Imagine for a moment that you're on your favorite driving road, ready for a quick and curvy blast, but instead you find yourself stuck behind some tourist who's slowing your ride to a crawl, thanks to their unfamiliarity with the road. Imagine the frustration that you'd feel; now imagine that the road is your favorite race track and that both you and the slowpoke ahead are both driving 300-plus horsepower, all-wheel drive, race-bred sport sedans. What a waste of speed! This was my first lap piloting the freshly announced 2015 Subaru WRX STI 'round Madza Raceway Laguna … Read more
I'll cut to the chase. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec is brilliant and it mostly has its engine to thank for it.
Under the hood, you'll find a relatively small (for a vehicle of this size) 2.1-liter twin-turbodiesel four-cylinder. Output is stated at 195 horsepower, which is decent when compared to the similarly-sized Honda Accord's 185 ponies from its 2.4-liter engine. With a relatively low redline, it's no surprise that high-revving horsepower isn't the diesel's strong suit, so we instead turn our attention to the stated 369 pound-feet of torque, which is … Read more
Mercedes-Benz pushed the four-door coupe idea with its CLS-Class in 2004, but this year the company will introduce a true two-door coupe version of its S-Class flagship sedan. From early photos released by Mercedes-Benz, this new S-Class Coupe pulls out all the stop for gorgeous styling, and throws in some new cornering tech as well.
The 2015 S-Class Coupe is based on the Concept S-class Coupe that Mercedes-Benz showed off last year at the Geneva auto show. The new production model will be on display at this year's Geneva show in March.
Rather than the imposing form of the … Read more
When I got into the driver's seat of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250, I found the luxury feel and quality materials I expected from this vaunted luxury brand, despite this new model sitting at the low end of the line-up. Perched on the dashboard was a 7-inch LCD showing Mercedes-Benz's highly refined navigation system, and Harmon Kardon speakers around the cabin emitted crisp, distinct sound.
On the road, however, the CLA250 felt less like the Mercedes-Benz models to which I was accustomed. The ride, in particular, lacked the dreamy glide of the new S550, or even the competent comfort … Read more
In recent years, luxury automakers such as Lexus and Mercedes-Benz launched compact cars at the low ends of their lineups, betting on the idea that urban-dwelling, well-heeled buyers would prefer a car with smaller dimensions. Mazda reaches up-market with the 2014 Mazda3, pushing the latest generation of this economy car to compete with the luxury compacts.
But where the luxury makers set a base of about $30,000 for their offerings, the Mazda3's price remains solidly amongst the economy set.
Mazda managed to make the Mazda3 look and drive as well as the new cars from the luxury competition. … Read more
When it first debuted in 2009, the Legacy struck a more muscular, more aggressive figure than its slab-sided contemporaries from Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. Today, the sedan still looks more aggressive than your average Camry or Accord. Muscular fender flares serve as reminders of the all-wheel-drive system beneath the sheet metal and the sporting heritage that it shares with the likes of the smaller, nimbler WRX. Large, eagle-eyed headlamps house high-intensity discharge projectors that crisply illuminate the road ahead. The Legacy is just a giant wing and a set of plus-sized mags away from looking like an FIA World Touring … Read more
With its latest product strategy, BMW seems poised to please, yesterday announcing the 4 Series Gran Coupe. It's just like the all-new 4 Series coupe, but it gets two rear doors.
The 4 Series is a recent addition to the BMW lineup, a model designed to take over the spot formerly used by the 3 Series coupe. However, the new 4 Series, longer and wider than the 3 Series, is its own model. For the newest model year, the 3 Series can only be had as a sedan, wagon, or the oddly shaped Gran Turismo.
The 4 Series … Read more
With tires screeching, the 2014 BMW 428i danced through a set of turns and put a big smile on my face. Yes, I thought, this is exactly what I expect from BMW, what many others learned to love about the German automaker, and how BMW became synonymous with performance.
The all-new 4 Series exhibited exquisite balance at the turn apexes and, pushed closer to the limits, the rear walked out in a nicely controlled slide, just enough to help rotate the car through the corners. This is the kind of driving I live for.
If you haven't been following … Read more
Versatile, compact, and efficient: the small hatchback is an awesomely practical class of vehicle. Why, just look at the Honda Fit...Nissan certainly did. That's probably why the totally redesigned 2014 Versa Note looks almost exactly like a second-generation Honda Fit with a Nissan grille. That's not a bad thing; the Fit's a good-looking car and, to be fair, there's only so much that you can do when designing within this body style.
Nissan's various models share little commonality. Among its wide range, you've got SUVs, crossovers, sports cars, sedans, and odd outliers such as the Juke, Cube, and Leaf, all bearing little resemblance to each other. There's not much of a corporate identity among these models.
However, that identity crisis seems on the verge of breaking with Nissan's latest models. Recent updates to the Versa, Sentra, and even Pathfinder show some common lines, a rounded front fender merging into a side contour line that dips at the front doors. The 2014 Nissan Altima carries this look as well, … Read more