In 2019, we got the chance to spend a week with the Ford Mustang GT Convertible,, and it was an absolute blast to drive. In fact, we even described it as presenting a “few reasons why you still need a V-8.” Ever since then, we’ve been wondering about the four-cylinder Mustang, aka the Mustang EcoBoost. Can a Mustang with a four-cylinder engine really live up to the name of a thoroughbred muscle car? Well, after months of asking, a 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible landed in the parking lot outside of TopSpeed HQ. That car was destined to spend the next week with us, and now we want to give you our impression of the beast with a little but dominating heart.
2020 Dodge Charger 392 Scat Pack Widebody - Driven
The demand for sedans – and cars in general, for that matter – has been plummeting for some now, and a lot of automakers have started to or completely withdrawn from the segment altogether. As of now, you’d be hard pressed to find a performance sedan outside of the Dodge Charger, without looking to German- or Japanese-built cars, and even then, a big chunk of those fall into the luxury category. This week, we were treated to a week’s worth of driving the 2020 Dodge Charger Scat Pack Widebody, and it got us to thinking – without any real homegrown competition, does this car have what it takes to compete with mid-performance offerings from Germany? Well, it’s a tough call, and there’s a lot to take into consideration, so as we dive into our experience with the Charger Scat Pack Widebody, we’re going to explore just how it stacks up against its closest German competitors, the BMW M340i and the Mercedes-AMG C43 sedan.
The Hyundai Sonata entered its eighth generation for the 2020 model year, finally completing the transformation from econobox family sedan to something that looks luxurious and sporty. In fact, at a glance, it even looks a lot like the new Audi A7 or RS7 with a slightly tweaked front end. So, do the aggressive exterior design cues, sporty proportions, and upscale appearance actually push it into a position to leave the Honda Accord and Kia Optima behind as it starts to compete with brands like Audi, BMW, and Porsche? Well, after spending a week with eh all-new Sonata, we can comfortably say it isn’t quite there yet, but it’s not far off. This is what it was like to live with the 2020 Hyundai Sonata.
2020 Infiniti Q60 Redsport - Driven Review and Impressions
Infiniti – it’s not a brand that you really hear a lot about these days. But with only five cars in its lineup – one sedan, one coupe, and three SUVs – you really can’t expect the brand to make headlines nearly as much as the brands that it’s actually trying to compete with. Does this obscurity mean that it’s not capable of competing in the mid-luxury performance segment? Not at al. In fact, after spending a week with the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport (basically a two-door Q50) we’ve come to be quite fond of the sporty little 400-horsepower coupe. This is what we’ve learned from that experience.
2020 Nissan Murano - Driven
The Nissan Murano has been around for quite some time now and is fairly popular in the market. It isn’t the best-selling SUV in the segment, but it rakes in decent sales numbers for the Japanese automaker.
Named after an Italian city, the Murano slots between the Rogue and the Pathfinder in Nissan’s lineup. The Murano’s last generation change came back in 2015, which means the next-gen is on the horizon. The company has given the SUV a few facelifts that make it look fresh, though. The Murano arrived at TopSpeed’s HQ recently, and here are our impressions about this SUV.
2020 BMW X5 M Competition - Driven
With 615 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, the BMW X5 M Competition is one of the most powerful BMWs ever made, a 5,500-pound behemoth capable of going from naught to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and do it while enveloping you in a luxurious cabin blending leather and carbon fiber. We took the X5 M Competition out for a spin because we know that it shares its engine with the M5 and the M8 Competition but we wanted to find out if it also drives like BMW’s quick sedans.
When BMW came up with the X5 over two decades ago, the unique selling proposition of the first Bavarian crossover of any kind was that it offered all the benefits of an SUV - like the added practicality, the higher driving position, and off-road ability - while staying true to the BMW ethos and thus delivering that much-coveted driving pleasure. BMW even tried to create a brand-new niche with the arrival of the X5, calling it an ’SAV’ which is something that still applies to this day, with the only difference being that, over the years, the X5 did become sportier and felt more and more like a sedan able to belie its generous dimensions.
2020 Nissan Altima - Driven
For the past two years, Nissan has been selling about 210,000 Altimas, the mid-size sedan that’s been lurking in the shadows behind its Japanese peers from Honda and Toyota since 2014. The introduction of the sixth-generation model in 2018 didn’t turn the tides in Nissan’s favor and we drove a range-topping Platinum with the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine to see why more people and businesses choose an Accord or a Camry over the Altima.
Fresh-faced and with a variety of clever features such as semi-autonomous driving functions, the Altima is Nissan’s bid to regain the lead in the once-booming mid-size sedan segment. While people generally moved away from sedans in favor of MPVs and SUVs, the big players in the market still move in excess of 320,000 units a year of their best-selling models and Nissan hopes the Altima, a $24,000 proposition in its cheapest form, can keep the company’s otherwise leaking boat from sinking.
2021 Audi A3 Sedan
Audi has just introduced the next-gen, 2021 A3 Sedan, and with it comes a new, sporty exterior appearance with a revised grille, new exterior lights, and more aggressive body lines. The interior is now more driver-focused than ever and now features a more angular appearance than ever before. There’s an updated 10.1-inch MMI infotainment system and a revised 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster (Audi digital cockpit) that has three different views to choose from. The interior now features a little extra headroom up front thanks to the lower seat position and Car-to-X services are available in areas adequately equipped. The new A3 is offered with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline or diesel engine. Both engines provide 150 horsepower, but the diesel delivers 265.5 pound-feet while the gasoline puts down just 184.4 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy ranges between 47 and 50 mpg on the gasoline model and 60-65 mpg for the diesel, based on the current European scale, so don’t expect that much in the States. Pricing starts that EUR 27,700 or $30,006 at current exchange rates.
2020 Subaru Outback - Driven
The Subaru Outback started like as a full-fledged station wagon that was based on the Legacy back in 1994. In those 16 years, the Outback slowly evolved from your everyday wagon to what is, essentially, a crossover by today’s standards. As such, the competition is fierce, and with the sixth-gen Outback hitting the market for the 2020 model year, we thought it would be a great idea to see just what it has th
at sets it apart from the many models on the market. Fortunately for us (and you, of course), Subaru was kind enough to let us get behind the wheel of an Outback Onyx Edition XT for an entire week. This is what we’ve learned.
2020 Nissan Titan - Driven
The Titan is in Nissan’s lineup since 2004. The pickup truck’s current-gen was launched four years back and now the company has already rolled out the facelift. The 2020 model brings in a few significant changes to the truck. On the outside, the changes are subtle, but they are noteworthy under the hood.
Nissan dropped the Cummins mill and the Titan can now be had only with the 5.6-liter V-8 mill. What’s more, it comes with a new transmission and a power boost. However, is the Titan a worthy alternative to the established trucks like the F-150 and the Silverado?
2020 Hyundai Kona - Driven
The Hyundai Kona is a strong competitor in the subcompact SUV market, and it’s made itself known in the two short years it’s been on the market. The Toyota C-HR and Honda HR-V both claim their own fame as being top contenders, so we decided to see just how well the Kona can hold up now that it has actually established itself on the market. So, we decided to ask for a test car, and next thing we knew, the Kona was rolling up to Topspeed HQ with its gray paint finish and silver highlights. This is our experience and thoughts after spending a whole week with the Hyundai Kona.
