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First Drives

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    First Drive: 2015 Acura TLX
    Splitting The Difference Makes The Difference 1407167820

    Immediately after landing at Washington's Dulles airport, an Acura representative handed me the keys to a 2014 TSX with fewer than 180 miles on its clock. The four-cylinder engine started and I pointed its signature beak towards a destination in Middleburg, VA. It was a curious move by the ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty Power Stroke
    1406649480

    What weighs 30,000 pounds? Big Ben's Westminster bell. A navy ship anchor. Or as we found out during our first drive program for the 2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty, seven pallets of cinder blocks loaded onto a dual-axle gooseneck trailer. The test was part of a raft of towing demonstrations that ...

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    First Drive: 2016 Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Prototype [w/video]
    Making The Case To Build A Brand-Defining Sports Car 1406563020

    It only takes about half a lap of the Millbrook Proving Grounds for me to become convinced that Infiniti must build this car. The sedan I am piloting around the English circuit is a working prototype of the Q50 Eau Rouge Concept that made its world debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show earlier ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat [w/videos]
    If You Ain't First, You're Last 1406044620

    Darrell Waltrip once said, "If the lion didn't bite the tamer every once in a while, it wouldn't be exciting." The sentiment behind that aphorism is causing my adrenal gland to wake up as Dodge and SRT drivers and engineers – somber-faced to a man – give me the track talk that will ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Ford Expedition
    Blue Oval 'Burb-Fighter Boasts Turbocharged Boost 1405958220

    While the tide of bigger-is-better SUVs has been in recession since, well, the recession, fullsize utes are still very much with us. Conservative creatures that have been loathe to evolve, fullsize SUVs nonetheless remain enduringly popular among large families, livery customers, and anyone with ...

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    Second Drive: 2015 Audi A3 E-Tron [w/video]
    The Four-Ring Brand's First Production E-Tron Has Us Pretty Amped 1405439820

    Over the years, we've had a chance to test a lot of Audi E-Tron vehicles, from very early all-electric prototypes (back then we only got to sit in the passenger seat) to the A6 L E-Tron PHEV and the A1 E-Tron plug-in hybrid. All of them were concepts and promises, merely whispers of what was ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT
    Analog Warmth And Stunning Looks For Under $100k 1404921480

    Only one thing is going through my mind as I blast down the Autobahn at 170 miles per hour: If someone were to give me $100,000 today, I'd go buy a new Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT tomorrow. I know there are a dozen other choices out there – cars that are more powerful, quicker around a road ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Lexus NX 200t
    Ninety Percent New. Ninety Percent Better? 1404748620

    If you were an officious person with a particularly pragmatic point of view, you might be quick to note that 10 percent of the 2015 Lexus NX is shared with the Toyota RAV4. You wouldn't be wrong. Takeaki Kato, Chief Engineer and therefore the single person most responsible within Lexus for the ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Subaru Outback
    Continuing To Tread Off The Regularly Beaten Path 1404230220

    "We like producing cars that are different." That's the company line trumpeted by several Subaru executives during the launch of the 2015 Outback – one of Fuji Heavy's most successful vehicles to date. Managing Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski accurately noted that while Subaru has never really ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Hyundai Sonata
    Charting A Premium Course In A Crowded Segment 1404143820

    Completely redesigning a vehicle competing in a fiercely contested segment requires delicately balancing styling, performance, safety, efficiency, innovation, passenger comfort and pricing, while simultaneously not alienating model loyalists. In other words, it's no simple task. Automakers ...

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    First Drive: J. Ruiter Reboot Buggy [w/video]
    Think Outside The Box 1403193420

    "I've got a secret car club," designer Joey Ruiter tells me. The club in question is defined, in both spirit and literal membership, by the gold and black t-shirt he's wearing that bares the shorthand exclamation, "MIDZWL" across the chest. The letters are shorthand for the phrase "Might as ...

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    First Drive: 2014 Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake
    A Supercharged Power Wagon Worthy Of The Nürburgring 1403020620

    We'd consider giving up vital organs for the opportunity to drive any number of vehicles on the Nürburgring: supercars, racecars, track cars, even hot hatches... but a station wagon? That might not seem like a top choice at first blush, but this is no ordinary wagon. This is the Jaguar XFR-S ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Ford Transit
    Losing The Econoline Just Got A Whole Lot Easier 1402502280

    As a segment, fullsize vans are stealth-fighter invisible on most consumers' radar. Visit a dealership for any of the four brands that offer them and you'll be lucky to find even one on display. These are commercial vehicles primarily, even more so than pickup trucks. Vans are the shuttles for ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Lincoln MKC
    This Ain't No Party. This Ain't No Disco. This Ain't No Foolin' Around. 1402330380

    Back in 2012, Lincoln claimed its comeback bid was finally underway with the new-for-2013 MKZ. But don't you believe them – the renaissance won't actually begin in earnest until the shapely compact crossover seen here reaches showrooms in big numbers. That's because while the four-door MKZ ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI
    Newest Golf Iteration Is Decidedly Better Than Par 1401983940

    Contrary to what you may have assumed, the Volkswagen Golf was not named after the sport. Rather, when the car was being developed as the successor to the Beetle, "Golf," which is German for "Gulf," was meant to pay homage to the Gulf Stream, a powerful and swift Atlantic Ocean ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Ferrari California T [w/video]
    Reliving Childhood Dreams Under The Tuscan Sun 1401811020

    I'll never forget the day I bought my very first Ferrari. It was a bright-red F40, I'd saved up for it for what felt like an eternity and I couldn't wait to get home so I could park it next to my other four-wheeled piece of pride and joy, a stealth-black Lamborghini Countach, so I could compare ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Volkswagen GTI
    Dear Old Friend Reinvents Itself, And Its Segment, Yet Again 1401465420

    The whine of the turbocharger. The gentle whoosh of the hatchback's hydraulic lift supports. The mechanical ratcheting and clack of the parking brake. The growling exhaust note with that occasional gurgle. The unmistakable sounds of the modern hot hatch are just one of the genre's delightful ...

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    First Drive: 2015 BMW X4
    After A Quarter-Million X6 Sales, Munich Goes Back To The Well 1401206220

    BMW has been in the line-blurring business of late, with the original X5 "Sports Activity Vehicle" muddling the line between SUVs and sport sedans in 1999, the 5 Series Gran Turismo challenging what our definition of "Gran Turismo" means in 2009, and pretty, low-roofed four-doors like the 6 ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Porsche Boxster GTS [w/video]
    A Mid-Engine Master Of Driving Dynamics 1400774220

    You know the sound: the startling pop-brraaap-pop-pop shotgun fire of unspent flammables coursing through exhaust pipes that usually signals a raw, naughty powerplant beneath the hood. But when you're nestled in the Porsche Boxster GTS' snug seats, it's not a crackling small block V8 or a ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Subaru Legacy
    Aiming For Mainstream And Hitting A Bullseye 1400687880

    Subaru has a problem on its six-starred hands, but you wouldn't know it at first glance. Sales are up; in fact, the Japanese automaker has recorded 28-straight months of increased sales in the United States, leading to the best first-quarter Subaru has ever recorded, and 2014 will almost ...

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