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2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven

Lexus’ halo coupe is a grand touring marvel

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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2019 Bentley Flying Spur

2019 Bentley Flying Spur

The next-generation luxury sedan starts life as a Porsche Panamera

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.

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2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Sedan

2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Sedan

Uh oh, the Audi S3 Sedan could be in trouble!

After four years with the Audi A3 Sedan being the only four-door on the premium compact market, Mercedes-Benz decided its time to jump in with a three-box version of the popular A-Class. The company’s smallest sedan made its debut in concept form at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show and the Germans were quick to confirm that a production version is in the making. With the fourth-generation hatchback just unveiled for 2018, the sedan is only months away from an official unveiling. And alongside the standard model, we’ll also get the potent AMG A45, and according to recent spy shots, a milder AMG variant too. The latter is rumored to be called the AMG A35 and it will take on the Audi S3 Sedan.

While the new A-Class is spectacular in just about every department and sports the most beautiful interior in the compact market, the really big news about the A-Class Sedan is that it will be a global vehicle. When the unveiling took place in Shanghai, I was almost certain that the German sedan will follow in the footsteps of the BMW 1 Series Sedan, which is only available in China as of 2018. But Merc has big plans for the A-Class and has already confirmed that the sedan will be sold in the U.S. The regular model should be followed by both AMG versions, including this one. Before we dig in, I want to stress that the A35 nameplate is by no means official. Last year, the less potent AMG was rumored to get an A40 badge, so it could be anything at this point.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG A35.

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2018 Lexus GS F 10th Anniversary Special Edition

2018 Lexus GS F 10th Anniversary Special Edition

Celebrating a decade of go-faster Lexus models

The Lexus GS F has been around in one form or another since 1991, offered as a mid-size four-door with a solid dose of opulence in the cabin. The latest fourth-gen model dropped in 2011, giving the lineup a little extra sportiness when the mood is right. Now, Lexus is using the platform to pay homage to it’s F-branded trim levels. In case you weren’t aware, Lexus’ F models make up the quickest of the automaker’s stable, with the singular letter tacked to the trunk added as a nod to Japan’s world-famous Fuji Speedway. Lexus first started making F models back in 2008, and now, a full decade later, it’s offering up two special edition F’s to celebrate the anniversary.

The limited-run duo consists of the 2018 Lexus GS F 10th Anniversary edition and the 2018 Lexus RC F 10th Anniversary edition, both of which will make their first stateside appearance at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show. Both also initially dropped at the Tokyo Motor Show last year, but now they head to Chi Town for their big U.S. debut. Both will also arrive in dealers this summer, and bring customers a slick blue and grey color scheme. Interested? Then read on for the low-down on this upgraded go-faster GS F.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lexus GS F 10th Anniversary Special Edition.

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2018 Toyota Sequoia - Driven

2018 Toyota Sequoia - Driven

An aging, lumbering beast that somehow wins hearts with its old-school vibes

The Toyota Sequoia is alive and kicking. You’re forgiven if you’ve forgotten, even despite Toyota giving the full-size SUV a slight update for 2018. The Sequoia’s sales pale in comparison to its rivals, and as such, there are simply fewer on the road. But that doesn’t mean the Sequoia is a bad SUV, right? We decided to have a look.

Our tester came decked out with all the extra goodies thanks to the range-topping Platinum trim. Of course, it also carried all the update Toyota gave it for the 2018 model year, including a new nose, a revised gauge cluster, and the now-standard Toyota Safety Sense-P active safety system. Beyond that, however, the 2018 Sequoia looks and feels nearly identically to the 2008 version.

It’s hard to believe the Sequoia’s second-generation is now a decade old. It harks back to Toyota’s major revamp of the Tundra pickup. It changed to a full-size truck for the 2007 model year and the Sequoia followed suit the next year. The Sequoia shares plenty with the Tundra, including its drivetrain and interior. Toyota did cater the Sequoia towards family usage with an independent rear suspension with available air ride rather than the Tundra’s solid axle and leaf springs. Yet despite the differences, the Sequoia still felt like a truck. In practice though, many full-size SUV customers were into that sort of thing. It fosters a sense of invincibility and a go-anywhere attitude. Well, so long as there’s a gas station close by.

Continue reading for our full review.

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2020 Lincoln Aviator

2020 Lincoln Aviator

Is the Aviator preparing for takeoff?

