2020 Toyota Avalon XSE Hybrid by Ben Lewis

It’s interesting how different technologies develop over time. A perfect example is the Hybrid car. With the original Prius, it was a technically interesting, but pretty agrarian little vehicle. Slow and a little clunky, it got very good gas mileage, but you had to be committed to the cause. Come round 2, and Hybrids got better, with little penalty to the driving experience, excellent gas mileage – our 2019 Prius tester averaged over 50 mpg! – but the appeal of hybrids remained in the camps of eco-friendliness. But now the Hybrid has another trick up its sleeve – it’s now …

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2021 BMW 5-Series Debuts With Refreshed Design, Brings More Powerful Electrified Powertrain To Consumers

BMW recently took the wraps off of the 2021 BMW 5-Series earlier this week, and it brings a number of welcome updates that not only help keep the 5-Series fresh in the minds of buyers for a few more years, but also allows the 5-Series to take a big step closer towards formally fitting in with BMW’s renewed push towards electrification technology. But before we get into the more radical changes that take place in the performance hardware, we might as well address the decidedly more subtle updates that define the exterior styling. Being a mid-cycle refresh, the 5-Series avoids …

Read more 2021 BMW 5-Series Debuts With Refreshed Design, Brings More Powerful Electrified Powertrain To Consumers

2019 Honda Clarity Plug-In Touring by Ben Lewis

If you love Honda, and want a full-on EV, there’s some bad news. You can’t get one. Honda has decided to discontinue the 100% Honda Clarity Electric. If you really want to be on the edge, there’s still the Hydrogen-powered model Honda Clarity Fuel Cell, but it’s a California-only model, and you’re really limited for fueling stations. But there’s good news, too. The Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid continues, and it’s one of our favorite PHEV’s as they’re known. In fact, you might love it, even if you have no interest in hybrids or EV’s at all! Honda Clarity Design – …

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2019 Lexus ES350 Ultra Luxury – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

For 2019, Lexus introduced an all-new ES350, and it’s a radical step up from the previous model. Due in part to the all-new Camry which the ES shares a chassis, it was the last sedan to get some bona fide’s in terms of performance and pizzazz. There may some though, that kind of liked the previous models focus on the luxury and away from sport. What to do for them?  Enter the ES350 Ultra Luxury. Sleek and Sexy Okay, there’s really not much difference exterior-wise between the Ultra Luxury and other ES350’s, but we don’t mind Lexus not being shouty …

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Road Test Followup – 2019 Lexus GS350 – By Carl Malek

When we last checked in on the Lexus GS350, we remarked that it was a luxury sedan that certainly had its own unique take on luxury, but was rapidly being left behind by rivals like the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Lexus has so far not confirmed if the GS is indeed living on for a new generation as the brand focuses on rapidly securing its hand in the rapidly exploding SUV and CUV segments. But like a grizzled veteran the GS (along with the equally long in the tooth RC coupe) continue to soldier on for …

Read more Road Test Followup – 2019 Lexus GS350 – By Carl Malek

2019 VW Arteon SEL 4Motion – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We recently tested the all new Nissan Altima, and came away impressed and hopeful for the fate of the 4-door sedan. Yes, the Crossover/SUV is the new King, but there still seems to be plenty of room in the royal family for a sedan. And for a lot of manufacturers – especially luxury brands – there still needs to be a halo sedan. Enter the VW Arteon. Replacing the VW CC, which was a stylish version of the Passat Sedan, the Arteon, is bigger, more stylish and more expensive. So our question – Is VW’s new flagship a dreamboat, or …

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2019 Toyota Camry XSE V6 – Drive Review with Performance Video

What a difference a year can make! For the shockingly designed Camry that was so polarizing in 2018, 2019 has mellowed the reaction to its looks and let us really focus on what a terrific upgrade it is. Both versus previous-gen Camrys and its most of its mid-size rivals, for that matter. For your scribe, a year of driving his personal ‘beach car’ (CX-9) during in a press-car drought meant that getting in Camry V6 is nothing short of a revolution!  So fast! So quiet and such sophisticated electronics!  I had a thought the day before Toyota announced there will …

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2020 BMW 330i M Sport xDrive – First Drive Review Video & Photo Gallery

A rainy morning in hilly northern Wisconsin was the perfect time and place to try out the new BMW 3 series with AWD.  This redesign was sure to be pretty excellent – focused on the interior roominess and luxury, and maintaining the excellent pace and agility that the sedan perfected generations ago. We flogged its turbo four to really feel the 5.3-second sprint to 60-mph and came out grinning.The xDrive AWD models have the same turbo four as the rear-drive models but this time tuned with about 80 extra pound-feet of torque. BMW has done this for years and it …

Read more 2020 BMW 330i M Sport xDrive – First Drive Review Video & Photo Gallery

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Cadillac CT5 To Be Sedan Only Affair, No Coupes Or Wagon In The Works

Even though the 2020 Cadillac CT5 is aimed at being a strong entry for buyers that typically shop in what the brand calls the “Lux 3” segment (we are still scratching our heads on that statement) which includes rivals such as the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes C-Class, the car’s dimensions also cause it to fall into the same size category as the larger BMW 5-Series and the Audi A6. This situation reminds us of the second generation CTS sedan, which originally straddled the line between these two sedan classes, but whereas that model had enough flexibility to spawn a …

Read more Cadillac CT5 To Be Sedan Only Affair, No Coupes Or Wagon In The Works

2019 Acura ILX A-Spec – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Remember when Acura first launched? It may seem common now, but Honda was the first Japanese brand to bring in a luxury line – setting the path for Toyota’s Lexus and Nissan’s Infiniti. Mazda was dangerously close to bringing in the Amati line…but backed out. Still we owe props to Acura for being first, and the two first products, the Legend and the Integra were excellent, with all the Honda goodness, plus a nice layer of premium added on top. Acura kind of lost their way for a while – but as of late they’ve come back swinging. We recently …

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2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia TI Sport AWD – Review By Ben Lewis

Have you ever been at a get-together, and it’s ok, but kinda snoozy? You know just about everyone; the talk is the same stuff it always is. Then someone new shows up that’s fun, different and interesting, and all of a sudden, you’re glad you were there. Meet the Alfa Romeo Giulia – the life of the party. You may know Alfa Romeo. The last time the brand sold a vehicle here was in 1995. But this is a famous brand with an amazing heritage. Alfa was the first car to win the World Automobile Championship in 1925, and followed …

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Road Test Review – 2018 Lexus GS 350 (AWD) – By Carl Malek

The mid-size luxury sedan market is undergoing subtle but key changes in a bid to allow it to stay truly distinct from the onslaught of CUV and SUV entries that are draining sales away like an old school medical leech draining blood from a hospital patient. While the BMW 5-Series, Audi A6, and the Mercedes E-Class still remain the bench marking trilogy at the top of the segment, other automakers have not given up trying their best to topple these established icons. One of these marques is Lexus, with their GS series sedan. The GS was crafted towards style, and …

Read more Road Test Review – 2018 Lexus GS 350 (AWD) – By Carl Malek

2018 Toyota Camry XSE V6 – Road Test Review w/ Performance Drive Video

Toyota does not shy away from a challenge. In the face of shrinking interest and sales of four-door sedans, Toyota has gone and made the evergreen Camry seriously better.  This new Camry is easily the best ever, and sets a high bar for its cheapie rivals all the way up to cars like the Audi A4. Nobody might have taken a Camry vs A4 battle very seriously until this generation. This is not just hyperbole: we were firmly expecting a lightly re-heated model with updated tech and style for the 2018 redesign. It is only since driving the top Camry …

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2018 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro Manual – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Classic. What makes a car a classic? Often times, it takes years, or even decades to bestow a title like that. Or an ad on Craigslist for some clapped-out conveyance you should never consider buying. Let’s ignore the latter, and concentrate on the former. And we’re here to tell you that the 2018 Audi A4 is a classic. Classical Elegance Even though the A4 was all-new last year, you might not have noticed. Audi is a founding member of the Evolution, not Revolution design club. And besides, the previous model was pretty sweet. The new model looks a little crisper, …

