2012 Hyundai Equus

The 2012 Hyundai Equus isn’t just a car, it’s a challenge. What if someone wants a luxury sedan, a big one, with all of the bits that usually go along with it, would that person be willing to buy one with a different badge? That’s the challenge, and Hyundai does an extremely good job of presenting it.

First off this car is 203.1 inches overall, about the same length as a Lexus LS460L. And it comes with a well appointed interior, one you would certainly not be ashamed to show off to your friends, relatives, clients, etc.,. It also comes with a 5.0 liter V8 making respectable 429hp, mated to an 8 speed automatic. And to top everything off you can have all of this for about $14,000 less than the aforementioned LS460L, and much less than any comparable European brand.

But we’ve been here before, haven’t we. Recall the Volkswagen Phaeton, an excellent car at a reasonable price point that simply didn’t sell? And therein lies the problem to this challenge. What are car buyers actually buying? Is it the quality, refinement, luxury.. or is it something else?

Anyone after that somewhat ‘sporty’ feel that one can sometimes find in a much more expensive European brand may want to skip this one. However, if you’re interested in the type of luxury and smooth ride that might compare to other brands you may want to at least give this one a test drive.

Price – $60,000 (base)

For more information – Equus

2014 Maserati Quattroporte

The 2014 Quattroporte will finally see some major upgrades to this now aging platform. Due to be unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Auto show at the latest, we’re expecting a front end that now looks like it belongs on a Maserati, and muscular looking rear quarters.

Other changes should be welcomed in the form of a new engine (still Ferrari sourced), expected to be close to 500hp. As well as a new transmission (anyone who has had the pleasure of driving one of the older models will love this part), a new 8 speed automatic.

Price – TBD

2014 Alfa Romeo Spyder

It’s been reported that Mazda and Alfa Romeo are working together on the next MX-5 Miata and Alfa Romeo Spyder. It’s too soon to tell what the final product will look like, but the picture above should come pretty close. These new cars should come in much lighter than the current MX-5, while adding more interior space. Engine choice for the Spyder is currently unknown. We would certainly guess a four cylinder, most likely 1.4 liter, possibly turbo.

Price TBD (est – $30k)

2012 Mini Cooper S Roadster

The Mini Cooper S Roadster comes with a manual soft top, loads of options, and a turbocharged 1.6 liter engine making 181hp and 192lbs torque. With a 0-60 time of 6.7 seconds don’t expect to win any races in this fun little car. Although the manufacturer lists the top speed at 141mph. But hey, that’s not what this car is all about, is it?

The body stiffening and added bits that are required to make a soft top out of a hard top Mini added about 45lbs, bringing the total weight to 2775lbs. Steering is is good and turn in quick, overall performance is… fun. And heck, it’s cute.

Price $28,050 (base)

For more information Mini

2013 BMW 6 Gran Coupe

Mercedes has the CLS, Audi the A7. So it was only a matter of time before BMW would design something to battle the competition. What they came up with you see here, the 2013 BMW 6 series Gran Coupe. The Gran Coupe is mechanically very similar to the BMW 5 series, which means it will be a relatively heavy vehicle, with the heaviest (the 650i xDrive) coming in at 4550lbs.

Two engine choices are available to U.S. buyers, a 3.0 liter turbo producing 315hp, or a 4.4 liter twin turbo V8 making 445hp and 480lbs of torque (guess which one we like). Both come with a ZF eight speed automatic transmission. Regardless of which engine you pick 0-60 is respectable, with the 3.0 liter hitting it in 5.3 seconds (think about how heavy this is) and the 4.4 liter doing it in 4.5 seconds. Both are limited at 155mph.

The interior is really beautiful in this car, although rear leg room seems a bit tight for a car this long. Overall there is much to love and very little not to. Well, did we mention the price yet?

Price – 640i $76,895; 650i $87,395; 650i xDrive $90,395 (all prices listed are base)

For more information BMW

For another perspective Autoweek

2013 Audi S7

For those who like the look of the Audi A7, and lets face it what’s not to like, the new S7 promises all that and more. Fitted with a 4.0 liter twin turbo V8 producing 420hp (roughly 110hp more than the standard A7) and 406lbs torque. It’s capable of 0-60 in about 4.7 seconds, with top speed limited at 155mph.

Power is delivered through a dual clutch seven speed automatic transmission to quattro all-wheel drive. Features and options include carbon ceramic brakes, adaptive air suspension, torque vectoring rear differential and more. Ride and handling are excellent, as you would expect.

Price TBD (est. $80,000)

2013 Toyota Avalon

2013 brings numerous updates to the flagship Toyota Avalon sedan. Exterior styling updates can be described as ‘sporty’, with the front now dominated by a larger than life lower air damn grill. The rear end has a bit of a “Lexus” feel to it. Overall exterior styling is fresh, and may appeal to a more youthful demographic than the outgoing model.

The interior also sees some pleasant updates, with a standard touch screen, capacitive buttons and optional navigation, a JBL sound system, ambient lighting, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, three-zone climate control, and an adaptive cruise control system

There’s no official word on power, but Toyota is widely expected to stay with the previous 3.5 liter V6, making 268hp and 248lbs torque.

Price TBD (expected to start around $33,995)

For more information Toyota 

For another perspective RoadandTrack

2013 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost

The 2013 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost is meant to go toe to toe with cars from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Really. This reviewer believes Lincoln has some design work to do in order to get there. Don’t get me wrong, this new car has serious potential in what’s under the skin. But the exterior is uninspiring, and just having a badge that says, “EcoBoost” on the car might be a turn off to many well healed buyers right out of the gate.

Exterior aside, there’s some promising potential in this car. The “EcoBoost” engine is a 3.5 liter twin turbo V6, making 365hp and 350lbs torque, which is actually comparable to some of the European brands it would like to challenge. In addition, it employs something called Lincoln Drive Control that offers three driver-selectable modes — comfort, normal, and sport — affecting the steering, suspension, throttle, transmission, and active noise control. Active dampers have been added, to provide more control of body roll. This car is said to actually handle as well, or perhaps better, than the Mercedes E350 and Audi A6.

There’s also other bits you’ve come to expect from the European folks. All wheel drive is available, voice control, as is a system that warns the driver if the vehicle starts to drift out of it’s lane, and driver drowsiness alert as well.

All told this is a very nice car to drive. Now, back to that styling…

Price $50,675 (with EcoBoost, including awesome badge that says so)

For more information Lincoln

For another perspective MotorTrend

2013 Fisker Nina Spy Pics

Caught in the open prior to the New York Auto Show, the 2013 Fisker Nina! You can get an idea from the picture above of the scale of the car, it’s about the size of a BMW 5 series. Speaking of BMW, word is it will feature a 2 liter twin turbo BMW engine, combined with Fisker electric component drivetrain (similar to the layout of the Chevrolet Volt), and will be assembled at the former GM assembly plant in Delaware. The car is quite lovely, and has many of the design attributes carried over from the larger Fisker Karma, on a slightly smaller scale.

No firm word on performance specs for this car yet, but price has been estimated at around $47,500.

Credit – Brenda Priddy – Spy shots