Category Archives: Car Reviews

Refreshed Maserati Ghibli Granlusso Proves Worthy of its Name

Maserati has always been a name that stood for speed, legacy,  luxury, fame, and a nice pot of money in the bank (or huge loan). And while a 345 horsepower turbocharged powerplant may not seem like a worthy opponent to today’s German engineering, in the hands of a lean and mean (practically autonomous) driving machine, it proves itself more than capable.

As of 2018, the Ghibli received a fresh facelift and beyond a few nips and tucks, what really stands out is its line of safety devices which take us about as close to an autonomous vehicle as we’re ready for. The 2018 Ghibli now has lane departure warning, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, highway assist, blindspot assist, and active lane keeping.

The Ghibli also has an updated set of LED headlights, electric power steering (that is not numb, but rather active). And speaking of activity, the optional 430 horsepower twin turbo SQ4 turns this luxury sedan into an orchestra of exhaust note delight, which is not a common affliction among twin turbo V6 supercars.

And this updated Maserati is also incredibly refined and comfortable, for a car that is actively working to be so many things. Where most luxury cars offer the option of speed or cushioning in the form of a ‘sport’ button, the Ghibli offers both without the necessity to choose between one or the other.

We can’t wait to see what Maserati’s next big update of the Ghibli will bring to the table (in 2020 perhaps).

2017 Audi RS3 – Say Goodbye to Summer, And Hello to Winter

We welcomed summer because of the release of the 2017 Audi RS3, but as the shadows grow long and the leaves start to yellow, we have found several more reasons to fall in love with the RS3 all over again.

400 Horsepower and Quattro on Tap

It is not often that you can enjoy the thrills of a muscle car far into the depths of Winter, but with the 400 horsepower turbo powered Audi RS3 – it won’t be a problem. It features a refined Quattro AWD system that has been proven to bite at the track (0-60 – 3.9 seconds), but can also handle itself in plenty of bad weather.

Yes, it is true that its onboard system tends to favor the rear tires, but its seven-speed dual-clutch automatic will keep its 354 lb-feet of torque in check for the most part.

While the RS3 sedan may have been built to handle the track, Audi has not forgotten that it needs to first get its driver there safely, and we’re not talking about in a covered trailer. This may be an insanely fun car to thrash in the corners of dry tarmac, but it is also impressively practical on a snowy back road.

Tire Monitoring and Ceramic Brakes

Its tire pressure monitoring system will come in handy as the temperature extremes begin to test the flexibility of your grandpa’s outside thermometer. And despite the track focus of the RS3’s front ceramic brakes (Dynamic Plus Package), these brakes are also extremely capable in extreme temperature and terrain.

The Audi’s ceramic brakes offer quick heat up, reliable stopping power, and their minimal dust will keep you out of the car wash facilities a bit longer than most folks. Our only stop will be at the tire shop for some all-season performance radials.

 

Alfa Romeo 4C Headed to America, But Why Should You Care?

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The Alfa Romeo 4C is being packaged up for shipment to the United States. However, some of us are still not completely convinced of why we should care. The 4C will feature a stout 1.7-liter turbo engine with 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft or torque. This power will be controlled via a snappy 6-speed dual clutch transmission which will also be enhanced via a very light and nimble chassis.

So in other words, its performance should actually be quite brilliant. However, there are a few other problems we can see with it. Continue reading Alfa Romeo 4C Headed to America, But Why Should You Care?

Brabus E63 AMG 850 6.0 Biturbo Boasts 850 Horsepower

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When it comes to the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG, we understand that there is only so much power you can squeeze out of a 2.0-liter turbo. This is why Brabus has switched it up to a 5.9-liter V8 for their current project car. 5.9-liters may be a bit smaller than the 6.3-liter V12 that Brabus introduced at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. However, I don’t think anyone will be disappointed by the 850 horsepower and 848 lb-ft of torque.

