Posts Tagged ‘turbo’

2016 NAIAS: 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

January 11th, 2016 No comments


Today Mercedes completes its sedan refresh that started with the S-Class, focused on the smaller C-Class last year and finally makes its way the middle child E-Class at this year’s North American International Auto Show. The family resemblance is crystal clear outside and in with the same quality materials and artful design embellishments that debuted on the S 550 finding a home in the E-Class cabin. That means there is a giant 12.3″ high-resolution screen in the center of the dash and potentially two of them side by side on certain trim levels. Mercedes is particularly proud with the seat design and the news touch pad controls on the steering wheel that let you swipe up and down, left and right to control certain infotainment functions. A 9-speed automatic handles shifting duties in the E300 that hits dealers first in the US market. These cars are powered by a 241 hp 2.0-liter turbo, although the lineup will rapidly expand all the way up to a new hooligan-approved E63 AMG model.

Video Review: 2015 Volkswagen GTI S Performance Pack

April 12th, 2015 No comments

The GTI has been rewarding drivers with a hard-to-beat combination of performance and practicality since day one and we are thrilled to report that the new seventh-generation polishes the package to near perfection. The turbo four now makes 258 lb-ft of torque starting at just 1,500 rpm so the car provides a smooth and refined punch away from every stop. Add in the Performance Pack hardware like a trick electronically controlled differential and larger brakes and the GTI is a very willing dance partner when the back road traffic disappears. The interior has been bumped up a level to shame anything else in the sub-$30k class and you can still order your hot hatch with a true clutch pedal six-speed manual. Volkswagen truly has the GTI formula figured out. We’re hoping they never change it.

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Video Review: 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Sport Wagon

January 11th, 2015 No comments

We’re a weird bunch. For many reasons probably, but primarily because the AT staff is part of that slim subgroup of auto enthusiasts who believe the only way to improve on a BMW 3-Series is to extend the roofline and add a liftgate. In other words, we would spec our 3 as a Sport Wagon. So you can imagine how happy we were to have a week with the latest Sport Wagon after first fearing that BMW may stop importing the cargo-friendly version when the latest generation debuted. Yes, we would like the option of a 6-speed manual and rear wheel drive in place of the all-weather capable xDrive setup that BMW wrongly assumes everyone wants, but there’s still plenty to love here as you’ll see in our latest video review.

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Video Review: 2014 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line

December 18th, 2014 No comments


Back in the 1960’s, the Beetle was a car at the bottom of the automotive food chain.  If one wanted a cheap and reliable car the Beetle was an obvious choice.  Problem was, the Beetle offered very few comfort and convenience features.  VW replaced the Beetle with the highly successful Golf (known for a time as the Rabbit in the States).  When the New Beetle hit the roads in the late 1990’s it was fully modern in features and retro in style.  Problem was, it wasn’t the most manly of cars.  VW decided to replace the New Beetle with a more macho car, one that had finally grown up.  Indeed, this car is far more civilized and comfortable than any of its forbearers.  The question remains, has it improved enough in the last decade and a half to remain relevant? Read more…

Video Review: 2014 Volkswagen CC Executive

August 14th, 2014 No comments

If you want style in the Volkswagen lineup you’re going to be shopping for a CC. One of the original “four door coupes” continues in 2014 as a entry level luxury sedan distinguished by sleek styling and an athletic turbo four cylinder that may be rated at only 200 hp but feels like closer to 250. During our week with the oft-verlooked Passat alternative we came to enjoy features like opening the trunk with a wave of your foot under the bumper, the easy to fold down back seats and the superb cabin materials. We didn’t find much love for the slow to respond infotainment screen or the couple rattles that materialized around the interior. With strong competition in the mid to upper $30k segment the CC has to rely on its looks to get by but for some buyers driving a car that isn’t found in every driveway in the community is appealing enough to sign on the dotted line.

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Video Review: 2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport

July 10th, 2014 No comments

The Passat has been a comfortable and roomy family sedan since we were gifted our own built-in-America version a few years back. What it has lacked is a good base engine and a bit of style. The Passat Sport aims to address both with a few design flairs, and thankfully, a new 1.8-liter turbo four to replace the lethargic I5. Are the updates enough to warrant a recommendation? You’ll have to watch to find out, but if passenger space is high on your priority list then the Passat should be high on your test drive list.

Video Review: 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR

April 25th, 2014 No comments

If the weather in your area condemns the Corvette to the garage for half the year, there’s something to be said for continuing to satisfy your Driving Enthusiast desires with an all-wheel drive turbocharged rally car for the street. Although Subaru is just now getting back into the game with its all-new WRX, Mitsubishi has continued to offer the Evo to fans who like their performance rude and crude and turbocharged to within one psi of meltdown: i.e. guys under 30. The biggest benefit in our eyes is that one of the best all-wheel drive systems in a car under $40k is standard and gives the Evo the traction needed to laugh in Old Man Winter’s face. Unfortunately, you’ve got to be a hardcore breed to look past the Mad Mitsu’s glaring shortcomings, but we’re still glad we’ve got the choice to get in touch with our inner hooligan and drift around our own personal rally stage. Snow be damned.

Video Review: 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo

December 18th, 2012 No comments


      To put it bluntly; the average guy was about as likely to purchase a previous-gen Volkswagen Beetle as he was to schedule a mani-pedi and DVR The View. Volkswagen knew this and as a result has done a commendable job at injecting some testosterone into the 2012 Beetle Turbo that we recently sampled. Of course we like the 2.0-liter turbo that is rated at 200 hp in this application, but we especially like the cooperative 6-speed manual, 19” wheels and sensitive brake pedal. This Beetle is a joy to motor around town in and far more skilled than its predecessor at managing coiled back roads. The body rolls a bit more than we’d like when pushed, but the suspension takes a nice set in the corners and the ride is one of best in the $25k class. The interior is a monumental improvement over the New Beetle and we like the fake carbon fiber accented dash and moderately bolstered seats. Rear headroom and cargo capacity are never going to be the Bug’s strengths but if you like the new look—and we do—you’ll enjoy driving the Beetle enough that jabs from your buddies won’t even bother you. Read more…

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Video Review: 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

July 30th, 2012 No comments

     After enough time has passed a name starts to mean something, so just as we never expect to find a Corvette emblem on anything but a low-slung two-seater, we didn’t think we’d see the venerable Range Rover name attached to anything but a high-riding luxurious box driven by enough mechanical four-wheeling hardware to make short work of even the most demanding wilderness. But here we are raving over the newest Range Rover and, as you can see in our video review, the most exciting crossover in 2012 is anything but a box. Read more…

First Drives: Hyundai Veloster Turbo, Elantra GT and Elantra Coupe

July 17th, 2012 No comments

We Sample Two New Elantras and the Turbocharged Veloster 

     We can use a lot of words to describe Hyundai but lazy isn’t one of them. Their showrooms are filled with one of the freshest lineups in the industry and that’s a big reason they are on track for another record sales year. In fact, it doesn’t seem to matter which metric you choose—fleet fuel efficiency, incentive levels, transaction prices, day supply—Hyundai is in stellar operational shape.  Without a doubt their biggest challenge is meeting demand with the serious production constraints they face. But that hasn’t stopped Hyundai from developing new product and continuing to flesh out their lineup. We recently spent a day with President and CEO John Krafcik as he showed off three new additions to existing model ranges at Michigan International Speedway. Read more…