The VW Golf is a wolf in sheep’s clothing

As an automotive journalist and car enthusiast, I love fast cars, but I love fast cars that pretend to be slow cars even more! There is something special about driving a car that only other automotive enthusiasts will appreciate. Meet the VW Golf R, not to be confused with its slow little brother, the VW Golf GTI. The R takes hot hatchback performance to another level with more starting power, more stopping power, and tighter handling. Under the hood is a 2.0L turbo charged 4-cylinder motor that produces 292 horse power. The engine is paired with a dual-clutch and an all-wheel-drive system, which rockets this unsuspecting hatchback from zero to sixty in 4.5 seconds. Which this may not be super car times, remember that the starting price of a VW Golf R is only around $36,000. Visit your local VW dealer or visit click here to visit VW’s website.

The Lincoln MKX Black Label is the Black Card of the automotive industry.


Lincoln’s tradition of building beautiful luxury vehicles dates back to 1917, but they became the pinnacle of class in the 1950’s and 60’s when the US Presidents, actors (such as Marilyn Monroe), and music artists (such as Frank Sinatra) were seen driving them.

The modern era of Lincoln is classy, sophisticated and high tech. To take it over the top, Lincoln has introduced the Black Lable program for its most discriminating buyers. I equate it to like having a Black Card from American Express or Master Card, because Lincoln’s Black Label program offers a host of exclusive membership privileges. These include special menus at select upscale restaurants and invitations to VIP parties. The buying process for a Black Label vehicle is also a unique process, because the concierge (sales associate) will come to your home or office with a suitcase of unique color samples and interior trim materials that are exclusive to Black Label Lincoln vehicles. The swatches are categorized into themes.

The vehicle I tested featured “The Muse” theme, which was inspired by the Roaring Twenties with duo tone colors. As with all Black Label vehicles, it features upgraded leather called Venetian Leather. This was my first experiencing this type of leather. It is very similar to Nappa leather in terms of softness, but one Lincoln engineer told me that it is much more durable than Nappa leather. The MKX Black Label also features Alcantara headliner offer occupants to premium feel to touch from top to bottom.

The drivetrain on the Lincoln MKX Black Label is similar to the regular MKX, which offers a 3.7L naturally aspirated V6, a 2.7L V6 EcoBoost (turbo charged) for increased fuel economy, or a 3.7L naturally aspirated V6 with all-wheel-drive.

The Lincoln MKX Black Label also offers similar technology features as the regular MKX, such as lane keep assist and one of the best infotainment systems in the business, Micrsoft Sync.

For more information about the Lincoln MKX Black Label, contact your local Lincoln dealer or Click Here to visit the special Black Label website.

The Maybach Is Back! Review of the 2016 Mercedes S600 Maybach

  
Maybach has a long history of producing some of the finest automobiles in the while, dating back to 1909. In recent times, the vehicle is often regarded as one of the best kept secrets, because only truly wealthy people (and automotive enthusiasts) will recognize the name. This has both helped and hurt the brand throughout the years – Helped because the elite want something different from the dozens of Rolls-Royces parked in their neighbor’s drive way; and hurt because most people paying 200k+ for car want to be recognized driving a car that cost as much as the average home in mid-west.

  
Mercedes, the owner of the Macbach brand, has given us a toy to play with. The Mercedes-Benz S600 Maybach. The vehicle is no longer its own make, but an exclusive trim level of the S-Class sedan.

  
The Machbach version of the S-Class is eight inches longer than the long wheelbase S-Class, meaning more legroom for the rear passangers. Riding in the back of the Mercedes S600 Maybach is like riding in a private jet. With the touch of a few buttons, your seat reclines and a foot rest pops out. Dual video screens keep you occupied as you tour around town. Should you get thirsty, an available champagne cool and (real) silver champagne flutes are stored in the rear center console. If alcohol is not your thing, the rear cup holders are both heated and cooled.

  
On the off chance that you actually have to work for a living, tray tables pop out of the rear center consol on the Mercedes S600 Maybach.

