MotorWeek

As the Emmy® Award-winning host, executive producer and creator of MotorWeek, television's longest running automotive series, John Davis is seen by millions of viewers on PBS, SPEED and V-me Spanish-language network. One of the most trusted and recognized automotive journalists in the nation, Davis has been featured on CNN, Weekend Today, Live with Regis and Kelly, PARADE magazine and The Baltimore Sun, as well as local media throughout the country. He has also written regularly on automotive industry topics for The Washington Post. As MotorWeek's host and executive producer since the series debuted in 1981, Davis oversees all editorial content, and has put every new car and truck model manufactured in the last 30 years through extensive road tests to judge their practicality for buyers. He recognizes that as the second biggest purchase Americans make, car buyers must be well-informed before they enter a dealer showroom. That's why MotorWeek's focus is on helping consumers make smart choices based on their lifestyles and finances, as well as safety considerations and the vehicle's impact on the environment. As one of the first mainstream media outlets to provide regular coverage of alternative fuels and "green" vehicle technology, Davis and MotorWeek have worked with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to promote public awareness about the impact renewable fuels can have on petroleum dependence and the environment. He has been a speaker at DOE's "Clean Cities" conferences and makes presentations to industry leaders and federal officials. Davis has also been involved in raising public awareness about other important automotive-related issues. In 2004 and 2005, he served as a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Transportation's program promoting annual automotive emissions inspections. In 2002, Davis was spokesperson for the "Smooth Operator" initiative to combat aggressive driving in the Washington Metro region. Davis is one of the founders of the North American Car & Truck of The Year Awards, the only independent journalistic automotive award in North America. He served on its executive board from 1994 to 2008. He is also one of the organizers and an original member of the Washington Automotive Press Association. Davis is a former president of the International Motor Press Association, the oldest and most prestigious organization of automotive journalists in North America. Davis has received some of the highest awards in automotive journalism and television, including two Emmy® Awards. In 2007, he won an Emmy® Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) National Capital Chesapeake Bay Region, and in 1998 from the NATAS Chicago-Midwest Chapter. Davis also received an International Automotive Media Award in 2005 from the International Society for Vehicle Preservation. He was honored with International Wheel Awards in 2004 and 2003, and two Golden Wheel Awards in 1999, including the grand award, from the Detroit Press Foundation which recognizes the best in automotive journalism. A 1970 mechanical and aerospace engineering graduate of North Carolina State University, Davis also holds a master of business administration degree from the University of North Carolina. He was the 1969-1970 recipient of the W.D. Cartwright Memorial Engineering Scholarship and a member of the Pi Tau Sigma honorary scholastic fraternity. Prior to joining Maryland Public Television, Davis worked for the Wall Street brokerage firm of Kidder, Peabody and Company as a transportation analyst. He has owned a variety of high performance cars, including a vintage Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Corvette and deTomaso Pantera.

From MotorWeek

  • Episodes: Episode 3712
    <p>Debut 11.24.2017</p> <p class="quick_listing">Description</p> <p>Road Test: 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport</p> <p>Goss' Garage: Water Pumps</p> <p>Over the Edge: Drivers Club</p> <p>Quick Spin: 2018 Kia Stinger | 2018 Volvo XC60 | 2018 Range Rover Velar</p> <p>Road Test: 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S</p> <a href="https://mpt-shop.myshopify.com/collections/motorweek" target="_blank" class="dvd_purchase"></a> <div class="shadow_holder"> <div class="clear"><!-- --></div><!-- .clear --> <div class="shadow_right_small"><!-- --></div><!-- .shadow_right_small --> <div class="clear"><!-- --></div><!-- .clear --> </div><!-- .shadow_holder --> <div class="shadow_holder"> <div class="clear"><!-- --></div><!-- .clear --> <div class="shadow_right_small"><!-- --></div><!-- .shadow_right_small --> <div class="clear"><!-- --></div><!-- .clear --> </div><!-- .shadow_holder -->
