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We gather around to watch an E92 M3 chase a Volvo 850 wagon

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Watching in-car videos is double-triple the fun when you share them with your car buddies. The Hooniversal HQ is no exception. I cued this clip of a Norwegian-registered, commendably quick Volvo 850 making it difficult for a BMW E92 M3 to keep up. It was a heated discussion…

Bradley Brownell:  I haven’t shaved since January.

[Ed. note: Wait, that was another talking point.]

… Continue Reading

Putting the 2016 Nissan Titan XD to work

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I’d driven the truck when it first launched. The 2016 Nissan Titan XD was just fine and dandy on the smooth roads around Scottsdale, Arizona. It handled itself surprisingly well on the short off-road portion of the driving event, and brushed off the shorter towing portion with ease.

I wanted to find out a bit more about this new in-betweener truck. It’s packing a dash more heat than half-ton shoppers typically get yet doesn’t go full bore three-quarter ton. What’s it like to live with the truck and put it to work? So I did that… and used it to tow something for a long distance.

Oh I slept in it too, but that part wasn’t fun.

[Disclaimer: Nissan lent me a Titan XD at home for a week, and then again a few weeks later left one parked at SFO for me to borrow for our LeMons party. I said LEMONS party… with an S. Wait, that still doesn’t sound right.]

Volkswagen Golf GTE: Your Electrified GTI

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Ready to sample some currently forbidden fruit? Today it arrives in the form of the Volkswagen Golf GTE. No, that’s not a typo. This is a GTI… plug-in hybrid, and it’s been available in Europe since 2014.

Pay attention to this car though, fans of the VW brand, as this could be the path to a non-diesel salvation for the brand.

[Disclaimer: Volkswagen tossed us the keys to the Golf GTE for a few days, and included a full tank of gas in the car. We barely dipped into that fuel tank. Seriously, why aren’t they selling this here yet?]

Acura RLX Sport Hybrid: A Surprise Sleeper?

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There aren’t many sleepers produced right from the factory anymore. Everyone knows when you’re packing a solid amount of horsepower these days. We managed to find one though, and it’s arrived in the form of the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid.

It looks like a mild-mannered premium sedan on the outside. Under the skin, however, it’s packing a combined power output of 377 horsepower. Additionally, it’s making use of three electric motors to help send torque to exactly where it’s needed. It’s the first production use of an all-electric Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive-System, otherwise known as SH-AWD.

That’s damn near supercar tech… in a car that’s going under the radar for all the wrong reasons. Say hello to a true sleeper.

[Disclaimer: Acura tossed us the keys to the RLX Sport Hybrid and included a tank of gas. We proceeded to drive the car in a fairly un-hybrid like manner yet still saw nearly 30 miles per gallon being returned.]

Ramblin’ On with… the 2016 Jaguar F-Type R Convertible

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So we’re trying out something different here with this one…

The weather wasn’t cooperating during our time with the Jaguar F-Type R AWD Convertible. Rather then let that stop us from shooting something with the car, I did a quick intro then stuck a camera in the car, and wen out for a drive.

What follows is basically a rambling review of the vehicle. It’s almost a stream of consciousness sort of thing. There are some edits and cuts, but it’s nothing like our standard full bore review.

Also… it’s way too long. Regardless, let’s see how many of you hang in there for this one.

This is the first Ramblin’ On!

[Disclaimer: Jaguar tossed us the keys to the F-Type and included a tank of gas.]

First Drive: 2016 Infiniti Q50S Red Sport 400

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This car is incredibly important to Infiniti, as it’s the best selling vehicle for the brand… that means this updated version has to be good. Enter the 2016 Infiniti Q50S Red Sport 400.

It’s the version we recently got to sample, and that three-digit number at the end of the name relates to the amount of horsepower the engine is cranking out. It comes by way of the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine. The VQ is gone so say hello to the new VR Series of engines. You might miss some of the old noise but the new power levels and they way in which it’s all delivered is great.

This Q50 marks a return to the fun-to-drive G sedan and coupe we remember. It’s eager to spin its tires, get sideways, and have plenty of fun.

Here we get a First Drive taste of the car, stand by for a longer review in the coming weeks.

[Disclaimer: Infiniti wanted me to check out the new Red Sport 400, so it flew me to San Antonio and put me up in a hotel that used to be an old brewery. Food and drinks were had on the Infiniti dime as well.]

Video: McLaren 675LT – More P1 Than 650S

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McLaren is a producer of technically amazing automotive machinery. The 12C is great, the 650S is amazing, and the P1 is well on its way to become a legend of the hypercar realm. Still, there’s nothing that wild from McLaren, relatively speaking of course. Enter the 675LT, which is clearly the brash yet brilliant bright light of the bunch.

Imagine someone took a McLaren P1, stripped all of the battery bits and electric motors, and you’d very nearly have a 675. It’s certainly more closely related to that million-dollar machine than it is to the 650S, despite being several hundred thousand dollars less expensive.

If the current McLaren lineup were a group of your friends… the 570S would be the newcomer who has a family that comes from money, but he likes to party with those who don’t. The 650S is smart and knows it, and doesn’t really cut loose. The P1 is the all-star who’s good at everything. The 675LT though… that’s the one you want to party with, and then become best friends for life.

The 675LT is the fun one…

[Disclaimer: McLaren tossed us the keys to the 675LT and included a tank of fuel. I then proceeded to increase the value of my condo complex for a few days.]

2016 Audi TTS: Not So Mellow In Yellow

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You want a coupe. You also want a hatchback. In addition, you’d like it to be sporty, have a touch of luxury, and boast the latest in interior tech. That’s not a long list of vehicles you’re going to be looking at… in fact, there’s pretty much just one and it’s called the 2016 Audi TTS.

Luckily for you… it’s pretty damn good.

[Disclaimer: Audi tossed us the keys to the 2016 TTS, and included a tank of gas.

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.]