Two leather pillows are elegantly placed for nap time in the rear. Rear and side window shades can automatically be raised to reduce ambient light.

  
The 2016 Mercedes S600 Maybach wasn’t built just for the backseat passangers, the driver gets enjoy unprecedented luxury. The cabin is a lined with Napa leather from top to bottom. A heated steering wheel, armrests, and seats keep you warm during the winter, while ventilated seats keep you cool during the summer. Two big and beautiful displays show colorful illustrations of your speed, route information, entertainment selection, and control options for the front and rear massaging seats. Imagine taking a one hour road trip with a masseuse gentle rubbing your back.

  
Should you feel the need for speed, just give the Mercedes S600 a little gas, and you will begin to feel the power of a twin-turbo charged V12 engine with over 600 horsepower. The transmission is wicked smooth – it glides you from zero to sixty in five seconds.

  
With private jet styling and one of the softest rides on the planet, the MayBach is back. But this time, with an iconic nameplate… Watchout Rolls-Royce and Bentley!

The sixth generation Mustang is the best Mustang yet!

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I have been a Mustang fan since I was a boy, but not of all Mustangs… I love the first generation, liked the second, hated the third and fourth, and loved the fifth. I loved the previous generation so much so that I ordered a 2011 Mustang nine months before the car was put into production.

My 2011 Ford Mustang was a metallic blue model with white stripes and saddle leather interior; it was beautiful. Under the hood was 3.7L V6 paired with a six-speed manual gearbox that delivered 305 hp to the rear wheels. At the time, it was one of Ford’s most advanced engines. It was faster than the 2010 Mustang GT, while maintaining a fuel economy of around 28mpg on the highway. I ended up selling my Mustang and buying a Porsche because I wanted a change of pace…. But I still miss Mustang! There is something about driving American muscle.

The Mustang I am driving this week is a sixth generation Mustang. The new Mustang boasts a more aggressive design with a sleeker roof line. The vehicle is slightly wider and longer, but nearly an inch shorter. The model I am driving includes Ford’s new 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine with a six-speed manual gearbox. The engine is rated for 310 horsepower and 320 pounds of torque, so it gallops from zero to sixty a little quicker than my Mustang. The only thing missing is the rumble of the engine through the exhaust. My old Mustang wasn’t nearly as throaty as a V8, but the naturally aspirated V6 engine still produced a nice little rumbled. Instead, when you put the pedal to metal in this car, you hear the turbos spool. Arguably, some may enjoy the sound of turbo chargers getting ready to launch the car – with very minimal lag.

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In addition to increased horsepower and torque, the new EcoBoost Mustang offers slightly increased fuel economy over the current and previous generation V6. Fuel economy has become increasingly important to Ford. Not just because of expected rising fuel costs in the US (even though gas prices are insanely low now), but because this is a global Mustang. Ford is building and selling the Ford Mustang across the globe for the first time ever. Europeans love turbo-charged 4-cylinder engineers because of the lower emissions, increased fuel economy, and low RPM torque. In some European countries, citizens are taxed based on their vehicle’s engine size.   

The all-new interior on the sixth generation Mustang is fighter plane inspired, toggle switches and a speedometer labeled “Ground Speed MPH.” 

The interior is stunning. The new design has turned the unrefined Mustang into a sophisticated vehicle, worthy of ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, and dynamic mood lighting. Their is quite a bit of plastic in the vehicle, but Ford did a fantastic job of dressing it up with stitching accents that make it look like leather. I know I have said it before, but one of the best features of any Ford is Microsoft Sync. It is hands down one of the easiest to use infotainment centers. It offers a wealth of premium features without the need for an expensive data plan (just for your car).

I know the sixth generation Mustang has been out for a while now, but I feel like a kid in a candy store getting my hands on one!

 

Upgrade to first class with the Infiniti Q70L

 
If you have  $50,000 to $65,000 to spend on a luxury sedan, you have a few options. You can get mid-sized sedan like the Mercedes E-Class or the BMW 5-Series, or you can upgrade to the full-sized Infiniti Q70L.

