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2009 Audi S8

Written By Tony Tran on Friday, May 20, 2011 | 9:18 AM

 Audi S8 is the German auto maker's flagship performance sedan. Debuting at the beginning of the new millennium, was the third vehicle for the North American market to sustain an "S" badge. Used to produce Audi's engineering achievements, S-and RS-badged vehicles compete directly against other automakers performance models from divisions like BMW's M and Mercedes-Benz's AMG. As a high-luxury, high performance and high-technology platform, the S8 is the standard bearer of Audi's arsenal.

There are two generations of the Audi S8 and each has been based on the A8 luxury sedan from the same period. Based on the A8's lightweight aluminum-frame chassis, the S8 adds a more powerful engine, a sport-tuned suspension, more powerful brakes and a slightly more aggressive look. Despite being Audi's largest sedan, a combination of a relatively light curb weight, muscular and tenacious grip of the car's standard Quattro all-wheel-drive system makes it surprisingly quick and smooth. Audi's Quattro system is a key advantage over S8's competitors by providing more traction, especially in the weather.

Audi has ensured that luxury amenities were not sacrificed in favor of direct speed. A premium leather-trimmed interior, real wood accents and exemplary fit and finish complement both S8 models, which makes a whole gang of safety devices. If there is a mistake to Audi S8, it is certain that it does not quite match the performance potential of some competitive sports sedan. Our editors have described it as an impressive luxury sedan first and a performance sedan second. But for those who need AWD security or simply wishing a speedy, stealthy and relatively rare luxury sedan, either S8 generation will do nicely.

Current Audi S8

Returns to LINEUP for 2007 after a three-year break, the latest Audi S8 is based on second-GEN A8. Its most talked-about feature is its engine. Audi's engineers took advantage of its parent company Volkswagen's ownership of Lamborghini and snagged the Lamborghini Gallardo's 40-valve V10 engine. Audi increased displacement to 5.2 liters and added FSI petrol direct injection to optimize the delivery. The result is an operatic 450 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. All this sonorous power is pushed through a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, so you can happily keep my fingers tapping the steering wheel paddle shifters. The sound of the engine wailing through four exhaust pipes are so sweet, you can ask premium audio system to take five.

The current Audi S8 delivers performance products, while rewarding the driver with a rich experience filled with techno-gadgetry. It is easy to learn Multi Media Interface with Bluetooth navigation, a 350-watt, 12-speaker Bose audio system with a glovebox CD changer, power lifting just outside mirrors with tilt-in-reverse and everything is wrapped in sumptuous leather and wood trim. A stiffer version of the standard A8's fully independent adaptive air suspension works in the unit with 20-inch wheels, performance tires and speed-dependent steering to provide exceptional handling in both high and low speed maneuvers.

Overall, the combination of luxury, performance and technology add up to an impressive package. At the same time, Audi has kept the styling upgrades tasteful as S8 not immediately scream "performance model" as some competitors do. Only in terms of maximum performance potential is Audi's finest bit of a letdown.

Former Audi S8 models

When it debuted for the 2001 model year, the first Audi S8 came with a 4.2-liter V8 making 360 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque. The aluminum frame and body are lowered, stiffer suspension performed well in its 18-inch wheels. The fit and finish besteden something else in its class. It even won a star packed role in a memorable car chase in Ronin movie directed by John Frankenheim. But S8 never seemed to be named Cachet of its impressive rivals.

Audi continued to improve the car by small increments over the next two years. It offered new features such as a tire-pressure monitoring system, front and rear parking assist and a navigation system. To increase the feeling of exclusivity, Audi released a limited edition color combinations like a silver exterior with a red interior, a Ming Blue exterior with a platinum interior and a black exterior with a caramel interior. As a used model, the original S8 still gives serious performance dynamics, which can be enjoyed from the most beautiful of environments.
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2009 Audi S5

The luxury coupe market has not always been Audi's bag. Most associate the German mark with solid, reliable sports sedan. But as competitors expand their model lineup to fit what seems like every possible niche, Audi has increasingly begun to keep pace with the launch of several two-door models - not least as Audi S5.

True to Audi nomenclature, the S5 is the performance version of the A5 Coupe. That means a larger engine, more horses and a stiffer suspension. The outer set out from his more mild-mannered Sibling of a chrome-trimmed grille, quad tailpipe and more robust bumpers. The resulting package is refined yet athletic, with luxury appointments, providing comfort matched with a powertrain that will not disappoint.

Current Audi S5

Audi S5 sports coupe debuted in the 2008 model year. Beneath its sleek sculpted hood is a 4.2-liter direct-injection V8 engine that produces 354 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. This single trim level is available with either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic with manual shift control. Quattro all-wheel drive is standard. In our tests, manual S5 produced a 0-60-mph time of 4.9 seconds.

Audi S5 platform is largely based on the S4, its four-door counterpart. But the two-door offers trail tier enhancements, such as a longer wheelbase and a new lightweight, aluminum front suspension - changes that are slated to be included in the next version of the sedan. The front end styling takes cues from midengine R8 sports car, while the rest of the exterior design comes from the Nuvolari, an Audi concept that made the auto show circuit rounds in 2003.

Audi S5 is equipped with many standard safety features, such as anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist, stability and traction control. Front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags also come standard. Many luxury-oriented features are also standard. Major options include keyless ignition / entry, a navigation system and a premium audio system.

Inside the cabin, the four-seat Audi S5 is appointed with sophisticated detail, as finely stitched leather and real aluminum trim. The front sport seats offer plenty of space and support, although legroom could be better in the rear. Audi's MMI (Multi Media Interface) controls the audio, climate and optional navigation systems, and unlike some multifunction controls are relatively easy to figure out. And even if it S5 has the spirit of a sports car, it is still practical enough for everyday life - luggage compartment offers a full 16 Cubic holds, and rear Flips down to make even more space.

In our tests, we found the Audi S5 sports coupe to be an excellent Grand Tour. Steering equipment feels crisp and the suspension, though not adjustable, is firm without being gut-busting. Brakes may seem a little touchy at first, but with practice, they feel sympathetic and business. Thanks to Quattro, the S5 offers excellent traction in all conditions, which makes it an ideal choice for buyers living in colder climes. Power is normally distributed 40 percent to the front and 60 percent to the rear, and this helps give S5 handling characteristics similar to a rear-wheel car.

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2009 Audi R8

The most high-performance road going Audi ever. If there were any questions about what the Audi R8 is, it is the answer. Designed to give Audi an honest competitor to the best species the world has to offer, the R8 is the first production vehicle midengine Audi has ever sold, and it includes all the brand has taught more than 70 years of racing history.

Audi R8 happened as a production version of Le Mans Quattro concept car. The name itself references Audi R8 racecar, which won several 24-hour Le Mans races. Performance of the R8 road car starts with a rigid and light all-aluminum space frame chassis. Much of it resembles the space frame used for the Lamborghini Gallardo. The R8 is advanced in other areas as well as having a direct injected V8 engine with dry-sump lubrication, two-mode active dampers, and of course, Quattro all-wheel drive.

Although many high-performance species can be challenging to drive, Audi took action to ensure its R8 is comfortable enough for everyday use. The R8 really stands out from its interior, which is spacious and high quality while maintaining a modern design flair, not normally associated with high-performance species.

Current Audi R8

Audi R8 debuted for the 2008 model year. It is powered by a 4.2-liter V8 that uses direct injection to produce 420 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices are a standard six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed "R Tronic" sequential-shifting manual with an automatic function. Power is sent to all four wheels via Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system, specially tuned for the R8 to provide a genuine rear-wheel-biased power delivery.

