Chevrolet C8 Corvette by Extreme Turbo Systems
The Chevrolet Corvette C8 is awesome in it of itself. With 495 horsepower on tap in the Z51 guise, the 2020 Vette can set a blistering pace, taking only three seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph. So if a 495-horsepower Corvette C8 Z51 is already capable of such speeds, imagine what a 736-horsepower Corvette C8 is capable of when it goes under the tuning ringer.
Extreme Turbo Systems — the name says it all — recently worked on a bone stock Corvette C8 Z51 with the goal of raising its power to supercar levels. The tuning firm even released a video of the Vette C8 strapped to a dyno rig, undergoing serious testing. The video isn’t particularly exciting, but make no mistake about it, this Corvette C8 Z51 isn’t your typical 2020 Corvette. You might even say that this Vette can give the Lamborghini Aventador S a serious run for its money.
Watch a BMW M760i Lineup with a Porsche Panamara Turbo
Watch a Jeep Wrangler Get Burnt to a Crisp in the Desert
How agonizing would it be if your car caught fire in front of your eyes and you couldn’t do anything about it? YouTuber Casey Kaiser found himself helpless in a similar situation when his Jeep Wrangler caught fire while he was filming an off-road adventure. He made it out alive, but the Jeep didn’t.
2017 Pagani Zonda Riviera
They say that fine art speaks incredible stories while sitting still as people look at them. In a lot of ways, the Pagani Zonda is the farthest thing from fine art, particularly that it doesn’t do well in an idle state. Then again, the Zonda is also, in other ways, the epitome of fine art. It’s limited nature and exotic qualities make it precious in a lot of eyes. And as far as the stories it tells, well, let’s just say they make for good conversations. Take this particular Zonda for example. It’s now called the Zonda Riviera, but it didn’t always carry the name. Once upon a time, it was a Zonda F, and in the decade that’s been alive, it’s been through quite a lot for a car of its stature.
It does seem a little odd that we’re seeing another Zonda get reimagined as a new model only a week after seeing another of its kind, the Zonda Fantasma Evo, go through the same treatment. These events do speak of the age of the model and the fact that it’s been 12 years since Pagani rolled out the Zonda F means that we’re likely to see more of them in the near future. For now, though, the Zonda Riviera takes center stage, as the Zonda Fantasma Evo did last week. it doesn’t quite have an eventful story as Fantasma Evo - that one literally came back from a crash - but it does have a tale or two in its pocket, as most Pagani Zonda Fs that have aged rather nicely will tell us.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Pagani Zonda Riviera
2017 Toyota Tundra Platinum – Driven
The Toyota Tundra has been around since 2014 with nary a change. Before that, it was 2007 when the Tundra saw any action from Toyota designers – and that was the second-generation Tundra’s debut! Needless to say, Toyota’s full-size pickup is long in the tooth. But how does this decade-old pickup perform? To find out, I spent a week with the truck on familiar streets I’ve traversed plenty of times with the Tundra’s competition.
As mentioned, the current Tundra debuted in 2007 as an all-new, ground-up truck that replaced a much smaller pickup bearing the same name. Toyota had been accosted by consumers and journalist alike for not having a true full-size competitor. To much applause, Toyota delivered. The truck came with a powerful 5.7-liter V-8, three cab options, available 4WD, and payload and towing capacities that ranked well against Detroit’s Big Three.
The Tundra then lay dormant for seven years. A mid-cycle refresh came in 2014 bringing some new sheet metal and a revised interior. However, the powertrain, frame, and suspension remained unchanged. Fast forward, and the first major change is scheduled for 2018. Even that is limited to the TRD Sport trim and consists of new grille mesh, LED headlights, and some active safety systems. We’ll have to wait at least to 2019 or 2020 before Toyota finally brings an all-new model. But despite its age, the Tundra isn’t a bad truck. Here’s why.
2017 Toyota Corolla iM – Driven
Ah Scion, Toyota’s youth-market sub brand. Now in 2017, we can only reminisce about bygone days when new Scion hatchbacks, coupes, and toasters sat in showrooms waiting for eager high-school teens to arrive with daddy’s money or senior citizens to stroll in looking for something more economical than their worn-out Mercury Grand Marquis. Those days are gone though, thanks to Toyota shuttering Scion and consolidating a few of its models into the Toyota fleet. One such example is the Scion iM.
The iM was all-new for the U.S. market in 2015, launched beside the
derived Scion iA sedan. The iM was basically a Toyota Corolla Hatchback, though you’d never hear a Scion salesman pointing that to potential buyers. The car featured the same, 1.8-liter four-cylinder as the Corolla, as well as the six-speed manual or optional Continuously Variable Transmission. But, sadly, the iM and iA couldn’t save the Scion brand. Toyota ended the brand’s 13-year run in August of 2016. Fast-forward to today, and Toyota has rebadged the iA, iM, and FR-S as the Yaris iA, Corolla iM, and the 86, respectively.
