All of these things can be said about a sports car, but what makes a sports sedan different from a sports car is the fact that four people can actually fit in it. It is just as well suited for a track day as it is picking up your two kids from school.
BMW has dominated the sports sedan segment with the 3-series. But what is lacked in creature comforts it made up for in terms of performance.
Now there is a new Sheriff in town, the Jaguar XE. It is here to steal BMW’s lunch money, and in my opinion, it has. The XE is backed by Jaguars racing pedigree and the ultra-fun to drive F-Type sports car. It is also backed by Jaguar’s XJL ultra-luxury sedan. So the vehicle is able offer the rare combination of true luxury and true performance. You won’t find that at Mercedes (unless you opt for an AMG) or Audi (unless you opt for an S or RS). Both brands trade comfort over performance unless you are willing to spend almost six figures. This combination of luxury and performance for under $50k gives the XE a clearly defined audience: driving enthusiasts who need a luxury car.
Like I mentioned before, the Jaguar XE is available with a 340Hp Supercharged V6, paired with an 8-speed automatic. But it is not just the acceleration times that got my heart racing, it is how well the Jaguar XE sticks to a corner. The vehicle is tight, well balanced, and demonstrates little body roll. Jaguar utilized a lightweight aluminum architecture to keep the center of gravity low and offer drivers a near 50/50 weight distribution… and you can feel it in the car as you hug corners. To hug them even tighter, Jaguar introduced torque vectoring to compact sports sedan segment. The electronically controlled system dynamically controls the brakes on the inside wheels while cornering in order to spin the car faster. The XE is also available with a performance oriented all-wheel-drive system. I say performance because most all-wheel-drive systems, like the one found on entry level Audis, have a front wheel drive bais that delivers the majority of power to the front wheels. The Jaguar takes cue from LeMans race cars and is able to shift the power from 90-10 (front-rear) to 50-50 to 10-90 based upon road conditions and driving patterns.
All of this makes it the perfect car for a driving enthusiast who needs four doors.
Inside the Jaguar XE, you will find a poshly designed interior that came straight from Britain. The attention to detail is superb, right down to the rotary dial used to select the gear. The seats are firm, but comfortable. The star of the interior is a large touch screen display that is paired with a Meridian sound system to deliver high quality beats to your eardrums.
If you are in the market for a sports sedan, you no longer have to choose between performance and luxury… you now have the Jaguar XE, the perfect sports sedan.
Volkswagen’s flagship SUV is unfortunatly often times over looked in the luxury SUV segment. I say this because the streets of Florida are littered with BMW X5s, Mercedes GLEs (formal called the ML class), Audi Q7s, and Porsche Cayennes. But I rarely see a VW Touareg, despite its beautiful styling and plush interior. Dollar for dollar, the Touareg beats all of them.
The Volkswagen Touareg is unique amongst its VW brothers and sisters not only because of its price point (starting at 50k), but because the Touareg is targeted specifically against the luxury segment which includes its two cousins, the Audi Q7 and the Porsche Cayenne. The latter with which is shares its underpinnings with. The executive trim level cuts the margins even closer (starting at around $60k) because of all the standard premium equipment.
With both the exterior and interior, the Volkswagen Touareg Executive says the luxury. The exterior styling is beautiful with 21 wheels, and the interior compliments the exterior by using Vienna leather and wood trim – Although I am not sure if it is really wood. VW wanted to make sure occupants are at the optimal climate, by making the seats both ventalited and heated, and offering tri-zone climate controls standard of the Executive trim level. Additional features include Park Distance Control (Park Pilot), a 360-degree camera for parking, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Lane Change Assist.
Standard on all Touaregs is VW’s “4 Motion” all-wheel-drive system. It works similar to Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system which uses a computer to transfer power between each wheel in order to provide drivers with optimum traction. I drove the Touareg on a combination of dry and wet surfaces and the system worked beautifully. I didn’t get a chance to test the Touareg’s terrain response system, which optimizes the all-wheel-drive system for off-road and snow use, but I heard from other journalists that is works well.