Read more 2018 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro Manual – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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2019 Lexus ES350 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

The Lexus ES has always been a nice car. It was one of two models offered by Toyota’s luxury division when it launched in 1990. The LS400 was an all-new technological tour de force that took on Europe – and America’s – finest, and showed that the Japanese could compete and win on the world stage. And then there was the ES. Basically, a Camry with sporty C-pillar that was sold in other markets, Lexus put a heavy ladle of luxury on it, but compared to the LS, it was kind of lukewarm. In many ways, that has remained the …

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2019 Mazda6 Turbo – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Some say the sedan is dead, that the SUV/Crossover buried it. We say poppycock. (Actually, no one says poppycock anymore, but it keeps us out of trouble with the language nannies). Proof? Look at the aggressive tack we’re seeing right now, with an all-new sporty Toyota Camry, an all-new Honda Accord with available detuned Civic Type R motor, and all-new Nissan Altima with a world’s first Variable displacement turbo engine.  Sedans are back and they’re mad as heck. With all this new sheetmetal on sale, it’s got to be tough for a not-so-new sedan like the Mazda 6 to keep …

Read more 2019 Mazda6 Turbo – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2019 VW Passat GT V6 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

It seems like the de-facto performance engine for reasonably priced cars these days is the 2.0-liter, turbo, 4-cylinder. From Audi A4, BMW 3, to Honda Accord and Kia Optima, the moderately-sized, turbo motor strikes as the perfect combination of power and economy. But what about 6-cylinders? For a long time the 6 was the engine, that sweet spot between big muscular V8’s and wheezy fours. Now, it’s a premium item – out of the reach of most buyers – especially if you want that engine wrapped in some sexy European sheet metal. VW to the rescue Yes, the brand that …

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2019 Kia Optima SX Turbo – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Time flies. The last Kia Optima Turbo we tested was a 2016 model, and here we are behind the wheel of a 2019. What’s changed? Well for the Optima, it’s been constantly refined – 2017 saw a plug-in hybrid model added, 2018 saw some upgraded connectivity, and now for 2019, a host of safety equipment is standard across the range. There’s also a freshened face and rear, and the UVO infotainment system gets an upgrade. All good, admirable things for the car that in 2016, we called the most affordable Audi you can get. Yep, that good. But in those …

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2019 Toyota AVALON Touring – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Some say Toyota is like a Cruise Ship – once it starts moving it takes a while for it to make a turn. We say not so, in the last couple years, under the direction of new management to create a sportier, livelier, more-fun-to drive product. We’ve seen model after model, from Camry to Corolla, get some sharp new duds, make sharp new moves, and surprise a lot of people. And nothing is more surprising as the all-new 2019 Avalon. Bad Grandpa Not in the bad-not-good sense, but in the bad-is-awesome sense. Once the poster car for our seasoned citizens …

Read more 2019 Toyota AVALON Touring – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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2018 Lexus GS350 F Sport RWD – Road Test Review – By Tom Burkart

In an age now where mid-size luxury sedans are stronger, faster and better than ever before…. How come they aren’t the kings of the family fleet any more? Way back in the 90s when your scribe grew up, we had a quick way of telling whether the cars lined up for a party in the neighborhood were from parents or the kids.  If it was all 4Runners and Explorers, then it was definitely a kid party and time to get wild! But if it was stately 740iL’s, XJ’s and Lexus LS sedans… then we knew it was a parent party …

Read more 2018 Lexus GS350 F Sport RWD – Road Test Review – By Tom Burkart

2018 Buick Regal GS – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We’ve been really impressed by Buick lately. Both the Enclave and Encore crossover/suv’s impressed us, and the word has been getting out – Buick is selling well, and appealing to a new, younger, audience. But the Buick Regal may be the biggest surprise of all. Yes, the Regal. You probably know the name – it started way back in 1973. Along the way it has soldiered on, some models better than others. One of the high points was the Regal Grand National, with a turbo engine that caught the imagination of enthusiasts and brought back some of the luxury/performance sparkle …

Read more 2018 Buick Regal GS – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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2018 Audi S5 Sportback 3.0T quattro Tiptronic – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We can thank the SUV/Crossover craze again for this – with buyers so used to the flexibility of the big box, it has raised interest again in wagons and hatchbacks. Interesting, because a few years ago, manufacturers were saying customers didn’t want hatches and wags – but the customer is king! I want my Sportback back, Sportback back, Sportback back… Yes, this does make us hungry for ribs, but let’s go on. When Audi recently introduced their new A5 Coupe – which we tested and loved – they also introduced a 4-door hatchback model they named “Sportback”.  Even more exciting, …

Read more 2018 Audi S5 Sportback 3.0T quattro Tiptronic – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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Road Test Review – 2018 Kia Stinger AWD 2.0T – By Carl Malek

It’s no secret that Kia has undergone a transformation the past few years. Once known for making products that were cheap and not much else, the Korean car brand has now embraced a fresh new wave of substance, thanks to models such as the Optima, and the flagship K900 sedans. The newest member of the family is the 2018 Kia Stinger, which aims to compete with the best that Europe has to offer. But can the Stinger hold its own against benchmarks like the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes C-Class? or does it lack the venom needed to make a …

Read more Road Test Review – 2018 Kia Stinger AWD 2.0T – By Carl Malek

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2018 BMW M550i xDrive Sedan – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

OK, I’m going to buy a lottery ticket. A fun game we enthusiasts play – win the big Powerball, and what would you drive? An exotic? Classic muscle car? An Opel GT with a 5.0-liter V8 and fuzzy dice hanging from the mirror? The mind boggles. Allow us a recco for a daily driver – the BMW M550i xDrive.  Why? It’s beautiful – in a tasteful way. The 5-series was restyled for the 2017 model year, and the change was evolutionary – not a big surprise for BMW’s popular mid-level executive express. Having sold 7.9 million 5’ers over 6 generations, …

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Road Test Review – 2018 Genesis G80 3.3T Sport – By Carl Malek

With all the buzz surrounding the Genesis G90 flagship sedan, as well as the recent news the brand made during its appearance at the New York Auto Show. It can be easy to forget about Genesis’s other sedan offering, the G80. Originally starting its run as the Hyundai Genesis, the launch of the new brand forced the luxury laden Hyundai to transform into the newly renamed G80, and up its luxury and performance credentials at the same time. But can the G80 still stand out from not only the bigger G90 sedan? but also a field of opulent entries? or …

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2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

There’s an interesting phenomenon in auto-dom. Lag time. A manufacturer will gain a certain reputation, and when it ups its game, it seems it takes a while for the buying public to find out about it. Which can be good for buyers (snag a deal0 , but a rough ride for carmakers. Acura is a perfect example of this. What do you think of the brand? Nice stuff. Not too exciting, but solid, well made. Right? WRONG! Acura has quietly been polishing its vehicles into some really exciting numbers, and it seems like the word hasn’t gotten out. We recently …

Read more 2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Kia Stinger GT1 RWD V6TT – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

  We’ve been very impressed by Kia lately. It seems every new model is exceptionally good. But now we have something completely different: The Kia Stinger. Offering something you won’t find at any Toyota, Nissan or Honda dealer – a high performance rear-wheel-drive sedan. From the design, you’d think they’re taking on the new Audi A5 Sportback, and the performance the BMW 5-series. So, Kia is clearly targeting the European thoroughbreds. But does the Stinger have the horse-sense to back it up? Ich bin ein Frankfurter… No, not the hot dog. It’s no surprise that Stinger looks so European. Kia …

Read more 2018 Kia Stinger GT1 RWD V6TT – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Acura TLX A-Spec V6 SH AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

