The prom queen is never chosen solely for her personality, and character actors don’t win People‘s Sexiest Man Alive. These are truths we’ve come to simply accept, and they extend to machines, too. Saying an item has “character” or “personality” implies it has aesthetic, ergonomic, or other flaws. The Moto Guzzi V7 Special ($9,290) has character.
Teaching an old dog new tricks, on two wheels
(Sometimes) Longer is better
This year Infiniti released a new “L” variant of their Q70 sedan (formerly known as the M) in the States. An escape from the confines of New York City into the backroads of Jersey proved that the long wheel based car might just balance the ideals of comfort and performance perfectly while remaining a luxury car bargain.
The beautiful collision of technology and tradition
Riding in the back seat of a car often feels more like a punishment than a privilege. But the Bentley Mulsanne makes backseat desirable. Then again, it makes the front seat desirable, too.
From NYC to Maine in Toyota's big rig
When daydreaming of a classic summer road trip vehicle, a pickup truck is not what normally springs to mind — especially a massive 5,800-pound one that gets 17 mpg. However, seeing as the 2014 Toyota Tundra ($26,000+) could haul the space shuttle Endeavor across an LA freeway, I figured it could handle my family, a few bags and nearly 700 miles of road tripping.
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.
Confusing, a little odd... and molto bello
Featuring a slew of firsts, the Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 was wrapped in controversy, failed in sales and has been looked down upon by aficionados for years. Today there is a resurgence in the interest of this ill-fated groundbreaker. We talked to one proud owner to find out why.
We drove a Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel from New York City to West Michigan for a 2,000-mile round trip. Here’s what we learned.
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.
A Great American SUV, Proven
The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel will haul you and your stuff for nearly 730 miles on one tank, all the while spoiling you with leather, panoramic roof, digital screens and tons of hauling capabilities. Is this the best American SUV ever made? After six weeks and a variety of tasks and duties, we think it’s certainly up there.
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.
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.
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.
Utter Beauty and Supreme Brawn
The four fat rubber circles that attach both you and the Huracán to the road were chosen to be worked very, very hard. So were the 601 horses that shriek from its 5.2-liter V10 power plant. There’s an extra incentive behind each of these Italian supercar’s facets: it’s not enough for this car to move like Usain Bolt or look like Elisabetta Canalis. The Huracán is Sant’Agata’s replacement for the monumentally successful Gallardo (huge shoes to fill) and frankly, it makes its predecessor seem rough and antiquated — even a bit homely. The mechanical shaming of the Gallarod tells you just about everything you need to know about the Huracán. It’s next-generation Lamborghini.
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.
Pikes Peak, Monster, Panigale, Streetfighter and Diavel
With free reign on development (and deeper pockets) thanks to new ownership, Ducati’s built a lineup that’s billed as faster, sexier and more nimble than anything they’ve produced before. After spending a day piloting five models (Multistrada Pikes Peak, Monster, Panigale, Streetfighter and Diavel) through the Catskill Mountains, it became clear that this may be their finest vintage yet, at least for the majority of their models.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Head of the C-Class
In its past several generations, Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class has promised drivers excellent entry-level luxury — a promise on which the car has never quite delivered. GP editor Eric Yang travels to the South of France to find the soul of the new C-Class using his right foot.
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.
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.
Takes on the flat and the bumpy
No longer just a lame substitute for a real SUV, crossovers have grown in terms of quality, capability and available amenities such that there seems virtually no end in sight. Mercedes-Benz has been busier than just about anyone lately when it comes to redesigning their lineup and introducing new models, and the GLA Class is the latest to come down the Teutonic pike to fill this new crossover mold. We made our way to Málaga, Spain to take two iterations out for a spin: the GLA250 4Matic and the zippier GLA45 AMG.
Get it dirty, just not inside, please
With a long history of producing rugged SUVs before that term even existed, Land Rover could sell incredibly well based on just their name. Still, they decided the all-new aluminum-bodied flagship Range Rover wasn’t enough. They’ve spiffed up their biggest seller, the Range Rover Sport, and we had the chance to drive it through one of Chicago’s snowiest winters see how it performed off the clean tarmac.
Italian for batshit crazy
Limited in production but not in power, the Ducati Panigale 1199 R ($31,000) is a cross between a Navy Seal and Usain Bolt. It’s got carbon fiber and titanium for bones, a computer for a brain and a 195-horsepower engine revving to 12,000 rpm for a heart. We took it out for a few days — after we updated our will.
Rubbin' is racing
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.
Aging well at 100
You know Buick, but you probably don’t know their rich motoring history: they won the inaugural race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, are the oldest American automotive brand still producing cars and led industry innovations such as the overhead camshaft, a closed body car and turn signals. So how does a brand more than 100 years old compete in the 21st century? The 2014 Buick Regal GS AWD ($40,000) has a few ideas.