Category Archives: Cars We’ve Driven

This is our road test section. We use whatever means we can to get whatever cars we can.

BMW X6 M Driven: The best and worst of BMW

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The big teal thing you see here is a BMW X6 M, and it’s everything that’s right and everything that’s wrong with BMW sitting on the same four wheels. Think of it as a BMW M5 with AWD and more ground clearance. Being an X6, and not an X5, it’s also a “Coupe SUV,” which I still find very odd.

On a totally subjective level, I’m not a fan of the BMW X6. I’d even say it’s the flagship of everything I don’t like about the modern BMW brand. They’ve been over-segmenting like crazy, trying to carve the market into thinner and thinner slices, and the X6 is largely where it began.

It all started when Mercedes made the CLS, a beautiful sedan with the sleek design and style of a coupe. BMW saw how well it was received, and decided to try and do the same thing, but with a big SUV. The problem is SUVs aren’t sleek by nature, so the sloped roofline makes the X6 look bulbous and awkward from most angles. With such a large chunky profile, I just think the full roofline of the X5 looks a lot better. People seem to like the X6 because it’s different, but different isn’t always a good thing.

So, in my eyes, BMW was shooting for style, and they missed by a mile. Why, then, would anyone buy an X6 over an X5? Apparently I just don’t “get it.”

In an effort to try and understand the X6, I figured I’d take a spin in the ultimate BMW X6 M. It’s everything the X6 can be with an extra serving of horsepower and handling. If there were any way to make me come around to the BMW X6, driving this beast would surely be it.

First, come along for the ride…

Continue reading BMW X6 M Driven: The best and worst of BMW

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A Farewell Ride in My Dad’s Porsche 996

Porsche 996 Carrera Arena Red 1

My parents are moving down to their place at the shore full time soon, and of course they’re taking their cars with them. They’re only going to be 2 hours away, but driving-wise the shore doesn’t hold a candle to the back roads of Bucks County, PA. The topography at the shore is all flat, the back roads barely curve at all, and the main roads are so crowded, and so heavily patrolled by cops, that there’s nowhere to really let the car run free. I may get to drive the 996 a few times when I visit, but it will never be like it was up here, with old our colonial roads that snake their way endlessly through the forest.

I had to take the Porsche for one more solid drive up here to say my goodbye, of sorts. So one night, after work, I spent 2 blissful hours in it out driving a greatest hits tour of my favorite roads.

Continue reading A Farewell Ride in My Dad’s Porsche 996

Quick Spin: BMW G11 750i xDrive

BMW G11 750i 3This is not so much a car as it is a rolling spa. Sure, I had some time behind the wheel of this new BMW G11 750i, but what really stuck in my mind was the massage I got while riding around in the back seat. It was pouring rain, we were stuck in a traffic jam, and I wouldn’t have been anywhere else in the world if I could have. It’s an optional extra, but what’s an extra $7 grand for the pleasure of being able to have a heated, or cooled, massage everywhere you go? I could really go for one right now, as a matter of fact.

The new 750i may be a rolling spa, but it’s one that moves pretty good, too. BMW claims 445 hp and 480 ft/lbs of torque from its “Hot Vee” twin turbo V8, and that’s enough to propel your pampered ass from a snooze to a heart attack in just 4.3 seconds.

Really though, the G11 is the expected next step for the BMW 7 Series, nothing less, but nothing more either. It’s really nice, but they’ve all been nice over the years. It’s really fast, and handles well for a big limo, but again, same with every other 7 Series. The G11 is also full of lots of fancy, cutting edge technology, which is awesome today, but it will suck in ten years for the poor sap who buys this once-$120,000 luxo-barge for $13,988. Go try to use the nav on a late 90’s E38 7 Series, and you’ll see what I mean.

In fact, staggering depreciation is probably just as much of what makes a 7 Series a 7 Series as the car’s big comfort or big horsepower. Well-optioned, it’s not a bad value for what you get for $120,000 or so, but you can be damn sure you won’t be seeing much of that money back. Leasing may be a good idea here, people.

The G11 750i is among the nearly flawless lineup of current luxury cars. They’re all just really good, almost to a fault, if only for the fact that such uniform perfection lacks character. Objectively, this BMW 750i is good enough as a luxury cruiser to make me wonder why anyone would shell out triple the money for a Bentley or a Rolls. I mean, how much more comfortable could you possibly be?

