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PREVIEW 2012 THE OKANAGAN SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2011


Base price (incl. destination): $40,000 Base engine (hp): 3.5-litre DOHC V6 (263) Optional engine (hp): 2.5-litre DOHC I4 (156) with 275-volt electric motor (191 combined) l/100 km (city/hwy): 11.7/7.4 (FWD); 4.6/5.4


(Hybrid) Navigator


Once the calling card of a new and revamped Lincoln, it’s perhaps ironic that the extra-full- size Navigator is the only rear-wheel-drive- based vehicle left at Lincoln; still available in regular or extra-length L. Since this is the biggest Lincoln, it gets the biggest available engine, which is a 5.4-litre V8. Standard items include a power lift gate, heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, power- folding third-row seats, parking sensors, rain- sensing wipers, rearview camera and a 14- speaker THX II audio system. Base price (incl. destination): $72,000 Base engine (hp): 5.4-litre SOHC V8 (300) l/100 km (city/hwy): 17.4/11.6


MAZDA CX-7


Although it’s a familiar shape by now, the CX- 7 is no less dramatic a choice than it was when it was introduced. It still makes a gutsy styling statement, staking out Mazda’s territory in the growing segment of all-weather wagons. The sexy CX-7 is about to be joined by smaller CX- 5 wagon, but the elder sibling can still show off when it needs to.Peppy four-cylinder for base models; familiar turbocharged 2.3-litre four- cylinder adds V6-like gusto to the party. Base price (incl. destination): $28,300 Base engine (hp): 2.5-litre DOHC I4 (161) Optional engine (hp): 2.3-litre DOHC I4, tur- bocharged (244) l/100 km (city/hwy): 10.4/7.2 (FWD)


CX-9 Transporting up to seven people in a sleek


package that’s also peppy and thrifty, the CX- 9 has few enemies; after updates the last two models years, the CX-9 carries over for 2012. And we’re not talking occasional seating for


seven, but a full third-row seat for real, live, adult earthlings.The CX-9 is available in front- wheel-drive GS and all-wheel-drive GT trims with a healthy base features list that includes front and rear air conditioning, new-design 18- inch wheels and most power features. Selecting the GT also adds leather seats, power moon- roof and liftgate, power seats, blind-spot mon- itoring, keyless start, revised 20-inch wheels, bright xenon headlamps and rain-sensing wipers. A navigation system is optional. Base price (incl. destination): $38,200 Base engine (hp): 3.7-litre DOHC V6 (273) l/100 km (city/hwy): 12.7/8.4 (FWD)


Mazda2 Small is the new big: so sayeth the increas-


ing number of manufacturers bringing compet- itive products to the sub-compact segment. Beating most to the punch by a year or so, the Mazda2 that arrived in North America for the 2011 model year is a stylish little hatchback that’s available only in one body style. Compared to the one-size-larger Mazda3 hatch/wagon, the Mexican-built Mazda2 is about 56 centimetres shorter, 6.4 centimetres narrower and it has 15 centimetres less dis- tance between the front and rear wheels. Mazda’s corporate smiley-face grille is much in evidence along with some neatly creased and curvy body panels and a fashionably sculpted rear end. Base price (incl. destination): $15,500 Base engine (hp): 1.5-litre DOHC I4 (100) l/100 km (city/hwy): 6.8/5.6 (MT)


Mazda3


Everyone loves a wide smile, but the Mazda3 is returning for 2012 with a revised and front fascia that seems slightly less extreme than before.That’s small peanuts, though, compared to the all-new engine that’s new being offered. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder uses Mazda’s new “Skyactiv” direct-gasoline-injection technology to boost both power and efficiency.Compared to the old 2.0-litre (which carries over in base models) the Skyactiv has 155 horsepower (ver- sus 148) and 148 pound-feet of torque (versus 135). It also wins in fuel economy too, netting 7.1 city and 4.9 highway with the available six- speed automatic transmission, or 7.7/5.0 with the six-speed manual. Very impressive. But Skyactiv is really more than just a powertrain upgrade as the philosophy extends to lower- ing weight, improving chassis stiffness and steering response. Base price (incl. destination): $17,200 (base


2.0); $20,600 (Skyactiv) Base engine (hp): 2.0-litre DOHC I4 (148) Optional engines (hp): 2.0-litre DOHC I4 (155); 2.5-litre DOHC I4 (167); 2.3-litre DOHC I4, turbocharged (263) l/100 km (city/hwy):7.1/4.9 (2.0 Skyactiv, AT)


Mazda5 (New for 2012!)