  • This Just In: Best Boosters &amp; Subaru SUV
    <h4 style="text-align: center;">If you&rsquo;re packing up to drive to your Thanksgiving feast, think about some of your smaller passengers.&nbsp; The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has just released results of their latest study on booster seats. 13 out of 16 new boosters earn their top rating of BEST BET.&nbsp; There are now 118 booster seats on the market that have achieved that designation.&nbsp; To see the latest additions to the list click <a href="http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/13-out-of-16-new-boosters-earn-top-rating-of-best-bet">here</a>.</h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><img height="1137" src="/images/IIHS_booster_seats.jpg" width="853" /></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">By now you know we&rsquo;re gearing up for the Los Angeles Auto Show.&nbsp; Here&rsquo;s another reason.&nbsp; Subaru is giving us a sneak peak at the all-new 2019 Ascent.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s Subaru&rsquo;s largest three-row SUV yet.&nbsp; They&rsquo;ll reveal it on November 28, 2017.&nbsp; We&rsquo;ll be there to see it and the rest of the debuts at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week.</h4> <p><img height="434" src="/images/2019_Subaru_Ascent.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="853" /></p>
  • This Just In: New Audi &amp; Volvo-Uber Deal
    <h4 style="text-align: center;">MotorWeek is revving up for the Los Angeles Auto Show next week.&nbsp; Audi promises to bring the all-new A8.&nbsp; The design dates back to the Prologue concept at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.&nbsp; The 4-th generation luxury sedan will also feature a new touchscreen system.&nbsp; This will be one of the cars we&rsquo;ll be looking for when we&rsquo;re on the floor of the Los Angeles Auto Show beginning next Wednesday November 29, 2017.</h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><img height="569" src="/images/2019_Audi_8.jpg" width="853" /></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">Volvo is taking another step toward hands free driving.&nbsp; The Swedish car maker plans to sell tens of thousands of autonomous driving compatible vehicles to ride sharing company Uber.&nbsp; The deal involves Volvo&rsquo;s XC90 SUV&rsquo;s.&nbsp; Uber will add its own self-driving technology.&nbsp; At the same time. Volvo will continue to develop their autonomous car strategy.&nbsp; They hope to release their first fully autonomous car in 2021.</h4> <p><img height="480" src="/images/Volvo_Uber.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="853" /></p>
  • Road Tests: 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
    <p class="review_title">Vital Statistics</p> <p><span>Engine:</span> 1.6 liter</p> <p><span>Horsepower:</span> 201</p> <p><span>Torque:</span> 195 lb-ft.</p> <p><span>0-60 mph:</span> 7.0 seconds</p> <p><span>1/4 mile:</span> 15.6 seconds @ 92 mph</p> <p><span>EPA:</span> 22 mpg city / 30 mpg highway</p> <p><span>Energy Impact:</span> 13.2 barrels of oil/yr</p> <p><span>CO2 Emissions:</span> 5.9 tons/yr</p> <p>Call us skeptics all you want, but whenever a carmaker tacks the word &ldquo;sport&rdquo; onto an existing model, we instantly look for reasons to cry foul. And when it comes to Hyundai, well they haven&rsquo;t really delivered too much in the way of &ldquo;sporty&rdquo; goods lately. Well, let&rsquo;s see if that changes with a new Elantra sport.</p> <p>When we last left the 2017 Hyundai Elantra, we predicted its increased refinement and competency would do wonders to help it become increasingly competitive against more established rivals from Honda and Toyota.&nbsp;</p> <p>Well that has indeed been the case, so adding a Sport version into the mix, should only help the cause even more. Right?</p> <p>And, hiring a BMW M engineering veteran to help put an all new multi-link suspension under the rear of this sedan is certainly a good way to start. The Elantra Sport&rsquo;s new setup really makes it feel well-balanced and nimble; yet there&rsquo;s no harshness to it, as overall ride quality remains quite good.