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BMW's best driver's car

In the BMW M235i, New Hope for BMW Drivers

As good as BMWs typically are, they’ve lost some of their deft and agile performance in recent years. The 135i and the 1 M, released in 2008 and 2011, respectively, certainly did their share to make amends for past wrongs. But the new M235i does more than just try to make peace with the former BMW faithful. It’s a whole new step in the right direction.

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It's a Type III for the Type B

Kit: Karmann Ghia Type 34

The Karmann Ghia Type 34 is a rare car that oozes cool from its tall front windshield, simple greenhouse, gorgeous flat body and a wraparound crease that stretches all the way from the curved nose to the tail. This also places a burden on its driver, who needs to look like a distinguished gentleman to match his distinguished car. We’ve gathered the right kit for your outings in this crisp German coupe.

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To drive or ogle? That is the question.

Present Perfect: 10 Modern Automotive Designs that Nailed It

The beauty of classic automotive design is often in direct struggle with modern safety and fuel economy standards, not to mention the latest in technology. But there are still a number of shining examples around today, ones that echo the past and ones that break new ground but don’t break the rules of good taste. These ten prove that less is more and that automotive design is not on the rocks.

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It's the little things that count

God is in the Details: A Survey of the Greatest Automotive Features

A car is certainly more than the sum of its parts, but sometimes it’s the little details that make an otherwise good car iconic. These details can be subtle as the Mona Lisa’s smile or bold as the LED spire on the new Freedom Tower, or, more often, somewhere in between. We’ve assembled a list of some of the best automotive features — both innovative and artistic, groundbreaking and evolutionary — to ever see the light of day.

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Get just the right amount of attention

Kit: Triumph TR6

The Triumph TR6 is the affordable substitute for more rarified fare like the Austin Healey MkIII or the Jaguar XKE, and it’s no paltry replacement, with sophistication and masculine bravado to spare. Plus, its lighter price tag means you’ll have plenty of dough left over for a full kit of driving gear. Here’s what we recommend for comfort, style, and a touch of brashness — you’ve got to keep up with the pace the Triumph’s setting, after all.

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When more is way too much

The Business of Busyness

Nissan’s third generation Murano bowed at the New York Auto Show this spring. The reason you didn’t see it in our Ten Best list from the show is because I hate it the way my architect wife hates attached garages and vinyl siding. Car design is trending toward overbearing, thanks in no small part to the tastes of drivers. But there’s still hope out there.

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The drive is the destination

10 Great Drives: Less Traveled, All-American

Long holiday weekends aren’t just for sleeping in and backyard barbeques. Hop in the car, embrace the fresh air and hug the asphalt like you don’t have a care in the world. There are a ton of great roads out there, twisty, straight and some off the beaten path. We’ve listed some of the best (and some less-traveled) for your vacation enjoyment and paired them with the ideal vehicle to maximize the experience.

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Packing Heat

Best Trailers and Roof Racks for the Beach

The right gear haulers make the difference between beach misery and beach revelry. We’ve assembled ten great summer carriers that will transport everything from an ATV to personal watercraft to the smaller (but still vital) bits for the shore. Just don’t forget the sunscreen.

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Hot rides

Dominate the Dunes: The 7 Best Beach Rides

Beach trips can be as much about getting there as what you do when you arrive. Mom’s minivan might be practical, but it might also eviscerate every ounce of road style you’ve ever had. If you’re at the beach on a regular basis (or you just dream of being there 24/7) it might make sense to upgrade your beach ride to one of these sandy shore, white wave seekers.

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Stylish at any speed

Kit: Chevy Corvair Corsa

The Corsa was a sophisticated and sporty coupe that looks even better today, with far more panache points than its ordinary Corsa brother. The Corsa was a gentleman’s car, for sure, but it was plenty sporty, too; the potent flat six engine, crisp sheet metal and luxurious interior meant that not just anyone would look right in the driver’s seat. You’ll need to look the part — neat and clean, 1960s business style — while you cruise around in yours, and we’ve got the perfect kit.