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Continue reading Brabus E63 AMG 850 6.0 Biturbo Boasts 850 Horsepower

Land Rover Defender Xtech Edition

Jeremy Clarkson’s of Top Gear has finally had his ship come in (well, I guess it’s more like a tank). It’s a Land Rover Defender that looks as if it could survive a Tsunami. It’s called the Xtech edition, and don’t let the “tech” nomenclature fool you. This Rover has been striped out of its NAV and climate control, in exchange for 16-inch gloss black alloy rims, MTR off-road tires, LED lights, and a 2.2 liter diesel engine with a generous 265 ft-lbs of torque.

The Xtech is distinct from the regular Defender edition with the optional Nara Bronze exterior, and contrasting Santorini Black roof, wheel arches, and headlamp surrounds (Orkney Grey is also an option). The special edition has been fitted with body color coordinated grille, and gloss black lettering on the hood (“Land Rover”).

The interior is lost in pure darkness, but brought back into view with “Lunar” colored stitching, highlighting the black leather seats, including a Land Rover logo embossed on the front headrests. The center panel has been given the same finish as the exterior, allowing the Defender to maintain a simple, yet elegant appearance.

While the Xtech may be missing a few modern conveniences, it will still be loaded with the standard heated seats, defrost, air conditioning, anti-lock brakes, and electronic traction control. Land Rover also promises that you can customize further using their full range of optional accessories in their catalog. The only other options you will have to negotiate are if you prefer the 90 Hard Top or 110 Utility Wagon format.

There is one more very important bit of information. The Xtech edition will not be sold in the United States, so all those interested will need to have it shipped special, which will put a few more Benjamin Franklin’s on its already lumbering $43,500 price tag.

BMW i8, 0-60 MPH in Less Than 5 seconds

Tesla motors has thus far been skipping along with minimal competition in the electric luxury/sports car bracket, but the BMW i3 and i8 are looking pretty competitive. The i3 will feature a 125 kW electric, rear-wheel drive motor, which in laymen terms, means it will be worth about 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of instantaneous torque. Considering its bantam weight of just 1,250 kilograms (2,750 lbs), the i3 should cruise through its single gear from zero to sixty in a little less than 8-seconds. It’s expected range is somewhere around 100 miles per charge cycle. However, keep in mind, this is the practical version of the BMW i-series. Continue reading BMW i8, 0-60 MPH in Less Than 5 seconds

Cadillac CTS-V: A Modern Day War Wagon

Every now and then, a car manufacturer produces a car for no other reason than for the hell of it. You’ve got the Hummer “civilian,” Peel 50 (size of a wheel barrel, half the power), and now the Cadillac CTS-V Wagon. Take the front end of a CTS-V coupe, the rear of a Queen Family Truckster (National Lampoon’s Vacation), slap a 556 horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter big block somewhere in between, and you’ve just built a modern-day war wagon. Continue reading Cadillac CTS-V: A Modern Day War Wagon

2012 Mini Cooper’s Got Helmet Head… But We Like it!

The 2012 Mini Cooper redesign has been released, and besides having a bit of a case of helmet head, it is smaller (52mm lower), quicker, more agile, and definitely the funkiest looking Mini in its 50+ year history. Thanks to its aggressively racked rooftop, the Mini coupe is now a professed two seater. The backseat has become a parcel shelf with pass-through hatch back, offering just enough room for a weekend getaway or weekly grocery errand. Continue reading 2012 Mini Cooper’s Got Helmet Head… But We Like it!

2011 Camaro Topples the Mustang

As the roman empire eventually succumbed to boredom and moral upheaval, the Ford Motor company is discovering that the Mustang is not immune to the tides of history. After an impressive 24-year run as America’s number one pony car, it is now being traded-in at dealerships across the U.S. for the opportunity to own a Chevrolet Camaro. According to recent statistics, the Camaro has been outselling the Mustang by 33 percent. Continue reading 2011 Camaro Topples the Mustang