First Drive Reviews

  • 2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo

    To Porsche enthusiasts, the Panamera may be heresy. The engine is up front instead of mounted in the middle or the rear. The Panamera debuted in 2010 and immediately became the brand's second-best selling car. Heresy be damned. Now in its second generation, the 2018 Panamera atones for some of the sins of its father. The hump at the back of the roof that made the original so bulbous is gone, leaving this car that limbos lower with cleaner lines. The roof sits almost an inch lower and the fenders spread more than an inch wider. The wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer, too, providing even more...

  • 2018 Ford Mustang first drive review
    2018 Ford Mustang first drive review: getting serious

    Ever since Chevrolet relaunched the Camaro, it’s effectively been poking Ford, almost trying to provoke its oldest rival with cars like the SS 1LE, Z/28, and ZL1. And Ford has spent the past several years politely asking Chevy to stop with a short string of competitors in the Boss 302, GT500...

  • 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS
    2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS first drive review: fierce and focused

    ALGARVE, PORTUGAL – The most fearsome, trackworthy Porsche is no longer the naturally aspirated GT3. If Nürburgring Nordschleife lap times mean anything to you, the wondrously capable 918 Spyder has also been eclipsed. The latest King of the ‘Ring and sharpest weapon in the Porsche...

  • 2018 Ford Expedition FX4
    2018 Ford Expedition first drive review: an "A" student at last

    For a long time, the Ford Expedition was forgotten—perhaps, even forgettable. Last redesigned in 2007, the SUV received next-to-no attention until 2015, when Dearborn deigned to drop a 3.5-liter Ecoboost under the hood as part of the mildest of refreshes. It was fine, the “C's get...

  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 4x4 Squared
    Mercedes-Benz G550 4x4 Squared review: top tax bracket bruiser

    “Hey dude, your car is huuuuge!” We expected that reaction while driving a vehicle with nearly 18 inches of ground clearance through Washington D.C. What we didn’t expect was someone to ask us if it’s a Hummer, though. Come on! This is definitely not a Hummer. It’s the...

  • 2018 Aston Martin DB11 V8
    2018 Aston Martin DB11 V8 first drive review: with a little help from friends

    Aston Martins are known for two signature traits: drop-dead gorgeous looks and bad-ass soundtracks. But how do you maintain the band’s identity when you have to play a cover tune? If he were still alive, I’d tell you to ask Joe Cocker. Sometimes you get by with a little help from your...

  • 2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo

    Back in the 1980s, Porsche knew it could build an SUV. And it knew a Porsche SUV would sell well. It finally got around to building that first Cayenne in 2002. Instincts: correct. Since then, it’s sold more than 770,000 of them. It’s so successful, Porsche now sells a smaller Macan SUV. An epoch-making moment looms in the not so distant future. The new 2019 Porsche Cayenne makes it nearly certain that, at some point in the next few years, the big sport-utility vehicle will become the best-selling Porsche of all time. The TL;DR here? The new Cayenne is fluent on both the smooth and...

  • 2018 Mercedes-AMG S65
    2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class first drive review: driving the most- and least-expensive models

    The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is widely recognized as one of the most luxurious full-size cars on the market, and with that luxury comes an exclusive price. But there is luxury and then there is luxury and there is exclusive and then there is exclusive. We already reviewed the 2018 Mercedes-Benz...

  • 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar first drive
    2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar first drive review: sumptuous SUV

    Land Rover has learned a thing or three since its sale nine years ago. First, pegging your future and bottom line on an all-SUV lineup can be rewarding (except when it isn’t). Second, British automobiles and reliability don’t have to be mutually exclusive (except when it is). Third...

  • 2018 Kia Stinger GT
    2018 Kia Stinger first drive review: an upscale, sporty bargain

    Along its journey from builder of cheap but reliable transportation to budding luxury market player, Hyundai-Kia’s strategy has been “if you can’t beat them, join ‘em.” Or more appropriately, have them join you. When its cars looked like poor imitations of melting...

  • 2017 Honda Civic Si First Drive
    Living with the 2017 Honda Civic Si: the good and the bad

    The latest Honda Civic is also the best Honda Civic. That's an easy statement to make, but it's not quite as simple when you add the “Si” designation on the end. Because despite a raft of bad Civics for the current model to overshadow, the reality is that the Si range has been a much...

  • Cadillac Super Cruise
    Cadillac's Super Cruise provides a glimpse into the self-driving future today

    When I was a kid, "The Jetsons" promised me flying cars would be part of the future, and I would have a robot housekeeper. It’s the future, and I don’t have either of those things. Now, automakers are promising self-driving cars are the next big thing, and they will be on the road very...

