Behind the Wheel

Bold Three

Behind The Wheel | 2012 BMW 335i

Love it or hate it, the new 2012 BMW 335i (internally, F30) makes a bold statement. A continuation of BMWs design language found in the current 5 and 7 series, especially in the completely reworked front fascia with its exposed kidney grilles and elongated headlamps, the 335i makes no bones about what it’s here to...

Be my Valentino

Behind the Wheel | Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder

After more than 40 years as a test driver for Lamborghini, Valentino Balboni retired. In place of a gold watch the Italian supercar maker crafted a limited edition model (only 250) in his honor: the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni — yes, it’s a mouth full. That very car birthed two beautiful descendants. Our...

Bespoke Barroom Brawler

Behind the Wheel: 2012 Porsche Panamera Turbo S and S Hybrid

Let’s start with the near absurdity of a four-door Porsche, on the heels of the ridiculously successful Cayenne, which no Porsche enthusiast thought should be built. The Panamera was never meant to compete with the BMW 7-Series, the Mercedes S-Class or the Audi A8, though comparos almost always include the four in a heated battle...

White Lightning

Behind the Wheel: 2012 Audi TT RS

The Audi TT started out as an exercise in modern Bauhaus Auto Union design and it’s been hugely successful in both 2+2 and roadster versions. Though neither car has been deemed especially quick, that all changes with the TT RS, a balls-to-the-wall 2+2 that makes other sports cars sweat like an elk in Ted Nugent’s...

Price of perfection? Starts around $96,000.

Behind the Wheel: 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S

Let’s get this out of the way. The 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S crushes miles. It crushes miles on grand tours, it crushes them on B-roads, it even crushes them on boring commutes. From the moment you turn the key — Porsche thankfully forgoes the start button frippery — to the raucous score of the...

Behind the Wheel | White Out: 4th Generation Mercedes-Benz 4Matic

First things first. The snow covered roads of Jackson Hole, Wyoming are not the ideal venue for a test drive. Even less so for a car packing over 400 horsepower and fat rubber. But hey, we’re always up for a challenge. And so here we are, with our driving cohort, behind the wheel of a...

Bruise Control

Behind the Wheel: 2012 Chrysler 300 S

No longer the poor man’s Rolls, the 2012 Chrysler 300 S (yes, the one in all those “imported from Detroit” ads) is no longer the big bruiser of yore. Though absolutely sinister in black, Chrysler has sent the 300 to finishing school — giving it a German eight-speed automatic and a seductive new interior with...

Highest Common Denominator

Behind the Wheel | 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL

Taking a step back — a good one — VW returns to its roots of making stellar vehicles at earthly prices, and the result is the 2012 Volkswagen Passat, now made right here in America. Remarkably better than its predecessor yet refreshingly light on the wallet (prices start under $20 grand) the 2012 Passat is...

Green With Envy

Behind the Wheel | C’ing is Believing: 2012 Toyota Prius C

When it comes to cars, we spend most of our time fixated on rides that churn through a gallon of gas faster than a fat kid eats twinkies. Yet for all of our love for “driver’s cars”, we still acknowledge that practicality should be a major consideration when it comes to selecting a primary ride....

Canon, Cantons and Continentals

Wondrous 100: Driving Gstaad to Geneva in the Bentley Continental GTC

Sunday, 12:24pm | A hundred miles. It doesn’t sound like that much. Maybe a long round-trip commute or a weekend ride up to the grandparents. But take that same distance, move it 3,800 miles, and my, how things can change. If you’ve ever looked into great driving roads than you’ve undoubtedly heard that Europe is...

Call it a comeback

Behind the Wheel | Auto Focus: 2012 Ford Focus 5-Door Hatchback

In America, the hatchback has long fought an uphill battle — garnering the scorn and disdain of image conscious buyers who prefer the look of a sedan or coupe. The thing is, regardless of mass public opinion, we think hatchbacks are great, especially on smaller vehicles where the proportions, engineering and design seem to jive...

1,000 miles never felt so easy

Behind the Wheel | Silver Lining: 2012 Mercedes-Benz E350

Recently, we hopped into the 9th generation E-class for an extended test on the unfamiliar (to us) roads of Miami. Over the span of a week, we logged nearly a thousand miles hurtling our Mercedes-Benz E350 Sport everywhere from South Beach to Little Havana, from the University of Miami to Dania Beach and we’re still...

Super Natural

Behind the Wheel | Super Natural: 2012 Ford F-150 SuperCrew EcoBoost

We have a big soft spot for pick-up trucks. Not just because they represent so much of what America is and how we get work done, but the fact that when it comes to two-axle haulers, no one does a full-size pickup like the U S of A. Even as fuel prices have rocketed and...