It’s about time Acura got some credit. After all, it was the first Japanese automaker (via parent company Honda) to enter the luxury division that was owned by Europeans. It created a supercar (NSX) that could hang with the world’s best, and still it was as reliable as a Prelude. Somehow along the way, though, the brand earned a reputation as nice, well turned-out cars, but a little bland for the enthusiast. Now if you want to point out the new NSX, that’s fine – but at a starting price of $156,000 it’s more of a dream car for most …

Read more 2018 Acura TLX A-Spec V6 SH AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Genesis G80 Sport RWD – Road Test Review

G80 Sport has the dark, sporty and sinister makeover of our dreams.  This luxury sport sedan has been a popular favorite among CRD writers around the country in the last few years. We’ve watched the brand go from a fledgling offshoot to a stand-alone division whose products threaten Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and BMW ownership of the luxury sedan marketplace. Is it weird to be proud of how far Genesis has come?  Perhaps. 2018 is a big year for the big G.  The model range has the traditional G80 from about $40k, G80 Sport and a new-for-2017 G90 flagship limo.  Soon a …

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2018 Genesis G80 Sport 3.3T RWD – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

If you were asked to name luxury automobile manufacturers today, your answers would be somewhat different based upon your age. Those of you above the age of 45 would most likely include names like Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Lexus Cadillac, and Lincoln among the top brands. One brand you wouldn’t likely think of would be Genesis, or the brand that spawned it, Hyundai. But if you were under 45, I’d bet you’d have those two brands in the mix, and near the top. The reason is that so many younger drivers have grown up with, and have enjoyed, the ownership experience …

Read more 2018 Genesis G80 Sport 3.3T RWD – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

2018 GENESIS G80 Sport AWD 3.3T – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

BMW, Audi and Mercedes: better check your mirrors. There’s a new brand breathing down your neck. Hyundai. Yes, Hyundai (hey wasn’t that their ad campaign a while ago?) In this case, it’s the Korean automaker’s luxury division, Genesis. From the get-go, Genesis has taken serious aim at the luxury market, and while early cars where Hyundai Genesis models like the Coupe, it has slowly divested itself from the mothership, and become a stand-alone luxury brand. Well.. sort of, they don’t have stand-alone dealerships yet, so the lavish love you get from The Europeans, Lexus, and others is sadly missing. That …

Read more 2018 GENESIS G80 Sport AWD 3.3T – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 INFINITI QX30 Sport – Road Test Review w/ Performance Drive Video!

 We start the drive video review asking a serious question: does this Euro Infiniti QX30 belong in the USA? This baby Infiniti has two variants on sale in America: the crossover-ish QX30 and QX30 AWD.  Then there is the wild cousin: the QX30 Sport.  Lowered ride height.  Performance mods and gloss black finishes galore.  Stance to make the most of the double-clutch automatic and turbo motor from Mercedes-Benz. Premium compact five-doors are big business on the continent.  Instead of trading up to a sedan after the Golf/Focus class, owners will shell out big cash to get into the A3, 1 …

Read more 2018 INFINITI QX30 Sport – Road Test Review w/ Performance Drive Video!

2017 VW Passat 1.8T R-Line – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Hankering for a sporty European performance sedan, but stunned by the high prices? Never fear – we’ve found a sweet sedan that ticks all the right boxes and even surprised us with its sensible pricing: the 2017 VW Passat. Now you have to be a smart shopper, or you could get carried away and end up dropping a fair amount of loot on some maxed-out model. You have to know the magic word. The magic word is R-Line. VW actually serves up 6 different models, but the R-Line gives you a nice dollop of sporty goodness in its second-to-lowest priced …

Read more 2017 VW Passat 1.8T R-Line – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 BMW M550i – HD Road Test Review

What if one of the most comfortable cars you’ve ever driven … is also one of the fastest? A big sedan that pivots like a track star? How has BMW defied physics?  Yes. The M550i is a revelation on the road.  After a week of flogging this beauty for kicks – and the cameras – we came away absolutely in love with BMW’s fastest ever 5 series. The 3.9s sprints to 60-mph from the almost-violent launch control are enough to make up for its lack of M5 sounds from the V8TT.  The hyper-adaptive suspension and standard xDrive turn a soft car …

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Road Test Review – 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti (RWD) – By Carl Malek

Alfa Romeo has seen its fair share of ups and downs since it made its most recent effort at returning to the U.S. luxury car market. For starters, instead of choosing to start its new-found U.S. adventure with a mass market oriented model, the proudly Italian sports car maker chose to unleash two borderline supercars on the market. The first was the limited production Alfa Romeo 8C which featured a delightfully good Ferrari sourced V8, stylish bodywork, and a six figure price tag. Next was the Alfa Romeo 4C an equally stylish four cylinder two seat sports car that helped …

Read more Road Test Review – 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti (RWD) – By Carl Malek

Marketplace Comparision – 2017 Lexus IS350 F-Sport – By Carl Malek

In an ever-evolving automotive world, the one segment that has always remained a hotly contested battleground (even in the current resurgence of SUV/CUV sales) is the entry level luxury sports sedan segment. It used to be a kingdom long ruled by the benchmark BMW 3-Series, but over the past few years outright anarchy has taken place, with more automakers making sport sedan entries that either match up to the venerable 3, or in a few instances, outclass it in a truly compelling challenge to the sales throne. Lexus has traditionally played second fiddle to the 3-Series with its contender, the …

Read more Marketplace Comparision – 2017 Lexus IS350 F-Sport – By Carl Malek

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174MPH 2018 Audi RS4 Avant Is Frankfurts Designated Badass Wagon

Audi has long preferred to put their highest-performing RS handiwork into wagons.  The RS6 and now this RS4 can reach such high speeds, the thought is, that the longer roof aids their overall stability and aero. Whatever gets more people to buy wagons, right? This new RS4 Avant promises a giant upgrade in thrust thanks to a V6TT making 125 pound-feet of torque more than the previous model.  This means the 100-kph sprint time of 4.1 seconds really is just amuse bouche.   This RS4 is all about spine-shredding G-force around corners and through its eight-speed tiptronic’s gears.  The bodywork …

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2017 Lexus IS350 F Sport – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

There’s a little Jekyll and Hyde going on at Lexus. Does the brand want to be that same trusted conservative luxury purveyor the pampered have learned to love? Or does it want to throw off the kidskin gloves, and take on the Europeans in the performance pantheon? Does the Lexus IS350 F Sport Sprechen the Lingo? Well, you get the intent from the exterior design. Hard to believe it’s been with us since 2013, the IS really still looks fresh, and aggressive. For 2017, all IS models get kicked up a notch, with a redesigned front end with an even …

Read more 2017 Lexus IS350 F Sport – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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2018 Acura TLX A-Spec SH-AWD – First Drive Video + 42-Photo Flyaround

The new TLX A-Spec is the first affordable Acura to share the NSX’s halo coolness.  And this sport special is certainly macho in the flesh. The dark grey grille is menacing and its unique A-spec internals are fresh.  New LEDs up front bring LED indicators in a lit amber setting as normal plus LED fogs for good measure.  This A-Spec’s lower bumper is all-new and unique with a swirl of body-color intake above the contrasting front splitter.  Dark alloys and A-spec badges are cool, as is the dechromed exterior in general. The stance of the SH-AWD TLX is incredibly low …

Read more 2018 Acura TLX A-Spec SH-AWD – First Drive Video + 42-Photo Flyaround

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2017 KIA Cadenza Limited – Road Test Review + 2 Videos

There is real buzz around the brand-new 2017 Kia Cadenza. Car reviewers near and far have been shocked by its lux feel and right-priced tech. Are they right? We spent a week in the loaded Cadenza Limited to find out.  Hard on throttle and chucking it around corners… and honestly expecting the worst.  After all, it is a hard time for near-luxury sedans.  Cars like the Maxima, Avalon, Lacrosse or Chrysler 300 are suffering from low sales and a crowded marketplace.  Meanwhile, the deeply unfun Lexus ES still hoovers up sales for reasons no one truly understands. How can Cadenza …

