Currently browsing: Car of the week

1968 Mustang GT “Bullitt” movie car to be shown in San Diego, Nov. 4-19

There has been a lot of “Bullitt” engine-revving around the fastback’s 50th anniversary on Oct. 17. The hard-knuckled 1968 film centers on San Francisco PD Lt. Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen) who was tasked with protecting a Chicago mobster who was about to sing his guts out. It is a gear-jamming 48-hour weekend of chasing the hitmen. Good-guy McQueen drove a 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT 2+2 Fastback. The bad guys drove a 1968 Dodge Charger...

Mercedes-AMG E63 S: ridiculously powered, appointed and priced

Nobody needs a big $145,000 Mercedes-AMG E63 sedan that gets to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, but the performance division sold 1,378 vehicles in September and 20,738 year-to-date, which isn’t a bad payday. And that is why most top-tier carmakers give such attention to ridiculously powered, appointed and priced cars. “Customers know AMG is something exclusive,” said Bart Herring, sales chief at Mercedes-Benz USA. “And we have more opportunity to bring them into our brand with...

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon: tougher and softer, in all the right ways

The Jeep Wrangler has long been forgiven for everything that made it a charming pain in the rough. But now, the redesigned 2018 Wrangler is just a charmer, off road or on main street. And it is somewhat of a standard-bearer of advanced technologies with its first use of a 48-volt mild-hybrid electrical system. The 2018 redesign steered this symbol of “Don’t tread on me” from the endangered specie’s list, threatened by ever-increasing clean-air standards...

2019 Acura RDX: Emotion in motion

Acura got all emotional for the redesign of its compact RDX SUV — and it’s about time. This premium division of Honda has always done well with its marketing focus of technology and performance, but its exterior body styling was Honda-centric and polarized by an unflattering grille treatment. Now in its third generation, the 2019 Acura RDX is a breakout vehicle with the brand’s new diamond pentagon grille and speed-line styling that has some flinty...

2019 Jaguar iPace EV: Zeroing in on the future

  Skimming along your favorite back road you just might begin to feel the hefty curb weight of the Jaguar iPace — but only if it’s country-lane blacktop. This all-wheel-drive and larger-than-most EVs, is a performance Jaguar that feels tight as a slab of aluminum with sports-car steering and one-pedal function for acceleration and regenerative braking, which happens to be quite useful for some stabilizing trail-braking when powering into a turn. Weighing 4,784 pounds, the...

2018 Audi TT RS: Luxury speedster, streetfighter skills

Boys flashed thumbs-up at the Audi TT RS tester and big boys wanted to know horsepower, how fast and how much. The 2018 TT RS is new for 2018 and debuts a new 400-horsepower, 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine. It is the most powerful production TT ever, Audi says, that can launch to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. It is the halo of the TT lineup with 2+2 seating, standard quattro all-wheel drive and a race-tuned...

WD-40 Co. to showcase off-road racing champ Kyle LeDuc at SEMA show

San Diego-based WD-40 has long produced project vehicles for the annual Specialty Equipment Marketing Association trade show in Las Vegas. This year, it’s a 4,000-pound, 900-horsepower EVVO II Ford Raptor from five-time Pro4 off-road racing champion Kyle LeDuc. LeDuc’s team uses WD-40 for everything in racing, even as a detailer on the body for easier cleanup of mud and dirt. His tube-chassis Raptor has carbon-fiber body panels, which are lighter and stronger (and more expensive) than...

VW shows concept I.D. BUZZ Cargo van

Volkswagen today debuted its I.D. BUZZ CARGO, an electrically powered commercial van that recalls the vintage Transporter bus. The concept vehicle offers a glimpse into the middle of the next decade, Volkswagen says, with its fully-automated I.D. Pilot driving mode (Level 4). The transporter concept shown at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover is a sibling of the I.D. BUZZ concept, shown at the 2017 Detroit auto show. That concept is the people-carrier version of...

Jaguar XF Sportbrake: The runway model of modern wagons

The ol’ station wagon ain’t what it used to be but it’s still as functional as it once was. This sedan-extension body style is finding new relevance that is not a minivan or an SUV and not looking like either while having more manners. Wagon’s had become a universal gag reflex among those who grew up sliding around the back seats in the 1960s and ’70s. Even the European and import brands that continued with...

2019 Lexus ES 300h: Larger, more luxurious, more fuel efficient

The Lexus ES has been a consistent Golden Goose of sales since its debut in 1989. It found a fan base as a luxury-comfort midsize sedan that was not trying to be fast or flashy. And in today’s SUV-heavy car marketplace, the ES is still an enduring choice. Re-engineered and redesigned for 2019, the seventh-generation Lexus ES went on sale in September in front-wheel-drive V-6 and hybrid models. Pricing starts at $40,525, a $550 increase...

About Mark Maynard

Mark Maynard has been the automotive editor at the San Diego Union-Tribune since 1992.

He drives nearly 200 vehicles a year for review, has attended several high-performance driving schools and a few off-road driving courses.

He attends many new-vehicle press introductions and schmoozes with auto-industry execs.

Mark Maynard