2020 Mercedes-AMG GT R Roadster - Driven Review and Impressions
The Mercedes-AMG GT R is a real looker with its long nose and swooped back cabin. Just looking at it evokes all the feelings you’d expect from a precision-built, six-figure machine that bears both the AMG and Mercedes logo. It’s an impressive car, to say the least, but what happens when you get behind the wheel of one of the 750 GT R Roadsters that will be produced? Does it still evoke that same high-end sports car feeling? Does it still feel like it’s ready for the track from the moment you sit down in the seat? Does it drive any different compared to the coupe it is based on? Well, we spent a week with the AMG GT R, and we’ve set out to answer all those questions and more.
2020 BMW 750i - Driven
Prior to 2020, the BMW 7 Series was somewhat lacking when compared to models like the Audi A8 and Mercedes S-Class. For 2020, however, BMW put the 7 Series through an extensive facelift that included a revised exterior look, fresh technology, and updated powertrains – most of which were all inspired by the new BMW 8 Series. With a new V-8 engine being offered in the 750i trim, it was time to see what the 7 Series can offer, and we did exactly that. This is our experience with the BMW 750i and what we thought after spending a whole week with one of BMW’s most expensive models.
Did We Just Catch a McLaren GT Hybrid in the Wild?
The McLaren GT was introduced in 2019, and we know for sure that the mule we see here is, in fact, a McLaren GT. Be that as it may, it was caught in a residential neighborhood in France by a friend of Topspeed, and it certainly raises a few questions. First, why is there a camouflaged McLaren GT cruising around France? Second, why was it parked outside a residential area? Third, why do the wheels have “Dyn Wheel” written all over them? Well, we think that McLaren might be testing its new V-6 hybrid drivetrain.
2020 Nissan Armada - Driven
Nissan launched the second-generation Armada – the brand’s full-size, flagship SUV – in 2017 and, while it was a huge step forward in terms of luxury (relatively used, of course) and rigidity, it was also knocked for its lack of technology. Comfortable seating and cabin space rank high on the list of notable features, but things like the infotainment system and instrument cluster feel dated. With this kind of impression, we thought it would be a good idea to spend some time with the 2020 Nissan Armada to see just what it has to offer and if it can really compete with models like the Chevy Tahoe and Ford Expedition. It was a long week, and this is what our experience taught us about the Nissan Armada.
GOTRAX Xr Electric Scooter Review
GOTRAX has a new under-$400 scooter coming to replace the very-reliable GXL V2. It’s called the Xr and you can also have it in Ultra guise, with a more potent e-motor and larger battery pack. Its main rivals are the likes of Swagtron Swagger 5 ($299), Xiaomi M365 ($349), and Segway Ninebot ES2 ($589) - as you can see, pretty rough competition. We had a go at the GOTRAX Xr and here’s what we can report.
2020 Kia Telluride - Driven
The Telluride joined Kia’s lineup for the 2020 model year as its biggest SUV yet. It’s positioned in the midsize class, despite the fact that it’s not much larger than the Kia Sorento. As is the usual case, it shares a lot of core DNA with a Hyundai product – in this case, the Hyundai Palisade – but it still features its own distinct styling. It’s only available with a V-6, but it does provide ample power, towing up to 5,000 pounds, and it comes at a price that gives it a competitive edge over models like the Honda Pilot and Volkswagen Atlas.
As Kia’s newst SUV, we’ve been itching to see what it’s like to live with the new Telluride, and we finally got out chance. This is what we’ve learned after a week of driving the Hyundai Telluride.
2020 Nissan Sentra - Driven
The Sentra might be Nissan’s best-selling model of all time, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s been labeled as “cheap,” “uninspired,” or “sluggish.” Those claims to fame come courtesy of the last-generation model that has, thankfully, been replaced. For the 2020 model year, the Nissan Sentra ditches its old digs for a new Maxima-inspired design that sits atop a new platform. That old, sluggish 1.8-liter engine has been replaced with something a little more responsible and powerful, the 2.0-liter from the Nissan Rogue.
With the Nissan Sentra set to hit dealers in late February, Nissan invited us to give its updated compact sedan a test drive to see just how much better it really is. This is our experience.
2020 BMW X7 - Driven
The BMW X7 is one of the newest models in Bimmer’s lineup, and it serves a noble purpose as the brand’s flagship SUV (or Sports Activity Vehicle, if you listen to BMW’s “we-need-to-be-different” nonsense.) It was announced back in 2014, and shown off in concept form (the BMW X7 iPerformance Concept) in 2017, but wasn’t available at dealers until March 2019. Since then, we’ve been itching to get behind the wheel of one, and BMW was happy to oblige.
As you might expect from a flagship model, the X7 is about as luxurious as you can get without dipping your toes in the six-figure range. It comes close, with the X7 XDrive50i commanding an MSRP of $92,600, but it won’t cross that big mark unless you start checking off option boxes. Even the M50i falls just shy of six figures at $99,600. Under the hood of our xDrive50i sat a 4.4-liter V-8 (the same one that may be discontinued soon enough,) and it was good for 456 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. The sprint to 60 mph was rated at 5.2, but we got there in just a hair over 5 seconds, mighty impressive for a vehicle that weighs 5,617 pounds.
Interior space of the X7 was great, but what really caught our attention was the air suspension that would raise or lower as needed. Loading something into the rear? No problem, the suspension will drop to make it easier for you. Going over rough roads? Raise it up a notch. Spirited driving? The suspension will help keep things level. It’s like there’s nothing it can’t do. Comfort was on par with what you would expect, while materials and fit and finish were top notch.
We’re busy writing out in-depth review and driving impression of the 2020 BMW X7 right now, but until we’re done, we’ve posted our awesome photo gallery in the slider above and further down the page – be sure to check it out.
2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody – Driven
These days, the “Hellcat” name is synonymous with power, and that holds true with the Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody. Much like the standard Hellcat, this Charger sits in a very small bubble that includes cars like the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, Chevy Corvette Stingray, and even the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye. It’s the unique, four-door configuration that really made the Charger Hellcat stand out, and the widebody model takes that to the next level. Make no mistake, the Widebody charger isn’t just an aesthetic package, and we got to experience just what it has to offer. This is what our week-long experience with 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody was like.
2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo - Driven
The R35 Nissan GT-R has been on the market since 2009, so it’s getting pretty long in the tooth. Be that as it may, car enthusiasts everywhere paint it as one of the world’s best cars. It is, quite literally, one of the fastest point-to-point cars on the planet, something it can lay claim to thanks to its precisely tuned chassis, sophisticated AWD system, a monstrous twin-turbo V-6, and race-proven roots that cannot be denied. But, being more than a decade old, makes paying six figures a tough pill to swallow, so it begs the question, is the Nissan GT-R actually worth buying? Is it still one of the best-driving cars in the world, and does its performance hold a candle to the new sports cars on the market?
We set out to find answers to those questions and more, and Nissan was kind enough to lend us a 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo for an entire week to do with as we please. Needless to say, it’s been a very fun week and, despite the GT-R’s age, Nissan has done a fairly decent job of keeping things somewhat fresh and interesting. This is our story with the Nissan GT-R Nismo.
2020 Nissan Versa - Driven
The third-generation Nissan Versa was launched and the 2019 New York Auto Show, and with it came an all-new design inside an out. The new Versa features a wider body, was finally updated to feature Nissan’s V-Motion grille, and the rear end benefits form boomerang-shaped tail lights. We got the chance to test the SR model, so it had the extra spoiler on the rear deck but overall, as a package, the new Versa is sportier and more aggressive than before.