&nbsp;</p> <p><img class="img_left" height="231" src="/images/road_tests/2018_hyundai_elantra_sport_2.jpg" width="300" />Front and rear spring rates are increased, thicker stabilizer bars are in place, and standard wheels are 18s. The total result is nicely solid grip through the cones. It stayed surprisingly flat as well, with enough steering feel to bring a smile or two to our faces. So, yea!</p> <p>Hyundai&rsquo;s 1.6-liter I4 turbo deals out the power; with horsepower at 201; torque, at 195 lb-ft. And there&rsquo;s even a 6-speed manual transmission standard. A 7-speed DCT is available.</p> <p>With the manual, we launched the Sport to 60 in 7.0-seconds flat; two seconds quicker than our last Elantra sedan test. Engine noise is, however, fairly pronounced; making us wish the more pleasing notes coming from the exhaust were louder.&nbsp;</p> <p>We love the manual tranny. Shifter throws might be a little long for some, but come on, this is not a high-dollar performance car; just enjoy the fact that you get to have some interaction with a car for a change.&nbsp;</p> <p>The &frac14;-mile was almost two seconds quicker too, at 15.6-seconds at 92 miles-per-hour. Quite a difference; and combined with the handling attributes, we think Hyundai has done more than enough to earn the Sport moniker.&nbsp;</p> <p>The exterior gets an upgrade as well, with a more aggressive body kit; featuring a new front fascia with a black grille and unique lighting, sill extensions down the sides, and dual chrome exhaust tips for the diffuser-style rear fascia.&nbsp;</p> <p><img class="img_right" height="188" src="/images/road_tests/2018_hyundai_elantra_sport_3.jpg" width="300" />Inside, there are sport seats with more bolstering and red stitching, as well as a new flat-bottom steering wheel. The logical layout is familiar Hyundai, and there even seems to be some shared switchgear with Kia.&nbsp;</p> <p>But that&rsquo;s not all that&rsquo;s new on the Elantra home front however, as 2018 brings a new Elantra GT hatchback.</p> <p>As before, this Elantra is based on the European Hyundai i30. So it&rsquo;s actually quite different than the sedan; especially inside where you&rsquo;ll find a whole new dash and control layout, one that we&rsquo;re quite fond of.</p> <p>"This Hyundai Elantra GT represents the brand&rsquo;s latest thinking about small cars, and is clearly aimed at those that might want a small utility vehicle instead. You sit rather high and the boxy hatchback rear end means plenty of cargo versatility. I like the fact the tablet-style media interface uses not only a touchscreen but there&rsquo;s plenty of knobs and switches to control it. So, it&rsquo;s not only modern it&rsquo;s smart."</p> <p>That SUV-style cargo volume measures 24.9 cubic-ft. seats up, 55.1 with rear seat backs folded. The downside, rear seat leg room that isn&rsquo;t as generous as the sedan.&nbsp;</p> <p><img class="img_left" height="137" src="/images/road_tests/2018_hyundai_elantra_sport_4.jpg" width="300" />Power for the Elantra GT comes from a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter I4 with 161-horsepwer and 150 lb-ft. of torque, though a GT Sport model, with the 1.6-turbo is available as well.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 2.0-liter Elantra GT automatic are 24-City, 32-Highway, and 27-Combined. For the Elantra Sport manual, they&rsquo;re 22-City, 30-Highway, and 25-Combined.&nbsp;</p> <p>Still, that&rsquo;s only an average Energy Impact Score with use of 13.2-barrels of oil annually with CO2 emissions of 5.9-tons.&nbsp;</p> <p>Elantra Sport pricing starts very sensibly, at $22,485; $4,500 over the much less entertaining base SE model.&nbsp; Elantra GTs begin at $20,235.&nbsp;</p> <p>The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport may fall short of performance-only machines like the Focus ST or Impreza WRX, but it&rsquo;s certainly a bigger step in that direction than they&rsquo;ve previously made. So, it offers a quite rewarding driving experience without compromising daily family car livability. As for the 2018 Elantra GT; it offers a sporty alternative to small front-drive crossovers; making a great case for the compact hatchback.&nbsp;</p> <p>So, as we see it, the latest Elantra, in all its forms, is indeed more competitive, and now more entertaining, than it&rsquo;s ever been.&nbsp;</p>
