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First Drive: Rezvani Beast
Coachbuilding is back?

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You don’t hear about coachbuilt cars anymore. Back in the day, you used to pick a chassis or platform, and then you’d bring it to the company you’d want building the body for it. It still happens, but it’s quite rare and often quite expensive.

Ferris Rezvani wants to alter that a little bit. His latest creation is called the Beast and at $140-$150,000 it’s still expensive. Considering what you’re getting, however, maybe it’s a bit of a deal. It’s certainly a return to the day good ole days of coachbuilding passed…

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2006 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG: Performance Bargain or Bank Account Buster

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When looking on the used market for your ideal performance car, you certainly have plenty to choose from. Here at Hooniverse we preach to the hills that used cars are near and dear to our hearts. When buying used German cars though, you are treading on some fairly dangerous ground. With technology and innovation comes more expensive maintenance costs.

I’ve recently been enjoying some of the cars I wanted to drive years ago. A 2006 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG recently fell into my lap and I wanted to see if this car lived up to the hype I’d given it in my own head.

This review doesn’t take place in my Southern California back yard. This time I flew to Dallas and endured the sweltering heat and humidity to provide some entertainment. It’s the small sacrifices I make for the viewers. Does the SL55 AMG live up to the hype, or is it a maintenance disaster waiting to hit your bank account?

Click play to find out.

First Drive: 2016 Hyundai Tucson

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We have to face the music… crossovers are not only here to stay, but they’re growing in numbers. The good news is that they’re also getting better every time a new one comes to market. Need more proof? Take a look at the all-new 2016 Hyundai Tucson.

We trekked to Minnesota to sample the latest from Hyundai, and we were pleasantly surprised by what we found. This crossover comes packing a new 1.6-liter turbo four cylinder engine, heated and ventilated front seats, a power rear liftgate, and all of the tech bits you’ve come to expect from a modern car.

Additionally, Hyundai teamed up with Magna to develop the all-wheel-drive system that’s available on the Tucson. This is the same company that makes the AWD unit for Porsche and its Cayenne. Don’t expect Porsche-levels of performance of course, but know you’re getting a system designed to do its job well.

It’s getting harder to choose a definitive winner in this segment, as every automaker offers one up and it’s usually quite good. You have to dig into the nitty-gritty of features, driving dynamics, and styling to find the one that appeals to you.

If you’re shopping for a crossover, you almost can’t make a wrong choice. Well, you could’ve picked a wagon, but those, sadly, are getting harder to find…

[Disclaimer: Hyundai flew me to Minnesota to sample the new Tucson. They put me up in a hotel room right on the U. of Minnesota Campus. I tried to use that campus gym (because it’s massive and lovely), but was asked if I had a student attending… do I look that old already? Dammit… don’t answer that.]

Dodge Challenger 392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker: Long name… lots of fun

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You can’t afford the Hellcat. You want more than the 5.7-liter R/T has to offer. Say hello to the Dodge Challenger 392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker… if you can remember all of that.

It’s a long name, but it’s a car with lots of fun to pack up all those letters. There’s 485 horsepower on tap, and it’s more than enough to meter out punishment to those rear tires that are just aching for it.

There’s a hole in the hood, and yes it’s supposed to be there. That’s where the shaker scoop pokes through in order to feed some more air into the engine. It’s bolted directly to that 6.4-liter V8, and when you dip into the throttle it starts to dance a bit.

This is a toy for adults.
Adults who enjoy acting like children…

[Disclaimer: Dodge tossed us the keys to this Challenger and we had the car for a week. A tank of gas was included. Not included: fuzzy dice, a black t-shirt and plain jeans, and an iPod with classic rock. We supplied that ourselves… minus the dice.]

Hooniverse Ride Along: Polaris RZR 900 EPS

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The ethos of Hooniverse is the love for all things with wheels and an engine (or motor for the electric-powered offerings). When the opportunity arises to drive some stellar trails in ATV’s and Side-By-Sides we would be foolish to turn down the opportunity.

At this years Motor Press Guild Droptops & Dirt event in beautiful Malibu, Polaris brought out a few of their newest products. Todays focus is on the RZR 900 EPS and the high amounts of giggling fun that ensued.

