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WE DIDN'T START WITH WE STARTED WITH THE

^ A CLAY MODEL EUROPEAN CAR

"Opel Insignia winner of "Car of the Year 2009." ** As shown, $27,995. MSRP. Tax, title, license, dealer fees and other optional equipment extra.

©20)0 General Motors. All rights reserved. Buick® Buick emblem® Insignia* Regal®

Europe's "Car of the Year 2009"* was a great starting point. Then an international team of engineers began enhancing its performance, refining its design and adding features and amenities to create the all-new Buick Regal: a true world-class sport sedan for America. Featuring an all-aluminum, direct-injected engine, a performance-tuned suspension and some of the most beautiful sheet metal ever wrapped around a chassis. So who needs clay? The sport-in jected 2011 Buick Regal. The New Class of World Class.

Starting at $26,995**

"Opel Insignia winner of "Car of the Year 2009." ** As shown, $27,995. MSRP. Tax, title, license, dealer fees and other optional equipment extra.

©20)0 General Motors. All rights reserved. Buick® Buick emblem® Insignia* Regal®

by GEORG KACHER

Mercedes-B:

the deep dive

Hop in, buckle up, rub your eyes, ana take a deep breath: this nigh-voltage, high-tech, Day-Glo-yeflow

Gull wing is about to rewrite everything you thought you knew about electric vehicles.

HE RUNWAY AT NORWAY'S Kristiansand airport has been closed for our test, and the final takeoff section has been converted into a challenging autocross course. I taxi slowly down the tarmac, turn around, wait for the thunibs-up—and give it stick. The

' sensation that follows can be described only as mind-boggling. After four seconds, the yellow cruise missile, with a combined 526 hp and 649 lb-ft of torque coming from its four electric motors, passes the 62-mph mark. A few heartbeats later, we tick 100 mph. Past the airport tower, the speedometer indicates 125 mph, and before the first cone appears, T swear T see 150 mph.

"No, you did not. Not quite," says the smiling AMG chief project engineer, Jan Feustel. "But if everything goes according to plan and we make some more progress on the battery front, the production version should be able to top 160 mph."

Through the cones, the MercedesBenz SLS AMG E-cell feels as fast as the current that feeds it. The nearly neutral balance is sensational. The handling is a little ponderous at first, but as car and driver learn to waltz with each other, the rear wheels load up so fast even Mozart would have loved it. The brakes are experts at multitasking. They decelerate the vehicle as vigorously as the thrust reversers of the DC-9 parked at the gate while recovering electrical energy at an amazingly efficient rate. The transmissions (one for each axle) are single-speed affairs and seem to suck us toward the horizon as if attracted by a huge invisible magnet. Only the steering isn't quite perfect. It could be quicker, it could be more positive on-center, and it could be more communicative.

"Problem recognized; solution under way," comments radio AMG.

As we leave the airport and head for the

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