You get all of these features for cost of a barely equipped BMW X5, which makes VW Touareg Executive one hell of a bargain!
The only reason why I can understand someone buying a BMW, Mercedes, or Audi over the Touareg is vanity. Let’s face it, VW is “the people’s car.” It is a little hard to justify $60k for a VW when it is seen as the bargain German car manufacturer, but that can work in your favor. I like how the VW Touareg is luxurious, but understated. If an executive is driving a Mercedes, employees are likely think the executive is getting paid too much and that they are not getting paid enough. But if an executive is driving a VW, employees are likely to think they are on an even playing field… Just don’t give them a ride in it!
We all of the premium amenities, I urge you to give the VW Touareg Executive some love next time you are shopping for a luxury mid-sized SUV. It is true German Engineering without the German Engineering price point.
1. Alfa Romeo Guilia
I saw this car at the Frankfurt Autoshow last year and fell in love with it. Now it is for the US market to compete head to head with BMW’s M series and Mercedes’ AMG series vehicles. If you want a unique high performance sedan, this is your car!
2. Acura NSX
Acura (Honda, everywhere else in the world) has been teasing us with a new NSX for the past five years. Now it is finally here and a production ready prototype is on display at the Miami Auto Show. Get ready to see them on the streets of South Florida, because I know of at least one local dealer who delivered the car to a customer.
3. Genesis G90
4. Audi R8
5. Lexus LC500 Hybrid
When I read the headlines that the Cadillac ATS-V has a 464HP motor under the hood, my mind immediately raced… Does the ATS-V have the same 464HP pushrod V8 from the Cheverolet Corvette? The answer is no, it is even better! The Corvette’s pushrod V8 is archaic when compared to dual overhead cam engines found in the Porsche 911 and the Jaguar F-Type, but the Corvette is faster car around the track. As the saying goes, why fix it if it isn’t broken! Unfortunately (but fortunately), the engineers at GM couldn’t fit the Corvette’s massive 6.2L V8 engine into the Cadillac ATS-V. So they beefed up a modern 3.6L V6 with overhead cams and added dual-turbochargers to bring up the power to an evenly matched 464HP. That is over 40% more horsepower per liter than the Corvette!
Despite the Cadillac ATS-V’s horsepower per liter advantage, the 3.6L engine produces 20 pounds of torque less than the Corvette’s 6.2L motor. This paired with being a heavier car than the Corvette means that the zero-to-sixty times are slowed down to 3.8 seconds (compared to the Corvette’s 3.7 seconds). Maybe slow isn’t the right word because they are both faster in a straight line than the $110,000 Porsche 911 4S, and arguably quicker around a racetrack too. The Cadillac ATS-V starts at $60,696 and the Corvette starts at $55,450.
Both the Cadillac ATS-V and the Corvette come standard with sticky Michellin Pilot Super Sport tires design for performance driving both on and off the track, they both also feature best in class Brembo Brakes (arguably the best high performance brake manufacture for road cars), and they both have a sports tuned suspension with magnetic ride (optional on the Corvette). Options on both vehicles include extended use of carbon fiber and authentic Racaro seats in front. Racaro seats are synonymous with racing because of the way they hug your body while cornering and the back support provided for endurance racing.
So with the performance line drawn so closely, is the Cadillac ATS-V a four passenger Corvette? The awnser is no, because nothing can replace the allure of America’s most iconic sports. But it does offer a new luxurious option for those who want Corvette, but need a four passenger vehicle. It is perfect car for those who want a 189 mph track capable sports car that can take the kids to school.
Click here for more information about the Cadillac ATS-V or visit your local Cadillac dealer.
