2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia

Episode 3617
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

While it has only been a year since Fiat-Chrysler showed the Alfa Romeo Giulia sport sedan at the L.A. auto show, rumors of its imminent arrival have been around for years. Well, the wait is finally over. The 505-horsepower Quadrifoglio is here first, followed by more insurable models in early 20-17. But the big question remains, can any Italian four-door standup against the teutonic wall.

Depending on how long you’ve been paying attention to the automotive scene will probably be an indication on how much you know and how you feel about Alfa Romeo. They may not have the modern name recognition of now sister-brand Ferrari, but Alfa has over a century of racing history of their own. And they are leaning on both that history, as well as help from Ferrari, to bring Italian flair into the traditional European sport sedan segment, with the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia. 

Ferrari help comes in the power department with a derivative 2.9-liter bi-turbo V6 powering the top Quadrifoglio model with its as mentioned 505-horsepower joined by 443 lb-ft. of torque. From startup to full song it has an acapella racing note that resonates better than any German sport sedan could. 

There’s an 8-speed automatic transmission, and its aluminum paddle shifters are mounted to the column, again Ferrari style. Factory specs say the combo delivers you from 0-60 in 3.8 seconds. 

Expectedly, the rear-drive only Quadrifoglio is where things are certainly the most interesting.

But, volume, and everyday competitiveness will come from the Guilia Base and Ti models with a 280-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine. Rear drive too at first with all-wheel drive arriving later.

All Guilias ride on an all-new chassis with double wishbone front suspension; and in back there’s a unique Alfa-link with vertical rod design. Active Chassis Domain Control is standard in Quadriofoglio, optional on the Ti. 

And while there’s no carbon fiber in the chassis like the 4C, there’s plenty both inside and out of the Quadrifoglio; including the adaptive front spoiler, the roof, hood, and even the drive shaft. 

Though technically a midsize car, its 111.0-inch wheelbase is the same as an Audi A4.

Everything from the trademark shield grille, to the short overhangs and muscular stance, to the quad exhaust tips scream Italian performance.  

Inside, leather seating is standard; and while room is not overly plentiful, it is certainly better than average for a Euro sport sedan. Both the Quadrifoglio’s 8.8-inch display screen and the rotary-controller interface look and work great.

We can appreciate how simple the interior design theme is, with what seems to be just the right amount of buttons. Though some items such as the vents and displays look a little too FCA parts bin. Gauges are clear, with analog tach and speedometer. 

But, we’re sure you’re really wanting to know how the Giulia is on track. Fortunately, we’ve been there and done that; and can report that the Quadrifolgio feels incredibly well-balanced.

The optional carbon ceramic brakes are incredibly legit too; but unless you plan on abusing them to the fullest, they might not be worth the costly upgrade. 

The Giulia shares the 4C’s DNA drive modes with the Quadrifoglio adding Race mode, needed to quell the traction nannies. The 8-speed works great, as good if not better than many DCTs; and when in Race mode it will only shift when called upon to do so.

Race mode also puts the engine’s turbos in over-boost, opens up the exhaust, turns stability control off, and increases throttle response.  

The steering is very quick and plenty precise; with feel that resembles an Italian exotic more than a Euro sport sedan. 

Safety systems are fully up to spec too, including autonomous braking. 

We also spent drive time in the mid-level Giulia Ti, and while it doesn’t match the Quadrifoglio for all-out performance, there’s plenty to like here as well, including balance and fast steering, with an overall prowess that’s on par with other 2.0-liter luxury sport sedans, yet this one clearly speaks Italian. 

The Quadrifoglio is priced at $73,595; with the base car starting around half of that, at $38,990.

Undoubtedly, the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia is sure to appeal most to those in the “anything but a BMW crowd”. But with the Quadrifoglio, Alfa boldly breaks into the sport sedan segment, with both a raucous attitude and a demonic demeanor that will ensure that it doesn’t go unnoticed. 

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.9 liter
  • Horsepower: 505
  • Torque: 443 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 3.8 seconds
2024 Genesis G70

2024 Genesis G70

New Standard Engine For The G70 Means More Power And More Performance

Episode 4345
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

It was 5 years ago, at a time when sedan sales were rapidly declining, that Genesis decided to unveil an all-new four-door, the G70. And just to make things more difficult, it was designed to compete directly against the best European compact sport sedans, which it did impressively well. So yes, the G70 is still hanging around; and what’s more, it’s gotten even better!

The Genesis G70 sedan has been on the road for half a decade now, and looks to have some real staying power, having outlasted its platform-mate, the Kia Stinger. But this 2024 Genesis G70 is not just surviving, but thriving, with a new standard powertrain, upgraded performance and an enhanced interior.