The interior felt a dramatic revamp as well, borrowing features from the recently updated Maxima and Altima. The new “Gliding Wing” instrument panel is probably the most recognizable change here, but we also had the SR model, so we were focused on things like the flat-bottom steering wheel, seven-inch infotainment display, and the red and black interior. In terms of cargo room, the Versa will swallow up 14.3 cubic-feet of goods with the rear seats in place or as much as 88.9 with the seats folded down.
Under the hood of our SR tester sits a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that was completely revamped from the last model. It delivers a meager 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque, which is, impressively, 12-percent more horsepower and 7-percent more torque. The engine sent the power to the front, 17-inch wheels via an automatic transmission. Pricing for the Versa SR starts at $18,240, but ours was priced at $21,490 with a few option boxes checked. Stay tuned for a full, in-depth review of the 2019 Nissan Versa SR.
2020 Ram 2500 HD - Driven
Although Ram has been around the block for almost four decades, it was not until recently that the brand became a household name and a serious contender to the undisputed king of the industry, the Ford F-Series. Ram is essentially a by-product of Dodge and is a fully-owned subsidiary of the FCA since 2014. The name might be new, but the company has been building trucks since the 1970s under the name ’Fargo Trucks’ which was sold outside the United States..
The marque has essentially gone through a paradigm shift over the last decade and is consistently rising up the sales chart. In 2019, Ram sold over 630,000 examples; almost 60,000 more than the Chevy Silverado, to occupy the runner-up position. A lot of it can be credited to the fantastic engines in the lineup, and Ram’s constant effort to infuse luxury into its cargo-haulers. Not to mention, it has been paying a lot attention to safety as well. To top it all off, these trucks became an overnight sensation when Ram announced a 1,000 pound-feet of torque figure for the 3500 series. The Ram 2500 doesn’t boast of that, but it still has a lot going in its favor to be deemed as a potent threat to the Blue Oval and the Bowtie.
The model that arrived at the TopSpeed HQ was a black Ram 2500 HD Laramie. This is a mid-level trim that may not come with the best features that Ram has to offer, but it is one of the most practical trims to buy that covers all the basic essentials you would need on a daily basis. The truck came with a Cummins engine under the hood, a large touchscreen system on the inside, and a fairly wide, intimidating footprint that would shoo away all the smaller vehicles on the road with ease. But, when you pit it against the like-for-like trims of Ford and Chevy products on paper, it feels a little weak.
With that said, the Ram 2500 HD Laramie is still a strong contender and worthy of being shortlisted in your book if you’re in the market for a heavy-duty truck priced at around $50,000.
The seventh-generation Subaru Legacy debuted at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, and less than a year later, we finally got to get behind the wheel of one. Right away, we were impressed. It’s built on top of Subaru’s newly optimized global platform, which means it’s stiffer in all the right places. And, thanks to Subaru’s newly adopted Dynamic X Solid philosophy that makes the Legacy more expressive than even – something that’s clearly visible in the front end design and in the rear where the rear decklid is morphed into a makeshift spoiler of sorts.
The interior probably got the biggest update, though, with the major highlight being that new 11.6-inch, vertically oriented infotainment display. It’s dubbed “HD Subaru Starlink,” and it’s about as modern as you can get without stepping into a Mercedes. Other interior features worth boasting is the new Nappa leather – a first for the Legacy and Subaru as a company – improved headroom and legroom, and improved cargo capacity.
Subaru has finally decided to Turbocharge the Legacy for the first time since 2012, and our Legacy XT tester featured a 2.4-liter Boxer engine that delivers a cool 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. All of that is sent through a CVT with a somewhat decent manual mode. It doesn’t make up for the lack of a manual or something with real gears, but it’s definitely not the worst CVT on the market. Four-wheel drive is, as you’d expect, a standard affair, and it took our tester just 6.1 seconds to hit 60 mph – not bad for a family sedan that’s also safe. The Subaru Legacy starts out at $22,745, but to get an XT model like ours, you’ll have to pony up at least $34,195 or $35,895 for the XT Touring.
2019 Volkswagen Golf GTi - Driven
We have been itching to get behind the wheel of the 2020 Volkswagen Golf Mk. 8 and would really love to try out the yet-to-be-released Mk. 8 Golf GTi, but we’ve been told we still have to wait a while. To make things good, however, and hold us over, Volkswagen decided to send out an MK. 7 2019 Golf GTi and, while it wasn’t exactly what we wanted, we have to admit that the week we spent with it was beyond memorable.
As you can see from the photo gallery organized into the slider above and the page below, the Golf GTi, even in its older design, is quite the looker. It’s attractive from all angles, and the interior really gives you the feeling that you’re sitting in a proper hot hatch. The flat-bottom steering wheel and eight-inch infotainment displayed helped in the regard, but the overall fitment of the seats and materials put together one hell of a package.
The 2.0-liter turbo-four under the hood isn’t the most powerful four-cylinder on the block – the title is reserved for the Mercedes-AMG A45S – but it’s powerful enough to keep just about any enthusiast happy at 228 ponies and 258 pound-feet of torque. Volkswagen claims that’s good for a 5.7-second sprint to 60 mph, but we actually got there around one-tenth faster. More impressive than that is the fact that this baby is as nimble as can be. The 35.8-foot turning circle means it can turn on a dime (this is much better than both the Focus ST and i30 N that it competes with) while the 5.1-inch ride height feels like the sweet spot in terms of dealing with typical road conditions.
All told, our week with the Golf GTi isn’t one that we’ll forget, and we can’t wait to try out the MK.8 to see just how Volkswagen will manage to improve. Until that happens, though, you can enjoy our massive photo gallery. We’re busy putting together an in-depth review on the 2019 golf GTi, so be sure to check back in with us soon to learn the finer details!
2020 Lincoln Aviator - Driven
The Aviator name was revived back in 2019 as a replacement for the Lincoln MKT. Ever since, we’ve been dying to get our hands on one to see just how well it actually represents Lincoln as a brand and if it can actually handle the stiff competition in the premium SUV segment. Well, our requests were finally answered and a Lincoln Aviator showed up at TopSpeed HQ with full tank of gas and the paperwork that said we could drive it for a week. And, drive it we did.
Any negative preconceptions we had about the Lincoln brand or the Aviator in general were axed the second we stepped inside. The cabin, for the most part, feels highly premium and the layout was very spacious. We didn’t have the hybrid model, so all our power came from the 3.0-liter V-6 that was good for 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque, two figures that proved themselves to be more than enough for a vehicle this caliber.
We were equally impressed with the amount of available cargo room (up to 77.t cubic-feet with all the seats folder flat, and the technology inside felt really upscale compared to what we expected based on previous experience with Lincoln models. Our model started out at $51,100, but our tester was fitted with a couple of options that made it a little more expensive. We’re busy putting together an in-depth buyer’s guide for this very vehicle, so until then check out the full, high-resolution photo gallery that we’ve added to the slider above or the body of the page below.
Turboant X7 Electric Scooter Review
The entry-level electric scooter niche is a cutthroat affair right now. Companies that are more or less known in the scooter industry are battling for a piece of the pie as more and more riders are looking at e-scooters as a solution to avoid clogged city traffic or simply as an alternative to shabby public transportation networks that don’t properly cover their areas.
Enter Turboant and their X7 electric scooter, a contraption that’s looking to dethrone the hugely-popular Xiaomi Mi M365 and steal some of its customers. Turboant was kind enough to send us the X7 for reviewing purposes, so inevitably, we took it for a spin. Our impressions are for you to read in the hands-on review that continues below.