In racing you want a car that is fast in a straightline and quick around the corners, which means that you need a powerful engine paired with a light weight and well balanced chassis. It was with this inspiration that Alfa engineered the 4C a couple years ago. The mid engine design means that the car is perfectly balaned, and it’s use of a carbon fiber tub increases occupant safety and greatly reduces weight. The US version weighed in at around 2,400 pounds (the Europen version weighed even less) and launched the car from zero to sixty in only 4 seconds. It is and was a true racing driver’s car with limited comfort amenities, but full on performance. The vehcile comes equipped with a turbocharged 4-cylinder and a six speed dual-clutch gearbox, which means that the Alfa Romeo 4C shifts quicker than you can say Alfa. The transmission rivals that of its much bigger cousin, the Ferrari 488 GTB/S.
You can read more about the Alfa Romeo 4C coupe here. Continue reading for details on the 4C Spyder.
The next variant of the Alfa Romeo 4C is here, and it comes as a Spyder. The targa top version of the 4C protects you from the elements using a folding cloth top, and lets the sunshine in with the release of two screws and four levelers. It is a manual collapsible top, so removing it and attaching it can be tricky, but it is easy once you get the hang of it. I even removed it once while stopped at a long stoplight! The ease of removing the top reminds me of the glory days of T-Tops. You can either fold the top up and place it in the seat next to you or their is a spot for it in the trunk. Putting the top on though requires you to get out the car for a few minutes in order to ensure a proper fit – I got caught in a rain storm one afternoon during my week with the car, so I pulled off the road and rushed to put the top on in order to protect the beautiful leather interior. While rushing to put the top on, I forgot to slip part of the cloth into the windshield seem; it protected me and the interior from the rain while stopped, but as soon as I started moving, I was blasted with water. I had to pull over again to remove and re-attach the top for a tight fit.
Driving with the top off and the windows down, it is a what you would expect from a Spyder: The wind blowing through your hair and an enhanced sound of an exotic engine exhaust roaring the in the background. The wind is almost non-existent with the windows up, because the rear window acts as a windscreen. This combination works well on the highway if you are trying to talk on the phone or have a conversation with the passenger next to you.
Driving with the top on is a very similar experience to the coupe version of the Alfa Romeo 4C. I haven’t compared the two side-by-side, but the only drawback that I can think of is a reduced noise insulation… But I don’t mind because I love its Italian exhaust note!
Choosing between the 4C Coupe and 4C Spyder is a difficult decision. The 4C Coupe looks sexier with a rear window peeping into the mid-engine bay, but the Spyder offers an enhance driving experience.
So the choice is yours!
Visit your local Alfa Romeo dealer for more information on the 4C or click here to visit Alfa Romeo’s website.
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.
Rarely in life will you find a true blend of polar opposites. I say this because the Jaguar XJL is both a high end luxury vehicle designed to offer an elegant ride to the theater by your chauffeur, and a high performance vehicle that is designed to hug a twisted road. I didn’t always think this way…
My initial impression of the long-wheelbase sedan was skewed by previouslt driving the Mecedes S-Class sedan. I was expecting the Jaguar XJL to be a gigantic luxury car with private plane amenities and a smooth ride, but lacking the thrill of a performance vehicle. I was naive in thinking this way, because as soon as I got behind the wheel and drove the car a block, I remembered Jaguar’s racing DNA. The Jaguar XJL is big and luxurious, but it wants run! As soon as you apply an ounce of throttle, the supercharge 5.0L V8 pushed the car from 0 to 60 in less than 5 seconds. Then as you hit a curved onramp, you feel the car gripping the road with little body roll. Don’t misread my thoughts, this is still a big and heavy car at 4,131 pounds, but that is nearly 700 pounds less than the S-Class thanks to Jaguar’s extent isle use of aluminum.
The interior is what you would expect from a $100,000 car built in the UK: Classic British styling paired with ultra-premium materials. Every detail, from the diamond stitched leather seats to massive wood trim was eloquently crafted. Annoying grid lock commutes are a thing of the past now, because the front passengers have heated and ventalated massaging seats. Rear seat passengers will have to slum it without the massaging seats, but they do have extended legroom thanks to the extra long wheel base on the XJL.
I defintily wouldn’t complain about being chauffeured around in the backseat, but I would rather be driving this full-sized luxury sedan with stunning looks and exhilarating performance!
