From the Archives: Perhaps the most enjoyable car to drive in 2014 is one you wouldn’t even stop to admire in a parking lot. The 2014 Audi SQ5 ($59,400) doesn’t have ostentatious styling; its idling engine wouldn’t wake a sleeping babe; it can seat a family of four comfortably with room for luggage. Yet it’s an absolute powerhouse.
Back and better than ever...or is it?
Longer, wider, lighter and with brand new tech, the Mk VII Golf GTI goes head to head…with past versions of itself.
Polishing the star
From the Archives: Vintage has gained traction in recent years, arguably as a reaction to our digital, disposable age. This rediscovered appreciation for beautiful, meaningful objects from our past is exactly why the Mercedes-Benz Classics Center in Irvine, CA exists…that, and to bring back to life those cars which cause us to lust from the deepest parts of our soft, chewy automotive centers.
One 577-hp wagon. One dry lake bed.
The 2014 MB E 63 AMG S 4Matic Wagon has more horsepower than a Ferrari 458 and gets to 60 a full second before a Porsche 911. And it has room for your family, their luggage and the family dog. We turned off traction control and let it loose on a dry lake bed.
Five reasons to start a family
There’s no question about a minivan’s utility. But until someone comes up with one that doesn’t at least partially emasculate red-blooded men, we choose to drive these other vehicles — ones that offer up utility, a semblance of driving pleasure and better aesthetics than a toaster oven.
It's hot to hatch
From the Archives: Five of the best hatchbacks out there prove that you don’t have to go big in America to have it all.
If the Cloud rode a motorcycle, this would be it
After testing out Zero’s do-anything DS last year we were sold on electric motorcycles. We wanted more, and we got it with a chance to cruise around on their torquey 54 horsepower sport bike, the 2014 Zero S.
Million Dollar Baby (maker)
From the Archives: Though most movies don’t cause the viewer to think about camera angles, lighting or color tone, there are some (Star Trek, Eagle Eye, Fast & Furious) with sequences and scenes that leave you wondering “How the hell did they shoot that?” This is how the hell: a matte-black, modded out Porsche Panamera Turbo, replete with a full camera crane. Needless to say, we smiled for the camera.
Watching Pedalers and Panoramas from a support car
We took our espresso stateside this year, catching the Giro d’Italia on television and showing up in person for the 2014 Tour of California, where we shot this video while riding along in a support car.
Vanquishing miles of road and years of your salary
Aston Martin has been putting cars on the racetrack, in movies and on teenage boys’ walls for more than 100 years; no wonder even people who don’t care about cars can recognize them in an instant. The 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante ($296,000) is just another prince in their royal lineage.
Polishing the star
Vintage has gained traction in recent years, arguably as a reaction to our digital, disposable age. This rediscovered appreciation for beautiful, meaningful objects from our past is exactly why the Mercedes-Benz Classics Center in Irvine, CA exists…that, and to bring back to life those cars which cause us to lust from the deepest parts of our soft, chewy automotive centers.
Not your neighbor's crossover
Perhaps the most enjoyable car to drive in 2014 is one you wouldn’t even stop to admire in a parking lot. The 2014 Audi SQ5 ($59,400) doesn’t have ostentatious styling; its idling engine wouldn’t wake a sleeping babe; it can seat a family of four comfortably with room for luggage. Yet it’s an absolute powerhouse.
Your average valedictorian Nascar champion
Racing since age eight, missing prom so he could suit up for the Nascar Nationwide series, winning Nascar’s Busch series championship at the tender age of 20: Brian Vickers sounds like a man of one dimension. That would be a false assumption.
Rubbin' is racing
From the Archives: The best way to appreciate NASCAR is not by cracking a Bud and plopping on the couch but by getting in the driver’s seat. Unfortunately that’s a pipe dream for most — but when PEAK Motor Oil invited me to their Stock Car Dream Challenge as they searched for a future driver for the Michael Waltrip Race team, I grabbed my helmet and Nomex onesie and streamed Garth Brooks/Chris Gaines all the way to Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Old World Skill, New World Techniques
New York-based Seize Sur Vingt understands the importance of fit, but then, so do the vast majority of tailors. More important is that they’ve come up with a new way to bring top-notch Italian tailors and American clients together that doesn’t involve a nine hour flight. It’s a simple solution that long-distance daters have been using for years: Skype.
A new car, or just a smaller one?
Is Audi’s first entry-level sedan created specifically for Americans truly a new car, or just a smaller version of the status quo?
These are a few of our favorite things
From the Archives: One of my favorite things to do on a Saturday is roll out of bed at 5:30 a.m., grab a camera and my jacket and drive 48 miles from LA to a business park in Irvine. There, on any given Saturday, hundreds of cars worth millions of dollars gather for Cars and Coffee, a special event where two common denominators create a mood of friendship, relaxation and shared passion.
The filmmaker/editor's secret weapon
Fitting right between the Indie filmmaker’s DSLR and Hollywood studio’s Arri Alexa, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera ($2,000), with its 13 stops of dynamic range and 2.5K sensor, makes filmmakers jump for joy. We took it on a test drive.
