This past year it felt like we drove damn near everything. From Subaru rally cars to the Bentley Mulsanne Speed. From a Power Wheels to a McLaren 650S. From an Audi TT, to an Audi TT, to an Audi TT a third time, because sometimes we all disagree and everyone is wrong, including ourselves. This is every single car we reviewed in 2015.
We abandoned our arbitrary, often confusing numbered Jalopnik Review to bring you better reviews through better storytelling. We drove a supercharged bonkers version of the original Acura NSX, and a incredibly smooth and French and odd Citroen C6. We absolutely loved the Toyota Avalon, weirdly enough, almost as much as we nuts over the Alfa Romeo 4C. We started reviewing bikes in earnest for the first time ever!
Some cars were even perfect, which made them bad, and some cars were so flawed we fell hopelessly in love.
In short, we are window-licking, nose-eating nutters. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s all our reviews this year, or at least most of them.
The latest batch of Mini products kind of feel like they’re carefully engineered by ze Germans to adhere to a certain level of kitsch and fun. “Ja, Dieter, if we put ein light-up panel here und here, ze car is 69% more likely to be enjoyed by ze snake-people.” Somehow, though, this sort of works. Enter the new Mini Clubman.
Some things bear repeating. For instance, I tend to harp on about how value trumps price and that you shouldn’t ever settle for the mundane just because it’s technically the safer choice. As if to prove my point, the automotive gods at Mercedes-Benz have created the AMG C63 S: the world’s most perfect expression of the automotive experience. Well, almost.
There are Mustangs. There are Shelby Mustangs. But in all of Mustang-dom, few nameplates are as equally revered and feared for their brutal ferocity and tendency to literally send owners to hell like “Super Snake.”
Everyone wants to talk about the 2016 Chevy Camaro SS. This makes sense. It’s the one with the V8. But after a 1,000 mile road trip across the west, I can tell you the smart money’s on the unofficial “Working Man’s Edition;” the 1LT V6. Cloth seats, stick shift, 335 horsepower of essential Camaro for the enthusiast driver who doesn’t need rainbow ambient lighting to feel good about their car.
The McLaren 570S is the most important car built in Woking since Gordon Murray’s F1. Seriously. And as they discovered that less grip can equal more fun, not only did it turn out to be beautiful, but also bloody fantastic to drive. It’s a proper supercar for normal humans who want to go very fast without breaking a sweat.
If a guy dressed up like a clown walks into your office and produces for you a balloon poodle, you’re not going to be that surprised. If your boss comes into your office and starts krumping, you’ll probably feel differently. The Charger Hellcat is the clown and your krumping boss is the Cadillac CTS-V. It’s insane, in a less obvious way.
Longtime readers of this website may remember that when it launched a decade ago, Jalopnik announced itself to the world as a place that loved cars sometimes “just because of the curve of a hood.” And in a nod to compelling hood curvatures—as well as the site’s “exclusive sponsor” at the time—its logo contained the Audi RSQ concept from I, Robot.
Here’s a neat little recipe for a car. Take one part premium badge, one part economy car, make it not only a hybrid but a plug-in hybrid with 14 miles of all-electric range, move it with a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and make sure it tops out at almost $50,000, before tax credits. Never asked for that sandwich? Well, we now have the 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, and the weird mixture sort of works.
A few months ago I traveled from New York City to Buffalo on a quest for the best chicken wings anywhere. I took a 2015 Lexus RC 350 AWD to get there because I needed something that could gobble up the miles without any drama while being comfortable. The thing is, I didn’t need to go that far. Here’s why.
I was 18 in 1989. It was my most formative year on many levels. What I liked then has resonated stronger and longer than any other year. That is the case for music, but even more so for cars.
Flooring it in a 550 horsepower, all-wheel drive Jaguar F-Type R is hard to describe, what with your brain pressing against the inside of your skull, your eyes bumping up against their sockets.
The BMW M3 is faster. The Mercedes-AMG C63 has over 150 more horsepower. And yet, all I would ever really want is a big, bright blue, absurdly wonderful Volvo S60 Polestar. It’s the car that left every racing pretension back at the track, and finally remembered what fun is.