It seems Ford is busy developing new vehicles these days. We’ve seen spy shots of a refreshed Explorer, a new Focus hatchback, and this, which is a long-wheelbase SUV that is much larger than the Explorer yet smaller than the Expedition. Upon closer inspection, this test mule rides on reused Lincoln Navigator wheels, has a large vertical pillar in the center of its grille, and has taillights that somewhat recall the shape of the current Navigator’s rear lights. Could it be that Lincoln is preparing a second-generation Aviator? It seems to be happening.

This isn’t the first we’ve heard of the Aviator name getting a reprise. Several articles suggest Lincoln is working on the mid-size SUV. Looking holistically at Lincoln’s lineup, the Aviator would fit perfectly between the larger Navigator and smaller (and recently renamed from MKX) Nautilus. That means Lincoln would have three crossovers with seating for five in the Nautilus, seven in the Aviator, and seven in the Navigator. Of course, the Navigator would remain the flagship SUV with the Aviator targeting luxury-minded yet slightly more budget-conscious families needing three rows of seating. The two-row Nautilus would target small families and empty nesters.

Continue reading for more information and speculation.

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2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic

2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic

A quick shot of electric power for the four-door ’Bahn burner

Merc has been making the CLS-Class since the early 2000’s, dropping the first-gen with a debut at the 2004 New York International Auto Show. Framed as a sleek sedan packing top-shelf luxury, a sporty exterior, and no shortage of power under the hood, Merc quickly ushered in the go-faster AMG iteration at the 2004 Paris Motor Show. The second-generation CLS arrived in 2011, with a hot-to-trot AMG 63 hot on its heels. Now, there’s a third-gen model on the table, with the latest CLS dropping at the 2017 Los Angeles Show. As is tradition, Mercedes brought along a new AMG iteration as well, introducing the new 53-Series model alongside two other high-powered luxury rides from the boffins at AMG, including the 53-Series AMG E-Class Coupe and the E-Class Cabriolet, all of which arrived in style at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. All told, the latest AMG CLS 53 4Matic comes packing with superlative Mercedes-Benz styling, the latest technology in the cabin, a high-performance attitude, and all the requisite power to back it.

The new four-door coupe also comes a supplementary electric system that adds a good deal of low-end torque on demand, a feature that makes the heavy-hitting luxury cruiser even more frisky when you dig into the skinny pedal. “With the new 53-series models we are extending our portfolio in a first step towards a hybridised future with a leading-edge combination of sporty design, performance and efficiency,” says Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management at Mercedes-AMG GmbH. Sounds good. But how good is it, really? Read on for all the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4MATIC.

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2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven

2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven

The grandfather of luxury crossovers

The Lexus RX has been around since 1998 and basically invented the luxury crossover segment. It’s even appropriate to credit the RX with the boom in popularity for all crossover niches. But things have changed, of course, and the competition is fierce. Lexus brought its latest RX iteration to life for 2015, complete with the aggressive styling seen elsewhere in Lexus’ lineup.

Now as 2018 rolls on, the Lexus RX gets a new three-row version called the RX L. it’s available in the RX350 and RX450 configurations, meaning you can haul seven people with a standard V-6 or one connected to a hybrid system. If that’s not enough choice, Lexus will also let you have the F Sport package – and that’s all before getting into the optional features available within the cabin. Needleless to say, the RX offers customers plenty of choices.

But we’re testing the old standard – the RX350 in FWD without the appearance package or hybrid powertrain. This is the type of RX you’d find at any Lexus dealership without having to special order something. Let’s have a look.

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2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet

2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet

The E-Class drop-top gets the AMG treatment, but with a hybrid twist

Introduced in 2016, the latest-generation E-Class gained coupe and convertible versions in 2017. The latter arrived in the U.S. for the 2018 model year, but just one trim is offered over here, the range-topping E400. Unlike its sedan sibling, the Cabriolet model has yet to receive the AMG E63 treatment, but Mercedes used the model to launch a new vehicle lineup under the "AMG" badge. It’s called the E53 Cabriolet and was introduced at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show alongside the E53 Coupe and the CLS53.

Slotted under the bonkers AMG E63, the E53 is essentially a milder version of the brand’s hardcore model. It has a rather subdued exterior appearance that’s not as aggressive, but the interior gets plenty of exclusive details and extra features. The drivetrain is different too, as the 4.0-liter V-8 was replaced by a 3.0-liter inline-six unit. But the big news is that the E53 is the first hybrid AMG nameplate, sporting the company’s new EQ Boost system. Let’s find out more about that in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet.

