2008 Audi A4
*This is the new Audi A4, completely redesigned and sitting on the longest wheelbase of its class. Which means shorter overhangs, greater passenger and luggage space, and a front axle location that is six inches further forward than the previous model's. So weight distribution and handling balance is also improved. Quattro models have a sporty rear-biased 40/60 power split, but all future A4 drivers can enjoy the new Audi look, first seen with the A5. Options include an updated version of Audi's multi-tronic continuously variable transmission and Drive Select technology that allows the driver to customize throttle response, suspension damping, power steering assistance and transmission shift points. And how does a 505-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system sound?
2008 Porsche GT2
Hark The Stuttgart Angels Sing
*Pardon a tingle of excitement as if Christmas has come early, but the new Porsche 911 GT2-the fastest-ever 911-has just been launched. Just look at those large front air intakes and that massive rear wing.
Available solely in rear-wheel drive and with a manual six-speed gearbox, the 997 GT2 accelerates from zero to 62 mph in just 3.7 seconds and reaches a top speed of 204 mph. A quick hosanna, if you please. The 3.6-liter engine is based on the 911 Turbo's, with two turbochargers featuring variable turbine geometry (VTG). It achieves maximum output of 530 hp at 6500 rpm, with 501 lb-ft peak torque maintained consistently between 2200 and 4500 rpm. Its unladen weight of 3175 pounds gives the GT2 a power-to-weight ratio of just six pounds per horsepower. The 50-hp increase in power over the 'regular' 911 Turbo is accomplished by fitting the twin turbos with a larger compressor wheel and a flow-optimized turbine housing, raising pressure to an even higher level.
This is the first Porsche homologated for the road to feature a rear muffler and tailpipes made of titanium as standard equipment. This reduces weight by approximately 50 per cent compared to a stainless steel equivalent. It also has Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) as standard, featuring discs of a composite carbon fiber/ceramic compound that ensures maximum stopping power with a high level of consistency. And having PCCB reduces unsprung weight by around 44 pounds.
The previous model eschewed traction control, but it's probably wise to have the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) as standard. The new GT2 rides on 19-inch light-alloy wheels, with 235/35 tires at the front and 325/30 items at the rear. No word on price yet, but every kid's college fund is in mortal danger.
Hamann Range Rover Sport
*Hamann calls its widebody kit for the Range Rover Sport the 'Conqueror.' The treatment includes a sportier front end with two integrated high beams and a pair of foglamps, new side sills and wheel arch extensions, roof spoiler, and a rear apron to tie it all together. Five wheel designs are available, going as big as 23 inches (Edition Race are pictured). Engine tuning for the naturally aspirated V8 can push power up to 323 hp, or as much as 475 hp and 450 lb-ft in the supercharged vesion. Hamann also offers a big-brake kit for the front axle and interior mods that include an eight-piece carbon fiber trim package, aluminum pedals and custom upholstery.