2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven
Audi updated the TT-RS for the 2019 model year, and after just a year on the market, we finally managed to get our hands on one. To our surprise, we found that the updated front and rear designs actually give the TT-RS a more dynamic, yet aggressive look. That is thanks to, at least in part, the new honeycomb grille up front that’s paired with the contrasted front spoiler lip.
Further emphasizing the sporty appearance of our TT-RS tester were the black mirror caps, the black accents on the rear spoiler, and the black diffuser-like elements in the rear fascia. Most people wouldn’t recognize some of the smaller bits, but those black legs for the spoiler, for instance, really stand out with the black accents on the rear decklid and the taillights.
The interior design of the TT-RS just screams performance and, at times, we almost felt like we were driving a Porsche. Maybe it’s the honeycomb inserts on the seats, the low seating position, or the material on the flat-bottom steering wheel. Honestly, it was probably a combination of all three, but we were so mesmerized by the crispness of the Audi virtual cockpit it was hard to look away.
Under the hood sits Audi’s classic 2.5-liter inline-five with 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. We really wish we had a six-speed manual, but unfortunately, the best we could ask for was the seven-speed automatic. The AWD was nice and, despite Audi’s claims of a 3.7-second sprint to 60 mph, we actually clocked the same run somewhere in the high-3.5 to low-3.6 range on multiple occasions. If we had tried a top speed run, we would have been limited to 155 mph (we didn’t break the highway speed limit, though) however, if you’re willing to pay for it, you could get that limit raised to 174 mph. Pricing for our tester, as you see it here, was $77,490.
2020 BMW X6 - Driven
The BMW X6 has been around since 2007, and in the space of 13 years, it has become one of the most popular coupe-SUVs in the segment. Now that the third-generation X6 (GO6) has arrived, Bimmer’s resident coupe-SUV is ready to take on all comers in its segment. The third-generation X6 comes with plenty of upgrades. All the press releases and first-wave reviews made points of all of that. But you don’t get to appreciate these upgrades until you actually see the X6 in person, as we did when we recently took one out for a spin around town.
The all-new X6 looks good on paper, but it looks even better up close. BMW outdid itself in designing a coupe-SUV that fully embraces its identity. The X6 also comes with a gorgeous interior, though that’s hardly a surprise considering the company that makes it. Very little about the all-new X6 comes as a disappointment, though considering the market that it calls home, it’s still going to have a fight in its hands against some of its rivals. BMW did the new X6 proud, though. It’s arriving at the party packing serious lead.
BMW Introduced the seventh-generation G20 3 Series for the 2019 model year and with it came a new design language, update engines, and some features from models like the 5 Series and X5, among others. To top all this off, it’s also just a bit larger and more aggressive than the seven-year-old F30 3 Series that it replaced. We didn’t get a chance to run the new 3 Series prototype around the track on the original pre-release test days, so we’ve been itching to see just how much better new the 3 Series is and whether or not all that new technology and new driving dynamics live up to the hype. So, we started reaching out in hopes of getting our hands on a new 3 Series tester, and BMW delivered. In fact, it delivered so well, that we got to spend a week with none other than the new 2020 BMW M340i – the best model you can get without going full-on M.
So, is the M340i really a poor man’s M3? Does it really compete against the Mercedes-AMG CLA45 or the Audi S5 Sportback? Does the M340i really deserve its time in the limelight? Well, after a week of a weird, love-hate affair with the 2020 BMW M340i, we have answers to all these questions and more. Here’s our experience….
2019 Audi A7 - Driven
In the past 20 to 25 years, automotive executives have been looking at ways to activate new areas of the public by coming up with weird niches, some more successful than others. The Audi A7 is a proud flag-bearer of the four-door coupe segment that’s managed to keep its head above the water as consumers flock to buy the latest crossover SUV. Get behind the wheel of Audi’s sleek answer to the Mercedes-Benz CLS and it’s easy to see why as this might just be one of the best models Audi currently sales Stateside.
Introduced back in 2017, the second-generation Audi A7 set about fixing just about everything that was wrong with the original luxury four-door coupe from Ingolstadt. Broadly speaking, the Germans have managed to tick all the boxes while also improving in areas that didn’t really need improving such as the design - one of Audi’s undeniable strengths despite what you may consider as an overly aggressive brand recognition strategy that ended up making all of Audi’s products look alike. Still, the A7 manages to stand out from the crowd with the single-piece rear light cluster and it looks sportier than ever, the muscular vibe given by the exterior being bolstered by its handling and performance. While not new on the market, we jumped at the opportunity of driving the A7 right away to see if there’s any wind left in the sails of this quirky niche.
2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
The Nissan Rogue is in its second generation, but it has been soldiering on since it was introduced in 2014 with only a mild facelift in 2017 and a safety equipment update in 2018. With all of the wide selection of compact SUVs on the market, we thought it would be a good idea to see how the aging Rogue holds up on an oh-so-competitive market. Does the Rogue’s appearance, interior comfort, safety systems, and technology hold up against the ever-growing crop of small crossovers or is Nissan in dire need of majorly updating the Rogue? Well, we found that out for ourselves and more – this is our experience with the 2020 Nissan Rogue.
2019 Fiat 500 Abarth Driven
The reborn, retro-chic, Fiat 500 first graced North American shores back in 2011 and now, eight years down the line, we got behind the wheel of the peppy Abarth version to get one final sting from the scorpion as the entire 500 range is being discontinued by Fiat-Chrysler. Prepare for some top-down driving as we assess whether we’ll miss the 500 for what it is or for its vibe akin to an endless summer holiday in the rolling hills of Tuscany.
2020 Jeep Renegade - Driven
The Jeep Renegade entered the market back in 2014 as a 2015 model and, despite the fact that it was expected to replace the Jeep Compass, the two models share a home in Jeep’s Lineup. The Renegade has changed a little bit with each model year, but the first official facelift didn’t happen until 2019 when a handful of subtle tweaks offered up a marginally fresh look. Curious to see how the updated Jeep Renegade compares to the launch model that we drove back in 2015, we asked FCA for a new loaner, and this is our thoughts after a week-long experience with the 2020 Jeep Renegade.
The Chevy Traverse had an identity complex during its first 8 years of life, with the first-gen model being a weird blend of crossover and minivan with GM’s old, not-so-attractive styling inside and out. Fortunately, the 2018 model year became the host of the second-gen Traverse, and it came with a true SUV appearance that doesn’t require the hardcore (and heavy) full-size truck DNA under the metal. As the roomiest three-row SUV on the market without those full-size truck underpinnings, we’ve been wondering how the second-gen Traverse really holds up against competitors like the Ford Explorer and Mazda CX-9. Finally, after two years on the market, we finally got the chance to get behind the wheel to find out for ourselves. This is our experience with the 2020 Chevy Traverse.
2019 BMW i3 - Driven
There aren’t too many models out there that can legitimately lay claim to being funkier than the Nissan Juke, but the BMW i3 is one of them. It was introduced in 2013 as BMW’s first step into the electric market with a single purpose in mind – to see if people would actually be interested in an electric BMW. Well, the i3 has served its purpose very well and actually received a lot of attention. Whether that attention was received because of its funky minivan-like hatchback appearance or because it was an electric BMW is up for debate, but after 6 years on the market BMW has no choice but to dig into the electric car segment even more, so you can write the i3 off as a success either way.