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2019 Land Rover Range Rover SV Coupe

2019 Land Rover Range Rover SV Coupe

A nod to the old school, with a hefty price tag to boot

The Range Rover was first introduced back in 1970 under the British Leyland brand. At the time, it was offered exclusively in a two-door body style, and it wasn’t until more a decade later that a four-door variant hit the scene in 1981. These days, fans of high-riding luxury get to enjoy the latest fourth generation, which dropped back in 2012 at the Paris Motor Show. The last time we saw a production two-door Range Rover was in 1994, followed by the concept-only Range Stormer in 2003. Now, Jaguar Land Rover is gearing up to once again offer a two-door iteration of its iconic flagship model. It’s called the Range Rover SV Coupe, with JLR’s in-house tuners, SVO, taking responsibility for the build. JLR calls it the “world’s first full-size luxury SUV coupe,” and although details are scant as of this writing, it’s looking to be a segment-topping exercise in excess, packing the best equipment, the highest output, and the largest price tag ever attached to the nameplate. Production will be limited to just under 1,000 units.

At this point, official info is limited to an overhead shot of the interior and a few words uttered in passing from the company’s top-brass, but we also managed to get our hands on a few spy shots that reveal the forthcoming Range Rover SV Coupe doing a spot of cold-weather testing out in the wild. A full reveal is expected by this March at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, but until then, read on for our speculative review.

Continue reading to learn more about the Land Rover Range Rover Coupe.

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2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe

2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe

AMG goes hybrid with EQ Boost system

Introduced for the 2018 model year, the latest E-Class Coupe is currently the most advanced midsize two-door on the premium market. Its mission is significantly easier now that BMW is discontinuing the 6 Series, but Mercedes still deserves credit for the E-Class’ tremendous technology package, the luxurious interior, and the sporty looks. An AMG E63 variant is the only thing that the E-Class Coupe needed to be perfect, and it was expected to arrive sometime in 2018. But in a surprising turn of events, Mercedes-Benz launched a different AMG model. It’s called the E53 and uses a six-cylinder engine instead of the more traditional V-8.

Launched alongside similar versions of the E-Class Cabriolet and CLS, the AMG E53 Coupe bridges the gap between the range-topping non-AMG model and the AMG E63, the latter available in sedan form only as of January 2018. Specifically, it’s not as aggressive as the E63, but it comes with an array of extra standard features inside and out, as well as a slightly more aggressive exterior. The engine is also unique to this model and features a mild hybrid system, a first for an AMG. It’s not yet clear whether a full-blown AMG E63 version will follow, but until that happens, the E53 is the most powerful variant of the E-Class Coupe you can buy.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe.

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2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

“Sensual Purity” Redesign Means The G’s Spirit Is Still Baked In

For the first time since its introduction 40 years ago, Mercedes has given the G-Class a complete makeover. But unlike other “makeovers” that plaster a new body onto an existing chassis, Mercedes went in the opposite direction.

The all-new 2019 G-Class retains its iconic looks while receiving a new, longer frame; independent front suspension; and an interior befitting the Mercedes S-Class sedan. And yet despite its modernization, the G stays true to its off-road roots. It comes with a full-time 4WD system, three locking differentials, skid plates, and proper ground clearance. Among the updates is a new G-Mode that further improves the SUV’s go-anywhere capability with electronic aids.

But let’s be honest – 99 percent of G-Class owners will never trek over anything more challenging than wet grass or a snowy road. That’s why Mercedes injected high levels of luxury into the new model. The wheelbase is two inches longer and 4.7 inches wider for a more planted on-road feel and more interior room. The G will undoubtedly be a smash hit around the world, even with its starting price of €107,040 in Germany – roughly $130,900 U.S. dollars.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

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2019 Fisker EMotion

2019 Fisker EMotion

High-tech and high-performance in an EV package

If you’ve never heard the name Fisker before, let me give you a brief summary. The name comes from Henrik Fisker, a Danish-born entrepreneur and automotive designer currently residing in Los Angeles. Mr. Fisker worked his pen designing such show stoppers as the Aston Martin DB9, BMW Z8, Galpin-Fisker Mustang Rocket, and VLF Force 1 V10, among others. In 2007, he founded Fisker Automotive, consequently unveiling the Fisker Karma hybrid sports sedan in 2011. Long story short, the Karma didn’t pan out all that great, and Fisker resigned as chairman of the company that bore his name in 2013. But that was then, and now, Fisker has a new automotive startup, and even a new model to go with it. It’s called the EMotion, and it’s framed as a luxurious all-electric four-door with quick performance, groundbreaking solid-state battery technology, and upwards of 400 miles of range per charge, not to mention supercar good looks and Level 4 self-driving capability.