The Mazda5’s platform is based on the same one that supports the Mazda3 sedan/hatch- back, except that it has been stretched by 13 centimetres between the front and rear wheels to accommodate three rows of seats. Interestingly, Mazda’s mini minivan is actually a hair shorter than the Mazda3 sedan, which restricts the gear you can cram in the back when all three rows of seats are in use. However the highly versatile interior allows you to fold flat either or both of the sliding and re- clining second-row buckets, or the 50:50 split folding rear bench to create the right mix of passengers and cargo. Along with its refreshed styling, the Mazda5 now comes with a stan- dard 2.5-litre four-cylinder powerplant that’s also employed in the Mazda3 and Mazda6 pas- senger cars as well as the CX-7 tall wagon. The Mazda5 continues to be the only vehicle in the minivan class that’s available with a man- ual gearbox. Base price (incl. destination): $23,600 Base engine (hp): 2.5-litre DOHC I4 (157) l/100 km (city/hwy): 9.7/6.8 (MT)


l/100 km (city/hwy): 12.4/8.8 (GL350 BlueTEC)


GLK-Class German entry-level compact utility packs in


features, technology for the price of an up-lev- el domestic. Optional full-time 4Matic all-wheel- drive system puts the 3.5-litre V6’s 268-horse- power to the road through an invisibly smooth seven speed automatic transmission.The wag- on has been artfully sculpted and displays more beauty than boldness, although the giant-sized three-pointed-star logo affixed to the grille leaves no doubt as to its heritage. Base price (incl. destination): $42,400 Base engine (hp): 3.5-litre DOHC V6 (268) l/100 km (city/hwy): 13.2/9.0


M-Class (New for 2012) Mazda 5 Mazda6 Despite being styled to resemble the mem-


orable RX-8 sports car, the Mazda6 is starting to feel the pressure from the Hyundai Sonata, the especially striking Kia Optima and signifi- cantly revamped 2012 Toyota Camry. But de- spite their high-profile introductions, these com- peting automakers haven’t come close to matching Mazda’s innately accurate steering and suspension tuning that complements the 6’s sporty nature while creating a comfortable ride.


Base price (incl. destination): $25,700 Base engine (hp): 2.5-litre DOHC I4 (170) Optional engine (hp): 3.7-litre DOHC V6 (272) l/100 km (city/hwy): 9.8/6.6 (MT)


MX-5 Miata


With nearly a million of these little roadsters on the road, the MX-5 is still the best way to get back to the basics of driving enjoyment, top-down or up. The 167-horsepower 2.0-litre four-cylinder powerplant is a gem, but owners will only get to enjoy reaching its lofty limits if they opt for the base five-speed manual trans- mission or optional six-speed gearbox. Selecting the extra-cost six-speed automatic with shift paddles cuts the maximum revs to 6,700 and lowers the engine’s power rating to 158.


Base price (incl. destination): $30,800 Base engine (hp): 2.0-litre DOHC I4 (167, MT; 158, AT)


l/100 km (city/hwy): 9.2/7.1 (base MT)


MERCEDES-BENZ C-Class


In the face of the slick Audi A5 and the BMW


3-series coupe, and even the Infiniti G37, Mercedes-Benz launches a sultry new two- door coupe with four-, six- and eight-cylinder power.This is a far cry from the small C-Class coupe of old: the new car is larger (and runs on the same platform as the sedan), more stylish and much more elegant.The base engine is a new turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder rated at 201 horsepower (called the C250). The coupe can also be had with 302-horsepower 3.5-litre V6 (up from 268) as well as the 451- horsepower 6.3-litre V8 installed in AMG ver- sions. All engines use seven-speed automatic transmissions. Base price (incl. destination): $37,500 (sedan); $40,700 (coupe) Base engine (hp): 1.8-litre DOHC I4, tur- bocharged (201)


Optional engines (hp): 3.0-litre DOHC V6


(228); 3.5-litre DOHC V6 (302); 6.3-litre DOHC V8 (451/481)


l/100 km (city/hwy): 9.7/6.4 (1.8) CL-Class


Let’s face it.The CL is the be-all and end-all when it comes to luxurious yet hugely muscu- lar two-door cars. That’s why a twin-tur- bocharged 4.6-litre V8 is the base engine in the CL coupe, which is the best two-door in the company’s lineup. Here, it makes 429 horse- power and a very healthy 516 pound-feet of torque. Still, with all that thrust, fuel economy is actually fairly decent.The next-up CL600 has a twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V12 with 510 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque, enough to hustle the 2,045-kilogram two-door to 100 km-h in 4.6 seconds. Also returning is the CL65 AMG, a sledgehammer that packs a wallop with its 621-horsepower twin-turbo V12. Active Body Control, according to Mercedes- Benz, all but eliminates body “roll” and also slightly lowers the car once the speed reach- es 35 mph for better aerodynamics and han- dling.