That success, however, doesn’t come without a price, and in this case, the BMW i3 is paying the ultimate price – it will eventually die off as BMW focuses on other electric vehicles. With the i3’s time on the Earth limited to the next few years as BMW runs out parts inventory, we decided it would be a great time to test out the i3 before it fades off into oblivion. After all, it’s the last of its kind and, therefore, is probably as good as it will ever get. This is our story of a week well spent with the soon-to-be-extinct BMW i3.
2019 Cadillac XT4 - Driven
Back in 2018, Cadillac finally decided that it was tired of missing out on sales in the compact SUV market and launched the XT4. This compact crossover was designed to compete against the best in the market, including the BMW X1, Mercedes GLC, Infiniti QX50, and Lexus NX, among others. Now that the XT4 has been on the market for well over a year, we decided it was time to get behind the wheel and see how it really holds up. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really seem to hold water against models from BMW, Mercedes, or Audi, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t compete in the market at all. This means there are a lot of questions to answer: How does the Cadillac XT4 drive, does it have enough passenger space, and what about cargo room? What models does the XT4 actually compete against? Well, we spent a week with the XT4, and we’re here to answer all those questions and more . This is what we’ve learned after spending a week with Cadillac’s latest compact crossover.
2019 Hyundai Elantra Sport - Driven
The Hyundai Elantra isn’t exactly a spring chicken, being on the market for two decades as of 2020. Over the years, it’s gone through five generational shifts, with the most recent taking place in 2015 with a major facelift happening in 2019. The Elantra of today is completely different than the car it once was and has moved on from its econobox roots into all-new territory where its design and driving dynamics can compete with great authority over the models it competes with, including the Honda Civic, Chevy Cruze, and even the Volkswagen Jetta. These days, the range-topping model in the lineup is the Elantra Sport, and we’ve been wondering just how sporty it really is. Well, we’ve finally had a chance to spend some time with it, and this is our experience.
The Chrysler Pacifica was introduced in 2016 as a replacement for the Chrysler Town & Country, but it wasn’t until 2017 that the Pacifica Hybrid was launched. As a model that only has a couple of years under its belt, the Pacifica is still relatively fresh on the market and is one of the few minivans that are still in production for the U.S. Market. What’s even more interesting is the fact that Chrysler has managed to create its own little niche of sorts, as the Pacifica Hybrid – the model you see here – is the only hybrid minivan on the market. That means it doesn’t have any prerequisite standard to live up to and is responsible for setting its own standard. With it competing against non-hybrid minivans we have actually been very curious about how well it stacks up against the less-sophisticated competition.
Is the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid really worth buying in terms of fuel economy, comfort, and value? Is it a worth competitor for the new Honda Odyssey or nearly decade-old Toyota Sienna? Well, we managed to score a week with the Pacific Hybrid, and we set out to answer these questions and more. Here’s what we learned after spending a week with the market’s only hybrid minivan.
2019 Ford Mustang GT
The Ford Mustang has a rich history that dates all the way back to the 1962 Ford Mustang I two-seater concept. It wasn’t until mid-1964 that it was introduced in production form (just two weeks after Plymouth introduced the first Barracuda) and has been in production ever since, with the sixth-generation model, the model you see here, being introduced in 2015. For one reason or another, we haven’t had a chance to get our hands on a sixth-gen model, but all that has changed now, and we happened to be graced with the 2019 Ford Mustang GT Convertible. With the bright green pony car sitting in our parking lot, we couldn’t wait to drive it. And, despite the fact that we had a whole week to get acquainted, we got right to putting the GT Convertible, and its 5.0-liter V-8 to the test.
Does it compete well with the Chevy Camaro Convertible? What about, on the other end of the spectrum, the BMW 4 Series Cabriolet? Well, this is our experience and what we thought about it. Strap in folks, this is going to be one long ride.
2019 Land Rover Range Rover Sport - Driven
Despite offering one of the most premium cabins in its SUVs, Land Rover is still not recalled as a luxurious brand. It is, however, synonymous with reliable, tough off-roaders. But, if you have spent some time with any of the latest models, you will realize that the brand has come a long way in terms of spoiling and pampering the customer. It can give the big three Germans a tough fight in this aspect. And the Land Rover Range Rover Sport further strengthens this faith. Just like any other model in its lineup, the Range Rover Sport will definitely age gracefully and blend well with the upcoming new crop of EVs that look like they belong to another planet. But is the Range Rover Sport all about the aesthetics and luxuriousness? We laid our hands on it and our answer is...of course not!
2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven
When you see one on the street, you can’t stop staring. The long hood, the aggressive nose with the classic-looking grille, the big wheels hiding sizeable brakes and the short tail. It’s got all the ingredients of a Gran Turismo built by the book and, in Roadster trim, it offers limitless headroom for those endless summer days.
The AMG GT is everything the SLS was plus some more and the AMG GT C Roadster is the most powerful and fastest AMG GT with a drop-top that you can get Stateside for now, as no GT S Roadster is offered for the 2019 model year. Still, with 550 horsepower and a top speed that comes perilously close to 200 mph, it’s hard to see why you’d want more. The good news is that, in spite of all of the muscle, the AMG GT C Roadster still offers all the refinement you’d expect coming from a product of the Mercedes house.
If you want to enjoy the best that Affalterbach’s got to offer, you can’t go wrong with the Mercedes-AMG GT, the two-door sports car from the brand with the three-pointed star that’s ready to take on all of the GTs on the market, including the 911, the Corvette, and the Audi R8 - and do it with an added dose of style. Yes, the gullwing doors that made the SLS feel extra special are no more but let’s not forget Lamborghini isn’t offering scissor doors on all its models either - and you can hardly complain when behind the wheel of one. The chassis is on point, as is the paddle-controlled automatic transmission that helps you get from naught to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. We tested one to see if the $34,150 price gap between the standard AMG GT Roadster and the C version is worth it. Read on to find out.
The Fiat 500 L is classified as a Compact MPV – Minivan, as we know the term here in the United States – but it’s really more of a compact SUV or large hatchback. It’s been on the global market since 2012, but Fiat didn’t bring it to the states until the 2014 model year. It’s been on the market ever since, and was updated in 2018, but the truth of the matter is that the 500 L is still nearly eight years old. With this in mind, we’re kind of curious if the city car on steroids – remember, it’s based on the 500 city car – is still a viable choice in today’s market.
So, we spoke with our press fleet coordinator and managed to get our hands on a 2019 Fiat 500 L. A couple of weeks later, a 2019 Fiat 500 L Trekking showed up at Top Speed headquarters. This trim level sits above the entry-level Pop trim, but below the upper-class Urbana and Lounge trim levels with a starting price of $23,575. It is certainly positioned right in the middle of the affordable price bracket, but how does it drive? Is the aging 500 L comfortable and up to par with the competition? Does it provide the same thrills and entertaining experience as the smaller 500 that it’s based on? Well, after spending a week with the 2019 Fiat 500 L, we have answers to these questions and more – this is our story.
2019 Genesis G70 - Driven
We know and you know that if you want a compact luxury sedan without thinking twice you’ll check in at your local Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz dealer and ask for an offer on one of the Famous Three. But we reckon there are better options out there, cars that’ll cost you less and offer more than you could ask for at that price point while also not disappoint you in terms of performance, comfort, quality, and maintenance. Such a car is the Genesis G70, the 2019 North American Car Of The Year. We drove one powered by the 3.3-liter turbocharged engine and we think you shouldn’t jump straight to a Merc C43 or BMW M340i before taking a good close look at the G70.
