luxury

First Drive: 2018 BMW X2

2018 BMW X2 xDrive28i BMW builds a shorter, lower, and sportier version of the X1 SUV. Is the X2 a better choice, or does it lose the sport-utility plot? By Nick Kurczewski, Contributor, Car-ED.com | September 2018 The 2018 BMW X2 is a racier-looking version of the existing BMW X1. A punchy four-cylinder engine and sharp handling give the X2 a dynamic edge, but is that enough when squared-off against the best from Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Cadillac, Lincoln, Lexus, and Acura? What is this vehicle? The 2018 BMW X2 is based on the taller and longer X1 sport-utility, the German automaker's smallest entry in the red-hot market for affordable luxury SUVs. Rivals to the X2 include the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, Lincoln MKC, Volvo XC40, Lexus NX, Audi Q3, Cadillac XT4, and Infiniti QX30. Instead of emphasizing the amount of cup-holders and available cargo space, BMW has opted to focus the new X2 on the sportier side of the sport-utility segment. This is why the X2 is roughly three inches shorter than the X1, though it rides on an identical wheelbase. That's a good thing, since it means the X2 doesn't skimp on rear legroom, which is a key factor for many SUV buyers - even ones who don't need third-row seating, or the towing capacity of a big-rig truck. With a starting price of $36,400, the X2 is more a couple thousand dollars more expensive [...]

2018-09-28T12:07:29-04:00Sep 2018|Car Reviews, Car Reviews, Car Reviews, Car Reviews|

First Impressions: 2019 Acura RDX

2019 Acura RDX The fully redesigned RDX marks the start of the compact luxury SUV’s third generation. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | June 2018 We got a sneak preview of the vehicle at the Midwest Automotive Media Association Spring Rally in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, and were pretty impressed by the experience. Every RDX comes powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 272 horsepower, paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, though we suspect most buyers will upgrade to all-wheel drive, as is common with crossovers. The all-wheel drive system features torque vectoring, which means that the system can send extra power to the rear wheels, which helps with maneuvering. Our test course consisted of winding country roads around a sparkling lake on a gorgeous sunny day, and the RDX seemed eager to show off these capabilities. The system seems to be a good match for the peppy and enthusiastic engine. The centerpiece of the interior is a floating center console that arches up from the gearshift area and meets the dash, creating a storage nook. This idea isn’t entirely new (it reminded us of the Volvo C30) but it’s unlike anything else out there right now and has the visual effect of carving out separate nooks for driver and front passenger. The gear selector, by the way, consists of buttons rather than a physical shifter. The [...]

2018-09-04T22:42:06-04:00Sep 2018|Car Reviews|

2017 Lexus IS 350 F Sport

2017 Lexus IS 350 F Sport Better at luxury than athletics. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | July 2018 What is this vehicle? The 350 F Sport is the top-tier trim of the Lexus IS compact sport sedan lineup. Although Lexus emphasizes the “sport” aspect of the IS, particularly in models fitted with the F Sport performance and appearance package, this car is a lot less sporty than we expected. Though our test vehicle was a 2017 model, the IS carried into the 2018 model year mostly unchanged. If you’re shopping for a 2018 Lexus IS, keep in mind that V6 models (including the 350 F Sport reviewed here) get a bump of 5 horsepower and the rearview camera is now standard instead of optional.  Who is this vehicle for? This car is a good choice for buyers who are shopping for a compact luxury sedan and care more about comfort and sophistication than sportiness. That is because even though the Lexus IS 350 F Sport is marketed as a sport sedan, it is not quite as sporty as many of its competitors, especially the entry-level small luxury vehicles from the German brands. In short, if you can look at this vehicle simply as a well-built and competent luxury car instead of as a sporty luxury car, it is probably a good fit for you. Why is this vehicle important to [...]