Cars and caffeine, an ideal pairing

West Coast Blitz: 1,100 Horsepower, 800 Miles and Blue Bottle Coffee

Recently we found ourselves presented with a couple of problems. First. We were handed the keys to a deep blue pearl 2012 Nissan GT-R and 2012 diamond black edition Cadillac CTS-V at roughly the same time. Okay, maybe it doesn’t sound like so much of a problem but bear with us. In reality neither cars...

Design Within Reach

Behind the Wheel | Design Within Reach: 2012 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design

Volvo has long been seen as the safe car. But no one wants to date the “safe” guy. And only billion dollar corporations afraid of lawsuits give out awards for completing something safely. Needless to say, “safe” isn’t a buzz word that lights up headlines. Armed with this cultural realization Volvo’s designers and engineers decided...

How mid-size got its groove back

Behind the Wheel | Six Sigma: 2012 Audi A6

I fondly remember my father’s 1988 Audi 5000, both of them. After the first one he owned had run its course, he went about purchasing the exact same one again. Same color, same interior, same everything. It was then, despite its infamous foibles, that I was introduced to German engineering, a course on how to...

Captain Show and Tell

Photo Essay | Taking Advantage: 500 Miles in the Aston Martin Vantage S

Saturday, 9:05pm | It’s often said that New York City is one of the world’s worst places to own a car. Between the raging cabbies, soaring parking prices and tousled roads the conditions are enough to beleaguer even the most steadfast owner. Even worse, the past few weeks in New York have been a seasonal...

Fiat It's Worth

Behind the Wheel: 2012 Fiat 500

With the Italian brand finally making its debut back on US shores, what better time to get behind the wheel for an extended session with the hot new hatch. More than a Smart Car, but less than a Mini, the 2012 Fiat 500 delivers a cache of vintage-inspired looks combined, modern underpinnings and an approachable...

Chariot of Fire

Something Bentley This Way Comes: Driving the 2012 Bentley Continental GT

As we mentioned, earlier this summer GP got the chance to dive into the fabled world of Bentley Motors. Immersing ourselves in a century’s worth of motoring history the marquee boasts, we took an in-depth look at everything from Bentley’s bespoke coachbuilding process to an all-access look at Bentley’s factory grounds. And of course, time...

800 miles for $7,000 less

Behind the Wheel: 2012 Volkswagen Passat

If you asked us how to make a car cost $7,000 less you’d probably end up missing a few essentials. Things like a back seat, the sound system and maybe even a few cylinders from the engine, but somehow VW has pulled the equivalent of an automotive hat trick with the 2012 Volkswagen Passat ($19,995)....

Bad weather, expert-driving and a supercar

Photo Essay | Snow Day: Lapping the Lexus LFA, In Snow

Things don’t always come together but you try to make the most of it and sometimes, if you’re lucky, it works out for the better. Case in point. Not too long ago, we moseyed ourselves up to New York’s Monticello Motor Club for some lap time in the rip-roaring Lexus LFA. Unfortunately, Mother Nature and...

X Marks the M.D.

Behind the Wheel: 2011 Acura MDX

The Acura MDX is one of those cars we hopped behind the wheel of with very few expectations. To us, it's another mainstream SUV that...

The Sports Bus Has Arrived

Behind the Wheel: 2011 Infiniti QX56

It looks as if crossovers are here to stay for the foreseeable future, but don’t kill off the giant SUVs that still roam America’s heartland,...

Heart of Darkness

Aston Martin DBS Superior Black Edition by Anderson Germany

We’ve all seen tuner cars gone bad. Take a perfectly good car and throw on parts that make it look like you hot glued a bookshelf on for a rear wing. Every so often someone does tuning right. In the case of the Aston Martin DBS Superior Black Edition, Anderson Germany has done just that....

R-ighteous

Behind the Wheel: Bombing the French Alps in the 2012 Volkswagen Golf R

Somewhere between fast cars, practical cars, and those you can actually afford lies the 2012 Volkswagen Golf R. Taking the title as the most powerful small car VW has ever offered, it’s safe to say this little brute is very quick. The “R” moniker refers to Volkswagen’s tuned models (think: “M” to BMW and “S”...

Out of the shadows and into the light

Behind the Wheel: 2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport

For some time now, Suzuki vehicles have widely been considered sub-par automobiles — barely passing muster as basic transportation. Their designs have slightly improved over the past several years but build quality has continually been an issue. Well, roll the automotive drums and draw back the thick velvet curtains because Suzuki has pulled a game-changer...

How sweet es ist

Behind the Wheel: 2011 BMW 5-Series

DiCaprio floundered in “Titanic,” U2 released the not-so-great “POP” album and Apple hyped the “what the crap is this?” Newton. We’re all allowed to hugely screw up at least once, but then we’ve got to do something truly great to make up for it. The Departed,” “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” and the ubiquitous...