Introduced for 2011, the current-gen 6 is BMW’s largest, most sumptuous and most expensive convertible, and to keep it relevant against rivals, it was recently given a nip and tuck treatment for 2016. I recently spent a week with the big BeeEm to see what’s what.
The Mustang has long been Ford’s bread-and-butter performance car, the granddaddy of the pony car segment, object of desire for administrative assistants and mulleted gentlemen alike (depending on engine choice). OK, that last shot might be a bit unfair. Even this article’s distinguished author, widely known for his discerning taste, once succumbed to the Mustang’s blue-collar charms. In a moment of fitful lust I bought a brand new 2011 GT Coupe, a five-liter in screaming yellow, equipped with the Brembo brake package and a manual transmission – as it should be. That was a fantastic car, loaded with character if a bit rough around the edges, but its charm wore off quickly for me and I retreated to the import brand camp I knew and loved after 10 short months with it. Perhaps this new EcoBoost model will be able to change the minds of even the most hardened import fans like me?
It is one of the oldest organized motorsports events around: Hillclimb. The premise is extremely simple: one car, one windy road, fastest time to the top wins. The two things that get one car to the top faster than the others: horsepower and guts. The extreme elevation change requires lots of horsepower while the trees, rocks, and cliffs you narrowly miss as you race up the mountain require lots of bravery and guts. It also helps to be a bit delusional. Just keep telling yourself, “I won’t be the one who totals my car while falling down the mountain.”
The Beetle has always carried with it a sort of “love it or hate it” image, and while the newest version is less polarizing, both opponents and proponents of the love bug’s cutesy styling seem to come out of the woodwork when you’re driving around in one.
I was a pretty big supporter of the original Sonata Hybrid, mostly because in practice, it didn’t really drive like a stereotypical hybrid. It had enough power to get out of its own way, it had the silhouette of a normal sedan, and its six-speed automatic avoided any hint of CVT droniness. Hyundai’s now wrapped the Hybrid in the same new-for-2015 duds worn by its regular Sonata sedan stablemate, but they’ve also made a few worthwhile improvements under the skin in the name of fuel efficiency.
Every week is a roll of the dice in terms of what press car shows up at our Speed:Sport:Life door step. One week we’ll be in a heavy duty diesel pickup, the next a hybrid sedan. It’s rare that we receive consecutive vehicles that are direct competitors. Well, the stars must have aligned recently, because the car gods sent us two mid-size crossovers on subsequent weeks. And if we can be forgiven for secretly wishing for back-to-back Ferraris, this still afforded a unique opportunity to spot the similarities and differences between two popular crossovers – the Nissan Murano and Hyundai Santa Fe.