In the briefest of moments, while while firing off a gear change at 9000 RPM with the banshee-like V10 wailing in my ears, I caught a glimpse of that L-shaped Lexus logo on the steering wheel. And as I gripped the wheel to wrest the car through the winding road, I wondered if I had somehow woken up in a parallel universe that morning instead of my own.
The BMW M4 is a perfectly lovely machine. In stock form, its 3.0-liter, six-cylinder, twin-turboed engine makes 425 horsepower and 406 foot-pounds of torque. With a base MSRP of $62,400, that’s a ton of speed wrapped in a beautiful package – far more car than the price tag would suggest.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m really not the most objective person to be writing about the new 2016 Smart ForTwo. That’s not because of any loyalty to the company, but rather an innate fondness of the type of car: a rear-engined, small economy car. Decades ago, these were once everywhere, and now, in the U.S. at least, there’s only the Smart. Is it a worthy survivor?
Let’s start this off with a confession: I’m not into cruisers. Like, not at all. I don’t get the appeal to anyone under 50 years old, and I think straight out of the box they are, at best, try-hard expensive pieces of wannabe yesteryear “technology.”
I only got a BMW i8 for the weekend, so instead of taking it to a track or anything over the top like that, I decided to turn the whole experience into an extended Children’s Day, sort of.
You may not know what Accumoto Motorsport is. But you’ll want to. And one day, I have a feeling everyone who loves Porsches will know the work they do.
When Polaris asked me if I wanted to drive a Polaris Slingshot for a week, I knew the answer was yes - I just didn’t know why.
The sound is the first thing that about the Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang that grabs your attention. It makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. It starts with a guttural growl and then builds from there. And keeps building. And building. And building.
Sometimes, you just have to say “Fuck it. I’m going for a drive.”
Almost the entire staff has driven the Cadillac ATS-V and I think, individually, there isn’t a single person who hasn’t enjoyed it. But when it comes to the track it always helps to send a ringer, and our ringer is none other than racer and occasional hoverboarder Robb Holland.
I was worried that something would be terribly wrong with the Citroën Cactus crossover, but it rocks and gives you so much cool stuff for so little money that we must all salute the French for having the balls to make it.
There’s the certain kind of driver we all kind of roll our eyes at. You know exactly who I’m talking about.
Please put your stupid hairdresser jokes aside for now because the 2015 Audi TT is a pretty special piece of kit even if it didn’t turn out to be the fastest thing on a tight mountain road.
It seems fitting that Mini chose to reveal its new John Cooper Works Hardtop around the Yale University campus. This car is peppy, cute, fun and absolutely coming to a Tri-Delt parking lot near you. Yes, even in crazied-up, track ready John Cooper Works form.
I’ve been wanting to do some really lopsided comparison tests — something along the lines of a Lamborghini Aventador vs. a Mitsubishi Mirage. I didn’t quite get that, but I did manage something marginally more useful: what does an extra $15,000 get you between two family-hauling crossovers?
Once you learn how to deal with the paradox of having a coupe that unmistakably has four doors, nothing will stop you from loving BMW’s 640d Gran Coupe.
Every once in a while, a motorcycle comes along that changes things. A bike that doesn’t need to have its worth justified or qualified - a bike that’s just plain good. The 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 is one of those bikes.
Without a doubt, the small crossover segment is the most boring one in all of auto-dom. But small crossovers happen to be a huge part of today’s car market. They’re cash cows, and Hyundai wants in on the party. Their freshest offering, the 2016 Hyundai Tucson, may just be the new benchmark in the segment.
There are two kinds of oversteer: there’s the kind that’s fun and there’s the kind that signals Code Brown.
This is an Élan NP01. It looks a miniature Le Mans prototype, but it was designed with amateurs’ needs in mind: miserly budgets, tendency to crash and all. The NP01 is destined for the National Auto Sport Association’s new club-level spec series. How easy is it for amateurs to drive, exactly? I got behind the wheel to find out.
So life is crazy, and there are some days when you wake up in Dubai, and take a bus ride out into the desert, and then drive the car that won the toughest race in the world, the Dakar Rally.
