The 3 series is basically the standard of the world in terms of what defines the sport sedan segment. Over the years it has offered the simple package of a commuter car, but was also great fun to drive. Many competitors have tried to take on the 3 series at its own game, and currently there are a few that really do compete. There is, however, a reason why BMW’s ace in the hole has been so formidable over the years; it’s a tough nut to crack. I recently went and drove this 328i xDrive both as a direct comparison to the Cadillac’s new ATS, and to see how well the newest 3 series carries the torch of its revered lineage. Read the rest of this entry »
Cadillac is a brand with a history that a lot of people think is filled with luxury cars and glamour, which came crashing to Earth around 1983, after a truly dreadful, horrifying, awful little snotbox called the Cimarron was unceremoniously conned into America’s collective memory. However, Cadillac’s new ATS, their latest attempt at an entry-level car, is rather intriguing and a far cry from Cadillac’s typical barges full of feathery pillows in lieu of “suspension.” Cadillac is going after the 3-Series with this car, a very bold move these days. After hearing all the hype, I waited impatiently until the mid-level engine hit the showrooms, then hit the streets in the silver car above. This is the story of how Cadillac made amends.
The family sedan is the average car meant to suit the needs of average people. In fact it is much like the average person, exuding an inoffensive image that is considered acceptable by all parts of society. Sedans are the standard of the automobile, and today there are a host of cookie cutter options available from every manufacturer. The term “typical” comes to mind when looking at a sedan, everything normal, and going as planned in life. So what happens when one of these typical looking fellows goes mad behind the scenes, and starts mutilating innocent people? Meet Jack The Ripper, aka the Jaguar XFR.
BMW has always been one to beat for sports sedans. They pretty much invented the segment back in the late 1970s when the first E21 3-Series rolled off the production line. Since then, the lineup has expanded to include more body styles, more engines (including diesels and now the first-ever hybrid model), and along with that, more features and a higher price. Competitors have stepped up their game, including Lexus, Infiniti, and Cadillac, all of whom tried to unseat the E46 and E90 series 3er’s, but never really succeeded. This year, the 3-series got a big makeover, and I decided this spring, not long after they hit the streets of NJ, to try one out for myself.
The BMW 6-Series can be a tough car to really pin down. Based on its market price and its layout, it is a direct competitor to cars like the Jaguar XJ and the Porsche 911. That said, its size is on the big side for a personal coupe, yet it wears its size well. I was at the Greenwich Concours and BMW had this and a 750i available for test drives, so I took the plunge and gave this rather expensive droptop a good shakedown. Then, I got a chance to drive a 750i, equipped with xDrive AWD, the long-wheelbase body, and the M-Sport trim (an interesting combination that should definitely go over well in the Northeast, where AWD is an important selling point). I took each out and asked myself a question: These two cars are based on pretty much the same platform in different lengths–which one does the job that it sets out to do in the better manner, and which one is actually better overall? I was surprised by the results. Read the rest of this entry »
This is a big moment for American auto industry, one that can mark a turning point toward success or a continued trend of let downs in the luxury market. Obviously the big comparison is with the BMW 3 series, and I have been very unimpressed with the comparisons done by large publications so far (favoritism and bias run rampant over objectivism and sense). So, I went out and drove the ATS and BMW 3 series back to back to see what I thought from the driver seat. I’m not going to string you along, I liked the Cadillac better, and I will explain why in the paragraphs that follow. Read the rest of this entry »
This man here, Dick Eytchison, is probably the coolest AARP member in the state of Colorado. This is his blue 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu 4-door sedan, and he’s autocrossing it. He’s recovering from open-heart surgery and he’s been married for 46 years. If this doesn’t prove that autocrossing is pretty much for everyone of all ages, I don’t know what does. Great video, and yes, you’ve got 5 minutes to watch it. This was posted on Jalopnik yesterday afternoon and I feel that it’s definitely worth watching again, what a fantastic example of how the love of automobiles doesn’t go away as one gets older.
-Albert S. Davis
Volkswagen’s Jetta is one of the old reliable pals of the automotive world, a solid everyday package for everyday people. In America Jettas have always been seen as a slightly nicer, better built alternative to Japanese and American compact cars. Volkswagen means “people’s car” in German, and the Jetta continues to be an exemplary specimen of those ideals. The Jetta you see here is not just any Jetta though, this is the GLI, the hot version. In the VW lineup GLI is to Jetta as GTI is to Golf, and they are basically the same car other than the body style. I liked the GTI when I drove it against the Beetle Turbo last year, but I wanted to see how the package transferred to the larger Jetta platform. Read the rest of this entry »
The new Dart is the first car to market that is truly a joint effort between Fiat and Chrysler. The chassis and mechanicals come straight from the European Alfa Romeo Giulietta, while the exterior, interior, and Tigershark engines are all American. This is a critical product for Chrysler, one that will serve as a first impression for their alliance with Fiat, and the things to come. I went in to find out for myself if this new car marked a positive beginning for “Second Half America”, or a fumbled, Frankenstein-like creation from two companies caught in their own financial struggles. In many ways I felt a lot was riding on this drive when I stepped into this hot blue Dart. Read the rest of this entry »
This is my Mom’s Volvo S80, and it seems very boring. It is beige, one of a few selectable shades of beige, and it looks just like every other Volvo on the road. Volvos are known for very solid build quality as well as their huge emphasis on safety; they are great cars but they generally aren’t synonymous with the term “exciting”. Looking at this S80 you can see the design is very conservative, and while it does have clean lines it is still basically the same exact car Volvo has been making for years. It would seem then that this S80 is just a continuation of mundane motoring from Volvo, and hardly worth a second look. However, after 9 years with this car, I can tell you that is definitely worth a second look because this beige Volvo has some extra tricks up its sleeve. Read the rest of this entry »
Buick has not had the best reputation with smaller cars. Their most recent entry, the Skylark, turned a once great name into one best remembered for being an elderly librarian’s best friend and a speed demon’s worst enemy on I-95. However, Buick’s fortunes have turned around a lot in the past two years or so, with newfound success in the larger and smaller portion of the premium midsize market and a newfound lease on life. So, I took this white Verano you see here for a spin in South Florida to see if it was up to the hype. Read the rest of this entry »