No excuses, just good shots
From the Archives: Today’s affordable tools, cameras, classes and copious creative outlets have brought making a film (one of the best story-telling devices) nearly to the everyman. Still, all those advances can’t change a basic fact: sometimes making a movie means going to where the story is rather than waiting for it to come to you. But paying to check 10 Pelican cases of equipment will essentially eat your entire production budget, not to mention it’s tough to sneak into a location if you have a fleet of boxes and bags. This kit can be carried by one or two people in traditional suitcases — which means you get your shots, no matter where those shots may be.
The Asian Phaeton?
Kia has far surpassed expectations in a relatively short time frame, shifting from a producer of poorly designed, poorly built econo-boxes to well-made, adventurously styled cars that square off with practical Asian stalwarts like Honda and Toyota. Recently they set their sights on the European luxury market with their 2015 Kia K900 ($59,500 base). We grabbed some seat time in a powerful, VIP-trimmed $65,000 Kia to decide for ourselves if it was worth the price tag — and to decide if the Germans should feel threatened by this Asian invasion.
Concept cars, by definition, push the limits of automotive invention. But even in a field of enigmas and paradigm shifters there can be standouts, vehicles that make competitors look like toys. This is the realm of the new Audi Quattro Concept Mini, which calls to mind an R8 V10 Spyder designed by a Lilliputian Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s whole-heartedly future-thinking in its indoctrination of a new and entirely untapped target market. Watch the video for our review.
A tap-dancing gorilla in rich mahogany
The Continental name has been a part of the Bentley family since the early 1950s. Though the 2014 Bentley New Continental GTC V8 S ($216,000) remains relatively unchanged in its iconic style and interior club room feel (which rivals a rich mahogany office), what’s under the skin of this Monaco Yellow grand touring torpedo sets it apart from previous generations.
Intentionally Stranded in a City of Gridlock
From the Archives: Navigating LA, which is known for its vastness and interlocking freeways, without a car is akin to a New Yorker pulling his vehicle from storage to run errands in midtown for a few hours. It’s crazy. It doesn’t even seem like an option. But what if I made it an option? I decided to try the unthinkable: live in LA for one week while my car sat in the driveway. The goal: see just how dependent I was on my car — and determine just how much I could buck that dependency.
Keep Austin Geared
You’ve done it: flight, rental car and hotel booked, $1,700 Gold Badge purchased. You are about to attend the most diversified festival in the country — SXSW. Now it’s time to pack. What does one take to this event featuring A-list celebs, billion dollar corporations and the CEOs of the next big thing? Here’s what we brought to stay connected, light on our feet and ready to make a strong first impression for all those meet-and-greet networking sessions (not to mention the VIP parties).
From hash to hashtags
SXSW is a culture unto itself today, defined as much by its concentration of Google glass, hashtags and corporate bar tabs as it is by concerts, movie premiers and software launches. Spend enough time here and you might start believing the internet is a real live place. Looking at it all through the lens of the present, it’s hard to believe the festival was started 27 years ago by a few staffers at the Austin Chronicle who wanted to attract bands and artists from around the world to the eclectic music scene of Austin in hopes of exposing the city as a hotbed of talent. Here’s how to make your visit a great one.
A beast in plainer clothes
The Subaru Impreza WRX (nicknamed “Rex” by loyalists) has a cult following to almost rival the Beatles (smaller and younger, but just as fanatic). New iterations or improvements often make fan clubs and enthusiasts both skeptical and nervous; you can’t mess with perfection, and the Subaru Impreza WRX is pretty close. In November of last year Subaru debuted the fifth generation 2015 WRX ($26,295) at the LA auto show, and we were quick to and hop in line to see if they’d truly made it better or simply messed up a great thing.
When Godzilla gets Juke'd
From the Archives: Have you ever seen “that couple” — the short, rotund Geek Squad individual and the Olympic beach volleyball player walking hand in hand? A similarly weird aura surrounds the incredibly unnecessary yet blissfully real 545 horsepower Nissan Juke-R ($665,000). We got some seat time in this, one of the rarest production automobiles in the world.
A Triumphant Return to the (kind of) British two-seater
When Jaguar introduced their iconic E-Type in the early 1960s it turned heads and changed lives; new for 2014, the Jaguar F-Type ($69,000) looks to do exactly the same thing. First coming to life as the C-X16 concept, the production version debuted at the historic Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2012 and, thanks to thrilling driving dynamics and a competitive price point, could be the most exciting offering from the Brits (under Indian ownership) since the tea trade routes.
No excuses, just good shots
Today’s affordable tools, cameras, classes and copious creative outlets have brought making a film (one of the best story-telling devices) nearly to the everyman. Still, all those advances can’t change a basic fact: sometimes making a movie means going to where the story is rather than waiting for it to come to you. But paying to check 10 Pelican cases of equipment will essentially eat your entire production budget, not to mention it’s tough to sneak into a location if you have a fleet of boxes and bags. This kit can be carried by one or two people in traditional suitcases — which means you get your shots, no matter where those shots may be.