All posts by H.soukar

A passionate car lover, expert and automotive editor...

2016 Nissan Titan XD 5.6L 4×4

2016 Nissan Titan XD 5.6L 4x4

The Titan XD, intended to be a tweener model slotting into the gap between traditional half-ton pickups and heavy-duty models, initially was offered only with a 5.0-liter Cummins turbo-diesel V-8 from the Indiana-based engine supplier that is better known for providing diesel engines for semis and Ram pickups.

But more choice is always better in the pickup market (although the Titan XD remains Crew Cab only), and the Titan XD can’t hinge its entire lineup on the costly Cummins. Starting at $36,485—that’s $5000 less than the diesel V-8 version—the XD with a gasoline V-8 will also make its way into the more conventional half-ton Titan that goes on sale later this year.

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True heavy-duty truck

Despite its lower mass, the gasoline-powered Titan XD fell short of its diesel sibling in skidpad and braking evaluations. Blame the Pro-4X’s off-road-oriented extras, especially the knobby General Grabber APT tires. The 205 feet it took for the gas XD to stop from 70 mph is more toward the realm of true heavy-duty trucks than light-duty ones. And the soft, vague feel of the brake pedal did not inspire confidence on the road.

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2017 Porsche Panamera

When Porsche originally decided to move forward with the Panamera, a lot of options were on the menu, including a traditional three-box sedan. But there were enough of those in the market, and not so many hatchbacks. Since then, more hatchbacks have joined the luxury arena, including the Audi A7 and the Tesla Model S. But the Panamera stands alone: More spacious than the A7 and more luxurious than the Tesla, it’s a valid contender against the Audi A8, the BMW 7-series, and the Mercedes-Benz S-class, although its shape and dynamics pit it against top versions of the Germans’ sleeker offerings, such as the Audi RS7, BMW M6 Gran Coupe, and Mercedes-AMG CLS63 S.

2017 Porsche Panamera-Consule

It looks better—a lot better

The second generation of the Panamera, which Porsche launched at a lavish event in Berlin, takes everything a step forward: It’s slightly bigger, it’s more powerful, it’s said to perform better, and it’s fitted with a cutting-edge man-machine interface. What’s more, it looks better—a lot better. When we rode along on a prototype drive in South Africa earlier this year, we got a sense of the much-improved proportions of the new car. Its roofline has been lowered over the rear passengers, and the shape of the side-window opening resembles that of the 911.

2017 Porsche Panamera

Now the camouflage has been lifted entirely, and we really like what we see. The LED headlights, available in various levels of technical sophistication, look futuristic, and the taillights resemble the 911’s. They stretch all the way across the Panamera’s rear, and the effect is as stunning as it is ultramodern.

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2016 BMW 740i

Test Intro

After 120,000 miles divided among a 2012 BMW 328i sedan, a 2014 BMW 328d xDrive wagon, and a 2015 BMW M3, we’re ready for a respite from the sixth-generation 3-series. Each one of those recent long-termers left us cold: too disconnected, too expensive, or too flinty, but most of all, just short of totally satisfying. BMW’s quest to adapt the 3-series for mass-market appeal has watered down our decades-long love for the car that once combined control, practicality, and fun like no other.

 2016 BMW 740i

 

Instead of hunting for the ghosts of BMW past with yet another long-term 3-series, we’ve redirected our focus toward a 2016 BMW 740i. We’ll spend 40,000 miles determining if BMW’s apparent new priorities—luxury and comfort before sport—have been perfected in the company’s flagship.

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2017 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro

Silence is golden, especially in an election year. But in a sports sedan, silence can be eerie. Absent the sound of hot air ripping through an exhaust, can you really be sure you’re in a car that performs?

In the case of the 2017 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro, the sound-level meter confirms its soft-spoken nature. At a steady 70 mph, the A4 puts out a mere 63 decibels. That’s less noise than you’ll get in an S-class, Audi’s own A8, and the sensory-deprivation tank also known as the Lexus LS600hL. A Rolls-Royce Phantom is quieter, but only by one decibel. Point the A4 down a highway and all you hear is a light ruffling of wind—and watch your speed, the A4 is barely louder at 100 mph.

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2017 Nissan GT-R – First Drive

For the source of the Nissan GT-R’s bad-boy nickname, look to Honda—Ishirō Honda. In 1954, that Japanese film director conceived Gojira, the monster born of World War II nuclear radiation that we know as Godzilla. After this icon wreaked havoc in 30 films, the name was a natural fit for Nissan’s sports coupe, which evolved through six generations before arriving here as the 2009 GT-R. Now the seventh generation is about to face that nicer road monster of Honda’s making: the new Acura NSX.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma V-6 4×4 Automatic

The average as-tested price of the four full-size pickups in our most recent comparison test was $56,409. And that’s not even the half of it: The most expensive half-ton truck right now is the Ford F-150 Limited, which tops out north of $68,000. Hop inside that truck, and you’re greeted by stitched leather, eucalyptus wood trim, and a full-length panoramic glass roof. It’ll even massage your rear end as you tow your boat to the lake house for the weekend with your three kids in the humongous back seat.