As with most vehicles, which has the engine mounted behind the driver, the R8 has a shortened nose, which is adorned with the current corporate Audi grille and Bi-Xenon headlamps. The exotic appearance of the R8 is further enhanced through a series of 12 LED lights that underscores the headlamp housings and act as daytime running lights. The styling of the aluminum body is composed of chiseled flanks, which leads the eye to the "side blades" to highlight the mid-mounted engine. The rear styling is accented by a glass engine cover and further use of LED lighting.

Standard equipment on the Audi R8 is comprehensive, just a short list of available options. Standard features include active dampers, 19-inch alloy wheels and power and heated leather / Alcantara sport seats. Major options include a premium Bang & Olufsen audio system, navigation, upgraded leather upholstery and other clothing to hand blades.

In declarations, we have found the R8 sublimely balanced in terms of handling. This is one of the rare vehicles with enough straight-line traction and cornering grip to match its high-performance engine, so the Audi's V8 actually feel less powerful than it is. It is also worthy of a sports car, thankfully free of those elements that make other super cars impossibly taxation in the real world use. It has not Goofy Scissor doors, and 6-footers will fit comfortably with room to spare. Audi R8 even rides surprisingly well, thanks to its two-mode adaptive dampers. Meanwhile, the interior is typical Audi, with strong controls and an ergonomic design.

Audi plans to import only a limited number of R8s in the United States each year. As can be expected, demand is currently greater than supply. But for those lucky owners who have the financial means to acquire one, Audi has produced a vehicle that proudly live up to the legacy of the Auto Union badge.

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2009 Audi A5

Audi has been making a concerted effort in recent years to broaden its product line. One of its newest products are medium-sized A5 Coupe. Inspired by its stunning 2003 Nuvolari grand touring concept, the A5 is a little less practical but very sexy two-door alternative to the mainstream luxury sports sedan. It boasts standard V6 power, all-wheel drive, a refined interior and lots of standard or optional luxury features.

Those shopping for a sport-oriented luxury coupe would be wise to look at the Audi A5. Its combination of striking good looks, all-wheel drive and everyday practice is hard to ignore.

Audi A5 was introduced for the 2008 model year. Mechanically, it is in connection with the latest generation A4 sedan. Motivation is powered by a 3.2-liter direct injected V6 that puts out 265 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque. Power is directed through either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. (The S5 Coupe is similar, but comes with a sturdy V8.)

An important advantage for them, as they are subject to slippery weather is A5's Quattro all-wheel drive, a feature not available from this Audi's peers. With a 40/60-percent front-to-rear power split, the Quattro system gives a rear-wheel car's crisp handling dynamics with the extra grip in all-wheel drive.

Those who appreciate sophisticated design as much as performance will feel right at home in the Audi A5. This is arguably one of the best long-term coupe on the market. The sporty Silhouette, a characteristic Audi-piece grille and shapely tail end team up to create an exceptionally attractive appearance.

The same is true of the A5's beautiful four-place cabin. The interior materials are first rate, and A5 multi-adjustable front seats offer daylong touring comfort with an appropriate degree of support during spirited motoring. Expanding on the limited capacity of the company's TT roadster, the rear seat area provides space for two extra passengers, although more individuals can expect a fairly tight fit. The generous trunk offers more than 16 Cubic of space, and rear Flips down to allow for more freight.

The Audi A5 sized luxury sports coupe is offered in a single trim level, equipped with standard features such as automatic tri-zone climate control, a 10-speaker audio system and fine custom leather and wood trim. Popular options include Bi-Xenon headlamps, park assist with a rearview camera, a navigation system, a Bang & Olufsen premium audio system and an S line package offers sports suspension with 19-inch alloy wheels, unique front and rear fascia, sport seats and Aluminum interior accents.

As smart as it is, the Audi A5 faces some tough competition from rivals such as BMW's 3 Series Coupe, Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class and Infiniti G37. All are excellent choices, but customers who desire the Coupe, which offers a pleasant blend of style, performance and all-wheel-drive security would do well to look at A5.

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2009 Acura TSX Review

 The Acura TSX is a relatively new vehicle in the entry-level luxury sports cars sedan segment. Consumers who want a sedan, there are traces remain silent and a little more upscale than the typical family four-door will find plenty to like. The TSX, which is Acura's least expensive model is a solid choice for daily use because of its competent driving characteristics, high-quality interior and generous level of standard features. And like most Acura products, the TSX boasts a high degree of refinement, a reputation for above-average reliability and decent value for the dollar.

One drawback to the Acura TSX is that we suspect many people do not perceive it as being as prestigious as owning more established cars from European carmakers. It is probably a function of the car's recent arrival on the market, four-cylinder engine and plebian Honda roots. (The TSX is essentially a rebadged and prettified version of the Honda Accord.) But all in all, it has earned our editors' respect, despite some misgivings about the new second-generation model. We suggest that entry-level luxury sports sedan customers give the view - even in cases of second-generation TSX, they should probably only do that if they care more about the "luxury" than "sport".

Current Acura TSX

Significantly larger than its predecessor only about everywhere except in a suitcase, the second generation of Acura TSX debuted for the 2009 model year. That leaves room for five passengers and an impressive array of standard high-end features, including 17-inch alloy wheels, Xenon headlamps, a sunroof, heated power front seats with driver memory, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth and a seven-speaker CD audio system with satellite radio and iPod integration. Models equipped with the technology package adding such comforts as a navigation system, a rearview camera and a premium 10-speaker sound system with in-dash six-CD changer. All TSXs receive Anti-lock brakes, stability control, front airbags and side-impact curtain air bags for all outboard passengers.

To power the front-wheel-drive TSX employs a revised version of the previous 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 201 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices consist of an excellent six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic. While commendably smooth in the Honda tradition, the 2.4-liter four simply not up to the six-cylinder engines and turbo-charged four-cylinder engines found in other entry-level luxury sports sedan.

In the test, we have been impressed with the TSX technological features list, but disappointed with how it drives. While the previous generation TSX reasonably be described as a front-wheel drive sports sedan, the TSX is more of a lavishly appointed family car. Steering feel is surprisingly calm for a Honda product - the new electric steering assist is the likely culprit - and braking at the edge of the unacceptable. The refined, but lackluster engine is unlikely to impress customers in the TSX's upscale segment.

Used Acura TSX models

The first generation Acura TSX debuted in 2004. Track Tier than the second generation model, the original TSX was widely praised for its crisp handling and entertaining (though off-color) 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that generated 200 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque. Among the regular features were issues such as 17-inch alloy wheels, Xenon headlamps, a sunroof, heated power front seats with driver memory, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control and an eight-speaker audio system.

Anti-lock brakes, stability control, front airbags and side-impact curtain air bags for all outboard passengers were also standard. An impressive DVD-based navigation system with touchscreen and voice-activated software was the only available option for the well-equipped first-generation TSX.

Before the road test, we found that while the original TSX's torque-deficient VTEC engine was revved hard to get sufficient acceleration, it was still quite fun to wring out, especially when equipped with the slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission (a five-speed automatic was also available). Sharp handling and good steering feel made sleeping cabin TSX sports sedan. The first generation TSX also offered a high quality and aesthetically pleasing interior design.

There were a handful of changes from the original Acura TSX during its production run. Satellite radio, heated exterior mirrors and a power passenger seat was added in 2005. 2006 TSX engine features, functionality and styling updates - the four-cylinder engine was modified to produce 205 horsepower and 164 lb-ft of torque, and the navigation system achieved faster processing and additional points of interest. Bluetooth, driver seat memory and MP3 auxiliary jack was also new. Exterior enhancements include redesigned front and rear fascia, new side thresholds, foglamps and new alloy wheels.
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2009 Acura TL Review

 The Acura TL is a medium-sized, entry-level luxury sports cars sedan, currently Acura's best-selling car. Although TL typically does not provide the excitement or the prestige of competing European sports sedan, it counters with exceptional value and above average durability and reliability.

