First Drives

  • 2019 Audi A8

    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 luxurious. While the car it’s replacing is still quite competitive, this one is clearly a leap forward. I’m in the 2019 Audi A8 60 TFSI, the V-8-powered, 460-horsepower version of Audi’s flagship that will likely arrive a few months after the V-6 version. It’s a technological...

  • 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...

  • 2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan
    2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan first drive review: Tetonic shift

    In Jackson, Wyoming, things get a little weird. More than a half a million people live in the entire state, most of them in modest small towns never far from staggeringly beautiful wilds. Jackson’s the same, just different. It's filthy rich, overrun by Cheneys and Gateses and their ilk. The...

  • 2019 Toyota TRD Pro lineup
    Into the muck: A day with the 2019 Toyota TRD Pro off-roaders

    It’s probably cold down here in the bottom of a disused quarry, with the wind howling and rain approaching Biblical. I can’t say for sure, but I turn up the 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro’s seat heater anyway. The trail guide yelling through the wind at me from the top of a slick...

  • 2019 Kia K900
    2019 Kia K900 first drive review: Tighter and more European

    Stepping out of the Archer Hotel in Napa Valley’s morning light, it’s hard to remember the lineup of gleaming white and black cars aren’t German. They are South Korean Kias, and they are sharp. The first-generation K900 was head-scratcher with a price starting in the $50,000 range...

  • 2019 McLaren 600LT

    Braking at the same point in turn 1 of Budapest’s Hungaroring circuit as when driving the 570S, the 600LT stops well short and then has to be driven to the turn on the throttle. It's not exactly the fastest way around, but I’m keeping my instructor happy with a conservative early-braking approach that still lets the 600LT demonstrate its vast superiority. Both the new 600LT and the 570S are part of McLaren’s entry-level Sport Series, but the 2019 McLaren 600LT’s upgraded brake system is the key to its track day capabilities. Yes, the 570S has carbon-ceramic brake...

  • 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4-Door Coupe, Circuit of the Americas, September, 2018
    2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4-Door Coupe first drive review: The new king of sporty German four-doors

    The red mist has just descended upon me, and that’s a good thing. It’s my second four-lap stint in the 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4-Door Coupe on the Circuit of the Americas outside Austin, Texas, and four-time DTM champion Bernd Schneider is leading the way in an AMG GT-R. He just took...

  • 2019 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ first drive
    2019 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ first drive review: The life you save

    I didn’t kill the little orange traffic cone on purpose, but nor did I have much regret for its demise, which was in the name of science. Or at least, research. Lamborghini requested that I run my first laps in the new track-centric Aventador SVJ (Super Veloce Jota, a name borrowed from its...

  • 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Seattle media drive, September, 2018
    2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class first drive review: A better baby Benz

    The route south from Seattle to Yakima, Washington, winds through the Mount Rainier National Park. Streams and valleys bracket the road, the scenery changes from green to brown, and Mount Rainier stands majestically in the distance, snow-capped even in September. The 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class is a...

  • 2019 Lincoln Nautilus first drive review
    2019 Lincoln Nautilus first drive review: Deep dive into crossover luxury

    “Underway on nuclear power!” That was the message from the USS Nautilus following its 1954 launch as the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine. From behind the wheel, the optional 335-horsepower, 380-pound-feet, 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 in the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus is silent and...

  • 2019 Cadillac XT4
    2019 Cadillac XT4 first drive review: Luxury crossover SUV finally shows up, shows off

    Fashionably late to the party, the 2019 Cadillac XT4 small crossover SUV doesn’t bother to shake hands at the door. It swaggers past competitors and waits for the party to come to it. Uncork the expensive stuff, you guys. The 2019 Cadillac XT4 is the girlfriend meme in automotive form, svelte...

  • 2019 Chevrolet Camaro Turbo 1LE first drive

    Muscle cars of the 1960s generally did one thing well. They ground out tarmac-ripping power and torque, hurtling their body-on-frame selves straight down the road or the dragstrip with astonishing acceleration. But squiggly roads, braking zones, or enduring a track meet for longer than 15 minutes caused overheating, oil starvation, and all manner of mechanical apoplexy. Today's muscle cars do the full dance, though, and do so with damn near no excuses. Modern American muscle machines typically throb to the familiar beat of eight cylinders, just like in 1969. Chevrolet alters that beat with...

