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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.]

2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet 2.0T S-Line: A Softer, Smoother GTI Droptop

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You live in an area where convertibles make sense year round. The need to get your daily dosage of Vitamin D and feel the wind blowing through your hair during your morning/afternoon commute is high on the priority list. What kind of convertible do you buy? Entering into the luxury compact convertible segment means there is a bit of competition throughout the world. Do you look towards the Japanese, Americans or the Germans to get your drop top fix?

We’ve recently tested the 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet 2.0T S-Line to see how this offering in the segment can still retain a fun-to-drive character.

I used to own a MK6 Volkswagen GTI and I knew that car through and through. The practicality and driving enjoyment the GTI gave me still resonates to this day. I’ve since moved on from that GTI but driving this A3 Cabriolet kept reminding me of it. Though not as sharp or willing to engage the driver, the A3 retains some of the characteristics of the hopped-up Golf.

Is the 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet 2.0T S-Line a softer, smoother GTI droptop? Click play to find out.

[Disclaimer: Audi tossed us the keys to the A3 droptop and included a tank of gas. We then got the car dirty when we used it as a camera car at El Mirage to shoot footage of the more exciting Audi S7. The A3 is an excellent camera car with the roof down…]

First Drive: 2016 Honda Civic

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We’ve come a long way from that first Honda Civic… This is the 2016 Civic, and it’s the 10th generation of Honda’s plucky compact. For the first time, the American Honda team has led the development of the car, and they’ve given us a Civic that’s incredibly well rounded. It should be, considering that Honda looked towards German premium and luxury vehicles for inspiration.

This is our first taste of the new Honda Civic. We’re eager to get our grubby mitts on the upcoming Civic Si and definitely on the Civic Type R. For now though, we’ll settle for an initial sampling of the all-new machine by starting with the Civic Sedan Turbo, and it’s new 1.5-liter forced-induction mill.

[Disclaimer: Honda flew my but from Boston (where I was visiting family) to NY to sample its latest Civic. They put food in my belly, and gave me a place to sleep as well.]

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…

… Continue Reading

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”.]


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