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Archive for the ‘new cars’ Category

PostHeaderIcon 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show – Best In Show

Auto show season is very much upon us, kicking off in Germany with the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. This bi-annual event (passenger cars are presented during odd-numbered years and commercial vehicles during even-numbered years) traditionally brings out the good stuff, and this year was no different, with a variety of exciting, innovative, and highly desirable new rides making headlines across numerous segments.

Of course, it goes without saying that we here at TopSpeed.com are, like any other gear head, naturally inclined to seek out those things that are fast and sexy, and as such, there were a few obvious picks going on this list. If you’ve been paying attention to the news coming out of Frankfurt, you know that should include the latest hybrid hypercar from Mercedes, Bimmer’s new Le Mans race machine, and a particular Prancing Horse as well. To these obvious picks, we added a concept and even a slick SUV, plus a few other standouts. Read on for our picks of the best from Frankfurt, and feel free to post your additions and/or edits in the comments section below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Best In Show debuts from the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

PostHeaderIcon The New 2018 Nissan Leaf Might Be The Best Replacement for the VW TDI

Last night Nissan finally unveiled the all-new 2018 Leaf, and it’s a massive improvement over the old car. The biggest news for EV fans will be the new 150-mile range. That’s nearly double what the original Leaf launched with. It’s even easier on your wallet with a starting price under $30,000, making it nearly $700 cheaper than the current model. But the best improvement is the all-new electric motor. The old car made a useable, but unimpressive 107 horsepower and 187 pound-feet of torque. But the new 2018 car makes 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, and that is more amazing than you realize.

Let us put those power numbers into perspective. The Volkswagen 2.0L TDI engine, the best “performance” fuel-economy engine on the market before the Dieselgate scandal destroyed everything, produces 150 horsepower and 238 pounds of twist.

Nissan just made a viable alternative to scorned TDI buyers.

True, the TDI had some other advantages like a massive 600+ mile range before needing to be refueled, but on a pure day-to-day performance perspective, the new Leaf might work. If you bought a TDI to make your daily commute, and you still want something that is good for the environment while providing the same level of thrust, maybe you should call your Nissan Dealer.

Yes, we do know that other alternatives like the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 have even more power and performance, but those cars also have much higher price tags. We aren’t sure about you, but we feel like people buying $26k Volkswagen’s might not be able to afford the $38,000 asking price of a Bolt.

But what do you guys think? Is the new Nissan Leaf good enough to be a real competitor in the market now? And if you are a former TDI owner, please let us now, and be sure to give us your thoughts on this new car.

PostHeaderIcon Jaguar XJR575

The Jaguar XJ has been around since 1968 and has been Jaguar’s prized flagship for the last 47 years. Over the years, it has seen three generational shifts, if you don’t count the various series’ produced within each generation. The current and fourth generation has been around since 2009, so it’s getting a little long in the tooth. It still looks good, though, and is fairly modern, with an update taking place for 2017 that brought some new technology, a revised exterior look, and a number of new trim levels to choose from. Jaguar has chosen to forgo the generational shift just yet, but for 2018, the XJ does get a new update in the form of a brand new trim level that brings a 5.0-liter V-8 that’s good for 567 horsepower and 516 pound-feet – enough to get the new XJR575 up to its top speed of 186 mph in just 44 seconds while the sprint to 60 mph takes just 4.4 seconds, making the XJR575 the fasted and most powerful road-going production Jaguar to date.

Along with the new trim level, the XJ line also gets some new intelligent safety features and technology that includes a 10-inch touchscreen display, new infotainment operating system, forward traffic detection, lane keep assist, autonomous emergency braking, and drive condition monitoring. That seems like a lot of new stuff to infuse into a model that’s creeping up on 10 years old, but you’ve got to hand it to Jaguar for designing a model that’s capable of lasting this long and upgradeable enough to remain relevant in a constantly evolving market. So, with that said, let’s dive on in and take a good look and Jaguar’s newest, fastest, and best XJ model to date.

