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Driven: 2012 Audi A7

2012 Audi A7

Audi says the A7 combines the functionality of a sedan with the look of a coupe and the space of a wagon. Before driving the car, we thought Audi was making a mistake by not offering a V-8. However, we found the supercharged V-6 to offer ample power and peppy performance. The 3.0-liter engine offers a maximum of 310 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque and is connected to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. Like other Audis we have tested, performance is better than the engine stats imply. Audi quotes a zero-to-60 time of 5.4 seconds, which confirms our in-seat impressions. Despite Audi’s trademark (literally) Quattro all-wheel-drive system being standard, the A7 keeps its weight low thanks to aluminum and other lightweight materials. Audi says a number of mechanical components and more than 20 percent of the A7’s body panels are made of aluminum.

2012 Audi A7

Speaking of body panels, the A7 is eye-catching. It features short overhangs, a long wheelbase, and a sloping rear roofline. Audi added other design elements to better accentuate the coupe-like roof taper, including frameless door windows and side mirrors mounted on the front doors. Out back is an integrated spoiler that can be adjusted manually at the touch of a button; otherwise, it automatically extends at 80 mph and retracts at 50 mph. The Audi A7 boasts of a 0.30 coefficient of drag, which aids fuel economy and reduces wind noise.

Follow the jump for the entire 2012 Audi A7 review.

2012 Audi A7

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Posted by: Benjamin Greene
Posted on: 7/13/2011 at 5:11 AM
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Categories: Audi | News Center Overviews
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Driven: 2012 Fiat 500C Lounge

2012 Fiat 500C Lounge

Fiat is celebrating its return to North America with the 500 (preferred pronunciation is “Cinquecento”), a small city car that will compete directly with the Smart Fortwo and the Aston Martin Cygnet. It is the first Italian automobile offered in North America for less than six figures since Alfa Romeo left our shores in the 90s. The car pays homage to the original 500, which was mass produced from 1957 to 1975 with more than three million examples made (For comparison, Chevy produced a similar number of Camaros in its first 18 years). Fiat revived the car in 2007 and it has celebrated success with more than 500,000 Fiat 500s sold in more than 80 countries. That’s everywhere in the world except North America, which Fiat hopes will change with the 2012 Fiat 500 and 500C.

Our test vehicle was the 2012 Fiat 500C Lounge. The “C” stands for Cabrio and Lounge is the more upscale option next to the Pop submodel. Lounge adds, among other things, an automatic transmission as standard and items like chrome trim, side moldings, and 15-inch alloy wheels to better accentuate the exterior design. Not that the exterior design needs any help in grabbing people’s attentions; the Fiat 500C garnished stares and gawkers everywhere it went.

Follow the link to read the whole 2012 Fiat 500C Lounge review.

2012 Fiat 500C Lounge rear

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Posted by: Benjamin Greene
Posted on: 6/21/2011 at 8:31 AM
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Categories: General News | News Center Overviews
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Driven: 2011 Nissan Maxima

2011 Nissan Maxima front

Nissan trademarked the term “4-Door Sports Car” for the Maxima and refers it as having the “soul of a sports car with the practicality of a sedan.” Normally, this time of marketing pitch fails to truly exemplify the product, but with the 2011 Maxima, we think Nissan may have actually hit the nail on its head. The Nissan Maxima features out-of-the-pack styling, a powerful 290-hp V-6 engine, sophisticated CVT transmission, nimble handling, and ample room for four people and their things.

It starts with its wide stance and prodigious fenders that give the Maxima an aggressive, sporty look. The Maxima’s metal is appealing. It shares features with other Nissan’s products, like the sculpted rear haunches of the Altima Coupe, the flat nose of the Nissan GT-R, and the arrowhead headlamps from the 370Z. Despite being a conglomerate of styling elements, the whole package works well.

Follow the jump for our full 2011 Nissan Maxima review.

2011 Nissan Maxima rear

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Posted by: Benjamin Greene
Posted on: 6/14/2011 at 9:39 AM
Categories: News Center Overviews | Nissan
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Test Drive: 2011 Dodge Challenger R/T

It is a testament to what kind of vibe the 2011 Dodge Challenger bestows on its occupants when the very first drive with all four seats filled sparks a conversation about the 1973 oil embargo and leaves us looking to Google to prove the year of the white Challenger in the movie Vanishing Point. Out of the new batch of 60s- and 70s-inspired (at the very least by name) motor cars, the 2011 Dodge Challenger seems to offer the best blend of old and new.

The Camaro and Mustang’s old-school traits are masked by years of refinement. It makes them better in some ways but we doubt anyone will feel the same level of nostalgia as in the Challenger. On the other hand, the 2010 Dodge Charger seemed too archaic. After driving the 2010 Charger, we concluded that it was “old school muscle car to the soul…even to fault.” For us, and in terms of representing the old pony cars, the Challenger is like the baby bear’s things in The Story of the Three Bears: it is just right.

