2018 Subaru WRX STI 50th Anniversary Edition
Subaru made its first foray into the U.S. market in the late ’60s, and now, it’s celebrating that momentous occasion with a slew of special edition models. Introduced in a blitz of debuts at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, the six-star brand is calling it the 50th Anniversary Edition, and it includes revamped iterations of just about every model in the lineup. Chief among these is the rip-snortin’, extra-wing-havin’, hood-scoop wearin’ WRX STI, the quickest of Subaru’s lineup, which gets new exterior paint, a unique wheel finish, and new badges to mark half a century of the Six Stars in the States.
Continue reading to learn more about what makes the Subaru WRX STI 50th Anniversary Edition special.
Mercedes-AMG and Cigarette Racing Teamed up Again to Bring us the 515 Project ONE
Mercedes-Benz and Cigarette Racing have a long-standing partnership that has given rise to some wild creations in the past. There was the SLS AMG-inspired boat from 2010. There was the Black Series 50’ Marauder Cigarette boat from 2012. Then there was the Cigarette Racing Vision Gran Turismo Concept from 2014. Now the two companies can add the 515 Project One Cigarette boat to its growing collection. Inspired by the Mercedes-AMG Project One, the 515 Project One is an insane superboat that has as much as 3,100 horsepower at its disposal. It’s meant for the high seas, but with that much power at its disposal, the 515 Project One is nothing short of a certified torpedo in the water. Oh, and it also costs $2 million. A little food for thought to go with those eye-popping figures.
2019 BMW X4
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – people love their SUVs. It seems like every year, the segment gets bigger and more diverse, with a seemingly never-ending parade of tall-riding, off-road-styled, utility-oriented models filling every niche possible. One of the fresher entries in this space is the BMW X4, which hit the scene as recently as 2014 as the Bavarian’s take on compact/mid-size crossover luxury in a sporty, coupe-like package. Making its initial debut at the New York International Auto Show, the first-gen X4 has performed quite well for the brand in terms of sales, moving some 200,000 units since its introduction, nearly 10 percent of which went to the U.S. market. Now, just four years after its release, the X4 is gaining a second generation. Framed as a sporty, yet practical, yet off-road capable evolution of the Bavarian’s upscale SAC (BMW doesn’t like to call it an SUV, instead preferring the “Sports Activity Coupe” nomenclature), the 2019 BMW X4 offers consumers a surprising number of “sporty” updates, including a wider track, new suspension settings, more aggressive proportions, a lower center of gravity, and a more aerodynamic exterior.
The model line once again includes two equipment levels, starting with the xDrive30i, which replaces the outgoing xDrive28i, and ending with the more aggressive M40i, a carryover from the previous model year. Overall, the updates seem to double down on what the X4 does best, and will surely tempt buyers looking for something that can “do it all.” Read on for the details.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 BMW X4.
2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
If Mercedes-Benz ever decided to make a greatest hits album, the C-Class would undoubtedly be one of the top tracks. Originally offered in the early ’90s as a replacement for the Mercedes-Benz 190 series, the C-Class is framed as the German brand’s entry-level luxury four-door compact. A second generation arrived in 2000, followed by a third-gen in 2007 and a fourth-gen in 2014. Now, as the fourth-gen C-Class enters its fifth year of production, it takes a spot in Merc’s lineup as the brand’s best-selling model, moving a total of 415,000 units in markets worldwide last year. That’s a huge volume for a single model. As such, Mercedes is looking to keep it feeling as fresh as possible, and will give it a slew of new updates to keep buyers coming back for more. The latest includes tweaked exterior styling, an updated interior, new infotainment gear, new safety and assistance tech, and even an extra splash of power as well. All good stuff, if you ask us.
The latest 2019 model year for the C-Class will appear in the metal for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show, where Merc will also pull the sheets on the new A-Class, the new G-Class, and the new AMG GT Coupe. While a full generational changeover is expected in a few years’ time, this new model definitely keeps that old C-Class magic we’ve come to expect, while also adding all the extra goodies needed to keep it in the running with the competition. Read on for the details, and make sure to check back here for the full rundown when the C-Class drops in Geneva.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro
Toyota has upped the ante with its Tundra TRD Pro for the 2019 model year. The off-road package receives a mid-cycle refresh that includes both cosmetic and suspension upgrades. The move is completely understandable considering how hot the off-road segment is getting these days.
It’s important to understand the Tundra TRD Pro’s place in the market. It competes most directly with the Ram 1500 Rebel, both of which fall short of the Ford F-150 Raptor’s outright ownership of the high-speed desert racing niche. But while Ford is busy making the Raptor an extremely capable but very expensive upgrade to the F-150, both the TRD Pro and Rebel are more obtainable for the everyman. In other words, the Tundra TRD Pro might not match the Raptor’s off-road performance, but it’s also far less expensive.
