Before SUVs dominated the automotive landscape, executive sedans like the 5 Series were the chariots of choice for white collar workers climbing the ladder of success. And even though they’re not as popular as they once were, this new 540i serves as a reminder that the segment is still alive and well.
The 5 Series is a technological tour de force, as long as you go all in on the option packages. And this one has some really great cutting edge features including some new stuff that even I haven’t seen before, most of it related to driving assistance. Like the graphical depiction of surrounding vehicles while driving on the highway to help with lane changes. Speaking of which, this one can do that for you while using adaptive cruise control by simply tapping the turn signal…hands free. And the extended traffic jam assistant can even do the mundane stop and go driving for you during your commute without constantly needing to grab the steering wheel. And I also love how the head-up display integrates your smartphone’s mapping directions so no matter which navigation system you’re using the 540i has got you covered.
2020 MERCEDES AMG CLA45 TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. One of the most affordable AMG models has just been redesigned and it’s a live wire with tons of boost and a youthful spirit. This is the CLA 45
Here’s what you need to know. The CLA is all about big turbo punch and road feel. This is one of, if not the, stiffest rides you can buy regardless of drive mode. It’s going to shove you into your seat and take off like a rocket but in a very controlled way. But you’ve got to love the turbo life and not be offended by a nearly brittle ride and lots of tire noise. If you’re ok with that the CLA is going to deliver on fun. Whatever you do though don’t pass on these Recaro seats; they are perfect.
2020 PORSCHE 911 CARRERA S TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. When you’re really passionate about something you dive deep into your desires. If you’re an audiophile you’ll pick up on every nuance of the speakers, or if you’re a watch collector you’ll have intimate knowledge of its inner workings. And that’s what buying a Porsche is like; it’s a car for the driver who appreciates exactness and demands the best no matter the cost.
The priciest options on this tester are the Black/Bordeaux Red leather interior, the Adaptive Sport Seats with memory, the Sport Package which includes the exhaust, the front axle lift system to keep that chin off the ground, the rear axle steering and the Bose sound system. As-tested, this car comes in at $137,570 and features new easier to control touchscreen infotainment with wireless CarPlay and other innovative features.
At face value you could say it’s just another Silver 911…but its added muscularity and new lighting design give it the subtle newness you’re looking for while retaining its unmistakable silhouette.
2020 Toyota Prius XLE AWD-e TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. New for the 2020 model year is a 7” touchscreen on specific trims such as this higher end XLE model, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa integration on all grades as well as putting the Toyota Safety Sense P system in all cars. The all-wheel drive option comes in 2 trims: LE and like here XLE. Pricing starts at around $28,000 while this one with the Advanced Technology Package including a heads-up display and swiveling headlamps, checks in at $31,429. So in 2020 is the Prius still relevant?
2020 AUDI Q7 55 REVIEW BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. It’s no surprise; Audi sells far more SUVs these days than cars. And its largest has just been updated with modern tech and a new engine. This is the family-friendly, 3-row Audi Q7.
With a starting price of $55,795, admittedly the family has to have some money in the bank, but that being said this is the only Audi with seating for up to 7, standard all-wheel drive and 7,700 pounds max towing. Mine is the top-of-the-line Q7 Prestige, certainly well-equipped but not fully loaded, with an as-tested price of $76,040.