Car Reviews

The Cadillac Escalade may have lost its pop-culture credibility in recent years, but it’s still a popular SUV by all accounts. The launch of the all-new 2015 model continues a proud tradition for the American automaker. But Cadillac still didn’t take long to offer numerous enhancements to the just-launched Escalade when it announced the launch of the range-topping Escalade Platinum Collection.

As you can expect, the Platinum Collection has a lot of shiny, new hand-crafted luxury additions to both the exterior and interior of this hulking luxury SUV, providing new incentives for buyers to toss moolah in Cadillac’s direction. That’s what customers are expected to receive with the new Escalade Platinum Edition and yet, it’s not the only change Cadillac has given to the new Escalade.

Equally important updates come in the form of new tech features for the entire Escalade range, beginning with the base model all the way to the Platinum Collection. A new eight-speed automatic transmission is now standard on all models, replacing the six-speed automatic version that came with the first wave of 2015 Escalade models. The new batch of luxury SUVs will also receive 4G LTE connectivity with a WiFi hotspot courtesy of OnStar, as well as the Surround View technology that provides a bird’s-eye view of the immediate vicinity surrounding the Escalade.

It’s a little surprising that Cadillac already has updates for the Escalade so soon after the new model was launched. It’s unlikely we’ll see the Escalade receive the same pop culture treatment it once did, but for what it’s worth, this luxury SUV will continue to have a place in the market now and in the future.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Cadillac Platinum Collection.

Posted on by Simona  

BMW released the X6 in 2008 and revealed a revised version in the middle of 2012. These changes were the last the first-gen SUV would receive because, starting 2015, BMW begins selling the second-generation X6. The BMW X6 has quickly become a successful model mostly due to the fact that it doesn’t have much competition. That won’t change too soon, but Mercedes-Benz is prepping coupe SUVs of its own.

With that in mind, BMW focused on improving the X6 in just about every area, including a 20-pound diet. Sure, that’s not much considering the X6 tips the scales at over 4,600 pounds, but it’s a worthy achievement for a vehicle that’s longer and wider than the one it replaces. Besides gaining a crisper appearance that blends many cues already seen on 2014 model year BMWs, the coupe SUV also boasts updated technology and a slightly roomier interior.

Engine-wise, only one engine available in the United States has been uprated. Unfortunately, BMW is still stubborn enough not to send a diesel mill over the Pond, so you’ll have to settle for the 3.0-liter gasoline version if you’re looking for something more efficient.

Updated 08/13/2014: BMW announced prices for the revised X6 set to go on sale in the fall of 2014. Prices start from $61,900 for the xDrive35i version and from $72,900 for the xDrive50i version. Prices go way up from these starting points, thanks to the impressive list of options offered by the company. Details after the jump.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW X6.

Two years after unveiling the E-Type — built between 1961 and 1975, and known as one of the most beautiful vehicles ever designed — the folks at Jaguar rolled out a lighter version of the model specifically developed for racing . Dubbed E-Type Lightweight, it featured an all-aluminum body and engine block, and had most of its interior trim removed, making it 250 pounds lighter than the standard E-Type. Only 12 units of this track-purpose vehicles were built, although Jaguar’s initial plan was to conceive 18 of them. Believe it or not, the Brits have just decided to make use of the remaining designated chassis numbers and construct six more Lightweight E-Types exactly 50 years after the final original example left the factory.

The mission of recreating these race cars to their original specifications based on already designated chassis numbers had fallen into the hands of Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations , the same performance arm that developed the F-Type Project 7 and the Range Rover Sport SVR . An authentic blast from the past, the Lightweight E-Type comes with everything the classic racer had to offer, including an aluminum-block, straight-six engine and a stripped out interior. And if you think the "new" Lightweight E-Type is nothing more than a museum piece, you’d better think again. The sports cars have been built to FIA’s homologation requirements for historic racing, meaning we should be seeing them in action during events such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed .

Update 8/12/2014: Just as suspected after Jaguar Land Rover revealed the Range Rover SVR ahead of its Pebble Beach debut, JLR has chosen to also reveal the much-anticipated "New" Lightweight E-Type prototype — dubbed "Car Zero" ahead of its Pebble Beach debut. Check out all of the details after the jump.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Jaguar Lightweight E-Type.

Posted on by Nico DeMattia  

Gran Turismo 6 is a car enthusiast’s dream. What GT6, or any Gran Turismo for that matter, offers is a chance to get as close as possible to the cars we love that we can’t drive in the real world. This is especially true for concept cars. Most concept cars never make it to production, and when they do, they usually end up resembling so little of the concept that it turns out to be a disappointment. Concept cars always look so much better than production cars because the design team has no boundaries or regulations to follow. The FT-1 is no different, as it simply looks fantastic. It was next to the Mercedes-Benz stand at the NYIAS and it stole most of the show-goers away from the German automaker’s. So when GT6 and Toyota announced that they would be making an FT-1 for the new game new game, with a 30 second teaser video, it obviously got all of us excited. It’s called the FT-1 Vision GT Concept, and it looks spectacular with it’s scoops, louvers and all that exposed carbon fiber. Let’s hope it drives as well as it looks, digitally of course.

Updated 08/14/2014: Toyota unveiled the official details and images on the FT-1 Vision Gran Turismo Concept set to be offered for Gran Turismo 6 users from September. Details after the jump.

Click past the jump to read more about the Toyota FT-1 Vision GT Concept.

Introduced at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show , the McLaren 650S took center stage as a replacement for the aging, yet still enticing, MP4-12C . Available in both coupe and roadster guises, the sports car rolled off the assembly line with the proven, twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-8 behind its seats. Motivated by no less than 640 horses and 500 pound-feet of twist, the 650S quickly became the fastest vehicle in its segment, outgunning sports cars wearing both Ferrari and Lamborghini badges. Coming into 2015, the Brits are knighting the 650S a full-time race car by means of a GT3 iteration for the Blancplain Endurance Series and a Sprint racer. Essentially a successor to the 12C GT Sprint, the 650S Sprint is also a track-only model.

The race-ready sports car comes to bridge the gap between the road-going 650S and the endurance-spec GT3 by appealing to amateur motorsport enthusiasts that spend their weekends at the track. Blending technology from both, the 650S Sprint offers the plain looks of the street-legal car spiced up by racing upgrades and a FIA-approved interior. The 650S family just grew larger and we took a deep dive into McLaren’s brand-new racer. Read on to find out more about this spectacular, track-confined beast.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 McLaren 650S Sprint.

The Continental GT arrived for the 2003 model year as the first Bentley vehicle launched under Volkswagen ’s ownership. Sold in both fastback and convertible guises, the first-generation Continental GT got its juice from a 6.0-liter W-12 engine. Many special editions and iteration followed until 2011, when the second-gen model was introduced. The redesigned grand tourer keeps its W-12 mill, but a 4.0-liter, V-8 engine was finally added to the lineup. In 2013, Bentley unveiled the Continental GT3 , a race car that marked the manufacturers return to racing. And just a year after the track-only GT3 arrived, the Brits rolled out a special-edition GT3-R coupe to pay tribute to the track-exclusive machine.

To be sold as the GT3-R beginning with the fourth quarter of 2014, the new vehicle sits atop the Continental V8 lineup, boasting more horsepower than any of its brothers, and a bevy of exclusive features and technologies. It’s also the fastest-accelerating, and the most dynamic and responsive Bentley ever built, feats that will likely help sell the 300-unit production run like hot cakes.

Adding to the GT3-R’s appeal is the fact that all examples will be hand-built at Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe before being sent off to the company’s Motorsport division for the final touches. Now let’s see what makes the GT3-R so special.