The compact luxury sedan market is packed at the moment, as it always has been. The German stranglehold on the segment may seem like an unbreakable status quo and it’s not for lack of trying from the likes of Infiniti, Acura or Lexus. More recently, the Koreans also want a piece of the action and there’s some promise in what they offer: Kia’s coming forth with the Stinger that has impressed us in its top-of-the-line specification while Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury brand, launched the G70 in 2017 as its third model and a direct rival to the 3 Series, C Class, and A4. It was penned by the same guy who came up with the Stinger’s aggressive lines but the G70 is a much more traditional-looking sedan. Still, it’s not a car you would be blamed for turning around to get another look at and it’s got more tricks up its sleeve under the skin. Overall, it may not be a complete match for the offering from Stuttgart, Munich, and Ingolstadt but we think this is a car that’s perfect for the conscious buyer who’s stepping up to a luxury compact sedan.
2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
The year was 2018, and it was time for BMW to have a Halo car outside of the aging i8, but BMW didn’t go for another EV or a high-powered supercar. Instead, after a 20-year hiatus, BMW decided that it was time to revive the 8 Series name, and that’s exactly what happened on June 15, 2018. The modern, sporty 2019 BMW 8 Series shot like an arrow straight to the heart of purists as BMW let out the roaring promise of crippling power in a sexy coupe silhouette – 523 horsepower in M850i form, to be specific. Since the return of the new 8 Series that hot day in the middle of June, the 8 Series lineup has expanded to include the 840i, M850i, M8, and the soon-to-launch Gran Coupe that should be offered in both M850i and M8 form.
Like most BMW fanboys, we started picking apart the new BMW 8 Series. We wondered: Is it worthy of the 8 Series name? Will it be worth the near-six-figure price? Can this large of a car really offer up the performance, handling, and luxury that not only have we come to expect from BMW but from something that wears the crown of a halo car? We’ve set out to find the truth on a number of occasions, and have even compared it on paper to the 6 Series, the Aston Martin DB11, and the Mercedes S-Class. It wasn’t until Summer of 2019 that we actually got to sit behind the wheel of the new 8 Series, though. But, when we did, we were graced with the honor of driving the M850i Convertible – a model that is said to blend 523 horsepower, world-class driving dynamics, and the best open-air feeling on the market.
The question now is, however, does the all-new 8 Series actually live up to the bold claims made by BMW? Well, we spent a whole week with the M850i Convertible, and this is our story. You might want to buckle up because things get interesting!!
Mercedes-AMG C43 Convertible - Driven
As an entry-level luxury performance cabriolet within the AMG lineup, the Mercedes-AMG C43 Cabriolet continues a famous line of Mercedes-branded convertibles that shaped this part of the automotive landscape. With the latest redesign, the Mercedes-AMG C43 Cabriolet brings more power, a more aggressive exterior, and refined tech onboard. Our test drive revealed if it still has the grace and unique character that every Mercedes cabriolet carries with pride.
2019 Chevrolet Blazer - Driven
The Chevy Blazer name dates back to 1969 when Chevy introduced the K5 Balzer, a large, rugged SUV with some serious utility and off-road chops. The Blazer name remained in use for this specific model until 1994 when GM decided the Tahoe name was a better fit. In 1983, 11 years before the K5 Blazer was discontinued, Chevy slapped the Blazer name on a smaller SUV known as the S-10 Blazer. From 1990 to 2000, there was a rebadged Tahoe sold in certain markets as the “Grand Blazer.” Despite the different shapes and sizes and designs over the years, there’s one thing all of these models stayed true to, and that was their beastly nature and ability to go anywhere while taking one hell of a beating. This trend continued all the way until 2005 when Chevy discontinued the S10 Blazer and shelved the name for what we thought would be forever. Then, 2019 came, and here were are looking at the Blazer name all over again.
The problem with the new, 2019 Chevy Blazer is that it has attracted polarizing opinions. For some, the new Blazer is too much of a family hauler with little ability to go off-road and, thus, just doesn’t live up to the Blazer name – especially when you consider Ford’s bringing back a boxy Bronco and Ram is bring back the RamCharger. Others, however, seem to like the design of the new Blazer – it’s sporty thanks to its Camaro design cues, has decent interior space, and may even be a good family vehicle. This second group of opinion makers are, obviously, the ones that didn’t look at the old Blazer as a part of Chevy heritage. But this is where we are now, and when we got the opportunity to try out the new Blazer to see how it holds up in the real world, we couldn’t turn down the opportunity. Does it oppose a true threat to the segment, or did Chevy drop the ball? Join us as we explore the all-new Chevy Blazer and how it holds up against the competition.
2019 Infinity QX80 - Driven
The Infiniti QX80 isn’t exactly a spring chicken. If you count the three years that it was on the market as the “QX56,” this full-size SUV has been on the market for nearly a decade. This is a rather long lifestyle for an SUV in today’s automotive climate, but the QX80 is a very niche vehicle; not in size and purpose but in terms of sales for the brand. When you look at overall sales of the XC80, the figures don’t look that great. In 2016, Chevy sold more than 103,000 Tahoes, and even Cadillac sold some 23,000 examples of the Escalade. The QX80, though? Infiniti moved just 14,085 over all of 2016, and that was an 8.3-percent increase over 2015. With that in mind, the company can’t exactly give it a short lifespan like other automakers can their full-sized, wide-selling SUVs.
That doesn’t mean the QX80 has been ignored, however. On the contrary, it was actually refreshed when Infiniti swapped its name over from QX56, and it was refreshed again in 2017. The overall appearance of the QC80 isn’t displeasing to look at, and when we were offered the chance to spend a few days and give it a good thorough test drive, we couldn’t turn down the offer. Immediately we started asking ourselves questions: Can it still hold its own in a market with much newer, more advanced vehicles? Does it’s aged chassis still deliver driving dynamics and comfortability that’s on par with other full-sized, luxury SUVs on the market today? Should someone really pay anywhere between $65,000 and upward of $90,000 for a vehicle that’s due for retirement? Well, we’ve set out to figure out just how well the QX80 has aged over the years – you just might be surprised.
2019 Hyundai Kona
The Kona is Hyundai’s smallest crossover, a quirky looking model that was conceived to challenge the established names in the subcompact niche like Mazda’s CX-3, the Toyota C-HR, and the Honda HR-V. Starting at little over $19,240, the Kona offers up to 175 horsepower although the base engine is far less powerful. The design is, if anything, divisive and the fuel consumption is on par with what the rivals come up with at 33 mpg highway.
Hyundai, like Citroen, is an adopter of the ’big-grille-and-narrow-headlights’ design language for some of its crossover SUV models and you can see that in the facial expression of the Kona that somewhat mimics its much larger brother, the eight-passenger Palisade. But that’s about as much as these two models share with the Kona being a budget offering, something you’ll see and feel in the cabin, although you now get more equipment in standard than you did with the 2018 MY.
The Kona is still a new model so judgment on its long-term reliability will have to wait but you may like to know that the Kona, both in hybrid and non-hybrid guise, was the recipient of the 2019 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year award making the Kona the first subcompact crossover to ever win this award. We drove a cherry red Kona to see if it deserves all the accolades and you can read more about it below.
