If military-grade Humvees or the “run-of-the-mill” bores you to tears and you simply can’t afford an M1 Abrams tank for your off-pavement adventures, look to Mercedes-Benz and their perfectly over-the-top G63 AMG 6×6. Yes folks, that’s six-wheel-drive, with enough torque to warp the earth’s crust (if that’s your thing). The limited-production beast is the result of a partnership with Austria’s Magna Steyr and is based on the military version of the Mercedes-Benz G320 CDI — and it’s positively bonkers.
True British Muscle
Aston Martin recently decided that being one of the most prestigious and sexiest car makers on the planet wasn’t enough. They needed to be audacious. Their execution of this? Surgically transplanting the 6.0-liter 510 hp V12 from the DBS into their smallest and lightest offering, the Vantage. The Carbon Black edition adds carbon-fiber side strakes, lightweight carbon fiber and Kevlar seats, piano black accents and gloss black painted wheels, which convey the same kind of ballsy aggression as the drivetrain underneath that extruded aluminum body. Read on for a video and photo essay of this Brit stunner.
If ever there was a hot-hatch-segment-defining car, the VW GTI would most likely be it. And perhaps aside from the heavy and globule-like Mk4, each one has been coveted in its field. The 2015 Volkswagen GTI, the seventh generation of the German pocket rocket, will ratchet things up once more.
An unincorporated territory, a Mini, and some wild roads
Puerto Rico is a peculiar place. It’s not an American state but is under US law. It’s only 100 miles by 35 miles but has a thriving car culture. Though it feels a world away, it’s only three and a half hours from JFK. This land of contradiction was the perfect place to experience the new Mini Paceman ($24,000 Base), which at first glance appears to be a small version of Mini’s largest offering.
Wake up, America
Aston Martin and Bertone have partnered up once again to bring you automotive nirvana, this time in the form of the one-off Aston Martin Jet 2+2. The rakish shooting brake (station wagon) is based on the beautiful Rapide S four door coupe and will be unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. We’d say the result is nothing less than stunning.
These are a few of our favorite things
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.
Nothing gets the 1% excited like the unveiling of a new Bentley (okay, except for really great stock market news). The 2014 Bentley Continental Flying Spur should certainly illict the best kind of kerfuffle amongst the bluebloods and new money, alike.
The Beetle gets wings
VW’s 2014 Beetle GSR is a resurrection of a badder bug — and proudly sports a 210 horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo. This isn’t the chick car of past years.
Driving in a Winter Wonderland
My winter BMW driving history is a sad one, littered with shattered taillights, bent frames and too many loaner cars. After one too many calls to my insurance agent, I finally gave up on the Bayerische Motoren Werke for good, moving on to more sensible Scandinavian cars that understood what winter is all about. Given my less-than-stellar driving past, the prospect of piloting a 2013 BMW 650i Gran Coupe, in Germany — in winter — both thrilled and mortified me. On the one hand, the opportunity to put the whip to 445 twin-turbocharged horses on the very roads for which they were bred was a once in a lifetime opportunity. But it was December, and my PTSD flared up, with visions of mid-Autobahn donuts making my palms sweat.
Small car. Big engine. The 2014 A45 AMG is a guaranteed recipe for ear-to-ear grins and a way for Mercedes-Benz to prove they still know the magic elixir well. This beast of a hatchback, debuting early next month, gets a whole range of the badass treatment from our favorite German mad scientists (AMG): a new look and a big upgrade under the hood.
I believe I can fly
Most drivers with sport-tuned cars like BMW’s Ms and Audi’s S line are relegated to red light straightaways, only partially exploiting the true potential of their steeds. The pathway to higher speeds lies elsewhere. Mercedes recognized this problem and invited us to Rosamond, CA., a quiet farming town with long, unpatrolled stretches of road, to play with all their AMG
toys offerings for 2013 and to use the track at Willow Springs Raceway for their brand new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT ($200,000 Base Coupe).
Makes the Italians sweat
Some claim the Nissan GT-R is a tad too clinical, born from a generation of Gran Turismo video game junkies who are better on a game console than behind a real wheel. But no one will dispute the fact that the GT-R is a bonkers supercar for a non-supercar price, and it makes just about every other competitor sweaty in the nether regions. The 2014 Nissan GT-R Track Edition should add an even heftier dose of fear into the hearts of performance cars with twice the price tag.
If the white stuff comes down in droves where you live and laws allow for tire chains in your state, the only thing stopping you from procuring a set is the pain installation can cause. Thule Easy-fit CU-9 ($450) tire chains can easily change all that (of course, you should always be prepared for the worst during winter weather driving).
What Ford has done in the few years is nothing short of brand reinvention. A new focus on technology and consolidation of their various models sold globally and in the States has left many a test driver of a new Focus, Fiesta, Fusion or Escape asking “Is this really a Ford?” The 2013 Focus ST ($24,000 Base) continues this leave-drivers-impressed trend. We take a quick spin.
