Hyundai Test Drive Review: Sonata Turbo & Veloster Turbo
I’ve done quite a few test drives this year, but none has had a lasting impression on me like the recent Hyundai drive event I was invited to by Car & Driver magazine. I have never driven any of the recent Hyundai models since the company revamped its image from base economy cars to “luxury” & dare I say “performance” cars. I figured the Genesis & Genesis Coupe along with the Equus would be the only notable cars from the company since they fall under the “Premium” section. I definitely made the 35 minute drive to the location thinking “Ehhh, it’s something to keep me from sitting in the house all day”. Upon arrival, the set up was something out of … a commercial. And sure enough there was the camera crew off to the side, interviewing the drivers after they’ve taken the cars out for a spin. For the sake of not wanting to be the douchebag, I mentally started to prepare my statement of the experience … you know the whole generic “Wow!! I am shocked the car drove soooooo well!!” speech.
“…I actually uttered the words “This is on par with the 2012 BMW 528i I’ve been driving around in…”
After signing in, I headed back outside where I waited for either of my cars to pull up. I found myself staring at the Sonata Turbo and started to take notice to the signature “fluidic” design of the cars body language and nodded in acceptance. My Sonata eventually rolls up and I walk towards it with judgement day demeanor, because if I got out the car with the slightest lack of interest, Hyundai would be dead in my eyes. After the whole introduction part, I climbed into car and was quite amazed as to how well dressed Hyundai has made the Sonata. Comparing it to the 2013 Altima I test drove, the Hyundai had interior styling in the bag. Ok, well how did it drive? Let’s just say I found myself grinning like a kid who just got the “go ahead” at Toys R Us. The Sonata, with an enjoyable high quality interior, had a pretty confidence inspiring drive for the market it plays in. The turbo gives the engine a nice revving note that turns the driver from a Lackey to a Gladiator.
Handling & braking were also impressive especially with a few blind turns along the course, the Sonata never made you feel like things would get out of hand. I actually uttered the words “This is on par with the 2012 BMW 528i I’ve been driving around in”, which of course put an ear to ear smile on the face of the brand ambassador who was riding with me. Before you unsubscribe from my blog, lets do a quick break down on that statement. The Hyundai is lighter, much lighter than the heavyfooted new 5-Series, so when the turbo’s kick in on both cars, which car do you think you’ll feel it in? Had the Sonata been rear wheel drive or all wheel drive, it could be a serious contender in this argument. Ok…when we eventually got back to our point of origin, I took a few minutes to marinate in what I just experienced. A Hyundai that literally was now sitting on the top of my list of favorite cars driven this year.
Ok, so now it was time to test the Veloster, the 3-door car that I had no clue as to what purposed it served until I was told it played the “compact sportscar” role. I was just ready to get back out and floor it so I can experience that turbo again. Due to the excitement built up by the Sonata, I figured the Veloster would be more thriller since it was smaller and more nimble. But to be honest, the Veloster wasn’t as engaging as the Sonata. Let’s face it, it’s the little brother, it’s packing a smaller engine, less horsepower, and isn’t the flagship car of the brand. However, it definitely was still a solid ride with amazing handling, in fact, I found myself doing the Kobe Bryant under-bite grin when I mashed the accelerator after coming out from those blind turns, very appreciative of the 1.6 liter 201 horsepower turbo.
Now I don’t know if it’s because I wasn’t expecting much from the cars I was going in to test drive, which eventually led to the mind-blowing excitement I carried with me back to the Altima I came in. But with the thrill gone, I truly find myself looking at Hyundai in a new light. I haven’t driven many compact sportscar to compare the Veloster Turbo to, but it set the bar quite high. As far as the Sonata Turbo, I understand why it is without a doubt a key player in the midsize segment, with the potential to walk the lines of a premium luxury car. But we won’t get carried away, Hyundai still has the Genesis I’m now itching to get behind the wheels of. After the driving, I went over for my interview, and luckily I didn’t have to use the generic speech I had planned, all my responses were genuine. I think my voice cracked a little as I was getting into my description of how well the cars handled.
Kudos to you Hyundai!!
You’re Buying: Audi R8 vs Nissan GT-R
As much as I would love to just jump straight into the comparison, we’re going to go through the whole buying process for the sake of keeping tradition going.
After several months of pondering, you’ve finally decided you want in on this “supercar” club scene. $200,000 is the budget, just to get yourself familiar with the lifestyle. The two biggest buzzing cars of recent time both hail from two different regions. One is Japanese, yes, a Japanese supercar; in fact the one that triumphed over the iconic Porsche 911 Turbo. The other, German, corporate cousin to that same Porsche 911 Turbo, and sister car to the mighty Lamborghini Gallardo. That’s right, you’ve made it all the way to the dealership only to be confronted with two beauty’s. The poster-boys for the PlayStation generation. The Italian powered Audi R8 and the legendary Nissan GT-R supercars.
Audi R8: (v10) 5.2 liter FSI direct injection v10 mid-engine. 525 horsepower, 390 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 in 3.7 seconds. Price $150,000
Nissan GT-R: 3.8 liter twin-turbo v6 engine. 545 horsepower. 463 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 in 2.9 seconds. Price: $96,000 ($106,000 – Black Edition)
Off the bat, the GT-R has quite an impressive lead over the R8. Normally, more cylinders equate to more power, but Nissan has even baffled Ferrari as to how the GT-R is so quick. The R8 falls short on everything on the spec sheet, except for the price.
