The fastest of the Lexus GS series is a hybrid. At 5.2 seconds to 60 mph, the GS 450h beats both the GS 460 and GS 350. And it does it while getting better mileage than its model mates. That's the kind of best-of-all-worlds powertrain we can live with. Those numbers also make the advantages of a hybrid abundantly clear. Now if Lexus would get around to updating its cabin tech, the GS 450h would be just about perfect.
You don't have to be a member of the aristocracy to get a Land Rover. The LR2's base price is in the mid-30s. For that, you get a small luxury SUV, featuring an impressively good ride and some off-road capability. Cabin tech boosts the price over 40k, and it's not very good. The navigation system is basic and audio sources are limited, but the Alpine stereo produces excellent sound.
Ah, the good life, where your car negotiates traffic speeds for you and gives you a massage. The Mercedes-Benz S550 actually does all of the above, using its adaptive cruise control to not hit the car ahead and letting you choose from four settings on its massage seats. This car also gives you an enhanced view out the front for those pitch dark nights driving through the mountains, and a blind spot-warning system, alerting you to cars in the lanes to either side.
There is quite a bit to like about this car, but in our hypercritical way, we found … Read more
Women sometimes buy quality audio, but that doesn't make them audiophiles.
With rare exceptions, all the audiophiles I've known are men. The unifying mantra for audiophiles is that there's always something, maybe an amplifier or speaker just out a reach that might get them a little closer to the music. Audiophiles are gear junkies. They want to have Aretha Franklin or the New York Philharmonic or their favorite music sound like it's in the house. Audiophiles crave an emotional, visceral connection with their music.
That pretty much sums up Margery Budoff's audiophile urges. Like most audiophiles I know, Margery had an unusually strong affinity for music at a young age. She described herself as "A child musician with an industrial design fetish." Even as a little kid she loved the look of stuff, especially older, big and clunky 1950s and 1960s record players.
The first record Margery bought was "Telstar," then Dionne Warwick, then the Rolling Stones. The record player was the thing that could "Decipher the secret code encrypted in the records. I wanted to hear the sound in all its glory. That's how I became an audiophile."… Read more
We were expecting a lot from the Mercury Milan Hybrid. After having briefly driven the Ford Fusion Hybrid, we had an idea iof what to expect from the power train, and we've also seen Ford's killer combination of Sync and Sirius Travel Link in a few cars over the last year. But we didn't realize what a car tech dream the Mercury Milan Hybrid would be.
The first clue it gives comes from the high-tech instrument panel, with a variety of virtual gauges that you can configure. Then there's the phone and MP3 player connectivity offered … Read more
We just finished reviewing the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe, and had some disagreement on staff concerning the styling of the car. We could all agree that it gives excellent performance, especially considering the low price. And Hyundai was very smart to include standard iPod and Bluetooth phone integration, something other automakers ought to consider.
As for the looks, some on our staff like the silhouette, and call out the big rear haunches as a nice cue that conveys the car's aggressive sport nature. On the other side of the argument, some of my co-workers point out that the broken … Read more
The stock Lexus IS 350 delivers impressive performance, its 3.5-liter V-6 getting it from 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, while still embodying Lexus luxury. Now you can tune up the handling substantially with Lexus' F Sport accessories from the dealer. A tuned-up luxury car may be a strange idea, but it works for the Mercedes-Benz AMG division. We looked at a 2009 IS 350 loaded with F Sport brakes, suspension components, and exhaust. These components make it a car you can take out to track days, although the harsher ride will take some of the luxury … Read more
I get this one a lot, what should I do about my--fill-in-the-blank--broken headphones, buzzing speakers, static noises, intermittent sound, or when my subwoofer stops subbing?
Only rarely can I solve the problem with a quick fix; I always first advise contacting the dealer or Web site that sold you the product. Service is their responsibility and if they don't provide it, you shouldn't buy from them.
Of course, the best time to ask about service is before you buy any product. Will they replace a product if it fails within 90 days of purchase? Do they pay for return shipping? I'm talking about audio products here, but that advice works for any tech purchase. … Read more
Audi successfully carved out a competitive space against BMW in the sport luxury market with the A6. But as the need for greater fuel economy and fewer emissions threatens to dampen this segment, Audi responds by making its most efficient engine ever for the A6. The new A6 can be had with a supercharged 3-liter V-6, giving it 300 horsepower while maintaining decent fuel economy.
Although this new powerplant is an excellent addition to the A6's equipment list, the cabin tech remains unchanged from previous years. Audi promises a significant update to the cabin tech for the 2010 model … Read more
Long before there ever was a Hummer, Mercedes-Benz took an SUV designed for the military and made it available to the public. The Mercedes-Benz G-Class, originally known as the Gelandewagen, came out in 1979. On the vehicle's 30th anniversary, we looked at a 2009 Mercedes-Benz G550.
Mercedes-Benz designers obviously had better things to do during the 30 years of the G-Class' existence, as they didn't devote any time to revamping the exterior. Its utilitarian purpose is still evident in the boxlike body and large windows. A high roof means plenty of room to stack cargo inside.
But looking … Read more