The Alfa Romeo 4C’s almost-1750cc engine is an absolutely amazing motor, wild and loud and immediate. But thanks to the tricks of modern turbocharging, it doesn’t exactly offer the fuel economy you’d expect. And I figured all of this out in the middle of nowhere, with 30 miles of canyon road between me and the next gas station.
I was standing in pit lane at Lime Rock Park with a BMW E30 M3, a brand new V8 Mustang, a Porsche Cayman GTS, and this Alfa Romeo 4C. The keys were in the ignition. I drove them all, and found that there’s really only one word to describe the Alfa Romeo: terrifying.
Who gets to do burnouts in the middle of Manhattan? Who gets to stand on full ABS stops on empty side streets? Who gets to do all this and more without anyone noticing? The Toyota Avalon driver.
Surely you’ve done this countless times. You’ve been out driving, absent-mindedly checking out the other cars on the road, when you come across a 2015 Ford Mustang. They’re everywhere these days. And when you see one, your eyes immediately drift down to the front fender in search of the two numbers and a decimal point that make all the difference in the world: “5.0.”
In this incredible era of near-perfect, record-shattering, computer-aided performance, one traditional quality is increasingly in short supply: personality. Character, some might call it. Technical prowess has a way of ironing out the things that make cars truly memorable beyond just their speed and handling. This is not a problem with the 292 horsepower 2015 Volkswagen Golf R.
The all new Honda Africa Twin is the most exciting bike to come from Honda in over a decade. With the adventure market taking off in recent years Honda went back to their roots, making massive claims about this new thing being something truly honoring of the bike that put them on the (off-road) map. Something, they claimed, that was truly special.
I know this isn’t going to a popular opinion, but I think the new Ducati 959 Panigale is my favorite sportbike on the market. If I were buying a sportbike today for daily use/canyon carving/trackday riding, I’d buy it over anything else on the market today. Full stop and cue the haters. Here’s why.
The nice man from Sea Doo told me the 2016 Sea Doo RXP-X 300, with its all new supercharged 300 horsepower engine, would provide one G of force under full acceleration. I ride the fastest motorcycles in the world, I should be fine... right?
“Oh yeah, they’re going to have an Osprey,” the NYPD K-9 unit policeman told me when I arrived at the Lower Manhattan Heliport at 4:30 AM. “Those things haven’t been too reliable. A lot of crashes lately. Good luck.” Two hours later, we were lifting off the ground.
Every cause has an effect. Every article has a response. Wisconsin’s S&S Cycle, makers of some of America’s best engines, did not take kindly to what I said about baggers. They responded with an open invitation up to their ranch of V-Twin madcap shenanigans.
Riding or driving off road is unlike anything else you’ll experience on wheels and, thanks to Yamaha’s new YXZ1000R UTV side-by-side, you can go farther, faster, and with a friend. Get ready to destroy some sand, shift some gears and live out your desert speed-dreams.
The Polaris Slingshot and Dennis Rodman are a lot alike. They’re both a little odd looking, both flashy, they both love to party, both love to make a highlight reel, and both love donuts.
Kawasaki says its Z800 is huge in Europe. The bike is “part sportbike, part commuter,” and is supposed to leave everyone satisfied. Fundamentally it felt solid and well-engineered, but after a couple hours in the saddle I found myself struggling with the concept; is this actually “one bike for multiple jobs,” or is it a compromise between two styles of riding?
It takes a long time to get comfortable in most cars. You have to find the right seating position, the right wheel position, the best spot for the mirrors, and then, if you want to drive it fast, you need to work up to the limits. Slowly. But then there’s the Porsche Cayman GTS, which is your lucky sock in car form.
Here’s some Jalopnik sacrilege: I was given a 2015 Volkswagen Beetle with a diesel engine, and a manual transmission. And I have no idea if I like it. But that’s mainly because I don’t understand German humor.
“We don’t give a shit about times on a test track.” That’s what Mazda’s engineering guru Dave Coleman told me. And that’s not only what makes the 2016 Mazda Miata an amazing car, but also a great Miata. The definitive lightweight sports car is back and it’s bringing a renaissance along with it.
