Your buddy’s Rosso Corsa Red Ferrari makes your blood boil with envy. Unfortunately, your better half won’t let you mortgage the house so you can buy one yourself. Though they may not have the prancing horse on the grille or elicit gazes from the bold and the beautiful, these 10 affordable driver’s cars still delight with great driving dynamics and the kind of motoring spirit that makes you feel like a kid again.
To drive or ogle? That is the question.
The beauty of classic automotive design is often in direct struggle with modern safety and fuel economy standards, not to mention the latest in technology. But there are still a number of shining examples around today, ones that echo the past and ones that break new ground but don’t break the rules of good taste. These ten prove that less is more and that automotive design is not on the rocks.
It's the little things that count
A car is certainly more than the sum of its parts, but sometimes it’s the little details that make an otherwise good car iconic. These details can be subtle as the Mona Lisa’s smile or bold as the LED spire on the new Freedom Tower, or, more often, somewhere in between. We’ve assembled a list of some of the best automotive features — both innovative and artistic, groundbreaking and evolutionary — to ever see the light of day.
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.
From Good to Great
Some car models start out great but then topple from grace — the Nissan Maxima comes to mind (as much as we try to push it out). Then there are those automobiles that have only gotten better with time, tweaks, and tender loving care. Some have evolved gracefully, while others desperately needed a hefty dose of attention. Here are five models basking in the glow of recent changes that have brought them into their primes.
This Indo-Brit could pull it off
For decades, the BMW 3-Series has been the sports sedan benchmark by which all others are measured, but all that is changing in this steel cage death match that includes German, Japanese and American contenders. BMW, naturally, has its hat in the ring. Then there’s the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C Class, Lexus IS, Infiniti Q50, Cadillac ATS, and soon a new Jaguar known as the XE, which was recently announced but not fully revealed at the Geneva Motor Show.
From Pocket Rockets to Black Vented Tanks, We're in Love
The Geneva Motor show is where carmakers like to come out and play. The absence of a major Swiss automaker provides both a level playing field for all manufacturers and a platform for car designers to go a bit crazy, often with radical concept cars. But there is a different class of vehicles, the ones that will see production, fulfilling our petrol-filled dreams by bringing speed, power and ingenuity to the road. These are our ten favorite production cars from the show.
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.
Another automotive kidney punch to us Yanks
Packed with the same kind of rip-roaring five-door flavor as the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S 4Matic Wagon and the Audi RS6 Avant, Jaguar’s XFR-S Sportbrake does up the wicked and track-ready XFR-S sedan with more cargo space and a nice big rear door for all those Home Depot runs.
The gifts that keep on giving
Just about every morning, before our cup of joe, we slap ourselves as a reminder of how lucky we are to drive some of the best cars in the world and get paid for it. 2013 was another year of stupendous privileges, with wheel time in Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Land Rovers, Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, Porsches, Jaguars, Mercedes-Benzes, Audis, BMWs, Aston Martins and more. We’ve been the beneficiaries of a huge upswing in the automotive marketplace in terms of style, quality and driving excitement through virtually all segments. And you know what that means: 2014 should prove to be even better.
Here are the cars we most covet for the new year, each one a standout in its segment by virtue of its quality, technology, design, driving experience or all of the above. In a stellar field, these are the ones that stir the petrol in our veins the most. As we embark on a new year, here’s a toast to what should be an incredible 2014 on the digital pages of Octane.
When we introduced Today in Gear last year — or “TIG”, as we refer to it internally — we set out to create a daily digest of the latest in gear-related news to accompany our broader, deeper full length stories and features. The TIG oeuvre is still about the latest and coolest in cars, clothes,…
Doxie Flip Mobile Scanner Perfect for all you Scanners out there, this book-sized device is ready to capture 4×6 600dpi images of anything you can get your hands on — notes on napkins, sketches, photographs, articles, you name it. The flip part especially comes in handy, as you simply remove the cover, flip the thing…
Purity in Motion
2013 has been a great year in our motoring lives. We’ve hit the tarmac and the dirt track, tossed around Ferraris and Lambos, captured the ultimate camera car and two-wheeled it through the streets of London and Los Angeles. That’s a hell of a lot of burnt rubber — and we relished every moment.
We loved ‘em all, sure, but it’s high time we selected Gear Patrol’s Best New Car of the year, a tough task amid the fierce competition of some of the best vehicles we’ve seen in a long time. That field is packed full of cars from diverse manufacturers, each deserving of vehicular accolades of the highest order. But there can be only one winner — and to us, that winner is clear. The best car of the year is the 2014 Porsche Cayman S. But before we wax poetic (and we surely will), there are plenty of counterarguments to be made and bridesmaids to applaud.
British excellence, embodied
When it comes to iconic vintage Jags, the stunning E-Type comes to mind for most, but there is a British racing legend that came before the XKE. Though just about everyone recognizes the E-Type, only the true automotive cognoscenti can identify the D-Type, a car that’s far more rare and even more coveted when one of the two happens to come up at auction.
