2013 BMW M5
The casual observer might think that the 2013 BMW M5 story begins and ends under the hood, and it’s a fair assumption: The engine powering the new M5, a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8, produces a mammoth 560 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque. For the record, this is the most power and torque ever produced by the mad scientists in the M division, the high-performance subset of the Bavarian manufacturer.
The engine is connected to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which replaces the largely unloved SMG single-clutch automated manual gearbox of the previous generation. This combination is sufficient to send the M5 hurtling from a standing start to 100 km/h in just 4.3 seconds.
Suffice it to say, the M5 is fast. During a test held at the Ascari Race Resort in southern Spain, it accelerated like a four-door rocket, stopped on the proverbial dime (or whatever that is in euros) and displayed remarkably sharp handling for a mid-size sedan. But the pleasures to be derived from driving the M5 on the track pale in comparison to experiencing this swift sedan on public roads. In these surroundings, you can adjust the variable settings for the engine, suspension, steering, stability control and transmission—there are 216 combinations and permutations in all. Find what suits you best and just soak in the goodness. Pricing TBA
2013 CADILLAC ATS
The growing strength of the Cadillac brand continues with the introduction of the all-new ATS. This compact sport sedan is aimed squarely at the BMW 3 Series and seeks to dethrone the segment powerhouse with an eye-catching exterior design, lightweight construction and a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo that develops 270 horsepower. Pricing TBA
2012 VOLVO S60 T6 R-DESIGN
The new Volvo S60 is a stylish sedan with lots of performance; the upgraded R-Design is a kick in the pants. Armed with 325 horsepower and a sportier suspension system, the R-Design is deceptively quick, enormously fun to drive and supremely comfortable. From $50,325
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