Rolling in

BMW 760Li

German automaker BMW has come up with luxury sedan that boasts of a 6.0ltr, 438-horsepower, 12-cyclinder engine, and a six-speed automatic transmission. Despite its 4,872-pound curb weight, the BMW 760Li accelerates from zero to 60 in just 5.4 seconds. The 760Li’s automatic climate control system includes a solar sensor, humidity control and a misting sensor on the windshield. The trunk, which has room for four golf bags, can be closed automatically. There are separate left and right climate controls in front and back. Other features include a voice-activated phone, a 13-speaker, 420-watt surround-sound audio system, a six-disc CD changer, fog lights, high-pressure headlight cleaners, onboard computer and navigation system, moon roof, front and rear side airbags, power sunshades for the rear window and rear-door windows, and a chilled box inside the rear console for drinks and snacks. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the basic model is $117,200. But when you start adding the goodies, the price goes up and up.

Lexus RX400h

Lexus has unveiled a 3.3-litre petrol V6 model recently. The new RX400h uses Lexus’ clever petrol-electric hybrid technology to cut emissions and boost fuel economy. It can also produce zero emissions when running solely on electric power. Not surprisingly, Lexus sees corporate business as a key market for this car. The RX300 has been a strong performer over the past two years even though it has not been available in diesel form. But the RX400h is poised to open new doors with business buyers. In the 400h, the Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) system offers a 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine with a 165bhp electric motor, a high voltage battery and a generator. There’s also a second electric motor, which introduces all-wheel drive when the car determines extra traction is needed. Essentially a development of the breakthrough electric ‘helping hand’ technology launched seven years ago on the Toyota Prius, HSD selects power from the engine, the electric motors or a combination of both to provide acceleration from 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds with combined economy of 34.9mpg – a performance which betters any premium petrol SUV rival. In normal driving, a power split device apportions output from the engine between driving the front wheels and powering the generator, which keeps the battery top-ped up so you don’t need to charge it up.

Audi A3

Following Volkswagen Group grandiose Pha-eton, now Audi is about to poke VW in the ribs with the A3 hatchback. Smaller and sportier than the A4, Ingolstadt’s new wagonette intends to bring the four rings to a new, younger class of buyer. Buyers will have one engine choice when the A3 hits showrooms. A 2.0-litre turbo-charged four retires the long-serving 1.8T in Audi’s line-up. Dubbed 2.0TFSI, the engine uses a four-valve head instead of the previous five-valve array, making room for a sophisticated direct-injection system that promises better responsiveness and fuel efficiency. Its 197 horsepower arrives at 5100 rpm, and its 207 pound-feet of torque holds fast from 1,800 rpm all the way to 5,000. Like the 1.8T, the 2.0 TFSI never lets you forget that it’s artificially aspirated. The engine meets a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG), which uses two clutches — ‘at bat’ and ‘on deck’— to provide a seamless flow of power as the gears change. The idea isn’t new; Audi ran a Sport Quattro S1 Pikes Peak car with such a transmission in 1985. Making it affordable is the real news.