  • Road Tests: 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe
    <p class="review_title">Vital Statistics</p> <p><span>Engine:</span> 5.5 liter twin-turbo V8</p> <p><span>Horsepower:</span> 577</p> <p><span>Torque:</span> 561 lb-ft.</p> <p><span>0-60 mph:</span> 4.1 seconds</p> <p><span>1/4 mile:</span> 12.5 seconds @ 112mph</p> <p><span>EPA:</span> 14 mpg city / 18 mpg highway </p> <p>If you&rsquo;re not sure what a Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S coupe is, let us help. Start with a GLE 5-door SUV, which is actually the newest name of what was Mercedes-Benz&rsquo;s original luxury crossover utility, the M-class. Then replace its boxy body with a much sleeker looking coupe-like profile. And finally, add a whole heap of AMG performance. Got it?&nbsp; Then we&rsquo;re good to go&hellip;fast!</p> <p>The 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Coupe is a recent entry into a curious subset of SUVs, 5-door coupes. And while some have come and gone already, it&rsquo;s the German brands that seem most intent on keeping the segment going.&nbsp;</p> <p>As with most things in our world these days, our office was very divided on the GLE Coupe. Comments ranged from simply &ldquo;beautiful&rdquo; to &ldquo;not pretty, not practical, and what&rsquo;s the point?&rdquo;.&nbsp;</p> <p>Well, if their point was to make a statement, it&rsquo;s clearly been made; and no doubt the aggressive nature of the AMG elements, like these 22-inch cross-spoke alloys, make the most it.&nbsp;</p> <p>And if their point was to make a near perfect clone of the BMW X6, well mission accomplished there too; it even basically drives like one.&nbsp;</p> <p><img class="img_left" height="199" src="/images/road_tests/2017_mercedes_benz_AMG_GLE_63S_2.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />Mercedes claims it&rsquo;s the perfect embodiment of all of their design principles; from rugged fender flares and high ground clearance of an SUV, to the minimal greenhouse and sweeping roof of their sportiest coupes, and finally the smooth and elegant front end design showcased in their most luxurious sedans.&nbsp;</p> <p>Looks aside, you really have to hate practicality to prefer it over the basic GLE SUV, but we clearly understand in this &ldquo;looks are everything&rdquo; world, there is certainly a market for it; it&rsquo;s just not the kind of crossover we prefer.</p> <p>But it&rsquo;s also one clearly designed more for on road performance, as suspension is unique; and the standard 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system doesn&rsquo;t come with off road settings.&nbsp;</p> <p>Further indication is the powertrain situation, as all GLE Coupes are of the AMG variety. This 63 S boasts 577-horsepower and 561 lb-ft. of torque from a hand-assembled 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8. Transmission is AMG&rsquo;s SPEEDSHIFT 7-speed automatic.&nbsp;</p> <p>Its lesser sibling 43, gets a twin-turbo 6 with 362-horsepower and a 9-speed automatic.&nbsp;</p> <p><img class="img_right" height="170" src="/images/road_tests/2017_mercedes_benz_AMG_GLE_63S_3.jpg" style="float: right;" width="300" />At the track, it became clear from the first flooring of the throttle, that the launch of this GLE 63 S is worth the price of admission alone. The engine dumps a huge load of torque onto the wheels, and the AMG-tuned 4MATIC system quickly resolves where to put it to best use.</p> <p>You hop off the line with urgency, hitting 60 in 4.1-seconds. From there, it&rsquo;s a piece of cake; just hold on tight, as the transmission fires off shifts with a loud crack from the exhaust. Before you know it, 12.5-seconds have passed and you&rsquo;re at the end of the &frac14; going 112 miles-per-hour.&nbsp;</p> <p>The fact that there was virtually no body roll through the cones in this 5,225-lb. monster is quite impressive; but overall, it still felt rather bulky. Everything is super rigid and overly sensitive in Sport+ mode; it was hard to find a real rhythm through here.&nbsp;</p> <p>Dialing it back to simply Sport mode, seemed to be the sweet spot, providing a little more forgiveness.&nbsp;</p> <p>With stops of just 115-feet from 60, brakes are the real deal, with a nicely firm short-travel pedal. The only downside here being the 285-series tires finding every groove of our rough track and sending a report about them straight to the steering wheel.