The Infiniti Q70L has Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7-Series, and Audi A8L qualities at a fraction of the price. You get a flagship vehicle with exceptinal ride quality, advanced technologies, and enough leg room for backseat passangers to stretch their legs with an additional six inches of leg room.

 
The interior of the Infiniti Q70L is very posh. The center consol, dash, and doors are dressed with real wood and soft the interior is lined with sof to the touch leather. An available 1o speaker Bose sounds system with twin speakers on the headrest of the front seats is litterally music to my ears – It creates a personalized sound experince for each occupant.

The Infiniti Q70L is avialable in two different engine configurations: a 3.7L V6 that produces 330 horsepower and a 5.6L V8 that produces 416 horsepower. The V8 moves! Both drivetrain option come with a 7-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly, but quickly when needed.

The usual flagship level features are standard with the 5.6L varient of the Infiniti Q70L, such as a 360 degree camera and and climate controled seats. So far $64,000 you are not just getting a bigger engine.

The overall design of the Inifiti Q70L has had a major update in almost a decade. This is good for buyers, because they can expect their car to look modern for years to come.

First Drive: 2016 Nissan Altima

 
The 2016 Altima may look nearly identical to the 2015 model, but it is what’s inside that counts. Upgrades include a new grill with active shutters to improve areodynamics and fuel efficentcy, a sportier suspesion, and an enhanced cabin with increased sound proofing material. I can’t get over the how quite this car is!

The 2016 Nissan Altima is available with two engine options: A 4-cylinder engine that gets almost 40 mpg, and a peppy V6 that produces 270 horsepower. New for 2016 is an SR variant, that adds a sportier suspension, paddel shifters, and unique wheel. Nissan uses a CVT transmission in all Altimas, so you get smoother shifts, but you are sacraficing performance.

  
Updated safety technologies make the 2016 Nissan Altima one of the safest cars in it’s segment: An optional forward emergency braking system is able to bring the Altima to a complete stop, rear cross traffic alert warns you if a car is approaching while backing out from a parking spot, and blind spot warning alerts you if a car is driving in your blindspot.

At a starting price of $22,000, this best Nissan Altima yet! 

The Mercedes-Benz SL400 is the new kid on the block!

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The Mecedes-Benz SL400 has big shoes to fill in the United States. It is the new budget friendly SL for our market. While Europe has enjoyed fuel efficient 6-cylinder SL Class roadsters for over a decade, this is the first year, since 2001, that the US market will receive a V6 option. We have had the luxury of touring around with Mecedes’ powerful V8 and V12 engines, producing up to 621 horsepower.

With a smaller engine comes decreased performance, but I will pleasantly surprised by the 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL400. The 3.0L bi-turbo engine produces 329 horsepower and 354 pounds of torque, which means plenty of power for everyday driving. And if the new SL400 is your everyday driver, you will be please to find out that the roadster gets 20 mpg in the city and 27 mph on the highway.

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As with the rest of the SL-Class line up, the Mercedes-Benz SL400 is beautifully crafted grand tourer, designed to trill as you drive along the coast in luxury. The of the SL400 interior is sporty and refined. The seats, doors and dash are blanketed in premium leathers and trimmed with real wood and aluminum. Napa Leather is available as an option. Sporty physical gages are paired with a small display on the instrument cluster. Aluminum brake and gas pedals amplify the performance feeling you get when you are behind the wheel.

It is not a race car feeling, it is a feeling of confidence and comfort. This is the car you want to drive every day or take on a cross country road trip. With the top down you feel like a kid again, and with the top up you can enjoy a peaceful ride.

Because the Mercedes SL400 is a hardtop convertible, you get the benefits of driving a convertible without the disadvantages of owning one. Traditional soft top convertibles are noisy on the highway, the SL400 is as quite. You also don’t have to worry about a thief using a knife to cut open the top and brake into your car.

