First Drives

  • 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport

    Though it may seem like the terms “Honda Civic” and “hatchback” are inextricably linked, in truth the brand as well known for its lawnmowers as its family cars has had an up-and-down relationship with tailgates. The Civic hatchback is back for 2017, a more practical (and not much pricier) alternative to the Civic sedan that we’ve liked very much since the redesigned model popped onto the market in 2016. I spent a week with the one aimed at enthusiasts—the $22,135 Civic Hatchback Sport with its standard 6-speed manual transmission, buttoned-down chassis, and...

  • 2018 Audi S4/S5 First Drive
    2018 Audi S4/S5 video review: making our own music at Coachella

    We have a tough time nailing down what “performance” means anymore. Automakers work really hard telling us that every car has sporting potential—right down to a minivan. We’re easily not convinced. We know “sssspeed” when we see it, and Audi’s twins here...

  • 2018 Audi S4/S5 First Drive
    2018 Audi S4 first drive review: Whip, without lash

    The 2018 Audi S4 carves the desert better than a blistering sandstorm. Turn after turn, the S4 knifes ribbons of pavement like a scalpel in bread dough. The looks of Audi’s new sport sedan were hewn in the same way too. Audi’s newest S4—now firmly planted in the middle of the...

  • 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster
    2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster first drive review: a special sports car, topless or not

    I'd like to start this review by prattling on about how this 550-horsepower super sports car can slay the toughest track set before it. I'd love to wax poetic about its relentless grip, its composure at speed, its hunkered down feel in sharp bends, and the feeling of joy it imparts to the driver as...

  • 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country
    2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country first drive review: the wagon Americans should want

    Americans have made it clear. We don't like wagons anymore and haven't for quite some time. That makes it hard for automakers to justify building them despite enthusiasts screaming and running with pitchforks. This, of course, presents a problem for an automaker like Volvo, whose history is tied to...

  • 2017 Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar
    2017 Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar first drive review: the 365-day sports cars

    Everyone has a parent or friend's parent who owned a Volvo. Why? Because the cars are known for being sensible and safe, and that's what you buy when you have a family. But today, there are Volvos available in Cyan Racing Blue with a little blue badge, and these aren't the sensible Volvos you...

  • Bugatti Chiron first drive

    When a Bugatti Chiron fires up, the sound it produces is loud—surprisingly, dramatically, crazy loud, even while idling at a mellow 650 rpm. Sixteen cylinders, eight liters, four turbochargers and six exhaust pipes can do that. But if you’re lucky enough to be manning the driver's seat, there’s a hermetic seal between you and the titanium exhaust’s gloriously raucous howl, not to mention the peering cell phones and hungry eyes you’ll likely encounter in the wild. The Chiron means many things to many people. For some, it’s merely the sequel to the Veyron...

  • 2017 Mini Cooper Countryman
    2017 Mini Countryman first drive review: a better BMW crossover?

    In the burgeoning crossover world, there's always room for one more. Enter the Mini Countryman, which is all-new for a late 2017 model year introduction. It's a smart, focused reboot of what has become the brand's second best-selling model. But success in the Mini world isn't the same as a hit for...

  • 2017 Land Rover Discovery
    2017 Land Rover Discovery first drive review

    Halfway up a wall of rock that our shiny orange 2017 Land Rover Discovery was expected to climb—using what's basically off-road cruise control, no less—rested a decked-out long-wheelbase Defender 110. Even without its meaty off-road rubber and a winch, this Defender, a member of Land...

  • 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
    2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 first drive review: too fast to be fun

    What's the right amount of horsepower? After driving hundreds of different cars in my career, I'm very confident the answer isn't “As much as humanly possible,” otherwise we'd all be driving around in Top Fuel dragsters, and that'd be a real nightmare during rush hour. And we'd be deaf...

  • 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe
    2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe first drive review: seeing what sticks

    Its impossible not to notice that the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 has too much tire. The 225- and 245-millimeter, 19-inch Pirelli P Zero rubber sticks to the road like hot Doublemint, and the standard traction control setting has a short leash anyway. Back and forth in the C43 along coastal roads, we...

  • 2017 BMW 740e xDrive
    2017 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance first drive review

    The word hybrid is indelibly attached to the Toyota Prius, a vehicle renowned for its frugality. And when the suffix plug-in is added, perhaps the first car to come to mind is the Chevrolet Volt. Both cars are true green machines that save owners money over the course of ownership, as well as at...

