New cars for 2012 - Part 3 - Executive and luxury: Lexus - Mercedes

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  • New cars coming in 2012
  • Small family cars to MPVs revealed today
  • More throughout the week
Lexus GS
What is it? Fourth-generation BMW 5 Series rival
Price from £36,000 (est)
On sale June

Lexus’s forthcoming GS has a new-found aggression. There’s a much bolder look than the current car and GS450h F Sport versions have the handling to match, thanks to adaptive suspension and rear-wheel steering. Entry-level models aren’t as nimble, though.

The introduction of a new V6 petrol version provides a much lower starting price, but the 2.5-litre engine is weedy. The GS450h combines a 3.5 V6 petrol engine and an electric motor for a combined output of 338bhp and is much quicker.

The cabin is well built and has lots of leather and high-tech toys, but some of the switchgear looks cheap. Space has improved, but the GS still isn’t as roomy as its German rivals, either.

Prices are expected to start at around £36,000 for a GS250, while the cheapest GS450h will be about £46,000. Sadly, there are no plans for a diesel model.

Mercedes CLS Shooting Break
What is it? A more practical take on Merc’s E-Class alternative
Price from £55,000
On sale End of 2012

Mercedes is targeting Audi A7 Sportback and BMW 5 Series GT customers with the ‘stylish estate’ version of its latest CLS.

The Shooting Break was previewed at last year’s Beijing motor show, but it’s since been confirmed for production and has recently been spied testing.

The new model won’t rival the E-Class Estate for load capacity; instead it’s designed to offer the CLS’s looks with a touch more practicality. It’ll get the full line-up of engine options, too – from 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel power up to a 5.5-litre twin-turbocharged AMG variant.

Mercedes S-Class
What is it? Cutting-edge technology on Mercedes’ flagship
Price from £63,000
On sale December

Mercedes’ top-of-the-line saloon has always been the first to get some of its leading-edge technology, and that will apply for the next generation of the S-Class when it arrives towards the end of 2012.

The new S-Class is expected to take several styling cues from the F700, a concept car from the 2007 Detroit motor show. It will also be influenced by the F 125! concept car, shown at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show.

Mercedes’s latest V6 and V8 engines will power the new car. Initially at least, UK buyers are unlikely to be offered the four-cylinder S250 diesel, but this engine will feature in one of two planned hybrids. The other will mate a V6 petrol engine to the electric motor.

Kit is likely to include a pair of video cameras – incorporated in the rear-view mirror – which ‘read’ the road ahead. They’ll actually be able to analyse the road surface and make instant, tiny changes to the car’s suspension system. Mercedes claims the tech, called Magic Ride Control, will halve the amount of body movement that exists in the current S-Class.

The cabin will take its lead from the F800, a smaller concept car shown at this year’s Geneva motor show. It featured a much less cluttered design, with greater use of natural materials such as leather, wood and aluminium, rather than plastic.

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New cars for 2012 - Part 3 - SUVs: Citroen - Dacia

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