It’s no longer enough for a big SUV to transport seven; it has to look good and feel good (for both driver and passengers) while doing it. Our intrepid Octane crew drove five of the best seven-passenger SUVs out there and found a flavor for just about anyone. While none of these five SUVs are perfect, each is grand in its own right by virtue of style, quality and utility.
THE Italian Stallion
A prancing black horse against a yellow backdrop: it’s the conspicuous emblem of Ferrari. Sealed permanently into everything from pop culture to motorsport, Ferrari can at times feel overwrought — its marketing includes branded tchotchkes and amusement parks — but at its soul it’s still the performance automaker from Maranello that Enzo built. And if there’s ever been a brand more associated with a singular color, we can’t think of one more yoked than Ferrari Red. To honor the glory of the brand, we’ve assembled an entire issue of Ferrari, ranging from vintage to modern, V8 to V12, race to hobby. Owning one might be a far-off dream, but it’s certainly a dream worth visiting often. Slide in, buckle up and read on.
The horse without the mane is just as wild
In the middle of a cool Chicago summer, sunlight bounces off the unmistakeable Rosso Corsa hood of a V8 Ferrari. A mere eighth of a depression of the throttle produces a sound I can only describe as a chorus of angels descending to earth on winged stallions. Against all odds, Ferrari’s delicious V8 458 Spider has won me over to top-down driving.
Prancing, galloping and snorting beauties
Great Ferraris are some of the most stunning cars to ever put rubber to pavement. These ten pageant winners out of Maranello stir the soul and make car lovers out of hotwheels-vrooming youths.
The Quail Preview
Ferrari enthusiast and luxury watch retailer David Lee is headed to this year’s The Quail at Pebble Beach. And, more importantly, he’s bringing his collection of vintage Ferarri supercars with him. We got a sneak peak at some of his rare beauties.
The Horse Prances On
From motorsport victories to pop culture appearances, these are the moments that helped solidify Ferrari’s rightful spot as one of the greatest (if not the greatest) automotive marques of all time.
The Week's News on Wheels
This Week in Motoring: Lambo’s new performance driving school, this year’s Pebble Beach Concours, a winged ambulance and more.
Grand Touring, Family Style
From the Archives: One of Ferrari’s most recent offerings, the Ferrari FF, makes use of the brand’s V12 staple, albeit in its most powerful form ever in a roadgoing car — but the FF also makes a noticeable departure from Ferrari Grand Tourers of the past through polarizing style, all-wheel-drive, practical (yes, practical) seating for four and enough cargo room to hit the road for more than a day. We got the behind the wheel with family in tow.
More than just a toy
From the Archives: You can spend as little or as much as you want on a remote-controlled vehicle (you’ll see shortly that there are far more than cars available), but what each one delivers is huge fun in a small package — and, in some cases, the kind of performance that shames the full-sized deal. Here are ten great remote controlled vehicles that are worth your time, your imagination and some of your hard-earned cash. Just be prepared to fight over them with your kids.
Gasoline is overrated
Diesel power is no longer reserved for hulking 18-wheelers that send plumes of grey smoke into the sky. Clean-burning diesel cars permeate the European landscape, and they’re slowly but surely making their way into more and more American homes thanks to affordability, impressive mileage numbers and beefy torque. In our Diesel Issue, we look into the advantages of diesel, the technology that makes it work, and the best cars that run on the stuff.
The A Class we long for
If there’s a way to convey style and a touch of German class without flipping the bird to practicality and fuel-efficiency, it’s the A220 CDI, Mercedes-Benz’s paradigm-shifting hatchback.
Big Style for Small Wheels
Advertised as the affordable Porsche/VW sports car, the small Porsche 914 got short shrift in the two automakers’ botched attempt to sell it as two different models and went sadly unrecognized. Gear Patrol brings you the perfect driving kit that keeps your road garb fashionable but simple, just like the classic 914.
A battle of torque, efficiency, and German luxury
The Germans are all over the diesel car market. Which makes complete sense: those Europeans are passionate about the practicality that diesel-powered cars provide, not to mention the kind of torque that can pull Tyrannosaur teeth from their sockets. If you want a capable German diesel that nets both solid mileage numbers, good driving dynamics and the aesthetics and comfort a stylish German sedan affords, then look to Audi and BMW at the two ends of the price spectrum.
Captain Planet approved. Sort of.
From the Archives: The Porsche 918, the McLaren P1 and the Ferrari LaFerrari are still all about superlatives — fastest, best handling, most exotic. But they also repurpose the latest technology to maximize the “dear lord” factor. They’re redefining excess, not stamping it out.
No blue jeans and sneakers allowed
Just because the Ferrari 400i isn’t nearly as coveted as, say, a 512 Berlinetta Boxer, doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of respect. It’s just the right car for the businessman who wants to set himself apart from the typical German sports sedan. For starters, it’s got automotive character in spades, and it’s still thrilling to drive as well as hear. To own one, dress and gear up appropriately. Gear Patrol has the right kit to helm this Cavallino Rampante.
A case study in the downsides of the CUV
The BMW X6 been around since 2007 and has found shockingly good sales success for BMW, even earning a refresh this year: all this, despite its inferior specs, a small interior, and the fact that it looks like it’s been whacked with the same ugly stick as the Pontiac Aztek. So how does the X6 manage to draw buyers?
