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Let’s take a quick tour through the history of minivans. No, don’t click away to something else; I swear you’ll find it interesting.
According to popular legend, you can thank the movie “National Lampoon’s Vacation”—yes, the Chevy Chase comedy—with helping to usher in the era of the minivan.
I hear you saying: “But the Griswolds didn’t drive a minivan.”
You’re right; they drove what was called “the family truckster,” which was basically a station wagon. And because it was ridiculed so much in that film, automotive experts claim it caused sales of station wagons to crater. Chevy Chase made station wagons even more uncool than they already were, if that was possible.
Now you see how this ties in? Something had to move in and take the place of station wagons when it came to family transportation.More →
I’ll tell you right up front what I love the most about this SUV:
It provides the perfect bridge for people who think they want to go all-electric, but they’re either just not ready to fully give up their gas engine or they have what we call “electric range anxiety.”
The GLE 450e raises its hand and says, “Try me.” And you should. It not only blends both worlds, it does it with both style and performance.More →
You’ve seen countless BMWs on the road, and perhaps your eye has been turned by one with an “M” on the nameplate. “What the heck is an M?” you may have even muttered.
Technically, it stands for “Motorsport,” and it was born from the company’s racing division.
In a nutshell, it’s BMW’s way of adding extra driving performance into their already sporty cars. Some might say they’re designed for adrenaline junkies, but that’s unfairly limiting them to a small niche of buyers. You don’t have to be a Bandimere Bob to enjoy the added punch of an M.
The M2 may be the smallest of the performance series, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s some sort of weak sauce. Oh, no, not by a long shot. In fact, it turned into one of my favorite cars to drive in the last few years.
The M2 is built around BMW’s 2-series layout, which means you technically have a back seat—but not really. It’s a good spot to throw your gym bag, I guess. It’s a two-door coupe that comes with a standard 6-speed manual transmission, which true driving enthusiasts pine for. I drove the 8-speed automatic, which is fine with me. My racing days are behind me.
The twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder (we need a few more adjectives) engine cranks out a whopping 453 horsepower. There were times I felt like I was on that Aerosmith Rock ’n’ Rollercoaster at Walt Disney World. There was never any question about get-up-and-go.
If you’re turned on by zero-to-sixty speeds, just know it’s about four seconds. One early test driver referred to it as “pure Bavarian muscle.” Sounds about right.
The exterior can’t disguise the fact this is a powerful beast. The damned thing looks like it’s going fast just sitting at the curb. Its overall appearance could best be described as “different.” Sometimes that doesn’t work out; I mean, the Pontiac Aztec was “different.”
In this case, the M2’s flared fenders and wide stance give it (in my opinion) the right look to reflect the car’s power.
I heard one gripe about the grills, but in my experience the nose of automobiles are polarizing: every person seems to have their personal likes and dislikes. I’ve seen some ugly grills before; this isn’t one of them. You do you.
The only complaint passengers may have is the seat bolstering. The buckets are designed to conform to the human shape, I suppose, but it takes some getting used to. Once you fold yourself into them, you get it.
Climbing out? Let me just laugh and tell you that I hated having people around when I exited the car. It was a challenge to do it without making some unnatural sounds. Ah, if I was a younger man . . .
The materials are exquisite, and the light-up M logos are . . . well, fun. If you invest about ten grand (dang!) you can add the Carbon Package to really feel like a hot shot.
There’s minimal storage space up front, but the trunk space is not bad for a vehicle this size.
Besides the power I described earlier, there’s not much to add except to say the whole idea of the M2 packaging is to produce the ultimate driving experience. I flat-out had a ball with the cornering and overall handling. It’s just a pleasure to drive something designed to make you smile behind the wheel.
Electrically assisted steering is very good, if not the best. The car’s suspension tuning gives it a nice, tight ride while eliminating a lot of the pesky bumps and bangs that often come with a sports car. Granted, it IS a sports car, so they can’t cushion everything. But BMW insists their cars combine performance with comfort, and here they succeed.
I find that I have a love/hate relationship with the screens inside today’s cars. The majority of them are just fine, displaying a beautiful array of information about either the car or your choice of distraction at that time.
Sometimes, however, they can be clunky and a downright mess.
Not so with the digital dash of the M2. Its massive screens—one for the car’s instrumentation and one for the touchscreen infotainment system—emit glorious displays that are easy to read. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability are built in and worked flawlessly for me during my week behind the wheel.
There are some purists roaming the streets who long for the days of analog gauges, which I understand. But personally, I dig this particular digital upgrade.
BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant might take some getting used to. But essentially it allows you to control all sorts of things with your voice, including the windows, your climate controls, and even some of the driving tools. That takes away the argument many have about touchscreens causing drivers to take their attention off the road to fiddle with things. Now you just tell the robot to do it for you.
The Bottom Line
I glanced at the paperwork for my review car and couldn’t help but nod at the slogan displayed across the top: “The Ultimate Driving Machine.”
No false advertising here. The M2 really is.
Yeah, I’m sure you could find bits and pieces from the various rivals, like Porsche and Mercedes and Audi, and you could build a dream car.
But the BMW M2 Coupe is a delightful package on its own. With an interesting exterior design, a rocket for a power plant, first-class materials, and a solid ride, it’s a great reward for a life well lived.
BMW M2 Coupe
3.0-liter twin turbo inline 6-cylinder engine
8-speed automatic transmission (6-speed manual is standard)
Mileage: 16/23/19 combined
As tested: $76,845
Reviewed by Dom Testa
Car provided by manufacturer
It’s interesting how the earliest sport utility vehicles were beasts made for one thing: getting you off-road and into the mud. Today, the world of luxury SUVs has exploded. Now you can take the vehicle off the pavement if you like, but driving it to work or to the theater has never been more stylish and comfortable.
Range Rover is a prime example.
The Range Rover Sport SE Dynamic has been completely redesigned for 2023, and the changes included adding more space for passengers. I drove the Sport SE, which is pretty much in the middle of the trim levels. It provides a mid-level engine, but offers some treats you won’t get at the base end of things. And with the redesign, it’s now three inches longer than the previous generation.
This Sport SE Dynamic model is sleeker than some of the larger Range Rover choices. I’ve looked at both, and while the high-end has enviable additions, I think it comes at a visual cost. In other words, I think the little brother wins this one.
The engineers made a variety of adjustments on the exterior of the Sport model. The front bumper rides a little higher and has a distinctive face to it. The back side? Well, it seems to be polarizing. Some people prefer it over the standard Range Rover, while others chirp about the odd positioning and appearance of the tail lights. Hey, we like what we like, right?
I especially enjoyed the flush deployable door handles that melt into the side of the vehicle, giving it an even more streamlined look.
Range Rover calls the mid-level engine their P400. It’s an inline, turbocharged six-cylinder setup that produces just under 400 horsepower. Coupled with that is an 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
But there are several other options to choose from, depending on your trim level. You could move down to the base model to save a few bucks, or you could move up. If you opt for the First Edition model, you’ll get a twin-turbo V8 that pumps out a whopping 523 horses.
There’s also a plug-in hybrid model, and Range Rover says they’ll unleash an all-electric version in 2024.
I was impressed with the combo leather/fabric interior, which looks and feels terrific. You’d have to move up to get the fancy wood look, if that’s what you’re into. But I wouldn’t.
You can find trim levels where the Meridian sound system comes with 29 speakers. I mean, the sound in my test vehicle sounded fantastic and I have zero complaints about it—but TWENTY-NINE speakers? I couldn’t tell you 29 places in a car where a speaker would even fit. And the persnickety side of me wishes they’d crammed in just one more to give us 30, a much more pleasant and balanced number. But, bottom line, your tunes will sound delicious as you motor along.
Not to be outdone, the seats provide up to 20 adjustments. Dude, if you can’t eventually get comfortable in this vehicle, there’s no hope for you.
Tons of great storage up front, including a deep well between the seats. Plus, even the cup holder in the front pulls out, providing more storage space. And the wireless phone charging station is tucked neatly within the dash. That’s a nice touch.
The panoramic roof—which has been one of my favorite car features since they first appeared—is standard, so you won’t pay extra for it. It’s perfect for those gorgeous days when you just want to take a ride through the hills.
Because of the longer wheelbase with this new design, your passengers in the back seat get a touch more legroom. Overall, I found that space to be generous. Sure, you’re paying for it, but it’s another positive checkmark. And that panoramic roof helps to eliminate any claustrophobic feeling for your friends in the back. Those seats, by the way, have their own power reclining feature and personal sunscreens for the rear windows.
If you’re ready to haul stuff, you’ll find 38 cubic feet of storage in the way-back. Fold down those rear seats and the space nearly doubles to 72 cubic feet. That’s more than several competitors.
With the vehicle’s air suspension, Range Rover gives you buttons in the rear storage section that will lower the height of the opening, making it easier for you to load your stuff. That’s well played.
