What's The Drive Driving? Week of Oct. 16, 2015
Subways are overrated. Let's take the Ferrari.
Wherein we show you what our writers and editors are pushing around the block—or around the world.
2006 Triumph Speed Triple
My Triple and I have been separated for six weeks. Early August, after a nice ride from the Poconos, she massively overheated in the Lincoln Tunnel and died.
Very poor timing on my part, as all garages in a 50-mile radius were overloaded, and September is often the best time of the year to ride. What can you do? It rained a lot, which helped me stay patient.
I got the beast back on Saturday, and it was the perfect make-up. She was as new. Temps were holding at 70 F. Sunshine. Rest of the afternoon is history.—Edouard Portelette, vice president of business operations, advertising
2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Autobiography
The point of the most upscale version of this smaller Range Rover, the Sport, is exclusivity. But if you live in Manhattan, like I do, on a downtown block occupied by a children's art museum, you're shit out of luck. Fancy mommies drive—or are driven—down from Westchester or the Upper East Side in their Range Rovers daily, like an army of invading ants, double-parking for hours while their cashmered children are edified and artified. When I parked on the street recently, there were two other, $102,000 slate grey Ranges just like mine.
Still, if you need to transport three college friends and their extensive costume baggage to a weekend wedding in Philly, you could find worse conveyances. Soft leather, a complaint ride, gobs of cargo space and just enough obnoxious ostentation (and supercharged V8) to make peeling out of a valet spot on Rittenhouse Square a real occasion, not to mention an ideal form of alienating the bride's hipster-than-thou friends. "This isn't my car," the tire smoke says. "It's a costume. But it fits."—Brett Berk, writer-at-large
2016 Ferrari 488 Spider
Romance is always in the air in a Ferrari, never more than in Italy. But even in Emilia-Romagna, in the thick of a Sangiovese vineyard-cum-spa, I’m determined to resist a 661-horsepower come-on from that pneumatic hussy, the turbocharged 488 Spider. Ignoring those out-to-here hips, painted in the latest Blu Corsa fashion; trying not to get lost in the dusky caverns of the side air intakes. Read more here.—Lawrence Ulrich, chief auto critic
2015 Dodge Durango Citadel AWD
After bombing Queens potholes all weekend in this close relation of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, I got around to checking the Monroney—that new-car sticker, required by law, that enumerates just how much a second-row console with armrest and storage costs ($300). The line at the bottom, “TOTAL PRICE: $49,875,” led to a pregnant moment or five of contemplation.
Here was a handsome, spacious, fully kitted SUV (Rear DVD Entertainment Center! Heated leather seats! All manner of forward/backward/blind-spot detection and warning chimes!) for roughly $25,000 less than a comparably equipped, comparably sized Audi Q7 3.0L. Sure, the eight-speed automatic tended to upshift hard from first to second, and the interior plastics befitted those of a lowly Dart. But whatever knocks against the Durango paled in proportion to its attributes.
So far, so bargain.
Caveat. The liftgate bore the bolted-on badge “Citadel,” reflecting the name of the Durango’s topmost equipment group. The badge transformed the SUV into a “fortress on wheels,” as Dodge’s consumer site noted. I have no delusions about the necessity of a standing army and the essential role our nation’s military academies play in creating leaders for battlefields and boardrooms alike; being the son of a Vietnam veteran will do that. The question is whether consumers who’d otherwise not slap a “Proud USMC Dad” bumper sticker on the liftgate—as I spotted on another Durango Citadel during my weekend ramblings—might balk at the name.
Overthinking it? Wouldn’t be the first time. The Durango is a pretty finely wrought thing, though, its red taillamp tracery reading more Stuttgart than South Carolina, its manner composed on all road surfaces and its acres of sound-deadening material ensuring a quiet ride. A peaceable kingdom of an SUV.—Jonathan Schultz, deputy editor
2016 Porsche Cayenne E-hybrid
Porsche tells me the top speed of this spicy plug-in electric E-Hybrid SUV in "E-Power" mode is 78 mph. That's a lot, maybe even more than I needed on Saturday, when I loaded up the Porsche with a wife, two young kids and a full basket of clean towels (for wiping up what my daughter calls "bleh"). Then I went a-carving on the country roads in the Hudson Valley. Do I have any affection at all for hybrid cars? Nope. Will this Porsche change my mind?
Not really. I've driven probably two dozen of them, maybe three, and not a one was all that memorable for the hybrid performance. This one had a hell of a kick, though. I ran along in E-Power, a silent SUV on a wooded lane, and then stomped the throttle, kicking the 3-liter supercharged V6 to life. The two engines combine for 420 or so horsepower—enough to get the kids puking and make my wife very angry. This Cayenne is around $100,000.
Sunday is laundry day.—Mike Guy, editor