  • 2019 Audi RS 5 Sportback first drive
    2019 Audi RS 5 Sportback first drive review: Faith at unholy speeds

    Believe what you’ve heard about the blissfully open and unfettered stretches of the Autobahn. These long, gently curving and pencil-straight stretches of German highways are the last bastion for drivers to flex their figurative muscle and courage, directly proportional to the angle of their...

  • 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata
    2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata first drive review: The sports car Mazda intended

    The new Mazda MX-5 Miata we got in the U.S. in 2016 wasn’t really the car it was supposed to be. According to Mazda North American Operations manager of vehicle dynamics Dave Coleman, Mazda wanted to use a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine worldwide. Pushback from the U.S. allowed installation of...

  • 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody
    2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye first drive review: Demon spawn

    Horsepower Hill at Club Motorsports is a 14-percent grade at the scenic road course carved into the side of a mountain in Tamworth, New Hampshire. It’s a heartbreak climb uphill for most cars, but it’s child’s play for the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye. One big number...

  • 2019 Audi e-tron prototype drive, Pikes Peak
    2019 Audi e-tron first ride: pulling all the brakes

    Ignore the flashy, high-tech vehicle wrap, a cross between pixelated camouflage and hunting orange. The 2019 Audi e-tron is a non-event from inside, and that’s just what its maker intended. When it goes on sale next year, the e-tron electric crossover SUV will be the anti-Tesla. Its...

  • 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt first drive
    2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt first drive review: noteworthy and nostalgic

    I want to be a hero. A hero reminds me of the best versions of me, especially when I can hardly muster enough courage to get out of bed in the morning. The 1968 Ford Mustang fastback sprayed in Dark Highland Green wasn’t a hero when it rolled off the line in January 1968 and onto the screen...

  • 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

    Growing up in Sindelfingen, Germany, as the daughter of a Mercedes-Benz engineer who worked on three generations of the E-Class, Jennifer Schefczik heard the same thing over and over. “Child, the E-Class is always about style, safety, and comfort,” her dad told her. Some 20 years later, Schefczik works as the U.S. product manager for the E-Class and its coupe-like offshoot, the CLS-Class. Here at the media launch event for the third-generation CLS, she is more than happy to espouse the merits of the 2019 CLS to me. With a new inline-6-cylinder engine, more interior space...

  • 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera
    2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera first drive review: Dead serious, dead sexy

    Twelve-cylinder engines are an endangered automotive species. Only a handful are left: Mercedes and Maybach share one, and so do BMW and Rolls-Royce. Ferrari has its holdout—and it’s impossible to leave out Bentley’s W-12, though its offbeat cylinder layout makes it an outlier...

  • 2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder, Napa Valley, July 2018
    2018 Lamborghini Huracán Performante first drive review: Admission to an exclusive club

    Getting behind the wheel of the Lamborghini Huracán Performante Spyder is like knowing the secret handshake for an exclusive club. You have to be able to afford the price of entry, know the strange rituals to simply operate the car, and understand the dark art of the ALA active aerodynamics...

  • The Keen Project Safari 911 No. 2, photo by Alex Bellus
    The Keen Project Safari 911 first drive review: a time machine for any adventure

    Chad was running late, and we were already pressed for time. This entire plan was rushed and slapped together via a phone call and a few text messages over the weekend. The Keen Project Safari 911 build No. 2 by former race car driver Lehman Keen was in Minneapolis for a short time to celebrate...

  • 2019 Genesis G70
    2019 Genesis G70 first drive review: Getting the details right

    While I wait for my turn to attack the track at Tamworth, New Hampshire’s Club Motorsports in the 2019 Genesis G70, I notice some of the car’s details. The diamond-quilted nappa leather upholstery looks like it was sourced from a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. I shut off the traction control...

  • 2018 Nissan GT-R Track Edition, Gingerman Raceway, May 2018
    2018 Nissan GT-R Track Edition first drive review: tracking Godzilla

    Like a pilot preparing for takeoff, I flick a few switches before heading out. I reach down to the base of the center stack and push up on the transmission, damper, and stability control switches to set them to Race mode. It’s time to see what Godzilla can do on the 11-turn, 2.14-mile...

Follow Us on Instagram @motorauthority