I recently got to sample the Corolla iM for a week – living with it during the daily grind. My tester came equipped with the six-speed manual transmission and zero options. It’s rare to have press fleet cars come so equipped. But rather than being a buzzkill from the usual whiz-bang gadgetry and overly complicated nature of many modern cars, the iM’s basic nature proved a welcomed reprieve and rather enjoyable. Heck, my tester didn’t even have floor mats. (I’ve heard Toyota is stingy with their floor mats.)
Of course, the most noticeable feature of this iM is its color – that big, bright, green color. Oh boy. Toyota calls it “Spring Green Metallic.” I call it ugly. Yet the color helped add a particular flare to car it wouldn’t have otherwise had. It also attracted everyone’s attention. I lovingly named my tester Snot Rocket.
Continue reading for the full driven review.
2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro – Driven
Toyota has a long history with mid-sized, high-riding pickups in America. Many might remember Marty McFly’s 1985 Toyota truck with its tube bumpers, lifted suspension, alloy wheels, and black paint job. While most of these trucks have rusted into the history books, their spirit lives on in Toyota’s modern Tacoma – and no more so than with the Tacoma TRD Pro. This lifted truck with its blacked-out wheels and bold grille give it a flair for the past, while still answering the trends of today.
I had the chance to spend a week with the 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, which came dressed in Super White and built on the Double Cab platform. I spent an extensive amount of time driving the highways and surface streets surrounding my Central Florida home. And of course, I sampled the deep, sandy ruts of trails running through wooded landscapes that appeared untouched since the Spanish Conquistadors landed in the 1500s.
The Tacoma TRD Pro attracted a lot of attention during its stay in my driveway, and it’s no wonder. The Tacoma is the best-selling mid-size pickup in the U.S. these days, outselling the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier, and Honda Ridgeline. There’s something about the truck that snags people’s interest. Most comments tended to focus on the black-on-white color scheme and the blocky TOYOTA grille.
So what’s it like living with the Taco Supreme? It’s spicy… but sometimes not in a good way. Keep reading for the explanation.
Continue reading for the full driven review.
Buick Goes Star-Studded Route For Its Super Bowl LI Commercial
Say what you will about Buick’s place in the US luxury car market scene, but when it comes to spending for Super Bowl commercials, the
owned automaker has proven that it could spend with the best of them. The latest example of Buick’s free-wheeling Big Game spending comes in the form of its new commercial for Super Bowl LI.
The ad stars the Buick Cascada and Encore SUV, but it also taps Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in a co-starring role with super model Miranda Kerr appearing in a cameo role. The combination of star power may sound strange on the surface, but Newton and Kerr perfectly encapsulate the “celebrity-focused” advertising strategy Buck has employed in recent years. Remember Peyton Manning and Shaquille O’Neal’s Buick ads in the past?
The story behind this particular ad revolves around some parents who spot the two Buicks while watching their kids’ pee-wee football game. One dad then playfully says that if that car (the Cascada) was, in fact, a Buick, he’d be Cam Newton. Alas, in true Disney fashion, Newton magically appears under center, much to the shock of the children he’s now playing against.
Kerr’s appearance in the advertisement isn’t as prominent as Newton’s, but the “if that SUV (the Encore) is a Buick, then I’m Miranda Kerr” quip magically works again as the dad weirdly turns into one of the most beautiful super models in the world. Yes, it happened, so be warned.
All told, the family-friendly ad hits on a lot of levels. Kids and adults can both appreciate it, especially the latter of whom count themselves as either sports fans or, well, Miranda Kerr fans.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
2017 Acura TLX – Driven
The Acura TLX competes in a rather strong segment with players like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, not to mention relative newcomers like the Jaguar XE and Alfa Romeo Giulia. Needless to say, Acura has its work cut out. Curious to see how the TLX performs on familiar streets, I recently spent a week with a 2017 model fitted with the optional 3.5-liter V-6 and SH-AWD. This would technically be Acura’s hottest-performing TLX. So how’d it do?
Well, I’ll get to that. But first, some backstory.
The TLX hit the scene for the 2015 model year. It was designed to replace the compact TSX and slightly larger TL sedans. Acura essentially reorganized its sedan lineup, which now includes the compact,
based ILX, the mid-size TLX, and the RLX luxury flagship. Not much has changed for the 2017 model year beyond a slight price increase. This means the car carries over with its standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder, eight-speed dual-clutch automatic, and front-wheel drive. Different option packages bring high-tech bits like active safety features and upgradeg leather seats to go the an ELS stereo system.