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While full-size trucks are moving further into luxury territory in their attempt to be all things to all people, mid-size pickups aren’t quite there yet. Even the newest examples of the breed, the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins and the recently redone Toyota Tacoma, still feel like work trucks at heart. That’s not meant as a slight, either—we appreciate an honest pickup and we had mostly good things to say about the TRD Off-Road–equipped Tacoma with a stick shift that we tested earlier this year.

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2016 Lexus ES

Overview: Not everyone likes to drive, feel the road through the seat of their pants, or hear the roar of an engine at full throttle, and the 2016 Lexus ES aims for that clientele. Quiet, comfortable, and spacious, the Lexus ES luxury sedan is available with either a surprisingly quick 268-hp 3.5-liter V-6 in the ES350 or an efficient 200-hp gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain in the ES300h. The latter nets a 40-mpg EPA city rating and includes distinct visual touches such as blue badging, a lip spoiler on the trunk, and a hidden exhaust pipe. Whereas previous versions of the ES shared underpinnings with the mid-size Toyota Camry, the sixth generation, introduced for 2013, rides on the full-size Toyota Avalon’s longer wheelbase. As a result, rear-seat passengers enjoy 40.0 inches of legroom—a figure that (just barely) betters the new Buick LaCrosse and makes it among the best in the segment. Besides the LaCrosse, the ES competes against the likes of the Lincoln MKZ, as well as similarly priced, if slightly smaller, entry-luxury models such as the Acura TLX and the Volvo S60. For this review, we drove the conventionally powered Lexus ES350.

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What’s New: Lexus lightly refreshed the ES’s exterior and interior for 2016. A bigger and bolder version of the brand’s ubiquitous spindle grille dominates the ES’s front end, while redesigned headlights, which now offer standard LED low-beams, add a hint of aggression to the car’s design.

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2017 Acura NSX

The NSX leans more toward being an exotic street car than a track-day terror, with everyday drivability and comfort crafted into a surprisingly seamless technical package.

“New Sports experience” is the motivating phrase behind the new Acura NSX, which had its first run from model-years 1991 to 2005 as a modestly powered, mid-engine, aluminum-constructed sports car. Pushing the boundaries of high-performance technology today means something very different from what that original car embodied, so the formula for the New Sports experience is considerably different in the 2017 Acura NSX: The basics include a hybrid power train made up of three electric motors, a lithium-ion battery pack, a mid-mounted twin-turbocharged V-6 engine and a dual-clutch nine-speed automatic transmission.

2017 Acura NSX

I got my first drive on canyon roads outside Palm Springs, Calif., and on a 1.8-mile closed-circuit track. The NSX’s $157,800 starting price with $1,800 destination charge puts it in a league with high-end sports cars such as the Audi R8 and Porsche 911 Turbo, though the hybrid system and electrified all-wheel drive also parallel the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid, which lives in this price territory.

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2017 VW Touareg

There is not much information about the exterior style and the caught testing mule has been under the heavy camouflage, but expects an evolutionary design with lot of details taken from new Europe specs Passat. Except for more room, interior of new Tuareg 2017 will also be characterized by the latest tech features, like digital gauge cluster, long list of driver assist systems and maybe some semi-autonomous technology.

2017 VW Touareg

Engine and Performance

The engine range for new VW Touareg 2017 will, among other units, also include a diesel with 300 hp, V6 gasoline that makes 330 hp, as well as plug-in hybrid variant. The latter is probably going to be a combination already seen in the Audi Q7 e-tron, which includes a 3.0-liter TDI diesel engine, an electric motor and lithium-ion batteries with a total power output rated at 373 hp.

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BMW Builds Awesome M4 GTS Safety Car And Racing Wheelchair

BMW has developed two very different, but equally impressive wheeled vehicles recently. The first is the new M4 GTS Safety Car, specially prepared to serve Germany’s popular and highly competitive DTM touring car series. It packs 500 horsepower and trick water-injection tech, just like the other 700 road-going examples of the GTS. Unlike the street version, it features key upgrades like special LED lighting, radio communication equipment, and special livery, as well as the no-cost optional Clubsport pack that includes six-point racing harnesses, roll cage, and fire extinguisher.

BMW builds awesome M4 GTS safety car and racing wheelchair

BMW Team USA Racing Wheelchair Rio 2016 Paralympic GamesThe other new BMW doesn’t have an engine, but is highly impressive nonetheless. It’s a racing wheelchair created by BMW DesignWorks. Stemming from the automaker’s partnership with the United States Olympic Committee, it features carbon-fiber construction and has been streamlined for aerodynamic efficiency. Members of the US Paralympics Track and Field team will help further develop the wheelchair before using it at the upcoming games in Rio de Janeiro. We wouldn’t be surprised if longtime BMW driver Alex Zanardi helped in its development as well, even if he’ll be competing for Italy at the Paralympic Games this year.

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