Posts Tagged ‘sport sedan’

2015 NAIAS: 2016 Jaguar XE

January 18th, 2015 No comments

The last time Jaguar offered a compact sport sedan it was dubbed X-type. Banish any thoughts of that all-wheel drive only sedan, which featured retro styling and take a look at Jaguar’s new 2016 XE. This sedan sports modern rear-wheel drive proportions with taut athletic styling. Aimed at German rivals such as the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-class, this all new Jag features lightweight aluminum architecture and nearly 50:50 weight distribution. Offered with rear-wheel drive and AWD, initially the car will utilize the marque’s existing supercharged 3-liter V6, which produces 340 hp. and 332 ft-lbs of torque, which should be good for a run to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. There’s no evidence that the XE will offer a manual transmission, but it will offer an 8-speed automatic with Jaguar’s signature retractable rotary shifter. Enthusiasts won’t be able to help but notice that the same engine is offered in the F-type with a manual transmission, so we can hope Jaguar will give buyers the luxury of choice in the way they shift their transmissions. For now, we wait with anticipation to see just how good this promising sedan is.

2015 NAIAS: 2016 Lexus GS F

January 15th, 2015 No comments


Lexus continues its pursuit of perfection by rounding out the GS sport sedan’s lineup with the GS F. The GS F goes beyond the sporty GS F SPORT by offering 467 hp and 389 lb-ft of torque from its 5.0-liter V8. The GS’s spindle grille becomes massively oversized on the F model and is flanked by gaping intakes in the corners of the lower fascia. Once upon a time the entire Lexus lineup was accused of being bland and anonymous. Love or hate the GS F’s looks, it can not be accused of subtlety. Gears are shifted via an eight-speed automatic with manual-shifting capabilities. To further perfect the driving experience the GS F features a Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD) that is also shared with the Lexus RC F. The TVD strives to enhance the car’s agility and steering responsiveness. While the GS F isn’t quite the full fledged super sedan that rival Cadillac revealed across Cobo Hall, this may be the type of precision performance sedan that will keep Lexus loyalists in the fold.

2015 NAIAS: 2016 Cadillac CTS-V

January 13th, 2015 No comments


It’s been several weeks since Cadillac released official photos of the CTS-V, and we’ve had high expectations for the latest member of the V-series family since we drove the 2014 CTS Vsport. That car was so comprehensively good that we wondered just what Cadillac had up it sleeve (or shall we say under its hood?) for the full fledged performance version of its rear wheel drive performance sedan. While the Vsport churns out 420 hp from its twin turbo V6, the CTS-V blasts its way into the passing lane with 640 horsepower and 630 lb.-ft. of torque produced by its 6.2-liter supercharged V8. Cadillac was quick to point out that the CTS-V has more power and torque than the Mercedes-Benz 5.5-liter biturbo V8 and the BMW M-series 4.4-liter TwinPower V-8. Cadillac no longer offers a manual transmission on the CTS-V since Cadillac hopes to pick up the row-your-own gear types with the smaller ATS-V. Stomp on the gas pedal and let the transmission shift through all eight speeds and you will eventually arrive at 200 mph. For the more daily occurrence 0-60 is achieved in a scant 3.7 seconds. Anyone who thinks that Cadillac only builds cars for folks who drive 55 mph in the left lane with the blinker on had better rethink their stereotypes.

2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport

April 29th, 2014 No comments

Third Gen’s the Charm

Perhaps any previous declaration of Cadillac’s return to significance could be deemed premature. Certainly the original CTS banished the thoughts of the good-but-not-great Opel Omega-based Catera. Offering a manual transmission and distinctive styling, the 2003 CTS reminded America that cars need not look like the conservatively styled German autobahn cruisers. It was a giant step in the right direction. A powerful performance oriented V-series proved the car could keep up too. The second generation of the CTS absolutely obliterated the memories of the Cimarron from those with unforgiving hearts. Offering a full line-up of sedan, coupe and wagon in both standard and V-series forms, words like world-class began to be used even by journalists predisposed towards anything branded by an American manufacturer. But now, with the 2014 CTS, the Cadillac revival can be considered securely in place. We’ve driven the latest iteration of what once was Cadillac’s smallest sedan in its top of the line Vsport form. Read more…

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2014 NAIAS: Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept

January 18th, 2014 No comments

Infiniti made a smart decision in rushing out a performance-tuned version of their Q50 sedan for the upcoming auto show circuit. The Eau Rouge version shown in Detroit doesn’t come with specific powertrain info other than hints that forced induction would yield more than 500 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque should it ever reach production. Turns out that’s enough to get us excited! The Q50 has damaged Infiniti’s reputation as a builder of rewarding sport sedans (The G37 of yore) due to the emphasis on drive-by-wire steering technology and other comfort-oriented technologies that dulled the car’s responses. But a seriously tuned version under the IRL subbrand could do a lot to stir up competition in the CTS-V, M5, E63 world of hot-rod sedans. An aggressive body kit and wheel/tire package along with cross drilled brake rotors are enough to set this car apart from standard Q50s even from across the show floor. We say rearrange your priorities to put driving fun back atop the list and build this car as a mea culpa to your fan base.