Handling: The Audi R8 pulls an impressive .98 g on the skid pad with an adjustable ride setting. But the GT-R rules again pulling an astonishing 1.12 g on the skid pad, along with one of the most satisfying ride setting system of recent supercars. [GT-R]
Exterior Design: Both cars command serious attention no matter where on the planet they are. But, they have two completely different styles. The R8 has flare and massive sex appeal. The car that belongs in the lime lights of Hollywood, Vegas, and New York. The GT-R plays a more conservative role. Though still stunning, it seems more like the car that needs to be roaring through tunnels and growling at stop lights. But R8 commands more attention. [R8]
Interior Design: This will probably be the most difficult segment. The R8 doesn’t just win because it’s an Audi, but because it can boast about its high quality materials and driver orientated setup. In fact, the R8 is so good, many have chosen it over its Gallardo twin because of their preference in the R8’s interior. The Nissan is no slouch, having one of the most luxurious and technologically advanced interior. If this was based solely on which I would choose to drive fast in, I’d never come to an answer. But daily practically does play a role and that’s where things change. The R8 is great, if you’re just going for a nice drive out maybe with a friend, but that’s it. Not an interior that really accommodates daily use. However, the GT-R is a supercar that has an interior that fits track days and well, normal days. Seating for 4, more comforting cabin, and an center console interface that is more suitable for any use. I’m probably not explaining this as well as I’d like to. [GT-R]
Fuel Economy: I honestly don’t know why this is a factor especially since every car has been big engine, big price tag cars that make fuel economy irrelevant. But Daily use includes how often you’ll have to stop at the pump. The Audi R8 gets a reported 13 city and 21 highway. The Nissan GT-R gets a reported 16 city and 23 highway [GT-R]
Pricing: Yes pricing is officially a factor to determine if one car is worth the extra money over the other. In this case the Audi R8 v10, though a phenomenal car, doesn’t oust the GT-R in any way other than exterior styling. Which doesn’t translate well for a $50,000 price difference. But if you’re willing to pay the extra bucks just to say you have a mid-engine Gallardo twin, by all means, splurge. [GT-R]
Deciding Factor: Pretty much a one sided competition. Though the GT-R is walking away the winner here, that doesn’t take anything away from how great the R8 is at being a supercar. The R8 definitely commands more attention than the GT-R, but nobody is going to ignore a Godzilla sighting. But if you’re looking for a better styled Gallardo to bring traffic to a complete halt, then the R8 is the car for you.
Winner: Performance, Interior design, Fuel Economy, and Pricing – [Godzilla (Nissan GT-R)]
You’re Buying: Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG vs BMW F10 M5
Ok, we’re just going to assume you’re a super rich lucky individual who just happened to stumble across a large sum of cash. So you’re looking for a sweet ride to compliment you’re new flashy, luxurious life. Nothing major, no land yachts, just a nice mid-size super cruiser. Walk into the dealer and a salesperson immediately shows you the two latest rides that just came in this morning. On one side, there is a three point silver star, on the other side there is a blue and white checkered circle. That’s right, your options are an E63 AMG Mercedes-Benz or BMW’s latest turbo powered M5. You’re not sure which you’d take, so the salesperson breaks the two car down for you:
Mercedes Benz E63 AMG: (AMG Performance Package) 5.5 liter Mercedes’ Biturbo V8 engine. 550 horsepower, 590 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 in 3.8 seconds. $130,000
BMW F10 M5: 4.4 liter twin-turbo V8. 560 horsepower. 502 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 in 3.7 seconds. Price: $90,000
Now of course, if you read the E63 break down below, you’re already aware of the stupendous price of the Benz. A $40,000 price tag difference is a big enough difference to cause a millionaire to stop and seriously consider what the extra money is worth. In 0-60, yeah the BMW wins, thanks to it’s slight edge with additional horses. But when you look at torque power, there is a substantial difference from the Benz to the BMW, an 82 lb-ft difference. But is it worth the extra cash?