Read more 2017 KIA Cadenza Limited – Road Test Review + 2 Videos

2017 Lexus IS350 F Sport RWD – Road Test Review + Performance Drive Video

The IS350 was a perfect way to hit the roads of CHicago and Wisconsin ahead of a track event the other week. Here is a fun, fast and tactile sport sedan for the ages! Fun because it loves revs and Gs. Fast as its F-Sport induction harmonics encourage floored throttle all the time. Tactile because its steering is alive in your hands.  IS350 F-Sport steering feel has heft like a great sports car, but also a sharp and eagerness to change direction any time.  Any place.  This IS350 pivots like a boss. Just a big soppy lovefest for this car, …

Read more 2017 Lexus IS350 F Sport RWD – Road Test Review + Performance Drive Video

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2017 Lexus ES350 – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

  If you are looking for a large, roomy, luxury vehicle with a soft comfortable boulevard ride, the Lexus ES 350 is an excellent choice.  If you want a bit more driving excitement, you’ll need to look to the smaller IS or GS models. The ES offers two powerplants.  The hybrid model has a 2.5 liter inline four, with an electric motor system for high gas mileage, and the standard 3.5 liter V-6 that makes 268 horsepower, and 248 ft. lbs. of torque. This engine provides good acceleration, and there is a control knob setting for Sport that adds a …

Read more 2017 Lexus ES350 – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

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2017 BMW 540i M Sport – First Drive Review + 50-Photo Flyaround

We stopped flogging the 540i on its first drive only for a few moments.  A few fleeting flashbulb pops. Then back on the road and back hard on throttle. The new 5 series is an incredible machine and one that is New Game versus any one before.  More nimble, more feelsome and fast as f***!  But also serene and triple-rubber-damped. The M Sport with Dynamic Handling Pack comes alive in Sport and Sport plus modes.  Here you have a true thhhummppp on the instant upshifts and pop on overrun.  Engine is ferocious and mad for horizons. Traction actually seemed stellar in …

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Road Test Review: 2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label – By Carl Malek

Lincoln has recently seen an upswing in fortunes over the past several years. With slick TV commercials starring celebrity Matthew McConaughey as well as a string of new vehicles, it’s clear that Ford’s once flat lining luxury brand is pulling out all the stops in its quest to lure new customers into its showrooms. But can Lincoln’s new lineup of vehicle’s reflect the new-found pulse that is circulating through the brand? Or do they come up a bit short? Even though the 2017 Lincoln Continental is currently the vehicle at the forefront of Lincoln’s recent string of TV ads due to …

Read more Road Test Review: 2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label – By Carl Malek

2018 KIA Stinger GT AWD 8

2018 KIA Stinger GT AWD – 4.8s, 167MPH Stats Confirmed – 31 Photos

The Stinger GT from KIA is the dream on wheels.  Four-door fastback with a rear-drive chassis and huge twin-turbo power.  So many dreams, in fact, that the car’s giant trunk will actually come in handy right away.  In what is a clear confirmation of the car’s production-ready status, the power operation of the liftgate up or down is Panamera-esque.  Audi A7 and the A5 Sportback also form strong core templates for the Stinger.  This German-designed and German-engineered machine headed to KIA showrooms for under $50k in the next six months. Black chrome laces the bottle-nose front fenders and the extremely …

Read more 2018 KIA Stinger GT AWD – 4.8s, 167MPH Stats Confirmed – 31 Photos

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2017 Audi A6 3.0T Competition Quattro – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

There are advantages to flying under the radar. Make no mistake: there is great fun in having a red-hot sports car that gathers the oohs and ahhs of from friends and thumbs-up from those in the know. But there’s little fun having law enforcement following you around, waiting for you to succumb to temptation. Or when your insurance company finds out you have an M3, S4, or AMG E43. Luckily, there’s a nice little niche of strong performing vehicles that don’t call attention to themselves, or raise red flags to those who would spoil Your Good Time. Take for example, …

Read more 2017 Audi A6 3.0T Competition Quattro – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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Road Test Review 2017 Audi A4 2.0 T quattro S tronic – By Carl Malek

At Audi, the phrase “Vorspung durch Technik” (Advancement through Technology) has played a pivotal role in the company’s marketing and direction in recent years. This technology first initiative has resulted in some of Audi’s most revered models including the Audi A8 as well as the R8 supercar. For 2017, the A4 sport sedan aims to fully embrace this mantra with new-found vigor. But can it still maintain the top notch driving experience that many buyers have come to expect? or has it been lost in the quest for progress?   The exterior styling of the A4 has always been known for being …

Read more Road Test Review 2017 Audi A4 2.0 T quattro S tronic – By Carl Malek

2017 Mercedes-Benz Concept A – Debuts Fresh Design in Shanghai

This new Mercedes-Benz concept feels a bit disingenuous.  On the one hand, we have a clear look at the next CLA-Class compact sedan.   But on the other, we have a heavy-handed effort to link this piglet with the 4-door AMG GT Concept.  Aka, the full hog. AMG GT CONCEPT Actually, we take most of that back.  The look of this Concept A is endlessly charming.  Its new LeMans-type grille with vertical slats meets ultra slimline LED headlights.  Wide intakes below leave no doubt as to how turbocharged and speedy MB’s always are. Could the LEDs up front be even …

Read more 2017 Mercedes-Benz Concept A – Debuts Fresh Design in Shanghai

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Gallery: AC Schnitzer 30th Anniversary in 200 Photos

Anniversaries are a nice vote of confidence in any company.  But when the total years is less than 30 or so, the business is usually still pretty new.  Recordkeeping was usually poor and the products sometimes laughable in hindsight. You better believe this last bit applies to the tuned car business.  AC Schnitzer is one of the best – broadening from their first M3 and 635CSi offerings into MINI, Range Rover and every fast BMW since.  But the company did keep records, and it does celebrate its weirder achievements.  3 series X-Road wagon in 2001?  Or the 2003 Topster Z3 …

Read more Gallery: AC Schnitzer 30th Anniversary in 200 Photos

2017 Jaguar XF 35t AWD R-Sport 57

2017 Jaguar XF 35t AWD R-Sport – HD Road Test Review w/ 2 Videos

Shhh.  The Jaguar XF does not know it’s a sedan!  With a big back seat and giant trunk! You won’t realize that either when driving.  This is a sports sedan that puts the SPORT proudly FIRST. Here is a car that doesn’t need the (optional) leaper cat emblem.  Why? Because a supercharged pop off the line delivers 5.1-second sprints to 60-mph — no matter what. This AWD variant is a tenth quicker than the rear-drive model.  So it aims to be just as quick rain, snow or shine. We took the XF by the scruff of the neck for an HD …

Read more 2017 Jaguar XF 35t AWD R-Sport – HD Road Test Review w/ 2 Videos

2017 Lexus ES350 – HD Road Test Review w/ 2 Videos – By Tom Burkart

The Lexus ES was refreshed for the 2016 model-year to enhance its styling and luxury equipment, along with a new build location as the first Lexus to be made in the USA. Its upgrades are fairly skin-deep, however, so we worried this car would be left behind by all the new midsize luxury models.  Vehicles like the Lincoln Continental or C-Class are all significantly fresher than the ES350 outside and in.  The ES has a huge target on its back — even from upstarts like the latest Avalon, Acura TLX and even Kia Cadenza. These rivals often have the latest turbo …

Read more 2017 Lexus ES350 – HD Road Test Review w/ 2 Videos – By Tom Burkart

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2017 Audi S3 – Photo Slideshow + 50 Extra Pics!