The Mercedes-Benz SL400 comes very well equipped: Real leather seats (an option on most Mercedes’ now days), wood trim interior, a high-end sound system, backup camera, dual-zone climate control, and a navigation system are all standard. Available options include massaging seats (which don’t work as well as the ones on the S-Class Coupe and Sedan), lane keep assist (which will autocorrect your steering wheel if you veer out of your lane), ventilated seats, and laser guide cruise control.

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My father owns the previous generation SL, the Mercedes-Benz SL550. It was interesting to compare the two vehicles side-by-side. The SL550 was Mecedes’ entry level SL in 2007. It came with a powerful 5.5L V8 that produced 382 horsepower. It also came standard with ABC Sport and a suspension system that allowed you to raise and lower the height of the car – both are expensive options on the new SL Class vehicles. The new one is definitely has a sportier look and much more sophisticated technology.

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While some skeptics might scoff at the Mercedes-Benz SL400 because it has a smaller engine than it’s big brothers, I like it. The smaller engine increases fuel economy, which is important for trips and daily use, plus it comes at a lower price point (starting at $85,000 versus $108,000).

Click here or visit your local Mercedes-Benz deal for more information on the 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL400.

The 2016 BMW 650i Convertible Is A Fantastic Cruiser

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Fall is coming to South Florida; that means 75 degree weather with partly cloudy skies. BMW has created the perfect car for cruising while basking in the warm sunshine, the BMW 650i Convertible. The car offers full size luxury in the form of a droptop that goes up and down in 19 seconds.

The driver focused interior on the BMW 650i Convertible has been enhanced (versus previous generations) with even more leather and more wood. The model I tested was fitted with beautiful nappa leather and dark red sycamore wood. The seats are adjustable in 20 different ways, which includes an adjustable upper back support and seat extender. Heated seats are standard, ventilated front seats are optional. While the front seats are definitly the center of attention, the backseats are not forgotten. The backseats are big enough for both kids and adults to ride comfortably.

Driving the BMW 650i Convertible is an enjoyable experience with both the top up or down. Heavy sound proofing around the car and on the canvas top, deliver a quite ride even at highway speeds.

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The BMW 650i Convertible blends technology and traditional luxury very well. A mid-sized display is accompanied by physical elements to enhance the driving experience and prevent distractions. It displays, telephone, navigation, phone and vehicle information such as your speedometer and tachometer. A gigantic split screen display sits on the top of the center console. This screen allows you to display both the radio and navigation at the same time; while it may not seem important, it is a very convenient feature. As an available option, the 650i Convertible offer a heads up display.

The BMW 650i Convertible is one of the heaviest cars in its segment, but at the heart of the BMW 650i Convertible is a twin-turbo V8 engine that produces 445 horsepower and 480 pounds of torque. It launches the car from zero to sixty in under 4.5 seconds.

The BMW 650i Convertible’s comfortable ride, beautiful interior, and powerful engine make it a great choice for those who want a luxurious daily driver. Contact your local BMW dealer for more information.

The Range Rover SVR is the super car of SUVs.

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Few vehicles can hold the title of super car; an ultra high performance car that is exclusive and often times barely street legal. If there was such a title, The Land Rover Range Rover SVR would deserve the title of “Super SUV.” The Range Rover SVR’s impressive performance stems from its massive 5.0L supercharged V8 engine that produces 550 horsepower and 502 ib-ft of torque. From there, the performance enhancements extend to the wheels with 20″ Brembo brakes and 21″ alloy wheels. It also features a super quick 8-speed automatic transmission, that shifts almost as fast as a dual-clutch transmission. Now can you guess the top speed of this “Super SUV?” Try 162 mph!

The Land Rover Range Rover SVR even sounds like a super car! The engine roars when you step on the gas pedal. The exhaust note reminds me of the Jaguar F-Type, which in my opinion sounds better than a Ferrari 488 GTB.

