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Ultimate Autos

Nate Chapnick | October 1, 2014 | Articles

Atlantans love their autos. Luckily, 2014 is shaping up to be one of our favorite years for new car and truck debuts. Enter JEZ’s annual Ultimate Autos Issue, where we’ve rounded up rugged off-roaders, eco-friendly fuel sippers and sexy speed demons perfect for hitting the road in style. It’s time to va-va-vroom!

DOORS UP
2014 BMW i8
BMW’s new 2014 i8 is a lean, green machine. Blending go-fast looks with an advanced hybrid plug-in powertrain, this ride will have you traveling 22 miles on electric power alone with a three-cylinder turbocharged engine to keep you revved up along the way. Even the cruiser’s whooshing sound (rather than a traditional engine roar) reminds you of its electrical roots. Combined, the gas and electric motors propel the lightweight, 3,285-pound i8 from zero to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. A dramatic entry or speedy exit is guaranteed, thanks to the i8’s unique scissor-like doors that open up and out like wings. The i8’s shape is no mistake either, with its wavy sides and low-slung hood helping it cut through the wind with limited resistance. Inside, the design is just as otherworldly as its exterior suggests, full of LCD displays and even a $26,050 four-piece Louis Vuitton carbon-fiber luggage option. Now that’s living large. Available at BMW of South Atlanta, @bmw

SUV DREAM
2015 Porsche Macan
When Porsche launched their first SUV back in 2002 purists were up in arms, but it didn’t take long for them to embrace the company’s top-selling vehicle, the Cayenne. Now, Porsche is ready to roll through the small SUV market with the all-new 2015 Macan. Just as Porsche did with the Cayenne, the automaker is emphasizing the sport in SUV with the Macan. The miniride will initially be offered in both S and top-of-the-line Turbo guise, offering a choice of two twin-turbocharged V6s that generate either 340 horsepower or 400 horsepower. Regardless of what model you choose, performance figures are impressive, with the Macan running from zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds flat. The interior is distinctly Porsche with its high center console that puts all buttons within easy reach. There’s even a new multifunction sports steering wheel that looks like it came right off Porsche’s amazing $845,000 918 Spyder. Talk about a sweet deal! Available at Jim Ellis Porsche, @porsche

ROAD RULER
2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Mercedes-Benz put the luxe in luxury with its redesigned 2015 C-Class. Bigger is better with the approximately 3.7-inch-longer and 1.6-inch-wider ride, which means you’ll get a roomier rear cabin and trunk. The C’s larger size is reflected on the exterior as well, with elegant lines and the brand’s signature star logo on the hood, rather than the grille (if you opt for the luxury package, that is). Initially, the cruiser will only be offered in all-wheel drive and your choice of two engines: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 241 horsepower or a 3.0-liter V6 making 329 horsepower. Inside, the C goes markedly upscale for 2015, taking a page out of the S-Class’ playbook with its sweeping center stack and new analog clock. The C also features Mercedes’ new digital touch-pad controller that operates the infotainment system and even allows users to draw letters and numbers using their fingers. Aah, the magic touch. Available at Atlanta Classic Cars, @mercedesbenz

WILD THING
2016 Jaguar XE
With its claws sharpened, Jaguar’s newest cat marks the British automaker’s return to the compact luxury sport sedan game. Made of high-strength aluminum, the XE is actually the lightest and stiffest Jaguar sedan ever built, a feat made possible by the brand’s $2.5 billion investment in a new state-of-the-art U.K.-based manufacturing facility. The XE is also the most aerodynamic Jaguar ever, thanks to its streamlined shape that cuts a sleek coupe-like profile and powerful front face highlighted by J-Blade LED running lights. Inside, the XE debuts Jaguar’s new InControl infotainment system, which promises to offer unique connectivity options with your phone, allowing control of the climate, door locks and engine start. With InControl Apps, the system can even access and control your phone’s apps through the car’s 8-inch touch screen. The ride also sports a new laser Heads-Up Display system and stereo camera technology that provides autonomous emergency braking to help prevent collisions. ’Cause wrecking this ride would be a crime! Available at Hennessy Jaguar Atlanta, @jaguar

BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
2015 Audi A32015 Audi A3
An Audi that starts at under $30,000? Cha-ching! The brand-new Audi A3 is easy on the wallet and more. Measuring 175.5 inches in length, the A3 is about 10 inches shorter than an A4 sedan, yet packs as many high-tech gadgets and can even be equipped with the same 220-horsepower engine. With the $3,000 engine option, you’ll zoom from zero to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds. The A3 doesn’t skimp inside either. Offering up a slew of high-tech features, including an ultrathin pop-up 7-inch navigation screen and a portable high-speed Wi-Fi hot spot, thanks to Qualcomm’s 4G LTE chipset, the A3 keeps you connected on the go. There’s even a special antenna inside the rear windshield to boost your cellphone signal. Affordable? Check. Fun to drive? Check. A must-buy? You know it. Available at Jim Ellis Audi Atlanta, @audi

LUXE LEADER
2014 Maserati Ghibli
Gain the same bragging rights of owning a Maserati without breaking the bank with the all-new 2014 Ghibli. This reasonably priced ride touts a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that develops 345 horsepower to propel the 3,992-pound sedan from zero to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds. In typical Maserati fashion, the Ghibli wears the prominent trident badge up front on its grille and just behind the rear doors. On the side, three portholes just behind the front wheels further reveal this car’s Italian heritage. There’s no mistaking the Ghibli for anything but a Maserati—even when parked it looks like it’s ready to swallow anything in its path. Inside, the Ghibli treats drivers and passengers to yards of fine Italian leather while a 1,280-watt Bowers & Wilkins audio system with 15 speakers ensures you’ll turn heads when jamming out. Bellissimo! Available at Jim Ellis Maserati Atlanta, @maserati_hq

OFF-ROAD DRIVER
2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport
Next year is shaping up to be a very busy one for Land Rover. To kick it all off, the automaker pulled the wraps off its LR2 compact premium SUV replacement, dubbed the Discovery Sport. This new SUV will be the first in its segment to offer seating for seven, making it ideal for road trips. In keeping with Land Rover’s legendary off-road reputation, the Discovery Sport features class-leading capability with the latest Terrain Response technology coupled with 8.3 inches of ground clearance and the ability to climb 45-degree gradients. A new nine-speed automatic transmission is mated to a turbocharged 240-horsepower, 2-liter turbocharged engine that promises to be highly fuel-efficient. Inside, the Discovery Sport should feel far more spacious than its footprint would suggest, thanks to its innovative stadium seating and giant panoramic roof. A new 8-inch touch screen and an advanced Head-Up Display will provide plenty of vehicle feedback while allowing you to keep your eyes firmly planted on the road, or the trail, ahead. Available at Hennessy Land Rover Buckhead, @landrover

HOT WHEELS
2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Get ready to burn some rubber. The record-breaking 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is the fastest and most powerful sedan currently built (with the quickest production!). Powered by a massive 6.2-liter HEMI V8, the Hellcat produces 650 feet of torque and an astonishing 707 horsepower—no, that’s not a typo. Mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with gearshift paddles, the Charger eviscerates the quarter mile in a mere 11 seconds and takes just 3.7 seconds to blast from zero to 60 mph on its way to a top speed of 204 mph. Afraid of all that power? No worries—the Charger comes with two key fobs: a black one and a red one. The black key is limited to 500 horsepower, while the red one puts all 707 horses on tap. Inside, the Charger is plenty luxurious with heated and cooled Laguna leather front seats and heated rear seats. Look for the Charger SRT Hellcat to race into Dodge dealers by the end of the year. Available at Don Jackson Dodge, @dodge

THE NEW STANDARD
2015 Ford F-150

In what is arguably the most important product launch in Ford’s history, the 2015 F-150 pulls out all the stops to cement its status as America’s best-selling vehicle. To do this, Ford lands a blow against the competition through the use of lightweight military-grade aluminum body panels, drastically reducing the truck’s weight by some 700 pounds. This move alone gives the F-150 dominance in fuel economy, acceleration, braking, and since it’s aluminum, the F-150’s body panels won’t rust like every other truck on the market. The new model also boasts such segment-firsts as LED headlamps, a 360-degree camera system and a remote-opening rear tailgate. Showstopping, indeed. Available at AutoNation Ford Marietta, @ford

