A performance SUV is something tantamount to a chainsaw with jet propulsion. There’s really no need for it, but to dismiss it is to deny man’s inherent quest for power, in whatever form it may come. Gear Patrol’s wheeled staff had a chance to cruise around in some of the best four-wheeled tarmac eaters that just happen to ride on stilts in celebration of Octane‘s launch. Here’s what they thought.
The few, the proud, the Packard
The seventh installment of our Staff Favorites series features Mr. Scott Packard. Scott is thoroughly defined by his 20 years of service as a Marine Corps infantry officer; you’ll see this clearly throughout his staff picks. But to imagine that this is his sole character trait is entirely foolish. He’s an excellent writer, enrapturing GP’s audience with Defense Journals and other articles packed full of ethos and well-studied logic. Scott’s also an active athlete (his favorite pastimes include bicycling, surfing, skiing and even, recently, motocross); a craft beer enthusiast who frequents many of the great tap rooms in his home of San Diego with his wife, who he says enjoys beer even more than he; a passionate cook; and a father and husband. He is, in short, the Most Interesting Man in the World’s older, wiser brother. We’re proud to have this experienced character on our staff. He’s proud of some awesome gear.
We dream up our road trip fantasy rides
When it’s time to make tracks — whether you’re escaping the daily grind or heading to the next adventure — few things will make or break your time on the open road more than the vehicle you’re piloting. Sometimes it’s best to tailor your ride to the destination; sometimes, the car itself should play more of a starring role in your road trip story than your map waypoints do. Why not go all out? From fun-to-fling to made-to-cruise to needs-to-be-seen, we dreamed up our ten fantasy road trip cars, one ideal for every getaway.
No ride like the present
Now that the riding season is under way in many parts of the country, it’s time to sign up for riding lessons and start thinking about the machine that’s best suited for your needs. You could jump right into researching bikes for months online, but we’d recommend starting with our roundup of the 5 best starter motorcycles first.
Gatsby's Great Garage
Jay Gatsby had it all, except perhaps the presence of mind to dial down the drama so he could hold on to the good things, namely cars and bikes that would stand the test of time for unrelenting beauty and elegance. The art deco era, spanning over two decades, influenced design internationally — and vehicles were beneficiaries of this arty approach to industry. So much of what was built in the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s now only exists in the hallowed halls of museums and collectors’ garages as we drool upon this glorious motoring past. Gatsby’s greatness could’ve remained had he chosen to drive one of these beauties into the West Egg sunset, leaving Daisy behind in a cloud of rich exhaust. Fresh for Baz Luhrmann’s full throttle cinematic interpretation of the landmark Fitzgerald novel, we’ve collected 10 of the finest art deco cars and bikes ever built.
GP's Resident Leadfoot
The fifth installment of our Staff Favorites series features Mr. Amos Kwon. Amos is, simply put, a man’s man. He’s entirely focused on family (he’s a proud husband and, more recently, a father), but he’s also passionate about cars (he’s the heart and soul of our automotive coverage), cigars (it’s amazing that he hasn’t yet hired a personal Cuban roller), Scotch, and a mean EDC. He’s a diligent, talented writer, zipping absurd humor (we still can’t get over his “Whoever chose this… should be slapped with a pair of wet Depends” line) into the tight copy of his otherwise earnest reviews. We’re proud to have this proud Chicagoan on the team — and his favorite gear doesn’t disappoint.
The 10 That Got Away
Some concept cars are the stuff of dreams, and some make a justified beeline for the crusher. But then there are the truly glorious ones: the concepts built just for show, never meant to be anything more than the Paris runway model of the automotive world, or those lucky few that see their design elements actually influence production cars, even if they themselves never make it to the street. Tragically, for many of the best, somewhere between an auto show debut and the fevered, hopeful dreams of auto enthusiasts, some kind of childhood-hating shutdown switch gets flicked by faceless bean counters. In honor of the fallen, we take a look at 10 of the best concept cars that only ever got to lay rubber on the auto show floor.
Time to meet the winners
Imagine spending years designing, redesigning, engineering and finally building a car — only to have public opinion weigh in on your baby. No pressure, right? Well, at this year’s New York International Auto Show, plenty of brands did a damn good job. We were tantalized by some of what’s to come: cars that will certainly hit production in some form or another (and thank goodness for that). From track beasts to practical and attractive sedans, we rounded up the cream of the crop, in our humble opinion. Take a look at the 10 best in show.
Sportier Utility Vehicle
Time for a driveway upgrade? Gear Patrol’s new series, “Want This, Get This”, moves to the automotive space this week, presenting a lust-worthy SUV along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch. Read on for the dream car (BMW X5 M) and its reality-based substitute (Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8).
Making SUVs fun again
In the hallowed halls of Gear Patrol, you’ll occasionally hear a whimper, nay, more of a subdued weeping, when we get wind of a car that appeals to our senses that we’ll never be able to get here in the states. The BMW Alpina XD3 Bi-Turbo is an SUV we can get behind (but not behind the wheel of).
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.
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.