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Of course, a Land Rover wouldn’t be a Land Rover without its off-road prowess. The Range Rover SVR is fully equipped to take on extreme off-road conditions: Mud, Rocky Terrain, Ice, and Water. The vehicle offers two locking differentials, a low and high gear box, as well as, independent suspension for all four wheels and adjustable ride height. It is one of the most capable SUV’s on the market – arguably second to only the full size Range Rover.

Rarely, can a tall, off-road equipped vehicle out perform the average sports car.

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The inside of the Range Rover SVR is even more special looking than the outside… Your eyes are immediately drawn to competition seats. While traditional seatbelt are still in place, the competition seats (both front and rear) off slots for a racing harness. While they are not functional, that look awesome! The rest of cabin is lined with carbon fiber trim. It adds to performance appearing of this one of a kind “Super SUV.”

The usual luxury features are available with Range Rover SVR: A full leather dash and doors, a large touch screen infotainment display, a panoramic sunroof, and a mini-fridge underneath the center console armrest. The only thing missing was the ventilated seats – sadly those are not available with competition seats.

All in all, the Range Rover SVR is a truly amazing vehicle. It has got style, off-road capability, and performance. It certainly gives the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and the Mercedes G63 AMG a run for the hills.

Contact your local Land Rover dealer for more information on the 2015 Range Rover SVR or click here to visit the Land Rover website.

 

 

The Mercedes G63 AMG Stands The Test Of Time

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From the late 1970s till now, how many vehicles have maintained their original body style? Some may argue that the 2015 Porsche 911 resembles its 1979 sibling, but lets face it, they are both very different cars.

The Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG (aka G-Wagen or G-Class) is almost identical to its siblings from 30 years ago. It is vehicle that is sought after as both a status symbol and means of reliable transportation in the harshest climates. Why fix something that isn’t broken?

The G-Wagen was originally developed as a military vehicle in 1972, with a civilian version made available in 1979. Many variants of the G-Wagen have been created, but it’s basic shape and style has remained the same. For example, the Pope had a custom G-Wagen created with a bullet-proof glass compartment for parades and events.

Now days, you will find the G-Wagen driven on the streets of Beverly Hills, Dallas, and Palm Beach by gorgeous soccer moms and NBA basketball players; few realizing the G-Wagon’s true potential. The G-Wagon is the ultimate off-road vehicle. Its three locking differentials, independent suspension, and low transfer 4X4 gearbox is why you will just as likely find the G-Wagon in the middle of the Article Circle. Very few vehicles offer three locking differentials – this allows both the front wheels and both of the rear wheels to spin with even power… You won’t find that on a Land Rover! The Land Rover Range Rover for instance has two locking differentials. Meaning that even though it has four wheel drive, not all of the wheels will have even power.

The G-Wagen that I tested was powered by AMG, Mercedes’s high-performance division. It featured a hand built 536 horsepower biturbo V8 engine. The motor is paired with a 7-speed AMG transmission, which helps launch the G-Wagen from zero to sixty in 5.3 seconds. It also has a sport exhaust, which produces a hearty rumble. So why does an off road vehicle need so much power and a loud exhaust? Because it is awesome!

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I am normally a big fan of Mercedes-Benz’s interiors. The manufactures does an impressive job of combining old-world luxury with modern design and technology. I wasn’t very impressed with the G-Wagen. Don’t get me wrong, the interior is well crafted and uses high quality materials, such as premium leather and real wood trim, but it is too boxy for my tastes. Also, I hate the infotainment screen in the center, it looks like an after thought.

While it may not be a traditional “US” Mercedes-Benz in terms of style, it upholds Mercedes’ standards in terms of comfort. The seats were incredible; they offered a multitude of adjustments and were very comfortable for my 2 hour day trip from Ft Lauderdale to Naples, Florida. The vehicle also offered a massive amounts of headroom. I am 5’8″ and I had nearly a foot of room above my head – if you are a tall guy, this could seal the deal by itself.

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The Mercedes G63 AMG is the second longest production vehicle to carry the Mercedes-Benz name plate, and I hope it stays that way. It has truly stood the test of time with great engineering, great build quality, and loyal fanbase.