2019 Land Rover Range Rover SV Autobiography by SVO - Driven
When you put words like luxury, performance, and SUV in the same sentence, the first names that probably come to mind are BMW, Audi, Bentley, or maybe even Lamborghini. But, what about Land Rover? It seems to be a brand that resides in the shadowy depths of our brains instead of up front where it really belongs. This never became more evident until we managed to get our hands on a Land Rover Range Rover SVAutobiography. From the second we came into contact with the SVA, the exterior design started tickling our interest, and we only became more fascinated with it once we sat down inside. In short, we couldn’t wait to drive it and experience the whole package. How does it handle? Is it comfortable for longer drives? Is that 557-horsepower V-8 too much for a vehicle like this or not enough, and how does its performance stack up against the competition? We decided to find out for ourselves, and this is our experience with the 2019 Land Rover Range Rover SVAutobiography.
2019 Lincoln MKC - Driven
Lincoln has updated the MKC crossover for the 2019 model year, and with this refresh, the manufacturer aims to make its smallest SUV more attractive among the many talented rivals in its segment. The pre-facelift MKC was already pretty good, although not perfect, but now Lincoln says there is even more to like about it.
We tried the top of the range, The 2019 Lincoln MKC “Black Label”, with the more powerful of the two available engines, the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder turbo. In this spec, the MKC doesn’t leave you wanting for power, presence, or luxury, but at the same time it’s not perfect and we understand why these aren’t flying out of showrooms.
It is by no means a bad way to spend around $50,000 on a posh compact SUV that also happens to be made by an American brand. In the configuration we tested it in, it’s actually quite pleasant to live with - it’s even fun on occasion, especially with the 2.3-liter engine that comes as standard with grippy all-wheel drive.
2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI 2.0 Autobahn Driven
For 45 years, the Volkswagen Golf has proudly carried the compact hatchback flag for Volkswagen. For 45 years, the Golf has established itself as one of the most popular models in its segment. And for 45 years, the Golf continues to be one of VW’s most popular models. Generations have passed and versions have come and gone; through it all, the Golf name has remained front and center in the conversation on the best hatchback models in the market. That reputation has extended to the Golf’s sporty alter-ego, the GTI.
It’s no secret that the Golf GTI has evolved into a separate model with a separate identity from its Golf brethren. Need proof of that? Look no further than the 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn, the range-topping version of the current GTI line that proudly carries the name of Germany’s famous thoroughfare. Does the 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn live up to the billing as one of the finest sporty compact hatchbacks in the market today? More importantly, does it live up to the billing of the Golf name from where it traces its roots and the Autobahn from which it was named after? We got our hands on a 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn seeking answers to these questions, and, for what it’s worth, our questions were answered emphatically.
2019 BMW i8 Roadster Driven
The BMW i8 Roadster is the car you want to have if you want to make more statements at once. If you want to look wealthy, unusual, and with an eye towards our future, you should park an i8 in your driveway. The 2+2 sports car still looks fresh six years into its production cycle and, as much as we love the glassed roof of the coupe, this roadster version is the one to have during the summer months. We took one for a spin to see if BMW has lost the lead in the hybrid sports car segment or if the i8 is still the king of the crop.
Now, the first thing you must know about the i8 Roadster is the concession it pushes you to make: due to the fact that you no longer have a fixed roof over your head and, instead, you have to make do with a soft top, there are o back seats. The place where the back seats used to be is eaten up by the two-piece, electrified roof when it’s folded away from view. On the other hand, you do get just as much oomph as in the case of the Coupe, namely 369 horsepower combined that translate to a 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds. Also, the roofless i8 was the first to come with the 11.6 kWh battery pack that feeds the single synchronous electric motor on the front axle and the one that sits on the back axle, near the engine.
2019 Mercedes-AMG S 63 Coupe - Driven
In rankings of popular super luxury grand tourers, the Mercedes-AMG S 63 Coupe often gets the shaft when compared with the likes of the Bentley Continental GT, Aston Martin DB11, and Rolls-Royce Wraith. It’s not conventional to think of the AMG S 63 Coupe in the same category as these models, and yet, the German saloon has proven, time and again, that it doesn’t only belong in the conversation, but it can also lay claim to being the best of the lot. The 2019 Mercedes-AMG S 63 Coupe, in particular, personifies the split identity of this segment. It’s civil and brutal at the same time, deliberate and raunchy, advanced beyond measure yet ferociously savage when it needs to be. It tugs at the essence of what a grand tourer should be, and in doing so, it’s staking claim to a throne that has previously — and unfairly — been out of its reach.
2019 Genesis G70
We all know Nissan’s Infiniti or Toyota’s Lexus, but we’re just getting to grips with Korean automaker’s Hyundai luxury brand, Genesis. It’s only four years old and, now, we got a taste of its latest offering, the G70, a compact luxury sedan that slots below the brand’s current offerings, the G80 and the G90. Genesis hopes to shake up the German constabulary in the segment, but this won’t be easy in a world where people sometimes look for a certain badge above all else when getting ready to take out their wallets.
In general, luxury car manufacturers are gathering a clientele by assuring its devotees that the car they’re getting is more than just a means of transportation, that’s a way for them to show to the world who they are and what they are. That’s why the brand image is vital in the luxury segment. That’s why companies that have been around the block for a while and have been able to build this image and project it onto the world (making it possible for its customers to project it back onto others) are successful while newer brands sometimes struggle to get off the ground. Genesis, which should never be confused with the Hyundai Genesis, tries to convince people that they should stray away from their Audis and Mercs and even their Lexuses and, instead, try the Korean recipe.
Considering how far Hyundai but also Kia have gone in the past decade and a half, is it safe to assume that Genesis can put its money where its mouth is? Well, that’s why we were more than happy to have a closer look at a G70, a car that’s supposed to fend off the BMW 3 Series, which has just climbed up to a new generation, the Mercedes-Benz C Class, and the Audi A4 - if we are to mention just the ICE-powered Germans. In fact, the compact luxury sedan segment is so large, Genesis will have a hard time making any sort of headlines but, as we’ve seen, it’s been able to do just that so this car is one that’s certainly strong on its feet although it has no history to rely on (and that may be a good thing).
When you say Ford Mustang, it can conjure up a very wide and different array of iconic models in peoples head. Most will probably associate the name with a V-8 coupe of some sort or maybe an old-school muscle car, but nowadays you can buy the Mustang as a drop-top four-cylinder. And, we bet you aren’t yet convinced whether one is worth the money or not.
Well, it depends a lot on what you plan to do with your new Mustang. If you want to have a fast daily that’s properly quick, you get the V8-powered GT. Meanwhile, if you want to take your car to regular track days, you spring for the GT350R, widely acknowledged as being the best car ever to bear a Mustang badge. So, where does that leave the Mustang convertible with a four-pot? It’s for people who don’t want to go around corners at crazy speeds faster than the next car just have to out-accelerate most cars on the road.
It has softer suspension than the hardtop, and because it has no roof, it doesn’t have the coupe’s structural rigidity. This translates into a far more relaxed driving experience where you are not edged to drive faster, brake later, and whip the car’s tail out at every opportunity. It can still do all these things very well, but when you subject it to them, the feedback it provides you suggests it is not enjoying the treatment.
As a swift cruiser that looks great and, maybe more importantly, you look cool in, there are few better cars out there for the money. Its turbocharged engine is pokey enough to make any overtaking maneuver a breeze, and because it is downsized, it returns much better efficiency numbers compared to the V-8. The automatic gearbox on our tester could have been snappier, and even though this convertible is a really relaxed flavor of Mustang, getting it with the six-speed stick makes a lot of sense.
2019 Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 S - Driven
Ever since Mercedes acquired AMG, in 1999, the Three Pointed Star has been hot on BMW’s heels making increasingly good (and good to drive) super sedans. Now, it looks like we have reached a point where the current Mercedes-AMG E63 is as good as BMW’s M5, if not better in several areas.