&nbsp;</p> <p>No matter if you&rsquo;re on a full-throttle getaway, or just the daily commute; there&rsquo;s plenty of comfort and luxury inside the cabin to keep you satisfied.</p> <p>Though AMG sport seats and steering wheel, as well as the carbon-fiber trim, definitely present a sporty aura. Opt for the Bang &amp; Olufsen BeoSound system, and you&rsquo;ll be awash in 900-watts of audio power as well.&nbsp;</p> <p>The only thing you&rsquo;ll really sacrifice here is cargo capacity, 23.0 cubic-ft. in back compared to the base GLE&rsquo;s 38.2. 60.7 is the max with rear seats folded, down from 80.3.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 14-City, 18-Highway, and 15-Combined.&nbsp; We behaved ourselves for the most part, and averaged 17.2 miles-per-gallon on Premium.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>If style over substance is your thing, you&rsquo;ll have no problem dropping at least $70,575 for a GLE Coupe. The big dog GLE63 is a heftier $111,575.&nbsp;</p> <p>Truly not for the faint of heart or light of discretionary funds, the 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Coupe is a mega-powerful piece of rolling excess, that is not only a showcase for the Mercedes brand, but is more than capable of blasting you away from whatever it is you need to get away from. It isn&rsquo;t cheap, it sure isn&rsquo;t very practical, but it certainly is our kind of fun.&nbsp;</p>
  • This Just In: Mercedes-Benz Teaser &amp; VW EVs
    <h4 style="text-align: center;">Mercedes-Benz is adding to our list of reasons to look forward to the Los Angeles Auto Show.&nbsp; They&rsquo;ve released these teaser shots of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS.&nbsp; Right now we can just see the LED headlights and the interior of the 4 door coupe.&nbsp; MotorWeek will be in L.A. next week for all the auto debuts.</h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><img height="640" src="/images/2018_Mercedes_Benz_CLS.jpg" width="853" /></h4> <p style="text-align: center;"><img height="640" src="/images/2018_Mercedes_Benz_CLS_Interior.jpg" width="853" /></p> <h4 style="text-align: center;">Volkswagen is making a big bet on electric cars.&nbsp; The company has announced it will spend more than $26 billion on its plants worldwide.&nbsp; More than $16 billion of that will be invested in Volkswagen plants in Germany.&nbsp; The first vehicle in their new generation of electric automobiles will be the Volkswagen I.D.&nbsp; The company plans to put it on the road in 2020.</h4> <p style="text-align: center;"><img height="492" src="/images/Volkswagen_I.D._Concept.jpg" width="853" /></p> <h4 style="text-align: center;"></h4>
  • This Just In: Tesla Supercar, Dubai Debuts &amp; INFINITI Turbo
    <h4 style="text-align: center;">Tesla has announced a new super car.&nbsp; The company says their electric roadster has a 620-mile range&hellip; and can go over 250 mph.&nbsp; Tesla claims this sporty all-wheel drive will run 0 to 60 in 1.9 seconds.&nbsp; Base price is $200,000.&nbsp; It will take $50,000 to reserve one.</h4> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Gd9JQAkcYak" width="854"></iframe></p> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: 1em;">Some interesting reveals have come out of the Dubai International Motor Show this week.&nbsp; Chevrolet introduced the 2019 Corvette ZR1.&nbsp; The LT5 supercharged 6.2L V-8 engine produces 755 horsepower and 715 lb-ft of torque.&nbsp; A high wing is&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 1em;">available providing an estimated 950 pounds of downforce.&nbsp; Chevrolet says it&rsquo;s the fastest, most powerful production Corvette.&nbsp; You&rsquo;ll have to wait until the spring to get one.</span></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;"></h4> <p style="text-align: center;"><img height="569" src="/images/2019-Corvette-ZR1-WorldPremier-02.jpg" width="853" /></p> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><img height="569" src="/images/2019-Corvette-ZR1-WorldPremier-03.jpg" width="853" /></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">The wait will be much shorter for the new INFINITI QX80.&nbsp; It also made a Dubai Debut.&nbsp; INFINITI's flagship SUV continues its luxurious tradition.&nbsp; The power comes from a 5.6-liter V8 engine.&nbsp; The 2018 INFINITI QX80 goes on sale at the end of 2017 staring $64,750.