fullsize cars

fullsize cars

Posted on by Simona  

Phew, let’s take a short break from all of the SEMA craziness to focus on another important auto show: the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show.

This is where Acura will debut a Sport Hybrid version of the 2014 RLX sedan . The new RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD will hit showrooms in 2014, and Acura will release prices soon.

The model will boast Acura’s Hybrid SH-AWD powertrain that helps the flagship pound out V-8 performance and deliver the fuel economy of a four-pot. This SH-AWD system combines a 3.5-liter, i-VTEC V-6 engine with three electric motors and a seven-cog, dual-clutch auto transmission to deliver an outstanding 377 horsepower. Thanks to its amazing output and all-wheel-drive system, this new model promises to deliver "outstanding handling and all-weather performance capabilities."

On top of the nearly 400 ponies, this RLX Sport Hybrid delivers a combined fuel economy of 30 mpg.

No other details were offered on this RLX SH, but the first image reveals that it will look nearly identical to the standard version. We’re sure there will be a few differences that Acura will reveal at a later date, but we only have one image to go off of for now.

Click past the jump to read more about the standard Acura RLX.

Posted on by TB +  

The Buick LaCrosse is fresh for 2014 with a variety of improvements in almost every area, but with pricing that holds the base line at $34,000.

The outside is sharper than before with LED and bi-xenon lighting up front, while new LED styles for the brake lights come in out back.

Inside, everything takes a step toward classier finishes and surfaces, while tech integration for the touchscreen infotainment and active safety is now one of the best from any luxury brand.

Larger wheels all around are a LaCrosse feature for 2014 as well, but the most notable improvements to this smooth full-size sedan really come from its manners on the road.

A far stiffer chassis than ever before is married to the traditional Buick attributes of smooth, quiet and safe cruising. The increased rigidity for the platform brings only benefits, including a ride that is just as cozy as before in standard settings, but with a firmer ride selectable electronically, as well, for windy mountain roads.

During its stay here at the TopSpeed Garage, the LaCrosse’s benefits were clear from the moment we sat in its huge leather chairs.

Our tester was the 304-horsepower, V-6 model, but almost all of the new tech and other updates also apply across the new-for-2014 eAssist hybrid model at the base side of the price range.

For this much roominess and comfort, the only other contenders in the Buick ’s $35,000 to $45,000 segment are the revised Lincoln MKZ or the smaller Audi A6 .

How does the flagship Buick define itself in a segment filled with other classy limousine options?

Click past the jump for the full TopSpeed Driven review of the 2014 Buick LaCrosse for all the details.

Compressed Natural Gas has never gained traction in retail-aimed vehicles, but for large fleet companies and government municipalities, CNG makes a lot of sense.

It is cheaper, easier to transport, and far cleaner than any gasoline and even EV cars that fill their batteries with coal-fired electricity.

Amid a flurry of other green and eco messages touting GM’s improving eco-friendly manufacturing, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson also announced on Wednesday that Chevrolet will be offering the all-new Impala sedan with CNG capabilities.

General Motors is expecting slow initial sales of around 750 to 1,000 units during the first year, but expects the marketplace to become more open to CNG-powered vehicles as time goes by.

There is no word yet on pricing, but other CNG vehicles see an additional $7,500 to $9,500 in costs over its gasoline-powered counterpart.

The move to offer a fleet-targeted CNG Impala an interesting one as GM has tirelessly worked to reposition the more upscale 2014 Impala far away from the mass-production, cash-only/rental-car feel the previous generation of Impalas suffered from. However, the new Impala does offer fleet customers more room and refinement than other vehicles in that market segment.

Click past the jump to read more about the Chevrolet Impala CNG and the standard 2014 model with gasoline engines.

Posted on by TB +  

The latest Dodge Charger Pursuit just spanked its two arch-rivals in another high-speed test session by the Michigan State Police , whose data and recommendations are highly regarded in the law enforcement community. And can you blame them for choosing the only model running a Hemi V-8 to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic?

You read that right. The latest Charger is not only on the police order books as a rear-drive V-6 and V-8, but now also with the V-8 to all four wheels.

This is big news because it effectively makes the Charger Pursuit as one of the fastest cars on American highways — year round. With a powertrain and seamless AWD system offered for the V-8, the Charger is hotter than ever below its menacing panels.