Because I’m clumsy I went for the more enclosed option between a Side-By-Side and an ATV. Its 75 horsepower is more than enough to scoot this along. For those who thrive on numbers, 0-40mph is over in 3.76 seconds, and it’s enough to get the “throttle happy” into a bit of trouble on the trails. But it’s by no means scary. The capabilities and ease of use means the most novice driver can enjoy it.

Please disregard all my hooting and hollering (yes I’m Texan), it was an absolute blast to drive.

Jaguar XJL: Long, Luxurious, and Lightweight

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If you’re shopping in the full-size luxury sedan segment, things are going well in your life. This is an expensive place to party, but you’re going to wind up going home with a winner.

This is a space dominated by Germany and Japan. We have the BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8, and the Lexus LS. There are others, of course. Some a bit less expensive and others costing as much as a condo or a house.

Somewhere in between all of that lies the Jaguar XJL. It’s a long-wheelbase sedan from the kitty company that’s now known for its rip-roaring V8s. How can the automaker’s full-size four-door get away then, with packing a 3.0-liter V6 under the hood here?

Well you add a supercharger to push power to 340-horsepower. You also build the body panels from aluminum to keep the weight down.

To take things even further, you create a seriously lux interior space, add way more style, and then price the thing better than the rest of the competition…

[Disclaimer: Jaguar tossed us the keys to the XJL, loaned us the car for a week, and included a tank of gas. During that time I founded a new hedge fund and bought a Hatteras because if felt like I could… the hedge fund is bankrupt and, if the insurance company asks, the boat was sunk off Catalina island by “pirates”.]

First (Track) Drive: 2016 Cadillac ATS-V

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Cadillac has been cooking up some sweet V-Series machines for a few years now. Every new iteration brings about a more refined and compelling package. Such is the case with the all-new 2016 Cadillac ATS-V.

With its available manual gearbox, magnetic ride control, and 464-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 engine, it should prove to be quite the potent performer.

We trekked to Willow Springs Raceway to find out if that’s the case. Here’s a spoiler for you: The car’s awesome.

Nissan GT-R Nismo: Do you love the latest & greatest?

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The Nissan GT-R has been a bit of a polarizing machine since it’s arrived years ago. Some love it while others feel it can be a bit soulless.

Regardless, there’s no denying its potent performance. Additionally, the car has only gotten faster, better, and more potent year after year. The latest and greatest version has spent time with the capable hands from the Nissan Motorsports division; otherwise known as NISMO.

The GT-R Nismo ups the crazy speed. It ups the crazy levels of grip, acceleration, stopping performance, and overall track-focused insanity.

Maybe it finally ups the number of people who love it for the absolutely focused machine that it is…

[Disclaimer: Nissan tossed us the keys to the GT-R Nismo for a few days. Our heart and brain thank them… our back has different feelings.]

Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen Wagon(wagen)

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You want a vehicle that can do 99% of everything that you think you need it to do? I have the perfect vehicle for you. It’s called a “wagon”, and it utilizes plenty of cargo room mixed with great driving dynamics and solid styling.

Oh you don’t like that idea? YOU’RE WRONG!

Say hello to the Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen, and say hello to a vehicle that will handle nearly all of your daily needs. It has loads of cargo space, returns tremendous fuel economy with the TDI motor, and is available rather nicely equipped for right around $30,000.

Stop buying crossovers. Start buying wagons… this one is a good one to start with.

[Disclaimer: Volkswagen tossed us the keys to this Golf Sportwagen and included a tank of the oil burning fuel. We barely dipped into it, despite putting a fair amount of miles on the car. Even with my fat foot, it has massive range per tank.]

Audi RS5 Cabriolet – Feel the wind in your hair… and in your wallet

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The Audi RS5 is a sort of lone wolf in a strange land. Four-passenger, two-door convertibles are a rare breed, and they get far more rare when you throw in terms like “all-wheel-drive”, “aggressive”, “V8”, and performance. That’s what we’re dealing with here, and it’s hard to compare the RS5 Cabriolet to other vehicles on the market.

Under the hood we have a rather delightful 4.2-liter V8 that produces 450 horsepower and just under 320 pound-feet of torque. There’s plenty of power on tap, and it’s metered out to all four wheels by way of the seven-speed S-tronic gearbox. My issues with the car begin here.

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