But really it’s not about features, or the comfort, or any of that. It comes back to the car being good, really good, too good for its own good. The G11 is a lot like that guy at the party who just keeps talking, on and on, about his own accomplishments. He’s very impressive and all, but people just keep walking away, don’t they? That’s because endless perfection gets boring pretty quick, and it’s usually a lot more fun to hear people talk about their mistakes.

Nick Walker

MoM Score: BMW G11 750i xDrive
Primary Function: Luxury: 2
Secondary Functions: Performance(2) Practicality(2) MPG(2): 2
Visual Appeal: 1
Build Quality: 2
Value for Money: 1
Final Score: 8 /10

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Tesla Take 2 with the Model S P90D

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I got my first taste of the Tesla magic in 2015 when I drove a Model S P85D. It made one hell of a first impression, and I was totally blown away. I felt like I had just experienced the true next step for the automobile, capable of blistering acceleration, superior practicality and sublime comfort, all in a single package. Oh, and did I mention it was green, too? I was enamored with it then, but I was curious to see how the Tesla would fair the second time around, now that my initial fascination had worn off.

I was recently able to take a spin in the new, facelifted, Model S P90D. This drive was much better than the first one. It lasted much longer, the roads were much better, and I got to try out some of Tesla’s amazing new features (including Autopilot). I also gained more perspective on the Model S, what it is, and what it is not.

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Polaris Slingshot Review: You’ll Be the Talk of the Town

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Glued to the window. I mean this kid’s face must have literally become fused with the glass. There is something about the raw enthusiasm of a child that’s quite effective for judging certain things about a car. Let’s put it this way, we were stuck in traffic, surrounded by hundreds of other cars, but this kid’s attention was transfixed solely on mine, and for good reason. Just look at this thing, it’s the Polaris Slingshot, and it’s friggin’ awesome!

The kid would’ve never even bothered to notice if I were in any sort of normal car, whether it be a Toyota Camry, a BMW M5, or probably even a Porsche 911. There was something vastly entrancing to his young mind about my Polaris Slingshot, to the point where he was trying to push himself through the window to get a better look at it. You’d honestly need to be in a Lamborghini, or something that exotic, to draw the same kind of attention this outrageous reverse trike does.

I think, by all definitions, the Polaris Slingshot can be considered a genuine exotic car. It commands crazy amounts of attention, it’s exciting to drive, and it’s totally idiotic in most practical ways. What I found in my time driving the Slingshot, though, was just how exotic it really is in the most classic sense. You see, the exotic car experience consists of a grand mix of excitement and frustration. The great aspects are incredible, but they are balanced out by serious flaws, which are often infuriating, excruciating, or both at the same time.

The question is, are the Polaris Slingshot’s good aspects worth putting up with its bad aspects? Or, for that matter, is it even worth your time in a world full of other wonderful cars and bikes?

I’ve wanted to drive a Slingshot ever since I first saw one fly past me on the road, so I decided to rent one and find out during a recent vacation in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Continue reading Polaris Slingshot Review: You’ll Be the Talk of the Town

The Lincoln Mark VII LSC Chronicles, Part 2: June, July, and August -The Plot Thickens

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This is Part 2 in a series.

Where we last left this story, I had taken a few interviews and the Lincoln had barfed coolant all over South Jersey. By the beginning of June, I’d parked the poor thing and taken back to driving the Legacy nearly full-time. I’d hit off on a few good interviews in the beginning of June, and while walking out to take the Lincoln to the center of town to pick up election results with my friend Damon, I got the offer as I started the engine. What started out as another day in the pack, had become a blessing. A blessing that turned into a curse, within due time. Continue reading The Lincoln Mark VII LSC Chronicles, Part 2: June, July, and August -The Plot Thickens

The Lincoln Mark VII LSC Chronicles, Part 1: April and May – Continuing The Story.

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This is Part 1 of an occasional series.

On April 16, as most of you dear readers know, I purchased this big gray Lincoln Mark VII LSC to replace my Miata, which I’d sold to Nick. What most of you don’t know, is the rest of the story. Through this occasional series, I will work to chronicle the past six months of what I’ve done with this gigantic piece of American history, and how it has fit into the other parts of my life in that time. Continue reading The Lincoln Mark VII LSC Chronicles, Part 1: April and May – Continuing The Story.

Porsche Macan Turbo Review: Like a Fancy WRX for Rich People!