Update 9/6/2017: Jaguar has decided to offer the XJR575 here in the U.S. and it starts out at $122,400. But, there’s quite a few options to choose from and some decisions to make, so check out the pricing section below to learn all about those and see what a fully-speced XJR575 will cost you outside of a divorce, of course.

PostHeaderIcon Honda Civic Type R – Driven

Performance vehicles are pushing the envelope beyond the imagination these days. Insane horsepower numbers and bleeding-edge technology contribute to ridiculous lap times and sub-four-second sprints to 60 mph. But more often than not, these all-out performance machines – think Chevrolet Corvette, Jaguar F-Type, and Porsche Cayman – are too compromised for daily living and cost a significant chunk of change. But imagine combining the impressive performance of a two-seater coupe with the functionality of a five-door hatchback and a reasonable price. That’s exactly what that hot hatch segment does. And now for the 2017 model year, Honda has launched its all-new Civic Type R. What’s more, Honda is bringing it to America for the first time.

Based on the new 10th-generation Honda Civic, the new Type R adds power, a sophisticated suspension system, and functional aero to the family-friendly Civic hatchback. It’s like having cake and eating it, too. Now, the Civic Type R has some stiff competition. The 350-horsepower Ford Focus RS is the reigning performance king and the Volkswagen Golf R is the grown-up’s idea of a performance-minded hatchback. And if having a hatchback isn’t a priority but hitting the rally circuit is, there’s always the Subaru WRX STI. The Civic Type R sort of carves its own niche in the segment with an outlandish design, heavily bolstered front buckets, and the lowest starting price of the bunch, but mixes it with only 306 horsepower and the lack of all-wheel drive. To find out how the Civic Type R recipe tastes, Honda flew me to Washington State for time on a private racetrack and scenic drives near the Olympic National Forest. Here’s what I found.

Continue reading for the full driven review.

PostHeaderIcon Bentley’s Rotating Display in the Continental GT Will have you Feeling Like James Bond!

The third-generation Bentley Continental broke cover the other day with a brand-new design and a ton of cool features. Inspired by the cool EXP 10 Speed 6 concept on the outside and powered by a new W-12 engine that cranks out more power than most Ferrari-built V-8s and V-12s, the new Continental GT also boasts a new interior packed with a huge amount of luxury features and technology. But, while the new Koa wood veneer and the “diamond-in-diamond” upholstery are pretty impressive, it’s the Rotating Display that blew me away.

While I’m not a big fan of fancy gadgets, I must admit that the Rotating Display is one of the main reasons why I’ve fallen in love with the new Conti GT. Let’s face it, it’s the kind of feature you’d find in one of James Bond’s car, along with machine guns hidden behind the headlamps. And known James’ weakness for British cars, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the grand tourer in the next film. So why am I so excited it about this? Well, I like clean dashboards with massive wood veneers as much as I enjoy high-resolution screens. Having both was impossible until now, so it’s like a dream come true.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Bentley Unveils 2018 Continental GT

Bentley just dropped a ton of details on the new 2018 Continental GT ahead of its debut in Frankfurt next month. Now entering its third generation, the Continental GT promises high-end grand tourer speed and comfort, plus unmistakable British style. Outside, the design takes cues from the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept, with lightweight aluminum body panels and longer, lower dimensions. In back, you’ll find reshaped taillights, plus LED Matrix lighting. 21-inch wheels are standard, while 22-inchers are available. Inside is the new Bentley Rotating Display, offering both a 12.3-inch touchscreen and three analog dials. Up to four passengers get to enjoy a “diamond in diamond” design for the leather upholstery, while chrome trim and several acres of wood add extra gloss. A 10-speaker stereo comes as standard, while an 18-speaker system is an available option.