HEAVY-DUTY HAULER
2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Duramax

If you’re in need of some serious towing power and love the sound of a diesel engine, then check out Chevy’s new 2015 2500HD Duramax. Equipped with a 6.6-liter turbodiesel that generates a whopping 765 pound-feet of torque and 397 horsepower, the 2500HD can tow up to 13,000 pounds. Whether you’re bringing building supplies to a job site or using its 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot to participate in a video conference call with clients, this is a truck that’s ready to work for you. Sweet! Available at Jim Ellis Chevrolet Atlanta, @chevrolet

AMERICAN DREAM
2015 Lincoln MKC

Combine the star power of Matthew McConaughey with Lincoln’s first entry-level premium small crossover, the sharp new MKC, and you have all the ingredients for a resurgence of this American luxury automobile manufacturer. From the outside, the new MKC shows off a sleek appearance with Lincoln’s signature split-wing grille up front and a unique wraparound rear tailgate in back. The MKC’s Approach Detection system gets a thumbs-up for safety. When returning to the vehicle at night, the ground under both front doors, headlights, taillamps and door handles all illuminate. Inside, the MKC offers luxurious seating for seven with available Bridge of Weir leather and a giant all-glass panoramic roof for stargazing. Can’t find the gearshift lever? Lincoln uses push-buttons to free up space in the center console for a more open and airy feeling. The ride also offers two engines, both of which are fuel-efficient four-cylinders with turbochargers for added power. And, for those who dread parallel parking, the MKC’s new park assist takes the reins, making parking easy-breezy. Available at Hennessy Ford Lincoln, @lincolnmotorco

ITALIAN STALLION
2015 Jeep Renegade

Speaking to Jeep’s global appeal, the auto authority’s newest model will be built in Italy, though it was designed in America. The 2015 Renegade, a rugged little SUV loaded with fresh new features, is an ideal fit for adventurers. Similar to the original 1941 Willys Jeep, the Renegade sports an open-air panoramic roof with removable panels to put a little wind in your hair. Once removed, the panels store in a special compartment in the Renegade’s unique height-adjustable rear cargo area. Two engines promise best-in-class fuel economy of more than 30 mpg on the highway and, when you opt for the 184 horsepower Tigershark engine, you’ll also get Jeep’s new 9-speed automatic transmission. In Trailhawk guise, the Renegade comes ready for off-road duty with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, which allows it to go through water up to 19-inches deep, (meaning you’ll be able to camp almost anywhere). With the 2.4-liter Tigershark engine and tow package, the Renegade even tows up to 2,000 pounds, so go ahead and bring your boat too. Available at Don Jackson Jeep, @jeep

SWEDE STYLE
2015 Volvo XC90

Having sold some 600,000 XC90s since its debut in 2002, Volvo’s first crossover has proven to be a huge success. From the looks of it, this redesigned 2015 XC90 should be just as popular, considering that after just 47 hours, Volvo sold out of all 1,972 special first edition models. The XC90 T8 debuts with an innovative 2.0-liter engine that gets supercharged, turbocharged and augmented by an electric motor, making it the first seven-passenger plug-in hybrid on the market. Combined, the T8’s twin engines should produce around 400 horsepower, offering what the brand promises to be unrivaled fuel economy and performance. The innovations continue inside, where Volvo debuts a stunning interior, the centerpiece of which is a large tablet-size screen that supports Apple CarPlay, bringing the all-knowing Siri into your vehicle. Luxurious details abound, including a handcrafted gear lever made of crystal glass from Orrefors, the famous Swedish glassmaker. True to Volvo’s heritage, the XC90 is a safety standout featuring a dozen airbags and new technologies that prevent a crash from happening in the first place, including an industry-first auto brake system that activates should the driver turn in front of an oncoming car. Now that’s traffic-stopping style! Available at North Point Volvo, @volvocarsglobal

BETTER THAN EVER
2015 Lexus RC 350

Lexus is known for always listening closely to its customers. After the manufacturer abandoned its four-passenger sports coupe segment some 15 years ago, it is finally ready to step back into the fray with the all-new 2015 RC 350. The 306-horsepower rear-wheel-drive coupe features an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters on the steering wheel to keep you in control at all times. Expect the RC 350 to hit 60 mph from a standstill in under 6 seconds. Inside, the coupe shows off Lexus’ new Remote Touch Interface, which functions like a computer mouse to control various vehicle settings. Outside, the RC wears Lexus’ now-familiar spindle-shaped grille and unique LED daytime running lights. Light ’em up! Available at Lexus of South Atlanta, @lexus



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