Your daily commute is a grind. Slow traffic, long hours behind the wheel. It's enough to drive even the most laid-back motorist mad. The solution? These five new models promise respite for weary road warriors everywhere.
"Comfort" and "quiet" describe the new Lincoln MKS, the upcoming flagship for Ford's luxury division. Sporting a new split waterfall grille that will become a styling signature for Lincoln, the MKS offers ample room for five and plenty of power from its 3.7-liter V-6, which makes 270 horsepower. Buyers will get to choose between front- or all-wheel drive when this new sedan goes on sale later this year.
For those looking for luxury on a budget, the Hyundai Genesis sedan is just the ticket. This full-size 4-door comes equipped with a choice of 264-bhp 3.3-liter V-6, a 290-bhp 3.6-liter six or the flagship 4.6-liter V-8, which makes 368 horsepower. The styling is understated, yet elegant and like fine European imports, it is rear-wheel drive. Price of admission? Right around $30,000.
Peace and quiet need not be boring as the Pontiac G8 GXP attests. This handsome 4-door sedan from Australia offers room for five and plenty of power from a 6.2-liter V-8, which makes 402 horsepower. While the standard 6-speed automatic is just fine for stop-and-go commuting, the more adventurous might opt for a 6-speed manual. And helping to drown out the honking horns on jammed highways is a 230-watt Blaupunkt sound system.
A 4-door sedan with coupe styling is the impetus behind the Volkswagen Passat CC. This stylish 4-passenger car is slightly larger than the current Passat, but has a lower roofline. Despite its fastback styling, the car has a conventional trunk instead of a hatchback. Powered by either a 200-bhp 2.0-liter turbo four or a 280-bhp 3.6-liter V-6, the Passat CC is equipped with full-time all-wheel drive.
For something completely different, the Infiniti FX sports a new nose, toned-down chrome and a revamped interior for this combination sport/ute and sports car. The flagship is the FX50, which has a 5.0-liter V-8 making 380 horsepower. This engine is mated to a smooth-shifting 7-speed automatic transmission. Riding on massive 21-in. wheels, the FX offers such cutting-edge technology as a lane-departure warning system, active rear steering and a unique all-around view camera that makes parking a snap.
2009 Lincoln MKS
The new flagship for Lincoln is a large sedan that shares its platform with the Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable and the Volvo S80.
When we last saw the Lincoln MKS, it was introduced as a concept at the North American International Auto Show in January 2006. Since then, the car has undergone quite a metamorphosis in both styling and performance.
The MKS concept, which rides on a 114.4-in. wheelbase and measures 203.8 in. overall, is intended as a new flagship for the Lincoln brand. It replaces the previous front-drive Continental and offers buyer a more modern alternative to the traditional Lincoln Town Car.
While the chassis remains the same -- Ford's global D-platform that also underpins the Volvo S80 and Ford Taurus (see Five Hundred) -- the powerplant has been revamped. It's now a 270-bhp 3.7-liter V-6 mated to a 6-speed automatic, which promises greater performance than the 315 bhp from the 4.4-liter V-8 shown in the concept. The engine is still transversely mounted and drives all four wheels.
The basic shape of the body is similar to the show car's however, the surfaces and the front end have been extensively reworked under the guidance of Peter Horbury. The production car now sports a new split waterfall grille inspired by late '30s and '40s Lincolns.
The MKS will be priced between $38,000 and $48,000.
2010 Hyundai Genesis
The most advanced Hyundai ever created.
Hyundai says the Genesis has "capabilities and features comparable to $60,000 luxury premium sedans," but at a price that starts under $30,000. According to the manufacturer, it's also the most advanced Hyundai ever created.
The Genesis is built on Hyundai's all-new rear-wheel-drive architecture (the first rear-drive Hyundai to be sold in the U.S.). It measures 197.0 in. long riding on a 115.5-in. wheelbase, making it only about an inch and a half shorter than a BMW 7 Series. And Hyundai claims the Genesis has more interior volume than the big BMW as well as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
Two V-6 engines will be offered -- a 3.3-liter with 264 bhp and a 3.8-liter with 290 -- as well as the flagship 4.6-liter V-8 with 368 bhp and 324 lb.-ft. of torque; all three come equipped with 6-speed automatics -- the V-6s use Aisin-built versions; the V-8, a ZF system. The V-8 model, is said to hit 60 mph in less than 6 seconds, and according to Hyundai, will deliver a "world-class driving experience" due to its rear-drive platform and high-output engine. And get this: the V-8 achieves its 368 bhp running on 87-octane fuel. The base V-6 car will weigh about 3730 lb., the V-8 version tipping the scales at 4005 lb.
The interior is filled with leather and luxury, as well as such high-tech features as Smart Cruise Control (which adjusts vehicle speed to maintain a set distance from the vehicle ahead), an Adaptive Front Lighting System (automatically swivels the headlamps for better vision when cornering), XM NavTraffic, Lexicon audio systems and a driver's seat that can be heated and cooled.
Hyundai says the new V-8 engine could be built in larger-displacement versions down the road, or even possibly with forced induction. Which means you might very soon be reading about a Hyundai with over 400 bhp!