February 24, 2017: First up is Jeep’s Grand Cherokee SRT. This 500 hp/500lb.-ft. of torque crossover isn’t meant for running the Rubicon Trail. It’s meant to put down a substantial marker in the performance SUV market, and put a silly grin on the driver’s face each time he steps hard onto the throttle. Surprisingly civilized, the Grand Cherokee SRT never lets you forget that lurking under the skin is the textbook definition of a bad boy. Honda’s latest Ridgeline has nothing on the Jeep, but aims for — and hits — the large sweet spot containing those who want the utility of a pickup with few of the compromises. It rides, handles and has the fuel economy of a car, while doing almost everything a “real” pickup can do. Lotus, meanwhile serves up yet another specialty model. This time it’s an Evora that homage to James Bond’s Esprit S1 from The Spy Who Loved Me. But the real news is the negotiations that may sell the controlling interest in its parent company, Proton, to Peugeot, while Volvo’s Chinese parent, Geeley, makes off with the sports car maker. Finally, the Virtual Collection goes in search of the perfect Aston Martin V12 Vanquish without ever mentioning that 007 guy.
February 10, 2017: The torque vectoring rear drive module on the Ford Focus RS opened a lot of eyes, especially when in Drift mode. But the technology behind that performance, though a long time coming, is about to break out into the open in volume vehicles and full-on EVs. The folks at GKN show us what’s happening and what’s coming, and tease us with thoughts of boulder-humbling, electric drive off-roading. Until that day arrives, buyers will have to content themselves with the internal combustion engine-powered version. To satisfy this demand, Jeep has added a new model to the line called the Wrangler Rubicon Recon Edition, and combines style with increased off-road capability. Of course, if speed is your mantra, but you also want the trappings of the off-road life, Dodge’s 2018 Durango SRT could be your Holy Grail. Its speed is NHRA certified. If that proves to be a bit too much, or if you have need of room for eight people and their stuff, Ford’s latest version of the full-size Expedition could do the trick. It’s bigger, brawnier, and more luxurious than ever. Finally, this week’s Virtual Collection is a tale of naked power, and a surprising amount of insanity, that covers everything from a McLaren Can-Am car to a modern take on hot rod power to the most hideous MGA ever built.