  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S

    A little evolution now and then is a good thing. That distorted maxim holds true for the Lamborghini Aventador. Originally released as a 2012 model, Lambo’s most-expensive supercar boasted loads of technology derived from Formula One, but it had some issues. It was heavy, it understeered on a track, and it would soon be outperformed by its less-exclusive little brother, the Huracán. For 2017, Lamborghini has transformed the Aventador into the Aventador S, increasing output of the 6.5-liter V-12 from 691 to 730 horsepower and adding performance upgrades to fix many of its issues...

  • 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C Edition 50
    2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C first drive review: AMG’s celebratory gift is a delight

    Mercedes-Benz and Porsche have not always been adversaries. The two German automotive icons, hailing from east and north of Stuttgart, Germany, respectively, were once occasional collaborators. Not that you’d know that from behind the wheel of the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C coupe. This squat...

  • 2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo
    Porsche InnoDrive first drive review: automating enthusiasm

    With the self-driving car on its way, our days as drivers are numbered. Eventually, some accursed batch of engineers in a shadowy automotive tech center will put all the pieces in place and birth the first truly autonomous vehicle. Assuming Skynet doesn't become self-aware shortly after and kill us...

  • 2020 Mazda 3 prototype
    2020 Mazda 3 prototype first drive: Can spark-less engines ignite our passions?

    In late August, exactly six next-generation 2020 Mazda 3 hatchbacks existed anywhere in the world. Each was a hand-built prototype, riding on a next-generation chassis and powered by a radical new 2.0-liter engine. We'll take two. But the car’s styling and design haven’t been...

  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S
    2017 Lamborghini Aventador S first drive review: the wrong car for a traffic jam

    Anyone who has been to Monterey Car Week in general and The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, specifically, know that the whole affair creates a special kind of congestion caused by automotive exotica of all sorts. You might see a string of Rolls-Royces, or vintage Ferraris, or Koenigseggs, or VW...

  • 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
    2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk first drive: the most expensive, violent Hellcat yet

    Approach the 2018 Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and few external cues give away that this isn’t a normal Grand Cherokee SRT. The front fog lights are missing to allow more air to feed air-to-oil intercoolers, the quad-tipped exhaust features a shiny black chrome finish, Trackhawk specific wheels...

  • 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR Convertible

    I'm headed to Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois, and I'm a little nervous. Just yesterday I took delivery of a 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR Convertible, and today I'm going to drive it for one 20-minute session on Autobahn's 1.5-mile North Track. Thing is, I'm not sure I can handle this thing. This car seems twitchy. The throttle is sudden, and this English Corvette can hit 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds. The steering is quick. It has all-wheel drive, but the rear end seems to want to kick out rather easily. And that engine note that sounds so cool when you goose it in a straight line is...

  • Volkswagen ID Buzz Concept
    What it's like to drive a concept car

    When an automaker says its concept vehicle is powered by unicorn farts, emits only cotton candy, and can accelerate from 0-60 mph in two shakes of a lamb's tail, don't believe them. What they are actually saying is, "If we ever develop the technology to build this thing, that's what it could do."...

  • 2018 Ford F-150
    2018 Ford F-150 first drive review: so good you won't even notice

    When the new Ford F-150 was unveiled in 2015, it was the world's first aluminum pickup truck, an innovation that General Motors and Ram still haven't caught up with. Combined with a pair of twin-turbocharged V-6 engines, Ford's perennial best-seller pushed the art of the truck into an important new...

  • 2017 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X off-road
    2017 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X off-road review

    Term limits don't apply to the new car industry. If they did, the 2017 Nissan Frontier you see here wouldn't be a dead-ringer for the 2005 Nissan Frontier that hit dealer lots during George W. Bush's first term. A lot has changed since 2005. But not the Frontier. Sure, it's up for a redesign, but...

  • 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS
    2017 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS: Living with a street and track star

    Life gets in the way, even when you're behind the wheel of a 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS. Instead of zipping around scenic Lake Tahoe or pushing things to the limit on a South African racetrack, as we've been fortunate to do before, I just spent a week behind the 911 GTS' wheel through rain and...

  • 2017 Audi RS 7
    2017 Audi RS 7 Performance first drive review: living with a $137K hatchback

    Audi Sport's slogan is "Born on the track. Built for the road." While most of us would love to test the limits of any Audi Sport model on a racetrack, we'd also be happy to merely have the opportunity to slide behind the wheel of any RS model for a week, especially if it's a $137,000 RS 7...

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