2016 Cadillac ATS-V: Up Close

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The ATS-V coupe marks when the Cadillac ATS lineup found its look. To me, the regular ATS sedan is decent looking but not as interesting as the current- or previous-generation CTS sedan. As for Cadillac coupes, I've been hard to please. The regular one is too bland, though I've also criticized the CTS coupe as going too far - slab-sided, and with a rear end that's also a bit slabby and whose boat-tail shape is trying too hard.

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

The V-Series treatment certainly makes the new 2016 ATS-V sedan look more interesting, but it's on the ATS-V coupe where the flared fenders, more aggressive nose and tail, and the various cooling and aerodynamic changes bring the canvas of blandness to life.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | November 19, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Mini Cooper S Versus 2015 Volkswagen GTI

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In our recent $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge the Volkswagen GTI bested a field of eight contenders to take the win. However, the redesigned Mini Cooper was not part of that test. Things don't always work out the way you want, but getting a new Cooper S with a manual transmission at the same time as a new GTI with a manual transmission seemed like karma telling us we needed to go driving. OK, maybe it was just a really good excuse to get out of the office.

Related: $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge

Both cars were similarly equipped to the gills with sticker prices totaling more than $33,000 including destination — not exactly "cheap." When all was said and done after a Chicago-area drive route traversing city, suburban and highway roads, the face-off was ridiculously close with the final scoring decided by one point overall.

By David Thomas | October 29, 2014 | Comments (14)

Mazda Releases More Specs for the 2016 MX-5 Miata

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We've seen what the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata looks like and have had some time up close with it, but now Mazda has dribbled out a few more specs for the roadster.

While overseas markets will get a 1.5-liter four-cylinder, the new Miata will come with a direct-injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the U.S. That's the same size engine as the outgoing Miata had, but the new four-cylinder features Mazda's SkyActiv technology. Horsepower and torque figures for the new engine weren't released, but Mazda said in a statement that the car "delivers sufficient output for its size." The current Mazda3 compact car has a SkyActiv 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 155 horsepower and 150 pounds-feet of torque. The new Miata gets a six-speed manual transmission. An automatic is likely, but hasn't been confirmed.

By Mike Hanley | October 2, 2014 | Comments (0)

Why My $177,000 SUV's Brakes Squeal, and Why It's Not OK

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I just finished a week in a $177,000 2014 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, the German sports-car maker's top-of-the-line, super-fast twin-turbo V-8-powered SUV. It's a remarkable machine — sleek, ridiculously quick, crazy expensive and possessed of one quality that drove everybody who rode in the machine absolutely nuts. The brakes squealed like a poorly maintained diesel city bus.

Related: Which Luxury Cars Don't Recommend or Require Premium Gas?

The noise made every stopping event more about figuring out how to modulate the brakes to prevent noise instead of enjoying the amazingly firm and fade-free properties of the huge stoppers. That's not an attribute any car should have let alone a new six-figure one.

By Aaron Bragman | August 26, 2014 | Comments (12)

Scion FR-S TRD Exhaust Makes All The Right Notes

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Scion's lightweight, rear-wheel-drive FR-S only left us with a small list of wants after we gave it and the nearly identical Subaru BRZ our most prestigious Best of 2013 Award. At the top of the list is more power, but that of course hasn't happened yet. The twins' weak aural experience from under the hood and the exhaust is thankfully a much easier and less-expensive issue to address than squeezing another 40-50 horsepower from under the hood.

Cars.com Names Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ Best of 2013

A 2014 Scion FR-S we recently tested equipped with Toyota Racing Development's performance exhaust system hit a home run in the area of the ear-pleasing notes. That's important because we always thought there was something lacking from the FR-S' factory equipment.

A sound tube designed to make the engine more audible inside the cabin was not the robust sound I wanted to hear more of; the noises out back were more pleasant and less audible. TRD's exhaust adds a whole new layer of fun to the already entertaining FR-S.

By Joe Bruzek | June 2, 2014 | Comments (0)

Why I Can't Buy a Scion FR-S (Even Though I Want To)

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Cars.com named the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S our Best Cars of 2013, and we ended up buying a BRZ for our long-term test fleet. During the following 12 months I discovered it was a practical daily driver on top of being fun to drive.

Follow Our Long-Term Test Fleet

I loved the BRZ. Then I spent a few days with a Hot Lava 2014 Scion FR-S. It fixed the one complaint I had with the BRZ, offering a better entertainment system, plus it came with an ear-pleasing racing exhaust (courtesy of Toyota Racing Development) that doesn't sound anything like a coffee-can-equipped Honda Civic racing down Main Street on a Friday night.

Granted, if I truly owned the BRZ I would've been at Best Buy getting the stereo swapped out. But even though I liked the Scion's color and exhaust better — plus it had the preferred off-the-lot entertainment system — I still wouldn't buy it because of the name.

By David Thomas | May 27, 2014 | Comments (23)

New 2015 Dodge Charger and Challenger to Debut in New York

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There was little doubt Dodge would have to update its Challenger muscle car to compete in a world with an all-new Ford Mustang. But even we were a bit surprised to hear a new version of the four-door Charger would debut alongside the updated Challenger at next week's New York International Auto Show.

More Dodge Charger News

Chrysler released the images above (Charger) and below (Challenger) to announce the debuts. What they show is what looks to be a completely reworked front end for the Charger and an all-new gauge cluster for the Challenger along the lines of the digitally augmented gauges in other Dodge vehicles.

By David Thomas | April 8, 2014 | Comments (4)

2014 Chicago Blackhawks Camaro SS Photo Gallery (20 Photos)

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For the past few years at the Chicago Auto Show, a company based in Gurnee, Ill., has built and displayed a custom Chevrolet Camaro in honor of the local NHL franchise, the Chicago Blackhawks. This year is no different.

More 2014 Chicago Auto Show Coverage

Real Wheels makes custom parts for an array of vehicles from semitrucks to SUVs, but it’s the Chicago Blackhawks Camaro that likely gets this company the most attention. This year’s car is a 2014 Camaro SS convertible with some new tweaks. There’s still the Indian head logo cutouts in the custom grille, but there is no logo on the hood, just a stripe job around the hood scoop.

By David Thomas | February 7, 2014 | Comments (8)

2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition Available for Three Months

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In conjunction with the debut of the 2015 WRX STI at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Subaru announced that a Launch Edition (above) of the sedan will be available for only three months. The car hits dealerships in April 2014.

More 2014 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

The three-month sales window could conceivably be shorter because Subaru is limiting sales of the Launch Edition to 1,000 units. All Launch Edition models have gold 18-inch BBS wheels, a short-throw shifter, black Alcantara seats with blue accents and WR Blue Pearl paint.

By Mike Hanley | January 14, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Ford Mustang First Photos and Details

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This isn't a refresh. This is the first all-new Ford Mustang since the company reinvented it — retro style — in 2005.

2015 Ford Mustang: First Look

The 2015 is lighter, wider and features an independent rear suspension, a first for mass-market Mustangs. But it is the new styling that will have everyone talking.

By David Thomas | December 4, 2013 | Comments (25)

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