Base price (incl. destination): $136,700 Base engine (hp): 4.6-litre DOHC V8, twin- turbocharged (429) Optional engines (hp): 5.5-litre SOHC V8, twin-turbocharged (510); 6.3-litre SOHC V8 (536); 6.0-litre SOHC V12, twin-turbocharged (621)


l/100 km (city/hwy): 17.1/11.2 (CL550, est.) CLS (New for 2012!) Freshly pressed sheetmetal but the original


idea of a four-door car that looks like a two- door hasn’t changed one bit. One of the sleek- est designs on the market. New tech includes optional full-LED headlamps.New sheetmetal also means new base twin-turbocharged V8 that makes more power and gets much better fuel economy than the previous base V8; op- tional all-wheel-drive for base models. Base price (incl. destination): $85,300 Base engine (hp): 4.6-litre DOHC V8, tur- bocharged (402) Optional engine (hp): 5.5-litre DOHC V8, twin- turbocharged (518/550) l/100 km (city/hwy): 12.7.8.2 (CLS 550)


E-class


While the E-Class comes in several shapes and sizes, the fact that there are four different body styles for 2012 is quite amazing.And now there are serious upgrades in the powertrain departments in the interest of fuel economy and forward thrust. Drivers looking for a better tan can buy a drop-top Cabriolet version of the Coupe, and the four (passenger)-door wagon makes its return as wealthy dog owners every- where rejoice.The all-wheel-drive-only wagon is a fairly traditional style with an angular rear that opens up into a gigantic cargo area. Perhaps the biggest throwback is the rear-fac- ing third-row seat that fits two children and can disappear into the floor without a trace. Base price (incl. destination): $63,300 (sedan); $61,700 (coupe); $69,700 (cabriolet); $67,700 (wagon) Base engine (hp): 3.5-litre DOHC V6 (302) Optional engines (hp): 3.0-litre DOHC V6, turbo-diesel (210, E350 BlueTEC sedan); 4.6- litre DOHC V8, turbocharged (402); 5,5-litre DOHC V8, turbocharged (518) l/100 km (city/hwy): 12.7.8.3 (3.5, V6)


G-Class Yes, the military-influenced G-Class sport-


brute has been around in one form or another since the late-1970s. Amazingly, it continues to find an audience willing to part with more than 100 large to go anywhere the heck they want in grand style.The G-Class wasn’t actu- ally built for this market, or any civilian market for that matter, and was certainly never intend- ed as a high-speed cruiser. However, since Mercedes-Benz chose to bring the G-Class to North America, you can own a vehicle that was originally built to rather rigorous off-road spec- ifications with a North American twist.The stan- dard G features a 382-horse 5.5-litre V8 while the G55 AMG version heats things up with its supercharged 5.5-litre V8 that’s worth 500 horsepower. Base price (incl. destination): $116,000; $157,000 (G55 AMG) Base engine (hp): 5.5-litre DOHC V8 (382) Optional engine (hp): 5.5-litre DOHC V8, Supercharged (500) l/100 km (city/hwy): 18.7/13.8; 19.7/13.4 (G55 AMG)


GL-Class Diesel engines are big sellers all over the


world and although North Americans seem slow to adapt, Mercedes-Benz is understand- ably confident in diesel’s performance and re- liability. What the 210-horsepower 3.0-litre BlueTEC V6 lacks in big horsepower numbers it more than makes up for with its seat-of-the pants torque.That means the diesel-powered full-time four-wheel-drive GL 350 can keep up with the other GL models when it comes to tow- ing (3,410-kilogram capacity). Standard fea- tures on all models include an air suspension (with four-wheel load leveling) that varies the ride height by 7.6 centimetres to a maximum of 28 and automatically lowers it 1.2 centimetres when you pass 125 mph. Should you choose to risk your significant cash outlay by taking your Merc off the pavement, you can opt for an Off-Road Pro package that includes a two- speed transfer case with a low range, locking differentials and skid plates to protect the un- derbelly of your investment. Base price (incl. destination):$71,300 (GL350 BlueTEC)


Base engine (hp): 3.0-litre DOHC V6, turbo- diesel (210)


Optional engines (hp): 4.5-litre DOHC V8 (335); 5.5-litre SOHC V8 (382)