And, if you fork over an extra $560—and I would—you don’t get some chintzy donut spare tire. Range Rover will provide a full-size spare. Yes, the full 23-inch monster. You rarely see that anymore.
Normally, the Range Rover comes with 21-inch wheels. My test model rode on 23-inch wheels. You’d think that would be rough and noisy, but Range Rover’s adaptive air suspension smooths out the ride and road sounds are kept to a minimum.
Overall, I loved the ride. Handling is smooth and crisp, certainly an improvement over the Range Rover’s larger siblings. In this case, the Sport version is the superior ride.
Let’s be clear: This vehicle isn’t made to slam you back into the headrest with monster power. But for my daily driving experiences, it was exquisite. Good acceleration, nimble handling, and a good touch to the steering.
We were talking on the radio show about how car makers might start moving away from so many touchscreens and going back to knobs and buttons. Well, Range Rover is quite happy with their touchscreen, thank you, and they dump a sizable number of your decision-making into it.
In the Sport, it’s a 13.1-inch color touchscreen, loaded with icons for making adjustments to scads of things: climate, seats, entertainment, communication, navigation, and much more.
The good news is that this screen has a sharpness that makes everything easy to read, and it’s also responsive to your touch.
Then, looking straight ahead at the instrument panel, you get another large screen. This one measures 13.7 inches. You’ll like the ability to customize what shows up on that display, although it takes a bit of messing around with the steering wheel controls to get it all right.
It took me a while to get used to Range Rover’s basic climate controls. On one hand, they’re knobs, which is good—but you have to figure out how to switch between temperature and fan control, and then another adjustment to get to the seat-warming features. It’s essentially pushing and pulling on the knobs. Once you learn, it’s fine, but it’s another example of manufacturers getting a bit too cute.
You get all sorts of connectivity options throughout the Range Rover Sport, including USB ports, a 12-volt plug, and even a household 110-volt outlet.
As with most cars these days, some of your most-wanted features are wedged into specific options packages. In this case, it might be worth the extra $1,795 to get the Technology Package because it includes the head-up display, which will spoil you.
And, finally, you’ll see a generous helping of safety features in the Range Rover. Adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, blind spot assist, a terrific 3D surround view camera system, parking aids, and much more.
The Bottom Line:
There are multiple choices in the luxury SUV market, and Range Rover has enough competition to keep them on their toes. But while some (Porsche, BMW, Audi) have special touches that elevate their value, the Range Rover is a nice alternative. It provides a sumptuous interior, a smooth, quiet, comfortable ride, and a pleasing number of tech options to make your trips enjoyable.
What more could you ask for?
2023 Range Rover Sport SE Dynamic
Inline turbocharged six-cylinder
8-speed automatic transmission
Mileage: 18/26/21 combined
As tested: $100,085
Reviewed by Dom Testa
Vehicle provided by manufacturer
The folks in the management offices at GMC have known for years that their work was always going to be cut out for them. Competing in the truck world against juggernauts like Ford’s F-series and the Ram 1500 must cause sleepless nights. Even the Toyota people, with their Tundra line, present problems.
So what’s a venerable company like GMC to do? The answer: Redesign, refine, and keep plugging away. That’s what they’ve done with the Sierra pickup.
The Sierra 1500 stumbled a bit out of the gate with its new look in 2019. Reviewers dogged it for an uncomfortable ride, and for coming up short in some of the interior design elements.
But nobody at GMC took their ball and went home. They rolled up their sleeves and went right back to work. Knowing how much Americans love their pickup trucks—heck, the top three best-selling vehicles in the country fall into the category—there’s a big payoff when you get it right.More →
The Infiniti line of cars was created to be the posh side of Nissan, just as Lexus is the fancy division of Toyota. So what happens when you take some of the components of the Nissan Pathfinder and spruce it up a bit, slap some makeup on it, and send it out in a nice pair of designer jeans?
Well, you get to brand it an Infiniti SUV, that’s what.
The QX line of luxury SUVs has that responsibility, and for the most part they do it well.
There are some, however, who feel like they’ve made it nice . . . but not exactly nice enough to go bumper-to-bumper with the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes. Car and Driver, for instance, said it comes across as “a really nice Nissan.”
Okay, so that’s funny, and perhaps even true in some circumstances. But I’ve driven a few Pathfinders, and the QX60 is certainly a significant upgrade.
Not a lot has changed since the ’22 version, with the exception of a few exterior touches, three years of maintenance (oil changes, inspections, and tire rotation), and a wireless charging pad. But it was already a pleasure to drive, and that hasn’t changed.More →
When you’re introducing a new car model to your lineup, one of the best things you can do is make it a head-turner. Get everyone’s attention first before the excitement wears off and it blends into the background with all its competitors.