So it’s nice to sit in and look at. What about driving it? Under the muscular hoodline is a 6.0-liter W-12 engine producing 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Putting it to the ground is a dual-clutch eight-speed transmission and Active AWD system, helping it reach 62 mph in 3.7 seconds and top out at 207 mph. Larger brakes (up to 16.5 inches in front) throw the anchor, while a Dynamic Ride System enhances both handling prowess and passenger comfort as needed. The engine was also moved further back in the chassis for optimized weight distribution. Look for the 2018 Bentley Continental GT to debut next month at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

PostHeaderIcon The Third-Gen Porsche Cayenne Makes a Symphonious Debut in Stuttgart

A huge symphony projected onto a massive display, and a large number of dancers in white robes set the mood for the third-gen Porsche Cayenne to roll onto the stage for its first official outing at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. When you think of a new-gen model making its debut, you expect to see something quite different, but with the Cayenne, it was more about honing perfection instead of trying to reinvent the model. And, while some may have their reservations about it (perhaps even me included,) beauty runs much deeper than the skin on this baby. First off, the body is now all aluminum from front to rear (minus a few pieces of plastic cladding, of course) which contributed to a weight loss of around 65 kilo or 143.3 pounds. That’s the weight of a small human, and when you add in the fact that it gets more power, there’s no doubt about it, the new Cayenne has all that sports car DNA Porsche was aiming for.
How did it make this possible? Well, I’m glad you asked.

For starters, a new rear axle steering system is standard equipment for better maneuverability while a three-chamber suspension system keeps the ride on point. What’s more important, however, is the power upgrades that contribute to better performance. The base model gets a 3.0-liter that’s good for 340 horsepower, a 40-pony improvement, and 331 pound-feet of torque. The Cayenne S, which gets the 2.9-liter V-6, will deliver a tasty 440 horsepower (20 extra ponies) and 405 pound-feet of twist. They can hit 62 mph in 6.2 and 5.2 seconds, respectively. If you opt for the Sport Chrono package, those figures drop to 5.9 and 4.9 seconds. Maximum speed for both models is pegged at 164 mph. As for the interior, there are some nice changes in play as well, including better digitization of the instrument cluster (all but the central analog gauge) and a large, 12.3-inch touchscreen display in the center stack. New HVAC vents help to provide a fresh look while the typical support handles on the doors and console have been moved forward a bit. Cargo capacity has increased to 27.19 cubic-feet, an improvement of 3.53 cubic-feet over the outgoing model. This can be attributed to its slightly longer stance, which was increased by nearly 2.5 inches. Finally, and arguably most important for the interior, is the new button panel on the center console. Where there were once analog buttons clustered together now sits a glass touch screen with lots of digital buttons. It’s a nice touch, to say the least.

And there you have it. There are of course other little details to talk about, but we’ll cover that in our full review, which will be updated in the next 24 hours. For now, you can rest your mind knowing that the third-gen Cayenne starts out in Germany from €74,828 while the Cayenne S goes for €91,964, both including VAT. Those figures convert to $85,590 and $110,106, respectively. The third-gen Cayenne isn’t available for the U.S. quite yet, but if you’re over there in Germany, you can stop by your local dealer and place your order now.

PostHeaderIcon 2018 Volvo S60 and V60 Get Carbon Fiber Enhancements From Polestar

Of the models in Volvo’s automotive lineup, the S60 and V60 are the two that have yet to adopt the Swedish automaker’s design language. Don’t worry though because that’s coming in the next few years. In the meantime, the two models are getting a nice treat for the 2018MY, all thanks to some new aerodynamic accessories provided by Polestar.

The kit itself covers plenty of real estate on both the S60 and V60 and was designed to help enhance the sedan and wagon’s performance and handling credentials. It covers upgrades on both the exterior and interior of the two models, with the exterior of each model promised to receive improvements in downforce by as much as 30 percent. There are no power upgrades, though, so don’t expect anything on that front. Still, there’s plenty of new bits and pieces to get excited about, especially for those who are looking into either the S60 or the V60 as their new automotive purchase. Best hurry though in making up your mind because Volvo is limiting production of the Polestar aerodynamic package to just 1,500 units. Should you decide to hold off until the next-generation models for both the S60 and V60 arrive, you’re going to have to wait at least another year for both cars to adopt Volvo’s current design looks. Either way, it’s not a bad idea to go in either direction.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon BMW Unveils 2018 i3 and i3s

