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New Autos for 2012: Luxury Cars

New Autos for 2012: Luxury Cars

By Jeff Youngs, March 04, 2012
Here's a look at some interesting and important new luxury models slated to debut during the 2012 calendar year, as well as some new 2012-model cars that debuted in late 2011 (in alphabetical order):

The 2012 Acura TL  has been facelifted to bring its styling more in line with the new direction of Acura  design. The luxury automaker also added a new 6-speed automatic transmission to the TL, boosting mileage by 3 mpg on the highway for front-wheel-drive models, Acura claims. The new TL also boasts a more refined interior and quieter cabin, according to the company.

BMW  launched a new 2012 6 Series  that is larger in every dimension, heavier and more powerful than ever, in both coupe and convertible versions.

Buick  introduced the 2012 Verano  in late 2011 in a bid to stretch the boundaries of luxury with a highly appointed, compact-size sedan based on the same platform that supports the Chevrolet Cruze . The Verano delivers 177 horsepower to the front wheels, an estimated 8-second zero-to-60 mph performance, and an estimated 31 mpg on the highway.

Later in the year, Buick also will start making available on the Regal  its new eAssist mild-hybrid system. EAssist already can be found on the base engine version of the 2012 LaCrosse . Buick is promoting both the performance benefits of eAssist as well as the fuel-economy boost, which will bring Regal's highway fuel economy to just below 40 mpg, according to the automaker.

Cadillac  used the Detroit auto show in January to launch an all-new nameplate, the 2013 Cadillac ATS . The General Motors luxury brand has been trying to find the right balance of performance and fuel economy in a small car for some time, and the ATS may give Cadillac a worthy competitor to the trio of German small luxury sedans-BMW 3 Series , Audi A4  and Mercedes-Benz C-Class -that have paced this sub-segment for many years. The rear-drive ATS sedan is expected to be on sale in the second half of 2012.

The 2012 Cadillac XTS  preceded the new ATS with an introduction in late 2011 with an eye toward production beginning in the spring. The large sedan is expected to appeal to many of the traditional buyers of Cadillac's DTS  and STS , models of a more traditional styling configuration that are being phased out. Yet GM has delivered a new flagship sedan that is roomy and technology-laden with an eye toward appealing to import customers as well. For instance, standard on the XTS will be the Cadillac User Experience interface, which includes an 8-inch LCD touch screen that lets users flip through displays much as on a smartphone. The car also will offer two levels of Enhanced Safety Strategy packages which include features such as lane-departure warning and forward-collision alert. The XTS's 3.6-liter V-6 engine will deliver 300 horsepower, yet achieve 28 mpg on the highway in the front-wheel-drive version, according to GM.

Infiniti  launches an all-new luxury crossover, the 2013 Infiniti JX , in 2012. It features what the brand bills as the world's first back-up collision-intervention system and a great deal of second- and third-row leg room. The Nissan-owned luxury brand also introduces the 2012 Infiniti M35h , the first hybrid in the brand's M-Series product line. It features an exclusive Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V-6 engine along with an electric motor that combine to produce 32 mpg on the highway and 360 horsepower, according to the automaker.

Jaguar , under new ownership by Tata Motors, gives a thorough freshening, inside and out, to the 2012 Jaguar XF . A new nose, front fascia, hood and blade-like headlamps lead the exterior styling changes, while LED daytime running lights have been added to more closely resemble the car's sibling, the 2012 Jaguar XJ . Inside, a new steering wheel and seats lead the XF's enhancements.

Lexus  has an important launch scheduled for this year in the 2013 Lexus GS 350 . Of course, sales for the brand were among the most impacted by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last year. Lexus plans a number of launches in 2012, and a high-ranking company official said early this year that the recovery of production along with the new products will help Lexus conquest more sales from other brands.

The introduction of the next-generation GS midsize sedan is a key launch for Lexus in 2012. The fourth-generation GS will sport a bolder design, the company says, including a new signature "spindle" grille. It also incorporates a higher level of precision handling and driving dynamics, according to Lexus. A 3.5-liter, 306-horsepower V-6 engine will propel the GS from zero-to-60 in 5.7 seconds, Lexus claims. Inside, a cockpit full of new technology will include the Lexus infotainment system, Enform, and a 3-month trial subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio.

Lincoln  has promised a full stream of freshened and new models beginning in 2012, as the Ford-owned luxury brand moves through a series of planned product renewal. Lincoln started in late 2011 by introducing the 2013 Lincoln MKS  crossover. It features exterior styling enhancements, such as LED taillights and exhaust tips, and a bump in power in the 300-horsepower standard engine.

Mercedes-Benz  restyled its 2012 C-Class  inside and out, but more important, the brand added a coupe to the C-Class lineup for 2012. Mercedes-Benz also added a turbocharged 4-cylinder version to the list of powertrain options.

Also for this year, Mercedes-Benz added a Bluetec diesel version of the broad-ranging S-Class  sedan lineup. The 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class now offers a 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder turbo-diesel version with all-wheel drive standard. It joins a 6-cylinder hybrid model as the most fuel-efficient products in the S-Class lineup, according to the automaker. Mercedes-Benz also is expected to debut a new 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class   this year.

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