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The Porsche Macan is basically a luxury rally car for the financially well-endowed, and the Turbo is the Mac-daddy of the lineup. It’s remarkable just how good Porsche has been able to make this car considering it shares its underpinnings with the very vanilla VW Tiguan. It took a while for fun to find its way into the crossover segment, but after driving this Macan Turbo, I can vouch that it definitely has.

It was one of those things I had to experience to believe. I figured the Macan might just be nothing more than a faster Tiguan with a Porsche body and a nice interior; that would’ve been just fine for most Macan buyers, and a mediocre Macan would’ve still been a solid revenue car for Porsche. Thankfully, they went over and above to preserve the integrity of their speed-synonymous brand. The Macan Turbo is a real Porsche, a new type of Porsche to be sure, but a real Porsche within its mold.

Continue reading Porsche Macan Turbo Review: Like a Fancy WRX for Rich People!

Jaguar F-Pace S: Enthusiast Approved

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Damn, everyone is jumping on the crossover bandwagon. Clearly following Porsche’s success, Maserati, Bentley, and now Jaguar have now all made high-riding vehicles for people who want a station wagon that isn’t a “station wagon.” I haven’t been much of a fan of crossovers until pretty recently, when some of them have stepped into the ring of high performance. Yes, there is now a full segment of fast crossovers that handle pretty darn well, and they’re sort of like big, comfy rally cars.

I’d heard a lot of praise being thrown at the Jaguar F-Pace, so when I was able to try on out for myself, I jumped on the opportunity. The car I drove was the top-of-the-line F-Pace S, so if this one didn’t impress me, none of them would. And you know what? In many respects, it may be the best fast crossover I’ve driven to date.

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My Drive in a BMW i8: A Concept Car for the Street

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I’ve been itching to get my hands on a BMW i8 ever since I first saw it, and the chance finally came. As a car blogger working to grow my following, it’s still a very special occasion when someone is willing to throw me the keys to a six-figure set of wheels. As you might expect, it’s awesome to get to live the dream, even if it’s only for a little bit.

The BMW i8 is a total show-stopper. More of a UFO than a car, people go crazy when they see it out on the street. Most of them won’t even know what it is, but they will know that it’s something very, very special.

Continue reading My Drive in a BMW i8: A Concept Car for the Street

A BMW 528i is a Superior Rental Car That Will Spoil You

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Rental cars, they’re usually total crap that you’re only willing to put up with for a few days because they serve a purpose. Some trips can really use a bright spot, though, and for us gearheads a car can be just the thing to brighten up life.

I lost both of my grandmothers this summer, within a month and a half of each other. What can I say, it hasn’t been ideal. It was just my mom and I going on the trip, out to Tucson, Arizona last weekend. My dad was away singing in China, and my girlfriend had her busiest work weekend of the year. We were flying out to Phoenix, and then driving 100 miles, or so, down to Tucson. While we were definitely looking forward to seeing my mom’s side of the family and catch up with everyone, it was still a trip meant for saying goodbye to my grandma, Jody, who we all hold very dear in our hearts.

This trip was definitely one that needed as many bright spots as we could give it. So, when the rental car lady told us we could have a BMW 528i for only $20/day more than the Chevy Malibu we had booked, we were like, “Oh hell yes!” If we were going to be cruising through the desert at high speed, we might as well aim to be as comfortable as possible.

I hadn’t even planned to do an article on this trip, but when life hands you a Bimmer….

Continue reading A BMW 528i is a Superior Rental Car That Will Spoil You

Jaguar F-Type R AWD: A Cat Tamed By Four Paws?

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I’ve been lucky to have driven a few Jaguar F-Types in the last few years. I drove the V6S and V8S models when they first came out, and then I drove the R Coupe a year later.

I think my biggest takeaway was just how much crazier the V8 was, with all that extra power going to the rear wheels. It was fast, like scary fast, and there was always the sense that it was testing the limits of its rear tires. It really kept me on my toes, and that made it really, really exciting.

Unfortunately, exciting doesn’t bode well with the safety concerns of modern automakers. We enthusiasts were hoping Jaguar would give us the V8 F-Type with a manual gearbox. Instead, they left the V8 models automatic-only, and took away our rear wheel drive. I guess that’s the price we pay for getting our hopes up.

So, has Jaguar tamed the beast? Have they neutered the big cat?

Continue reading Jaguar F-Type R AWD: A Cat Tamed By Four Paws?