BMW just dropped details on the revamped i3 ahead of its official debut in September. Updates include a new look and a wider stance, breaking a bit from the upright boxy look used before. Full LED headlights keep the road lit, while Melbourne Red Metallic and Imperial Blue Metallic were added to the exterior paint options. Inside is the iDrive 6 infotainment platform, while Giga Brown Natural Leather and Carum Spice Grey Cloth can be had for the upholstery. A full suite of safety systems keeps it appropriately techy.

Underneath is a lithium-ion battery and electric motor, which together produce as much as 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque through a single-speed transmission. The sprint from 0-to-60 mph takes 7.2 seconds, with top speed clocked at 93 mph. If you’re looking for more go, the new i3s might fit the bill. Outside, the styling gets a bit more aggressive, with 20-inch wheels and a lower, stiffer suspension. More importantly, the s gets additional electric ponies – up to 184 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque total. Flat out, the i3s can hit 60 mph in 6.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 100 mph. Like the regular i3, the i3s can also come equipped with a two-cylinder range extender if desired, adding almost 90 miles thanks to gasoline. Look for the i3 and i3s to debut in the metal at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. Expect exact pricing and further details at that time.

PostHeaderIcon BMW Unveils 2018 i3 and i3s

BMW just dropped details on the revamped i3 ahead of its official debut in September. Updates include a new look and a wider stance, breaking a bit from the upright boxy look used before. Full LED headlights keep the road lit, while Melbourne Red Metallic and Imperial Blue Metallic were added to the exterior paint options. Inside is the iDrive 6 infotainment platform, while Giga Brown Natural Leather and Carum Spice Grey Cloth can be had for the upholstery. A full suite of safety systems keeps it appropriately techy.

Underneath is a lithium-ion battery and electric motor, which together produce as much as 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque through a single-speed transmission. The sprint from 0-to-60 mph takes 7.2 seconds, with top speed clocked at 93 mph. If you’re looking for more go, the new i3s might fit the bill. Outside, the styling gets a bit more aggressive, with 20-inch wheels and a lower, stiffer suspension. More importantly, the s gets additional electric ponies – up to 184 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque total. Flat out, the i3s can hit 60 mph in 6.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 100 mph. Like the regular i3, the i3s can also come equipped with a two-cylinder range extender if desired, adding almost 90 miles thanks to gasoline. Look for the i3 and i3s to debut in the metal at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. Expect exact pricing and further details at that time.

PostHeaderIcon Maserati Ghibli GranLusso

Introduced in 2013, the Ghibli became Maserati’s second four-door sedan. Smaller than the Quattroporte, it was developed as a competitor for the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. It’s also the first sedan that slots under the Quattroporte since the four-door version of the Maserati Biturbo was discontinued in 1994. The Ghibli name was revived after a 15-year hiatus, but it’s the first time when it’s being used on a four-door sedan, as both the first- and second-generation models, produced between 1967-1973 and 1992-1998, were offered as two-door coupes and convertibles only. After four years on the market, the third-generation Ghibli received its mid-cycle facelift.

In a strategy that reminds of Ferrari, the Ghibli was renamed the Ghibli GranLusso. The “GranLusso” isn’t new though, as Maserati is already using in on a trim level of the upgraded Quattroporte. The revised sedan made its debut at the Chengdu Motorshow in China with updated bumpers and side skirts, improved aerodynamics, and new features. The drivetrains carry over unchanged, but this is far from surprising given that both the GranTurismo and Quattroporte didn’t get engine upgrades with their facelifts. Still, there’s plenty of changes to talk about, so join me in my review for the full rundown.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Ferrari Portofino

Launched in 2008, the Ferrari California is the company’s only convertible grand tourer. At first powered by a naturally aspirated V-8, it received a twin-turbo unit in 2014, when it was redesigned and rebadged as the California T. Come 2017 and the drop-top was once again upgraded, this time around gaining more significant changes on the outside. The nameplate was again modified, which comes at no surprise given that the facelifts of both the F12berlinetta and FF brought new names into dealerships. The California was renamed the Portofino, and it’s now more powerful than ever.