Handling: Since both cars are in the 2012 model year, official handling test numbers have yet to be released. Especially for the M5, so it would be unfair to use last model year’s number for the E63, with no previous F10 to refer to. [N/A]
Exterior Design: E63, as mentioned in the break down, is one seductive Benz. The body language screams performance luxury car. The sportier AMG body makes the Benz one lusty ride. The M5 is quite a looker it self. But the conservative direction BMW took in the new 5-Series makes it hard to distinguish new BMW models. The new M5 is almost what a previous generation M7 would have looked like (for those of us who fantasize about it); unlike the previous E60 M5 which was recognized anywhere. [E63]
Interior Design: The E63 has a much more performance car orientated interior center cockpit than it’s non-AMG variant. The driving dynamics are all set-up for the driver, however it’s a cluster of buttons. For the M5, it’s always a driver orientated interior regardless of which 5-Series you get, and as soon as you get the hang of the idrive system, the car is easy to function. Also, though the Benz is a luxury car first, the clean, easy to use BMW seems to play more towards the luxurious interior styling. [M5]
Fuel Economy: Mostly, fuel economy isn’t the first thing on you’re mind when these two are your weighing options. But…The E63 is rated 16 city and 24 highway miles per gallon. The M5 is 17 city and 22 highway. [E63]
Pricing: Because there’s no way to determine which car out handles the other, pricing is officially a new buying factor from now on. In this case, we’ve established that the E63 is $40,000 more. We established that the M5 hits 60 first, but the Benz will probably go further faster because of it’s extra torque. But end of the day not many of us are buying the car to actually push it to its limits. So here, both cars play the mid-size super-sedan role extremely well. Benz is a luxury car with performance. BMW is a performance car with luxury. So ask yourself, with daily practicality being considered, are you getting that much more luxury or performance from the E63 to pay that $40k difference? [M5]
Deciding Factor: Overall, this was a difficult comparison. Mainly because neither car have been officially tested and reviewed, so there is a lack of numbers. However, there’s enough information provided to take a significant look into both cars and base you’re decision on. The E63 is a gentleman’s racecar, while the M5 is a racers gentleman cars. Again, both cars play the roles extremely well. If the Benz came with the Performance package numbers with at least $25k shaved off that price tag, this could’ve been the first You’re Buying tie (unless one seriously out handles the other). In that case, you’d just have to use your own personal preference to come to a conclusion.
Winner: Interior design and pricing – BMW F10 M5
E63 AMG Video
F10 M5 Video
Break Down: 2012 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG
Usually, I don’t do two Break Downs so within relative time frames. But the Altima (below) and the E63 are just two of the latest cars I’ve been dying to discuss.
Why is the new E63 AMG at the top of my list? If you remember, I posted the price of the new Benz super sedan a couple months back. Racking up a hefty $131,045 price tag for the performance package, one has no choice but to inquire as to why & how this car gets to such a price and is it worth it.
The E-Class does have a pretty seductive design, being the second Benz I ever found appealing; the first being the current S-Class (my attraction towards Benz wasn’t solidified until the new CLS). And I must admit, even though it’s been out for quite some time, I’d still take it over some of the recent new cars *cough* BMW 5-Series *cough*. And the minor touches of the AMG package seems as if E-Class ditches the suit and tie for a cape and tights, making it the super sedan it is.
Step inside the super sedan and you’re welcomed into one of the most luxurious mid-size saloons on the planet. What separates a E63 from an ordinary E-Class lies mainly in the center console. The adjustable driving dynamics and short throw shifter is hands down one of my favorite interior set-ups in the any premium car. But a heroic design nor a nicely appointed interior is going to convince me that this car is worth tens of thousands more than it’s purest of rivals. So what does it all come down to? Well, performance of course.
The deciding factor in this case is whether or not the E63 can perform in the class of 6 figure cars. So what does $131,045 get you? Well, there is a 5.5 liter Mercedes Bi-turbo engine producing 550 horses and 590 lb-ft of torque. These supercar like numbers, sprints the 4000+ lbs luxo-cruiser from 0-60 in 3.8 seconds. So far, so good. Lets look at its competitors numbers to see if it’s worth the extra money.
BMW F10 M5
Price: Loaded with every feature/accessory on BMWUSA.com – $111,950
Engine: 4.4 liter twin-turbo V8. 560 horsepower + 502 lb-ft of torque.
0-60: 3.7 seconds
Price: Loaded with every feature on Cadillac.com – $72,455
Engine: 6.2 liter supercharged V8. 556 horsepower + 551 lb-ft of torque
0-60: 3.9 seconds
Price: Loaded with every feature on JaguarUSA.com – $88,375
Engine: 5.0 liter V8. 510 horsepower + 470 lb-ft of torque
0-60: 4.4 seconds
Price: Black Edition + Super silver paint on NissanUSA.com – $111,175
Engine: 3.8 liter twin-turbo V6. 545 horsepower + 463 lb-ft of torque
0-60: 2.9 seconds
Audi R8 V8
Price: Built on AudiUSA.com – $134,850
Engine: 4.2 liter V8. 430 horsepower + 316 lb-ft of torque
0-60: 4.4 seconds
As far as the E63’s direct competitors go, the only car to come close is a fully loaded BMW M5. Yet the M5 is a tenth of a second fast to 60 and still a modest $20,000 less than the E63. The Jaguar is the only direct competitor that isn’t turbocharged, so coming .6 slower is highly respectable from the British sedan especially when the difference in price is some $40,000. In the case of the Cadillac, the E63 just becomes a ridiculously overpriced “look what I drive” car. The CTS-V is just behind the E63 by one tenth of second and nearly half the price of the Benz with a difference of $58,000. Coughing up a staggering $58,000 to upgrade from a Cadillac to a Benz at the sake of shaving .1 seconds off your 60 run is outrageous.
