The Virtual Driver

New Rolls-Royce Phantom built on 'Architecture of Luxury'

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(August 7, 2017) The eighth generation Rolls-Royce Phantom — the second generation under BMW ownership — has been unveiled. Built on a new, unique to Rolls-Royce aluminum spaceframe that can be sized for the requirements of any new model, the new Phantom is built on what Rolls-Royce calls an “Architecture of Luxury” optimized for varied but small-volume production. 

Honda goes back to its roots eliminating V-6 engine in new Accord

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(August 6, 2017) Over the past nine generations, Honda’s Accord has gone from a 68-horsepower hatchback that weighed about 2,000 pounds and cost $3,500, to the flagship sedan for the brand. That first car, which added a 72-horsepower sedan variant in 1977, had a five-speed manual or two-speed (upgraded to three speeds in 1980) automatic transmission, and — for the time — a generous list of standard equipment.

2018 Mercedes X-Class Pickup — Not for U.S. consumption

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(July 31, 2017) Let’s get the important stuff out of the way first. The Mercedes X-Class pickup will launch in Europe this November, in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand in early 2018, and Argentina and Brazil in 2019. There are no current plans to bring this vehicle — which starts at the equivalent of $35,368 in Europe and is built off the Nissan Frontier/Renault Alaskan — to the U.S.

Price of new four-second Pony will make your eyes water

By Christopher Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(July 29, 2017) Big news of the week? It’s that the 2018 Ford Mustang GT will do 0-60 mph in less than four seconds in Drag Strip mode, when powered by the revised 5.0-liter V8 mated to a $1,595 optional 10-speed automatic transmission and fitted with the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires that come with the available $3,995 Performance Pack.

Austrian-built Jaguar E-Pace aimed at Porsche Macan

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(July 17, 2017) Jaguar’s E-Pace small SUV, says the company, features an exterior design inspired by the F-Type sports car, and “is the sports car of its class.”  All of which means it’s aimed at Porsche’ Macan small SUV, and carries styling cues from the F-Type. But perhaps the most interesting fact about the E-Pace is that it will not be built in the UK initially.

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan: What price success?

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(July 10, 2017) It’s not that VW hasn’t been in the SUV market. It’s that it hasn’t been there with the right product. For years it has relied on the pricey (nearly $50,000) but capable Touareg to take care of those who were in the market for a largish family carrier, and the diminutive Tiguan to take care of everyone else.

Building a Lister Knobbly for the street

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(July 9, 2017) The folks at the Lister Motor Company are at it again. This time, a customer wanted a Knobbly race car to be made street legal; not an easy thing to do to an original specification continuation sports racer.

Exclusively, expensively Porsche

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(June 26, 2017) Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur, formerly known as Porsche Exclusive, has created the most powerful 911 Turbo S ever. The 2018 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series Coupe has 607 horsepower, an increase of 27 over the standard model, is limited to 500 copies worldwide, and is available with an optional matching Porsche Design chronograph that can be configured to match the car.

Say goodbye to the BMW 5 Series GT and hello to the 6 Series GT

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(June 24, 2017) The oddly proportioned, segment-straddling 5 Series Gran Turismo sport hatchback is no more. Which is not to say that BMW has seen the light and killed this strange creation. Rather, it has aligned the vehicle with its revised naming convention that places coupes and specialty models in the even-numbered column, and smoothed the bulky styling of the original into a more pleasing exterior shape.

A sense of déjà vu with a 2017 VW Golf SportWagen S w/4Motion

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(June 18, 2017) I was certain someone had made a mistake. Just under two years ago a very similar Volkswagen SportWagen was dropped off at the office. It had the same Silk Blue Metallic paint and beige cloth interior. The only difference was that this car had an automatic transmission and a slightly different wheel design.