The new firm is called Fisker Inc., and the EMotion will be the company’s very first offering. But it’s not easy to break into the premium EV segment, especially when you consider all the other companies out there vying to do exactly the same. Pair that with growing competition from all the established makes currently doubling down on electric vehicles, and you’re left with odds of success akin to an ice cube’s chance in Hades.

That said, Fisker is no novice in this space. Sure, the Karma didn’t exactly pan out they way it was intended, but when consider Fisker’s vast industry connections and knowledge, Fisker Inc. might actually have a shot at making it. Yes, it’s an extremely bold endeavor, and yes, the claims getting tossed around the EMotion smell a lot like vaporware. But hey – if that guy who made PayPal can do it, why not Fisker?

Updated 1/9/2018: Fisker just debuted the EMotion at CES 2018! Read on for all the details and new images.

Continue reading to learn more about the Fisker EMotion.

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2017 Lexus GS 200t F Sport - Driven

2017 Lexus GS 200t F Sport - Driven

Lexus’ mild-mannered sport sedan

The Lexus GS has been around since 1991, and its latest generation raises the bar for Lexus’ mid-size luxury sedan. The fifth-generation GS debuted for the 2013 model year and underwent a refresh in 2015 as it gained the highly recognizable and polarizing Spindle grille. The refresh also brought the 200t variant and its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. When matched with the available F Sport package, which brings a sport-tuned suspension and more aggressive aesthetics, the GS truly shoulders the role of a proper sports sedan.

I just spent a week behind the wheel of a 2017 GS 200t F Sport covering some 200 miles of mixed driving over familiar Central Florida roads. From the grocery store parking lot to the high-speed Autobahn/demolition derby known as I-4, I put the Lexus through it all. Even the parent pick-up line at the kiddo’s elementary school saw some F Sport action. Here’s how things played out.

Continue reading for my driven review of the 2017 Lexus GS 200t F Sport.

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2018 Porsche Macan

2018 Porsche Macan

The Macan is set to receive a mild facelift before the next-gen model hits dealers

When Porsche decided to step into the SUV segment with the Cayenne, Porsche purists we’re all that happy, expecting the brand to soldier on with different 911 variants until times end. But, the Cayenne turned out to be a huge success, and the German brand decided to come out with a compact model named the Macan. Originally codenamed Cajun, the Macan hit the market in the spring of 2014 and became an immediate success, being one of Porsche’s most sold models. Be that as it may, the compact luxury segment is intense, so Porsche needs to keep things fresh until the next-gen model comes to be at the turn of the decade.

Now, we’re getting a first look at the facelifted model thanks to a new round of spy shots. There won’t be a whole lot of change on the table, but the headlights and taillights should get a new layout, and it looks like there’s a bigger chin spoiler up front. The interior is set for some minor nips and tucks as well, and the available engines could get some minor retuning to help keep things interesting.

With that said, we know Porsche’s facelifts aren’t typically that in-depth, so there won’t be a lot of significant change, but the subtle things will make all the difference. We expect the facelifted Macan to debut sometime in the next few months and should be sold as a 2018 model, so let’s take a closer look before Porsche spills the beans.

Update 1-4-2018: The Porsche Macan was caught playing again, this time in the snow. Check out the latest images below.

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2018 Genesis G80 Sport

2018 Genesis G80 Sport

Almost 30 years ago, Lexus was where Genesis is today. Toyota was trying to make inroads in the American luxury market with an all-new brand, and there was no shortage of critics doubting its likelihood of success. But they kept making great car after great car, turning the industry on its ear.

In that way, the roadmap has already been laid out for Hyundai as it builds its Genesis luxury marque: Ignore the doubters, and keep building great cars. That’s exactly what they have done with the G90 flagship and its little sibling, the G80 midsize sedan.

For 2018, the smaller G80 comes in three flavors: Standard 3.8-liter naturally aspirated V6 good for 311 horsepower and 293 lb-ft of torque, “Sport” 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 rated at 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque, and brawny 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 rated at 420 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque.

It’s the middle option I’m driving for this review. The G80 Sport impresses as a “just right” mixture of power and refinement — the “Goldilocks” of G80s.

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