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The gifts that keep on giving

20 Cars We Want To Drive in 2014

Here are the cars we most covet for the new year, each one a standout in its segment by virtue of its quality, technology, design, driving experience or all of the above. In a stellar field, these are the ones that stir the petrol in our veins the most. As we embark on a new year, here’s a toast to what should be an incredible 2014 on the digital pages of Octane.

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Get the gear, don't attempt the accent

Kit: Austin-Healey MkIII

If you’re in the market for a vintage roadster that adds a new dimension of style and sophistication to your life, and you’re willing to throw reliability and modern amenities into the dumpster, then an Austin-Healey MkIII is an excellent choice. Since a good example of the MkIII is relatively affordable, you’ll be able to add the right gear and adorn yourself in the right garb to match your new British steed’s level of panache.

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Time travel on two wheels

A Great Cup of Café: Riding the Royal Enfield Continental GT

From the Archives: Motorcycling is all about speed, freedom and personal style. Look at a bearded and tattoo festooned Harley-Davidson Electra Glide rider, and he’s clearly making a statement that’s half showman, half American pride, all tough guy. There’s no subtlety there, unless there’s a frightened chihuahua in one of his saddle bags. And then there’s the café racer rider. His is a statement about retro-style and a unique simplicity you don’t often see anymore. He’s just the kind of guy who’d fancy the new Royal Enfield Continental GT, a motorcycle that does more than just move two wheels: it brings back a style from yesteryear while showing what a modern café racer is capable of.

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Time is the wisest counselor of all -- Pericles

Timekeeping: The 10,000 Year Clock

From the Archives: What if there were a way to build something so unique and lasting, something that might also track time for generations to come; something to make those in our place thousands of years from now gaze in wonder, all the while involving those future generations in the process itself? Such a creation was birthed in the brain of a single man — computer engineer, polymath inventor, and designer Danny Hillis — in his quest to create the 10,000 Year Clock, a project of positively monumental proportions both in size and duration, and one that is currently underway in a remote location in the hills of Texas.

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Fast, understated, and utterly desirable

The Chevrolet SS is a Modern-Day American Sleeper

Most of us with high-octane petrol in our veins can’t own a super car and won’t own a minivan. Chevrolet still cares about us. How do we know? The Chevy SS, one of the best modern sleepers in the business.

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Vintage and Swedish and Very, Very Fast

The Deepest Sleeper: The Volvo Amazon Combi “VÖX”

What’s more surprising than a sedate-looking vintage Volvo wagon that has enough power to bury supercars? In search of the ultimate sleeper, we came across what would normally be a cute vintage 1967 Volvo Amazon Combi wagon that’s instead been slammed, juiced up and fitted without some of the most mind blowing guts a family hauler has ever seen.

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Sei molto Bello

Kit: Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale

The Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale, created as a sporty gentleman’s car, is the sort of vehicle drivers can enjoy both inside and out. Pair it with the right kit and your swift drive of spring-warmed Tuscan roads becomes heaven on earth. You’ll need the car, of course, and the Tuscan roads. The rest is on us.

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Don't Judge a Beast by its Cover

Coy Looks, Blistering Speeds: 10 Awesome Sleeper Cars

It would be a dream come true to own a flaming red Ferrari, but sometimes it’s best not draw attention (jealousy, ire, the eyes of law enforcement) to your vehicle. Those who want the power and speed without the notoriety can look to “sleepers”, cars almost intentionally built to escape notice while still secretly packing heaping loads of power and punch — and chips on their shoulders.

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Car With Attitude, Gear to Match

Kit: 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle

Any serious car collector will have home-grown American steel in his garage, and the 1972 Chevelle would be an excellent place to start. But don’t you dare take it for a drive without going whole hog — your gear needs to complement the Chevelle’s bad self without sacrificing a strong sense of red, white and blue style.

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A small group of concepts deliver big production dreams

Four Great Concept Cars from the New York Auto Show

Though the New York International Auto Show isn’t a haven for many concept cars, there are always a handful of them to get your attention and whet your appetite for what might come. This year, there were four that we could count, and they’re all worthy of your dollars should they make it to production in some form.