Updated 08/11/2014: The new Continental GT3-R will make its North American debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August 2014 and will start at $337,000. Deliveries will begin in the first quarter of 2015. Only 99 units will make it to the North American market.

Click past the jump to read more about the Bentley Continental GT3-R.

The X6 found itself a little brother when BMW unveiled the X4 at the New York Auto Show in April 2014. The X4 was everything the X6 was without the size or the price tag. Naturally, the SUV has gained popularity in the months since its debut. Well, it’s expected to be more popular now that Manhart Performance has developed a program specifically for the X4 .

The German aftermarket company created a tuning kit that should provide more driving pleasure for owners of Bimmer’s new coupe crossover, at least that’s my takeaway after perusing through the all the goodies of Manhart’s kit. The overall look of the Manhart-tuned X4 doesn’t deviate from the original version, which suggests that the tuning firm didn’t add as many aerodynamic upgrades as I would’ve hoped. Still, the lack in cosmetic improvements shouldn’t dissuade customers from purchasing the program. Manhart Performance does have a new set of wheels to offer, as well as a lowering kit and engine modifications that should provide ample improvements in the X4’s horsepower output.

Consider this one an introductory kit from Manhart Performance, because I think the tuner has something even more special down the road.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW X4 by Manhart Performance.

The Audi S1 is a spunky little sports hatchback , isn’t it? I like to think so, especially after Audi spent a great deal of time and resources promoting the model to anyone willing to listen. Well, I listened pretty intently and yes, the S1 is all sorts of awesome. But there are some folks, like German aftermarket company ABT Sportsline , that think being merely awesome isn’t good enough. So it did what any self-respecting tuning firm would do when presented with a car like the S1: it built a tuning kit for it.

ABT Sportsline’s work on the S1 follows a long list of impressive programs the tuner has created for Audi. Sure, it doesn’t have the same amount of unconscionable power as the R8 or the supreme luxury of the A7 , but the S1 does brim with the kind of confidence that attracts customers from all over the world to it. For its part, ABT sought to make the S1 more confident in its own skin. That’s why the German tuner prepared a comprehensive tuning kit for the sports hatch that includes new aerodynamic components, improved suspension capabilities, and an engine upgrade that increased the car’s output by an impressive 34 percent.

This is the kind of upgrade that ABT Sportsline has made a living developing. It’s got the perfect balance of style and substance that can bring out the untapped potential of a hot hatch like the S1. As if it needed it to be any hotter, this ABT-tuned S1 now has the makings of a scorcher on the road, just the way ABT intended it to be.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi S1 by ABT Sportsline.

The Porsche Macan probably doesn’t need any more aesthetic upgrades; it already looks like a born and bred Porsche , right down to the subtle styling hints attributed to its big brother, the Cayenne. But who am I to tell Porsche what it can and can’t do, especially when it comes to offering new personalization options for its new crossover ? The truth is, Porsche Exclusive’s new options for the Macan are added luxuries to the Macan. You don’t need it, but it’s nice to know that it’s being offered, you know, just in case you want to give your Macan a personalized touch.

Porsche Exclusive’s Sport Design package comes with a comprehensive list of upgrades, including lights and aero upgrades. New bi-xenon headlights are available, as are dark-colord LED rear lights, both of which are part of the Sport Design package. These lights come with the new Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS) and are matched with smoked LED rear taillights with their own dark red lenses.

A new front apron, side-sill panels, side blades, and a new lower rear bumper section are also being offered in case an owner wants a more dynamic-looking Macan. You can also opt to install a new set of 21-inch Sport Classic wheels that Porsche is offering in three color options and finish off your personalized Macan with a new sports exhaust system with modified silencers and a pair of stainless steel chrome-plated twin tailpipes.

Don’t worry. The Macan’s interior was also given its due attention. The Sport Design package features a new ’Limed Oak’ interior package that includes overlays to the decorative trim on the doors and instrument panel.

Click past the jump to read more about Porsche Macan.


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