The lion's call
The brand new Jaguar F-Type ($69,000) isn’t the second coming of the legendary E-Type — but it is Jaguar’s first true sports car in 40 years. The F-Type takes the form of a compact powerhouse that isn’t afraid to bear its high-performance teeth. The two available 3.0-liter V6 engines in the base F-Type and the F-Type S boast a healthy 340 and 380 horsepower, respectively, while the top-end V8 delivers a raucous 495 horses to place it in supercar territory for power and performance. The sporty but luxurious cockpit is gleefully driver centric; driving this posh and powerful roadster is pure bliss. The F-type is the sophisticated sports car the world has been waiting for.
Ze cream of ze crop
There was another huge auto show this year in Frankfurt, Germany. Spread out across a dozen exhibition halls covering a mile of real estate, the 65th IAA show featured wares from virtually every automaker on the planet. It is at Frankfurt, for instance, where you can learn about cutting-edge technology like heated armrests (no, we’re not kidding) and then walk around the corner and sample the same technology in a 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. If the question is asked, “Wasn’t that car shown at Frankfurt?” chances are, at least for now, the answer is “yes”. Ditto on whether said car saw extensive press coverage. With that, here’s a rundown of the best of Frankfurt — not just the big names, but the ones that made us take notice.
Aquaovo Therm-O Bottle Beautiful, environmentally friendly, hot and cold: just like Leo DiCaprio when he refuses to return our texts. This chic bottle’s double-walled, FDA-approved glass works toward optimal insulation and zero condensation; the natural bamboo lid is a looker if ever we did see one; and the stainless steel tea strainer snaps in and…
Swims 48 Hour Bag Lest this bag be so generically considered a “weekender”, Swims makes it clear it’s meant to be used for 48-hour stints anytime. It’s a straightforward navy-colored ordeal with leather handles and details, and because this is Swims, waterproof zippers keep the wet out, the nylon body is water-resistant, and natty, nautical-inspired…
To see one is to lust
Ali Sadrieh is a man who lives in the present. From his cutting edge podiatry practice in Los Angeles, to his love of all things tech, he believes there has never been a better time to be alive. It is this very love of all things digital that inspired him to own an “analog car”: the iconic and rare 1968 Jaguar E-Type Series 1.5. Through a chance crossing of paths, we were able to meet Ali and take his gorgeous Jag for a ride. Read on to see the video.
Time to Drive
Wheels and gears, second hands and tach needles, power trains and power reserves. Men have always been fascinated by time, speed, accuracy and power — and the beautiful combination of high-end timepieces and exotic roadgoing automobiles captures these obsessions appropriately. And whether the watch of choice is used to measure lap splits or to simply echo the same kind of quality and heritage as his car, you can be assured that careful time was taken to select both. We match up some of the best in timekeeping and automobilia in Gear Patrol style.
A time-stopping piece of automotive history: '74 E-Type
Only 59 more E-Types were made after Dave Paddison’s V12 Series 3 convertible rolled off the Coventry assembly line in 1974. “Last of the Breed”, indeed — nearly the last entirely. And what a specimen for a guy like Dave to own.
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.
The claws are out
Car guys dream of acquiring their own personal track monster. Some are bare bones beasts, as comfortable as a ride on the Coney Island Cyclone; others bear witness to modern sport-luxury. The Jaguar XKR-S GT clearly falls into the latter category, and the automotive world is a better place for it. Check out the nifty bits that $174,000 buys the fortunate in our breakdown of this masterful vehicle.
If you needed any more proof that Jaguar is serious about performance driving, the newly unveiled 2014 Jaguar XFR-S ($99,000) should wake you up. Yes, it’s as serious as it looks. With a 5.5-liter supercharged V8 that provides 550 horsepower to the rear wheels, this top-of-the-line XF cat gets 0-60 in 4.4 seconds and tops…
Two (speedboats) if by Sea
One speedboat designed by a carmaker: awesome concept. Two speedboats designed by two carmakers: a watery challenge. That’s right. Jaguar, following Mercedes-Benz’s nautical lead, has just released images of their Concept Speedboat. The baby of Director of Design Ian Callum, the just-unveiled Concept Speedboat coincides with the release of the gorgeous XF Sportbrake (wagon). The…
A half century's wait
The venerable Jaguar E-Type will never be replaceable, thank goodness. That would be like trying to remake Michael Caine’s Get Carter with Stallone as the lead. See how that went? Yet count on Jaguar to create a modern roadster with the same spirit of beautiful open-top motoring with the brand spanking new 2013 Jaguar F-Type….
The longer, faster cat's meow
Jaguar cars, long known for their sexy lines and classic proportions, were growing extremely long in the tooth with their XJ platform, a design that was pulled, smoothed out and tweaked since the Series 1 cars in 1968. In cat years, that’s food for worms. Well, in 2009, Jaguar took the much needed leap into…
Let sleeping cats lie
Every car guy’s dream is to find a dusty vintage classic in a barn somewhere. And it does happen. The 1969 Maserati we featured here a few weeks ago was actually found, covered in an inch of bird guano, in a barn on the eastern end of Long Island. Well, today we’re featuring another “barn…
Just My E-Type
Jaguar has officially sloughed off the traditional designs that stood for decades. The new design era is officially in full swing, and they’ve not only penned but created the next star in their lineup, the Jaguar C-X16 Concept, which will show up in Frankfurt next week. This one’s got some big shoes to fill, as…