No big changes outside since the 2012 refresh brought and updated nose and the full LED racetrack of brake lights in back. Even so, the numerous combinations of police-ready trims are enough to make even a grown man tinkle himself a little when viewed in the rearview mirror.

Such a mean grille surely lets any driver know that a big ticket is coming. Why? The Charger is most popular among money-generating State Highway Patrols versus the boring Tahoe and Taurus Interceptor PPV ’s run by suburban mall cops.

The big Charger Pursuit in your rearview means no chance of escape. The old Pursuit Hemi was able to char the freeways at 160 mph-plus top speed, with a 60 mph sprint now projected to be as low as 5.7 seconds for the AWD Hemi.

What red-blooded cop would turn down this as a daily driver?

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Dodge Charger Pursuit, with details on its newly-available AWD on the potent Hemi V-8.

Posted on by TB +  

What is the appeal of a really hardcore performance sedan ? There are a dozen valid reasons, and most car guys will not need much persuading to get on-board. Killer pace starts from the new Panamera Turbo ’s projected 3.2-second blastoff to 60 mph.

The ingredients for the recipe are deceptively simple: big power all over the rev dial, rear-drive bias strongly preferred, and a manual box unless the automatic is absolutely state of the art.

The last and least important part? Those rear doors. Buyers of the hottest full-size performance sedans typically do not mind a tiny back seat. After all, the best possible passengers back there will probably be adoring ladies in thousand-dollar outfits.

So, megalux atmosphere back there is more important than true comfort and versatility. After all, you cannot take three beautiful and giggling best friends for a windows-down, radio-up spin in the hills without a swanky coupe-like sedan.

Even better is a stomping acceleration soundtrack and real panache outside the hottest bars and restaurants. No longer just Euro exclusives: all the cars on this list can be bought or ordered right here in the U.S. for 2013 or 2014.

Representatives from BMW , Mercedes, Lexus , Jaguar, Audi and Cadillac are also proudly represented in this market for $50,000-plus super sedans.

Click past the jump for the current Top Ten Best Performance Sedans, with a few in there you might not have expected.

Posted on by TB +  

The 2014 Ford Taurus SHO only brings minor updates to the speedy sedan’s active safety technology, and a new setup for the wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The SHO still wears its standard 19-inch wheels and exclusive exterior styling with pride: happy to explode from any stoplight with the full force of its twin-turbocharged EcoBoost engine.

A near-equal 55:45 front-to-rear default split for the SHO’s standard all-wheel-drive traction really performs miracles on this large and tall sedan’s handling attitude and eagerness. The SHO looks like, feels like, and drives like the best Taurus out there for a reason: it is.

The SHO still brings hundreds of unique touches to its performance credentials, interior luxury and tech sophistication versus the base models.

No one likes a stripped-out car. Years of driving is no fun when forced to stare at all the blanked-off switch holes, and driving a modern Ford without the Touch controls and other tweaks can lessen satisfaction over time. If missing a decent radio, what other extra tech or performance was left on the table?

Luckily, the SHO acronym might as well mean "everything," because that is what this roomy and wide hot rod brings as standard. No more regrets, other than the updated Performance Pack or the adaptive cruise control that are on the options list.

A two-fer of new arrivals from Chevy is set to bring some pressure to the SHO nearing the end of this model cycle: the new front-drive 2014 Chevrolet Impala and the rear-drive 2014 Chevy SS sedan .

With pricing that is a bit steep for the handling or sprint pace, is the 2014 Taurus SHO still the hero car that Ford needs at the top of its sedan range?

Click past the jump to find out.

Posted on by TB +  

The Nissan Maxima ’s replacement is finally on track for arrival next fall as a 2015 or early-2016 model, with a shift in focus toward performance to better differentiate Nissan’s flagship sedan from the popular (but bland) Altima sedan.

Exclusive TopSpeed Renderings show a speculative preview of this hot new sports sedan, which looks to shake off the front-drive proportions and goofy grin in favor of a wider, lower and meaner style like the 370Z and GT-R .

Nissan’s sports car lineup has never been this strong, and continued support for the company’s two tiers of performance cars has really helped the brand’s image, despite being diluted from selling millions of basic Sentra’s and Versa econoboxes to pay the bills.

