Given that sports cars make up such a small fraction of the new car sales pie, it’s always a bit of a treat when you get to spend time with one. Especially one with as storied a legacy as the Z car. After all, the Z has been around in one form or another for the thick end of 50 years.
Author - John Kucek
Anyone – alright, any car nut – who’s travelled to Germany likely remembers their first time being greeted outside the airport or train station by a gleaming row of custard-colored Mercedes E-klasse. Nearly every one of them probably had a diesel engine ticking away, an interior outfitted with cloth seats and perhaps even plastic wheel covers, of all things. It’s a memorable image because for those who were raised in the US, Mercedes-Benz has a long-held image as being a builder solely of luxury cars. And luxury cars certainly don’t sit outside train stations with fare meters on the dash and surly cab drivers behind the wheel. Jarring and amusing in a single instant, it crystallizes the understanding for the travelling auto enthusiast that in Germany, Mercedes-Benz is simply a full-line car maker – churning out everything from vans to cabs to front-wheel drive economy cars.
Ford’s new aluminum-bodied wonder was met with equal parts optimism and skepticism when it was introduced at last year’s Detroit show, a roll of the full-size dice not seen in the pickup segment in some time. So far, the gamble appears to be paying off: F-series sales have remained very strong against the competition, and last month’s numbers represented the best March for the pickup in nine years, despite production limitations. The F-150 has been a long-time class stalwart, though – we’re more interested in whether there’s real substance under the creased alloy skin.
With competition in the large luxury SUV class heating up once again thanks to a recovering economy and falling fuel prices, Infiniti has glossed up its QX80 model for 2015 to battle the likes of Cadillac, Range Rover and Lexus.
We were summarily impressed with the A3 sedan when we attended its press introduction in San Francisco a year ago. Since then, Audi dealers have had trouble keeping the little sedan on their lots as demand for the entry-entry-luxury segment ramps up. In order to broaden the A3 line, as well as go head-to-head with other small, high-performance German offerings such as the BMW M235i and Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG, Audi rolled out the S3 sedan – a more heavily pressurized and tightly suspended version of the previous 2.0 TFSI range-topper. So is this simply a Golf R in evening wear, or a legitimate successor to the performance Quattro throne? Read on to find out.
I generally liked the Juke NISMO when I drove it two years ago. I found it to be a plucky, and quirky, entry into a field of vehicles that are by definition fairly quirky – namely city cars like the Fiat 500, Mini Cooper and Hyundai Veloster. Though not quite up to the task of taking on high-performance hot hatches such as the Ford Focus ST or Volkswagen GTI, it does strike a unique balance as a pseudo-crossover/warm hatch. Last year, Nissan upped the ante with an RS version, bringing in more power and a sharper chassis but keeping the same pumped-up puffer fish looks and aero additions from the regular NISMO model.