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December 27, 2018 in Tips
Are you thinking about celebrating 2019 with a new car? Check out these top vehicle reviews from road and track. There is something for everyone to choose from. Still don’t see a vehicle you are interested in? Check out the ultimate buyers guide from Motortrend online. They even break it down to SUV’s or trucks if that is what you prefer.
BMW M850i xDrive
BMW M famously avoids unnecessary tech on its full M cars, only recently capitulating to xDrive four-wheel drive when power figures grew beyond what good tires and average drivers could manage with just two driven wheels. And it’s the same story with four-wheel steering. The M5 goes without, but the M850i is fully down with the tech, using it to do the now-usual trick of turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts at lower speeds (up to 45mph in Comfort mode; 55mph in Sport), then in parallel, with the speedo needle bent further around the new, rather ugly digital dial.
Unlike some systems, this one’s pretty subtle. On mountain roads, you can feel it help twists that long nose into turns–and with a 4478lb curb weight you’ll take every bit of help you can get. But on the track at 120mph-plus speeds it makes the M850i feel a whole lot more locked down than the M5. That also means it’s less overtly playful, a characteristic reinforced by the stability control’s midway DTC setting, which is less liberal than on other BMWs.
Toyota Corolla Hatchback
This six-speed Corolla doesn’t have performance numbers like a Civic Type R. It won’t stun you like a Focus RS or ST. But if you get it on a twisty road, it’ll provide plenty of driving fun, in a package that won’t draw any unwanted attention.
Sure, if you want eyeball-flattening performance, you’ll go for one of the hot hatchbacks mentioned above. But you don’t need 300 horsepower and racy Recaro seats to have a good time on the road. The Corolla hatchback is a “normal” car—it doesn’t have a fancy performance badge, ludicrous styling, or a crackling high-flow exhaust to distinguish it as a performance machine. But it’s way more fun than you’ll ever have in a Camry or Rav-4. Part of that is thanks to the stick shift in this example. But part of it boils down to a deeper truth: A small, front-drive hatchback is poised to be fun in a way that no crossover can mimic.
The thing about the Stinger is that it doesn’t really have one standout attribute. The steering is good, but not great. Same with the brakes and how it handles. The engine, the company’s ubiquitous 3.3 liter turbo V6 with 365 horsepower, is nothing to write home about.
On paper, it’s just a sedan that looks like a BMW, an Audi, and a parrot fish got together one night. But all those ingredients work in harmony to create one of the most fun cars in its class. It’s good enough that it doesn’t need to be looked at as a value proposition, which is good because the Stinger GT can cost more than $50,000.
Trail Rated. Jeep is known for these two words. Jeeps have been the go-to brand for people who want to get off the beaten path for decades. But now there’s a Jeep that’s trying to take on a different sort of path: the track.
The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is a totally different sort of truck from Jeep. Not only is it the quickest and fastest Jeep ever, it’s also the most powerful SUV ever built. That’s thanks to the Hellcat’s engine, a 6.2 liter supercharged V8 with 707 horsepower.
What that gets you is a Jeep with launch control. A Jeep that hits 60 in 3.3 seconds. A Jeep that can run the 1/4 mile in 11.6 seconds. And a Jeep that’s supposed to be more at home hopping curbs than climbing rocks.
Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye
The modern-day Challenger has always been a second chance for Dodge’s pony car. Its timing is as right as the original Challenger’s was wrong. That car debuted right ahead of the oil and emissions crises that hobbled the industry; this one was born to the era of skyrocketing production-car horsepower, a steady crescendo of performance that shows no signs of stopping. Today’s muscle cars live on a different planet from the mid-century beasts that inspired them. The Redeye is the most brazen example of that.
But rock ‘n’ roll still needs guitars, and muscle cars still need to nod to the heyday. Even if those memories aren’t 100-percent reliable. The Redeye is exactly as fast, as tire-punishing, as loud and sinister and aggressive and white-knuckle as foggy memory says the original Challenger 440 Six-Pack must have been. It’s the kind of car your dad wanted to build in ’71. Now he, or you, can buy it straight off the showroom floor.
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