Undeterred by this season’s heaviest snowfall, Speed:Sport:Life trudged over to McCormick Place from our downtown Chicago offices – AKA my apartment – to check out the assorted new metal spread across what is actually this country’s largest new car show. The layout of the place is impressive indeed, with one million square feet and no fewer than three indoor ride and drive experiences hosted by manufacturers. Amid the wide diversity of vehicles on display, a few stood out – below are the ones that left a mark, as well as the show award we feel they’re most likely to win.
Author - John Kucek
Wide open vistas. Limitless blue skies. Stunning canyons carved over millennia into multi-hued layers. The southwest provides all of it, and I can’t think of a better way to traverse it than in a fast, open-topped tourer with lots of horsepower. Which is precisely why I headed straight to Alamo’s midsize SUV lane for a “Toyota RAV4 or similar”.
Under sunny skies, Saturday’s 22nd annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance went off without a hitch despite a schedule curtailed by one day, owing to Sunday’s expected rain showers. That still left hours of unfettered machinery-ogling on the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island’s pristine golf course, which is more than enough time to be left with the impression that this event remains one of the true automotive bucket list items. And even though my interests generally skew toward events that allow me to slide behind the wheel rather than merely observe, Amelia is the exception to that rule.
Despite no longer cosying up to the warm bosom of the press fleet industrial complex, I still occasionally find myself behind the wheel of cars other than my own. Such was the case last week when I brought my own car, a C7 Corvette Z51, into the dealer for some warranty work and found myself sitting in the fortified bunker – aka cabin – of a loaner 2017 Camaro. Unlike the other sixth gen that I previously wrote up on these pages, which was option-laden but also saddled with the middling 2.0T Ecotec, this one featured nary an add-on save for the 3.6L LGX “High Feature” V6…a swap that made this drab-looking coupe immeasurably better to drive.
Friends, let me tell you about the promised land, because I’ve been there. The rental car promised land, that is. Imagine gleaming rows of current year luxury models and sports cars, from Mercedes E550s to BMW 335is to Toyota GT86s, even the occasional premium model like an M3 or 911. Impossible, short of a fly-by-night Las Vegas exotic rental outfit, right? Nay. The promised land exists, and perhaps unsurprisingly to most car enthusiasts, it’s in Germany.
If there’s one criticism that’s been consistently levelled at the pretty Audi 2+2 known as the TT, it’s that its genetic lineage isn’t as honed as that of its similarly priced competition. While that may sound harsh, or perhaps even a bit elitist, it’s true: the TT’s underpinnings are essentially shared with that of the humble VW Golf. A great econobox in its own right, but an econobox nonetheless. So how did that affect my enjoyment of the TTS pictured here?