In his latest prizefight, Brian Cooley looks at two high-stepping German cars, the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S and the Audi R8. Both cars have all-wheel-drive and both top $100,000 in price, but which is better? Brian compares powertrains, handling, design, cabin electronics, and a special category for cars in this segment.
Aiming squarely at the BMW X3 and the recently-announced Mercedes GLK, Audi unveiled its own car-based SUV this week in the shape of the Q5 crossover. With a sleeker design than the lumbering Q7 and an drivetrain designed to walk the line between performance and economy, the Q5 is Ingolstadt's contribution to the red-hot crossover market. Audi is also using the new model as a showcase for some of its latest cabin tech, including the third generation of its MMI interface and a hard-drive based media and navigation system. Check out our images right here.
The 2008 Ford Edge presents a more urban design than a typical SUV, fulfilling part of the crossover credo, yet its all-wheel-drive and towing capability let it take on standard SUV tasks. The Edge's engine pulls reasonably well, but fuel economy isn't great. And while not designed for seven passengers like some larger crossovers and SUVs, the Edge handles five with luggage easily enough.
Ford's raft of tech options is available in the Edge, and our test car came loaded with a navigation system as well as Sync, this last a standard feature at the Limited trim … Read more
Mercedes-Benz announced the official launch of its new crossover, the GLK, at the 2008 Beijing auto show. We first saw the GLK as a concept at the 2008 Detroit auto show.
The new and highly anticipated 2008 BMW M3 embodies many qualities that made BMW's reputation. This rear-wheel-drive slugger leaves a little room to play with the handling, so expert drivers can learn to work with the car on track days, yet it works perfectly well in the daily commute, with many creature comforts, such as cutting-edge cabin tech and fine low-speed drivability. With its sizable trunk and usable rear seats, you could even make the argument that it is practical, as long as you ignore the fuel economy.
Audi previously impressed us with its handling technology in the Audi TT, but even that car feels a bit staid when compared with the 2008 Audi R8. The R8 holds the pavement as only a low-slung car with all-wheel-drive and massive tires can. Then Audi throws in its magnetic damping technology to keep the suspension tuned for whatever kind of road you are driving on and puts the engine in the middle to balance the car. All of this combines to let us take the R8 around corners at speeds we wouldn't think possible.
For cabin tech, the R8 … Read more
After reviewing the pricey Volkswagen Touareg 2, we were happy to see a more likely people's car in the form of the humble 2008 Volkswagen Jetta. While you have to pony up about $20,000 to get one, the Jetta is definitely on the affordable end of the scale, especially when you take into account its standard features that are sure to make any commute safe and comfortable. The Jetta offers a good value proposition in no-frills style.
It's also the first car that we've seen where we were happy that it didn't include a navigation … Read more
"Taut" became our word of the day as we started to test out the 2008 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet. There is nothing loose about this car--it goes exactly where you point it and evenly distributes power when you push the accelerator. Its exterior lines are simple, with no excessively flared fenders or gaudy spoilers, maintaining the original 911 look. Our 911 model gets a lot of modifiers in this incarnation: the "4" means all-wheel-drive, the "S" marks it as a sport version, and "Cabriolet" is a fancy word for convertible.
But … Read more
Crossover vehicles are all the rage. There is nary a midsize sedan on the market that isn't in line to be redesigned as a small wagon or SUV loaded with family-friendly options and sold as a minivan substitute. Into this fray comes the 2009 Dodge Journey R/T AWD, riding on a stretched Avenger platform and squeezing a third row of seats into the bargain.
So how does Chrysler, inventor and ongoing proponent of the minivan, fare in its effort to de-minivan the minivan? A lot about the Journey is good, especially the available interior electronics. It's available … Read more
With its chunky body, powerful stereo, and live rear axle handling, we couldn't help but think of the 2008 Ford Mustang Convertible as a thick, juicy steak of a car. The styling evokes the muscle car era effectively, reason enough to salivate for people in a certain age group. On a hard corner, the car feels like it has a lot of meat on its rear, making power slides possible, for good or ill. The 500-watt stereo pumps out audio thick enough to satisfy fans of bass-heavy music, although people of more refined appetites should stay away.
Ford has … Read more