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An Empire State of Rides

New York 2014: 10 Cars That Matter

Sandwiched between the Geneva Motor Show and the Beijing Auto Show, the New York International Auto Show usually misses out on the biggest reveals of the year, but it still has plenty to offer. This year’s show had its fair share of new designs and vehicles along with loads of improved sheetmetal. We’ve chosen ten standouts from our time on the ground that we’ll be looking to drive in 2015.

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A Far-East Beauty

Essentials Inspired by the 1970 Datsun 240Z

For those dreaming of a vintage car collection, the Datsun 240Z is a great place to start. But you shouldn’t drive it in a dirty tee and sweatpants. We hunt down some great gear and garb from the era and the area from which the 1970 240Z hails.

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Feline Fatale

The Cat’s Unbagged: A Quick Spin in the Jaguar XFR-S

The Jaguar of today is no bespoke joke. Now under Tata ownership, Jag’s turned into a luxury automaker that cares about its drivers. The Italian Racing red paint, imposing rear wing and juggernaut 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque of the 2014 Jaguar XFR-S ($99,000) are evidence of that fact. It’s not a car for the British dandy. Instead, it’s the business end of Jaguar’s quest to make a beastlier brawler out of already imposing XFR.

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Grip-N-Go With the Best of 'em

Five Great Multitools for Filling Out Your Toolbox

From the Archive: You’re not the guy who has a frequent buyer card at Sears, so you can’t always find the perfect tool in your less-than-organized garage. Perhaps a versatile multi-tool would be your best ally. Multi-tools have been around for twenty years, and they’re not going away anytime soon. Today’s multi-tools are better than ever, with innovative designs that are only limited by the imagination. If you’re wondering what all-around multi-tool to purchase, we have five of the best full-sized multi-tools on the market today.

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America's fifty-year, two-door love affair

The Evolution of the Ford Mustang, America’s Pony Car

No car is more widely considered an American standard than the Ford Mustang. Sure, there’s the Corvette, Camaro, Thunderbird, and GTO, but when you think of the Fourth of July Parade, which car comes to mind? That’s what we thought.

From the original car all the way to the fifth-generation version that pays direct homage to its forefathers, the Mustang simply can’t be confused for any other automobile. On the cusp of welcoming an all-new sixth-generation car created for a world market, we take a look at the life of America’s pony car.

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The Swedes Finally Redeem Themselves For Ikea

Volvo’s Inflatable Child Seat Concept

Negotiating a bulky child seat in the back of a sports coupe during the summertime is not dissimilar from performing hot yoga. The minds at Volvo have rethought the whole rigamarole and sought the path of inner peace by creating the world’s first inflatable child seat. We break it down.

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One badass granddaddy

Icon: 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350

The look is timeless: A muscular body with single round headlights; vents on the hood and rear quarter panels adding a touch of sinister; two bold Guardsman Blue stripes running from tip to tail over a pristine Wimbledon White paint job. It’s the positively beautiful, 100 percent American 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350. No other Mustang in history will ever look this good again.

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The Brawler Gets Dressed Up

Is the 2015 Mustang the Right Stablemate?

What has Ford wrought with the 2015 Mustang? It’s rumored to be better than the previous car in virtually every way, but dare we say, it’s also less American and less ‘Stang, at least on its face. In Ford’s quest to make the new Mustang a “world car”, they seem to have lost some of the car’s red, white and blue attitude.

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A Starion is born

Bring It Back: The Mitsubishi Starion

The Mitsubishi Starion was one of the automotive standouts of the 1980s, not that it took much. It was angular everywhere but the wheels, but it did it right, and it was properly fast, too. Despite the greatness of the Lancer Evo, Mitsubishi has lost its way in the rest of its modern lineup — and a new, 21st-century version of the Starion could be just the adrenaline injection the brand needs right now.

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Don't store it in the garage when the temps drop

Lion in Winter: Quick Spin with the Porsche Panamera 4S

In the snowy streets of Chicago, the Porsche Panamera 4S — 420 horsepower V6, all-wheel-drive, stability and traction control, front-to-weight distribution and all — proves a surprisingly spectacular winter car.