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First Drives

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    First Drive: 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
    Perhaps The Last Rung You'll Ever Care To Climb 1394553420

    Ladders. As children, we learn how important they are: even if you don't know who Jacob was or where he was climbing, you know how to make his ladder from string. If you don't want to be cursed, you know not to walk under them; and if you want to win the game, you know you need to avoid the ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Audi A3
    Sings To An Enthusiast Crowd, But Misses A Few Key Notes 1394467200

    The five-door Audi A3 hatchback, on sale in the States since the 2006 model year, never earned the respect it deserved. Despite possessing the automaker's well-regarded build quality and a range of strong powerplants (including an excellent diesel option), the entry-level model always played ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Porsche Macan Turbo
    A Class Of One 1393261020

    I knew it was a softball question, but I asked it anyway. It's pretty standard for automakers to offer up some examples of competitors when they invite the media to drive a new vehicle for the first time. If not stated outright, it's just as standard for some journalist to query about the ...

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    First Drive: 2014 BMW 4 Series Convertible [w/video]
    Germany Says "Relax" 1392915420

    Here it is, the fifth generation of BMW's 3 Series Convertible – only this one begins with a "4," having been rechristened as a droptop version of the new 4 Series Coupe. With thirty years of work on this same recipe and having gotten it so right for much of that time, the Munich compact ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4Matic [w/video]
    At The Crossroads In Daimler's Compact Model Lineup 1392829020

    We all knew that Mercedes-Benz couldn't afford to resist the small SUVover segment for much longer. After all, it seems to be the fastest-growing segment in the galaxy, and in particular, it's the premium niche of that class – led by the hugely successful Land Rover Evoque and BMW X1 ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Subaru WRX STI
    It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Wing 1392656220

    In December, I put the 2015 Subaru WRX through its paces along some incredibly challenging roads in northern California, and to say I walked away impressed wouldn't really do my feelings justice. Say what you will about the way it looks, the new 'Rex is an awesome car, full stop. When it comes to ...

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    First Drive: 2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S
    A Remarkably Grand Tourer 1392137820

    Bentley still appeals to those with an appreciation for strong, Old World traditionalism. Cars wearing the storied Flying B have been discussed in wood-paneled drawing rooms by men wearing earthy tweeds and corduroy through clouds of fragrant cigar and pipe smoke, for decades. It is a company ...

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    First Drive: 2014 Mini Cooper
    More Mini Than Ever Before 1392051420

    If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone from Mini refer to 'go-kart-like handling,' I'd be retired, living on a beautiful piece of coastline somewhere in the Caribbean. Perhaps even on the shores of Puerto Rico, where Mini chose to launch its latest Cooper and Cooper S hatchbacks. As ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD
    The Workhorse Shows Its New Polish 1391619420

    In excess of 475,000 heavy duty pickups were sold in the United States last year – the capable workhorses represented more than 25 percent of the year's full-size pickup volume. But unlike the passenger-car segment, where dozens of makes and models are constantly competing for supremacy, ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Kia K900
    Just The Thing For Cruising Easy Street 1391014620

    Let's be honest, Rich America. When you drive your fullsize luxury sedans, you don't clock any laps of the Nürburgring. You don't view your car as an alternative to air travel, ready to wheel between countries at triple-digit Autobahn speeds. Heck, you don't even take the long way home. ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Volkswagen Golf R
    Hottest Hatch Hits The Ice 1390841820

    Three cheers for the handbrake. For driving enthusiasts who live in climates where the winter months produce seemingly endless days of snowy, icy conditions, nothing cures the seasonal blues quite like finding yourself on an empty road, pulling the handbrake, halting the rear wheels and happily ...

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    First Drive: 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SE
    New Engine Makes Brand's Best-Seller Better Than Ever 1390409820

    In spite of a recent hiccup in sales that's led to the departure of Volkswagen of America CEO Jonathan Browning, the brand behind Das Auto says its metrics have improved everywhere else. According to the charts we were shown during a recent drive of the brand's lineup, its US sales have doubled ...

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    First Drive: 2014 BMW M235i
    But Will It Satisfy The E30 Purists? 1390323420

    We know a number of BMW owners who reside in the Munich brand's core demographic – upper-five- and six-figure professionals who like to keep their automotive brand credentials as highly respected among their peers as their alma maters or the letters after their names. Before heading to Las ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe [w/video]
    Like A Stiff Shot Of Icy Jag-ermeister 1389891480

    This is it. This is the nasty cat we've been hankering for most. Whereas the Jaguar F-Type convertible remains the company's purest expression of lifestyle fun and expendable income, it's this coupe version that originally stole our eyeballs and never gave them back when it debuted as the C-X16 ...

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    First Drive: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible [w/video]
    20 Seconds More Fun Than Before 1387817820

    About 20 seconds, and 30 miles per hour. These are, if not the most heart-thumping statistics you need to know before continuing to read the rest of this review, the most pertinent to get out of the way. What are they? The amount of time it takes, according to our stopwatches, for the ...

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    First Drive: 2013 Audi RS Q3
    Practicality Packing Some RS Heat 1387472220

    The year 1994 was a really good year for German performance fans, because it was that year when Audi released its very first official RS model (for "RennSport," or racing sport), the RS2 Avant. Recently, I was invited to participate in a three-day leg of the Audi Land of Quattro Alpen Tour, a ...

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    First Drive: 2014 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid [w/video]
    A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing 1387385820

    Having already driven and reviewed the 2014 Acura RLX this year, colleagues Steven Ewing and Jeffrey Ross poured several thousand words into apprising it, then someone took the safety off the Comments and flipped them to "Fully Automatic" because those two reviews and four brief posts were hit by ...

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    First Drive: 2014 Toyota Highlander
    Unsung Hero Gains A Bit More Attention 1387299420

    Midsize crossovers like the Toyota Highlander tend to play a thankless role in the life of today's modern family. That's really too bad. With the ability to hold several hyperactive kids and tons of cargo while keeping everyone safe and comfortable in all kinds of climate conditions day in and ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Subaru WRX
    The Street-Legal Rally Car Gets Sharper 1387213020

    Every time I drive a Subaru WRX, I wish one of my parents had taken some weird, top-secret spy job that would have forced us to relocate to Finland when I was a kid. I could have learned the art of rally-style car control as a young lad, and in my adult life, sought out a ...

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    First Drive: 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale
    On A Scale Of One To Ten, We're Going To Need A New Scale 1386867420

    Where the current roadgoing Ferrari coupe with its rear-mounted V8 can go beyond this Speciale edition, I don't know. The 458 Italia and Spider already hold a very dear place in the hearts of anyone who has driven them on a sunny day over great roads or tracks, and I was pretty sure nothing could ...

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