First Drive Reviews

  • 2019 Maserati Levante GTS

    Italian cars are known for four things: beauty, speed, noise, and a special feel. Fail on any of these and the car feels authentic like ravioli from a can. Maserati’s Levante is the Italian automaker’s first crossover SUV. It’s beautiful, but base models weren’t fast, didn’t sound good, and hardly felt special. Mamma mia. For 2019, Maserati stuffed a twin-turbo V-8 under the Levante’s hood to create the GTS model. Faster? Yes. Louder? Sure. Special? We’ll get to that. Just look at me The standard Levante’s beautiful to the point of people...

  • 2019 Acura NSX
    First drive review: The 2019 Acura NSX grips better, and gives more

    North Georgia roads bustle in the spring but crowds thin when browned leaves and cool north winds arrive. It’s just warm enough to keep the windows down and the tires warm. In other words, it’s perfect NSX weather. The 2019 Acura NSX doesn’t veer far off the course Acura plotted...

  • 2019 Mercedes-Benz G550
    8 things you need to know about the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G550 and AMG G63

    The 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen doesn’t look much different than the boxy SUVs from each of the 40 years preceding it. Typically, if a vehicle is indistinguishable from its predecessors, that’s a bad thing. The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is anything but typical. I went to San Diego...

  • 2019 Audi Q8, Park City to Telluride
    2019 Audi Q8 review update: Luxury crossover lode runner

    Lights flicker underneath champagne-dry powder that dusts the old marquee at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City, Utah. The Egyptian’s been here since the 1920s. Back then, Park City was a glorified, dusty camp attached to a silver lode; a long ride but a world apart from Salt Lake City, which...

  • 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S, Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia, Spain, January 2019
    2020 Porsche 911 S and 4S first drive review: Unflappable by design

    Valencia, Spain may hug the Mediterranean coast, but this morning it’s a chillier than normal 45 degrees and the massive tires on the 2020 Porsche 911 have gone stiff in the crisp air. That’s no good when the next thing they’ll do is scrabble for grip during track laps that could...

  • 2019 Porsche Cayenne
    4 ways the 2019 Porsche Cayenne moves upmarket

    It looked like heresy when Porsche released its first SUV in 2002, but it turned out to be a brilliant move. The Cayenne quickly took the mantle as the brand’s best-seller, and it became an adage that the Cayenne enabled Porsche to keep building sports cars. The move also turned out to be...

  • 2018 Tesla Model 3

    It’s not a hypercar, supercar, or even a sports car, and yet it’s one of the most hyped vehicles of the last decade. The Tesla Model 3 needs no introduction. The linchpin in Tesla’s Master Plan, the Model 3 is supposed to be an affordable, high-volume electric car. It’s not, but it’s the future. Normalizing the future The flagship Model S is a truly a gorgeous car, but the Model 3 isn’t. Step back and absorb the Model 3’s design. The rear three-quarter view is the compact car’s best angle, with a design that’s related to the larger...

  • 2019 Lamborghini Urus, Palm Springs media drive, December, 2018
    2019 Lamborghini Urus first drive review: All-around superstar

    Corsa Speed builds quickly in the 2019 Lamborghini Urus on the North Course of The Thermal Club outside of Palm Springs, California. I look down between turns 9 and 1, and the digital speedometer reads 126 mph and climbing. It feels like 80. Still, I feel I need more power. That’s what...

  • 2019 Ford Ranger
    2019 Ford Ranger first drive review: The mid-size pickup truck pace-setter

    The bar for mid-size pickup truck excellence is not high. It takes only a few minutes behind the wheel of the 2019 Ford Ranger to realize that, for the way most drivers use their trucks, it’s the best choice. Its 2.3-liter turbo-4 spools up its 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque with...

  • 2019 BMW 3-Series (330i M Sport)
    2019 BMW 3-Series first drive review: Benchmark or bookmark?

    The BMW 3-Series has made bank for decades off its undeniable clout. With its mastery of nimble steering feel and brilliant balanced handling, it’s oozed something from its pores that seeps into brains of enthusiasts like sugar, or mercury. When we talk about “sport sedans”...

  • 2019 Porsche Macan
    2019 Porsche Macan first drive review: Honed and toned

    The corners are blind. An oncoming car, bus, or bicyclist could await on the other side. Please don’t be a bus. The lane is narrow. The SUV I’m in takes up almost all of it. There is barely any shoulder, and sometimes a guardrail sits right on the lane line and threatens to add an...

  • 2020 Volkswagen Passat prototype first drive - December 2018
    2020 Volkswagen Passat prototype first drive review: Playing it safe

    When the last mid-size sedan buyer exits the showroom in favor of a crossover SUV, Volkswagen will be there to turn out the lights. That’s the overriding thought about the 2020 VW Passat I drove in lightly camouflaged guise at the automaker’s proving grounds south of Phoenix. The...