  • Porsche Camp4 Canada 2017

    Drivers dread the moment they effectively "run out of talent." That sinking feeling in the bottom of your stomach when a turn goes pear-shaped and the car goes sideways isn't exactly thrilling. For some, talent runs out on the day's last lap, when tires are hot and tensions are hotter. For others, it could be the first lap, when tires are cold and nerves are numb. If it's below freezing outside, it could be a combination of cold tires and hot tempers. Professional driver and Porsche instructor Lorne Banks knows the feeling when talent has left and panic has arrived fairly well. The former...

  • 2017 Ram 2500 Power Wagon
    2017 Ram Power Wagon first drive review: Irrational but appealing

    Las Vegas – If it were a teenager, it'd do things just “for the lulz.” Fiat Chrysler is starting to take that approach, and it's making this Italian-American brand one of the most absurd automakers on the market. CAFE standards? Start stuffing a supercharged, 6.2-liter V-8 into...

  • 2017 Lexus LX 570
    2017 Lexus LX 570: The luxobarge value?

    We live in an era in which flagship luxury SUVs start around $70,000, and they can easily top $100,000. Heck, the Mercedes-AMG G65 exceeds $220,000. And that's before we start talking about the Bentley Bentayga and its available dash clock priced at $170K (no, that's not a typo). To say things have...

  • 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
    2017 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS first drive review: the bargain 911

    Cape Town, South Africa - I'm at the wheel of the 2017 Porsche 911 GTS at Killarney Raceway behind 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Marc Lieb and I'm frustrated. Lieb, in the even more powerful 911 Turbo S, is setting a leisurely pace and I want to pass him. It's not because I'm some world-class...

  • 2017 Dodge Challenger GT, Media drive, Portland, Maine, January 2017
    2017 Dodge Challenger GT first drive review: Old dog, new tricks

    How do you make an old car new again? If you’re Dodge and your Challenger's structure hasn’t significantly changed since it was released for the 2008 model year, you add an all-wheel-drive system from an existing product, slap a new model name on it, and call the all-season muscle car...

  • 2017 Subaru BRZ
    2017 Subaru BRZ: playing in Spain

    If you're still complaining about the Subaru BRZ's lack of turbo, you probably don't quite understand how Subaru--with help from Toyota--developed this sports car. From the beginning, the point was to save as much weight as possible, and that doesn't change with a 2017 update. Subaru has given the...

  • 2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid

    Cape Town, South Africa - The 2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is an enigma wrapped in the sheet metal of a four-door 911. It’s a car with incredible power, a lightning quick 4.4-second 0-60 mph time, and a ridiculous top speed of 172 mph. Yet, it’s a plug-in hybrid that can run on electricity alone or be driven efficiently with the motor aiding the engine. To show off the performance and efficiency of its new luxury sedan, Porsche invited Motor Authority to Cape Town South, Africa, where I tested both sides of the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid’s split personality. Turbos and...

  • 2017 BMW 5-Series
    2017 BMW 5-Series first drive review: playing the middle

    BMW’s middle child has always had identity issues. Iterations of the 5er have had their moments, but it’s always worn hand-me-downs from the 7-Series and, quite frankly, we would’ve rather played with the 3-Series on a Saturday afternoon. You can imagine how hard this 2017 BMW...

  • Lamborghini Huracán Rear-Wheel Drive Spyder
    2017 Lamborghini Huracán RWD Spyder first drive review: a supercar throwback

    Have modern supercars become too soft? Pick pretty much any high-dollar exotic today and it's easy enough to use for an evening trip to a fancy dinner spot. Your date will be comfortable, and neither of you will be sweating due to the heat from the transmission tunnel. You won't have white knuckles...

  • 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor
    2017 Ford F-150 Raptor first drive review: One of a kind on road and off

    Sports cars are great at going fast around corners, but you know what they can't do? They can't rip across the desert, they can't crawl over rocks, and they can't perform glorious jumps over sand dunes. You know what can? This beast can. It's the Ford F-150 Raptor, and for 2017 it's here for a...

  • 2018 Lexus LC500
    2018 Lexus LC 500 first drive review

    SEVILLE, Spain--If you remember the very first days of Lexus, you remember the clever ads: the champagne glasses on the hood of the car, the ball bearing rolling down its hood, the "relentless pursuit of perfection." Forget it all. Now Lexus is chasing after world-class luxury and performance with...

  • 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S
    2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 first drive review: the deep-knee Benz

    It's time to come clean, friends. Don't worry, You're in a safe space here. Just admit it. You're power-hungry. But just how much power will it take to get your fix? 300? 400? 500? How about 603 horsepower—stuffed into the latest, greatest version of the Benz E-Class? Works for us. We're just...

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