The standard engine in the G70 is now a 2.5-liter turbo I4 with 300 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. That’s a 48-horsepower increase over last year’s 2.0-liter turbo-four. Genesis has also included a Brembo brake package as standard equipment. The 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 remains available and carries over unchanged at 365 horsepower; both engines powering the rear wheels as standard, with all-wheel-drive optional.

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The approach for the interior remains more of a sporty presentation instead of the outright luxury slant of larger Genesis sedans, and the main updates here include new touch-panel controls for climate and a frameless rear-view mirror. A reasonably priced Sport Prestige package adds leather seating, aluminum trim, a big sunroof and additional driver assistance features. Front seats are both sporty-feeling and comfortable, while things remain a little tight for adults in the rear seats.

No new sheet-metal for the outside, as that was freshened up for the ’22 model year; the design remains polished and smooth, void of garish details, but it does sport the new Genesis engraved emblem front and center above the grille.

Automatic shifts were very punchy, with a noticeable hit of power as each new gear was engaged.

We pointed that logo down our Mason Dixon Dragway test track to see what the new turbo-four engine is capable of. It felt plenty powerful off the line, even with a hint of turbo lag, and power delivery only became more aggressive from there. We hit 60 in 5.8 seconds, almost a half-second quicker than we saw with the 2.0-liter. That’s also with all-wheel-drive, which provided plenty of grip at takeoff, and good stability down the track, though spring track maintenance kept us from getting full quarter-mile times.

All G70s now work exclusively with a rev-matching eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters and intelligent drive modes; the six-speed manual transmission has gone away with the 2.0-liter. Automatic shifts were very punchy, with a noticeable hit of power as each new gear was engaged. Engine noise is pleasant but relatively muted, with just a hint of exhaust noise seeping into the cabin.

2024 Genesis G70 3

While the G70 can feel like a big sedan in everyday driving, here in our handling course, it felt tidy, nimble and quite comfortable working through the cones. We felt very connected to it, with great feedback through the chassis and steering wheel. Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control is in play to tighten up turn-ins and provide steadiness, and it worked great allowing us to be very aggressive without stability control systems stepping in, even when it began to show a little bit of understeer as we pushed the envelope.

As for everyday driving, Government Fuel Economy Ratings with the new four-cylinder and all-wheel-drive are 21-City, 29-Highway, and 24-Combined; we averaged a very good 27.8 mpg on Premium fuel. All for an average Energy Impact Score, using 12.4 barrels of oil annually with 6.2 tons of CO2 emissions.

The more powerful standard engine and interior upgrades add about two-grand to the G70’s new base price, which is now $42,750, $44,850 with all-wheel-drive; the twin-turbo V6 starts at $51,200.

These days, we’re just glad to see someone still making sporty 4-doors. So, when a brand puts the effort into making a good one even better, as Genesis has done with the 2024 G70, well that’s really a cause for celebration. The G70 may be a relative newcomer to the luxury sport sedan scene, but its comfort bang for the buck, along with its additional standard power and proven all-around performance, gives it the staying power it needs to succeed long term.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Engine: 2.5-liter turbo I4
  • Transmission: 8-speed auto
  • Horsepower: 300
  • Torque: 311 lb-ft
  • EPA: 21 City | 29 Highway | 24 Combined
  • 0-60 mph: 5.8 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: N/A
  • 60-0 Braking: N/A
  • MW Fuel Economy: 27.8 mpg (Premium)
2024 Lexus GX550

2024 Lexus GX550

It’s A Land Cruiser With A Lexus Badge

Episode 4344
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When most people think of Lexus SUVs, they tend to think of the RX, and for good reason. The RX was a key player in popularizing the luxury SUV market as we know it today. But, the Lexus SUV world is much bigger than that, of course, including something for adventurous, rugged, off-road types.

We’re not about to claim that there’s some kind of body-on-frame SUV resurgence happening, but it’s clear that car-like crossovers haven’t fully taken over the SUV world just yet; and more than any other brand, Toyota seems on a mission to make SUVs truly great again. Even when it comes to their Lexus brand with this new 2024 Lexus GX550.

When the first gen GX arrived for 2003, it seemed to go out of its way to disguise its substantial off-road capabilities behind some very soft-roader sheet-metal, but those that knew… knew that underneath, the GX was based on the rugged J120 Land Cruiser. Fast forward to this third-gen GX, and it looks like Lexus is fully embracing that Land Cruiser kinship going boxier and bolder than ever before. Square lines, chunky fenders, wide track, short overhangs, highly vertical windshield; all hallmarks of serious off-roaders.

The GX is also the first Lexus to benefit from their Overtrail Project which encourages Lexus owners to get out of their comfort zones and experience what their luxo-ute is actually capable of. So, Overtrail models are outfitted with 33-inch all-terrain tires on 18-inch wheels, a locking rear diff, and an Electronic Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System that can independently unlock both front and rear stabilizer bars for more wheel articulation.