Ok, well what other cars can you get for about the same price of the E63 performance pack? A few names come to mind. The Audi R8 V8 seems to be the only car that makes the E63 justifiable of it’s price. Simply because you’re paying $3000 more to go .six tenths of a second slower to 60. Yet, the R8 V8 almost saves itself based on the fact it isn’t a turbo. But admit it, which would rather have? In the case of the Nissan GT-R, the E63 is no longer on my list of cars I want. The Godzilla tramples on anything the Benz has going for it. o-60? The GT-R is faster almost by an entire second. Price? The GT-R even with the Black Edition package & super silver paint is still a considerable $20,000 less than the Benz…Ok well these cars aren’t in the same class of the Benz, but read the first line of this paragraph. “…what other cars can you get for about the same price…?”
Most people are blinded by the star that sits on top of Benz cars. Believing that the price is automatically justifiable for the simple fact that, well, it’s a Benz. But for the E63, that star will just have to shine a bit brighter to get me to write off a 6 figure check. When you look at the specs & price of the Mercedes E63 AMG Performance package, its pretty impressive and almost logical. But once you compare it to its competition you start to wonder, “WTF AMG!?” Compared to direct competitors, it barely out competes any of it classmates to justify the huge price differences. The Jaguar is the only debatable one but the BMW & Cadillac puts the Benz to shame. The price competitors, again, dims the light in AMG’s shining star. The R8, will be the debatable one in this case, but the GT-R, without question, makes the Benz a non-factor.
So to answer the main question, is the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Performance Package worth the $131,045 price tag?
Break Down: 2013 Nissan Altima
Finally, taking a look into Nissan’s newest car, the redesigned Altima sedan. Why did it take almost a month to do a break down on this car? Well because there took some getting used to and of course some gathering of information.
As with all new redesigned cars, there has been some criticizing of the new Altima. Mainly due to it’s design. Highly based on the Nissan Ellure concept, the Altima is pretty much a blend of the Maxima & Infiniti JX, the most common critic has been how dated it looks before even going into production. As much as I don’t want to admit, I kind of have to agree. I really love the flow of the body language, but this would have been a great design if it had been introduced a good 3-4 years ago. At this time, it’s just a good redesign at most.
As a current Altima SL owner, waiting for Nissan to reveal the new Altima, I had some I high hopes. Why? well with it’s counterpart, Infiniti G, and big brother Maxima looking pretty gorgeous, I figured the new Altima would be a redesigning break through for the brand. Nope, not the case. There’s a small smile on my face when I look at photo’s of the new Altima, but by the 5th picture, I’m bored and wandering off to look at something else. Before, the Altima had it’s own identity not just within the brand, but among all of its competitors. Though it looks sportier than the outgoing model, the only thing that stands out for the car now is the huge upside down chrome outlined trapezoid grill.
Another compliant from people have been based on how “bland” the interior is. This is where I start to disagree. I am not 100% all for the new interior, but I still find it to be a great design when I put my personal preference aside. One main reason why I prefer the current interior design is because it is the only car in Nissan’s line-up that replicates the center console of the GT-R super coupe. In fact, my disapproval of the exterior design is also largely based on the same reason, being that it is the only car that comes the closest to resembling it’s supercar big brother. Almost making it the Godzuki to Godzilla. But aside from family resemblance, the interior is actually pretty good. Why? well look how much mature it looks. The dual climate controls aren’t as “childish” & outdated, the buttons around the center screen are properly appointed. The 3 spoke steering wheel is sportier. And the driver’s instrument cluster looks updated. The only true downfall in the interior are the exposed cup-holders and the center air vents (compared to the old, chrome trimmed tri-pod styled vents).
The biggest improvements for the Altima are some of the new features it offers. Aside from the updated navigation, rearview camera, & infotainment screen, the new lane departure warning system, 3D advance drive assist display, blind spot monitoring, active understeering control, debut of NissanConnect, Pandora radio, and paddle-shifters are what truly excites me about the new Altima.
Though the CVT has been revised, the biggest bore for me was the power the new Altima offers. While every new redesigned car Nissan has put out has had a significant increase in power, the new Altima only gets a slight increase for the I4 engine, the V6 is the same as the outgoing model…What!? I honestly hate this fact. The I4 gets an increase of 7 horses from 175 to 182, the V6 is still 270. But the Maxima might be the one to blame for the power blockage of the V6 Altima. The Maxima has 290 horses. If the new Altima was to get any closer to that, then the Altima would seriously be stepping on the toes of the Maxima as a more nimble, sportier, more fuel efficient, offering.
But even with the lack of additional power, Nissan states that the new sport suspension and revised CVT engine has been tuned so well that the new Altima engine is not just lighter for better fuel efficiency, but it will put the new Altima in competition with BMW’s 3-Series & Mercedes C-Class. I can honestly see that happening being that the even the current Altima has one of the best acceleration and handling among current Accord & Camry competitors. Now equipped with the Active Understeer Control, it seems highly likely that Nissan’s statement will prove to be true. Also, the I4 is said to sprint the 3000lbs sedan from 0 to 60 in 7.1 seconds, meaning the V6 will run somewhere in the low 6’s or high 5’s. Pretty good even with the little to no additional horsepower.