While the California name was rather familiar and dates back to the late 1950s, the Portofino is a brand-new nameplate for the Italian firm. But much like California, it was also borrowed from a geographic area, this time around from the Italian town of Portofino. Ferrari explains that this name was selected because the city has become ” internationally synonymous with elegance, sportiness and understated luxury.” It may take a while to get used to seeing this name on a Ferrari, but needless to say, it’s more than appropriate for the redesigned California. Keep reading to find out why.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ferrari Portofino.

PostHeaderIcon Infiniti Q70 – Driven

Executive limousines are a different breed, and the Infiniti Q70L has its own distinct take on the mid-size executive limo segment. Imagine you took a mid-size, rear-wheel-drive, luxury sedan and stretched its wheelbase a few inches, giving you more rear-seat legroom. Understandably, these cars offer passengers first-class space and amenities. But, does Infiniti have what it takes to earn business in this ultraluxe segment? Established players from Europe have these cars down to a science, and the Q70’s Japanese rivals make a solid case for themselves, too.

I recently spent a week driving the long-wheelbase Infiniti Q70 model and came away thinking it’s not quite ready if it’s looking to compete with established rivals like the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E Class, and Lexus GS. But, it also offers V-8 motivation at a price point where many of its competitors have half as many cylinders. That gives it a lot of appeal to those who appreciate sporty driving. Much like the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 I reviewed recently, the Infiniti Q70L a value leader in its segment – as long as you don’t value the latest-and-greatest infotainment features or the quietest interior more than you value a stonking-fast V-8.

PostHeaderIcon BMW M550i xDrive – Driven

The BMW 5 Series is one of those standard-bearers people use to benchmark other full-size sedans – and for good reason. It’s been well loved by BMW loyalists and jaded journalists the world over. From its home on the German Autobahn going triple digit speeds to weaving its way through the crowded streets of third-world countries where it chauffeurs government officials and local dignitaries, the 5 has been a mainstay for decades. For 2017, BMW debuted an all-new 5 Series, complete with an updated design, an architecture shared with the larger 7 Series, and more driver tech than ever. This new seventh-generation 5 Series also boasts a new M Performance model for 2018 – the BMW M550i xDrive.

Think of the 2018 BMW M550i xDrive like this: it’s like the standard 550i, but with its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8, suspension, steering, and brakes reworked by the go-fast gurus at BMW’s M Performance division. And since the M5 variant of the seventh-generation 5 Series (G30) isn’t available till March of 2019, the M550i is the baddest 5 of the bunch. But it’s also worth pointing out the M550i xDrive and upcoming M5 have a lot in common. The two share the same V-8, though the M5’s will have more power thanks to larger turbos and a higher-flow fuel injection system, among other upgrades. The M5’s suspension will use stiffer bushings to match its sticker tires. The M5 will also have more driver control over the xDrive system and drive modes. And, of course, the M5 will have a more aggressive appearance to go with its track-focused performance. Still, the M550i is a 456-horsepower beast capable of hitting 60 mph in roughly 3.9 seconds yet treats its occupants to opulent luxury befitting a more dedicated cruiser.

Continue reading for the full driven review.

PostHeaderIcon Holy Toledo! 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Breaks Cover

Well, it’s finally happened – the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL has been spotted without camouflage. The next-generation Jeep was reportedly spotted inside Jeep’s Toledo assembly plant and sent to our friends at JLWranglerForums. The grainy photo was undoubtedly not supposed to be taken, as evidenced by the limited view it affords of the new Wrangler Unlimited. Still, there are plenty of details to pour over.