When it comes to BMW M cars, it seems there can never be enough horsepower. Clearly, that was the philosophy behind powering the 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe. What is arguably BMW’s best looking vehicle gets bumped up to the Motorsport division from whence all good things Bavarian come next year, and the payoff is…
Is BMW making their lineup more confusing or more distinctive? Hard to say. As rumored several years ago, BMW is finally doing away with their 3-Series coupe nomenclature and making their 2-doors consistent with even-numbered badging, a la 6-Series. The all new BMW 4-Series Concept reveals what the coupe version of BMW’s segment-leading, bread-and-butter 3-Series…
425 lb-ft. Diesel. 'Nuf said.
The BMW X5 xDrive35d is a mouthful, an earful and a pocketful all at once. Its visually eclectic nomenclature is BMW speak for all-wheel drive and a diesel powertrain. Yes, we said diesel. Get used to it, because the clean-burning fuel is here to stay — providing both efficiency (relative, of course, for something this…
No espresso needed
“Café racer” was originally a derogatory term, identifying a poseur-type of motorcyclist who typically rode from coffee shop to coffee shop without doing any real riding. Luckily, the category has outlived ridicule to become one of the best retro styles around today, as exemplified by the Cafe Racer Dreams BMW R100RT “Ruby Ring”. With the…
BMW Motorsport is the hand that’s pushed BMW harder and faster for 40 years now. Responsible for BMW’s racing programs, including automobiles and motorcycles, BMW Motorsport GmbH (or BMW M-Technik or just BMW M) has delivered to the world legends like the E30 M3 and the legendary M1 supercar and continues to produce M-badged cars…
A few months ago, we showed you gorgeous photos of the BMW Zagato Coupe formed from the minds at the Italian design house. Well, they’ve pulled off the covers and the roof of the BMW Zagato Roadster for the Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach this weekend, and it is stunning — on screen and in…
C the future now
BMW is making waves in the scooter scene, using its extensive knowledge in motorcycle technology with their C 600 Sport and C 650 GT maxi scooters (which will hit showrooms in the fall) and the same lithium-ion battery technology used in the futuristic BMW i8. On the heels of the two remarkable maxi scooters comes…
BMW motorcycles are some of the finest two-wheeled machines made and the new BMW HP4 is testament to that end. Based on the killer S 1000 RR, the HP4 is pure performance. Powered by a 4-cylinder 1000cc engine with a monstrous 193 horsepower output (more than my car, a BMW E46 325Ci). Yeeowch. The HP4…
To a certain automotive set — including us — wagons are hip (and frankly, as good as ever), so news of the 2013 BMW 3-Series Sport Wagon is definitely not to be missed. Besides the impending bonkers M3, this is easily our favorite version of the 3-Series. The enlarged greenhouse actually does more justice to…
Ossobucco and Sauerkraut, anyone?
Zagato, the Milanese automotive design house, doesn’t really have to uphold its longstanding and stellar reputation for producing some of the most beautiful vehicles this side of oxygenated planets. The BMW Zagato Coupe, recently created for the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, one of the most prestigious automobile and motorcycle events around. If you think it’s…
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…
Urban Mario Kart
The 1950s BMW Isetta certainly wouldn’t break any land speed records, especially since it looks like a windowed deep freezer on wheels. But no one can question its success as a practical and inexpensive mode of transporation. Designer Tony Weischelbraun has taken this icon and modernized it with his brilliant eSetta concept. Replacing the original…
Who needs traction control?
Perhaps you already drive a Bimmer and want to add the same brand name to your two-wheeled man-powered vehicle. Your choice would clearly be the 2012 BMW Mountain Bike Enduro. With a fully updated design and material upgrades, the Enduro uses an all-aluminum frame for lightness and rigidity, full Fox suspension and Shimano XT and…
We've seen the future, and it's topless
If Jeff Bridges’ Kevin Flynn was ever searching for the perfect summer ride, it would most certainly be the BMW i8 Concept Spyder, about to debut in New York. Based on the ultra-futuristic BMW i8, the Concept Spyder is driven by the same 131 horsepower electric motor, providing a whole 19 miles of electrical driving…
Restoration done right
Plenty of amazing vintage vehicles are bludgeoned through restoration. Making them “new again” does not always equate to making them better. The original BMW R100RS, built in the late 1970s, remains a classic bike whose looks will stand the test of time, but we’ve seen our fair share of restoration nightmares on this model to…
May I have a little more, please?
Not that the previous generation BMW M6 was a slouch, but lately the German automaker has eschewed their naturally-aspirated-only mindset and gone all forced induction on us. The 2013 BMW M6 has been the latest beneficiary of this Bimmer revolution. Boasting a 4.4 liter V8 with 560 hp and 500 lb feet of torque, the…
We think we can all agree that the current BMW 5-Series is both a performance and design upgrade from the last generation. Well, BMW tuner Vorsteiner has taken the German sedan and made it even more spectacular with their 2012 Vorsteiner BMW 5-Series V-MS. All new carbon fiber body panels adorn a standard 5-Series sedan…
Triumphant Teutonic Triumverate
It’s an answer to a question that nobody asked. The four door luxury sports ‘coupe’, an oxymoron, frankly. But the odd thing is, it works. The Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupe spawned it all and showed the world that a car can be rakishly good looking, have a low roofline, four doors and still be utterly desirable….