By Charles Krome
Okay, the first thing you should know about the 2012 Acura TL—outside of the fact that it was provided to me by Acura with a full tank of gas—is that this is one good-looking car. Rarely have I gotten as many compliments on a vehicle’s appearance as I did with this one, and they came from a wide range of people, from middle schoolers to mothers-in-law.
By Chris Haak
Over its three generations, Infiniti’s M car has gone from a staid, upright, obsolete-when-it-debuted sedan with a big engine to a curve-heavy technology-packed luxury car with a big engine. The first generation of the M was basically a left hand drive, Infiniti-badged version of the JDM Nissan Gloria. That car was sold during the 2003 and 2004 model years only, and was what amounts to a Japanese muscle car; it had the then-flagship Q45′s 4.5 liter V8 installed on a smaller, lighter body. All-wheel drive was not available in the first M45s, nor was a lower-cost V6-engined version.
In 2005, Infiniti shed the M’s stodgy, conservative bodywork for something still clean and conservative, but also a look that was more aligned with the rest of the Infiniti family, including the about-to-be-introduced 2007 G35 sedan. The second-generation M stepped up the technology game over the original car, adding features like four wheel steering, all wheel drive, blind spot warning system, a sophisticated multimedia entertainment system, and a standard V6 engine. Over the term of the second-generation M’s lifespan, the V6 was upgraded and the M got Infiniti’s seven-speed automatic In my past experiences with the M (via a 2008 M35s and a 2009 M45x), I found it to be a comfortable, capable highway cruiser.
By Charles Krome
In a sure sign that the auto show season is just around the corner, the 10 semifinalists for the annual North American Car of the Year award have been announced. It’s one of the more interesting honors in the industry, since the judges are automotive journalists from across the U.S. and Canada, not just the editorial (and advertising?) team of a single media outlet. In other words, you don’t have to worry about a car like the Suzuki Kizashi taking home high honors just because its automaker has a friendly relationship with a given magazine. That being said, it’s also worth pointing out that this doesn’t guarantee a better class of winners. Just consider that three of the last four COTY vehicles—the Ford Fusion hybrid, Hyundai Genesis and Saturn Aura—have been essentially non-starters with customers, and the fourth, the Chevrolet Malibu, is a badge-engineered Aura.
Will the 2011 honoree be any different? Well, let’s take a look at the 14 cars that COTY jurors selected as semifinalists, drawn from the 27 new or “substantially changed” models that were eligible for the 2011 prize.