First, it’s clear this is a four-door Wrangler Unlimited, otherwise known as the JLU. It’s lack of badging, knobby tires, and rock rails suggests this is a Sport model, though its hood features vents – a previous sign of an upper-class model or special edition. The windshield bump-stops on the hood have been redesigned, too. Also visible is the side vent integrated just behind the front fender. It’s smaller than anticipated, but thankfully doesn’t distract from the Wrangler’s classic lines. And speaking of lines, the cowling panel and doors have strong creases, helping break up the flat, vertical sides seen on the previous Wrangler JK. New side mirrors are present, too, with integrated turn signals. Gone are the push-button door handles, replaced with pull-style handles in black. The front fenders carry a new shape and appear molded from richer, higher-quality plastic. This particular Jeep has the soft top option, which we’re glad still exists. Unfortunately, the photos don’t show much of the interior, beyond the black seats covered in protective plastic. Of course, at this rate, we’ll have a full view of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL long before its official debut at the 2017 LA Auto Show in November.

Continue reading for more information.

PostHeaderIcon The “Coolest” Feature of the 2018 BMW M550i

The 2018 BMW M550i is the quickest 5 Series currently offered thanks to its 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 making 456 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque – aided by both a smartly calibrated ZF eight-speed automatic and BMW’s xDrive AWD system. At full grunt, the prodigious power will launch the 4,300-pound M Performance sedan to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds. But that’s not this Bimmer’s coolest feature. No, that goes to its HVAC system with dual fan speeds for the driver and front passenger.

Take it from me – a guy living in Florida testing a dark blue car with un-tinted windows in August – you’ll love having the extra control. That’s especially true if your wife is like mine. She’s the type who turns her seat heater on despite afternoon temperatures exceeded 100 degrees. Her cold-natured skin simply doesn’t need the cooling my does. In most situations, this results in her turning her vents toward me or off completely, while my dual-zone temperature is set to “Low” with the fan cranked to “Max.”

Thankfully, the BMW M550i has a solution: dual fan speeds. Yes, the driver and front passenger can set their own A/C temperature and fan speed. Welcome to the future. This means we both can have our A/C set exactly how we’d like without disturbing each other. I can be cool and breezy while she’s happy with warm and toasty.
What’s more, we each can select our own blower location. That means she can warm her feet while I cool my body. Both sides also have a full Auto mode, too. It’s this level of individuality that truly ushers in luxury within a vehicle. The rear seat also has its own temperature control, though it’s set by a knob from cool to warm without displaying the actual temperature. Vent speed follows the front seats.

I know having dual fan speed capabilities must cost more, but would you like to see this feature on more vehicles? I know BMW’s 7 Series also has dual fan speeds, but that’s about it. Can you name any other vehicles with this feature? Let me know in the comments below.

PostHeaderIcon Ram 3500 Heavy Duty

The current Ram Heavy Duty has been around since 2010 with an update in 2013 and smaller updates scattered throughout the years. Not much changes for 2018, save for one aspect: the Ram 3500’s 6.7-liter Cummins inline-six turbodiesel is getting a healthy bump in torque for class-leading numbers. Turbo boost limits were raised, fuel flow was increased, and a retuning of the ECU adds 30 pound-feet of torque for a total of 930 pound-feet. This surpasses both General Motors and Ford’s maximum torque ratings of 910 and 925 pound-feet, respectively.

This veritable arms race between the Big Three has been ongoing for several decades, but the Torque Wars have really heated up in the last decade. Diesels are popular and the biggest numbers win – both in power figures and towing capability. Ram isn’t short on either. The 2018 Ram 3500 also boasts a new fifth-wheel hitch assembly from Ram Engineering that offers 30,000 pounds of towing. Ram says its the hitch is strongest hitch in the industry. Customer can add the hitch for $1,395, either with a built-to-order truck or as a dealer add-on. The Ram’s gooseneck hitch rating remains unchanged at 31,210 pounds, while its receiver hitch can pull 20,000 pounds. Compare that to Ram 3500’s numbers from 2011. It could only pull 15,540 pounds with a gooseneck and 12,000 pounds at the receiver. Yep – the truck’s towing capabilities have nearly doubled in eight years. But towing and torque aren’t everything, so let’s have a deep look at the 2018 Ram Heavy Duty.

