Category: Luxury

By on January 16, 2017

2018 Lexus LS

The next-generation Lexus LS flagship’s top-to-bottom revamp took some fans by surprise when it was revealed ahead of the Detroit auto show. Not only did it do away with a formal roofline, a V8 engine — which has powered the model since its inception — was no where to be found, replaced by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6.

It appeared as if convention wasn’t the only thing Lexus planned to ditch, as a hybrid model was neither announced, nor teased. As it turns out, Lexus did tease an upcoming hybrid variant — we just needed to look closer. Read More >

By on January 9, 2017

2018 Lexus LS at NAIAS Front 3/4, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

It wasn’t long ago that Lexus could reliably sell 20,000-plus LS sedans in the U.S. each year. Certainly, the model’s pre-recession sales performance fell under the heading of “reliable,” with over 35,000 sold in 2007.

Ever since great economic upheaval sent American buyers fleeing in increasing numbers into the arms of crossovers and SUV, the Lexus sedan that created tsunami-like ripples through the luxury car field in 1990 has seen its customer base erode. Just 5,514 U.S. buyers saw fit to take an LS home in 2016.

Could a redesign bordering on the radical be the medicine the LS so desperately needs? Read More >

By on January 6, 2017

Cadillac ATS-V.

If you’ve ever found yourself buying someone a $10,000 handbag or worrying that not enough of your clothing is made from cashmere or silk, you’ll want to know that Cadillac will let you “subscribe” to its cars for a tidy monthly sum of $1,500.

“Book” by Cadillac is a $500 app that lets you select the most premium offerings from the brand and have it delivered to your door. However, you’re not leasing or purchasing a vehicle from General Motors’ flagship brand — you’re just borrowing one. Cadillac is touting this as some sort of transformative, fancy-free way to own a car. Still, it doesn’t actually alleviate most of the problems associated with car ownership, especially not in the urban markets it plans to test the service in.  Read More >

By on December 29, 2016

2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport

Guam, besides having the highest per-capita Spam consumption in the world (16 tins per person, on average), is also home to a recently uncovered fraud scheme that placed high-end vehicles in the driveways of island residents.

On paper, anyway. The unsuspecting residents — over 50 of them, authorities say — had no idea their names were placed next to luxury SUV registrations in the Department of Motor Vehicles database. Read More >

By on December 22, 2016

2016 Cadillac CT6

Owning a range-topping Cadillac is supposed to be a trouble-free affair, and — barring gremlins — it still can be, so long as your sharp-edged, oddly light CT6 remains unbent and unbroken.

Cadillac’s liberal use of high-strength aluminum in the sedan’s body structure won accolades when the CT6 debuted for the 2016 model year. Body stiffness, curb weight, and fuel economy all benefit from this mingling of metals. However, trouble arises when those carefully bonded metals come apart.

As it turns out, fixing a damaged CT6 could prove difficult for many of the model’s 7,876-plus owners. Read More >

By on December 8, 2016

1978-jeep-wagoneer

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has high hopes for the upcoming Jeep Grand Wagoneer and its ability to challenge Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz for premium SUV buyers. The proposed model’s $140,000 price ceiling keeps FCA execs up at night in giddy anticipation.

However, there’s a problem: Before FCA hoists that sparkling and lucrative cherry atop its Jeep sundae, it first needs to build the damn thing, and that’s easier said than done.

Which is why the Grand Wagoneer — the three-row ultra-lux SUV that Lee Iacocca could only dream of — is on hold. Read More >

By on November 29, 2016

2018 Kia GT

A photo of what looks like a pre-production Kia GT was leaked to the interwebs today, revealing the upcoming premium midsize tapped to carry the brand’s performance torch.

Bowing next year as a 2018 model, Kia’s rear-wheel-drive sports sedan faces an uphill battle against a well-established competition, changing consumer preferences, and itself. Read More >

By on November 28, 2016

Bentley Continental GT V8 S

Rising insurance premiums are a plump grape in the cornucopia of adult annoyances, but they grow into a ripe apple when forces outside of your control cause them to skyrocket.