After three generations, the current model is the sportiest and most desirable yet, with chiseled exterior styling, firm suspension tuning, a powerful V6 and an impressive level of standard equipment. The Acura TL underwent a midlife freshening for 2007, with minor exterior and interior styling tweaks and an upgraded optional navigation system. The TL Type-S also returned to LINEUP this year with a 286-hp V6, various performance upgrades and styling enhancements.

Like most sports sedan, the TL is very usable on a daily basis and can perform well in almost any role. According to our editors, the current TL is "a well built, high performance, feature-laden entry-level luxury sports sedan, which should please most consumers shopping in this market."

Current Acura TL

The current Acura TL receives a midlife freshening, but the big news is that the TL Type-S returns to the LINEUP after a three-year break. Equipped with a 286-hp 3.5-liter V6, Type-S also includes a sport-tuned suspension, brakes Brembo high performance and unique design elements that include quad tailpipe. A six-speed manual or five-speed automatic with auto-manual shift paddles are no-cost options. The upgraded touchscreen and voice-activated navigation system with real-time traffic reporting is standard equipment on the Type-S, which is the rest of the TL's long feature list.

The regular TL receives minor styling tweaks and interior changes, including a sporty new three-spoke steering wheel. The updated navigation system is the only option, while the five-speed automatic is the only available transmission. The 258-hp 3.2-liter V6 is unchanged.

Both versions of the TL come with an attractive, well-built interior design with a more sporting intent in mind. Aluminum inlays, bright blue electroluminescent gauges and aggressively strengthened seats should appeal to enthusiasts, but may postpone the're looking for a more traditional luxury look. Ergonomics are excellent, with redundant stereo controls on the radio face plate, steering wheel, and optional touchscreen and voice commands. High-tech standard features includes Bluetooth phone connectivity options, programmable driver memory function and an excellent surround sound stereo with six-CD/DVD audio changer and satellite radio.

On the road tests we have always been impressed with the Acura TL's performance and handling abilities, but ultimately find that its front-wheel-drive setup can not compete with rear-drive models like the Infiniti G35, Lexus IS 350 or BMW 335i. Type-S ups the ante a bit, increase power without noticeable during teas. But until the Acura offers its Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system on the TL or even switching to rear-wheel drive (unlikely), the TL will remain a few steps behind its top competitors. For a majority of customers, even though the TL will provide a good mix of fun and convenience at a reasonable price.

Earlier Acura TL models

The current generation TL was introduced as a 2004 model. Consumers are interested in a used or certified pre-owned TL would be well advised to look for that model year or newer. There is not much difference between them in terms of features or hardware. Please note that Acura revised V6's horsepower ratings from 270 to 258 by 2006. But this review was a regulatory issue, and the engine is not in fact change.

The second generation Acura TL was built from 1999-2003. Although it was not as exciting as the current model, our editors gave their elders very positive reviews during its course. Improvements were made throughout this period, and the car had a number of SL first, including Honda's VTEC variable valve timing and a GPS navigation option. The powerful Type-S version, which debuted in 2002, should strongly consider buyers interested in increased efficiency. Regardless of specific trim level, just about any use second-generation model will work well.

The original Acura TL debuted in 1995 as a replacement for the popular Acura Vigor. Two versions were offered: a 2.5 TL with a 2.5-liter inline-5 engine and a 3.2 TL with a 3.2-liter V6. Both models were available during the first generation's run, which lasted virtually unchanged through 1998. As there is now a small price difference between the two, we suggest that consumers are interested in a first-generation TL used to go to the more powerful 3.2.
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Acura TL Review

2008 Acura TL Sedan

The Acura TL is a medium-sized, entry-level luxury sedan, and it is currently Acura's best selling model. Although TL typically does not provide the excitement or the prestige of competing European sports sedan, it counters with exceptional value and above average durability and reliability.

Consumers are interested in buying the Acura TL should be aware that there are three generations of the car. The current generation is the sportiest and most desirable because of his chiseled exterior styling, firm suspension tuning, powerful V6 and optional six-speed manual transmission. Almost all of TL's luxury features come standard, including a surround-sound audio system. Its interior is remarkable for its quality, design and materials.

Like most sports sedan, the TL is very usable on a daily basis and can perform well in almost any role. According to our editors, the current TL is "a well built, high performance, feature-laden entry-level luxury sports sedan, which should please most consumers shopping in this market."

These attributes also apply to the earlier years of the third generation Acura TL, which covers 2004-2006 models. Consumers are interested in a used or certified pre-owned TL would do well to look after these years. There is not much difference between them in terms of features or hardware. Please note that Acura revised V6's horsepower rating downward starting in 2006. But this review was a regulatory issue, and does not reflect a change in acceleration capability.

According to Acura owners who have posted comments to, the Acura TL is a "fantastic car" that yarns recognition of its "overall combination of performance, comfort, quality and technology." Owners will take his ride comfortable yet sporty, "and say that with an" amazing "home stereo system and a long list of standard features - including satellite radio and Bluetooth handsfree phone compatibility - the" fun factor in this car is quite unique. " Others praise the car's interior styling and its "fantastic" navigation system - "I'm in love with the navigation system. I have found my soul mate." But some owners want sedan was available in a wider range of colors, others pine for "better seating comfort."

The second generation Acura TL was built from 1999 to 2003. Although not as exciting as the current model, our editors gave their elders very positive reviews during its course. Improvements were made throughout this period, and the car had a number of SL first, including Honda's VTEC variable valve timing and a GPS navigation option. The powerful Type-S version, which debuted in 2002, should strongly consider buyers interested in increased efficiency. Regardless of specific trim level, just about any use second-generation model will work well.

The original Acura TL debuted in 1996 as a replacement for the popular Acura Vigor. Two versions were offered: a 2.5 with a 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine and a 3.2 with a 3.2-liter V6. The 2.5 and 3.2 TL models were available during the first generation's run, which lasted largely unchanged, although 1998. As there is now a small price difference between the two, we suggest that consumers are interested in a first-generation TL used to go to the more powerful 3.2.
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Acura TSX Review

2008 Acura TSX Sedan

The Acura TSX is a relatively new vehicle in the entry-level luxury sport sedan segment. Consumers who want a sedan, there are traces remain silent and a little more upscale than the typical family sedan will find plenty to like. Acura's least expensive sedan is an ideal choice for daily use given his entertaining driving characteristics, high-quality interior and generous level of standard features. And like most Acura vehicles, TSX boasts a high degree of refinement, a reputation for above-average reliability and good value for the dollar.

One drawback to the Acura TSX is that we suspect many people do not perceive it as being as prestigious as owning more established cars from European carmakers. It is probably a function of car news, his Honda roots and its four-cylinder engine. But overall, our editors keep it very high, and suggests that entry-level luxury sport sedan buyers to give it consideration.

The Acura TSX has room for five passengers. Almost all of the car's high-end features come standard. This includes such topics as 17-inch alloy wheels, HID headlamps, heated power-adjustable driver and passenger seats with driver memory, leather upholstery, an eight-speaker, 360-watt audio system with XM Satellite Radio and an in-dash CD changer; Dual -zone automatic climate control, and a sunroof.

Anti-lock brakes, stability control, front side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags for all outboard passengers are also standard. An impressive DVD-based navigation system with voice-activated software is the only option.

To power the front-wheel-drive TSX is based on a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine. Compared with the six-cylinder engines found in other entry-level luxury sports sedan, this four-cylinder comes up somewhat short in terms of torque output, but is competitive in terms of horsepower. From TSX road tests, we found that the engine will be revved a bit higher to get sufficient acceleration at low speeds. Buyers can choose either a smooth-shifting six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic.