</h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;"></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><img height="499" src="/images/2018_INFINITI_QX80___Photo_11.jpg" width="853" /></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">The Dubai International Motor Show wraps up tomorrow.</h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;"></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;"></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">Changes are coming under the hood of the 2019 INFINITI QX50.&nbsp; Automotive News is reporting it will be powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder variable compression engine.&nbsp; INFINITI says The VC-Turbo engine can automatically change how far the pistons travel up the cylinder by about a quarter of an inch.&nbsp; They&rsquo;ve spent 20 years developing the engine.&nbsp; INFINITI says the technology will allow the engine to adjust between higher performance or better efficiency depending on the driving situations.</h4> <p><img height="746" src="/images/INFINITI_VC_T_engine_02.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="853" /></p> <h4></h4>
  • Episodes: Episode 3711
    <p>Debut 11.17.2017</p> <p class="quick_listing">Description</p> <p>Road Test: 2017 Infiniti Q60/Q50</p> <p>Clean Cities: Sacramento County Hydrogen</p> <p>Goss' Garage: Handy Helpers</p> <p>FYI: DIY Car Club</p> <p>Long Term Update: Subaru Crosstrek | Mazda CX-9</p> <p>Quick Spin: 2019 Porsche Cayenne</p> <p>Road Test: 2017 Toyota Highlander</p> <a href="https://mpt-shop.myshopify.com/collections/motorweek" target="_blank" class="dvd_purchase"></a> <div class="shadow_holder"> <div class="clear"><!-- --></div><!-- .clear --> <div class="shadow_right_small"><!-- --></div><!-- .shadow_right_small --> <div class="clear"><!-- --></div><!-- .clear --> </div><!-- .shadow_holder --> <div class="shadow_holder"> <div class="clear"><!-- --></div><!-- .clear --> <div class="shadow_right_small"><!-- --></div><!-- .shadow_right_small --> <div class="clear"><!-- --></div><!-- .clear --> </div><!-- .shadow_holder -->
  • Road Tests: 2017 Infiniti Q60/Q50
    <p class="review_title">Vital Statistics</p> <p><span>Engine:</span> 3.0 liter V6</p> <p><span>Horsepower:</span> 400</p> <p><span>Torque:</span> 350 lb-ft.</p> <p><span>0-60 mph:</span> 4.6 seconds</p> <p><span>1/4 mile:</span> 13.0 seconds @ 110 mph</p> <p><span>EPA:</span> 20 mpg city / 26 mpg highway</p> <p><span>Energy Impact:</span> 15.0 barrels of oil/yr</p> <p><span>CO2 Emissions:</span> 6.7 tons/yr</p> <p>Infiniti has certainly made splashes in racing waters, even as high as Formula 1. But when it comes to street performance, it&rsquo;s their Q50 platform that boasts the most. But whether you stick with the Q50 sedan, or opt for the Q60 coupe, for the ultimate in their performance, you&rsquo;ll need to see red!</p> <p>The Infiniti Q60 arrived for 2014, replacing the well-loved G37 Coupe. And, whether it was the new design or just confusion over the new name, Q sales have fallen well-short of the original G. But cars like this 2017 Q60 Red Sport 400 and it&rsquo;s 4-door kin, the 2018 Q50 Red Sport 400 should get things back on the fast track.&nbsp;</p> <p>Though mostly all-new for &rsquo;17, the Q60 coupe rides on an update of the original FM architecture from Nissan&rsquo;s Z car.&nbsp;</p> <p>Yes, that means the ride is still a little on the rough side; though a new Dynamic Digital Suspension attempts to alleviate that.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><img class="img_left" height="227" src="/images/road_tests/2018_infiniti_Q60_2.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />Suspension changes with the Drive Mode Selector, going from firm to less firm, taking just a bit of the roughness out.&nbsp;</p> <p>But, find a smooth curvy road, and the Q60 behaves gloriously, slicing through corners with graceful ease. It can feel heavy when pushed hard, but still very capable.</p> <p>Bodywork is updated too, and there&rsquo;s more of it, as overall length grows 1.5-inches on the same wheelbase. It&rsquo;s a gorgeous piece of road-going machinery; one of the best looking coupes we&rsquo;ve ever seen at this price point.&nbsp;</p> <p>Things inside are now even more driver-focused, with Infiniti&rsquo;s twin-touchscreen center stack eliminating a number of buttons and knobs.