The Maxima was really at a crossroads before this current re-alignment to its 4DSC roots. The next generation was even mooted to go the full EV route, with the cab-forward styling of the 2011 Nissan Ellure concept thought to be previewing both the just-launched Altima and next Maxima.

Another option on the table would adapt the 370Z’s latest chassis for use in a rear-drive sedan, or even a stretched GT-R of our dreams. These two scenarios are far less likely than a continued front-drive layout, but low and dramatic proportions that evolve the boring Nissan look very nicely.

Keeping the existing Maxima layout is a safe bet because it is the only way to continue the current model’s $31,000 to $36,000 price range. Nissan ’s ability to sell a volume sedan for more than $40,000 is less than a sure thing, especially with Infiniti ’s billion-dollar name changes and new Q50 sedan to replace the G37.

Click past the jump for a closer look at these exclusive renderings, with the 2015 Nissan Maxima debuting as soon as this fall or winter at one of the major auto shows.

Ford’s S-Max MPV is widely regarded as one of the Blue Oval’s most popular and successful models. Back in 2007, it even won the prestigious Car of the Year award in Europe, which goes to show that the reach of the S-Max knows no geography.

Now that the current model is long in the tooth, Ford is ready to unveil a successor at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show .

Called the S MAX Concept , the vehicle is less of an actual concept than it is a preview of the future production S-Max model. Not that there’s anything wrong with that because one look at the concept and you’re immediately pining for the production version to come out sooner than later.

In addition to adopting the modern global design language of Ford, the S Max Concept also makes use of new some nifty new features from Ford’s SYNC system while also boasting of an interior that should make its customers happy.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Ford S MAX Concept

The 2014 Ford F-150 is here and as expected, it still looks relatively the same compared to past year’s models. This may be a bit of a gamble from Ford considering that its main rival, the Chevrolet Silverado , is sporting entirely new looks.Fortunately for Ford, the Ram has had the same look since 2009, when it was still under the Dodge umbrella.

But Ford is willing to roll the dice that the F-150’s popularity will carry its best-selling status while waiting for the next-generation model to arrive in a year’s time.

For now, Ford is offering a wide range of enhancements to the F-150, highlighted by the introduction of the F-150 STX SuperCrew trim and the SXT Sport Package.

The former gives us a full range of cab options that won’t necessarily be detrimental to our wallets while the latter is offered for buyers looking for extra style and personalization of their F-150s.

That’s about the length of changes you’ll see in the 2014 F-150 with Ford believing that you can still get top-grade value on the current generation pick-up before the new era is ushered in by the next-gen model next year.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Ford F-150 and the F-150 SXT SuperCrew

Posted on by TB +  

Deep in the press preview of next month’s public reveal of the 2015 Audi A8 facelift, a nugget of very newsworthy information is buried: the 2015 A8 will be offered as a four-cylinder, front-drive hybrid for the first time.

Ditching the quattro all-wheel-drive that is otherwise an A8 standard feature, the A8 Hybrid model is important for a number of reasons. First off, it is a full hybrid with a Li-ion battery pack in the trunk allowing brief EV-only driving.

Secondly, it uses a small and powerful gasoline engine as the primary drivetrain, eschewing the intellectual preference for diesel-electric hybrids from the European luxury brands. This gasoline setup means its performance and economy will be highly tailored to the American and Chinese markets, with arrival in U.S. dealers with the rest of the remodeled A8 gang next spring.

The major reason this car is important is of course its primary USP: fuel economy. With a quoted 37 mpg on the U.S. cycle, the A8 Hybrid will comfortably be able to add 10 mpg to the fuel economy of the second-most-efficient (U.S.) engine: the supercharged quattro V-6 A8 3.0 TFSI.

All the A8’s rich and formal styling, LED lighting and interior tech upgrades promise a new A8 experience, but with a relaxed drive more along the lines of the Lexus ES350h than any previous exec hybrid from Germany. Previous eco-themed limousine models from BMW and Mercedes for the American market, like the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 and Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid , were both total sales failures with almost no economy incentive for buyers.

Click past the jump for the full preview of the 2015 A8 Hybrid, with all the latest details from Audi about its power outputs, EV range and in-car WLAN hotspot technology.


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