that an enthusiastic driver can be entertained. This is, not the same Buick your parents drove.
engine size: 3.8 liters engine type: V-6 supercharged horsepower: 240 @5200 rpin transmission: 4-sp. auto brakes: Disc/disc, anti-lock price range: $31,000-$38,000
Mercedes-Benz E-Class www.mercedes.com
Expansion and advancement of the E-Class family continues Now comes a change to a new engine configuration — a “V” rather than in- line design — for the six cylinder models and the return of the station wagon. There will also be an all-wheel-drive version of both the sedan and station wagon. A “brake assist” feature enhances the emergency braking potential of this car, adding a boost when the driver hits the pedal quickly.
All the basic refinement of the sedan remains in the E320 wagon: airbags in the front doors and up front, a sensor to detect smog levels and filter air through charcoal, driver position memory that includes the power tilt/telescopic steering wheel and plenty of real wood trim. A third-row rear-facing seat brings the wagon’s passenger capacity to seven.
Power varies from good to terrific, and handling and ride are the epitome of elegance. The AWD system is the same as the one thee makes the ML320 an incredible performer.
engine size: 3.2, 3.0, 4.3 liters engine type: V-6, I-6 turbo-diesel, V-8 horsepower: 215, 176, 275 (1997) transmission: 5-sp auto brakes: Disc/disc, anti-lock w/brake assist price range: $41,800-$49,250
Lexus LS400 www.lexus.com
The Flagship at Lexus is returning to its former glory as the state-of- the-art luxury car. Under the hood is a more powerful engine that makes this one quick sedan. To tame things, the LS400 gains VSC (vehicle skid control), a computered control over the engine and brakes to help correct over- and under-steer. This is useful in slippery conditions, but can be turned off for more spirited driving.
Comfort items abound. New seats keep front passengers comfortable for hours, even on rough roads. The dual zone climate control will detect and filter polluted air. The remote entry system fits into a surprisingly compact key head, not a separate fob. Windows and moonroof can be opened or closed with a single touch of a finger. Leather upholstery is so soft you’ll want to park in the living room.
A new option is a GPS navigation system that provides directions to any destination in the U.S. The 1998 model can be identified by the new hood, grille and four parabolic multi-reflector headlamps.
engine size: 4.0 liters engine type: V-8 horsepower: 290 transmission: 5-sp auto brakes: disc/disc, anti-lock price range: $54,000-$62,000 (est)
Cadillac Seville www.cadillac.com
Once again, Cadillac is trying to take on the imports. Although this was said of the last generation Seville in 1992, it was never really up to the task. The company is now saying the same about the new Seville. However, the rivals Cadillac lists (BMW, Lexus and Mercedes- Benz) are all rear-wheel drive. Despite the new look, the 1998 Seville retains the same front-wheel-drive platform as before.
This car is smaller, yet heavier, than before. There is less rear legroom and a smaller fuel tank, but the