For more information about the Jaguar XJL, contact your local Jaguar dealer or click here to go the website.
The thought of a high performance keep to me is odd, because when I think of Jeep I think of a super reliable off road vehicles. It doesn’t matter if it is the Wrangler Sport or the Grand Cherokee, their entire lineup is built on the foundation of off-roading.
So when a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT showed up to my doorstep, my first reaction was: “this will be interesting!” And it was!
I was super impressed wit this vehicle because it felt and drove like a sports car. It’s characteristics were able to be changed on fly using the drive mode selector. Under the hood is a 475HP V8 Hemi paired with a 8 speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel-drive. Thank to this all-wheel-drive system, the near perfect traction control system and sticky Pirelli tires, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT can take off like a rocket without spinning your wheels. Even on a wet road in track mode, the car gripped. I went to a parking lot and tried to do burn outs and the car gripped. I couldn’t break her loose!
In addition to raw power, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT also massive Brembo brakes and a sports tune suspension. So out of the box you have an SUV design for the track. I would never turn it into a track car, but it is fun knowing that you could if you were daring enough.
The big attaction to Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is obviously the performance, but I wouldn’t do it justice if I didn’t talk about the interior which comes nicely appointed. The vehicle I test drove featured supple caramel colored leather seats. The infotainment center was pretty standard with navigation, satilite radio and apps for vehicle fuel economy. Unique to the SRT is performance app, which offers performance stats and info on all of the vehicles systems.
I am not quite sure who this vehicle is targeted towards, but the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is a must see for anyone who wants a sports car, but needs four seats.
For more information about the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, visit your local Jeep dealer or CLICK HERE to visit Jeep’s website.
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.
It sounds too good to be true, but the 2016 Infiniti Q50S luxury sports sedan really does offer 400hp for around 50k. It is a bargin when you compare it to the BMW M3 which offers 25 more horsepower, but at a $13,000 premium. Other competition in its class is the Audi S4 and the Lexus IS F-Sport, but they don’t offer anywhere close to 400hp.
In addition to 400 horsepower under the hood, the Infiniti Q50S has a number of high-performance goodies under the hood:
- The digital steering system offers a dynamic input and feel, allowing you have a sporty feel during a spirited drive and a luxury feel while cruising on the highway.
- Rear wheel drive comes standard, versus the Audi A4 which comes with front wheel drive. The optional all-wheel-drive system maintains a rear wheel drive bias, while delivering up to 50% of the power to the front wheels when needed.
- A seven speed automatic is standard equipment for all Q50 models. The aluminum paddle shifts on the steering column deliver a quick response and shift times are quick for a traditional automatic transmission.
- Five driving modes are available, each with its own presets to change the way the car drives: Snow, Eco, Standard, Sport, and Sport Plus.
One of the cooler facts about the Q50S is that Infiniti is racing them in the British Touring Car Championship. It is neat to see a sedan in the this price range being raced by the manufacture!
The Q50S offers a modern exterior design with sleek lines and a sporty look. Almost every line was engineered for aerodynamics, in order to increase fuel economy and performance. It is available in 9 colors, ranging from liquid platinum to iridium blue. The vehicle I tested came in Venetian Ruby.
The interior is dressed with leather and optional maple wood or aluminum trim. Gray or black interior are your only color options. The highlight of the interior, at least for me, was the dual touchscreen displays on the center consol. This is the only vehicle I have driven with them. Because of their enhanced fuctionality, I am really surprised more vehicles don’t make use of dual screens instead of unusually large widescreen displays. The dual screens allow you to control two systems simultaneously, such as navigation and audio. Large widescreen displays, like the only on BMWs, perform a similar function, but their use isn’t as intuitive.
Like I said earlier in the article, the Infiniti Q50S is priced around $50,000, which makes this car a bargain for those wanting a high performance sedan without braking the bank.
For more information about the 2016 Infiniti Q50S, contact your local dealer or go to InfinitiUSA.com.