Lots of things about cars get me excited to wake up and spend another day on this slowly rotating rock. Outbraking somebody into a corner, for example. Loud, raucous motors revving to 7,000 RPM and beyond. Screeching, wailing tires pulling 1.3 Gs as they bend the laws of physics around a punishingly fast sweeper. Neck-snapping acceleration that simultaneously punishes and rewards the driver for his bravery.
My drive of a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro prototype was all-too brief because I crashed it into a wall (oops!) and got kicked out of the event, but I think I can tell you a little bit. But first, let us pause for reflection. After all, it’s not every day a new Camaro comes out. The nameplate’s nearly 50 years old and this is only the sixth one.
Big Citroëns are always absurd. They’re enormous, oddly designed, and solely exist for pure, effortless, worry-free comfort, and possibly also for smoking Gauloises. Even more absurd is a new one that’s mysteriously made it’s way to the United States. And we drove it.
“We’ve come too far to give up who we are.” Most of the time I was driving the Alfa Romeo 4C, I was listening to Daft Punk’s 2013 release Random Access Memories. For Alfa Romeo’s return to the United States with a glorious new sports car that is better than everyone thought it would be, this seemed an appropriate soundtrack.
The Volvo V60 T6 R-Design is a 306 horsepower all-wheel drive family hauler that has one big trick up its sleeve: it’s just a damn nice place to be.
In America, car culture seems to always be about the Big Numbers. Zero to 60. The quarter mile. Top speed. Nobody cares how a car actually drives, or the experience it delivers, or how it makes you feel, just how it puts down the Big Numbers. This is why the Subaru BRZ has a hard time fitting in.
Damn those contemptible Germans! Who won the war, us or them? All I know is that Cadillac has built a 464 horsepower, twin turbo, rear-wheel drive track and street weapon in the 2016 ATS-V, and all anyone’s going to say is “But is it as good as the BMW M3 and M4?”
Still think of washed-up rap stars and vapid housewives with mafia connections when you see a 2015 Cadillac Escalade? So did I. Then I drove the thing and holy crap– it’s comfortable, high-tech, and smooth as hot butter on a bowling lane.
When I learned I’d be driving the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde, my mind was filled with the denizens of the Italian Car Cliche Swearbox. Words like passion and soul consumed my predictive thoughts, even though I wasn’t entirely sure how they applied. But I didn’t find them anyways. What I did find was much, much better.
I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but sub-compact crossovers are so hot right now. They’re practical, have a modicum of capability, and are perfect for the urban-dwelling, active lifestyle 20-somethings that rule the Kingdom of Powerpoint. The 2016 Fiat 500X should be the standard-bearer for the segment. But it’s not, and I can’t understand why.
Whatever experience you are used to with a normal car — your Camry, your CR-V, your Taurus, your whatever. This Alfa 4C is the opposite of that.
Meet the Seat Leon X-Perience, the Spanish brand’s lifted all-wheel drive offering that’s essentially the same car as the VW SportWagen Alltrack America is getting next year. Here’s what you can expect from VW’s little off-road wagon.
I need to warn you that this isn’t going to be just a straightforward review of the Audi R8. The R8 has now been around for nearly a decade. Plenty of ink, both the Internet kind and the real kind, has been spilled describing how it drives. I will definitely address that, of course, but I have to start instead with a eulogy of sorts for the R8.
Technically, the EcoBoost Mustang is the least Mustang Mustang of all the Mustangs. Also, Mustang. We’ve all heard it: a turbo, four-cylinder Mustang is antithetical to everything that a Mustang is. I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit, and, what’s more, I think this boosted pony is actually the sweet spot of the whole lineup.
Sometimes I feel like a shitty Texan because I’m not a truck guy. I don’t normally have much use for huge trucks and I don’t really enjoy driving them. I’d rather do a track day in some hot hatch or cheap sports car than go off-roading. But after two weeks of driving a 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon back to back, I can see the appeal in these new “small” trucks.