Nevertheless, Toyota’s 2019 updates push the Tundra TRD Pro beyond what it was capable of from 2015 to 2018.
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The Nissan Maxima is something of an oddity in the automotive landscape. It used to be that the Max was the biggest car in Nissan’s lineup — hence its maximum name. But for the last couple of generations, the Maxima’s size has been matched by its cheaper sister, the Nissan Altima.
This creates all sorts of confusion for some consumers. A friend saw me comparing a Camry to an Altima and said, “Shouldn’t you compare Camry to Maxima?”
No, no you should not. The Maxima is much more of a driver’s car than any Camry, though I admit the new-for-2018 Camry closes the gap a little (more on that in a minute.)
As for anyone else who may be confused by Maxima’s place in the family sedan world, let me put it this way: It punches well above its weight — so much so that, if I were considering spending my money on an entry-level luxury car like a Mercedes CLA or Lexus ES, I’d honestly consider the Maxima in that same pack.
2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven
It was in 2012 when Lexus pulled the covers off its LF-LC concept car at the Detroit Auto Show. The concept boasted curvy lines, massive rear haunches, a big Spindle Grille, those signature fishhook LED daytime running lights, and a nose almost as long as Michael Keaton’s Batmobile. Somehow Lexus managed to keep the concept’s sultry lines almost completely intact for production. The final result is this, the 2018 Lexus LC500.
I spent a week behind its wheel, doing everything from blasting down the Interstate to picking up the kiddos in the carpool line. It fetched groceries and drew crowds in nearly equal amounts. It also fostered a love/hate relationship in my view. I’ll explain below.
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2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
The Sonata is one of those nameplates that just seems to stick around no matter what. First introduced in 1985 as a replacement for the Hyundai Stellar, the first generation only lasted two years before it got the axe. However, the second generation, which was introduced in 1988, fared far better, finding success in a variety of export markets, including North America and Australia. A third generation arrived in 1993, followed by the fourth in 1999, the fifth in 2004, and the sixth in 2010. The latest seventh generation arrived in New York just last year for the 2018 model year, but the hybridized variant was left conspicuously out of the lineup. Now, the new seventh-gen hybrid has arrived following a debut at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show. While still framed as Hyundai’s near-premium mid-size four-door, this latest generational update brings improvements in the chassis and handling department, plus new exterior and interior bits, new safety features, and new features for connectivity and infotainment. All told, Hyundai is looking to take a more premium approach with the Sonata Hybrid, enhancing it with an upscale appearance, a nicer ride, and better equipment throughout.
Of course, with demand shifted primarily towards the crossover and SUV segment, competition among the sedans is ruthless right now, especially in the near-premium slot. The question is – where will the Sonata excel? Well, the hybrid gear is certainly a tempting proposition, but how good is it really? Read on to find out.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.
2018 Dodge Durango SRT By Mopar
SUV fans have been clamoring for a beefed-up version of the Durango SRT ever since Dodge launched the Challenger Hellcat. But it has yet to happen as of 2018. And I really don’t think that it will change anytime soon. Jeep is already offering the Cherokee Trackhawk above the SRT model, and I’m pretty sure FCA doesn’t want a re-bodied version of this model with a Dodge badge. But, if you’re not a Cherokee fan and you want a Durango SRT with a few special features, you’re going to have to settle for the Mopar upgrade that was unveiled at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.
Mopar-made bundles for the Dodge Durango is nothing new; we’ve seen them in the past. But these new packages are a bit more comprehensive and include updates for both the exterior and interior, as well as the drivetrain. There’s no extra power to talk about, and this might be disappointing for some, but the performance exhaust and suspension are just enough to set Durango SRT apart from its standard siblings. And the body stripes and carbon-fiber trim add a certain degree of sportiness you don’t get in many SUVs.
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BMW Quietly Releases the New X4 SUV
It’s been only four years since BMW introduced the X4 and the coupe-style SUV was redesigned from the ground up. Unveiled without much fuss today, it will make its public debut at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show in March.
So what’s with the rush? It might seem awkward at first glance, but it probably has to do with the fact that the previous X4 was released three years after the X3 which it was based on arrived. With a brand-new X3 launched in 2017, BMW probably wants the X4 to be on par with its sibling. On the other hand, it’s really awkward that BMW kept these plans hidden and unveiled the X4 without the usual teasers and marketing campaign.
Be that as it may, let’s have a closer look at the changes.
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Valentine’s Day Special – A Love Letter To The Subaru WRX
Welp, it’s Valentine’s Day, and as most of the country reaches for the champagne and chocolates, us car enthusiasts are a little too busy with the engine oil and spark plugs. And that makes it the perfect time to reflect on that one special model, the car that lit the fires of passion in your auto-loving bosom. For me, that car was the Subaru WRX.
