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2016 Cadillac CTS-V: Catch Me If You Can, Germany

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It has 640 horsepower under the hood. It’s capable of hitting 200 miles per hour. It’s well under $100,000. It’s also an American luxury sedan built by Cadillac, and it seats five people.

Four of them could be screaming…

The all-new 3rd-generation Cadillac CTS-V is an extraordinary machine. It’s a super sedan that’s been had its German rivals in its crosshairs for decades. Now, however, it’s the Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz offerings that could be looking to catch up.

[Disclaimer: Cadillac tossed us the keys to the CTS-V and included a tank of gas. I returned the car with fuel but with a bit less rubber.]

2016 Mazda CX-3: Tiny CUV Packs Plenty Of Fun

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Crossovers suck! …said the average enthusiast, who might be looking to eat their own words in the near future. Crossovers have gotten a lot better, and a whole lot more engaging to drive. Exhibit M: The Mazda CX-3.

It’s a sub-compact CUV packing in a whole lot of driving enjoyment.

Do we wish there were more wagon options out there? Yes, no question.
Are there finally crossovers we can actually enjoy driving? Yes, absolutely.

The Mazda CX-3 is near the top of that list too, as long as you don’t have serious cargo space needs.

[Disclaimer: Mazda tossed us the keys to the CX-3 for a week and included a tank of gas. We drove the car hard and didn’t put much of a dent into that fuel gauge.]

Aston Martin DB9 GT: A Lovely Way To Say Good Bye

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The Aston Martin DB9 is bowing out. It’s a grand Grand Tourer riding on a grand-old platform, and it’s time to make way for the future of Aston Martin machines. The automaker has created one final version of the car, and ti’s called the DB9 GT. It’s a pumped up version of the standard car, boasting a bit more horsepower, some badges, and the updated center stack that’s also found in the Vanquish.

This, friends, is the proper way to say good bye.

(And it makes us extremely excited for what the DB11 will bring to the table…)

[Disclaimer: Aston Martin gently placed the stainless and sapphire key to the DB9 GT in our hand, and had a tank of gas ready in the car. We turned that fuel into glorious noise and lots of forward motivation.]

Subaru BRZ Series.Blue
It’s Not A Miata… Thankfully

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You love driving. You’re in the market for a new car. Luckily, the world is currently your oyster because there’s pretty much a great option for you at every price point. Mazda recently released their updated MX-5, the Mustang is a great buy, and there’s always the Hellcat if you hate money and tires but love noise and shenanigans.

Maybe though, you should forget all of that and look at the Subaru BRZ…

[Disclaimer: Subaru tossed us the keys to the BRZ Series.Blue for a week, and included a tank of gas. I tried and was able to fit a baby seat in the back.]

Ram Rebel: Not A Raptor, But Plenty Of Fun

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The Ram Rebel is a tough looking truck. Is it up to the task of tackling trails, dunes, and dirt? Well, it’s definitely not a direct Ford Raptor competitor, but it does offer up plenty of fun. Check it all out by hitting that play button above…

[Disclaimer: Ram loaned us the truck for a week. We went through some fuel, got it dirty, and then washed up it up nice before turning it over to Ram once again.]

Cadillac ATS-V: A Better BMW

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Yes, Jeff drove it on the race track already. That doesn’t show what it’s like to live with the new Cadillac ATS-V though, so I sucked it up and took on the task of playing with the car as a daily driver for a week. Short straw draw, but I’ll manage…

What Cadillac have created in the new ATS-V is essentially the vehicle that you’d expect BMW to be building if they’d continued existing after the E39 M5. Since they stopped making cars that people can enjoy we’ll have to live in this alternative universe and enjoy the absolutely excellent Cadillac ATS-V.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Rebirth Of The King?

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It’s the common answer to most questions asked of the average automotive enthusiast. If you want affordable and fun, rear-wheel-drive, front-engine, sports car goodness, you go with the Miata. That’s what folks have been saying for years now. For 2016, we have a reborn new version of the slow car-fast poster child; the ND-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is here to make your daily commute a bit more exciting.