In consumer reviews, Acura TSX owners often say that they were in the market for other premium-make models, but ended up with Acura because of its reasonable price and generous feature list. They also liked the car's high fuel efficiency and fun-to-drive character. But they will also note that the four-cylinder engine to be revved often and believe that this quality may turn off some potential buyers.

These buyers researcher purchase of a used Acura TSX will find that only small changes have been made since the car's 2004 introduction. For the 2005 model year, Acura added XM Satellite Radio, heated door mirrors and a four-way power passenger seat to the standard features list. The steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise control also been backlighted lighting.

2006 Acura TSX features smaller engine, function and styling changes. The 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine was modified to produce slightly more power and navigation system achieved faster processing and additional points of interest. Bluetooth connectivity and an MP3 player auxiliary jack was also new. Exterior enhancements for the 2006 TSX include redesigned front and rear fascia, new side thresholds, foglamps and new alloy wheels.
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Audi A5 Review

 Where Audi really needs to improve his game was in the driver's involvement department. With A5, it has done so. The coupe features a long road, its steering has been engineered from scratch, the Quattro 4WD is biased towards the rear and front axle has been moved forward 120mm to counteract during teas. All this work has had the desired effect.

The A5 offers meaty steering, good turn-in and impressive, a better sense of balance than the company's storage RS4. Thanks to its 4WD traction, the car is also very efficient through corners - especially slow them. The problem is, it does not provide the same feedback and sharpness as its arch-rival, BMW 3-Series. If you choose the optional Sport pack would improve things - but would also hurt the ride quality. By default, Audi is comfortable, especially on highways where it has a quiet ride forgiving. As for engines, the 3.0-liter TDI has been developed, and now delivers more power. It does not feel like a normal diesel - it is more flexible, with good and minimal diesel-like rattles. It draws interest from less than 1500rpm and chastened to an impressive 5200rpm. 0-60mph in 6.2 seconds is potent, but the gearbox is springy and sends vibrations.

The A5 is impressive in the metal. It is best viewed from a distance, where you can appreciate the subtle line that forms the car's shoulder, and the radical currents that roof down into the trunk, which ends in a very small lip spooler. If anything, we believe that the reverse is more successful than the generic nose, and the front-end is distinguished from other Audi by the standard xenon headlights with their dramatic LED lights running. Up close, the first thing you see is how little the A5 is the roof. When you open one of the relatively short doors, you seem to have to dip much lower to get within inches but it's a full four-seater - finally, it is a return to a market left Audi in 1996. Built on the Modular Longitudinal Platform that will underpin the next A4, the Audi offers a wide range of engines, including the 3.0-liter TDI we tested, plus a 2.7-liter TDI, a 3.2-liter V6 petrol and the magnificent 4.2 - liter V8 S5. There simply is the only body style. His rival is the BMW 3 Series Coupe - this car is a competitor of this model in absolutely every respect, and you know Audi has benchmarked its Munich counterpart to the nth degree. The Mercedes CLK is an alternative, such as the Peugeot 407 Coupe left field.

The interior is completely new for the A5. We expect that elements of the design to appear on the next A4, but in the meantime, the Audi's cockpit looks and feels unique. But that's not to say it's perfect. The new key is rather clumsy, the switches for the electric windows click uncomfortable and the heating controls are fiddly. Nevertheless, the cabin of a quality is of the opinion, while the wraparound dash is strengthened this effect and gives a feeling of space. You will not benefit if you sitting on the rear bench tight, but while you struggle to your feet under the front seats. But what are taken from the rear legroom is given to the load bay - the A5 of the 455-liter luggage compartment is huge. It's pretty economical too, while retained values very beautiful.

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Audi A6 Review

2008 Audi A6 3.2 Quattro Sedan Shown

Luxury-car customers who love value has long Hurray Audi A6. And in true Audi fashion, the medium-sized A6 gives you a lot for a very competitive price.

One of the A6's main strengths is its luxury cabin. Materials are first rate and the overall design is nothing less than class leaders. Its winter-weather capability is another plus. A6s is available with Quattro all-wheel-drive system, which distributes power to all four wheels, making icy roads more manageable.

But the car's most compelling asset value concerns. In terms of overall quality, the Audi A6 is right up there with other medium-sized luxury cars, but it costs thousands less. A used A6 represents an even more affordable proposal.

There have been three generations of the Audi A6, and all are worthy choices. If there is a disadvantage to the A6, it is that it has not been the most athletic choices in its segment. Its engines were a little light on low-end torque through the years, and compared to other athletic sports sedan and wagon, handling is skewed towards more luxury than performance. But these quibbles pale in the face of this car's undisputable merits. Offering premium refinement at a respectable price, A6 is an excellent choice.

Current Audi A6

With its clean lines and over dimensional lattice, the current Audi A6 is one of the most significant medium-sized luxury cars on the market. It exists both as a sedan and a wagon. A6 wagon - called Avant - is one of the few medium-sized luxury cars on the market, and with a 34-cubic-foot cargo bay behind its rear seat, it makes a practical yet elegant choice for families with a large dog or double stroll in tow.

Those who buy A6 sedan can choose between two trim: base 3.2 and top-of-the-line 4.2. Carts are available only in the 3.2 trim. Standard equipment is generous, and as we have come to expect from the Audi A6's interior is a case study in attractive designs and quality materials. LINEUP The options include a high-end audio system, voice-activated navigation system and Bluetooth phone connectivity. Most can be accessed via Audi's easy to use Multi Media Interface (MMI) vehicle management system. It sounds complicated, but with its logical menus and ergonomically designed, all-in-one control knob, MMI is relatively easy to learn.

As for performance, Audi A6 is available with either a 255-hp V6 or a 350-horsepower V8 engine. The engines are smooth and refined, though the V6 is taxed by the A6's 4000-pound curb weight. Acceleration is certainly acceptable, but most other V6-equipped luxury cars are faster. A6 rides comfortably on the highway, and while it is not the most sporting car in its class, our editors like its predictable, mobile sensor through the corners. As far as transmissions go, both a constant variable transmission (CVT) and a six-speed automatic are offered. A6 can be equipped with either front-wheel-drive or Audi's Quattro system.

The current Audi A6 is representative of the third generation model, which goes to 2005. Overall, the third generation car is by far the best package of weight-gain style, entertaining driving dynamics and opulent furnishings. They are considering use third-GEN models must remember that the car's V8 (available in 4.2 trim) got an upgrade a couple of years in the cycle. A6's current 350-hp V8 does not debut until 2007 and prior to that V8 models are delivered 335 horsepower. Model 2007 also marks the debut of the car available iPod integration and a rearview camera.

Former Audi A6 models

The second generation A6 sedan came on the market in 1998 and has benefited from a ground-up redesign, a new version of Avant wagon debuted the following year. This was the first Audi A6 to ride on a stretched version of the highly regarded A4 platform. For the first two years, only a naturally aspirated V6 was available, but in 2000, Audi added a spirited twin-turbo-charged V6 and a torque-rich V8 engine LINEUP sedan. Since the acceleration tend to be sluggish with the base V6, especially on hefty A6 Avant Quattro Wagon, Audi began offering a larger and more powerful 3.0-liter six-cylinder in 2002. Transmission choices included a five-speed automatic and a CVT (which was introduced in 2002). In our editorial reviews, we praised the heavenly cabin, and all-wheel-drive utility offered by the second generation A6, and nothing panned its nonlinear steering. Taken together a solid choice for used car shoppers.

