I have written about the Mercedes AMG 63 a number of times. For the past 20 years my consensus has been that the G-Wagen is the coolest looking luxury off-road vehicle that you can buy, and it would be my pick for rock crawling due to its rugged design. But I have always thought that previous generations of G-Class SUVs were over priced, especially the AMG versions. This was mainly due to an interior design that lacked a true luxury feel and the overall ride quality. Not much has changed for the G-Wagen in that past 45 years, until now…
The latest edition of the G-Class looks the same on the outside, but it is actually a completely new car: The vehicle is 4 inches longer and almost 5 inches wider. This results in improved driving dynamics. The larger stance makes the G-Wagen feels more solid at highway speeds than the previous model and it delivers less body roll when cornering. The vehicle still feels top heavy, but the perceived center of gravity has been lowered.
The longer and wider stance of the Mercedes AMG G63 has also made way for a revamped interior. While previous generations offered an interior fitting of a $40,000 c-class, the new G-Wagen offers posh interior fit for a $100,000+ vehicle. The design screens luxury with two large displays and supple leather on the doors and dashboard. Gone are the cheap plastic components in favor of brushed aluminum and wood trim. The seats are seemingly wider and occupants are no longer cramped with bumping elbows as the front armrest is almost 3 inches wider. Backseat passengers will applaud with almost 6 inches more of rear legroom.
No AMG variant Mercedes-Benz review would be complete without mentioning what’s under the hood. The G63 AMG comes with a handcrafted Bi-Turbo V8 that is good for 577 horsepower and 627 pounds of torque. Even though the new G-Wagen weighs an undisclosed “ton,” the AMG engine rockets the vehicle from 0 to 60 mph in less than 4.5 seconds and to a top speed of 150mph.
My test vehicle garnered a price tag north of a $160,000, which clearly places it in Land Rover Range Rover and Porsche Cayenne Turbo territory. Between the three: Mercedes for image and off road durability. Land Rover for luxury. Porsche for overall driving dynamics.
Even wayback when the BMW i8 first debuted, it wasn’t considered a fast car by any means. It was quick for a car, but not quick for a $140k+ sports car. What kept people so intrigued was BMW’s use of a hybrid drivetrain and advanced use of carbon fiber for the body panels and chassis.
Fast forward to 2019 and the performance benchmarks are still on par with five years ago. They are slightly improved, but the car still won’t win any races. What is radically new for 2019 is the Roadster variant. The drop top transforms the i8 from a high tech grand tourer into a super car wannabe. With scissor doors, intelligent lines and rear speedster humps, it is the type of vehicle your 12 year old self would hang as a poster on the bedroom wall. It reminds me of the Lamborghini Countach because just looking at the BMW i8 Roadster makes you envy…. forget the fact that you are saving the planet.
Under the mid-engine hood is a twin-turbo 3-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor under the front hood. The two power plants combined deliver 369 horsepower and 420 pounds of torque. With a charged battery, the i8 Roadster will go from 0 to 60mph in 4.4 seconds. With a charged battery, the i8 Roadster will also go approximately 20 miles on pure electric and gets 76 MPGe. It takes about 3 hours to fully change the lithium ion batteries. So if your daily commute is short, the BMW i8 Roadster becomes an electric sports car that offers no range anxiety.
I am happy to report that the i8 Roadster lives up to its name. With a near 50/50 weight distribution, it lives up to its name. It is perfectly suited for carving canyon roads as it is your daily commute. In sport mode, the steering precise, it has great throttle response, and the i8 Roadster showed little body roll. In comfort mode the BMW i8 Roadster drives like a grand tourer. The only thing missing is adjustable lumbar support. Be forewarned, the BMW i8 and the i8 Roadster are not the cars to buy if you have a bad back. Because of the wide door sills, it can be hard to get in and out of – the same thing can be said of all modern McLaren vehicles. Plus after a couple hours in the car, my back would oftentimes grow tired. But I didn’t pull over on the side of the road and stretch, or go home early… the kid inside of me was enjoying to drive too much.
