The luxury car market has continued to forge ahead despite the economic uncertainty of the past few years, bringing with it several interesting new designs for 2011 which cover a wide range of price points and vehicle sizes. Fresh players are emerging in the new luxury car market, and the old guard has reacted with updates of their own, heating up an already intensely competitive segment. Let's take a look at five fresh luxury cars making their debut for the 2011 model year.
The Audi A8 is all new for 2011, and the German brand's full-size flagship sedan is bigger, more powerful and loaded with a greater amount of high tech gadgetry than the previous year's model. This new luxury car can be had in standard and extended (L) wheelbase models, with each motivated by a 4.2-liter V-8 engine generating 372 horsepower and 328 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission - a first for the A8 - sends this output to Audi's trademark all-wheel drive system, allowing the luxury cruiser to hit 60 miles per hour in just 5.7 seconds. Inside the 2011 Audi A8 new features such as a trace-pad interface for vehicle systems that can detect finger gestures and Google Earth navigation software become available for the first time. Like other new luxury cars, the Audi A8 offers state of the art technology such as night vision and adaptive cruise control with automatic emergency baking. A dynamic steering system is also available, which can intervene to help prevent a loss of control at speed.
The 2011 BMW 5 Series features a redesigned platform and a look that abandons the somewhat controversial styling of the older edition in favor of a crisper, cleaner appearance. One of BMW's best-selling luxury cars, the BMW 5 Series offers a mid-size package that emphasizes handling and acceleration in addition to providing premium comfort and features. The entry level 3.0-liter engine gains a 10 horsepower boost and now sites at 240 horsepower, while the top of the line BMW 550i leaps to 400 horsepower thanks to the inclusion of a 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V-8. A new eight-speed automatic transmission also joins the lineup as an alternative to the available six-speed manual gearbox. Other improved new luxury car features available on the 2011 BMW 5 Series include an adaptive suspension system (part of the Dynamic Handling package), a system that can automatically parallel park the sedan and a head-up display.
The 2011 Hyundai Equus is an all-new luxury car from the Korean automaker better known for its value-laden lineup. A 385 horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8 rests underneath the hood of the 2011 Hyundai Equus. Also capable of producing 333 lb-ft of torque, this engine is coupled to the rear wheels by way of a six-speed automatic transmission. The Equus maintains Hyundai's traditionally low MSRP in comparison to other new luxury cars, but still matches its competitors feature for feature. The full-size sedan comes standard with heated and cooled leather seats (and a massage feature for the driver), a heated steering wheel, adaptive HID headlights, adaptive cruise control, a navigation system and a long list of additional luxury equipment. Upgrading to the Ultimate trim brings with it highlights such as heated, cooled and massaging rear seats with a reclining feature, a DVD entertainment system and a power foot rest for the front passenger. Advanced technologies such as a cornering camera to assist in piloting the large sedan are also included on the top tier model.
The 2011 Infiniti M37 is an evolutionary upgrade of Infiniti's mid-size luxury car platform. Larger in almost every dimension than the M35 sedan it replaces, the 2011 M37 also gains much more aggressive styling that is in keeping with Infiniti's reputation for providing a sporty ride. The vehicle makes use of a 3.7-liter V-6 power plant that generates 330 horses and 270 lb-ft of torque, managed by a paddle-shifted seven-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is also available with the M37. As with most mid-size luxury cars the M37 boasts a long list of features. Standout equipment includes a Forest Air purification system (that aims to replicate a gentle outdoor breeze) and a voice-controlled navigation system. The vehicle's driving experience can be improved through the selection of the Sport package, which installs four-wheel steering, a stiffer suspension system, 20-inch wheels and Infiniti's Active Trace Control braking system that helps to better manage power delivery during cornering.
The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is the first battery-powered vehicle to be offered by the builder of domestic luxury cars. Lincoln has priced the mid-size MKZ Hybrid to match the MSRP of the standard MKZ, which is unusual in the world of luxury cars. The MKZ Hybrid's 191 horsepower are generated by a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine working in conjunction with an electric motor. The drivetrain helps the sedan reach a fuel mileage rating of 41-mpg in city driving and 36-mpg on the highway, which puts it at the top of the list in its class. In addition to its eco-credibility, the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid also offers a full ensemble of high end features, such as HID headlights, heated and cooled "Bridge of Weir" leather seats, the SYNC vehicle interface and the SmartGauge with EcoGuide feature that is designed to train drivers to alter their habits behind the wheel to encourage more efficient fuel consumption.