You might think that with the unusual circumstance of having a McLaren 650S in my garage, I would have no time for a humble hatchback that costs about a tenth its price. Not so, when the hatchback in question is the Ford Focus ST. Need a fun normal car for when you’re not in your supercar? Here’s a great choice.
If up until this point you thought the BMW i3 was a rather ugly piece of overpriced boredom, please allow me a moment to explain why you’ve been misled. This rear-wheel drive electric car had a bigger effect on me than a Lamborghini Aventador and has just as much carbon fiber as that Italian exotic and can be had for a fraction of the price.
Mercedes has decided that America won’t accept the same A-Class small hatchback that anchors their lineup around the world. However, they do think you’d like the GLA-Class, a small hatchback with slightly more ground clearance. But what you really want is the GLA45, a nutjob rally-hatch monster that makes no sense and tons of sense all at once.
What would you do if you were offered a McLaren 650S Spider — a convertible, mid-engine sports car with stunning looks, 641 horsepower, a curb weight of about 3,000 pounds, and the ability to hit 60 mph from a standstill in three seconds — but you could only drive it 250 miles?
No car has transformed as radically over the course of its nameplate as the Volkswagen Beetle. It started life as a plebeian, practical family car with the engine in the back driven by Germans and then hippies and then crazy people, and then it morphed into a super cute front-wheel drive premium lifestyle accessory in the mid-1990s.
For American enthusiasts, no style of car is as coveted and sought-after as the diesel wagon with a manual gearbox. Why can’t we have torque, efficiency and room to carry all of our stuff for relatively cheap like the rest of the world? Luckily, we’re on the eve of the launch of the new 2015 Golf SportWagen, and it’s definitely the best diesel manual wagon Americans can buy.
Rather than make this a straightforward review of the 2015 Bentley Mulsanne Speed, which sounds dreadfully boring, I’m simply going to list all the things that make it completely, utterly ridiculous — in a good way.
Big redesign, big stats, big money. You already know this about the 2015 Ford F-150 so we’ll cut straight to beating the crap out of Ford’s finest work; a $60,470 EcoBoost Platinum SuperCrew. We found out what consumers actually get out of Ford’s mega redesign.
Infinitis are boring. Infinitis are for marketing VPs. Infinitis have no appeal. Infinitis are just uprated Nissans. These notions are all part of the grand public mythos of Infiniti. And all of them are false.
For Volvo, the 2016 XC90 is not just a new model, but also the most important step in the relaunch of their brand and a luxury SUV that has to make it big in America in order for them to succeed. Clearly, they couldn’t screw this up. They didn’t.
I’ll admit, when I moved to Chapel Hill, NC from LA last year, I was pretty despondent about leaving LA’s amazing carscape. I’m delighted to say that I was more pessimistic than I needed to be. This was proven conclusively when I passed a house, not five minutes from my own, that was infested with Citroëns. Seeing this place was just what I needed.
I’m a fan of the 2-Series. It’s not only one of my favorite new BMWs to come along in years, but one of my favorite new cars, period. That’s why I was eager to see what happened to the 228i when you chop the roof off, stick on a folding cloth top, and add nearly 300 pounds to it.
I was being so good, doing all the unglamorous car reviewer stuff. Driving in a congested area, inching through start-and-stop traffic, running over rough asphalt. After about 30 minutes I’d had enough. I switched the driving mode to Insane and mashed the throttle away from a deserted traffic light. Bad idea.
A scream rang from across the canyons. A dull roar, really, dull only because I haven’t yet punched it, sitting Right Here in an Aston Martin Vanquish, and I am in a devastating, crippling traffic jam that only the Malibu hills could provide: Ferrari 430, McLaren MP4-12C, Nissan GTR, Maserati GranTurismo convertible, a sibling Vantage Volante, and then the crème de la crème, today’s MVP—an early Acura NSX, on stretched tires wrapping BBS wheels, OG NSX BBS, and the lot are blatting and popping in third gear up Malibu Canyon Road. We are crashing their party. We are obligated to do so.
Before I went to Iceland to review the Land Rover Discovery Sport, I had one goal in mind: drive a Lada. I’ve always been fascinated by the old Soviet-bloc cars, and I’ve hardly ever even seen one in person. I knew Iceland had some, and thanks to the good people at Geysir Car Rental, my inane dream was made an inane reality.