  • 2019 Audi e-tron first drive  -  Abu Dhabi UAE, December 2018

    The Audi e-tron SUV that goes on sale next spring in the U.S. isn’t just Audi’s first fully electric vehicle. It’s the luxury brand’s way of showing how an increasingly inevitable part of the future can fit right in and be a part of four-ring identity. In our first drive this week, we found the e-tron to be exactly that—simultaneously flaunting some daring, different engineering decisions under the surface but looking and feeling, at face value, to be a familiar, mainstream-luxury Audi. The e-tron appears, inside and out, as if it were a larger member of the...

  • 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison
    2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison first drive: Heavy hitting in the off-roading sand box

    Ford launched the F-150 SVT Raptor almost a decade ago to thunderous applause. The reasons were fairly apparent. Big truck. Giant wheels. Pro-level suspension. Power. Most people just reveled in the way the overtly in-your-face Raptor tickled the funny bone of our collective truck-loving id; the...

  • 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
    2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 first drive review: A stable genius

    Turn 16 at Atlanta Motorsports Park is a test of a driver’s courage and a car’s ability to stick to the track. Though it’s only a slight right-hander, it follows the turns 13, 14, and 15 left-handers that link to create one big, high-speed arc. Turn 16 is the moment of truth when...

  • 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
    2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE first drive review: Outrunning dinosaurs

    On Isla Sorna, the fictional island setting for the “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” dinosaurs vaulted millions of years into the future and chewed up camouflaged Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUVs. The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE I find myself hustling through empty ranch roads outside of San...

  • 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor
    2019 Ford F-150 Raptor first drive review: Smarter, faster, still king

    The handheld radio crackled and a Ford Performance Driving School instructor’s voice came over the speaker: “Our target speed will be 50 mph as the front wheels hit the jump.” I’ve driven on racetracks, off road, and have played in the mud, but I’ve never launched a...

  • 2018 Land Rover Range Rover
    2018 Range Rover HSE Td6 first drive review: Tech overhaul, not tech overload

    The Range Rover has set a high bar for luxury SUVs. It was one of the first of its kind and few can compete with its ability to go anywhere, any time, in any weather in a leather-lined interior. Introduced for the 2013 model year, the current Range Rover has aged with grace, but it is aging as new...

  • 2019 Porsche Panamera GTS first drive

    My 2019 Porsche Panamera GTS test car came with ceramic brakes, rear-wheel steering, and a frighteningly thick booklet explaining the driving laws—significantly, the penalties for breaking them—in Bahrain. The words “jail term” appeared often enough to dissuade me from ordering the V-8’s cavalry into action on public roads. In a way, the threat of getting consigned to a Bahraini prison cell for a few months ensured I experienced both sides of Porsche’s latest land missile. Keeping up with the times The first-generation Panamera GTS bellowed down the German...

  • 2018 McLaren 570S Spider
    2018 McLaren 570S Spider first drive review: Baseline dream machine

    In Hales Corners, Wisconsin, last Saturday night a 14-year-old boy named Sam reached over and pushed down on his mom’s knee to get the family’s Chrysler Town & Country moving. Her foot went to the floor, the Chrysler Pentastar V-6 perked up, and the van accelerated at a modest clip...

  • 2019 Hyundai Veloster N
    2019 Hyundai Veloster N first drive review: Hot hatch, Korean style, Nürburgring bred

    Act One: Track time Four cars head out onto the east course at Thunderhill Raceway Park outside of Willows, California. The cars are Hyundais. Yes, Hyundais. This track can be terrifying, with a couple of blind crests, one of which leads to an off-camber right turn. I’m not too worried...

  • 2019 Audi A8
    2019 Audi A8 first drive review: Technology enabling luxury

    I’m hustling through the Spanish countryside getting a back massage, attacking roundabouts with gusto in a car that can sprint from 0-60 mph in less than 5.0 seconds, and my passenger is sound asleep. This car does just about everything well. It’s quiet, fast, smooth, spacious, and...

  • 2019 Audi e-tron prototype first drive, Namibia, Africa, October, 2018
    2019 Audi e-tron prototype first drive review: An SUV that happens to be electric

    Embedded deep in the Namibian desert, surrounded by orange sand that looks like it was imported from Moab, we discovered one of the unexpected benefits of driving an electric car: Giraffes don’t gallop away as you creep up on them. The noise of the tires slowly crushing loose rocks and sand...

  • 2019 Ford Edge ST
    2019 Ford Edge ST first drive review: Down payment on the future

    Ford’s ST badge hails from Europe, where it’s adorned a couple of decades’ worth of Cougars, Pumas, Mondeos, Focuses and Fiestas. In the U.S. we’ve danced with the Focus ST and Fiesta ST—but as of next year, those Ford cars won’t be sold anymore, as the company...

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