Infiniti did just that when they introduced the QX55 for the 2022 model year.
Some call this crossover SUV “striking,” others have used the term “great curb appeal.” No matter what adjective you apply, there’s no denying the QX55 looks terrific.
The question is: Will it stand up to closer scrutiny?More →
Technically, the X3 falls into the category of small SUV. And yet, nothing about it seems small. It delivers big performance with some big-time fun.
It’s been nearly twenty years since BMW unveiled the X3, and it’s been a fan favorite since that very first day. And really, what’s not to like? It delivers good fuel efficiency for its class without sacrificing the get-up-and-go we all enjoy from the German car maker.
Without a major overhaul for ’22, BMW instead did some touch-up work, mostly on the exterior appearance. The grille got a little bigger while the headlights got a bit slimmer. There are some slight modifications to the rear lights, the bumpers, and the wheels, as well.More →
For thirty years, Ford produced a sport utility vehicle called the Bronco, built to compete with Jeep. The two companies maintained a spirited rivalry until 1996, when Ford pulled the plug.
And, for the next 25 years, the Bronco simply lived on as a legend as the F-150 took over the crown.
Ah, but now the Bronco has come roaring back with the new, sixth-generation version popping up in 2021. Older fans, perhaps somewhat motivated by nostalgia, clamored to see one up close, while younger people—who’d never experienced the brand—were curious what the fuss was all about.
Make no mistake, this is not the same vehicle that had become way too associated with O.J. Simpson. (Sorry, Ford.) A quarter of a century seems to be enough time to get that sour taste out of the public’s mouth, replaced with a dashing new off-road machine that’s ready to fight to regain its championship belt.
As we like to say on the radio show, People are different. That’s never more true than when we choose the cars that catch our eye. Some opt for bigger and boxier, while others prefer smaller and sleeker.
Then some people, I guess, like front grills that look like a beaver.
Okay, so I’m kidding, and it’s not that bad. But there’s something about the face of the newly re-designed BMW 4-Series convertible that’s . . . well, different. For most people, that won’t matter a bit.
It could also be the placement of the license plate. It has nowhere to go in front but to squat in the midst of those two front teeth. Maybe this car is a better option for people who live in states that don’t require a front plate?
Anyway, moving on. The 4-series is mostly built on the design of the venerable (and damned near perfect) 3-Series. Same powertrain, for example, and much of the interior design. But there are enough tweaks and additions to give the 4 its own personality and flair. And lord knows you’ll get where you’re going quickly, if that’s what you desire.More →
Dom In The Morning Blog
We can’t wait to celebrate with you at the MaximBet Maxquerade. Colorado has never seen a party of this magnitude. With celebrity entertainment, thousands in prizes and giveaways, and a vibe that can only be described as legendary, you need to be there. Space is limited, so if you’re in, please confirm your attendance as soon as possible.
Get ready to celebrate at the MaximBet Maxquerade, the first-ever MaximBet LIVE party. We’re going to show you the time of your life!
Check out their butt in a mirror
This week’s Mindbender Club poll said, “You can live inside one movie. What’s it gonna be?” This was the #1 answer.
Pauly Shore in that classic, “Biodome.”
KROENKE SPORTS CHARITIES and SPECIAL OLYMPICS COLORADO are hosting a HALLOWEEN TRUNK OR TREAT at BALL ARENA on OCTOBER 28TH from 4-7PM. Enjoy a costume contest, Mystery Prizes, and More! Tickets and info at specialolympicsco.org/TrunkorTreat !
All proceeds from this event benefit Special Olympics Colorado’s Young Athletes program. Throughout the year, the Special Olympics Young Athletes program invites children ages 2-7 with intellectual disabilities to engage in the world of sport, with the goal of preparing them for Special Olympics sports training and competition when they get older.
Each season, the Avalanche, Nuggets, Rapids and Mammoth host individual Special Olympics athletes in a myriad of clinics and events. Avs and Nuggets players, coaches and staff run through fundamentals and drills as athletes of all ages get the opportunity to hone their skills at Pepsi Center; Young Athletes are invited to a sports field day each summer; and the Rapids host a Unified team made up of athletes of all levels of intellectual ability.
This year’s Harvest Festival Trunk-or-Treat event will be a fun, inclusive and safe way for kids to participate in Halloween while raising awareness and funds for Special Olympics.