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The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Perfect Ride for a Valentine’s Day Date
It’s Valentine’s Day, and so long as you’re not celebrating Single’s Awareness Day, you’ve probably got a romantic date planned for tonight. While most people will ride to the restaurant in their Toyota Camry or Chevrolet Tahoe, they’re dreaming of arriving at the valet booth with something a bit more… upscale.
It seems the 2018 Lexus LC500 fits the bill rather perfectly. Let me explain.
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The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Definitive Grand Tourer
The 2018 Lexus LC500 is impossible to miss. Drive it anywhere and people will point, take pictures, and ask questions – both about the car and your best investment advice. The LC500 imparts an air of luxury and sophistication that not many vehicles can match. That’s especially true when, like my tester, the 2+2 coupe is draped in Liquid Platinum paint, fitted with the upgraded 21-inch wheels, and shows hints of its red interior through the windows. The LC simply looks like money.
And given its price tag, looking the part is the least it should do.
Lexus charges a whopping $92,000 for a “base” model LC500. Adding options makes the price rise quicker than Diet Coke out of a Mentos-filled bottle. My tester stickered for $100,920. That’s some serious coin for a vehicle some bill as a “personal luxury coupe.” But is it worth it? And more importantly, what is the LC500?
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What Lurks Under The Lexus LC500’s Hood
The 2018 Lexus LC500 has the pedigree of a proper sports car, though it’s far better at being a fantastic grand touring coupe. Still, it packs a wallop behind that Spindle Grille and it hides plenty of high-tech gadgetry under its carbon fiber reinforced plastic body panels.
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2019 Bentley Flying Spur
Launched in 2005 and updated in 2013, the Bentley Flying Spur is getting a little long in the tooth. As a result, the British firm has already begun testing the next-generation model and we have already received the first spy shots of the upcoming luxury rig. Don’t let the Panamera body fool you, this is actually a Bentley mule, and the fact that Bentley is using a Porsche body is by no means surprising. As you may recall, the first Bentayga prototype hit the road with an Audi Q7 body. Also, keep in mind the Bentley, Porsche, and Audi are all under the same Volkswagen Group umbrella. If you’re still in doubt, our paparazzi have already checked the British plates with the DVLA, which revealed that the prototype is indeed registered as a Bentley.
Likely to break cover in late 2018 or early 2019, the next-generation Flying Spur will bring major improvements to the nameplate. Arguably the most imporant is the MSB-F platform, which already made its debut in the new Porsche Panamera. The redesign will also spawn a new styling language, a more luxurious interior, and give the sedan more powertrain options. Official data is virtually non-existent, but I gathered all existing rumors in a speculative review that should keep you covered until a Bentley-bodied prototype shows up in 2017. Make sure you stay tuned for details.
Updated 02/13/2018: Our spy photographers caught the new generation Flying Spur out for a new testing session in Sweden. The new car is expected to debut in late 2018 or early 2019.
Continue reading to learn more about the Bentley Flying Spur.
2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS
When it unveiled the 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 in February 2015, Porsche finally did what gearheads had been asking for a very long time: it allowed the mid-engined Cayman to live up to its true potential, which had been kept leashed to prevent it from being faster than the base 911. Now that the first Cayman GT4 has come and gone and the mid-engined sports car it was based on received its mid-cycle update, it’s time for a new track ready coupe.
Ever since the first GT4 was announced, enthusiasts have been asking themselves whether Porsche will take things up a notch and develop a GT4 RS. But, despite favorable rumors and the fact that an RS version would make sense, a more powerful GT4 has yet to happen. This could change with the upcoming model. And even though there’s no confirmation whether it will be called the GT4 or GT4 RS, the new coupe will definitely pack a significantly beefed-up engine. So I’m tempted to go with an "RS" badge.
Updated 02/13/2018: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Porsche Cayman GT4 out for a new testing session during cold winter conditions. New details suggest that the GT4 will be unveiled on March 6, at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show.
Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche Cayman GT4 RS.
Mercedes-AMG Debuts 2019 G63 With 577 horsepower!
Mercedes has just unveiled the long-awaited 2019 AMG G63 – the go-fast version of its all-new 2019 G-Class, which is still hot off the auto show stage. Its official name is the Mercedes-AMG G63, and it’s better in every measurable way over the outgoing model. Not only does the G63 benefit from the G-Class’ new appearance, swanky interior, wider stance, and updated suspension system, it also boasts a slew of AMG parts that push this SUV into sports car territory.
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The Lexus LC500’s Interior is Breathtaking
The 2018 Lexus LC500 is a beautiful car to behold. Just look at it – everything from those exterior lines and Coke bottle haunches to the interior’s deep bucket seats and intricate dashboard. The dash pulls cues and inspiration from the famed Lexus LFA while combining new elements and Lexus’ most modern take on the Enform infotainment system.
Continue reading for more on the 2018 Lexus LC500’s interior.