AUDI is now the world’s second-favourite luxury car brand. Through the first quarter of 2010 it outsold Mercedes-Benz for the first time and now has its global sights set on BMW at the top of the luxury business. AN even-faster version of the Lexus LFA supercar is now available, with a track-focused performance package designed for the Nurburgring in Germany. Fifty of the 500 LFAs will be fitted with the pack, which lifts power to 420kW, cuts gearshift times to 0.15 seconds, and adds different wheels on sportier suspension. A NEW model, the Overland, has just been added to the Grand Cherokee lineup with the promise of more than $10,000 worth of extra equipment. The 5.7-litre Hemi-powered model gets everything from wood-and-leather trim to dual-zone aircon, a sunroof, satnav and Boston Acoustics sound for $68,990. HYBRID cars have been chosen as the most important global engineering achievement of the past decade in a study commissioned by Engineers Australia. More than 40 per cent of the people involved highlighted the development of hybrids as the study also shows the importance of motoring and environmental issues. THE starting price for the Porsche Panamera has fallen to $193,000 with the introduction of a V6-powered model with rear-wheel drive. The range is also growing to include a Panamera 4 from $204,400, using the same 3.6-litre V6 with 200kW and 400Nm of torque. THE electric Mini has joined the cars trumpeting a lap time on the Nurburgring racecourse in Germany, with a lap in 9 minutes 51.4 seconds for the 20.8km. It’s way behind the Nissan GT-R and Porsche 911 that continue to slug i t out for Nordschlieffe bragging rights, and the Mini only managed a top speed of 195km/h.