My tester, which came fully kitted out with the V-6, AWD, the Technology Package and Advance Package, represented the cream of the TLX crop. Its $45,740 price tag actually sits mid-pack in relation to its competition, with the Audi and Alfa Romeo coming in slightly lower, while the Mercedes and BMW can be optioned to cost more than $5,000 more than the my loaded TLX tester. What’s that mean for Acura? The TLX represents a relative bargain. And, thanks to its 290-horsepower engine and torque-vectoring AWD system with rear-wheel steering, the Acura provides plenty of fun when driven hard, with a sure-footed grip when tooling around town.
There’s more to the Acura TLX, so keep reading for the full driven review.
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2017 Kia Sorento SXL – Driven
It’s hard to believe the Kia Sorento has been around since 2002, but this body-on-frame SUV turned unibody crossover has gained a respectable foothold in the American market thanks to its growing size and continually improvement refinement with each generation. Kia last reworked the Sorento for the 2016 model year. This third-generation crossover now wears a handsome exterior with a surprisingly supple and spacious interior. A few minor changes happen for the 2017 model year, including the addition of automatic emergency braking and making the Technology Package and V-6 standard equipment in the range-topping SXL.
Kia sent me such a model to test for a week. It came loaded with just about every option available, including all-wheel drive and that 3.3-liter V-6. Also packed in back is the Sorento’s optional third row seat, which actually comes standard on the SXL. Prices have also increased for 2017, with the base trims seeing as little as $290 and a whopping $4,000 for the SXL. The huge price jump on the SXL is patricianly explained by the $2,500 Technology Package being made standard, as well as the V-6. AWD is now the SXL’s only major option, though several smaller accessories can be purchased.
The 2017 Sorento is positioned to compete in two vehicle categories and in a higher pricing bracket than most would expect. It can be stacked against the two-row Ford Flex or the spacious, three-row Dodge Durango. It can compete with the family-friendly and affordable Hyundai Santa Fe Sport or the middle-class Jeep Grand Cherokee. It all depends on how the Kia Sorento is optioned. But how well does the Sorento perform at all these tasks? That’s what we’re here to find out.
Continue reading for the full driven review.
Ford introduced the first ever Focus RS in 2002, reviving the RS (Rallye Sport) badge after having popularized it before with rally homologation specials like the Escort RS 1600 or the Escort RS Cosworth. Despite looking like a road-going version of the WRC model, the car was FWD and offered a little over 200 horsepower. Almost seven years later, another generation of the Focus RS arrived with an even more pronounced rally look and a
sourced five-cylinder with 305 horsepower sent to the front wheels. While torque-steer was kept to a minimum via a standard LSD from Quaife and a MacPherson front suspension strut called RevoKnuckle, the car was still far from offering WRC-like performance for the road.
Ford wants to change all that with the recently unveiled, third-generation Focus RS, as the model will be offered with an innovative all-wheel-drive system. Set to be manufactured at the same German plant as its predecessors, this will also be the first RS model to be sold around the world, including the U.S. With a
sourced, 2.3-liter, EcoBoost engine that has been engineered to deliver in excess of 300 horsepower, the all-new Focus RS seems to really up the ante for Ford in the performance-hatch category.
Update 07/13/2013: The Ford Focus RS is finally arriving at U.S. dealerships and is priced at $36,605 including destination and delivery charges. Hit "play" to see who was the first U.S. lucky owner of the RS.
Continue reading to learn more about the new Ford Focus RS.
2017 Mazda CX-9 – Driven
The Mazda CX-9 has been around for a decade now, having debuted for the 2007 model year. It established itself as a fun-to-drive three-row crossover with a chipper attitude. A facelift in 2010 and again in 2013 kept the first generation CX-9 looking fresh, but it wasn’t until the 2016 model year that things got serious. Mazda’s previous split from Ford meant it could develop its own platform and engines for the crossover, along with reinventing its design language. The result is a stunningly gorgeous vehicle that looks far more upscale than its price tag demands.
Things have remained unchanged for the 2017 model year and its design remains fresh. I was understandably excited to hear Mazda was sending me a 2017 CX-9 to sample for a week. The idea of a beautiful three-row crossover with AWD and an efficient yet turbocharged engine was an enticing one.
The concept of building a fun-to-drive crossover isn’t new, but it’s harder than you might imagine. The taller ground clearance makes for a top-heavy ride and the extra length and seats brings added weight that eats horsepower. Mazda as worked to quell these issues in the CX-9 by removing weight and developing a suspension that could handle well. In the AWD model, 287 pounds has been removed from the first-generation model and the suspension was retuned. The CX-9 uses MacPherson struts up front with a multi-link coil spring setup.
Powering the CX-9 is Mazda’s new 2.5-liter SkyActiv four-cylinder turbo. It might make 23 horsepower less that the previous V-6, but it generates an impressive 40 pound-feet more torque. Best of all, it’s far more efficient. So how does all this work in practice? Keep reading to find out.
Continue reading for the full driven review.