2015 Audi Q3 Test Drive

Gary Witzenburg on

This 2015 Audi Q3 compact crossover utility vehicle (CUV) is a new segment entry for the German luxury automaker. Its coupe-like profile, deep Audi signature grille and distinctive exterior lighting succeed in giving it a fairly sporty look, and given its modest exterior size, its 5-passengers interior is relatively roomy, quiet, comfortable and premium in virtually every detail of craftsmanship, materials and consistently tight panel gaps.

Its standard and only engine is a 200-hp 2.0-liter TFSI (turbocharged and direct fuel injected) 4-cylinder driving the front wheels through a standard 6-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. There are no other engine or transmission options for now, but Audi's excellent quattro all-wheel drive and Audi Drive Select -- which lets you adjust handling and response at the touch of a button -- are available. Its modes are Comfort, Dynamic, and Auto. more

2015 Lexus RC Test Drive

Gary Witzenburg on

This 2015 Lexus RC Coupe -- a stand-alone model (not a two-door derivative of a sedan) on an ultra-stiff platform -- is intended to help move Toyota's luxury brand's image from tepid to exciting. The RC 350's 306-hp V6 drives through an 8-speed "Sports Program Direct Shift" (SPDS) automatic with rear drive or a 6-speed automatic with available all-wheel drive. An F SPORT version offers Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) and Lexus Dynamic Handling with rear-wheel steering, and a white-hot RC F model antes up 467 V8 horsepower.

The aluminum 3.5-liter V6 generates 277 lb.-ft. of torque using a unique blend of direct and port fuel injection, plus intelligent dual variable valve timing (VVT-i). It's good for 5.5-sec. 0-60 mph bursts and 19 mpg city, 26 highway and 21 combined EPA fuel economy ratings. more

2015 Ford F150 Test Drive

Gary Witzenburg on

Here comes Ford with all-new aluminum-bodied F-150s, lighter by several hundred pounds than the 2014s they replace, with even better capabilities and substantially more available features. Famed Lotus race-car designer/builder Colin Chapman touted "adding lightness" (instead of more power) to make his cars lap faster, and that "enlightened" approach works equally well for pickup trucks.

A lighter truck body enables a lighter frame, lighter suspension, lighter brakes, lighter powertrain, etc. A lighter truck handles better, stops shorter and performs better. Or it can perform, tow and haul equally well with a smaller, less powerful engine. And Ford says this all-new 2015 F-150 -- tow rated at up to 12,200 pounds and capable of hauling up to 3,300 pounds -- delivers industry best capabilities among full-size pickups. more

2015 Nissan Versa Note SR Test Drive

Ryan ZumMallen on

Nissan might have gotten off on the wrong foot earlier this year, when they introduced the 2015 Nissan Versa Note SR, a brand new trim level, as the “sporty” model in the lineup. After all, it’s hard to be the “sporty” version when you don’t have any performance upgrades.

Instead, they should have marketed the Versa Note SR as the “better” version of the Versa Note family. What this car does get over its brothers and sisters is a more refined and attractive look, a much improved interior and wider tires at a low price. Now that’s a much better proposition, don’t you think? more

Kia GT Fastback Slated for Production
Stanley Yee on

According to Edmunds, Kia has greenlit the GT Concept for production. The Kia GT was originally unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2011, and soon we will see a production version of the swooping sedan.

This wouldn’t be Kia’s first foray into the world of luxury sedans, but it is certainly a bold move. The flagship Kia K900 sedan has been a tough sell for buyers, who are yet to drop their preexisting notions of the Korean brand. more

First Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle Offered in Raffle
Stanley Yee on

Toyota will raffle off their first Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) to a lucky California resident. It will be the first time a major automaker has offered a fuel cell vehicle in a raffle.