The new Altima may not excite anyone as far as the exterior design, but once you can over look that massive chrome trimmed grill, and step inside the car, it’s seems to be a nicely done car loaded with enough features that can put a premium brand to shame. In fact a loaded 3.5 SL Altima V6 will be just over $30k while a base BMW 328i will be $35k and that doesn’t include nowhere near the amount of luxury that the Altima will come with. Honestly had this Altima came out at least 2 years ago, it would’ve dominated the segment. The biggest problem Nissan faces will be the new Ford Fusion as far as exterior design. As much as I will miss the GT-R design cues in the current Altima, I have to say the potential performance and luxury amenities will be the deciding factor that will separate the Altima from a base mid-size car and place it in the class of an entry level luxury performance sedan.
Rating: 4/5. Exterior could be better. Everything else (interior, luxury, performance, fuel efficiency) is on par with premium brands. Waiting to see how the coupe will look.
Let’s Get Personal: Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG
I’ve bought this article back to the spot light, mainly because it was overshadowed when it was put out during the site’s transformation. Also because it just so happens to be about the Car of The Week and my personal experience. Enjoy:
No, you’re not experiencing any deja vu. There was already a feature of the upcoming (now recently released) CLS-Class Benz. But while that feature focused on the general aspects of the car, this will focus solely on the higher AMG level of the CLS 4-door coupe, mixed with my personal experience with the trendsetter.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the previous CLS nor a fan of Mercedes-Benz for that matter. But seeing the new CLS 63 in person changes everything I once thought of the German brand…This defies the laws of appeal and performance. From the nonchalant, yet aggressive front fascia with gaping intakes and integrated LED lamps; going down the bold and dominant side sculpturing, observing the large AMG brake calipers; and ending with a smooth and sporty rear fascia; AMG’s CLS is a beauty of a beast.
Hit the push-button start and listen as the beast comes alive, growling through it’s dual squared off quad-port exhaust pipes. 0-60 achieved in no more than 4.5 seconds; this is no car for an amateur. The 5.5 liter twin-turbo V8 engines racks up 518 horses and 516 lb-ft of torque. Opt out for the performance package and those numbers jump to a staggering 550 horses & 590 lb-ft or torque, cutting 0-60 do to 3.9 seconds. This has just become a borderline supercar. The 7-speed paddle shift transmission & multiplate wet clutch sets the monster loose, allowing it to shift gears effortlessly. And with 4 driving programs, you choose how wild the ride gets.
This may not be the pinnacle of 125 years of engineering, but you sure will experience the true power of an AMG Benz. Many will be staring at the 3-point star boldly embedded in the grill as it comes barreling down the road. One night with a ride like this, and you just might find it difficult to drive anything else. Changing your automotive beliefs…
This video is probably the closest to match the vibe of this article
“The best or nothing” – Mercedes Benz
You’re Buying: Porsche Panamera Turbo S vs Mercedes Benz CLS 63 AMG
You know what time it is. Looking for a new ride, in the showroom of a premier dealer, up to $200K to give. Standing before you; our last “You’re Buying” winner, Porsche Panamera Turbo S, and our Car of The Week, Mercedes Benz CLS 63 AMG…You know this is going to be good. Why? These are the two leaders is the 4-door coupe segment. So let’s start our comparison:
Mercedes Benz CLS 63 AMG: (Based on Performance Package) 5.5 liter Biturbo V8 engine. Good for 550 horses and 590 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 in 3.9 seconds, 7-speed MCT (Multi-Clutch Technology) transmission. $135,000
Porsche Panamera Turbo S: 4.8 liter V8 engine, 550 horses and 553 lb-ft of torque (590 w/ overboost). 0-60 in 3.6 seconds. 7-speed PDK (Porsche Double Clutch) transmission. Price: $173,200.00
Ok, if you’re anything like me, making a decision here just got extremely difficult…and a lot more interesting. These two cars are identical with only a mere 3 tenths of a second & about $40,000 separating them. So of course it’s comes down to our daily practicality break down.
Handling: The CLS 63 is work of Mercedes’ AMG division, rear wheel drive, and pulls .92 g’s on lateral acceleration. The Panamera is work of, well, Porsche. All Wheel drive, aids the car in pulling .96 g’s lateral acceleration. [Panamera Turbo S]
Exterior Design: The CLS 63 is possibly the most attractive car released within the past year. The elegant yet aggressive design is flat out gorgeous. No one with reasoning has ever made the statement of this being an ugly car. On the other hand, the Panamera is still fighting to win some people over with it’s design. It also tends to lack the 4-door coupe recognition because of its wagon body style. Though a lovely car in my eyes, the CLS is just too dazzling. [CLS 63 AMG]
Interior Design: The CLS 63 has a great looking interior. The set-up for the center console with the short throw shifter follows current AMG cars but is truly one of the best. Almost like you’ve stepped into you’re own personal star ship…But the same can be said about the Panamera especially with its ascending runway style center console. In the rear, the CLS loses it’s hold due to a simple split bench arrangement. Not much to excite rear passengers. Mean while, the Porsche keeps the thrill going with the center console that starts from the front, flowing through to the back of the Panamera. [Panamera Turbo S]
Fuel Economy: Possibly the most important factor especially with the way gas prices are sky rocketing now a days. The CLS 63 AMG gets a modest 16 mpg city and 21 highway. The Panamera Turbo S gets 15 city and 23 highway. Porsche wins by a very slight edge. [Panamera Turbo S]
Deciding Factor: There’s no surprise as to why these two cars are leaders in this segment. They are so closely matched, it’s almost to impossible to pick a winner. But we have to, therefore the Panamera continues it’s reign by pulling away in the handling, interior & barely in the fuel economy comparisons. The Panamera is just faster, thanks to its All Wheel Drive, which also gives the Panamera better use in daily practicality for those in rainy/snowy areas. Also, the CLS, though nicely done, does not provide an interior that can truly compete with that of the Panamera. The Porsche wins again.