2018-07-27T18:30:59-04:00Jul 2018|Uncategorized|

First Impressions: 2018 BMW X2

2018 BMW X2 Can this all-new subcompact crossover carve out a niche in a crowded lineup? By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | June 2018 The X2 is an all-new addition to BMW’s lineup for 2018. This subcompact crossover slots in above the established X1 and differentiates itself with coupe-like styling and a considerably higher entry price. We had the opportunity to test the new X2 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, at the annual Midwest Automotive Media Association Spring Rally.  The X2 comes powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, rated for 228 horsepower. Though we had only a short time to play with the X2, it proved a willing partner. The X2’s acceleration is smooth and peppy, and handling is absolutely fantastic on the curvy roads around the lake. The paddle shifters are an effective way to extract a little more fun out of the driving experience, and help make passing super smooth. Sport mode makes the steering and acceleration a little sharper. The interior is mostly a win. The front seats were extremely comfortable, as we’ve come to expect from BMW. We also really liked the interior layout; everything on the dashboard was easy to see and reach. The X2 isn’t perfect. It seems kind of redundant alongside the existing X1, which provides the same specs and more interior space (due to the higher roof) at a lower price. Since [...]

2018-07-11T18:49:22-04:00Jul 2018|Uncategorized|

First Impressions: 2019 Infiniti QX50

2019 Infiniti QX50 We got to drive the fully redesigned 2019 Infiniti QX50 at the 2018 Midwest Automotive Association annual Spring Rally.  By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | May 2018 This compact luxury SUV was on hiatus for 2018 but is back with a fresh and modern design. Infiniti gave us the opportunity to get acquainted with the new QX50 on the easygoing Wisconsin country roads that surround Road America, though we had only a short time to learn as much as we could. The redesigned QX50 has car-like handling and, from behind the wheel, feels quite a bit smaller than it actually is. The power isn’t particularly impressive, but it’s definitely not lacking, either. This vehicle features a groundbreaking variable compression engine, though shoppers only really need to know that it’s a turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 268 horsepower, paired to a fuel-efficient CVT. Acceleration is quick, responsive, smooth, and effortless; it just lacks the “ooomph” that we look for in an upscale vehicle. There’s no drama. The steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters are a nice touch and help add a little excitement to the driving experience. However, when we downshifted manually via paddle shifter, it took an unusually long time for the engine and transmission to match back up again. To be fair, excitement might not be Infiniti’s goal, here. There are two screens, a display for navigation and a touch [...]

2018-07-06T20:17:07-04:00Jul 2018|Car Reviews|

2017 Lexus GS F

2017 Lexus GS F This gorgeous sport sedan is a little more feisty than it looks. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | May 2018 What is this vehicle? The GS F is the top-end trim level of the Lexus GF midsize luxury sedan lineup, featuring rear-wheel drive and a 5.0-liter V8 engine. Other features and amenities include plush and supportive sport seats, a comprehensive active safety package, and a standard navigation system. For this review, Lexus provided a 2017 model year GS F. Though there are some minor updates to the GS F lineup between the 2017 and 2018 model years, the GS F carried over unchanged. Who is this vehicle for? The Lexus GS F is a great option for a buyer who values impressive power and a smooth ride, but doesn’t get caught up in the theatrics typically associated with performance cars. In that way, the GS F is a great choice for a buyer who wants a luxury car that happens to be powerful, rather than a sports car that happens to be upscale. Why is this vehicle important to you, the buyer? If you want a quick and fast luxury car that will keep you on track with minimal effort, the GS F is an excellent candidate. In many ways, the GS F is more relaxed than many rivals, in that you don’t need to be a [...]

2018-06-01T01:01:37-04:00Jun 2018|Uncategorized|

2019 Volkswagen Arteon

2019 Volkswagen Arteon Can this new “Four-Door Coupe” stand out when all sedans now have this style? By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | Feb 2018 Among the handful of new model unveilings at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, the Volkswagen Arteon was among the most anticipated. The Arteon is the key to both VW’s design evolution and value proposition at a critical juncture for the brand. We were on hand for the Arteon’s official reveal and got a close-up look at this new flagship. Here are the details on the all-new VW Arteon. What is this vehicle? The Arteon is Volkswagen’s newest entry to the entry luxury midsize segment, intended to be the brand’s “halo car” and a “spiritual successor” to the CC. Though the Arteon is billed as a replacement for the CC, it’s quite a bit larger. The body is longer and wider, anchored by a wheelbase that is more than 5 inches longer than the CC. Volkswagen says the Arteon is “a true fastback,” due to its sloping rear roofline, but this car is functionally a midsize sedan, and that’s where it will compete. Who is this vehicle for? If you are planning to buy a midsize car in the near future, the Arteon is worth a look. Since VW hasn’t yet provided pricing, it’s tough to compare the Arteon to specific competitors, but we know the Arteon is [...]

2018-03-12T21:27:09-04:00Feb 2018|News|