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6 Years ago
News

audi
audi s6
audi a6
bmw
bmw m5
First Look: 2012 Audi S6, S7, and S8
The outgoing S6 was powered by a naturally aspirated, 5.2-liter V-10 engine that produced 435 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque, and needed 5.1 seconds to go from 0-60 mph. The 2012 Audi S6's powertrain promises to be a big improvement. The new TSFI 4.0-liter V-8 found in the 2012 Audi S6 is rated at 420 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. While it's slightly down in horsepower, the bump in torque and Audi's S Tronic seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission (six-speed Tiptronic in the outgoing model) help the new S6 achieve a 0-62 time of 4.8 seconds, which is more than likely a conservative number from Audi. So how does the 2012 S6 stack up against its German rivals? The 2012 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG arrives in...

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6 Years ago
News

seat
lotus
lotus elise
smart
smart fortwo
First Drive: 2012 Scion iQ
Inching along in shoulder-to-shoulder rush hour traffic in a roaring city with pedestrians swarming crosswalks -- all while desperately searching for a parking space -- is nobody's idea of a good time. Scion has a proposition for urban dwellers in the form of its new 2012 Scion iQ city car.

The Toyota iQ (the car the Scion is based upon) is not a new car. The Scion version is -- technically. Designed to blend into densely populated cityscapes, the iQ does everything small, but in a big way. Dimensionally, it's slightly bigger than a Smart Fortwo, but it's still a runt when placed next to a Camry. While its size is the iQ's most eye-catching asset, it presents inherent packaging dilemmas. It's...

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6 Years ago
News

lotus
lotus evora
bmw
bmw z4
smart
First Drive: 2012 Lotus Evora IPS Automatic
Call it what you will: blasphemy, a sign of the times, a smart business move. For Lotus, it's simply reality. In markets like North America and Asia, the brand is turning away a large number of customers who say they'd be happy to buy an Evora, if only it had an automatic transmission. That's about to change.

Arriving in late 2011 as a 2012 model, the self-shifting Lotus Evora IPS will be the first Lotus since the wholly forgettable Excel SA of the late '80s to offer an automatic transmission, and the first American-spec Lotus to offer an auto since the Eclat in the late '70s. It's the first step of a plan to rebuild the Lotus brand and increase its appeal to a broader range of consumers.

В The...

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6 Years ago
News

aston martin
mini
mini cooper
mini cooper s
smart
First Drive: 2011 Aston Martin Cygnet (European Spec)
For Aston Martin to build a city car is quite a step. For Aston Martin to re-skin the Toyota iQ is a galactic leap. In Britain and the United States, the idea stirred up a storm on enthusiast forums. Calm down, everyone -- there's sense to the idea.

In Europe's city centers, congestion has a whole different meaning than in the U.S. It's not just traffic. The streets were laid down centuries before the automobile was invented. They're a narrow maze of tightly angled junctions, lined with obstructions, and awash with pedestrians. A standard delineated parking spot is about 185 inches long, but many unmarked curbside spaces are smaller. So across the Atlantic, owning a small car isn't just a money-saver....

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6 Years ago
News

smart
smart fortwo
First Drive: 2011 Smart Fortwo Passion
"An elevator can only go up and down, but a Wonkavator goes sideways and slantways and longways and backways and frontways and squareways and any other ways that you can think of." Our Smart Fortwo Passion is just like a Wonkavator, without the up and down part. Because of its smaller-than-small-car size, it seems as though it can go any which way you want, even in the most crowded parking lot. That really is the hook for the Smart.

You might think the Smart is super efficient, but super is a bit of an overstatement. It is hard to complain about a vehicle that can manage 33 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway -- diesel-like numbers. Those numbers are a little harder to swallow considering...

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6 Years ago
News

audi
smart
First Look: 2012 Audi Q3
Given the variety of shapes and sizes in Audi's portfolio, from the petite A1 to the bulky Q7, you'd think the German automaker already had a vehicle for every niche. There are a few more to be filled, though, such as the compact luxury crossover segment, where the all-new 2012 Audi Q3 will do battle against BMW's recently launched X1. Audi first showcased the future Q3 with its Cross Coupe Quattro concept during the 2007 Shanghai auto show, and its production descendant is coming back to this year's Shanghai show for its reveal.

At 172.8 inches long and 72 inches wide, the Q3 is roughly the same size as Volkswagen's Tiguan, but the Audi is sportier and more coupe-like, with a gently sloping...

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6 Years ago
News

fiat
fiat 500
smart
mini
mini cooper
First Test: 2012 Fiat 500
"Delightful." Thus spoke Kim Reynolds, our handling and ride quality guru, when I asked him how Fiat's ballsy little 500 was to drive around our patented figure eight. Mr. Reynolds' seal of approval is high praise indeed for the diminutive newcomer, as I've seen Kim yawning while climbing out of ultracars worth several hundred thousand dollars. No, really. So why the big love for such a tiny car? Well, in a teensy-weensy Italian nutshell, the 500 deserves it.

Technically speaking, the 500 fits into the A-segment, along with cars like the Smart ForTwo and the upcoming Toyota iQ. But the Fiat's much bigger than the Smart and close to within half a foot of a Mini Cooper in most dimensions, even...

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6 Years ago
News

nissan
ford
mitsubishi
mitsubishi i
smart
Comparison: 2013 Ford Focus Electric vs. 2011 Nissan Leaf
Not that long ago, electric-powered vehicles were little more than rolling science experiments. Everybody had one, but no one seemed to be serious about them. Not anymore. With gas prices spiraling ever upward and governments around the globe pressing automakers for more efficient lineups, seemingly every car company on the planet is breaking their legs jumping on the EV bandwagon.

Nissan is the first major automaker to deliver the juice in the form of the Nissan Leaf, a mass-market, all-electric vehicle you'll be able to buy from your local Nissan dealer soon. (The first 2011 Leafs hit customer garages just before the close of 2010.) It's a quirky little hatch, but Nissan essentially delivered...

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6 Years ago
News

suzuki
suzuki kizashi
smart
Long Term Update 4: 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS
While several staffers drove a pair of Kizashis through Japan, Russia, Canada, and the U.S., our long-termer stayed home. On one staffer's drive, it suffered minor damage when a bit of debris became lodged in one of the front fenderwells. The Kizashi continues to impress with top-notch interior styling, sporty character, and ergonomically sound cabin.

The solid chassis and pleasant ride are welcome surprises, and the overall impression is that this car is a smart option for people who want a midsize sedan with personality. Its engine isn't exactly the gutsiest, but the Kizashi offers a tremendous amount of character in a small, easy to maneuver, and fun package. And the world-traveling Kizashis...

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7 Years ago
News

honda
volkswagen
smart
Round One: 2011 Honda CR-Z vs. 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI
Diesels versus hybrids.

We might as well be bringing together cats and dogs. Or Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann. What was once simply an interesting choice between alternative high-efficiency powertrains has recently been spiraling into a quasi-religious conflict among their supporters. Moreover, I'm starting to wonder if which "camp" you're in is even an entirely chooseable thing. Having visited Germany on press trips for (gasp) over a quarter century now, I'm still amused by how giddy German engineers get over pretty much anything that's mechanically complicated (cuckoo clocks, anyone?).

В A mechanism that pulses with reciprocating pistons, bulges with psi, and has a whistling 100,000-rpm...

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