“Volkswagen doesn’t understand America.” That’s what the critics like to say. It’s what they blame for a lack of cars that can crush it in the mass market and Volkswagen’s slump during the best sales year in a decade. But there is proof that Volkswagen is at least listening to some of us, and the proof is in the all new, 292 horsepower 2015 VW Golf R I just drove.
Rallying is a nuanced art. It takes years of training to get to the level where you can drive an open class car like this Subaru WRX STI with a sequential gearbox and 500 pound feet of torque. But I didn’t have years of training. I had hours. And driving it has warped my brain forever.
As I calmly waited for the car to arrive, I felt none of the usual anticipation for the experience that lay before me. The burbly metallic blue coupe eventually rolled up, giving me the chance to convince the car’s caretaker to hand over the keys. It was at that point when I realized that almost everything I thought I knew about the car was dead wrong.
My experience with the 2015 McLaren 650S Spider is limited by both time and mileage, but I’m trying to get the most out of it while I have it. I have found it to be a shockingly civilized, comfortable and livable sports car when you don’t want to drive like a crazy person. I even turned it into my grocery getter!
The current Mazda3 is a very good car by all means, but while Americans can’t have it with less than 155 horsepower, the European situation is slightly more depressing.
I’m not gonna lie to you: the first time I drove the 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, it kind of scared the shit out of me just a little bit.
My favorite driving roads in the Austin area come up after Mopac dead ends into RM 1826 in Hays County. Then you’re on some really nice, winding Hill Country roads down by Driftwood, Dripping Springs, and Wimberley. If you’ve ever heard of or eaten at the Salt Lick, you know what I’m talking about.
Since I (allegedly) won’t fit in the 2015 Ford F-150 Power Wheels, I roped my cousin’s kid into helping me review it. He rated its attributes on a numerical scale; Looks? “Nine. Actually, 90.” Functionality? “F150.” Ok, I see what you did there you cheeky little bastard... this isn’t going to be easy.
Before we get into the opinions about the new 2015 Subaru WRX, let’s get some basic facts out of the way. It still has 268 horsepower. It still has full-time all-wheel-drive. And now it has the long-heralded infinitely-geared scepter of driving fun death, a Continuously Variable Transmission. But let me blow your mind, because there is life after death.
The Z06 is a 650 horsepower Corvette. Six hundred. And fifty. A Corvette that gets to 60 in less than three seconds. A Corvette than can stop from 60 in less than 100 feet. A Corvette that can pull 1.2 G in a corner. And a Corvette that costs less than $100,000. It’s an all-American middle finger to every other high buck sports car on the road. Here’s how it is to drive.
I guess I should start by saying there’s nothing wrong with the Lincoln MKC. I had one over the holidays, I drove the crap out of it, and it did its job just fine. My ass and my passengers’ asses and our stuff was conveyed from one point to another in ease and comfort. I could easily live with this car. What I don’t think I could do is want it.
Everyone wants a seat at the Cool Kids’ Table that is the high-performance luxury sedan segment and now Lexus is taking a stab at the big, fast sedan game with the 2016 Lexus GS F. Will they get a seat or will they be forced to spend lunch eating with the choir teacher?
“Hello, Abarth, my old friend,” I told the shiny red little egg as I greeted it in my driveway. “I’ve come to hoon with you again.” I’m always happy to see the Fiat 500 Abarth. Tons of cars are better and faster, but very few offer the pure stupid unfiltered fun that this one does.
I have finally figured out what the new turbocharged, hybrid, all-wheel drive, 550 horsepower 2016 Acura NSX will really compete against: the original NSX. Not in sales, mind you, but in expectations. There is no way the new NSX will escape comparison with its famous father.
Ever since Jason Torchinsky wrote up his piece on the N Box Slash (N/), I’ve been dying to drive one. Then I noticed that one of the dealerships nearby had one on display inside their dealership, and I knew I just had to give it a spin. Welcome to the very first Jalopnik East review, where I drive shit Torchy can’t have.