Is it everything we’ve been waiting for though? Roll your mouse onto that play button and find out…

[Disclaimer: Mazda tossed us the keys to the MX-5, and included a full tank of gas. We rolled it on back to them after a delightful week spent with the car.]

2016 Audi S7: High Speed, High Style

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For 2016, Audi upgraded the S7 a bit. There’s a bit of refinement to the front and rear fascias. There’s a bit more power on tap. These subtle changes have helped a good car get a bit better. Our favorite change though, is the addition of an optional sport exhaust system.

One of the knocks we have against Audi is that the brand is quite conservative in the exterior noise department. There are eager engines waiting to be uncorked under the hood. Now you can get much closer to the amazing sound possible from that 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine under the hood.

To find this out, we took the 2016 Audi S7 out to the El Mirage Dry Lake Bed. There are no speed limits here… and we can confirm that the S7 will run right up to its 155 limiter with no issues.

[Disclaimer: Audi tossed us the keys to the S7 for a week and included a tank of gas. I had to spend many quarters at the wash booth with this thing after the shoot before giving it back.]

Lamborghini Huracan Is The Best Bull Yet

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This is the best Lamborghini. That is, it’s the best one if you enjoy driving your super car everyday. The Aventador is louder, there were over 14,000 examples of the Gallardo sold, and the Miura is one of the all time greats.

It’s the Huracan, however, that is the best representation of everything Lamborghini has learned to date about making a car go fast… and do so very well.

You could put a lot of that knowledge gleaned on the shoulders of the Audi camp, but you’d be selling the Italians short a bit. The under-skin technology powering the wonderful gauge display and making sure all of the buttons actually work when pressed is zee work of zee Germans, no doubt. The noise, fury, passion, and thrill, however, are 100% made in Italy.

You might protest and say the Aventador should be the pinnacle car for the brand. It is, if you like cruising loudly in a straight line, punishing understeer, and Silicon Valley-approved doors. I’m not hating on that, as I too love muscle cars… which is what the Aventador truly is (Not counting the new Super Veloce, from what I hear).

The Huracan is a proper go-fast car though. It relishes corners, looks forward to steering input, and encourages canyon hooliganism. The all-wheel-drive system is rear biased, the steering response is immediate (almost to a fault actually), and the engine loves to be pressed deep into its rev counter.

The 610-horsepower Huracan is a vast improvement over the Gallardo, which is a car that got steadily better as its long lifespan crept forward. It’s a Lamborghini that does the greatest job of mixing top tech from its Audi siblings and blending it into the world of an Italian exotic. The switch gear looks familiar yet feels more adventurous. The seats are aggressively styled yet surprisingly comfortable. You can’t see anything out the back but… well, that’s just how it is and it’s a Lamborghini thing for sure.

What Lamborghini has created in the Huracan is a car that toes the line between daily driver and insane-o super machine. It doesn’t lose its edge by playing to the luxury and comfort side of the equation, in fact by doing so you have a vehicle that represents everything a modern super car should be.

Some may long for the days when you have to sacrifice something to gain something else. Be it comfort, reliability, or visibility, you had to do away with one of those to get the greatest driving experience on the planet. Now you only have to part with a large chunk of your cash… and that’s never going to change. At least now you’re a bit more comfortable even if your bank account is missing six figures.

[Disclaimer: Lamborghini tossed me the keys to the Huracan for a few days. They picked it up while it was parked in the first valet spot outside of Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach…]

Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Sedan: Big, Bold, …Brutal

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The Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG sedan is one of the greatest cars on the planet. It’s technologically advanced, supremely luxurious, and possesses seemingly endless power. It’s also tremendously expensive.

Under the hood spins a pair of turbochargers that feed a 5.5-liter V8 engine.That combination is good for 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. It’s used to propel a car that’s basically the closest thing we have to a luxury rocket ship for the road.

Oh… and it can drive itself for stretches at a time.

[Disclaimer: Mercedes-Benz tossed us the keys to the S63 AMG sedan for a week, and included a tank of gas. I considered adding more tanks and escaping with the car into South America.]