The FCV will be Toyota’s first fuel cell vehicle in production when it hits dealer showrooms late next year. Powered by hydrogen, the FCV will be one of the few fuel cell production vehicles on sale. more

2015 Maserati Ghibli Test Drive
Gary Witzenburg on

Because it's smaller and less expensive than its big-brother Quattroporte luxury sedan and more practical and MUCH less expensive than its GranTurismo coupe and convertible cousins, this 2015 Maserati Ghibli (starting from $66,900) is the storied Italian automaker's most important new model in many years. Its iconic Maserati grille and triple front-fender air vents, its sculpted curves and creases, its fluid coupe-like roofline, its classic trident logos and its sinewy athletic stance add up to a unique blend of Italian sportiness and elegance. Precious few four-doors come even close.

Inside the cabin is an equally happy marriage of posh Italian craftsmanship and modern amenities, the latter partly thanks to American Chrysler-based electronics. The soft leather-covered wrap-around seats look as good as they feel, even on long drives, and you can customize it with two-tone leather and wood or carbon fiber trim combinations and upgrade it with even finer Italian leather. more

Driverless Audi RS 7 Aiming For 150 MPH Track Run
Ryan ZumMallen on

Audi hasn’t had the best season in DTM racing this year, and they may have found a solution: Remove the drivers.

During the season finale at the Hockenheim on October 19, the brand will demonstrate the latest progression of their automated – they prefer the term, “piloted” – technology, rolling out a driverless Audi RS 7 for a lap of the track that they say could reach 149.1 mph. more

Chevrolet Trax Priced at $20,995
Stanley Yee on

Chevrolet’s compact crossover, the Trax, will cost $20,995 when it hits the American market in several months. The Trax, currently on sale in other markets, will be making its American debut as the newest vehicle in Chevrolet’s growing crossover lineup.

The Trax is just a piece of the company’s expansion into new territories, both regional and in body style. In the past four years, Chevrolet has introduced seven new small vehicles, including the Trax; their small car segment has more than tripled since then. more

Bentley Set for Record-Breaking Sales
Stanley Yee on

Nearly a century after Bentley Motors was originally established, the company is doing better than ever, on track for their best sales year in the history of the company. Coming hot off their previous record set last year, the luxury car maker has thrived in the recovering economy.

Nobody seems to have told Bentley about the recession, because the past few years have in fact been some of the company’s best, as far as sales are concerned. Perhaps the wealthy saw little downside to the economic downturn, because they’re buying more Bentleys than ever before. more

Why I Liked the 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack More Than The Hellcat
Ryan ZumMallen on

During my time behind the wheel of the 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack, I tried my absolute hardest not to say it. The words crept closer to my tongue with every dive into a canyon hairpin and threatened to be spoken with every stab of the throttle. But I resisted.

Finally, as I clicked the left paddle shifter down from fourth to second gear, steered into another apex and dug into the 6.4L HEMI V8 and its 485 horsepower made the rear wheels screech as they clung to the road, I could hold back no longer. “This is better than the Hellcat!” I yelled over the engine roar. more

2015 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Shown Ahead of L.A. Debut
Ryan ZumMallen on

If you like the Porsche 911 Carrera but want a little more attitude and a whole lot more standard features, you’ll love the new 911 GTS.

The newest 911, which will slot in between the standard Carrera S and the hardcore GT3, has just been revealed and will be shown in the flesh at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month. more

BMW M6 Destined for GT3 Racing
Stanley Yee on

The ever-evolving world of GT3 racing will have new competition in 2016, as BMW has officially announced the M6 GT3. Their plans are to make the car available for purchase for private buyers, unlike many of their factory-only racing cars.

GT3 class racing started small, but in the past several years has exploded into the scene. Now, GT3 regulations have made their way into sports and endurance racing across the globe, including a few American series, with more on the way. more

Chevrolet Launches Campaign to Name Limited Edition Camaro
Stanley Yee on

Chevrolet has put the fate of a new Camaro in the hands of the fans, looking at social media to pick the car’s special name. The yet-unnamed Limited Edition Camaro will be unveiled at the SEMA Show for the National Name Your Car Day.

Through Twitter and Facebook, Chevrolet will take suggestions in their #NameThatCamaro campaign. Naturally, a car’s name has to do with its character, so here is what makes the Camaro so special. more