Video Review: 2013 Audi S4

March 16th, 2013 No comments

      Roll the calendar back a handful of years and the Audi S4 used to be a bonafide sport sedan with a boisterous 4.2-liter V8 making 340 hp that put it well above its contemporaries in power and performance.  We’re a bit disappointed to report that in 2010 Audi retired the V8 in favor of a mildly tuned 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that achieves only 333 hp. During the same period progress has brought the class average up significantly with today’s competition like the Cadillac ATS offering 321 hp and the Infiniti G37 offering 328 hp from their naturally aspirated V6s. So does the S4 still feel like a special sport sedan? We’d argue that by today’s standards it’d probably take more like 400 hp to achieve that distinction. What it does feel like is a great top trim in the A4 lineup for customers who want a bit more juice than the 2.0-liter turbo four offers. Regardless, we like the S4 because it still offers a pleasing 6-speed manual, supportive sport seats, Audi’s customizable Drive Select system and, of course, all-wheel drive traction for year round fun that makes the S4 a great partner for those of us in the Motor City. And we like the price range of $48k-$54k that keeps the S4 feeling like a bit of a value. What Audi needs to work on is the lifeless steering, bland interior design and getting that supercharger to pay a few more dividends in the power ratings. If they can do that and maintain price the S4 would be back to sport sedan status faster than you can say, “What V8?!”. Read more…

2013 NAIAS: 2014 Lexus IS

January 17th, 2013 No comments

     The Lexus IS has been languishing for a while and has recently found itself a tad smaller than the class average set by cars like the BMW 3-Series, Cadillac ATS and Mercedes C-Class. Of course the simple fix is to increase the dimensions while improving the packaging, and that’s exactly what Lexus has done with the 2014 IS. A very significant 3 inches of additional rear seat legroom will improve the sedan’s usability while the great 8-speed automatic from the IS F now trickles down to improve the IS’s performance. Both 2.5-liter and 3.5-liter V6 engines will power the IS and the styling will be sure to turn a few heads. We can handle just about everything including the most extreme variation of the new corporate grille we’ve yet seen, but the two piece headlamps are going to take a while to adjust to. At least they look way cool when illuminated. We’ll be lamenting the lack of a manual transmission, but an IS F Sport is now available and places a big emphasis on rewarding handling so we’d be willing to bet a drive of that will help ease the pain. Lexus is prepping the 2014 IS for a summer on-sale date. Read more…

2013 NAIAS: 2014 Infiniti Q50 Sedan

January 14th, 2013 No comments

      Ever since its debut in 1989, Infiniti has made it a priority to offer rear wheel drive alternatives to humdrum front wheel drive luxury sedans. For 2014 Infiniti replaces its well-respected G series sedan with the Q50. The Q50 is the first vehicle to bear Infiniti’s new nomenclature, designating all cars with a Q and all SUVs and crossovers with a QX. Confusing alphanumeric nomenclature notwithstanding, the Q50 looks to be an attractive entry in the midsize luxury sport sedan class. Inside, the Q50 ditches the familiar Infiniti center stack in lieu of a more contemporarily styled dual screen interface. While the rest of the interior appears more conventional, the exterior continues with Infiniti’s theme of fluid motion complete with its new signature c-pillar sculpt. The Q50 will continue use of the 3.7-liter V6 found in the G37 sedan it replaces. Also available will be a 3.5-liter hybrid. As befitting a luxury sedan, the Q50 will offer a broad spectrum of technologies, including Intelligent Cruise Control with Full Speed Range, predictive Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking, Distance Control Assist, Blind Spot Intervention, Backup Collision Intervention, Lane Departure Prevention, and Active Lane Control. While those technologies seem to imply Infiniti fears its drivers will be lulled to sleep we expect that the car will be engaging to drive. The Q50 will go on sale in the summer of 2013 as a 2014 model and will be available with rear or all-wheel drive. Read more…

2012 Infiniti M35h

February 8th, 2012 No comments

2012 Infiniti M35h

A Hybrid After Our Own Hearts

     We’ve been putting our share of hybrids to the test over the past year. We’ve sampled Toyota’s offerings in the form of the popular Prius and their luxury brand’s Lexus CT 200h. We’ve sampled the family wagon Prius v as well as Chevrolet’s extended range plug-in electric car, the Volt. While each of these vehicles delivers varying levels of reduced consumption of gasoline, not one of them truly puts the electric motor to use for the full benefit of the driving enthusiast. When hybrids first happened on the scene, the enthusiast community couldn’t help but notice that the electric motors that assist (or in the Volt’s case, exclusively provide) propulsion had mountains of instantly available torque. We enthusiasts have had to settle for varying degrees of improved fuel economy with barely any fun thrown in. Finally, an automaker has stepped up to the challenge to use hybrid technology to actually make a sport sedan more sporting. Enter the Infiniti M35h. Read more…

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First Drive: 2013 Lexus GS

December 15th, 2011 No comments

Lexus Caters Less to the Realtors and More to the Racers

     Over the course of the last decade Lexus seems to have become the official conveyance of realtors across the country. Realtors seeking an isolated, quiet, plush yet inoffensive cocoon to shuttle prospective clients to and fro have adopted the Lexus lineup as their transport of choice. Until recently the company seemed content with the reputation they’ve earned as a builder of reliable but staid luxury vehicles. But now executives are convinced that to grow the brand and attract some interest from Audi, Mercedes and BMW drivers they’ll have to add some sport to their currently soft sedans and after a day spent throwing the new 2013 GS lineup around the infield road course at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, we can confidently report that they’ve done just that. Read more…

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