Long-known for gracefully combining luxury with performance, BMWs rarely disappoint, and the BMW Pinifarina Gran Lusso Coupe ($TBA) certainly doesn't. The Germans have joined forces with luxury Italian designers Pininfarina to make a one-off creation boasting exclusivity and roadworthiness. The exterior is distinctly BMW, with a set-back cockpit and stretched hood covering a massive V-12 (and of course the signature kidney-shaped grill). But the interior screams Italian opulence — fine Italian leather upholstery, plaid Italian wool headliner, and accents made of kauri wood aged 48,000 years. Carmakers could learn a thing or two from this impressive partnership.
Coming up its 40th anniversary, VW is getting ready to take the wraps off the seventh generation of its speedy hatchback. The 2014 Volkswagen GTI (€28,000; roughly $36,000) is the first GTI to arrive with two power options: a 220 hp 2.0L TSI engine standard, which is cranked up to 230hp with the optional performance pack. Even with the power improvements, the new hatch offers improved fuel economy of up to 39 mpg with the six-speed manual and 36.8 with the six-speed, dual-clutch DSG transmission. Other features include sports seats with the "Clark" tartan pattern, red ambient lighting, a GTI shifter knob and instrument cluster, stainless-steel pedals, Climatronic climate control, a touchscreen infotainment system, and heated front seats. Arriving in Germany in May; look for it stateside sometime after that.
Plenty of cars receive a mid-cycle facelift — but the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe ($TBA) has more up its sleeve than just a new look. Accompanying the new, sportier front end — which holds new single-lens LED headlamps and large air intakes — redesigned rear fenders, and all new interior is a host of new safety features, dubbed "intelligent drive". Included in this new package is Collision Prevention Assist, a radar-based collision warning system with adaptive brake assist systems, Attention Assist, which can detect when you're getting drowsy, Distronic Plus with Steering Assist which helps to keep the car in its lane and can track multiple lanes of traffic, and a bunch of other futuristic systems that come just short of letting the car drive itself. Available in hardtop or Cabriolet versions, with engines ranging from 300 to 400 hp.