for this car ever since the first SLS AMG Gullwing was introduced two years ago. Sure, the Gullwing was fun to get in and out of, but the allure of overhead doors soon diminished—you couldn’t wait for the Roadster version. Ah, now here’s a car, with regular doors and a hardtop that retracts in only 11 seconds! With a hardtop that does up and down, the SLS resembles the SL, and it costs only $210,000—such a deal!

2012 BMW M5

On: Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 9:02AM | By: Peter C Sessler

2012 BMW M5 test 2

Well, it had to happen—again! The 5th generation M5 is out and, as BMW puts it, “the world’s most successful high-performance sedan in the premium segment of the executive class” is once again available. For those who don’t know, the 1st generation M5 became available in 1984 (in Europe) and, since then, the M5 experience just keeps ratcheting up. The M5 concept simplely means the combining of a four-door sedan with five seats with the practicality of a luxurious business sedan, groundbreaking character headlined by significantly improved efficiency, supreme long-distance comfort, and innovative driver assistance systems and infotainment functions.

New Ford Police Interceptors Are Pursuit Rated

On: Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 5:15PM | By: David Walter

New Ford Police Interceptors Are Pursuit Rated test 2

Both of Ford's Taurus-based Police Interceptors, Sedan (pictured above) and Utility, have been awarded with a "pursuit rating" by the Michigan State Police—who, for 36 years, put potential police vehicles through a gauntlet of tests to make sure they're qualified for law enforcement use.

The Interceptor Utility is powered by a 3.7-liter Ti-VCT flex-fuel V6 producing 300 horsepower. Two motors are available with the Sedan: an intimidating 280-horsepower 3.5-liter Ti-VCT flex-fuel V6 or a terrifying 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged, direct-injection Ecoboost V6 that makes 365 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque. All "pursuit-rated" Interceptors come standard with all-wheel-drive as well (front-wheel-drive is optional). What's even more impressive is that despite the smaller-displacement engines, the V6 Sedans not only outperform the newly retired V8-powered Crown Victoria, but they offer better fuel efficiency as well.

Other noteworthy stand-outs include a larger alternator and radiator and law enforcement-only safety features such as ballistic door panels, safety cell construction, and crumple zones to offer officers more protection in case of a collision.

So, my advice to you is to get to know these vehicles. Check out the pictures below. Study them—especially those headlights—because you'll probably be seeing them soon.


Active Suspensions

On: Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 4:31PM | By: Peter C Sessler

Active Suspensions test 2

Aren’t all suspensions “active”—that is, some part of the suspension is always doing something whenever a vehicle is being driven?  Like everything automotive, the suspension in your car is a compromise. A car could be made to corner really well—but that usually comes at the expense of a smooth ride. Or a car can be set up to ride softly, yet when it encounters a series of bumps the suspension gets flustered and the wheels lose traction. So, as long as the road conditions encountered are within the suspension's built-in parameters, and you’re aware of them, everything is fine.

Lamborghini To Offer More Super-Exclusive Special Editions

On: Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 3:41PM | By: Chris Weiss

Lamborghini To Offer More Super-Exclusive Special Editions test 2

Last year, after months of teasing a Paris-bound car long thought to be the Aventador LP700-4 (commonly called "Jota" at the time), Lamborghini was forced into introducing its Sesto Elemento concept just ahead of the Paris Motor Show. It was so forced by a French website that leaked the details of the Sesto ahead of the official reveal. Despite the leak, the world was quite impressed with Lamborghini's enthralling concept.

Well, if you liked that one, Lambo has no plans to stop. In a brief but telling sound bite, CEO Stephan Winkelmann confirmed that Lambo is committed to developing exciting, limited run supercars.

Maybach 125 Birthday Edition

On: Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 2:36PM | By: Chris Weiss

Maybach 125 Birthday Edition  test 2

This year marks the 125th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz, and, by extension, the modern automobile itself. In 1886, Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz each crafted a version of an automobile with internal combustion engine, paving the way to the automobile transportation era that we still enjoy today. Another prominent German player at the time was Willhelm Maybach.

Fast forward to 2011, and all those players are united under Daimler AG. And Mercedes has spent much of this year celebrating its quasquicentennial with special editions and concepts. The latest is a Maybach one-off unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

New Volvo Commercial Embarrasses German Rivals (Video)

On: Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 1:21PM | By: David Walter

New Volvo Commercial Embarrasses German Rivals test 2

According to JD Power, Germans are happier with their Swedish-made Volvos than any other cars—even the German ones! Now, Volvo knows they couldn't have achieved this alone, so they decided to write a little "thank you" note in the form of a commercial—for all to see.

Wayne Newton's "Danke Schoen" softly plays in the background while the note reads, "Volvo would like to thank German drivers for making Volvo the number one brand for customer satisfaction... in Germany."

If this seems a little sarcastic to you, you're right. And it just gets better from there...

2012 Toyota Prius: Minor Changes

On: Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 12:28PM | By: Chris Weiss

2012 Toyota Prius: Minor Changes  test 2

It may have lost a little of its luster to newer, greener cars like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt, but the Toyota Prius is still one of the most efficient, practical packages on the market. In fact, if you factor in its 2011 starting price of $23,520 (versus the Volt's $39K), it's hard to argue that the 50-mpg Prius isn't the best all-around green vehicle on the market. And according to Toyota, it's also the best-selling hybrid in the U.S. and the world.

Toyota introduced the 2012 Prius earlier this week, and the latest version of the hybrid gets some minor upgrades that makes it just a little better.

Acura Introduces 2012 TSX Special Edition

On: Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 10:33AM | By: Chris Weiss

Acura Introduces 2012 TSX Special Edition test 2

The 2012 Acura TSX is already on sale, but Acura has one more model up its sleeve. The TSX Special Edition will make its market debut at the end of the month.

Not exactly as exciting and groundbreaking as the new cars and concepts displayed at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the TSX Special Edition will debut at a more humble venue—the 2011 Orange County International Auto Show in California. That show runs September 22 through the 25.

2012 Camry: Getting Just A Little Better Each Time

On: Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 9:02AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

2012 Camry: Getting Just A Little Better Each Time test 2

The Toyota Camry has been the quintessential benchmark for mid-sized sedans almost as long as it has been in existence. In fact, it has been the best-selling car in America for 12 out of the last 13 years—and that's for all cars, not just sedans. People like the Camry, obviously, and the folks over at Toyota know it. So, rather than screw around and redo the whole car and mess with success, Toyota has opted to slightly improve the Camry in each of its model cycles. For 2012, the Camry upped the ante against its competitors by changing just enough to put it back on top as king of the hill in terms of mpg numbers and all-around usability.