Top 10 Cars to Look Forward to in 2012: #8 and #7January 3rd, 2012 by Armaan Almeida
#8 – 2012 Porsche 911
The new 2012 Porsche 911, carrying internal model designation 991, marks the biggest evolution of the 911 platform since the switch to water cooling during the Clinton administration and some key advances for Porsche’s hallowed rear-engined sports car.
The 991 grows considerably over its predecessor, though its overall styling shows a subtle evolution of classic 911 lines rather than shaking things up too much. Wheelbase has increased 3.9 inches while overall length is up 2.8 inches. The rear wheels have been moved back 3 inches relative to the position of the engine, creating more stable cornering in the hands of your average driver.
First out of the gate will be the base Carrera with its 3.4-liter flat six-cylinder making 350 horsepower and the Carerra S, making an even 400 horsepower from its 3.8-liter flat six. Porsche will then roll out the inevitable countless variations, adding all-wheel drive, convertible and targa tops, track-focused equipment and turbocharged power.
A new 7-speed conventional manual transmission will be the first of its kind fitted to a production vehicle, while Porsche will continue to offer its PDK 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission. Either transmission will send power to the rear wheels, though all-wheel drive will follow in the Carrera 4.
The 991 will be built alongside the current-generation 997 for a time as more variations make their debut on the new platform, including the inevitable track-ready GT2 and GT3 versions. The new 911 will go on sale in February 2012 priced from $82,100 for the Carrera and $96,400 for the Carrera S.
#7 – 2012 BMW 3-Series
The BMW 3-Series is quite possibly the most award-winning car of all time, making Car and Driver’s 10 Best List for the past 21 consecutive years and winning countless converts as a sublimely handling, truly luxurious compact sport sedan. Early next year we’ll be treated to the all-new F30 3-Series, which will debut in rear-wheel drive 328i and 335i sedan variants.
The new 3-Series grows in length, width, interior size and cargo capacity while actually shaving weight. Design-wise, changing a great thing is always dangerous but BMW’s new design language has trickled down to create the best-looking BMW model among the current crop, its sharply raked hood extending backwards toward a nicely executed package that avoids looking chunky despite the model’s larger dimensions. Its stance has broadened and its structure is 10% more rigid. And it still handles like a dream.
Under the hood the big news is BMW’s new twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which replaces the 3.0-liter inline six in the 328i and is also found in the 528i and Z4. With 240 hp and 260 lb-ft. of torque, the new motor bests the outgoing six’s totals by a fair margin.
The upscale 335i will continue to use BMW’s excellent turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder, making 300 horses and 300 lb-ft. of torque. A new ActiveHybrid 3 will follow in fall 2012, as will diesel-powered and xDrive all-wheel drive models.
Base pricing for the 328i will start at $35,795 with the 335i starting at $43,295 when the sedan models see their release in February 2012.