</p> <p>Seats have been redesigned for both more support and comfort; while all around the cabin, things look and feel even more luxurious than before. Though the seating position remains very low; like you&rsquo;ve borrowed your chair from the kid&rsquo;s table; as you peer over the dash.&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course power here in the Red Sport 400 comes from a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6, whipping up the named 400-horsepower with 350 lb-ft. of torque. Base Q&rsquo;s come equipped with a 200&ndash;horsepower 2.0-liter I4 turbo; all-wheel-drive is available with either engine.&nbsp;</p> <p><img class="img_right" height="156" src="/images/road_tests/2018_infiniti_Q60_3.jpg" style="float: right;" width="300" />Seeing red at the track, our all-wheel-driver shot to 60 in just 4.6-seconds. There is some turbo lag, but that just makes the eventual onslaught of power, that much more impressive; forcefully throwing you back into the well-bolstered seat.&nbsp;</p> <p>You can hear shifts from the 7-speed automatic happening, but you sure don&rsquo;t feel them very much; barely causing a blip on the radar, as we completed the &frac14;-mile in 13.0-seconds at 110 miles-per-hour.&nbsp;</p> <p>Shifting things over to the 4-door side of Q, the Q50 takes on an increasingly aggressive tone for &rsquo;18. Though the bigger story, is each trim level now gets unique style.</p> <p>For the Red Sport 400, that means a new rear diffuser with twin-tone finish and dual exhaust outlets, a more angular front bumper with larger air inlets, and 19-inch aluminum alloys with thinner spokes to better present the upgraded brakes with red calipers.&nbsp;</p> <p>Same twin-turbo 6 as the coupe, but we&rsquo;d swear it delivers power more like a V8 here; smooth and unyielding, with fewer perceptible peaks and valleys.&nbsp;</p> <p><img class="img_left" height="152" src="/images/road_tests/2018_infiniti_Q60_4.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />Infiniti&rsquo;s Direct Adaptive Steering gets updated in an attempt to deliver a more traditional feel. We still think it feels very artificial and too light, yet it remains very precise.&nbsp;</p> <p>Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the all-wheel-drive coupe are 19-City, 26-Highway, and 21-Combined. We overachieved, with a 24.4 miles-per-gallon average on Premium.&nbsp;</p> <p>Our rear-drive sedan rates slightly better at 20-City, 26-Highway, and 22-Combined; though we underachieved here, netting 21.4 Premium MPGs. The sedan&rsquo;s Energy Impact Score is slightly below par at 15.0-barrels of oil used per year with 6.7-tons of CO2 emissions.&nbsp;</p> <p>While Q60 pricing starts at $39,855, you&rsquo;ll need to pony up at least $52,205 for a Red Sport 400. Sedan prices start at just $35,195; with the Red Sport 400 going for $51,995.&nbsp;</p> <p>This pair of Infiniti Q Red Sport 400s pack plenty of performance, yet seem to adhere even closer to the Infiniti ultra-luxury position. That&rsquo;s a good thing if you&rsquo;re looking for pampered performance. But that also might actually be what&rsquo;s keeping the Q from becoming a huge hit in the segment. As many of the performance faithful, still feel that they have to suffer for their performance art. We feel, and many brands have already proven, that&rsquo;s no longer the case. You can have your performance and relaxingly eat up the miles too.&nbsp;</p>
  • Road Tests: 2017 Toyota Highlander
    <p class="review_title">Vital Statistics</p> <p><span>Engine:</span> 3.5 liter</p> <p><span>Horsepower:</span> 295</p> <p><span>Torque:</span> 263 lb-ft.</p> <p><span>0-60 mph:</span> 7.7 seconds</p> <p><span>1/4 mile:</span> 16.0 seconds @ 92 mph</p> <p><span>EPA:</span> 20 mpg city / 26 mpg highway</p> <p>Few brands have the SUV landscape covered as totally as Toyota. Even when it comes to large family duty, they have a trio to choose from. But it&rsquo;s the Highlander crossover that picks up the bulk of that business, and its been updated for 2017 to give those families more of what they really want.&nbsp;</p> <p>Now midway through its 3rd generation, the Toyota Highlander adds a multitude of updates for 2017. But don&rsquo;t think they&rsquo;re the hastily assembled kind of revisions in response to some sales slump, rather just the normal progression of keeping current with the segment. As despite a rash of recently re-engineered competition, the Highlander remains a top seller in the family 3-row utility world.