  50 pics of the new S3 that didn’t make it into the review — but too pretty not to share! In addition, a video slideshow of the review pics (not these..) for those who want to just lean back and soak it in. That mansion in some of the pics is Drayton Hall, a home completed in 1742.  This makes it one of the oldest surviving structures in the United States. 2017 Audi S3 Quattro S-tronic – HD Road Test Review       2017 Audi S3   2017 Audi S3 Quattro S-tronic – HD Road Test Review

2017 Audi S3 Quattro S-tronic – HD Road Test Review

This big question you have for yourself when spending near $50k for a compact exec car is:  does the performance upgrade make up for its lack of scale? For the same money as the revised 2017 S3, you can find yourself in a (small-engined) fullsize luxury car like Genesis G80 or even Audi’s own A6. While that is a rational thoughtline for your brain, it all goes out the window in real life. The money spent upgrading an A3 to this S3 quattro sedan with S-tronic all goes directly to your cheeks.  To help you smile bigger, and laugh harder! …

Read more 2017 Audi S3 Quattro S-tronic – HD Road Test Review

2017 Cadillac ATS 3

2017 Cadillac ATS 3.6 Performance – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Drive this Cadillac and you’ll never want an Electric Vehicle. Ever. We’ve been having this discussion lately. While some of our friends are having eye-watering fantasies about driving the new Tesla to 60 mph in under 3 seconds, we’re rather meh on the whole deal. And you can blame this Cadillac ATS for that. The Caddy doesn’t try to redefine the sport sedan segment – and it doesn’t need to. What the ATS does is remind you about everything a great sport sedan brings to the table, lays it out in front of you, and invites you to dig in. …

Read more 2017 Cadillac ATS 3.6 Performance – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2017 Genesis G80 5

2017 Genesis G80 5.0 Ultimate – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Heads up: you need to be on the lookout for 5-0. In this case, it’s not Steve McGarrett and his task force careening around on Oahu. It’s a luxury sedan from Hyundai’s newly-minted Genesis division, and in this case, it’s looking to take on the existing marks including the highly-prized BMW 5-series. And you know what? We might opt for the G. It’s that good. First, some housekeeping. The name Genesis has been around for a bit. In 2009, we had the first Hyundai Genesis sedan, and then it was freshened up for 2015. For 2017, though, the Hyundai has been …

Read more 2017 Genesis G80 5.0 Ultimate – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class by BRABUS – First Look

Well that didn’t take long!  Brabus has revealed their first steps at refining the W213 E-Class today, with upgrades to the aero, styling, power and sound.  Mostly plug-and-play modules for the ride height and the engine power mods — which is great for overseas clients to do themselves.  Also some design upgrades and added aggression via a new performance exhaust.   2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class by BRABUS Red-hot:  Exclusive BRABUS refinement for the new E-Class Mercedes-Benz continues the long success story of the E-Class with the W 213 model series, and BRABUS (Brabus-Allee, D-46240 Bottrop, phone + 49 / (0) 2041 …

Read more 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class by BRABUS – First Look

2018 Genesis G80 Sport Shows Gorgeous New Style, V6TT Upgrade

There might not be any bigger Genesis fans than the good folks here at Car-Revs-Daily.com.  Just check out the love-fest of reviews at this link if you are skeptical! But what have we wished for?  More grip and sportier style.  And of course, a 20-percent bump on horsepower is always invited! The G80 Sport addresses all these wishes and more.  Under the sexy new hood, the new 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 puts out a stout 365HP and oodles of low-end torque.  Rear or AWD are set to be offered on the G80 Sport when it arrives midyear as a 2018 model in …

Read more 2018 Genesis G80 Sport Shows Gorgeous New Style, V6TT Upgrade

2014 INFINITI Q50S AWD Hybrid -- 1080p HD Road Test Videos & 50 Photos -- AAA+ Refinement and Truly Authentic Steering -- An Excellent BMW 535i Competitor 23

2016 Infiniti Q50 2.0T – Road Test Review – By Tim Esterdahl

After three non-stop hours behind the wheel of a 2016 Infiniti Q50, I’ve never been more mixed on a car. It simply delights, frustrates, pleases and annoys all at the same time. Here’s why. Throughout my week of driving the car, I had taken short trips while saving one long-distance trip for the compact car. My reasoning is simple. This trip was a mix of city, highway and dirt driving through the northern Colorado landscape of fields and rolling hills. There are hair-pin turns, long, straight roads and plenty of deep drops and quick climbs. It is ideal for seeing …

Read more 2016 Infiniti Q50 2.0T – Road Test Review – By Tim Esterdahl

2016 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

When gas prices jumped a few years ago, a new breed of luxury car immediately came to the forefront of automotive buyers. Dubbed the “compact luxury car” these vehicles promised to offer their owners a long list of equipment, performance, and luxury in a decidedly smaller package. The 2016 Audi A3 aims to stand out against rivals such as the BMW 2-Series and the Mercedes CLA in this hotly contested segment, but has its push for sales diluted the very traits that have defined recent Audi models?   The exterior styling of our Monsoon Gray Metallic tester is a compelling …

Read more 2016 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

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2017 Audi A4 Quattro – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

  We recently read a comment that the Audi A4 has become so refined and smooth – perhaps overly so – that why not just pocket the cash and get a Toyota Camry? This is a shopping decision that faces us in many places in modern life. Is that fancy artisanal sprouted bread really worth three times the price of the generic loaf at the local grocery? The freshly barista-poured Peaberry better than smudgy carafe of regular at the neighborhood donut house? And now we have an all-new Audi A4. Are we buying? Well, this may not be as easy …

Read more 2017 Audi A4 Quattro – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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2016 Volkswagen Passat CC 2.0T R-Line – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

Volkswagen brought out the CC model in 2009, and it was an immediate hit styling-wise, as it separated itself from the more upright and boxy Passat that it was based on. And since that first model, the styling hasn’t changed much, which is a good thing, since it is still a striking timeless look.  The long arc of the roofline gives the CC a low, long, sleek look that reminds one of a Mercedes CLS, or Audi A-7.  Like the lines on a true coupe, the frameless doors make interesting visuals, like a four-door-coupe.  And there is enough chrome around …

Read more 2016 Volkswagen Passat CC 2.0T R-Line – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

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Road Test Review – 2016 Lexus CT200h – By Carl Malek

  Looking for a luxury branded vehicle that can deliver Prius grade levels of fuel economy without telling the world that you’re driving a Prius? Lexus thinks that it has the solution with the 2016 Lexus CT 200h, but can this sporty looking eco warrior successfully deliver stellar fuel economy while also living up to the lofty expectations that comes with donning the iconic Lexus badge? The exterior styling of the CT certainly does a stellar job of hiding its Prius roots. Wheras the Toyota’s styling can be best described as being boring and outright amorphous, Lexus designers went for …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Lexus CT200h – By Carl Malek

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Drive Review – 2016 Lexus GS-F – By Ben Lewis in Los Angeles

  Not Godzilla. More like T-Rex. To paraphrase Sally Field, “Lexus likes us. They really, really like us!” At least enough to let us spend some more time in the GS F. But we have some different perspective here, as this time, your humble scribe spent a week partaking in the GS here in sunny LA-LA land. And it ends up netting some mixed results. First, a quick rehash of the technical pleasantries. Like BMW’s M division, with models ranging between M235i’s and M2,3,4, and 5, there are F-Sport cars, and then there are F-Sport cars. F-sport is Lexus’ catch-all …

Read more Drive Review – 2016 Lexus GS-F – By Ben Lewis in Los Angeles

2016 Lexus GS-F – HD Road Test Review – F*** YES!

Nothing prepares you for the GS-F. Even after weeks of heated anticipation, the GS-F’s arrival out front dropped jaws. And whipped heads around with its sonics for anyone within a mile radius of the highest-performance Lexus four-door of all time. The GS-F introduction for the 2016 modelyear joins a comprehensive GS revamp of the tech, style and powertrains up and down the lineup. A new turbo four kicks off a nine-strong model range as the GS200t, while and this monster 467HP V8 tops the broad new GS offering.  F Sport upgrades for the GS200t, GS350 and GS450h are all available, with the middle …

Read more 2016 Lexus GS-F – HD Road Test Review – F*** YES!