Winner: Porsche Panamera Turbo S
Break Down: BMW F10 M5
I’m not a fan of change. With that being said, I was not ready for the e60 M5 to go. Yes, we all know it had it’s flaws, but it was still a great car. One thing I loved was the huge intakes in the lower bumper and “I’ll destroy you” headlight design. Then I actually saw the new F10 M5 circulating the web…then I got a chance to drive one…then everything changed…for the better. Bring on the new M5!! To hell with the old one…not really, but you get the idea.
Let’s get to the good stuff. As BMW fans, most of us cringed at the idea of BMW dialing back from a V10 to a V8 and using turbo’s, but it’s safe to say it wasn’t a bad idea after all. The new M5 utilizes a 4.4 liter twin-turbo V8 kicking out 560 horses and 502 lb-ft of torque. While there is a modest increase of 60 horses from the previous model, torque gain is tremendous with an increase of 122. How does that translate to the road? The e60 M5 did a 0-60 in roughly 4 seconds, the new F10 M5 does it in 3.6 seconds; pushing the boundary into supercar territory. But should you expect less from the worlds most powerful sedan? It seems BMW has possibly mastered the art of using turbo’s. We’re aware of the lag for performance to kick in when you use turbo’s in a car, but the power gain is almost instant in the new M5. There’s no “I’ll floor it now and grab a snack while the turbo’s eventually turn the air to power” moment. Highly impressive, only one true flaw for M5 lovers all over. This one, sadly, lacks the pure adrenaline rush the engine noise gives you, thanks to the turbo’s. But in the end, it makes up for it in its performance, thanks to the turbo’s.
Interior? Another reason why I didn’t want the e60 to go and f10 to come was because of the size and weight gain. But the increase in size turned out to be a very good thing. The interior became much more roomier in the new M5 than the old, not that the old was crammed, but more leg room never hurts. As far as the weight gain? When was weight gain ever a good thing when it comes to performance cars? Lets just say, the F10 could probably perform slightly better if a few hundred pounds were shaved off.
Another improvement with the new over the old is daily practicality. I personally would love the e60 for a day to pick races with the neighborhood kids, but would never want it as my daily driver. It never could quite settle in with normal driving, always to eager to go…All. The. Time. But the new one seems to know when to settle in and when to let the power loose. Overall, the F10 is definitely an improvement over the E60. This car, without a doubt, gives a sense of rush when hitting the open road, and settling comfort when cruising in the city. Never truly a dull moment. The F10 M5 is definitely a winner in BC’s books.
Break Down: Bentley Continental Supersports [Video]
This isn’t my personal break down, obviously, but this seemed to be the proper segment on the site for the video. So enjoy.
You’re Buying: Aston Martin Rapide vs Porsche Panamera
Ok, so here we are; dealership time. You’re some rich guy or gal with $200,000 in hand to drop on a brand new super luxo 4-door sedan. And for some reason you don’t want the typical 7-Series BMW or S-Class Benz. So, the salesman has led you to the two not so popularized rivals…Aston Martin’s Rapide and the Panamera by Porsche.
Aston Martin Rapide: Handcrafted 6.0 liter V12, 470 horsepower with 443 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 in 5 seconds flat. Touchtronic 2 automatic transmission. Price: $199,950.00
Porsche Panamera: 4.8 liter V8 engine, 550 horses produced along with 553 lb-ft of torque (590 w/ overboost). 0-60 in 3.6 seconds. 7-speed PDK transmission. Price: $173,200.00
…..Well, if your purchase decision is based on the performance of these two cars, you’re pretty much done reading this. But for the heck of it, let’s continue to break these two cars down as much as we can. Because we all know you’re not dropping almost $200k on a car to be doing 0-60 runs every block.
Handling: Both are very impressive on the skidpad lateral acceleration. But the Panamera 0.96g out handles the Aston Martin 0.91g. [Panamera]
Exterior: The Rapide is very sleek; very sexy, very Aston Martin. Coupe like profile and iconic grill, head & tail lights are just beautiful, Without a doubt, one of the best looking sedans on the planet. Panamera is more typical, but no slouch. More of a wagon design profile, symbolic Porsche headlights and the “pop-up and spread open” rear spoiler is just memorizing for such a simple mechanism. [Aston Martin]
Interior/Seating: Possibly the main reason why these two are close competitors. 2 by 2 seating arrangement give them both the “4 door coupe” title. Isolated bucket seats in the rear gives all four passengers their own space and both cars does a marvelous job of crafting the interior design. The Porsche is more simplistic beauty with tons of room The center console is possibly the best center console in a vehicle. The Rapide? Nicely done…not so roomy especially for rear passengers. Simply a 4-door DB9, it’s not such a surprise. [Panamera]
Fuel Economy: Don’t expect Prius like fuel economy in cars like these. The Aston Martin Rapide gets 13 city 19 highway, combined 15 miles per gallon. A top of the line Porsche Panamera Turbo S gets 15 city 23 highway, combined 18 miles per gallon. [Panamera]
Deciding Factor: These are two marvelous cars. But it’s clear who the winner is. The Aston Martin Rapide thrived simply in the exterior design category. But The Porsche Panamera conquered every other category. Other than the smaller engine, the only thing the Panamera falls short to the Rapide is the price. Leaving with only $50 for the second place car doesn’t make much sense when you can get the Porsche and have enough left over to pay for the next 10 insurance bill statements.