&nbsp;</p> <p>You don&rsquo;t have to like the big mouth look, in fact most of our staff don&rsquo;t; but you certainly won&rsquo;t be able to ignore it, as it seems to be swallowing up as much road as possible while heading in your direction.&nbsp;</p> <p>The big news for &rsquo;17 is new SE trim. It tames that front end somewhat with dark pieces replacing the usual chrome. 19-inch wheels are added as well, to support a sportier image.</p> <p><img class="img_left" height="177" src="/images/road_tests/2017_toyota_highlander_2.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />Fortunately, it doesn&rsquo;t stop with looks. SEs also get a retuned suspension for a little more agility. Still, this is perhaps where Highlander shows its age the most, having a heavier feel compared to much of the competition who have moved on to lighter weight materials. But that also gives it a totally solid, safe, and secure feeling compared to many rivals.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>From the high seating position, drivers will be enjoying that enhanced nimbleness from new black leather seats with silver stitching. Of course its accompanied by dark dash and door trim.</p> <p>Controls and layout are all very familiar, with no major changes here; including the very helpful storage in the dash. Good news for those with electronics to keep charged, all Highlanders now come with 5 USB ports!</p> <p>Both 7 and 8-passenger versions are available, with the 2nd row seats remaining very comfortable and spacious. And while many competitors have stepped their game up in the 3rd row department, access here is still very good, though very low seat bottoms make for an awkward seating position.</p> <p><img class="img_right" height="192" src="/images/road_tests/2017_toyota_highlander_4.jpg" style="float: right;" width="300" />Cargo space continues to be good here; 13.8 cubic-ft. behind the 3rd row, 42.3 behind the 2nd, and a max of 83.7 cubic-ft. Boosting practicality further, the Highlander is one of the few SUVs that still has a flip up glass for the rear hatch; though only in upper trim levels.&nbsp;</p> <p>Even better news, is the arrival of a higher power. An enhanced version of the 3.5-liter V6 that gets a 25-horsepower boost to 295. Torque rises 15 lb-ft. to 263.</p> <p>All this while actually improving fuel economy, thanks to a new 8-speed automatic transmission.</p> <p>Government Ratings are now 20-City, 26-Highway, and 22-Combined with all-wheel-drive. Our average was 21.0 miles-per-gallon of Regular.&nbsp;</p> <p>At the track, thanks to the upgraded V6, Highlander certainly feels less sluggish off the line. There&rsquo;s a strong low end pull to get you going, while it eagerly delivers power on the high end as well. We hit 60 in 7.7-seconds; with a &frac14;-mile time of 16.0-seconds flat at 92 miles-per-hour.</p> <p><img class="img_left" height="157" src="/images/road_tests/2017_toyota_highlander_3.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />Base LE trim still comes with a 185-horsepower 2.7-liter I4, though in front wheel-drive only; and of course the Highlander Hybrid remains available as well.&nbsp;</p> <p>As for how the upgraded SE suspension handled our cones; well, there is still some mild understeer as you might expect, but the tauter suspension is very noticeable.&nbsp;</p> <p>In fact, after a few runs, we were really hauling the goods, shaving ever closer to the cones and keeping speeds higher than we would have expected going in. Even body roll is well subdued; it was tire sidewall flexing that seemed to hold us back the most.&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course it&rsquo;s all about family safety these days; and for 2017, all Highlanders get Toyota Safety Sense P with automatic emergency braking as standard equipment.</p> <p>Highlander pricing starts at just $31,625. New SE trim goes for $40,685, with all-wheel-drive adding another $1,460.&nbsp;</p> <p>Even with the rapid pace of change these days, the Toyota Highlander has had no problem staying near the top the sales charts in the highly competitive 3-row crossover utility segment. Toyota fans will find more of what they love here in this upgraded 2017 version. And that should ensure current Highlander sales remain high, until an all-new one hits the streets.&nbsp;</p>

 

FirstChoice eNewsletter