In a giant blow to the ethanol/corn belt lobby, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed to reduce the congressionally-mandated requirement of incorporating 14 billion gallons of ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply. Due to lower overall fuel consumption from a more efficient vehicle fleet since 2007, the EPA would have in effect required higher than 10% ethanol blends in gasoline for 2014, which automakers believe could cause damage to fuel system parts. The new EPA requirement is between 12.7 and 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol for 2014.
Thinking of luxury brands that offer driver’s cars, Rolls-Royce is probably be pretty far from the first one that comes to mind. Rolls-Royce cars are generally built for those who prefer to be driven, not for those who drive. I was reminded of this again as I rode in the supple back-seat accommodations in a Rolls-Royce Ghost sedan that whisked me away from the airport in Phoenix. I didn’t travel across the country and take a red-eye flight home to sample the Ghost; I was in Arizona to be among the first to drive the all-new 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith. A coupe, by its nature, is not going to be a chauffeur-driven car, so I was eager to see how the Ghost’s platform transitioned into not a personal-luxury coupe, but a personal ultra-luxury coupe.
Back in 1997, when Chevrolet re-introduced the Malibu after a 14 year hiatus, we were told that buyers in the segment wanted boring, nondescript cars. Buyers didn’t bite. Roughly a decade later and two model generations later, Chevrolet finally gave us a good-looking Malibu, and sales took off. So what did they do when it was time for the fourth generation of the front wheel drive Malibu?
Astute readers may remember the enthusiastic post written in early August detailing my search for the perfect Saab 9-3 Convertible– which turned out to be a 2006 9-3 Aero “20th Anniversary” edition in excellent condition, with just over 27,000 miles on it. Equipped with a 250 HP turbocharged 2.8 liter V6 and six-speed manual transmission, the car’s unique interior and exterior color schemes, limited-edition provenance and its attentive seller made this the right car for me.
In the following video, we examine the 2013 Audi S4. This Audi S4 had a manual transmission, upgraded technology and a bit of magic known as a sport differential. The S4 ticks almost every box when it comes to a compact sports sedan; it’s fun to drive, and the ride is composed. Under the hood is 333hp of supercharged V6 that provides more force than the number might indicate.