2019 Toyota Avalon: First Drive Impressions
The sedan segment has taken some pretty big hits over the last few years, regularly losing ground to the ever-popular SUV and crossover body styles. But while overall sales are down, some automakers are sticking it out with fresh new four-doors in the hopes that customers will once again see the light. Toyota is one such automaker, and the latest 2019 Avalon is a great reason to go against the grain.
Continue reading for the full story.
BMW M5: Old vs. New
2017 brought us the new BMW 5 Series, so it’s only fitting that 2018 brings us a new M5. We must have been good this year because Santa came early, and with him, he brought a whole slew of updates that include an updated V-8, loads of new technology, BMW’s xDrive AWD system as standard (optional outside the U.S.,) a lighter chassis, and better performance. Talk about some good news, right? Truth be told, the M5 dropped as much as 127 pounds, has more aggressive styling, an updated interior with the latest infotainment system, and an extra 38 ponies and 51 pound-feet over the outgoing model – that brings total output figures up to 591 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. It can now hit 62 mph in as little as 3.4 seconds and 124 mph in just 11.1 seconds. Of course, top speed is still pinned at 155 mph, unless you get the M Driver’s package, which increases the top speed to 189 mph.
Now, it’s set to take on other established beasts in the market that include the Mercedes-AMG E63, the Audi RS7, and the Cadillac CTS-V – I know, it’s not German, but this thing is seriously a beast, so don’t get caught slipping because it will eat you alive. With all this in mind, we decided to throw together a little infographic for the M5 to help bring its best features and qualities to the forefront. Check it all out in our visual comparison below.
The Gilded History of the Rolls-Royce Phantom
Sir Henry Royce, co-founder of Rolls-Royce, is quoted as saying, “Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it doesn’t exist, design it.” Those are some pretty heavy words, but it’s the right credo for an automaker like Rolls-Royce. With a history of producing some of the most elegant, opulent, and downright desirable luxury vehicles on the planet, perfection isn’t just a goal – it’s an expectation. Such is the case with the Phantom, Rolls-Royce’s highly recognizable flagship model. These are cars that are destined for the stables of royalty, acting as a rolling signature of power, wealth, and prestige.
Lead by the trademark Spirit of Ecstasy on the hood, the Phantom comes equipped with top-shelf extravagance and lavishness, offering high levels of personalization to those select buyers with pockets deep enough to really enjoy it. Currently offered in a variety of different flavors, including the standard Phantom, an Extended Wheelbase model, a Coupe, and a Drophead Coupe, Rolls has announced a new eighth generation slated for release later this week. However, the history of the nameplate is rapidly approaching a full century at this point, so how’d we get here? To find out, we delved into the Phantom’s history, taking a look at the seven generations that have come and gone since the model’s introduction in 1925.
Continue reading for The Gilded History of the Rolls-Royce Phantom.
TopSpeed’s Top 5 Physics-Defying Performance Crossovers And SUVs
Technology has a very strange habit of turning the impossible (or at the very least, the improbable) into reality. This is especially true in the automotive world, where seemingly contradictory attributes manage to find a happy middle ground with surprising regularity. Case in point – the performance crossover and SUV segment. Once a body style relegated to utility, the modern tall-bodied, cargo-tastic crossover or SUV can now be had with a heavy dose of speed as well, apparently defying the laws of physics with mammoth grip and absurd levels of power. These days, it doesn’t matter if a model is heavy and huge – add the right parts, and it’ll be quick as well.
It’s a combination that seems to be growing in popularity, with a nice assortment of options available across the market. As such, we’ve collected five of the best right here for your perusal. Each offers a decent amount of cargo space, high levels of luxury, and the option for performance as well, all for a price tag around $70,000 (give or take). Our picks look like this – BMW X3 M, Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, Mercedes-AMG GLC63, Porsche Macan Turbo, and Land Rover Range Rover Sport. We’ve got the lowdown on each right here, so read on for more info. And don’t forget to post your favorite in the comments section below!
Continue reading to learn more about TopSpeed’s Top 5 Physics-Defying Performance Crossovers And SUVs.