The original A6 came out in 1995 as an easily revised version of the old Audi 100 sedan and wagon. Although prices on used A6 models from this era are convincing low, consumers should be aware that only one engine - a 172-hp V6 - is available on these cars. With the lightest A6 sedan weighing from 3,400 pounds, acceleration is modest at best. But much like newer Audi, the A6 was nicely appointed, and offered a choice of front-wheel-drive or Quattro all-wheel drive.
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Audi R8 Review

2008 Audi R8 quatrro Coupe

There I was, having fun, fun auf die Autobahn, when nature called. A location southeast of Stuttgart, I took the wrong exit and found myself outside the door of Audi's Neckarsulm plant. A large sign proclaimed the brutally Bauhaus industrial complex ground zero for the German auto maker's R8 supercar. I was immediately convinced I was destined to park one in my garage. Of course by then I had been chasing R8 ownership for more than three years. So do good things come to those who wait?

Flash forward to Vegas. I look at a number of carefully prepped aluminum-bodied R8's shimmering in the desert heat, HUNC low to the ground, looking clearly sinister in the winter sun. The German coupe's over-large mal occhi stare out from a form is not entirely unlike a Ferrari F430, but obscured by all kinds of dents, immediately and intake.

The R8's "blades" - contrasting colored tape Halving the R8's profile like enormous pieces of duct tape looks just as jarring in real life as they do in the pictures. But the car's rear end is a thing of beauty; a synthesis of the Italianate style and Germanic precision projecting pure power.

The R8's interior shares the family very similar to the upcoming TT for my taste, from its door pulls to the undersized, satellite navigation screen for the dreaded Multi-Media Disconnect unit. Despite the haptic sky-buttery leather, textured aluminum, carbon fiber accents, plush Alcantara-It is a bit like sitting inside a Zero Halliburton.

Thanks to the R8's panoramic front windshield, at least feels like a BIG briefcase. For a mid-engine sports car, rear visibility is better than expected, somewhere between terrible and really bad. Backup sensors and the camera comes standard. Very grateful.

The 3,439 pounds. Holsters Audi R8's 4.2-liter FSI V8, good for 420 horsepower and 317 lb.-ft. of torque. Helping well heeled potential customers do the math, Audi's product specialists, who set a 200-mil route through Nevada's Valley of Fire, and gave access to Las Vegas Raceway.

On the open road, the R8 is a serene machine. Despite low gearing, road and engine noise levels are subdued enough for everyday wear. My tester was hit with a couple of squeaks and rattles; an early indication of problems or provide journalists the opportunity to abuse Audi's horsepitality. Anyway, in a roadway, the R8's ride quality is excellent, even without the optional 'Audi magnetic ride' adaptive damper system.

When you press the R8 exhaust note morph from metallic rasp to the barrel chested roar of the Banshee wail. The endless mechanical aria is a welcome alternative to standard-issue audio system, which is slightly better than an A4's ICE. And while we are here, the R8's armrest is poorly positioned for long-term comfort and cupholders are useless.

The Lamborghini Gallardo donated his paddle shift transmission to the R8. At low speed, smooth shifts are quick unmöglich. While Audi's R-electronic system is not as bad as BMW's SMG cog swap (what is?) Is it far less comfortable as Audi's DSG world. To make it worse, the R8's paddles are too small and made ugly ass plastic. I briefly drove the six-speed manual version and prefer it for expanded civilian Jaunt.

Cruise Passengers note: storage is notable by its absence. Audi will sell you a fantastic seven piece set of fitted luggage for around 5,000 euros (which is more beautiful than anything else in the car). But hey, long-distance love is not the R8's main mission.

The track is the R8's true métier. Zero to sixty in 4.2 seconds says this sucker moves. Equally important, the Coupe changes direction with sufficient to elicit an refloating gleeful cackle from the most jaded track addict. Even with the ESP traction control disengaged, have Quattro-equipped mid-engine motor's back-end out of alignment is almost as hard as trying not to.

Too much speed into a corner? Back from the accelerator and nose Tucker neatly in line. Composure through long sweepers at speeds of 100 + km / h is just as exemplary. And the R8's binders are phenomenal: endlessly reassuring combination of power, feedback and measured graduation.

At the Vegas circuit, max attack e-gear shift was fast yet smooth. Unfortunately, Audi put the e-gear indicator in the witness protection program. Yet flogging the R8 around a track and then run the home may be the new owner's new favorite pastime.

The R8's handlers claimed the R8 will open a new automotive segment: affordable exotica. Yes, yes, as quickly and conscientiously as the car is that the R8 is struggling to surpass the dynamic benchmark set by the equivalent price Porsche 911 Turbo.

While the rear-engined German is faster than the R8, the visual malicious Audi definitely possess the X factor needed to make a suitable alternative to the father of all daily Super Cars. In time, the battle lines will move closer. Call me a speed-crazed way victim, but I can not wait.

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Audi S4 Review

2008 Audi S4 Avant quattro Station Wagon

The Audi S4 is a high-performance version of the A4 entry-level luxury car. It features hardware modifications that increase the car's capabilities in regards to acceleration, braking and handing.

Consumers interested in a car that combines performance, luxury and versatility will find a lot to like. One of the car's main advantages is its Quattro all-wheel-drive system. For most cars, all-wheel drive is typically employed to provide added traction in slippery weather conditions. Though the S4's Quattro system is certainly useful in that regard, its main purpose is to make sure that the S4's powerful engine output is put to good use. During cornering, the S4 feels very secure and stable as power is fed to all four wheels.

Other S4 advantages include high-quality interior materials and an attractive cabin design. It's true that other European compact sport sedans can provide a harder-edged approach to performance or a more prestigious image. Overall, we hold the Audi S4 in high regard and expect most shoppers to be drawn to the car's balanced approach to performance and comfort.

Current Audi S4

The current third-generation Audi S4 is available as a sedan, wagon (Avant) and two-door convertible (Cabriolet). Since the A4 is compact in size, it might come as a surprise that the current S4 packs a 340-horsepower V8 under its hood. It's matched to either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. Quattro all-wheel drive is standard. There are other performance-oriented modifications as well, including a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels with high-performance tires and more powerful brakes. On the outside, subtle styling accents and badges distinguish the S4 from the regular A4.

Inside, front occupants are treated to a comfortable and functional cockpit. Leather seating is standard, and interior trim, lighting and controls are all of high quality. Although the rear seat is fine for small children, adults seated back there will likely complain about a shortage of legroom. The Avant sport wagon provides up to 61 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded.

The current S4 impresses with both performance and style. Power is abundant, handling is stellar and the cabin is superlative. The fact that it's available in Avant and Cabriolet versions is another plus. Its one drawback is a somewhat cramped backseat.

Those interested in a used Audi S4 should know that the current generation dates back to 2004. Relative to its predecessor, this generation offers a more powerful V8; it also features a convertible in its lineup, whereas previous generations do not. As you evaluate current models, also keep in mind that the S4 Cabriolet was spruced up in 2007, with new styling and a quieter top.

Past Audi S4 Models

Previous to this model, there were two other generations of the S4 -- a second-generation vehicle, available from the 2000-'02 model years, and a first generation, available from 1992-'94.

The second-generation model was based on the A4 sedan and wagon of its day, and it came equipped with a twin-turbo, 2.7-liter V6 engine rated at 250 hp. Quattro was standard, and Audi offered either a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic. If you look back at Edmunds' S4 road tests at the time, you'll see that we found the car very enjoyable to drive, as it struck an ideal balance between outright performance and everyday comfort. Our main complaint about this model was the familiar lack of rear-seat room.

As is the case for many performance-oriented cars, there is a chance that a used Audi S4 has been driven harshly. Many have also been modified for additional performance. Interested buyers would be wise to spend additional effort on vehicle inspection. Feature-wise, there is not much difference between the years of this generation, though S4 enthusiasts typically gravitate to late-build 2001s and 2002s.

