Category Archives: Luxury Cars

Luxury cars are more than “just” transportation, that’s why they cost more… duh!

Lexus LC 500 Review: Lexus Has Finally Found Their Form

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Luxury isn’t about needs, luxury is about wants, or rather, desires. Practical concerns come second to delivering a highly remarkable experience. A luxury object is an art form, and it must appeal deeply to human emotion, even at the expense of being practical or being objectively inane.

The upscale part of Toyota, Lexus has always been extremely focused on delivering on practical concerns. They have the best reputation for build quality in the entire industry, and their cars have always been solid. A Lexus has always been a nice and dependable way to get around, but they never really rose above being just a well-polished transportation appliance. They never evoked any sort of deep carnal desire, or had a sense of occasion that made you want to go out and drive just for the hell of it.

Since 2008, Lexus has been taking serious steps to spice up their brand and make themselves a player in the true luxury segment. It’s a marketplace where people want something genuinely special, not just a Camry fitted with leather and wood. Lexus needed to define their own unique experience, and boy have they made moves in the years since.

This is the new Lexus LC 500, and it just might be the best GT car you can buy for $100 grand.

Continue reading Lexus LC 500 Review: Lexus Has Finally Found Their Form

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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

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.

Continue reading Tesla Take 2 with the Model S P90D

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.

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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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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

Cadillac ATS-V Review: Still GM, for better and worse

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This is the Cadillac ATS-V. The master form of the highly acclaimed, yet highly criticized ATS sedan. It was born to go toe-to-toe with the likes of the BMW M3 and Mercedes C63 AMG, and it looks like a pretty damn good bet in that fight.

You know what’s weird, though? After driving it, I feel the exact same way about the ATS-V that I did about each other Cadillac ATS I’ve driven. Sure, the ATS-V exists at a much higher level, but it’s relative strengths and shortcomings all fall in the same areas.

I’m amazed at how consistent the ATS lineup is, with some areas near perfection and others, well, not.

Continue reading Cadillac ATS-V Review: Still GM, for better and worse

Cadillac XT5 Review: The Cadillac of Toasters

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The market for luxury crossovers is a heated contest between slightly different flavors of vanilla. I mean, for all intents and purposes they are all pretty much the same exact car with an inch of difference here and there. They each look a little different, but really just a little, and they all seem to have the same general checklist of features.

So how does one go about reviewing the newest crossover offering from GM’s flagship luxury brand, the Cadillac XT5?

I’m not going to waste much time blowing smoke up your ass nit-picking this and that about this car. The bottom line is its very good at being very acceptable. It’s not going to reinvent the Cadillac brand, but then again, it isn’t the car that is supposed to do that. The XT5 is a volume seller for a large market segment, one that is targeted at people who don’t really care about their cars much past their basic functionality.

Let’s be real here, crossovers aren’t cars so much as they are “transportation appliances” for people who just want to get from A to B safely and comfortably. Crossovers are exceedingly practical for all of the needs of the average person, and their larger size and higher stance makes people feel safer behind the wheel. These vehicles are tailor made for the average driver, who will be very happy with all they get from a car like this.

Naturally, social class does come into play, and that’s why the Cadillac XT5 exists for middle-upper class people who feel they’ve managed to claw their way above a plebeian Chevy Equinox.

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So I made another purchase this weekend…

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Wait, didn’t he just buy an old red Miata? Why the hell would he buy a new red Miata now?

That is the question everyone around me has been asking all weekend. Yes, I went and bought this beautiful 2014 Mazda MX5 Miata Club Edition this weekend, and no I’m not crazy, although it may seem that way to many people around me right now.

Here’s why I went and bought this car, as best as I can explain it right now.

Continue reading So I made another purchase this weekend…

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Review: A Recipe Perfected

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There is absolutely no substitute for seat time when judging a car. I thought Alfa Romeo had sold themselves out when they built the 4C without the option of a manual gearbox. I mean, who on earth would want a light little sports car without a clutch pedal and a gear lever? But the truth is, building a good car is a lot like cooking a good meal. Each ingredient must be executed well in its own right, but then the most important thing is how it all comes together as a whole.

The Italians are known for treating their cars exactly as they treat their food, as works of art. Alfa Romeos, in particular, have always had a sense of living soul, even if, at times, there wasn’t much else good about them. My friend, Evan, had an old Alfa Spider that only ever worked properly when he was taking a girl out on a date in it – now, isn’t that the most Italian thing you’ve ever heard?

Alfa Romeos are cars built on an ideology of passion and emotion first, and everything else second. Sure, in the past that has sometimes meant questionable dependability, but at least they never committed the atrocity of making life boring or mundane. Life is worth more than just living, it’s worth enjoying, and that is what Alfa Romeos are all about.

This white 4C Spider is actually the first Alfa Romeo I’ve ever driven. It marks the return of Alfa Romeo production cars to the USA, and will be soon followed by the new Giulia sedan. Being my first Alfa, I admit that I had underestimated the way they can make the ingredients of a car come together into one delicious masterpiece of a machine.

I quickly realized that the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider has something very special about it. I drove 8 very cool cars in the same weekend, including a Ferrari and some Porsches, but this Alfa 4C was the one I just couldn’t stop thinking about. Here’s why…

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