2019 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.
2019 - 2020 Ducati Monster 821 Stealth
The Ducati Monster can trace its heritage back to the ’93 Monster 900, and the new “Stealth” variant serves as what you might call a highly-functional tribute piece for that venerated machine. It totes the usual suite of electronic gadgets with Ducati’s Quick Shift feature added to the stock package, and it boasts 100-plus horsepower in a design that is, paradoxically, both sexy and stocky at the same time.
Car For Sale: 2005 Ferrari 575 GTC Evoluzione
The Ferrari 575 GTC Evoluzione is a gorgeous, loud, and fast beast. It also heralded the end of an era for Ferrari as the last race car to come out of Maranello powered by a V-12 engine. What is more, Ferrari never built another GT1 car nor has there been a front-engined Ferrari on the race tracks of the world since the 575 and its sibling, the 550 Maranello, retired from top-level competition at the tail end of the noughties. Can you hear the fat lady’s song over the roar of the V-12?
It was all back in the early ’70s that Ferrari finally decided to pour the bulk of its resources into the F1 program and thus curtail its works-backed participation in top-level sports car endurance racing, bringing to an end an era that saw the Prancing Horse gallop to the top step of the podium at Le Mans a record nine times in just 16 years. But Ferraris kept racing in long-distance events and this, the 575 GTC, was Ferrari’s official answer to the re-born GT1 class a decade and a half ago.
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.
2018 - 2020 Ducati Monster 821
Newly revised in 2018, the Monster 821 from Ducati benefits from some trickle-down engineering from its big brother, the Monster 1200, and a host of new design touches all its own. A new tank, tail section, headlight and muffler gives it an all-new variation on the classic Monster look with due consideration for the original Monster 900. Duc’s Testastretta L-twin powerplant serves up streetfighter performance with 109 horsepower tucked away in the stable and a host of safety systems to aid the rider in keeping it all under control. Not an entry-level ride by any stretch of the imagination, the Monster 821 does offer an experienced rider a mercurial platform that can shift personalities at the touch of a button for a wide range of conditions and skill levels.
2019 - 2020 Kawasaki Ninja H2 R
Many of the major players offer a pure-D racetrack hypersport for the public’s consumption, and for Kawasaki, that honor falls to the freshly updated Ninja H2 R. The H2 R brings to the table the best Kawi has to offer along with top-flight aerodynamics and a supercharged engine on top of a full electronics suite making it a threat on the track right out of the box. That’s about the only place it’s a threat though, since the H2 R is far too awesome to be street legal, and as a track-only bike, it wastes not an ounce on any silly old mirrors, headlights, or turn signals. Carbon-fiber components complete the package with their own brand of lightweight strength.
2021 Genesis GV80
The 2021 Genesis GV80 is a midsize SUV from Hyundai’s premium vehicle division. The company’s first crossover, it joins a lineup made of three sedans, so it’s also the company’s largest vehicle yet. Unveiled in South Korea, Genesis’ home market, in January 2020, the GV80 will come to the U.S. later in 2020. Although U.S. engine specs are still a mystery, the SUV will probably travel across the pond with two gasoline units. The GV80 is fitted with an impressive technology package and features the largest infotainment display in its class. More on that in the comprehensive review below.
I watched 6 Underground on Netflix so you won’t have to [Spoiler Alert]
There’s blood bursting from what looks like a bullet wound and you can hear panicked voices just before a finger presses the Engine Stop-Start button and your speakers start to bleed out a mix of tire squeal and V-6 roar ready to spill over the streets of Florence, while someone is performing impromptu surgery in the back seat.
Welcome to Underground 6, Michael Bay’s latest movie, for which Netflix pulled out of its hat a budget of $150 million, Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese - aka the writers that gave us Deadpool - and the ever-charismatic Ryan Reynolds.
2019 Was a Bad Year For Aston Martin and At Least One Model is Paying the Price
Despite the introduction of the DBX, 2019 was a very tough year for Aston Martin, which posted a pre-tax loss of $118 million through September of 2019. Now, Aston Martin has warned that its annual profit for 2019 will be cut in half, while Reuters is reporting that December sales were so disappointing that wholesale volumes dropped by seven percent in 2019. All told, annual profits for 2019 (converted from GBP to USD) will sit between about $170 million and $182 million - a far cry from the company’s $325 million profit in 2018.
Financial figures being what they are, that means there are going to be some big financial changes for the company in 2020, including a cost-cutting program that puts at least one model on the guillotine.
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.
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.