The new M-Class remains as rugged an up- scale off-road rover as ever, but now adds more style, performance and technology to the mix. Visually, the recrafted sheetmetal represents a quantum leap forward, especially the classier hood, fenders and grille plus the cleanly sculpt- ed door and fender body panels that contain some much-needed definition. On the inside, fully loaded models display classy wood trim, the stitched leather seat covers are inviting and the satin-nickel garnish subtly restrained. Initially there will be just two M-Class editions: the ML350 BlueTEC 4MATIC comes with a 3.0- litre V6 turbo-diesel that resembles the previ- ous powerplant in displacement only.Also avail- able is a 3.5-litre V6 in the ML350 4MATIC that’s rated at 302 horsepower, a 34-horsepower up- tick from the previous 268 rating.A new seven- speed automatic transmission with a more ef- ficient torque converter joins both engines. Base price (incl. destination): $59,400 Base engine (hp): 3.5-litre DOHC V6 (302) Optional engine (hp): 3.0-litre DOHC V6, tur- bo-diesel (240)


l/100 km (city/hwy): 12.3/8.9 (3.5) R-Class


The “R” is built for real families on the go who require plenty of stretch-out room for them- selves and their luggage and/or various recre- ational gear. In fact, it’s the biggest vehicle in the Mercedes fleet and one of the heaviest at near- ly 2,270 kilograms. And with the updates for the 2011 model year, those families travel in higher style and within a more pleasing cabin. The AWD is permanently engaged and can shift power as needed between the front and rear wheels. As before, you can order your R- Class in the standard 2/2/2 bucket-seat arrangement, or select the optional second- row three-person bench that brings maximum occupancy up to seven. Expect the usual high level of safety and comfort features, including the new Blind Spot Assist, which will warn you of traffic where you can’t see it.New LED day- time running lights also join the R-Class this year.


Base price (incl. destination): $56,000 (R350; $57,000 (R350 BlueTec) Base engine (hp): 3.5-litre DOHC V6 (268) Optional engine (hp): 3.0-litre DOHC V6, tur- bo-diesel (210)


l/100 km (city/hwy): 14.4/10.5 (R350); 11.5/8.2 (R350 BlueTEC)


S-Class


Some people might disagree with Mercedes’ claim that the S-Class is the best car in the world, but what other automaker’s price-leader model happens to be gas-electric hybrid? It mates a 20-horsepower electric motor that re- covers its “juice” from kinetic energy captured when the S400 is braking. It also maintains power for the car’s vital electrical functions when the 275-horsepower 3.5-litre V6 is shut down, such as at a traffic light. M-B claims the rear-wheel-drive S400 is good for 11.0 l/100 km in the city and just 7.7 on the highway. In other S-Class news, the S550’s 382-horsepow- er 5.5-litre V8 has been replaced by a 429- horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 coupled to seven-speed automatic transmission. Aside from a big power boost, fuel economy is also improved. Night View Assist Plus can detect pedestrians at distances up to 150 metres. If you feel like waiting, the S-Class is due for a re- design for the 2013 model year. Base price (incl. destination): $108,600 (S400)


Base engine (hp): 3.5-litre V6 combined with a 20-horsepower electric motor (295) Optional engines (hp): 4.6-litre DOHC V8, twin-turbocharged (429, S550);5.5-litre SOHC V12, twin-turbocharged (510, S600); 6.0-litre SOHC V12, twin-turbocharged (604, S65 AMG); 5.5-litre DOHC V8, twin-turbocharged (536, S63 AMG) l/100 km (city/hwy): 11.0/7.7 (S400); 14.2/9.0 (S450)


SL-Class In the league of luxury roadsters, exclusivity


costs.In the case of the SL, even with its pared- down model count for 2012, you’ll need to pony up at least $130,000.This buys you 382 horse- power, effortless top-up or, 16 seconds later, top-down cruising once the power-folding met- al roof has been stowed. And should the un- thinkable happen, the SL has a roll bar that re- mains hidden until the vehicle senses that you’re about to flip over . . . then it springs into action. Other features include a standard panoramic sunroof and available AirScarf, which blows heated or cooled air out of the seats and onto your neck. For the 2012 mod- el year, all the V12 models have been discon- tinued and this pruning is almost always a sure sign that a new SL is in the works.Keep in mind that this body style has been around since the 2003 model year, so change is really due. Base price (incl. destination): $130,700 (SL550)


Base engine (hp): 5.5-litre DOHC V8 (382) Optional engines (hp): 6.3-litre DOHC V8 (518, SL63 AMG) l/100 km (city/hwy): 15.8/9.4 (SL550)


SLK (New for 2012!) SLK customers will likely feel and look partic-


Mercedes-Benz CLS


ularly good in this third-generation drop-top- per.An extra-large Mercedes-Benz three-point-


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