The first-generation Audi S4 was a performance variant of the Audi 100 sedan (later A6). These S4s came with a turbocharged inline five-cylinder engine capable of 227 hp. Quattro was again standard, and these cars were equipped with a five-speed manual transmission only. After 1994, they became known as the S6. First-generation S4s are a relatively rare find today.
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Audi S5 Review

 2008 Audi S5 quattro Coupe

I really want a Mercedes Black Series AMG. It’s a practical, sharp looking car, and nothing clears my head like Saturn V quality thrust. But my spouse’s desire to share her dotage with yours truly conspires against it. So, after driving a BMW 6-Series and finding it a bit… sclerotic, I wandered over to my local Audi dealer in search of something slinkier and kinkier. And there she was: a brand new S5 coupe on the showroom floor, shooting me come hither glances. So thither I went. Ah, but did I tarry long enough to take possession of Ingolstadt’s two-door Q-ship?

Walter de'Silva claims the S5 is his meisterwerk. As Walt penned the Gorgonesque Q7, I reckon he’s damning himself with self-praise. Like the TT and Bimmer’s Bangle bungles, the S5 suffers from a surfeit of surfaces: artfully indented panels, swoopy swage lines, blistered wheels arches, chrome window surrounds, a Billy the Big Mouth bass grill, angry eyes headlights (complete with LED mascara) and more. The S5’s basic shape and stance are purposeful, but the “auto emoción” here is nothing more than a hissy fit.

The S5’s interior also blends the sacred and the profane. The materials, gauges and switchgear are boilerplate Audi – which is no bad thing. But the S5’s aluminum dash accents are garish and jarringly asymmetrical. A CD player in the center stack consigns the HVAC controls to the bottom of the pile– a brand-defiling ergonomic affront that continues with the MMI (Multi Media Interface). Pistonheads of a certain age will find the MMI’s eight major buttons, three [bottom] menu buttons, four inner buttons and obligatory rotary knob about as intuitive as Bayesian Reasoning. And less fun.

The S5’s seats are a major disappointment; while laterally coddling, the thrones lack sufficient upper back support. The S5’s meaty steering wheel offers some compensatory haptic satisfaction and a wide range of (cough) manual adjustment. As in the 6-Series, Audi’s big coupe is capped by an oversized sunroof that tilts but doesn’t slide; the automotive equivalent of getting stuck on first base. And you can have any transmission you like as long as it’s a six-speed manual.

So, we’re hunting Bimmers are we?

Thumb the 354-horse powerplant into life and the S5’s woofling 4.2-liter V8 tells well-heeled helmsmen that all’s right with the world (if not the global temperature). The S5’s engine note is as lusty as a Tudor era pub wench; it’s a suitable soundtrack for a torque curve that’s fat enough to provide prodigious pulling power deep into triple digits, and phat enough to rocket the a 3600lbs. sedan from naught to 60mph in 4.9 seconds. If only the S5’s gearbox didn’t feel like a notchy cable shifter from some ancient GM product.

Once the cog swapper’s vital fluids warm-up, the S5’s gearbox regains class appropriate silkiness. By then enthusiastic drivers will wonder why Audi eschewed an autobox in a car whose steering is lighter than an Olsen twin’s lunch order.

Ignore the S5’s helium helm, throw the uber-A5 into a corner and the coupe’s re-jigged weight distribution, multi-link front suspension and rear-biased Quattro system forestalls, quells and/or corrects Ye Olde nose-first understeer. Mind you, with the Quattro system’s asymmetric dynamic torque split principal patrolling the school for scandal, and Audi’s ESP handling Nanny sending tail-out aspirants to bed without their supper, power slides aintgonnahappendotcom.

In short, the S5 is a supremely capable all-weather point and shoot luxobarge– that's as suitable for hunting M cars as a .22 caliber rifle is for shooting a grizzly. So why does the S5 sacrifice ride quality on the altar of corner-carving confidence, especially when Audi’s sublime adjustable magnetic ride suspension lingers in the corporate bull pen (so to speak)? Probably for the same reason that Ingolstadt’s boffins forgot to equip the car with a DSG, the world's best paddle shift dual clutch gearbox, available on a lowly (and I mean that in a nice way) TT.

The Audi dealer wanted $58,490 for the S5 on display, including an optional Bang & Olufsen 505-watt sound system (which was a deal for an extra $800). I don’t suppose S5 owners would kvetch at the cost of catering to the S5’s 14/21mpg thirst, but it’s worth noting that around town driving requires a refill every 200 miles or so.

Also noteworthy: the Audi S5’s performance barely matches the lower priced BMW 335i (also available with four wheel drive) and poses no threat whatsoever to the upcoming V8-powered BMW M3. Even on its own terms, the S5’s lack of an automatic or dual clutch transmission limits the model’s appeal. Perhaps if the S5 packed the RS4’s 420hp motor, it would make more sense. The Audi faithful can only hope this version is on the way. Meanwhile, the Audi S5 is a vehicle I might settle for, but not one I truly desire.
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Audi S6 Review

2008 Audi S6 quattro Sedan

Fast four-doors have been around forever, but the Audi S6's mix of people-friendly room, class-leading speed, all-weather traction and brand-name cachet has yet to be matched. Three generations of S6 have graced our shores to date, though their sporadic appearances and truncated lifespans sure bring new meaning to the term "limited edition."

From the start, the S6's mission has been to be an extra-special version of Audi's already special A6 — an end usually achieved by means of more power, a sportier suspension and performance-biased wheels and brakes. The S6 has always been abundant with the luxury content expected of Audi, and its midsize dimensions make it one of the better Audis for seating multiple passengers. Just keep in mind that the S6 focuses on performance, and as such its ride quality is harder-edged than other Audi vehicles.

The Audi S6 is unique for skipping the evolutionary progress common to most cars, as its performance leaps by one league at a time. From a 227-horsepower five-cylinder in the first S6 to a 340-hp V8 in the next and finally to the 435-hp V10 of today, the S6 has been a reflection of Audi's rapidly rising performance aspirations.

Current Audi S6

The current Audi S6 debuted for 2007, following the latest-generation A6 by two years. Audi has turned more serious than ever about the S6's performance, this time setting up its all-wheel-drive system for a 60 percent rear-wheel bias and sourcing engines from none other than Lamborghini. While slightly revised and detuned, the fact that there's now a 5.2-liter V10 with 435 hp under the S6's hood means the list of cars it can burn in a race is plenty long.

Not included on that list, unfortunately, are its two primary competitors, the BMW M5 and the Mercedes E63. Because the S6's only transmission is a six-speed automatic (with Tiptronic manual shifting), because it weighs hundreds of pounds more and because it's the only one of the three under 500 hp, its performance ends up excellent in a class where awesome is the norm. Audi claims a 0-to-60-mph time in the low 5.0-second range, though in our testing we did no better than 5.7 seconds. Other problems include a nonlinear throttle response, a jarring ride quality and a feeling of heaviness from the front of the car in tight handling situations.

Yet, Audi's entry proves nearly as fun to drive as the Teutonic titans. The V10 has a guttural growl, braking is stellar, handling is reasonably grippy and well-balanced, and while its power is less prodigious, AWD allows the S6 driver to exploit it in all seasons.

Looking past performance, the Audi S6 also has thankfully grippy leather-Alcantara seats to complement its interior, which is the most stylish among the Germans. As expected, the S6 comes loaded with features like xenon headlights, Audi's Multi Media Interface (MMI), Bose Premium Sound, napa leather seats and full-length side curtain airbags. Among the options are navigation, a moonroof, rear side airbags, rear seat heaters, adaptive cruise control, and iPod and satellite audio upgrades.

For the driver interested in a high-performance sport sedan that does everything well, the S6 won't disapoint. Its all-wheel drive is certainly an advantage not to be overlooked and pricing is less than its main rivals'. Only those consumers who place the highest priority on performance are likely to find the Audi S6 lacking.