2016 Lexus GS-F – GoPro Adventures! 3 Full-Throttle Drive Videos, LED Walkaround and Startup/Exhaust Note

Updated 4.29.16 We’re very aware that the HD drive reviews we post here are not world-class. Not anywhere close.  Sticking a GoPro up and heading out has basically been our gameplan.  The uploading the ginormous video files to YouTube virtually unedited whatsoever.  The real way to do this would be to do a script, many takes, and then refine it meticulously in the editing room.  By an expert editor. Alas, the videos so far have been more of ‘extra credit’ additions to written drive reviews. Then this GS-F came along, and we had to up our game.  Still no script …

Read more 2016 Lexus GS-F – GoPro Adventures! 3 Full-Throttle Drive Videos, LED Walkaround and Startup/Exhaust Note

HD Road Test Review – 2016 Jaguar XF 35t R-Sport RWD

Here is another new Jag that absolutely wallops the competition. Brutally competent.  Ruthlessly efficient.  Stylishly elegant. Very fast with a 5.2-second sprint to 60-mph, yet never too shouty about it. The new 2016 XF is stunningly good.  This mid-range model lives between the base Ingenium diesel here in the USA and the top XF S with its 380HP and sport exhaust. 340 ponies are always on tap thanks to the supercharged engine configuration.  Same goes for the worlds-best ZF eight-speed automatic.  And the lightweight, part-aluminum chassis that drops hundreds of Lbs versus its arch-rivals the 535i and Mercedes-Benz E350. How …

Read more HD Road Test Review – 2016 Jaguar XF 35t R-Sport RWD

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2017 Lexus IS Preview – New Noses, Wilder F-Sport Upgrades and Quicker Sprint Pace

The new IS is half-way here!  The revised model just bowed in Beijing with fresh bumpers, lighting, transmissions and infotainment. Why half-way?  We have only seen a partial look so far at the new US-market IS based on this debut.  The IS shown here in F Sport guise is wearing China-exclusive LEDs that are not the design we’ll see stateside.  The other show vehicle in China shows the base IS face, with new arrowhead LEDs, a slice of LED inside the lamp itself, and projector-beam main lights.  All good stuff — especially as these new lights have auto highbeams — …

Read more 2017 Lexus IS Preview – New Noses, Wilder F-Sport Upgrades and Quicker Sprint Pace

2016 Lexus GS200t – By Ben Lewis

    If you read our recent preview, or saw Tom’s video of the new Lexus GS-F, you know that Lexus is going after the German ‘Bahnstormers in a big way. How big?  A 5.0-liter V8 that pumps out 467 hp at a zinging 7,100 rpm, backed up by a chassis that could easily handle a good amount more. It’s an amazing machine. But allow me to play the devil’s advocate here. If you want the most German of the GS models, go for the entry level GS200t.  Yep, the one with the turbocharged 2-liter 4-cylinder. Allow me to explain. …

Read more 2016 Lexus GS200t – By Ben Lewis

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Kiawah 2016 Highlights – 1974 DeTomaso Longchamp

Here is a seriously rare exotic that influenced virtually every American car in the 1980s: the DeTomaso Longchamp.  But here’s the key detail: this car is a 1974. The 80s Ford Mustang and even Chevy Caprice likely thought their inspiration was a secret thanks to the Longchamp’s non-imported status. But what about the Volvo 960 and even the Maserati Quattroporte of the 1980s?!  Shameless copies, and now we know the origin of the epoch-defining block styling. DeTomaso’s widebody, rear-drive GT coupe proportions fender details are still stunning in 2016.  As is the massive cabin width and great luxury throughout. Thankyou to …

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Road Test Review - 2016 BMW 340i xDrive - By Tim Esterdahl 9

Road Test Review – 2016 BMW 340i xDrive – By Tim Esterdahl

Review: 2016 BMW 340i xDrive – Exhilarating Driving Performance For years, BMW has boasted that it builds the “Ultimate Driving Machines” and while critics and competitors have increasing sought to counter that claim, a recent weeklong drive in a 2016 BMW 340i only confirmed that claim. If driving, real fun, spirited driving is at the top of your buying list, the 340i has to be a top choice. Delivered to me in a Melbourne Red Metallic, the iconic looking 340i certainly had all the distinctive character and desirable appearance attributes reminiscent of BMW models over the years. While I’ve watched …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 BMW 340i xDrive – By Tim Esterdahl

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Speed Fleet Intro! 2016 Lexus GS-F – First 70 Photos in Caviar Black

One of the hottest new super-sedans just arrived out front! Then something magical happened.  They tossed me the keys … and said bon voyage.   We’re barely an hour into this week-long tryst, and I can tell it is going to get pretty steamy.  467HP, active intake and exhaust, standard torque-vectoring-differential in back.  And perhaps even four-wheel-steering in Sport + drive mode??! Only a few cautious prods of the GS-F’s throttle so far, and less than a block of driving.  200 photos later, and we can’t wait to share this stunning M5 rival with you.  Rushing this a bit, as you might …

Read more Speed Fleet Intro! 2016 Lexus GS-F – First 70 Photos in Caviar Black

2018 TESLA Model 3 – Design Analysis, 50 Images and Flyarounds Inside and Out

This is not going to be a boozy lovesong about Tesla changing the world. As you have probably seen from the deluge of media coverage, the Tesla Model 3 arrived just after dark in SoCal last night, to much fanfare and fanboy eagerness. Initial reaction: horror. Horror and revulsion. Why, oh why, Tesla, if you can change the world and make the best EVs of all time… can you not realize how ugly the new Tesla models have become?  It is in the details like the formless faces, the bloated rooflines and the generic detailing of the Model X, the very-tired-looking Model …

Read more 2018 TESLA Model 3 – Design Analysis, 50 Images and Flyarounds Inside and Out

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2016 GENESIS New York Concept – Design Analysis, Live Photos + Flyaround Video

The standalone launch of the GENESIS brand is in full swing: unique showrooms, unique models of course, and a unique mission to snag high-margin sales from Lexus and BMW. The offshoot is one that has mixed history: Acura is a constant drain on Honda with little upside, as is Infiniti on its Nissan parent. Mazda’s mooted entry with the Amati luxury brand was killed before its launch model, the Millenia, even broke cover. Why? The costs are astronomical and the returns are — as proven — less than a sure thing. Hyundai’s rise from punchline to top-five global automaker in …

Read more 2016 GENESIS New York Concept – Design Analysis, Live Photos + Flyaround Video

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Official: 2017 Kia Cadenza Makes NY Debut

A heavy redesign of the new Cadenza just bowed in NY — and is set to take on the ES350 and perhaps 528i with its all-new cabin, exterior and powertrains. 2017 Kia Cadenza ALL-NEW 2017 KIA CADENZA TAKES THE STAGE AT THE NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW 23/03/16 Second-Generation Cadenza Boasts Luxury Refinements with Expressive Styling, Advanced Technology, and Refined Powertrain New body structure is stronger, yet lighter and more rigid for a more enjoyable driving experience All-new Cadenza takes its sophistication to greater heights with beautifully crafted interior Kia’s first FWD eight-speed automatic transmission improves driving dynamics and efficiency …

Read more Official: 2017 Kia Cadenza Makes NY Debut

5.9s 2017 BMW 330e iPerformance – PHEV with 74-mph MAX eDrive

A survey came out this morning letting Americans know that Germany prefers PHEVs to hybrids or full electric cars. GKN certainly found the insight! Everyone would prefer PHEVs if given the choice! In that vane, the new 330e from BMW is the most evolved form of super-efficient, fast cruising with plug-in battery tech.  Married to a twin-power turbo four, the car produces extremely respectable pace: 5.9-seconds to 60-mph from its combined 248HP and 310 pound-feet of torque.   Effective, everyday MPG will be at least the 50s in normal use. A slightly smaller gas tank (and trunk) is the main compromise. …