If you are looking for a flashy sports car that will turn just as many heads as a Lamborghini but have Germany reliability and be environmentally friendly, then the BMW i8 Roadster checks all of the boxes. Plus it is a car that will still impress your grand kids 30 years in the future.
Contact your local dealer or visit BMWusa.com for more information.
For young singles and couples looking for a versatile crossover on a budget, look no further. The 2019 Nissan Kicks should be on the top of your considerations list. When it comes to style, the Kick’s two-tone paint scheme got me more compliments than half of the sports cars I have driven this year. My test vehicle featured a blue body and white roof, which really makes it standout from the crowd. Alternative two-tone choices include orange + black, red + black, white + black, and silver + orange.
When it comes to safety features, the 2019 Nissan Kicks has got you covered. Automatic Emergency Braking is standard; in fact, it is the only vehicle at ~$18,000 in its segment to offer this safety feature standard. Essentially, if the vehicle in front of you slams on its brakes, your Kick will help you come to a complete stop if you don’t apply the brakes quick enough. Click Here To Continue Reading
Unlike Ford Mustang GT predecessors, the latest Mustang GT edition doesn’t have middle child syndrome. It is no longer simply “a more powerful Mustang, but not as cool as the Boss or Shelby.” The 2019 Mustang GT can now stand on its own. Yes, the powertrain on the Mustang GT has (almost) always been a true force to be reckoned with, but the newest model has visual and audible sensory cues that make it a special car in its own right.
Under the hood is 460 horsepower V8 with dual overhead cams. This can be paired with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic. My recommendation is the 10-speed automatic because it offers quicker shift times and better fuel economy – You still get that feeling of raw power due to the aggressive shift patterns. To get power to the rear wheels, multiple TORSEN limited slip differentials are available based upon your need for quick acceleration or top speed. Either way, you are looking at a car that will do 0-60 in less than 4-seconds. That is Corvette and Porsche territory. Click Here To Continue Reading
New for 2019 is the Overland trim level for the Jeep Cherokee. This unique set of options has been magically transforming the Jeep Grand Cherokee from a standard mid-size SUV to a luxury SUV for over 10 years, but now its baby brother has got the fancy pants.
Upon approaching the vehicle, you will immediately notice a premium look. Gone are the plastic brush guard moldings in favor of body color paint to make the vehicle appear bigger. You will also notice large 19″ polished aluminum wheels.
Inside the Jeep Cherokee Overland, you will find an interior fit for a small luxury SUV/crossover. In some cases, it is nicer than comparable Mercedes and BMW models. The Jeep Cherokee Overland is fitted with premium heated and cooled leather seats along with a full-leather dash; something you typically only find on vehicles with a $100k price tag. This type of luxury accentuates the oddity of not having leather on the doors though, instead you get hard plastic.
I guess beggars can’t be choosers though, because the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Overland is priced incredibly well. My test vehicle came fully equipped at a hair over $40k. That may seem like a lot for Jeep, but when you consider that the Mercedes GLC starts at $40,700 without leather seats, a leather dash, or 4-wheel drive.
The RS badges on the front and rear of the Chevrolet Traverse RS is little deceiving. The RS stands for “Rally Sport,” which will make most people think that the Traverse RS is a sportier version of the regular Traverse. While the options package doesn’t add any additional horsepower or performance, it will transform your seven passenger family hauler from a “mom car” to a “dad car.”
With the RS package on the Chevrolet Traverse, you get a noticeably different look and feel – My four year old self would call it a cool SUV now. All of the polished chromed accents are blacked out to give this mid-size SUV a stealth look. This includes the exterior trim, the grill, and the Chevrolet bowtie. You also get upgraded 20″ wheels painted black to complete the package. You also get black plastic lower moldings to protect the body of the vehicle should you take the Traverse RS off-roading.
So while the Traverse RS doesn’t necessarily live up to the Rally Sport name, it is a worthy upgrade for those who want to feel sporty. I know that is I how I would order one!
If you want to learn more about Traverse, check out my full review here.