Continue reading for the full review.

PostHeaderIcon Holy Torque! The 2018 Ram 3500 Now Makes 930 Pound-Feet!

The Cummins-powered Ram 3500 will make a whopping 930 pound-feet of torque for the 2018 model year. That puts Ram in the lead of the unofficial Torque Wars raging between the Big Three. Ford and its Power Stroke turbodiesel previously held the lead with 925 pound-feet of torque and the GM twins aren’t far behind with the new-for-2017 Duramax and its 910 pound-feet. Ram also announced its new fifth-wheel hitch designed and built in-house. The beefy hitch, combined with the Cummins’ extra grunt, pushes the 3500’s max fifth-wheel tow rating to 30,000 pounds – another segment-leading figure. Ram’s gooseneck and conventional tow ratings remain unchanged at 31,210 and 20,000 pounds, respectively.

Ram says its engineers worked along side Cummins to enable the torque increase. Minimal changes were actually needed, and consist of a higher-flow fuel delivery system and giving the variable geometry turbo a higher boost limit. A retuning of the ECU is also highly likely. What Ram (or Ford or GM) doesn’t mention: any vehicle with a Gross Combined Weight Rating of 26,001 pounds or more requires the driver have a commercial driver’s license to legally operate on any public road. Hope you’re ready for a written skills evaluation, driving test, and drug testing, depending on your state’s laws.

The 2018 Ram Heavy Duty will begin arriving at dealerships this month. Customers can buy the new fifth-wheel hitch as a dealer add-on for $1,395. But beyond the extra power and new hitch, the Ram Heavy Duty doesn’t change for 2018. Ram is expected to debut the next-generation HD in 2020, which follows the new Ram 1500 in 2019. Stay tuned for our full review of the 2018 Ram Heavy Duty coming soon.

PostHeaderIcon Acura RLX

Introduced in 2013, the RLX is one of Acura’s newest nameplates. Designed to replace the severely outdated second-generation RL, the RLX was received with mixed reviews. While praised for its powerful V-6, hybrid drivetrains, and technology, the full-size sedan was criticized for its bland looks and relatively high prices compared to its rivals. This is probably why Acura is introducing a new styling for the RLX only four years after the original model hit the market. The redesigned sedan was just previewed ahead of the Monterey Car Week, where it will make its public debut on August 15.

Although a four-year-old vehicle usually gets a mild facelift, the RLX was redesigned from the ground up on the outside, now reflecting the company’s new Precision Crafted Performance styling language. Granted, the interior carries over unchanged save for additional equipment and the drivetrain options all have the same specifications, but Acura solved one of the RLX’s biggest issues: the dull design. Let’s have a closer look at what it brings to the table in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Acura RLX.

PostHeaderIcon The G80 Proves Genesis Is Off to Good Start

In the beginning, Hyundai created Genesis, a premium label under which the South Korean automaker could sell luxury vehicles without the stigma of its value-driven name historically associated with duds like the Excel and a low-cost-before-all value proposition. Hyundai saw that value was good. Yet, instead of resting solely on those merits, the Genesis division is elevated to loftier goals – goals of uncompromised luxury and performance, while undercutting nemesis brands with less-costly price tags.

Hyperbole aside, Genesis has seemingly achieved that goal. See, I’ve spent a week with the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport, the brand’s mid-size executive sedan fitted with a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6, an eight-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive, and a stiffer suspension over the standard G80. As a jaded journalist who’s driven plenty of high-end sedans with outrageous power, the Genesis had much to prove. But dadgummit, the G80 is simply impressive. It’s soft and cushy in every way when the drive mode is set to normal. The cabin is church mouse quiet, even over broken roads. And its driving controls are butter smooth, with throttle and brake inputs rewarded with linear responses and the steering on-point, though a bit on the vague side. Select Sport mode, though, and the twin-turbocharged G80 comes alive.

Keep reading for more of my impressions.

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