Read more 5.9s 2017 BMW 330e iPerformance – PHEV with 74-mph MAX eDrive

Update2 – Road Test Review – 2016 Volvo S60 T5 Inscription

Update1 – Additional info from Volvo Cars US in Performance article section.  Update2 – Clarifies that S60 Inscription is the new LWB model, and the only one imported from China.   Solid experience in any business can make you a bit cocky.  You know your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats intimately. A brilliant skillset for any field. One that helps you achieve results faster and better than others. In the car reviews business, that often means you think you know a car pretty well… without even driving it.  From other models in the brand’s lineup, from previous generations and from reviews you have read.. …

Read more Update2 – Road Test Review – 2016 Volvo S60 T5 Inscription

2016 Cadillac ATS and CTS Score Much-Needed BLACK PACKS!

So, so thrilled to see this easy and effective design change for the Cadillac CTS and ATS.  We have griped tirelessly about their tacky chrome, ugly wheels and “boring, old-man style.”   And it looks like Cadillac was listening!  (See CT6 Black Pack and ATS Coupe Black Pack renders…) The new Black Chrome Packages for the ATS and CTS are fairly comprehensive, too. Wheels, trims, grille finishes, window surrounds…. all take a bath in this stylish new dark pewter finish. The third reason we love the Black Pack announcement? ACTUAL PHOTOS! Shock! Cadillac has succumbed to major GM think in …

Read more 2016 Cadillac ATS and CTS Score Much-Needed BLACK PACKS!

401HP 2017 Mercedes-AMG E43 – New 4Matic Hammer!

Nailing the fundamentals has always been a Hammer specialty! This new 401-pony AMG E-Class delivers quite a thwack. The E43’s twin-turbo V6 brings 4Matic traction with a 69-percent rear bias, a nine-speed automatic and adjustable AMG air springs.  Sprint pace is mid-4’s for pricing much friendlier than the $85k E63, which has yet to be seen for this next-gen Mercedes-AMG. A menacing black-out for the exterior trims is nicely set off with standard privacy glass and black-spoked alloys.  The polished lip at speed is a nice accent — matching the black-satin effect of the center star. Fairly subtle side intakes for these …

Read more 401HP 2017 Mercedes-AMG E43 – New 4Matic Hammer!

2016 Dodge Charger SRT392 – Road Test Mega Gallery

Extension of the glowing review just published:  all these stunning photos (and crazy-fun launch videos!) all by themselves. The photos below are still a gallery lightbox on click, but using a single column layout to give you a close look without any clicking.  Cheers. Thanks Dodge.  May I please have some more? =] Drive Video 1       Drive Video 2 2016 Dodge Charger SRT392 – Road Test Mega Gallery http://www.dodge.com/en/  

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HD Road Test Review – 2016 Dodge Charger SRT392 – Balls Deep in the 4.2s ThunderCat!

World Class FAST! The 2016 Dodge Charger SRT392 is a life-changing machine. Normal drives become the highlight of your day.  The remote start is a thunderous event in itself!  Waking the 6.4-liter, 485-horsepower HEMI V8 happens with pure raging fury. Hence, our loving ThunderCat nickname! The 2016 Charger is an instant Best-of Award winner.  A week in this car is enough to make anyone feel like a man’s man.  Women included.  It puts hair on your chest and a baritone in your throat. Full review here with standard headings of Exterior, Interior, Performance, Pricing and Summary.  Two HD drive videos …

Read more HD Road Test Review – 2016 Dodge Charger SRT392 – Balls Deep in the 4.2s ThunderCat!

2016 BMW Vision Next 100 – Nightmare Blob Shows Why BMW Sales Are Tanking

Ready for 5000 German words you cannot possibly care about!? Let’s dive in to the BMW Next 100 Years press conference and new-concept debut, while stripping out 95-percent of the unintelligible corporate babble below. First things first: BMW Group and BMW pressclub have new websites.  Yay! But they do not work as easily as the previous ones. Boo.  At least the zip files do not create unmoveable, undeletable 3GB desktop bombs like BMW USA PressClub’s.   The renderings do turn from brown to pink when saved on a PC tho.  Bonus — some fails live on!   Dear BMW.  Flatten …

Read more 2016 BMW Vision Next 100 – Nightmare Blob Shows Why BMW Sales Are Tanking

HD Road Test Review – 2016 Nissan Maxima SR – Bonneville GT-R is Ace

We had a pet name for the Maxima SR during its awesome week in the speed fleet. But like some nicknames are, it is hauntingly accurate and also slightly insulting… Resisting it in this review created major writer’s block.  How to clear the logjam? Tell you our nickname for the 2016 Maxima SR, and then explain why it is actually a loving salute to the car’s awesome, Dodge Charger-rivalling handling and machismo on the road. So what is it? We referred to the Maxima SR as… The Bonneville GT-R. Now, that might not sound too bad.  But among car enthusiasts, any mention of …

Read more HD Road Test Review – 2016 Nissan Maxima SR – Bonneville GT-R is Ace

~3.8s 2017 BMW M3/M4 Competition Pack – Gloss Black Trims, +20HP and Standard Sport Exhaust

Competition Pack from BMW M certainly implies track battles and knife-edged races against the stopwatch.  Every advantage that can be fed down from the top 500HP M4 GTS will be precious seconds closer to the top of any laptime board. But Competition Pack has a second meaning to us: the M3 and M4 are feeling major heat from all sides, in a segment they once owned wholeheartedly. The Lexus RC, C63 and even Cadillac ATS-V are all very valid, and oftentimes preferred, rivals to the BMW twins.  Therefore, the Competition Pack helps address some of the odd standard M3/M4 style …

Read more ~3.8s 2017 BMW M3/M4 Competition Pack – Gloss Black Trims, +20HP and Standard Sport Exhaust

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Road Test Review – 2016 Acura ILX Tech Plus – Hawkeye Drives!

  2016 Acura ILX Tech Plus Review By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman Acura describes the ILX as a “Gateway” product that allows a customer to enter the world of Acura at a lower price point, in the hopes that more expensive move-up models will be in their future.  Perhaps that will prove true, but there is a lot of competition in the “Near Luxury” segment, loosely defined by sticker prices in the low to mid $30,000 range, and cars like the Buick Verano, or Audi A3 might be better choices, among others. The 2016 ILX is a mid-cycle updated vehicle, with …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Acura ILX Tech Plus – Hawkeye Drives!

HD Road Test Review – 2016 Audi A6 2.0T Quattro – 5.8s, 550-Mile Time-Traveler

No scoffing at my 2.0T badge! It only takes a block of driving to know: this Audi is a time machine. It takes us into a future of downsized, forced-induction engines that hold their own beside V8s.   And cruise onward while others take the exit ramp to refuel. Power, speed, efficiency and value come standard on the 2016 A6 2.0T.  There are a few option boxes omitted on the test car that we think you will enjoy, however. And one bombshell performance secret to why the 32-MPG A6 quattro is a *must* over the 35-MPG A6 2.0T in its $46k, front-drive guise. The …

Read more HD Road Test Review – 2016 Audi A6 2.0T Quattro – 5.8s, 550-Mile Time-Traveler

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Road Test Review – 2016 Lexus IS200t F Sport

2016 Lexus IS200t F Sport Review By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman The Lexus IS series gets a new engine for 2016, a 2-liter, twin-scroll turbocharged inline 4 cylinder that makes 241-hp @ 5800 rpm, and 258 ft.-lbs. of torque @ 1650 rpm.  It replaces last year’s entry level, small 2.5 liter V-6, that made a meager 204 horsepower and a weak 185 ft.-lbs.  of torque.  This new engine is rated for 22 City and 33 Highway mileage figures. If the 200t moniker sounds familiar, it’s because it the same engine designation from the Lexus NX 200t, their small Sport Ute crossover …