Past Audi S6 models

Born at a time when Audi's model-naming system was in flux, the first-generation S6 officially came to life (and death) in 1995, though essentially the same car had been sold for a few years previous as the S4. By any name, the original Audi S6 was the wildest and perhaps weirdest version of Audi's midsize sedan and wagon, with an eccentric turbocharged, 227-hp five-cylinder engine working through a manual transmission to drive all four wheels. While performance was decent for the day, this iteration of the S6 never made much of a mark on the history books.

The S6 found more respect, if not recognition, after returning (briefly) for the new millennium. Available only for 2002-2003, it was made far more American-friendly with a torquey 4.2-liter V8 whose 340 horses were made more accessible by a five-speed tiptronic automatic transmission. Oddly, this edition of S6 came as an Avant (Audi-speak for "station wagon") only, which was partly responsible for its 2-ton curb weight.

Zero-to-60 mph acceleration was in the low 6.0-second range, and the car's lowered and stiffened suspension and 17-inch wheels and tires made it a potent handler, with grip similar to that of the current S6. Though hard to find, a used second-generation Audi S6 wagon offers an intriguing blend of performance and utility.
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BMW 3 Series Review

The BMW 3 Series is the company's top seller in the U.S. and a favorite in the marketplace for good reason: It's a well-built, premium compact vehicle endowed with world-class fit and finish, ample power and a comfortable ride and handling trade-off that is unmatched by most cars at any price. No matter what model you choose, our editors generally agree that you'll be able to go about your weekday routine without feeling that you've sacrificed ride comfort for the sake of weekend thrills.

Recently, the 3 Series has gone through a full redesign. The current model, which represents the fifth-generation 3 Series, is now slightly larger, heavier and faster than the previous model. An even better car overall, the latest BMW 3 Series has a bolder look, revised suspension and braking, more power and more interior space.

As positioned and appointed, the BMW 3 Series also tends to cost more than the competition -- but if you go easy on the optional equipment, we think you'll find that the price of admission is well worth it, as the BMW 3 Series remains the unequivocal "ultimate driving machine" and popular favorite in the entry-luxury category, whether new or used.

In BMW speak, the new "E90" sedan and wagon debuted in 2006 with a complete makeover, and the coupe followed suit in 2007. The newest 3 Series vehicles take the numerical stakes higher as well, with sedans and coupes now badged as either the twin-turbo-equipped 335i with 300 horsepower, or the 328i and 328xi all-wheel-drive sedans, coupes and wagons with 230 horsepower.

Because the updated sedan, wagon and uniquely swoopy coupe are all-new designs, there are variations between them and the carry-over convertible as well as differing standard/optional equipment levels; a new E90-based drop top is set to join the rest of the lineup probably later in the year. For those more concerned with all-weather performance and safety during fall and winter seasons, "x"-designated all-wheel-drive capability is a worthwhile, confidence-inspiring option on all new body styles.

All-new fifth-generation BMW 3 Series are powered by a familiar, well-balanced 3.0-liter inline-6. A normally aspirated version in the 328i and xi models makes 230 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque, and a higher-performance twin-turbocharged version in the 335i generates 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. Most 3 Series models come with a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment, with a six-speed automatic optional.

Inside 328i, 328xi and 335i models, drivers will find a restrained show of luxury, with an emphasis on driver comfort and involvement -- supportive seats underneath and a clean, clear analog gauge cluster dead ahead. Materials and build quality are exceptional in keeping with its price point; even the standard leatherette upholstery looks and feels better than one might expect.

The BMW 3 Series never fails to impress us as a top choice in its segment. In addition to its other outstanding qualities, Edmunds editors report that "the 3 Series' world-class suspension, steering and brakes provide hours of entertainment on twisty two-lane highways. Beyond simply feeling rock solid when hustled around turns, this car communicates with the driver in a manner that inspires confidence no matter what kind of driving you're doing. And you don't have to give up a comfortable ride to get this kind of athleticism."

If you can ante up the considerable bottom line, the 3 Series is still the standard-bearer of the compact luxury-sport class -- especially when it comes to perfectly sorted and balanced vehicle dynamics, abundant and smooth power, a wide range of configurations to suit any style and available all-wheel drive for those who can't afford to let a little inclement weather stand between them and their well-appointed journeys.

From 1992-'98, the evolutionary third-generation E36 replacement grabbed the BMW 3 Series baton and never looked back, with a handsome, spirited new sedan and unique, more rakishly styled coupe and convertible. A new DOHC 24-valve aluminum head bumped the 325i to a robust 189 hp.

For five years starting in 1995, BMW added an even more compact two-door hatchback called the 318ti to the 3 Series lineup, with a chopped-off tail and the less-sophisticated semi-trailing arm rear suspension of the previous-generation car. With only138 horses under the hood and rather austere interior trimmings, we can only recommend it to the most budget-conscious/entry-level used shoppers.

In 1996 BMW introduced a new 2.8-liter inline-6 to the 3 Series with 190 hp and substantially more torque for improved acceleration, vented rear disc brakes to handle its higher limits and a new 328i designation. Premium and Sport option packages debuted to simplify things, and a year after that in 1997 all models received minor styling revisions in the front grille and rear fascia areas, as well as in the cockpit. In '98, another engine and model update again raised the bar and kept things fresh -- the base 318i coupe and convertible became the 323is coupe and convertible by ditching the aging four-banger in favor of a smoother, more powerful 168-hp 2.5-liter inline six-cylinder power plant. In general, any 3 Series from this generation that's been well maintained and has low mileage should be an excellent value for shoppers of "previously owned" entry-luxury vehicles.

Also widely available for the used BMW 3 Series shopper in search of a great entry-luxury car, the fourth-generation "E46" 3 Series debuted as a sedan for the 1999 model year. The coupe, convertible and wagon models fell in line a year later in 2000, while the entry-level 318ti hatchback was finally axed. In 2001, feature content and engine displacement/technology was boosted -- and all-wheel drive made available -- keeping the 3 Series at the head of a very competitive pack. Detail improvements like DVD-based navigation, bi-xenon headlights, rain-sensing wipers and an SMG transmission -- with an exterior face-lift for sedans and wagons in 2002, and coupes and convertibles following in 2004 -- helped carry the baby 325i and 330i BMWs through the remaining few years of the ever-popular previous 3 Series generation.
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BMW 5 Series Review

It's not an overstatement to say that the BMW 5 Series sets the standard for premium sport sedans and, in recent years, wagons, too. Introduced in the U.S. for 1972, the midsize 5 Series has long offered a near-perfect blend of performance, luxury and interior room.

2008 BMW 5 Series 530i Sedan, European Model Shown

Most BMW 5 Series models you'll come across new or used are rear-wheel drive; however, the current-generation lineup includes all-wheel-drive variants. Most 5s also have an inline six-cylinder engine, though BMW has offered V8 versions since 1994. Model names are numeric, with the first number identifying the car as a 5 Series and the last two usually, but not always, denoting engine size. Today's BMW 530i, for instance, has a 3.0-liter inline six, yet the BMW 550i, paradoxically, has a 4.8-liter V8. The final "i" originally distinguished 5 Series cars with fuel injection; these days, it only has significance in Europe where diesel models (that carry a "d") are also offered.

When people ask us to recommend luxury cars, the BMW 5 Series is invariably high on the list. Wealthier shoppers may gravitate toward the newer models loaded with technology, but older 5 Series cars can be just as satisfying to drive and own.

Introduced for 2004, the current BMW 5 Series is by far the most radical. On the surface, it incorporates bold styling cues that depart from BMW's traditional styling language established over the preceding four generations. Inside, a system called iDrive corrals audio, climate, navigation and communication functions using a central LCD screen and console-mounted control dial. We've found iDrive cumbersome to use, although it is more sophisticated than the button-heavy layout in older 5 Series cars.