While visiting Chicago on vacation earlier this month, Mercedes gave me a pre-production version of their upcoming CLS four-door sports coupe to drive around town. The good news is that it is an absolutely stunning example of Mercedes design and a worthy update to the Mercedes CLS nameplate. The bad news is that you likely won’t be able to get one until next year… and I want one in my garage now!
A Design To Excite
For Dad’s (or Mom’s) who need the utility of a four-door vehicle but don’t want to give up the emotion of driving sports coupe, the Mercedes CLS (and this segment) was born for you. Mercedes paratactically invented the “four door sports coupe” segment with CLS back in the early 2000’s. They were amongst the first to offer a luxury four-door sedan with a fastback like roof line and a limited b-pillar. Since then, brands like Audi and BMW have copied the style on their most sportiest family friendly models.
The CLS’ design language is meant to evoke excitement from the minute you look at the car – I even found myself taking a second look at the vehicle every time I parked it. The silhouette with its frameless b-pillar makes you think for a monument that you are driving a traditional two sports coupe. Whether you are going through a mid-life crisis with kids or you just haven’t grown up yet, the style will evoke a sense of pride in ownership that you likely haven’t felt since you were 16 years old. Click Here To Continue Reading
The VW Atlas is the brainchild of a group of insanely smart German engineers who were trying to make an SUV that American’s will love; and they got it right! In just over a year, Volkswagen has produced over 100,000 vehicles out of their Chattanooga, Tennessee production facility. This is an important milestone considering their previous mid-size SUV, the Toureg, saw limited success in the US market. The Toureg was positioned as a luxury SUV and it was expensive. Whereas in contract the Atlas is positioned to be a great value. With a starting price of $30,750 and fully-loaded price of $49,735, the Atlas is able to cater to both economy and luxury buyers.
When considering the entire VW Group family of SUVs, the VW Atlas is amongst the best for large families. VW sister companies Audi, Porsche, Bentley, and Lamborghini all offer large options (built on a different platform), but the Atlas arguably makes best use of the space with three-rows of full-size seats. That means all of your family members can sit comfortably on a long trip, plus have room for a couple suitcases. Click Here To Continue Reading
Today’s world of automobiles is filled with great achievements. People are working to create flying cars, energy-efficient engines, reliable batteries, self-driving vehicles and much more. Innovation never comes to a halt in this ever-progressing industry. With all that’s going on, it gets harder by the day to pinpoint the people behind it.
A quick look at the history of the automobile, however, will reveal to you the men and women behind everything. Women? You might ask. Yes, Mary Anderson invented the windshield wiper. Automotive pioneers spanned from inventors and designers, manufacturers, culture innovators to technology developers. In our journey to reach a thousand miles, they made the first steps. Click Here To Continue Reading
Audi is very excited about the upcoming production launch of their new all-electric vehicle, the Audi Etron. So excited, that they flew me as well as 200 of their favorite automotive journalists to San Francisco for the World Premier Party. Obviously, the Audi Etron is not the first electric vehicle to hit the market. Competitors like Tesla, Nissan, Mercedes-Smart, and Chevrolet beat them to the punch. But in my opinion, it is the best overall. Apple didn’t invent the smartphone, but they revolutionized it and made it mainstream. Now it is Audi’s turn to make another mark on the world…
I have been following this vehicle for three years; since its concept car debut at the International Motor Show in Germany to the unveiling in the USA. From concept to production, the vehicle hasn’t changed drastically too in terms of styling or the proposed benchmarks. But the technology is lightyears ahead. In 2015, the technology to make Audi’s vision of an electric car wasn’t available. This is why Audi went to the race track with Formula E. From there, they were able to test and develop high-efficient electric motors and complex lithium-ion battery systems that could be utilized on your daily commute. Additionally, Audi collaborated with its sister company, Porsche, for the development of the Etron. Porsche is working on its own lineup of electric vehicles; most notably the Mission E series of grand touring vehicles. The combined intellect of these two German powerhouses can only mean a quality product. Click Here To Continue Reading