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HD Road Test Review – 2016 Hyundai GENESIS Ultimate V6 RWD

Our love affair with the “impossibly good” Hyundai Genesis just got stronger for 2016! Testing out a rear-drive version of the 2016 V6 is a nice counter-point to the V6 AWD we fell so hard for a few months ago as a 2015 model. The 2016 Genesis has a few very notable updates to the V6 model lineup: standard HID headlights and available LED foglamps for the V6 — lamps that were previously a V8 exclusive. And even better, the Genesis now runs its gorgeous — and standard — LED headlamp accents as the main DRLs for normal driving.  This …

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Road Test Review – 2016 Buick REGAL GS

  We want to love the Regal GS. Its looks are crisply European, as is its dashing corner grip and unflappable high-speed poise.  But remember the old Pirelli slogan “Power is nothing without Control” ? Well, the Regal GS inspires a flip in that phrase: Control is nothing without powerrrrr. Since writing up our first test impressions of the 2015 Regal GS with “Deeply Disappointing” in the headline, we have had more than ample chances to change our tune. An invite to a Buick Regal GS track day appeared out of thin air, and then a fresh 2016 model for …

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4.4s, 174MPH BRABUS C450 AMG Bumps Power to 410HP Via Now-Warrantied ECU Reflash

BRABUS is waist-deep in new C-Class upgrades!  This makes great sense: many of the mods fit not just the sedan but also the upcoming C-Class Coupe and the Euro wagons.  So there is clearly a big group of owners who can benefit from big power and style mods. From the C600 at the top of the flight list, we now have the C450 AMG sliding in above the Brabus C300 and C400 Sport. The C450 AMG is the lightly-sportified production model below the C63.  As such, it is already seriously rapid. But it does lack that last bit of exterior menace, and …

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Best of NAIAS – 2017 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL – No-Apologies Flagship = Limo Heaven!

Lincoln Motor Company is still best known for its long-running Town Car — that darling of the global limo business for decades. The Town Car on its rear-drive, Falcon-based frame has been out of production since 2012 — with the time since spent working doubly hard to prove that the MKC and MKZ are viable global luxury cars. Sporty, modern and elegant have been the core tenets of the new Lincoln recently, but a moment of genius has now swept through the brand’s strategy. The insight?  Being modern and stylish is possible … even while embracing the legacy of the brand. …

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Worst of NAIAS - 2016 Acura Precision Concept 3

Update1 – 2016 Acura Precision Concept – Design Reboot Ruined By Another Fugly Nose

Updated with real-life photos. Good to see more angles of the Acura Precision Concept, a car whose design is really expressive and deep in real-life photos versus the initial renders.  The beak is still rough, but there is promise here. Acura is still having trouble rebuilding its sales since a brief peak in the early 2000s with the TL and MDX. More recently, the sales velocity for the brand is in terminal decline. A big part of the problem has been the dogged persistence with the ‘shield’ grille since at least 2007.  This is a look that no one really likes, …

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2017 Audi A4 Allroad – $50k Ski Wagon Set for Fall 2016 USA Arrival – Blah Exterior, but Hoorah Interior

  The A4 Allroad has carved a nice little niche for itself in the US market, where it replaced the standard A4 Avant among most shoppers seeking a low and sporty wagon.  The current Allroad will gain all the new tech and style of the A4 sedan, but wears a more butch stance all around.  A very macho nose redesign brings vertical grille slats, some rough-rough fender flares and even a brushed-alloy chin spoiler in the nose. We are trying to get on-board with this next-gen A4 appearance.  Really trying. And the Allroad has generally been a great showcase of …

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Road Test Review – 2016 Hyundai Genesis AWD 3.8

2016 Hyundai Genesis AWD 3.8 Review By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman   With a major makeover in 2015, the second generation Hyundai Genesis continued it ascension in the ranks of luxury cars.  While there are few changes to the 2016 model year, the Genesis continues to amaze with its price, content, and quality. The sedan is quickly distancing itself from luxury models coming out of Japan and Germany, which it rightly rivals, in the “bang for the buck” category. Simply put, you can’t find another car in the marketplace that has the features and performance of the Genesis and not have …

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2017 BMW i6 Is Hiding in Plain Sight: 2009 BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Teased LWB i8

Here is an interesting one, simply because it shows an upcoming machine hiding in plain sight. What car is that? The BMW i6, we predict. This exceptionally advanced concept seemed extremely unfeasible when it was revealed under the EfficientDynamics moniker in 2009. Look at those skinny tires! And Clear doors with a carbon-fiber chassis?  Silly! But they the BMW i8 concepts started appearing, with a 2+2 PHEV supercar BMW announced for production just a year after this first concept.  That car would materialize for 2014 as the i8 and i3 we know now as the real thing. Where the eventual …

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217MPH, 756HP 2014 VÄTH CLK63 AMG Black Series Is Still Devastatingly Rapid

    To bump the twin-turbo V6 of the new C63-S up to its max output of 680HP so far, the outlay for buyers is about $10k.  A jump of at least 170 horsepower via only a half-dozen mechanical upgrades, an ECU reflash and big brake kit?  The 2016 makes it look so easy. But the previous-generation CLK63 AMG Black Series?  That machine was already cranked up to race-baiting for its 517 horsepower. Adding a giant supercharger takes the CLK63 Black by VATH up to 756 ponies and a scary-fast Vmax of 217-mph.  Also a scary-spice price of about $70k …

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680HP, 199MPH 2016 VÄTH Mercedes-AMG C63-RS Delivers Massive Performance Gains for Minimal Cash

VAETH is quickly becoming a favorite among the German customs scene.  Why?  The umlaut dots, of course in the name!  VÄTH = VATH = VAETH, by the way.  All the same powermad crew. For the new C63 AMG sedan and coupe, Vaeth has a $5k stage one mod focused on the engine programming and oil system tweaks. THe result is a bump from the 4.0-liter V6TT’s stock outputs of 477HP and 510HP (for the C63-S) up to a very potent 609 ponies. All to the back wheels via the latest sportshift automatic and active vectoring differential, this will make sideways …

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All-New V6TT 2016 INFINITI Q50 Red Sport 400 Tops New Four-Engine Range!

HUGE news on the Infiniti front today: An all-new pair of twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6s join the new 2.0-liter turbo four and 360HP hybrid. Dubbed the VR-series engines, the top output is the headline 400HP and 350-pound-feet of torque unit. This stump-puller will be offered in rear or AWD, with its torque starting a long plateau from just 1600-rpm. Kicking things off right is a limited-run model with giant alloys and sport cabin under the guise of Red Sport 400. This badge steps in for Eau Rouge nicely! No word on sprint pace, but the time should be comfortably in the …

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The All-New E-Class

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Striptease Begins! Cabin Tech and Design Are Mighty Impressive

The new E-Class from Mercedes-Benz is pretty huge news for all luxury car shoppers. Despite our obsession with the E63 and E550 range-topping models, and their delicious LEDs and black-chrome trims all around, the latest E-Class is not selling well. Its current iteration is a heavy facelift of the car first seen in the mid-2000s, and really needs this deep revamp to take on the 535i in USA sales. A big part of the E-Class’s issues stem from its current cabin. This is generally loveable and very liveable, but the tech is confusing and the overall experience is dark and …

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2017 Lincoln MKZ – 400HP V6TT, New TVD AWD + Drivers Pack

Check out the new Lincoln MKZ! This extensive facelift and refresh is one of the most extensive in recent memory, especially versus the exceptionally light touches on the 2016 Focus or Explorer and 2017 Escape. The entire nose of the MKZ is all-new and all-different. Its controversial dual waterfall grille design and pointy face is swapped for a posh, flowing and organic new flow. A large oval grille lives in the center of the nose, wearing a fresh interlocking mesh look. All-new headlights are absolutely mesmerizing!  Love them. Single beams line up horizontally for the low and high-beams, while LED …

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