TopSpeed’s Top 5 Luxury Compact Crossovers
When it comes to the U.S. automotive market, compact crossovers are cleaning up. The segment continues to see unprecedented growth, even with a huge variety of options already on offer. The appeal of the luxury compact crossover is multifaceted, mixing a “go anywhere, do anything” attitude with comfort and inherent driveability. Luxury compact crossovers are practical and spacious, without going overboard in terms of exterior dimensions, improving fuel efficiency and maneuverability over larger SUVs. Inside, there are amenities aplenty without breaking the bank, while the high seating position provides ample views of the road ahead. And while better suited for mall crawling rather than rock crawling, luxury compact crossovers still get that “off-roader” style, plus AWD when the weather turns sour. And of course, the extra room in the rear supports a range of lifestyles, whether its kid hauling for a family, or gear running for active outdoorsy activities. There are even performance options, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Boil it down, and the philosophy goes something like this – mix equal parts practicality, comfort, and road presence, then spread evenly on a tall-bodied package. But where to start? To help you navigate this seemingly bottomless sea of possibilities, we’ve collected facts and figures from five of the best entries in the segment, including the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Jaguar F-Pace, and Mercedes-Benz GLC Class. Read on for the lowdown.
Continue reading to learn more about TopSpeed’s Top 5 Luxury Compact Crossovers.
What’s The Best Upscale Performance Sedan You Can Get For Less Than $50K?
The sport sedan – talk about a hotly contested segment. Almost every major automaker out there has one, but as you might expect, not all are created equal. And that’s where we come in, armed with a boatload of facts and figures to help rank the various entries from best to worst. Of course, more attentive TopSpeed readers out there are sure to point out that this is a topic we’ve covered before, most recently in a comparison piece looking at the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Chrysler 300, Infiniti Q50, Jaguar XE, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. But unlike that last article, which focused on luxury cars with a sporty flavor, this piece will instead focus on cars that place a greater emphasis on performance, with luxury as a secondary priority. As such, we’re picking apart the Acura TLX, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Cadillac ATS, Subaru WRX STI, and Volvo S60. Sure, there’s overlap, but in this crowd, the effort is made more for grins behind the wheel than backside coddling.
That isn’t to say these cars aren’t comfortable – indeed, each offers a fair amount of upscale treatment, some more so than others. That said, we weighed performance much more heavily this time around, giving otherwise more spartan models a shot at the top of the list. So how do we place these five four-doors? Read on to find out.
Continue reading for the full comparison.
You’ve finally got that big time job and you want something that isn’t too cheap, but you don’t want to spend $80,000 quite yet. There is much to choose from in the middle luxury segment and each car has it’s own unique characteristics that make it better, or worse than the competition.
Just like the entry-level luxury segment, the Germans have always had the middle levels to themselves. The Japanese and the American automakers have never been able to catch up. Yet, 2010 is a new year and things might be changing in the automotive marketplace.
Let’s take a look back at our previous winners before we begin with this list. We rated the Mini Cooper as the best small car and the Hyundai Sonata as the best midsize sedan. Finally, we rated the Audi A4 as the best entry-level luxury car on the market.
Hit the jump to see who we chose as the top mid-level luxury car.
As you have seen by now, we have a tendency to rank cars differently than other car sites. While we love practicality as much as the next site, at TopSpeed, we put speed, performance, and that certain sparkle above the size of the trunk and the back seat.
With entry-level luxury cars, finding the gems between the boring sales rep vehicles can be a pretty hard task. We have so many terribly dull sedans that are only good for taking you down the motorway to work and that’s about it. We aren’t looking for that. We don’t care about sales, we don’t care about popularity, we care about how these cars drive on the track and in the real world. We are aware that a point to point car is what most people will like, but we want an entry-level sedan that provides excitement on that everyday journey. Something that can make you smile and enjoy the drive home. A car that will make you take the back roads.
Over the course of this series we have jumped price by $10,000 each time, starting from $20,000 with the small cars and then $30,000 with the midsize. For this test, we are jumping by $15,000, to make the price cap at $45,000.
Hit the jump to see what our top ten entry-level luxury vehicles are.