Now, imagine that there’s only one insurance provider, and you already pay taxes towards it. That’s the reality in several provinces north of the border, but one jurisdiction just crashed head-on into an unforeseen problem: new money, and the skyrocketing increase in six-figure vehicle ownership that came with it.

To save the owners of Malibus and Journeys from a major jump in premiums caused by ultra-pricey supercar repairs, one Canadian province has taken drastic steps. Read More >

By on November 23, 2016

2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe interior

Gather round, gather round.

You probably know of a friend who’s just tickled pink over their recent vehicle purchase, someone who likely spends too much time describing in awed tones just how nifty, neat-o and awesome their luxury crossover’s standard equipment is. It does this, and this, and they’ll never accidentally back over a neighbor’s kid again, or spend all day shoulder checking before a lane change.

Meanwhile, you’re gently nodding, wondering where squirrels sleep or how birds turn in unison, because you’ve got the same tech in your midsize domestic car. You could have dropped even less cash on a compact with the same convenience and safety aids.

Technology once reserved for high-end models has trickled down into plebeian rides, making it commonplace, affordable, and thus mundane. So, does “luxury” really matter anymore? Read More >

By on November 22, 2016

2016 Volkswagen CC, Image: Volkswagen Group of America

The slow-selling Volkswagen CC premium sedan — a model you’d be forgiven for forgetting — has reportedly ended production in Germany.

In happier times, the model added a dash of upscale panache to the squeaky-clean brand. Now, Volkswagen has cast off the aging, underperforming model as it seeks to reclaim lost market share and revenue with the CC’s shadowy replacement. Read More >

By on October 27, 2016

Infiniti four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline VC-T engine, Image: Infiniti

It was 1998 and my friend Tom had just picked up a 1991 Eagle Talon TSI AWD.

“Ok, go ahead and floor it, but don’t rev it past 5,000 rpm,” Tom said.

I mashed the throttle and … nothing happened.

We were moving, but it was at the pace of a Toyota Corolla and nowhere near the rate of acceleration promised by the 2.0-liter turbo’s claimed 195 horsepower.

Disappointed, I left my foot on the throttle for a few seconds. Suddenly, I heard the whistle of the spooling turbo and a sudden shove of boost kicked in.

Four-cylinder turbo engines from the ‘90s were all similar to this. While they generated relatively big power at the top end, they also suffered from massive turbo lag and had fuel economy similar to a much larger V8.

Nissan’s new Variable Compression Turbo engine promises big power, minimal turbo lag, and decent fuel economy using some new trickery.

Is this the holy grail of turbocharged motors?
Read More >

By on October 24, 2016

Vision Future Luxury BMW 2014

BMW is resurrecting a lengthy and luxurious V12-powered monster to take revenge on Mercedes-Benz for having the audacity to make an opulent flagship like the S-Class Coupe.

Germany’s Automobilwoche — Automobile Week if you don’t speak Deutsche — is verifying rumors that BMW will be returning with a new 8 Series. Read More >

By on October 11, 2016

2017 Genesis G90 Front (Release)

The newest premium automaker on the block could cozy up to its downmarket parent company in Alabama.

Fledgling Korean luxury brand Genesis is expected to bring production of two models to the U.S. in three years, WardsAuto reports, likely setting up shop at Hyundai’s existing Montgomery plant. Read More >

By on October 10, 2016

2017 Cadillac XT5

A large-scale culling of Cadillac dealers won’t come to pass, but that doesn’t mean franchise owners are giddy about joining the automaker’s controversial Project Pinnacle.

An overwhelming majority of the brand’s 925 U.S. dealers have opted to sign on to the program, ignoring company president Johan de Nysschen’s last-minute buyout offer to 400 low-volume locations. Read More >

By on October 7, 2016

Volkswagen-Sport-Coupe-GTE-Concept-14

The long journey back from the economic damage wrought by the diesel emissions scandal is taking Volkswagen down new roads.

In a bid to boost the profitability of its remaining non-diesel lineup, the automaker will introduce a wholly new model aimed at the premium car crowd, Bloomberg reports. Read More >

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