First Drive: 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL

First Drive: 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL
2011 Mercedes-Benz CL - First Drive - Automobile Magazine
Behind the new face are two new V-8s.

Five years after the current Mercedes-Benz CL coupe made its debut, the big two-door has gone in for some minor cosmetic surgery, and a heart transplant. Although their model designations have not changed, the CL550 and CL63 AMG both have new, smaller V-8 engines, but never fear, plutocrats, they’re nonetheless significantly more powerful than their predecessors, thanks to the miracle of turbocharging.

Photo Gallery: 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL – First Drive – Automobile Magazine

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2009 Nissan Cube SL – Four Seasons Update – September 2010

2009 Nissan Cube SL – Four Seasons Update – September 2010
2009 Nissan Cube SL - September 2010 - Automobile Magazine
Within days of the official end of summer, our Cube ticked past the 20,000-mile mark

Months in Fleet: Nine
Mileage to Date: 20,620 miles

Photo Gallery: 2009 Nissan Cube SL – September 2010 – Automobile Magazine

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First Drive: 2012 Iconic AC Roadster

First Drive: 2012 Iconic AC Roadster
2012 Iconic AC Roadster - First Drive - Automobile Magazine
The Iconic AC Roadster skips past other Cobra replicas’ mistakes, advancing into new territory

If not for our knowledge of the magical cable snaking through it, the Iconic AC Roadster might produce a ho-hum response as just another Cobra continuation, replica, or wannabe. We’ve certainly experienced enough attempts to recapture that glory.

Photo Gallery: 2012 Iconic AC Roadster – First Drive – Automobile Magazine

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2010 Acura ZDX, 2010 Audi Q5, 2010 Subaru Outback – Four Seasons Fleet Update – November 2010

2010 Acura ZDX, 2010 Audi Q5, 2010 Subaru Outback – Four Seasons Fleet Update – November 2010
2010 Acura ZDX, 2010 Audi Q5, 2010 Subaru Outback - November 2010 Fleet Update - Automobile Magazine
We take three all-wheel-drive long-termers out to play in the mud.

Crossovers have become so commonplace as suburban accessories these days that it’s easy to forget that they do have off-road capabilities. Or should. With that in mind, we gave our Four Seasons Acura ZDX, Audi Q5, and Subaru Outback a break from their grocery runs and slung them through an off-road-vehicle route in northern Michigan. Our intent was not to conduct a torture test in which the winner would be the one that didn’t need to be winched out, but rather to have an all-wheel-drive adventure that any crossover owner should be able to make without risking life and tailpipe. That said, we weren’t sure at the outset of our journey if all three vehicles-on stock tires inflated to normal pressures-would come through with fenders and dignity intact.

Photo Gallery: 2010 Acura ZDX, 2010 Audi Q5, 2010 Subaru Outback – November 2010 Fleet Update – Automobile Magazine

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2010 Mazda3 – Four Seasons Wrap-up

2010 Mazda3 – Four Seasons Wrap-up
2010 Mazda3 - November 2010 Season Wrap-up - Automobile Magazine
Despite a few annoyances, it had us grinning, too.

The old Mazda 3 was already one of our favorite small cars. Twice an AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE All-Star, the previous 3 was a cut above its contemporaries. When Mazda’s highest-volume car went in for a redesign for the 2010 model year, it emerged with a more powerful engine (in the “s” models, at least), an additional gear for its manual and automatic transmissions, a plethora of new luxury features, and new styling led off by a front end that West Coast editor Jason Cammisa described as “an anime gremlin wearing an I’ve-been-naughty grin.”

Photo Gallery: 2010 Mazda3 – November 2010 Season Wrap-up – Automobile Magazine

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First Drive: 2011 Mini Cooper

First Drive: 2011 Mini Cooper
2011 Mini Cooper - First Drive - Automobile Magazine
In the rolling-boutique category, the threat of some upstart stealing your sparkle is ever present.

Acknowledging the fact that it’s difficult to remain an adolescent forever, Mini expanded its lineup with a longer wheelbase Clubman model for the 2008 model year. A longer wheelbase, a third entry door, and what Mini USA calls rear barn doors are the key features. As with other Minis, six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are available with two 1.6-liter DOHC four-cylinder engines: the standard Cooper Clubman is normally aspirated, the Cooper S is turbocharged and intercooled. For 2011, a mid-cycle refresh applies to the whole family of two- and three-door Minis.

Photo Gallery: 2011 Mini Cooper – First Drive – Automobile Magazine

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