Winner: Porsche Panamera
Click here for a link to some pretty good photo’s comparing the two.
Now you may not understand what this guy is saying, but it’s a perfect visual of these two cars.
Break Down: Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
When Ferrari announced there will be a successor to the 599, stallion fans all over were impatiently waiting to see what the next ‘rari would look like. And more importantly, how will it perform. The entire automotive world (blogs, websites, social networks) went crazy when the F12 was recently revealed. I haven’t read anywhere where it is clearly stated that this is Ferrari’s response to Lamborghini’s Aventador. But let’s be honest, it’s almost safe to assume so. And if it is, the prancing horse and raging bull war just got a whole lot more interesting.
On the outside, people are seeing some sort of combination of the 3 current Ferrari models coming together to make the new F12. To me, the new F12 Berlinetta takes design cues of both the 458 Italia and the FF sport wagon. Meanwhile, the body is an evolution of the 599’s structure. As for as aesthetic design goes? That wide grinning lower grill and swooped back devilish headlamps just makes this Ferrari look bad ass.
But lets talk about what really matters here; the numbers. Like the 599, the F12 is a front engine sports cars. A revised V12 that appeared in the FF that is now capable of about 730 horses and 509 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 achieved in just about 3 seconds, 5 seconds later, you’re doing over 120 mph on your way to a top speed reported to be 211 mph. Dubbed the most powerful production Ferrari to date, the new F12 lapped Ferrari’s Fiorano race track in a quicker time than the legendary Enzo supercar. Safe to say, it’s the most powerful Ferrari…period.
Comes with a F1 dual-clutch gearbox, the center of gravity is said to be lower and it’s also reported to be 20% lighter than the 599 it replaces. The list goes on with all the great features this car packs. Unfortunately I’m not able to speak of personal experience as of yet because this brilliant supercar has not been properly introduced to the public yet.
Break Down: 2013 BMW M6
BMW’s revised 6-series has stirred up quite some noise. When the new generation 6 was revealed, there were enthusiasts on both sides on the fence, some debating how well it looked, others stating the horrendous design. Most were pointing to the horrendous design…myself included. But while design may be debatable or not, the one thing that everyone can agree on is the marvelous performance BMW delivers, and the fear that ‘M’ badge strikes into the hearts of opposing brands. And, is it me? or does the M6 design save the 6 from becoming an already dated ride?
While the M6 was on a short hiatus, many brands have had fun running a muck with mind blistering performance specs. Rivals include the likes of Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes, and Cadillac. Cadillac’s CTS-V has done a good job gunning at the European brands, even Ferrari. So how did BMW prepare the M6 for such a hostile category? By using a 4.4 liter biturbo V8 like the one in the M5 F10 sedan. Capable of kicking out 560 horses and 502 lb-ft of torque, that’s 60 more horses and 119 more torque power than the previous M6. 0-60 is cleared in the 4 second territory, quarter mile covered in roughly 12 seconds.
BMW’s M division has done one hell of job fitting the new turbo charged engines into theses rides and making them work. Look at the increase of torque for example. 502 over 383 is no easy feat when going from a V10 to a V8. While most brands were notorious for making cars that can only go fast in a straight line*cough* American *cough*, the M6 along with other M siblings, have been able to remain the dominant force in all around performance. No test has been done yet, but one noticeable adjust for handling was the wider stance the new M6 has. Though it weights about 4000 lbs, compared to the M3’s 3700 lbs weight, the M6 is quite impressive of staying light.
BMW’s large coupe may not have won over the hearts of beloved BMW fans (I think it’s because of that strenuously tugged back front fascia), but those large intakes on the M6 turns one dull-ass “another coupe” car into something exciting.
You’re Buying: Infiniti M56 vs BMW 550
Ok, so you’re in the market for a new high-end luxury sedan. But not just any luxo-badged car, you want a true driver’s car. Your options are clear…Infiniti’s flagship M sedan or BMW’s iconic 5-series. In front of you, the biggest and baddest of the two; Infiniti M56 and BMW 550. Here are the numbers:
BMW 550: Direct injected twin-turbo 4.4 liter V8 engine, producing 400 horses & 450 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 in 5.2 seconds, quarter-mile 13.2 seconds at 108 mph. Price: $60k-$70k
Infiniti M56: Direct injected variable valve timing 5.6 liter V8 engine, producing 420 horses & 417 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 in 5 seconds flat, quarter mile 13.3 seconds at 106 mph. Price: $58k-$67k
Other than the extra 2-3 extra grand for the BMW, the numbers are damn near identical. And honestly, if BMW didn’t make the nearly 4400lb 550 so heavy, things might have been different, but we can’t change that. So basing your decision has to be on daily practicality.
