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Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT – A $100k steal

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The Aston Martin V8 Vantage has been around for a few years now. It’s been refined a bit during that time, but some might say it’s getting a bit long in the tooth. We’re okay with that… because it keeps getting better while still maintaining its beautiful looks.

There’s a new version for us to love, and it’s called the V8 Vantage GT. While our friends in Europe get the N430 version, which is a luxed up Vantage, we get the version that’s easily one of the best deals in this segment.

Aston Martin offers the V8 Vantage GT with a starting price of just $99,000. To be able to put one of these in your garage for less than the cost of 911 with a few options is a rare treat, and it’s one that should have well heeled shoppers thinking twice about heading to their local Super Beetle dealership…

First Drive: 2015 Lexus RC F

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Lexus is looking to join the big leagues of the sport luxury segment. That’s a hefty road to climb considering it’s currently filled with the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, BMW M4, and the Audi RS5, amongst other machines.

Lexus has an answer to those vehicles, however, and it’s called the RC F. Hooniverse.com Executive Editor Jeff Glucker heads to the Monticello Motor Club in New York to see if it can compete with the rest of the segment.

[Disclaimer: Lexus flew me to New York and put me up in a hotel. I ditched the after-track after-dinner drink-a-thon to hang out with my buddy Matt... we had our own drink-a-thon. I was tired the next day.]

2015 Cadillac Escalade drops the guilty and ups the pleasure

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For me, the Cadillac Escalade has always been a bit of a guilty pleasure vehicle. This is a machine that I shouldn’t like, but for some reason I’m oddly attracted to said vehicle. I once took a 900-mile road trip in a last-generation Escalade Platinum Hybrid. With four adults seated comfortably, the journey was a breeze. Still, that ungainly machine was extremely expensive on the window sticker yet it didn’t quite pair that price with the same level of luxury one would expect when shelling out that much dough.

For 2015, Cadillac has launched an all-new Escalade, and it looks a whole lot sharper than the version it replaces. The exterior has been refined, the interior has been upgraded, and the engine is better than before.

Is it still a guilty pleasure… or has it evolved into something more?

[Disclaimer: Cadillac loaned me the keys to the 2015 Escalade for a week. They also included a tank of gas. Spoiler alert: One tank doesn't get you very far and I made my local Mobil station very happy.]

Video Review: Dinan S3-R BMW 1M
The Real Ultimate Driving Machine

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I harp on BMW a lot. Too much, in fact. The automaker still builds machines that provide a truly engaging driving experience. The problem is though, that the lineup has less and less of that. Still, cars like the new M3 and M4 prove that BMW can still create ultimate driving machines.

Back in 2011, however, they may have created their own modern-day masterpiece. It’s called the BMW 1 Series M Coupe, or 1M for short. This 335-horsepower mighty mobile proved that BMW had not in fact lost its mojo.

Did they leave a bit on the table with the 1M? I wouldn’t have said so back then, but after spending a week with the Dinan S3-R 1M I’m singing a different tune. What Dinan has done is take a great car… and made it into one of the best true driver’s cars that I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

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Video Review: 2014 Audi RS7
Say Hello to Banana Sandwich

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Remember how crazy some cars used to be? Big-block having, lumpy-cam bumping, street beasts crafted with metal and a desire to go straight as fast as possible. Today you have vehicles that produce just as much power, yet aren’t quite as insane as the meaty machines that came before. Still, insane cars do exist… you just have to look a bit harder to find them.

Case in point: the 2014 Audi RS7.

How can a luxury, four-door, shapely sedan be considered insane? That’s easy… just pop the hood and take in the 560-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 engine. If you don’t think it’s pure insanity that a nearly 4,500-pound sedan can run from 0-60 miles per hour in around 3.5 seconds, then we have different definitions of the term “crazy train”. Your definition is wrong, by the way.

The 190 mile-per-hour top speed agrees with me, as well.

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2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S: The classiest hot rod on the bright yellow block

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It wants to stand out…

From the color, to the noise, the 2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S is a high-dollar luxury droptop that looks to make its presence known. It’s the noise that has me most interested, of course, as the color is not my cup of delightful British tea. The noise is produced by the 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine mounted under the hood. It generates 521 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque.

That’s enough to make the 0-60 run in just over four seconds. It’s also enough to propel this not-so-light on its feet brawler on to its top speed of 191 miles per hour.

Did I say “stand out”? I meant blast out…

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2015 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD: The big rig for the boss

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A change in perspective. That’s what I got when I first slid my dark blue jeans onto the comfortable leather seat of the 2015 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD. You see, I’m typically quite a bit lower to the ground due to all the expensive/fast/luxurious/loud/exotic machines that I somehow wind up holding the keys to.

The change in perspective was necessary to get my head out of the clouds… but now my head sits a heck of a lot closer to the actual clouds. Still, I’ve apparently not given up any bits of the level of luxury I’ve experienced as of late because this is one truck that knows how to treat its driver and passengers right.

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First Drive: 2015 Volkswagen GTI
Moving forward while embracing the past

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It’s not EmKay… it’s Mark. As in Mark 7. I’m referring to the Volkswagen Golf GTI. More specifically, I’m talking about the all-new 2015 Volkswagen GTI. It’s been a fan favorite since the early 80s, and even further back for those that live outside the United States. There’s a reason for that, of course, since this is the car that most consider to be the grandfather of the hot hatch.

We’re not fortunate to swim in the massive sea of hatchbacks that our European friends get to enjoy, so for us the be-all end-all of hot hatchdom is the GTI. It’s important then, that the car continue to be improved. Such is the case with the newest jackrabbit. It’s been given more power, lightened up, has greater interior space, and continues to slide further into the realm of the premium automobile… all without rising in price or losing its charm.

Plaid seats? Check. Golf ball shifter? Indeed. Fun to drive? You bet your ass it is…

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Review: 2014 Audi A7 TDI

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The Audi A7 arrived on the scene a few years prior, and it instantly added a fresh look into the Quattro-loving lineup. I’m not going to call it a four-door coupe, because that’s a stupid thing to call a car with four doors. Still, the A7 wears a shape that’s far better looking than your standard sedan. It’s a trend that was started with the original Mercedes-Benz CLS, but I think Audi perfected it when it launched the A7.

Now, the Audi A7 family has expanded. The standard car is joined by the fun S7 and the cuckoo bananas RS7. There’s another one out there, however, that’s a bit more reserved. It’s the 2014 Audi A7 TDI… and it might wind up being your favorite member of the Sportback family.

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Review: 2005 Acura NSX
Meet your heroes…

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I was 25 years old when the Acura NSX went out of production. With its introduction to the U.S. market in 1991, I had been alive for its entire production run, and I never got to drive one much less sit in one. I’d seen them from time to time, and my close friends father owned one for a brief period. Still, I was never fortunate enough to earn any private time with what I assumed to be an amazing machine.

My first car was a 1987 Honda Prelude. My second car was a 1985 Nissan 300ZX. I currently own a 2000 Honda Civic Si, and I once drove a 1972 Datsun 240Z across the country. I’m a fan of Japanese cars. The Acura NSX remains very near the top of the mountain for me when it comes to all time great machines.

That’s why I was nervous to spend an entire week with one. A 2005 Acura NSX plucked from the Honda museum in Torrance, California. It was all mine for seven days.

Seven glorious days… meet your heroes.

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