Base price: $125,950
Acceleration: 0-60 mph in about 4.9 seconds
Estimated mpg: 13 to 19
Standout: Electrostatic dust and pollen interior air filter
With a five-speed electronic touch-shift automatic transmission, this car harnesses 493 horsepower from a 5.5-liter twin turbocharged 36-valve aluminum V-12 engine.
The Mercedes-Benz SL600 has enough power and get-up-and-go to it hit 60 mph in 4.9 seconds without breaking a sweat. Its traction and handling make it hold the road like it invented asphalt.
That superb handling also comes with almost unlimited legroom, although a drawback could be that it does decidedly limit storage.
This fine-driving machine offers a wood and leather steering wheel that is electrically adjustable to telescope and tilt – and it's heated.
Meanwhile, the seats in this two-passenger coupe are adjustable 12 ways and heated and cooled.
The convertible's metal top retracts effortlessly. The variable speed-control maintains its distance even in heavy traffic. And overall styling is typical, high-quality Mercedes.
Base price: $64,000
Acceleration: 0-60 mph in about 6.1 seconds
Estimated mpg: 16 to 22
Standout: Four interior power outlets
There are three surprises. The first is the W12 model powered with a 429 horsepower 6L V-12 engine instead of an air-cooled 4 cylinder. The second is a $106,616 VW – quite a bit up-market compared with the old Beetle. The last is what appears to be a cigarette lighter is actually a little flashlight.
Amazement aside, what VW has wrought is a luxury, high-speed cruiser that shares some mechanics with sibling Audi. Front-seat buckets include a massage function. The 18-way power adjustable seat could rise higher but there is almost superfluous legroom. At 80 mph, it feels like it's doing 40 mph. Around curves it tracks closely but not surgically.
The V-12 Phaeton glides to 60 mph in a quick 6.1 seconds. The "entry level" Phaeton is a V-8 of 4.2L and 335 horsepower that can get to 60 a full second slower. Its base price is $64,000, but togged-out it's more like $94,600. Either model comes with interiors swathed in leather and chestnut wood trim.
V-10 base price: $57,800
Acceleration: 0-60 mph in about 7.5 seconds
Estimated mpg: About 15 to 20
Standout: Electronic parking assistance
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