2024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Front
2024 Lexus GX550 3
2024 Lexus GX550 Profile
2024 Lexus GX550 5
2024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Rear
2024 Lexus GX550 Wheel
2024 Lexus GX550 Badge
2024 Lexus GX550 Grille
2024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Front2024 Lexus GX550 32024 Lexus GX550 Profile2024 Lexus GX550 52024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Rear2024 Lexus GX550 Wheel2024 Lexus GX550 Badge2024 Lexus GX550 Grille

Just like the recently released Toyota J250 Land Cruiser, the GX is built on Toyota’s Tundra truck frame, but instead of a four-cylinder turbo-hybrid, it’s launching with a 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6 with 349-horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. That’s 48-horsepower and 150 lb-ft over the previous GX’s V8. Max tow rating shoots up from 6,500 to 9,096-lbs. The GX works exclusively with a 10-speed automatic transmission, with full-time four-wheel-drive and a two-speed transfer case standard. Lexus says a hybrid option will be available later, but no word on if it’s the Land Cruiser’s 2.4-liter I4 hybrid or the V6 hybrid that’s currently available in the Tundra pickup.

It doesn’t take much time behind the wheel to appreciate the high seating position and great visibility of the GX; as rugged as it looks outside, it still feels plenty luxurious inside, and is highly functional too. There’s a big control center in front of the dash with a high-mounted 14-inch touchscreen, and dedicated knobs for temperature and volume just below. A third row of seating is available in most trims, providing space for six or seven passengers. But if you go Overtrail, Lexus assumes you’re not the big family type and would rather have the space for packing adventure gear, so it’s the only trim that is five-passenger only.

As rugged as it looks outside, it still feels plenty luxurious inside, and is highly functional too.

While the double-wishbone front and rear multi-link suspension of this Overtrail is clearly off-road inspired, it held up well enough in our Mason Dixon Dragway handling course. Slow and steady definitely won the race here, as the GX felt big and heavy, with notable weight shifting on transitions through the cones, and light steering. Stability systems were eager to kick in well before things could get out of sorts.

Buyers can add Lexus’ Adaptive Variable Suspension for smoothing things out on the highways without sacrificing off-road capabilities. It launched quite aggressively off the line in acceleration runs; again, sturdy and truck-like, with all four wheels biting into the pavement and propelling us forward harder than we were expecting, hitting 60 in 6.5 seconds.

2024 Lexus GX550 Dashboard
2024 Lexus GX550 Steering Wheel
2024 Lexus GX550 Infotainment
2024 Lexus GX550 Shifter
2024 Lexus GX550 Front Seat
2024 Lexus GX550 Second Row Seats
2024 Lexus GX550 Third Row Seats
2024 Lexus GX550 Seats Down Trunk
2024 Lexus GX550 Trunk
2024 Lexus GX550 Engine
2024 Lexus GX550 Dashboard2024 Lexus GX550 Steering Wheel2024 Lexus GX550 Infotainment2024 Lexus GX550 Shifter2024 Lexus GX550 Front Seat2024 Lexus GX550 Second Row Seats2024 Lexus GX550 Third Row Seats2024 Lexus GX550 Seats Down Trunk2024 Lexus GX550 Trunk2024 Lexus GX550 Engine

Lots of grip and no drama, as this turbo-six puts plenty of power down instantly. It sounds good too; powerful, with a nice throaty exhaust note that was more of a V8 rumble than V6 trumpet. Quarter-mile completed in 14.9-seconds at 94 mph.

Braking runs were a little inconsistent, with the off-road tires seemingly gripping and pulling us in different directions. But stops averaged a great 114-feet from 60 mph, so we’ll accept the slightly unsettled feel.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 15-City, 21-Highway, and 17-Combined; we averaged a respectable 20.1 mpg of Premium. But it garners a worse than average Energy Impact Score of 17.5-barrels of yearly oil use, with 8.3-tons of CO2 emissions.

Pricing starts with Premium grade at $64,250, ranging to Luxury at $77,250, with Overtrail in between at $69,250. All trims can be plus sized for additional features.

The 2024 Lexus GX550 is clearly not just another luxury saturated soft-roader. It’s a real deal Land Cruiser with a Lexus moniker, and this Overtrail is the most off-road capable Lexus ever. That not only makes it appealing to traditional Lexus buyers, but to a whole “range” of new conquests as well.

Specifications

  • Engine: 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6
  • Transmission: 10-speed automatic
  • Horsepower: 349
  • Torque: 479 lb-ft
  • EPA: 15 City | 21 Highway | 17 Combined
  • 0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.9 seconds at 94 mph
  • 60-0 Braking (avg): 114 feet
  • MW Fuel Economy: 20.1 mpg (Premium)
  • Max Tow Rating: 9,096-lbs