Follow the jump to read more about the 2011 Dodge Challenger R/T.

2011 Dodge Challenger R/T

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Posted by: Benjamin Greene
Posted on: 6/7/2011 at 5:56 AM
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Categories: Dodge | News Center Overviews
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Quick Spin: 2011 Chrysler 300C

2011 Chrysler 300C front

Chrysler rolled out an all-new 300 sedan for 2011 to replace the aging original that debuted for 2005. The original 300 had character in its veins. Its chopped-top look gave it 1930s gangster appeal. Its bold, nearly upright square grille had many making Bentley and Rolls-Royce comparisons to the extent that some owners modified their cars to look like it came from the luxury marques.

The 2011 300 doesn’t pop out in a crowd like the original. Its grille drops some inches in size and loses its vertical slats. Its windshield is more raked and it no longer has the chopped-top look. It is still prominent enough to standout next to its competitors from Japan but that’s not saying much. The new 300 loses much of what made the old 300 so endearing for mass appeal. But that is exactly what may draw people to the new 300. At quick glance, it resembles a German sedan; it could compete with the Hyundai Genesis for fooling people into thinking it is an S-class Mercedes.

Follow the jump to read the complete 2011 Chrysler 300C review.

2011 Chrysler 300C Rear

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Posted by: Benjamin Greene
Posted on: 5/20/2011 at 11:58 AM
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Categories: News Center Overviews
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Driven: 2011 Audi A5 Cabriolet

2011 Audi A5 Cabriolet

Maybe it shows my age (lack of memory, not years’ worth of experience), but as I approached the 2011 Audi A5 Cabriolet in our parking lot, I immediately thought, “Oh, we got the new A4 Cabriolet.” The Audi A5 Cabriolet looks, feels, and even drives like an updated two-door A4 Cabriolet, a car axed in 2009.

...

Everything about the A5 Cabriolet felt spot on; it felt right. Like a conversation with an old friend, where no matter how much time has passed, you can pick up where you left off. The ride felt balanced, offering a handling-luxury ratio that seemed both comfortable and capable. The one chink in the armor...follow the jump to read more about the 2011 Audi A5 Cabriolet.

2011 Audi A5 Cabriolet

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Posted by: Benjamin Greene
Posted on: 5/13/2011 at 4:45 AM
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Categories: Audi | News Center Overviews
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New Land Rover Evoque pictures

Land Rover has released a few more images and a couple more details about the upcoming Range Rover Evoque. The baby Land Rover features a contemporary interior with an eight-inch touchscreen, brushed aluminum or wood trim, two-tone leather interior, and a 17-speaker Meridian audio system. It will be powered in the U.S. by a 2.2-liter turbocharged engine making 237 hp. Land Rover promises that when it goes on sale in mid- to late 2011, it will be the smallest, lightest, and most fuel efficient Range Rover ever produced. View all the new Land Rover Evoque images here.

[via Land Rover]

Land Rover Evoque Pictures

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Posted by: Benjamin Greene
Posted on: 9/22/2010 at 5:32 AM
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Categories: Land Rover | News Center Overviews
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New batch of Ferrari 599 GTO Pictures

Ferrari has released a new batch of images of its 599 GTO for our viewing pleasures. View all the Ferrari 599 GTO pictures in our News Center.

Ferrari 599 GTO Pictures

Pictures 599 GTO

Ferrari 599 GTO Images

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Posted by: Benjamin Greene
Posted on: 7/13/2010 at 12:05 PM
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Categories: Ferrari | News Center Overviews
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2011 BMW X5 with a ton of photos

BMW has released details and a massive amount of photos (it may even beat the overabundance of Grand Sport photos Bugatti released) of the new-for-2011 BMW X5. The changes for the double-uno year equate to a mild facelift, some added safety features, and a new line of engines. The top-dog model will now be called the xDrive50i—replacing the xDrive48i—and be powered by the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 that has been making its rounds throughout the BMW lineup. The new engine offering makes 400 hp and replaces the 350-hp 4.8-liter V-8 currently found in the X5. Read all about the new 2011 BMW X5 xDrive50i and view a plethora of photos in our News Center.

[via BMW]

2011 BMW X5 xDrive50i


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Posted by: Benjamin Greene
Posted on: 2/8/2010 at 6:19 AM
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Categories: BMW | News Center Overviews
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Exotics and luxury abound at the 2009 Frankfurt Show

The 63rd annual Frankfurt Motor Show is well underway. Frankfurt is well known for unveiling some of the newest and greatest vehicles set to be sold in the 2010 calendar year. This year is no exception, with many brands showcasing some very exotic and luxurious automobiles they have coming down the pipe. Read about and see pictures of the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show's standout cars.

[via UnitedPictures.com]

Lamborghini Reventon Roadster under cover

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