The driving experience hasn't changed much, as the 5 Series still has sharper reflexes and more road feel than any other car in its class. There's still a choice of inline six or V8 power, and you can still get a manual or automatic transmission on whichever model you choose. But there's a lot more technology working behind the scenes, including a stability control system that can do everything from helping you avoid skids to drying off the brakes when it's raining. An optional active steering system can vary the steering ratio to reduce effort in tight turns.

If you like the styling and aren't intimidated by its hefty dose of electronics, the current-generation BMW 5 Series is an excellent choice for a midsize luxury car. The only significant drawback is high pricing.

For 2004 and 2005, the 5 Series was offered only in sedan form and only with rear-wheel drive. There were two six-cylinder models, the 184-horsepower 525i and 225-hp 530i, along with a top-line V8 version, the 325-hp 545i. Buyers looking at six-cylinder models would be wise to focus on 2006 and newer models, as the '06 model year brought a new pair of 3.0-liter sixes, resulting in a more spirited 215-hp 525i and a 255-hp 530i. The V8 sedan was already quick, but it, too, received a new engine, a 360-hp 4.8-liter, and became the 550i. The 5 Series wagon also arrived for 2006. It's offered in a single 530xi model and all-wheel drive is standard. Additionally, all-wheel drive became optional for the 530 sedan.

Shoppers will have little difficulty finding representatives from the fourth generation (1997-2003). Many purists consider this the finest era for the BMW 5 Series, as exceptional on-road dynamics, premium furnishings and unparalleled refinement came together in one classically styled package. Resale value has always been high for this generation, so expect to spend more than you would for competitors of similar age. Reliability has been strong as well.

Provided it's well-maintained, any car from this generation is worth your consideration. For 1997 and 1998, only sedans were offered: a 528i with a 190-hp, 2.8-liter inline six and a 540i with a 282-hp, 4.4-liter V8. The wagon joined the lineup in 1999 and was available with either engine, both of which gained variable valve timing that year. In 2001, the 528i sedan got a new 225-hp 3.0-liter six and became the 530i; the 528 wagon was dropped. BMW also added an entry-level, 184-hp 525i sedan and wagon to the lineup.

Third-generation 5 Series cars (1989-'95) are still common as well. Although not as perfectly balanced as its successor, this luxury car was highly regarded in its day. If you find one in good condition, you'll almost certainly find it enjoyable to own. The best years were 1994 and '95 when BMW offered V8 power in two 5 Series with the 530i sedan and wagon (215 hp), and the 540i sedan (282 hp).
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BMW 7 Series Review

2008 BMW 7 Series 750i Sedan

Since its introduction for the 1978 model year, the BMW 7 Series luxury sedan has remained true to its original character. It's the BMW flagship, and this full-size, rear-wheel-drive sedan has always represented the pinnacle of technology and luxury accoutrements in the German automaker's lineup. As such, it's an obvious choice for wealthy car buyers seeking a spacious and elegant sedan with a high level of curbside prestige.

There's a fair amount of competition even in this elite vehicle class, but the 7 Series sedan's athletic handling dynamics have long set it apart, starting with the early 733s and carrying through to the present-day BMW 750i, 750Li and 760Li. While other manufacturers have been content to build high-end sedans with soft, serene rides, BMW engineers its 7s to engage their drivers on an emotional level. For that reason, the BMW 7 Series is the definitive super luxury sedan for people who like to drive.

Current BMW 7 Series

The most recent 7 Series redesign came in 2002, and this was by far the most radical overhaul the nameplate has ever received. Traditional exterior styling cues from the previous 25 years were largely abandoned in favor of a more aggressive, avant-garde design. The car was still recognizable as a BMW 7 Series, but many purists found the look abrasive. A refresh for 2006 smoothed out some of the harsher elements, but it's still a stretch to call the car beautiful, whether in standard-wheelbase 750i form or long-wheelbase 750Li and 760Li form.

The modernist motif continues in the cabin, where BMW's typically button-heavy control layout has given way to an all-in-one system called iDrive that governs climate, audio and navigation functions via a single console-mounted dial and a central display. Although iDrive assures the 7's place in the information age, its steep learning curve has proven bewildering for many a 7 Series driver in spite of BMW's efforts to simplify it over the years.

Even though it tends toward the esoteric, the current BMW 7 Series has proven quite popular, largely because of its superb driving experience. Here BMW has applied its arsenal of technology to great advantage, as features like self-stiffening antiroll bars, self-leveling air springs and adaptive shock absorbers work together to keep the big sedan stable when driven hard. In addition, all 7s have BMW's trademark steering feel, such that the driver feels an unquantifiable connection to the car.

With the exception of 2002 when only a V8 was offered, the fourth-generation 7 Series lineup has always included sophisticated eight- and 12-cylinder engines paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The 745i and 745Li sold from 2002-'05 were equipped with a 325-horsepower 4.4-liter V8, while the 750i and 750Li that succeeded them have a 360-hp 4.8-liter V8. The 750s are slightly heavier, so performance is about the same as the 745s.

Offered continuously since '03, the 760Li has a direct-injection 6.0-liter V12 capable of 438 hp. Unlike the V8s, which are eager to rev, the V12 delivers a massive wave of thrust as soon as you nudge the accelerator pedal. BMW offered a short-wheelbase 760i from 2004-'06.

Past BMW 7 Series Models

There have been three previous generations of the BMW 7 Series. Most of the examples you're likely to come across on the used car market will be from the third generation, sold from 1995-2001. Bimmer enthusiasts generally regard this as the finest era for the 7 Series. It was a true driver's car just like today's 7, but there was less in-car technology to distract from the task at hand. And most people agree that its sleek, classically styled body was easier on the eyes.

Provided the car is in good condition, any 7 Series from this generation would make a fine purchase. Quality was generally excellent on these cars, but like most high-end German products, repair costs can be hefty as they age. The main advantage to choosing a car from later in the model cycle is added standard feature content. BMW's Dynamic Stability Control system, for example, debuted across the line for 1998.

The model lineup included the regular-wheelbase 740i sedan, which was offered every year except '96, and the long-wheelbase 740iL and 750iL, which had an uninterrupted run. The BMW 740s were powered by a 282-hp 4.4-liter (4.0-liter in '95) V8, while the 750iL had a 5.4-liter V12 good for 326 hp. All 7s came with a five-speed automatic transmission. Either setup provided strong acceleration, but fuel economy was poor by today's standards.

Similar in style and focus to its successor, the second-generation BMW 7 Series was on sale from 1988-'94. This was the first 7 Series to include both regular- and long-wheelbase models, the advantage to the latter being increased rear legroom. For most of the cycle, the base engine was a 208-hp 3.4-liter inline six-cylinder offered in 735i and 735iL models. A four-speed automatic transmission was standard, but a five-speed manual was offered as well. The 282-hp 4.0-liter V8 replaced the inline-6 in 1993, yielding the 740i and 740iL, both of which took a five-speed automatic only. The BMW 750iL was offered throughout the run. The first V12-equipped BMW, it had a 296-hp 5.0-liter engine and a four-speed automatic.

The first-generation BMW 7 Series enjoyed a long run from 1978-'87. It was the largest sedan the company had ever built and directly targeted the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. All 7s of this era were powered by an inline six-cylinder engine. Sold from 1978-'84, the BMW 733i had a 177-hp 3.2-liter inline-6. Initially, transmission choices consisted of a four-speed manual or a three-speed automatic. A five-speed manual with overdrive replaced the four-speed for 1981, and a four-speed automatic finally became available in '84. BMW swapped in a larger, 182-hp 3.4-liter engine in 1985, prompting a name change to 735i.
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