A new generation of four-doors
Family sedans tend to be the automotive equivalent of Valium (minivans are horse tranquilizers, in case you were wondering), but times have changed. Family men no longer need to sacrifice
too much in the way of driving excitement and looks in order to transport tykes and trikes. We get it. You’d rather be doing some tire ripping, engine-snorting performance runs on your way to drop off your son at school. Still, we’ve compiled our list of “family sedans” that take let you perform your dad duties with aplomb while still allowing you more than a modicum of manly fun.
Million Dollar Baby (maker)
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: Chase Car Inc. We had a chance to check out their matte-black, modded out Porsche Panamera Turbo, replete with a full camera crane. Needless to say, we smiled for the camera.
S is for Sexy
We want everything — always. That’s the American way. We want our gourmet burger with egg, parmesan crust and arugula, our clothes to fit well, be cheap and last forever; we want to marry the veritable hot girl who drinks beer… craft beer… at a football game. Audi’s answer to this consumer desire to have it all(ish) is the S7 ($79,000+). Despite the A7′s success, rumor has it (thanks, Adele) the performance division of Audi wasn’t satisfied yet — so they snuck into the garage one fateful night and replaced the standard 310 hp V6 turbo with a 420 hp 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8. The S7 emerged.
King of the hill and vale
The remote West is a far cry from where most modern SUVs claim their stomping grounds, but it’s exactly where we found ourselves recently. Utah’s desert landscape isn’t what you’d call sparse, as far as scenery is concerned. Sedimentary rock formations that range from the utterly massive to the small and bizarre are scattered as far as the eye can see, peppered by small patches of remnant snow and capped by the beautiful winter desert sky. But this is where we tested the 2013 Range Rover — and the car felt right at home.
Stay frosty, stay smart
Winter’s that time of year when dead Christmas trees tend to litter the neighborhood landscape, you don’t see your neighbors for weeks on end and countless pounds are added to the collective American waistline. But don’t forget the pains of winter driving — the wheelspin, the snow-induced oversteer and the eye-searing whiteout conditions that make you lose sight of just about everything. Though you can’t avoid it all, you can certainly learn some basic skills that should help you stay shiny side up and clear of the local towing company.
Your view, starting at $1000
Entertaining fantastical pipe dreams has always been a fun diversion for us, like that time we thought it would be cool to go to law school because, “I don’t know what else to do with my life” (which is apparently what educational sadomasochists are apt to say). Or thinking we might one day have stacks…
The History of America's Greatest Sports Car
Your loyalties may lie with other sports car brands, but the Corvette garners respect from all automotive circles for its remarkable capabilities, especially in light of its price. The Corvette is truly an American automotive icon and easily qualifies as America’s supercar, though it didn’t always boast the performance numbers of today. For at least the past three generations, it has been widely considered a bargain, as far as supercars go — with the speed, handling and track chops to make cars costing three times more quake in their brake shoes. Follow the Corvette as we detail its humble C1 inception to its modern automotive exotica in the recently released C7.
Mash the throttle, hold on and smile
As happy as we are to see a smorgasbord of automotive selections at the Detroit Auto Show this year, our pulses raced especially fast for sports cars. But even the definition of a sports car has changed. They don’t always have two doors anymore, and they may never even set tire on a track. But some things never change; what they still can do (at least the good ones) is perform and put a crick in your neck from looking too hard. Here are some of our favorites from NAIAS 2013.
Great, in concept
As nearly every auto show evidences, status quo just doesn’t cut it — and concept cars, as crazy as they can sometimes be, give us a glimpse into the realm of automotive possibility. The concepts of NAIAS 2013 were no exception. Some were radical new designs for existing models and others are new to the…
Fun Per Gallon
If a hybrid vehicle is what you seek, there are two ends of the spectrum. On the left: the Toyota Prius, sipping fuel at 51mpg through an uninspiring 98 hp engine for $24K. On the right: the Porsche Panamera S Hybrid, which will run you close to $100k, with an “is-this-really-a-hybrid” 22mpg due to its…
Bold moves from the Blue Oval
And you thought trucks were just a waste of space and gas. The urban cowboy in us says otherwise, as does Ford, with their newly announced Ford Atlas Concept, a bold new face in the pickup truck race. Looking like an angry four-wheeled bank vault, the Atlas shows us what the next generation F-150 could…
Guilty as charged
Given its lineage, we probably wouldn’t refer to it as a true “driver’s car”, but the completely new, super-aerodynamic Cadillac ELR 2+2 sure looks the part. That its design is edgy, futuristic, and alludes to strong momentum is no surprise given Cadillac’s direction as of late (and because we’ve told you about it before), but…
Blue in Green
Some concepts barely qualify as concepts because they’re so close to what appears to be a production version. You can tell by the absence of both tiny side mirrors and manhole-cover-sized wheels. And that’s exactly what we find in the handsome new Volkswagen Crossblue Concept. Intended for families, it slots above the Touareg with three-row…