Jeep's radical departure pays off
Jeep is an American automotive staple, but it hasn’t done anything radically new in, well…ever. This signature Jeep American-ness on four driven wheels now gets its biggest injection of originality in the form of the Italian-made, Fiat 500L-based 2015 Jeep Renegade.
Crossovers to the dark side
Crossovers have changed in the recent past; you no longer have to trade in your testicles and driving sense to drive one. Even the haters (car nuts) have been proven wrong now that more horses, better driving dynamics and sleeker silhouettes have shown up in performance-focused crossovers. Here are five that break hard from the pack of mediocre crossovers still stuck in the driver’s ed parking lot.
Drive French, look French, eat cheese
The Citroën DS automatically imputes coolness of a high order in a way a vintage Ferrari can’t. You’re somehow instantly scholarly, erudite and a wildman in the bedroom. Why is that? Well, the DS coveted in the same way the 1st edition of a classic novel is. The car isn’t deemed exotic, sporty or sexy in any conventional manner, but it’s no less desirable by virtue of its specialness. And that’s what the DS has in droves. For its time, it was the future of automobiles and it drove like nothing else.
Some MMasterful, All MMagnificent
Over the decades, BMW’s iconic M3 has only grown in power, performance (and in most cases, weight), going from niche sports sedans to one of the most popular performance-focused automobiles in the industry. The best part? There are five generations of them, all with scintillating, unique details and the underlying similarities of greatness.
Odds and Evens Make A Great Whole
The slightly slick track at Wisconsin’s Road America has me wondering just how little effort it would take to spin the 425 hp German monster I’m driving. The truth is that the M4 I’m helming isn’t working nearly as hard as it can with its 425 hp (and more importantly) its 406 lb-ft of torque and shaved corpulence. 174 pounds. That’s the equivalent weight of two average male German Shepherds drooling on your fine leather sport seats and the same amount of poundage the new 2-door M4 has dropped over the M3 Coupe it replaces. But the all-new BMW M3 and M4 are so much more than more power and less fat.
Does this weight make me look fat?
From The Archives: Though the newer cars might be faster, safer and better appointed, they certainly don’t feel more agile or connected to the driver. In the name of technology, most sports sedans have lost a purity that once existed across the segment. And there’s virtually no end in sight.
The Hillclimb is alive with the sound of motors
The Goodwood Festival of Speed is more than just a motoring event. It’s the product of one man’s passion for all things automotive, fueled by hundreds of thousands of the worshiping faithful. Lord March, as Charles Gordon-Lennox is called, took possession of the 12,000-acre Goodwood Estate in 1993 and almost immediately started the Festival in the name of bringing racing back to its traditional home in West Sussex. He’s effectively created a playground for both the annual event’s spectators and its drivers.
Looking great at Goodwood
When attending a British motoring event that’s held on the estate owned by someone named Lord March, you can’t just fly over the Atlantic with a day pack full of casual duds and a twin blade razor. We’ve put together a comprehensive kit that takes you from airport to hotel to track and back.
More Horses, Same Stable
So you’ve purchased your car of choice and remained within your diminutive budget, only to hope your routes are mostly downhill. You regularly scream, “I’m givin’ her all she’s got, Captain!” a la Montgomery Scott as you try to merge with freeway traffic but are passed by a Biggest Loser contestant on rollerblades. You’re in luck. There are ways to bring your car’s horsepower to levels higher than Tom Cruise’s vertical leap, and they don’t have to cost you a large fraction of your annual salary. Just remember one thing, young man: with great power comes great
GP x Petrolicious
The Facel Vega isn’t a car everyone knows about, but it’s got presence like few other vintage cars. If you’re fortunate enough to park one of these muscular French beauties in your garage, you should be outfitted appropriately. That means dressed up, but not overly so — just like the Facel Vega whose rubber you’re about to roast.
1.16 miles and 300 feet of elevation gain in (less than) one minute
The annual Festival of Speed in West Sussex, England centers around a storied Hillclimb, which winds 1.16 miles through event founder Lord March’s private estate and rises 300 feet. Drivers — piloting any type of car, new or old, from sports cars to supercars to deft Formula 1 racers to Nascar stock car growlers — rip through the narrow course in under a minute.
Italian roads, German wheels, American smiles
The brand new Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic Coupe answers the world’s plea for an enormously luxurious grand tourer. We tested its 577 horsepower on the twisty roads of Tuscany.
No Compromise, Plenty of Style
If you think the only thing about hybrids that’s advanced in the past decade or so is technology, think again. No longer the ugly stepchild of the automotive world, many hybrids have also arrived in the department of style and even take the kind of risks manufacturers wouldn’t dare impute to their gas-powered children. We’ve helmed three stylish hybrids that run the range of prices and designs. They’re all pleasing to the eye as well as to the environment and give us hope for the future: one without hybrids that look like lozenges on wheels.
The Prius and Future King
Today, hybrids have become a very real alternative to conventional gas-powered combustion engine cars. But it’s not all flowers, Pikachu, and future decades of booming hybrid sales. The auto industry seems to have a different, more nuanced version of what the future of environmentally minded cars actually looks like. We examine.