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Weekend Edition: A leisurely drive in a Mercedes-Benz 220 (W115)

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This 1971 Mercedes-Benz W115 is one of the loveliest cars I’ve driven. It belongs to a German friend, one who currently hosts the Suzuki Swift convertible in his garage, and it’s been in his family since new.

A few months ago, as I was in Germany, I had a chance to check out the Benz and have a little drive around the smallish town. Armed with my trusty brown camera and a nifty-fifty lens, I snapped a few detail shots to accompany the post.

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2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Bang for the buck… redefined

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Remember when the rest of the world used to make fun of the Corvette? It wasn’t completely warranted, yet there were some criticisms that both stuck and stung. Those days were officially pushed into the past when the new C7 Corvette arrived.

The 2015 Corvette Z06, however, takes those old notions, douses them in high-octane fuel, and sets them ablaze. That’s because it just might be the best bang for the buck performance machine on the planet.

Hell it might be one of the best performance machines on the planet *period*

[DisclaimerChevrolet threw us the keys to the Z06 and let us borrow it for a weekend. Fuel was used to generate noise, tire smoke, and a burning desire to own a new Z06.]

Going Back In Time with the Nissan Juke

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I only had a short period in the company of Nissan’s high-riding mechanised toad, the Juke, so the following can’t really be called a review. Well, it is and it isn’t, if you see what I mean.

I was certainly able to get an impression of the car. I was able to determine that, give or take, I actually quite like the look of it. If the Juke was a person you were meeting for the first time you would find conversation difficult. His nose would be on his forehead, his eyes would be in his cheeks and he would have several little mouths dotted around his chin- which is in the wrong place in itself. Yet, for all his challenging visage you would probably get on with him all right. He speaks sense and is reasonably witty.

On the face of it he seems reasonably up to date, too. His CV bristles with all today’s De Riguer acronyms, his location is satellite pinpointed and his innards are climatically controlled. Furthermore, his breath is fresh and his stamina is long, thanks to Nissan’s PureDrive Diesel technology. Yes, it’s fair to say that my ugly-handsome new acquaintance can stand shoulder-to shoulder with his peers without being too embarassed.

In private, though, he exhibited one or two character traits that I thought had gone the way of empire building and casual racism. Yes, the Nissan Juke does things that I thought we had moved away from years ago.

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Exploring the Hooniverse Mountune Focus ST

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Our man Jason Connor typically handles driving duty when it comes to the camera car. What do we use for said vehicle? Why Jason’s own Mountune-modified Focus ST. It’s a car that actually deserves its own video… so that’s what’s happening here. In fact, we’re going to let Jason tell us all about it.

Mr. Connor took a stab at shooting and editing this whole this as well. It’s his first go at it, and we think he did a pretty damn good job for his first go ’round.

McLaren 650S Spider: An open-top time machine

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What happens when you have an automaker that learns about going fast by winning races on one of the world’s greatest stages? You wind up with truly superior road-going cars, and you’re obviously talking about McLaren.

It’s been decades since the McLaren F1 rocked our minds, yet we still speak of that ultra-speed machine to this day. McLaren has been hard at work creating cars for a new generation of go-fast well-heeled enthusiasts, however, and the 650S Spider is proof positive of that.

The McLaren 650S Spider is the fastest, greatest handling vehicle we’ve tested in the Hooniverse. It’s not even the fastest, greatest handling vehicle that McLaren makes… and that thought warps our mind, yet makes us smile.

Racing knowledge and technology can certainly come together to produce tremendous sports cars, and exotic experiences. The experience of the 650S is one we won’t soon forget…

It’s an open-top time machine that warps the world around you.

Miserable Review: 2014 Seat Leon 1.6 Diesel.

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This is the first time I’ve ever embarked upon a car review while I’ve been in an absolutely foul mood. Usually you’re plied with goodies and refreshments and then handed the keys by a beaming member of a manufacturer press relations team. They then send you out on either a well chosen set of lightly trafficked roads, a private circuit or maybe a proving ground, and usually you’ve allocatedyourself enough time to build some kind of meaningful relationship with the review subject.

This review, however, started out with me being two and a half hours away from an appointment, in a city separated from me by 120 miles of near-stationary traffic.

So it all starts rather badly, and that’s not just the writing.

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Riding On The Track For More BFGoodrich Sampling

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As part of last week’s adventures testing BF Goodrich’s new performance all-season tire, we were treated to some on-track mega-speed action through a series of ridealongs in some truly wicked machinery. Through three different cars, we were able to feel the difference in speed between the g-force Comp 2 A/S we’d been testing all day, the standard Comp 2, their more aggressive Rival, and the out and out race-only BFG R1. After a ‘hard’ day of testing tires, it was good to let someone else do the driving and see just what these tires had in hand.

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Tire Review: BF Goodrich g-force Comp 2 A/S
A Performance All Season?

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 In the interest of full disclosure, BF Goodrich invited me to Phoenix to test some of their new round black things. They flew me there, put me up in a posh room, fed me posh food, and gave me the opportunity to meet the infamous Judge Phil (but I won’t hold that against them).

I was, and remain, skeptical of the words “performance” and “all season” being used to describe the same tire. I’ve always been a summer tire/winter tire guy, and I probably always will be. So when BF Goodrich invited me out to test their new g-force Comp 2 A/S tire, I was eager to see whether or not the grip tradeoff would be worth it for moderate cold-weather use. I was curious to see if the ‘performance’ made them garbage in the cold or rain, and I wanted to see how they fared in warm dry conditions. Being in Arizona, the chances were quite low that we’d be testing them in any snow, even a light dusting, so that was out of the question, but really that’s not the point of this tire. So what is the point of this tire? Let’s find out together.

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First Drive: 2016 Acura ILX

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The entry-level luxury market is a hot spot right now in the industry. Strong competition amongst the offerings typically breeds great options for the consumer. You have plenty of ways to get in with an upscale automaker, so deciding on the best course of action is a good problem.

Acura has an updated answer to the problem with its 2016 ILX. This is the second go-around for the car, which launched a few years ago and was viewed as not more more than a slightly more fancy Honda Civic.

Acura knew it needed to bring more to the table, so let’s dive in and see if that’s the case here…

[Disclaimer: Acura flew me to Napa and let me toss the ILX around on the backroads around wine country. I’m still waiting on the day that we switch to beer and cicerones over wine and sommeliers.]

First Drive: 2015 Volkswagen Golf R

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Volkswagen is pretty much cooking up a Golf for everyone on the planet. You have the standard Golf, the diesel TDI, and an all-electric eGolf. Enthusiasts around the globe love the GTI. There’s also a wagon version coming soon called the Golf SportWagen.

This, however, is the one for… us. This is the Volkswagen Golf R, and it’s a turbocharged, all-wheel-drive hot hatch designed to make you a happier person. For just under $40k, you can pilot a nearly 300-horsepower five-door that also happens to have one of the (if not THE) best interior in its class.

Oh and Hans Stuck helped make sure the handling doesn’t suck.

Win-win? You best believe it…

[Disclaimer: Volkswagen invited me down to San Diego and put me up in a hotel for the evening. I took a train down to the location so I could drive a Golf R back and spend even more time with the car. Nice ride down… better ride back.]

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