This is unprecedented because previous hot E-Class models were fun to slide around while producing plumes of tire smoke and also launch off the line (an experience also often accompanied by a bit too much tire smoke). Now, the current E63 S has all-wheel drive to reign its massive power and torque figures in, it has excellent body control, sharp and direct steering, and it’s now a car that definitely appeals to exactly the same people who would consider buying the current BMW M5.
There is no question about it: the latest E63S AMG 4Matic+ is a precision machine with considerably more finesse to its handling compared to previous models. According to some, it’s currently the most accomplished, rewarding and best-to-drive vehicle in its class and, after spending some time with it, we agree. It’s bonkers fast but not really usable on the road, unless you fancy a run-in with the law (or running into the guard rails), so if you really want to explore its breadth of abilities, you take it to a track.
Just in time for Easter! Eggy car game challenges you to drive an innocent easter egg home without breaking it and while collecting rewards along the way. One cool bonus allows you to freeze the egg on the car, allowing you to accelerate without consequences. But watch out when the egg starts blinking, it will unfreeze soon and may crash and crack open unless you get your car back in check. Have fun driving the easter egg back to your family in one piece. This may be the most fun you will get during the holidays.
The Infiniti QX50 has been around since 2013 but drove straight into its second generation for the 2019 model year. The second-generation QX50 does look sportier, and it does feature better interior materials, but the real news in the VC-Turbo engine under the hood. This is Inifinities prized variable compression engine that is supposed to provide impressive performance along with superb fuel economy. And, it’s all controlled depending on input from the driver. When economy is desired, and the engine is under light load, the engine runs at high compression to cut fuel usage but, if you put your foot through the floor, compression will drop to as low as 8:1 and you’ll get fairly decent performance – almost like feelings Honda’s V-TEC kick in. We got to spend a week with a $55,000 version of the QX50 and, while we weren’t extremely impressed with it, we didn’t exactly hate it either. Check out our photo gallery and thoughts in our review below.
2019 Subaru WRX
The Subaru WRX is one of those sporty sedan rally cars that every enthusiast should drive at least once in their life. It went through a generational shift for the 2015 model year that made it even better, bringing new exterior looks, a longer A-Pillar, LED exterior lighting, a roomier interior, better outward visibility, and a new 2.0-liter four-banger that was 0.5-liters smaller than the outgoing unit but offered three extra ponies and 14 extra pound-feet which really helped to offset the 50+ pound weight gain than came with the new-gen model. It’s only been a couple of years since the new-gen model hit showrooms, and Subie put together some minor revisions for the 2018 model year. There was no power gain to speak of, unfortunately, but it did make some minor exterior styling updates, improved the suspension setup, updated the manual transmission, and now offers a new optional Performance pack – the latter of which you really want to know about if you’re hoping to ride off into the sunset with a new WRX. For 2019, there were no changes to speak of but we were excited to get our hands on one anyway. This was our experience.
2019 Subaru Forester
Subaru went all in with the 2019 Forester, and it really paid off. When you add up the fresh, modern look, all that interior space, a little bit of extra power, and loads of updated safety tech, it’s hard not to be mesmerized by this amazing piece of machinery. Of course, looks and features are only half the story, though. What about the experience of being behind the wheel? How does the Forester handle quick maneuvers? How is it for long trips? Well, we spent some one-on-one time the 2019 Forester, and this is our experience.
The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe represents the fourth generation of Hyundai’s most noticeable SUV. On the market since 2000, we’ve seen it transform from a basic, compact SUV into something that’s a little closer to being midsized but also closer to the premium category. For 2019, it’s more attractive and more advanced than ever. With a new exterior look, more upscale cabin (with more space than ever), and a lineup of fuel-efficient drivetrain choices, you really can’t go wrong with the Hyundai Santa Fe. We actually got our hands on a 2019 model and put it through the paces. Our tester was a 2.0T model, so we had the turbocharged engine that was very enjoyable to drive. As you’ll find out from our driven review below, the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe is easy to enjoy.
2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS - Driven
Mustangs and Camaro are so common these days, that one may think their commercial success is more about cheap pricing than real merit. The truth could not be farther and the Chevy Camaro SS is here to remind everyone, especially those of German origins, that American muscle icons are not only alive but Reborn.
The Camaro/Mustang fratricide competition has pushed each generations further in terms of handling and overall build quality. The 2019 Camaro is now a very mature, modern sport car. The high displacement V8 rumbles above the turbocharged imports, and the many years of testing at the Nurburgring is paying of large dividends. Add to the mix a newly found interest for quality interior and you have a car Europeans would dream to put their hands on. So let’s go ahead and dive into this ’Americana driving machine’.
2019 Lincoln Nautilus Black Label - Driven
The 2019 Lincoln Nautilus is the perfect example of what American car buyers want these days.A large vehicle capable of fitting a full family and its cargo, featuring a sporty look, commanding view of the road, and most importantly which doesn’t look like a minivan. Our tester Nautilus in its black label trim is pushing all gadgets and luxury known to man to also fit into the category of luxury cars. It does it all; it is all-wheel drive, hatchback, self-driving, and even good looking!. Let’s jump aboard for a quick driven review of this new offering from Lincoln, and see if daily life is as rosy as it seems.
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 350
The 2020 GLE is about to hit the US showrooms in late spring 2019, and let me tell to all SUV buyers out there, wait for it! This new generation is absolutely ground breaking when it comes to technology. No wonder Mercedes-Benz skipped the 2019 year model and jump straight into 2020. The new infotainment system called MBUX is stunning to look at and I wondered how I lived before without the self driving capabilities offered in these kind of vehicles. Follow me on a photo reportage of the GLE features.
2019 Chevrolet Bolt
The Chevy Bolt tends to have a bad rap because of the bow-tie emblem; it’s quirky DNA mashup between MPV and hatchback, and the fact that it’s not a Tesla. But, we managed to spend some one-on-one time with the Chevy Bolt and, well, let’s just say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Despite the general consensus surrounding GM’s compact EV, and all the hype generated by Tesla, the Bolt has found a place in our hearts. Here’s our story of a simple yet enjoyable getaway with none other than the 2019 Chevy Bolt.
Best flashlight for auto enthusiast : Fenix HL60R
For all of the press and hype surrounding the Toyota GT 86 and the Subaru BRZ, not a lot of people know or have given love to the third model of the bunch, the Scion FR-S.
All that’s about to change because the Scion FR-S has arrived. For those that have shed rivers of tears when they found out that neither the GT 86 nor the BRZ were headed Stateside, news that the FR-S will arrive in America is tantamount to a post Thanksgiving blessing.
Now, we’ve actually seen a concept version of the FR-S - called the FR-S Concept - at the New York Auto Show, so it really didn’t come as a surprise to a lot of us that the sports coupe was coming to the US, but seeing the concept and seeing the production version are two different things.
It doesn’t even matter that we’re not getting the GT 86 and the BRZ. We have the FR-S, and just like a child that comes to us, we’re going to shower it with as much love as we can possibly give.
Updated 05/15/2015: Scion today announced prices and updates for the 2015 FR-S sports car set to go on sale just in time for summer. Updates for the 2015 model year include: a more rigid front suspension and re-tuning of the rear shock absorbers, larger exhaust tips and for the interior an updated panel with a carbon fiber look. The model will also get auto on/off headlights. Prices for the 2015 FR-S will start from $24,900 for the six-speed manual version and $26,000 for the six-speed automatic one.
Find out more about the Scion FR-S after the jump.