Handling: Infiniti pulls 0.89g lateral acceleration over BMW’s 0.84. (The goal is to get to 1g lateral acceleration)…But Infiniti’s nonadjustable stiff sport suspension makes a drive through town bumpy & tiring compared to BMW’s plush and comfortable ride. (BMW)
Exterior: BMW takes on a more safe & conservative luxury car approach with the new 5-series. Personally, I think the previous model made a better statement. Infiniti, however has added more curves, scoops, and dips to the M without over doing it. The M has an elegant aggression appeal. Opt out for the Aero-body kit, and things get more exciting. (Infiniti)
Interior: $50-$70k for a luxury car, comfort sure as hell should come with it. Both have very well executed interior design, the traditional 5-series is great but Infiniti, however, pulls ahead in my opinion because of the properly appointed leather and wood mixture. Also, Infiniti’s easy to use infotainment unit give the Japanese an edge over BMW’s still complicated iDrive unit. (Infiniti)
Fuel economy: Don’t forget, these are massive V8’s. BMW-17 city/25 highway. Infiniti – 16 city/ 25 highway. The BMW is slightly better thanks in part to a 4.4 liter engine over Infiniti’s 5.6. (BMW)
Deciding Factor: Price & overall design goes to Infiniti. Slight edge in fuel economy & ride comfort is where the BMW thrives. There is no clear winner here. The two cars are identically matched. If it wasn’t for the stiffness in the ride, the M56 could have walked away the winner. But the BMW pulls ahead simply because everyday driving is most important, ride comfort & fuel economy being the deciding factor.
Winner: BMW 550
Break Down: 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
First things first. Hyundai’s loyal followers may hate me for this, but I’m not a Hyundai fan. Yes, I have driven Hyundai’s current Genesis cars and I favored the Genesis sedan over the coupe. Mainly because the coupe doesn’t excite me over it’s competition, like the Camaro & Mustang, in either performance or appeal (performance was still pretty good nonetheless). It doesn’t occupy any space in my mind where I automatically think “…what was that?…Yeah, the Genesis coupe is hands down pure excitement in that category”. And let’s be honest here, how many of us would truly be in the market for a new V6 sports coupe, and without second guessing, choose the Genesis coupe? Not to look down on the car, point being, there isn’t a huge “Wow!” factor. At least until now…
At first glance, again, I disliked it. Everyone can agree that there just seems to be too much going on in the front. For me, maybe it’s because the new front fascia and red paint didn’t sit well together. Seeing it in various other “relaxed” colors, the new look has grown on me. I have not seen the new Genesis coupe in person, but just from the photo’s circulating the web, that missing “Wow!” factor is slowly approaching. Clearly a growing trend, the blacked out grill on the new Genesis works well with the car. Also, the black bezels housing the headlamps and two air intakes on the hood give the coupe a much more sporty appeal. Now if this was in a dealers showroom along with a Camaro & Mustang, I’d probably have to sit in the customer waiting area, debating with myself on which to choose (most likely, taking the Mustang if I couldn’t get the Camaro). My only and biggest wish would be to swap out those distracting fog-lights (which I’ve always hated) for something that isn’t so “here I am”, and it might tone-down the congested look.
The interior has been improved in my opinion as well. Slightly more conservative, yet much more sports car like. The navigation screen sits on top of the center stack while the multi-gauge instrument clusters rest right under the stereo unit. It’s obvious that Hyundai’s attempt was to make the Genesis coupe appear sportier. And while current owners of the car may appreciate the current model, I feel like this new car is somewhat of an improvement.
Break Down: 2013 Ford Fusion
I’m going to be honest, I completely forgot about the Ford Evos concept car, even though it was featured on here at one point. Now, to the subject at hand; at first glance, I was on the fence about the new Ford Fusion design. Mainly because I was slowly falling in love with the current model and didn’t want to see it go just yet. But constantly looking into the “Aston Martin” like Fusion, I’m quickly finding myself wanting to see this in person. The Fusion seems to definitely have taken on Euro/Asian styling. And some brands that come to mind include Kia and previously mentioned Aston Martin.
My first impression on the new Fusion was “well, Ford is just designing it to look like the Taurus with an Aston Martin grill.” Which could have been true. Then a photo of the Evos concept popped up on Instagram and quickly I was reminded where the style came from. And after a quick comparison between the old and new Fusion on Motor Trend, I was sold. The new Fusion is it. Ford, kudos to you on bringing some variant of the Evos to life. Even with the Aston Martin Rapide grill and Kia Optima like tail-light design. No bashing intended. And the interior? Great improvement, not too much has changed, but I love the direction they’re going in. Personally, my only suggestion is to get rid of the 6″ stand-up antenna on the hybrid and stick to the “submarine/shark fin” type of styling.
And rumor has it that Ford has done away with the V6 option for the new Fusion for fuel efficiency and will stick to turbocharged 4-cylinders as the peak performance model…I can live with that…If only I can get this excited about Lincoln.