If you’re like me, the slog of daily driving is enough to send you to therapy. It’s not fun, you’re surrounded by hostiles and more often than not the car is standing still. But a cabriolet such as this will adjust your attitude in a heartbeat. Small, nimble, precise and oozing with emotion, the Boxster – with the top down and the 6-speed in your hand – is the perfect antidote to commuting madness. And this isn’t just any Boxster – it’s the new GTS, positioned above the S and below the Spyder. So what’s the cost for this type of weekend pleasure? Well, it’s not cheap – surprise-surprise – the GTS starts at $26,900 more than a base 718 Boxster at about $91,000. This one – with a shockingly small list of options for a Porsche – checks in at $100,600. One of those extras is the Aventurine Green paint which mostly looks gray until the sun hits it and one of options not here which I would certainly get is Entry and Drive because I’m not into keys anymore.
Ok, its bark is worse than its bite but the new IS 350 F SPORT with Dynamic Handling Package is an attainable luxury sports sedan that satisfies on a number of fronts. Not the least of which is this sexy new styling. Lexus knows sedans are yesterday’s news so investing tons of money to redesign its trio of 4-doors isn’t going to happen which is why you won’t hear terms such as “all-new” or “redesigned” when it comes to the 2021 IS – the car’s first significant update since it was redesigned in 2014. So don’t go searching for new engines, transmissions or a roomier interior; this is ostensibly the same car as before but better in terms of handling improvements, reduced weight and finally enhanced infotainment controls. And for those reasons Lexus says this IS ushers in the new Lexus Driving Signature – the first in a new generation of Lexus vehicles that is more balanced, refined in control, and confident than ever before. Reducing unsprung mass, enhancing body rigidity, tweaking the shocks for more responsiveness and fitting it with stickier, wider tires has elevated the driving experience of a car that has also shed 154 pounds – now weighing 100 pounds less than a BMW M340i. Lexus aimed to create a compact sports sedan that provides high-quality riding comfort while offering a high level of vehicle control and those attributes are certainly present.
Hey, look what’s back! It’s the Audi A6 allroad. So for those who’ve got some money and like to go glamping at the lake house, a luxury, quasi off-road wagon like this will not only make an affluent impression on the out of town neighbors, it’s practically standard operating procedure.
Every summer when I venture into the bougie coastal towns of New England I’m reminded of what a Mercedes exec told me many years ago; their most affluent customers buy the E Wagon. It’s a sign of old money and you always see one parked underneath the port-cochere of some magnificent beach home. But Audi hasn’t been quite as committed to the wagon in the U.S. market with the A6 Avant quattro discontinued after the 2011 model year and it’s been 15 years since the allroad name graced an A6 wagon – both of which I tested, back when stickshifts, superchargers and V8s were still on the menu. But the new E-Class All-Terrain Wagon now has some fresher competition in the A6 allroad.
It’s a stately wagon, here in upcharge Vesuvius Gray and far more attractive than the blah looking, facelifted E-Class. If the Benz says old money then the Audi says I’ve got next. But money you will still need plenty of and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the rich it’s that they want what few others have. So even though a Q7 Prestige costs almost the same, they’ll gladly overpay for the A6 allroad because of its exclusivity. So welcome back A6 wagon and enjoy your time at the shore.
Buick’s lineup of 4 SUVs is selling especially well and it’s the hottest GM brand at the moment. Bigger than the Encore and smaller than the Enclave this is a compact-sized 2-row SUV that now looks much more attractive and car-like. It’s priced from the mid $30ks and now comes in Buick’s highest Avenir trim and available in front-drive model or all-wheel drive as an option. There’s lots of cool stuff in here like a head-up display, heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, an air quality sensor, a really nice sounding Bose 9-speaker audio system, wireless phone projection with a conveniently placed wireless charger, remote start, a rear camera mirror, auto high beams, adaptive cruise, the vibrating safety alert driver’s seat, a pano roof and top notch, intuitive infotainment with some cool apps and easy to use voice controls. So people who love stuff more than they love driving will be giddy with the Avenir. This new Envision is pretty good, but would I rather have a Venza?
When I think back to the thousands of car I’ve tested over the past 23 years, there’s a shortlist of those that have left an indelible impression; the ones I’ve placed in my fantasy garage and the NSX is one of them. This is no doubt a supercar but it’s arguably the most practical supercar you can buy. 0-to-60mph in 2.9 seconds with a top speed of 191 is enthralling and this powertrain just keeps pulling. And the way Acura has programmed the traction and stability control systems to scrub out unwanted wheel spin and keep the NSX pointed straight is very impressive. Loaded with all of the options including the extensive use of carbon fiber both inside and out, this car totals $191,995. Too bad you can’t get the Acura as a convertible…something all of its competitors offer. For me, this is a dream car.