Wednesday, December 27, 2017


BMW — which is much easier to remember than“Bayerische Motoren Werke” AG, or in English, “Bavarian Motor Works” — has championed the slogan “The  Ultimate Driving Machine” since the 1970s, and it doesn’t take a long time behind the wheel of just about any of its models to see that that is no idle boast.

Though I haven’t had the opportunity to drive every one of its offerings, I have never been disappointed by the performance of any of those I have. Power and handling is always at the top of its class.

But Teutonic technology can be overwhelming. I find BMWs at times to be over-engineered to the point that all the gadgets and gizmos detract from the enjoyment you get from the overall experience.

German designers and engineers seem to have a knack for taking the most basic of tasks, like changing a radio station or adjusting the scale on the navigation map, and complicating them to the point of frustration.

At times, too, BMW strays from the vehicle’s mission, like cutting down on storage for a crossover SUV. (See my review of the BMW X4 here:

But that was not the case with my week in the 2018 BMW M550i xDrive. Not this time.

The M550i xDrive is a new addition to BMW’s 5-Series lineup, the first time the company has offered an M Performance version of what it calls its business sedan.

Under the hood is a 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V8 that pumps out 460 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 480 pound-feet of torque at only 1800 rpm, propelling the five-passenger vehicle from zero to 60 mph in under 4.0 seconds.

It is mated with an 8-speed Sport automatic transmission with Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ settings with the xDrive system sending all that power to all four wheels, though the bias toward the rear wheels results in more of a rear-wheel drive feel.

 As with the 540i (reviewed here:, the M550i comes with a ton of technological features the operation of which BMW is either dumbing down or I’m getting used to it. I still would like a separate knob to surf the radio dial, but then I’m a techno-Neanderthal.

Among items included in the base MSRP of $73,095 (including destination and delivery) are M Sport brakes, 19-inch alloy wheels with run-flat tires, power trunk lid, keyless entry and push-button start, moonroof, automatic climate control, adaptive LED headlights, navigation, aerodynamic kit and rear spoiler, rear-view camera, 20-way power adjustable front seats with 4-way lumbar support, leather and wood interior trim, and BMW’s iDrive 6.0 system with touchscreen, touchpad, and a 10.5-inch display screen.

Adding such extras as a Bowers & Wilkins sound system, NightVision with pedestrian detection, a Dynamic Handling Package (adaptive suspension and active roll stabilization), a head-up display, an Executive Package (soft-close automatic doors, ceramic controls, wireless charging, WiFi hotspot, and enhanced USB and Bluetooth), and a Parking Assistance Package ran the total for my test car to $88,985.

The cabin ambiance is the final touch. Yes, the M550i is a performance vehicle, but it’s also full-on luxury with a smooth, quiet ride to coddle the most finicky of riders. I’ve got to say the interior is pleasing to the eyes as well as well as comfortable for your tush.

What I liked about the 2018 BMW M550i xDrive: Sport+ mode provides a treat for the ears as it adjusts the dual exhaust as well as enhanced performance that makes this midsize sedan a joy to drive.

What I didn’t like about the 2018 BMW M550i xDrive: Operating the infotainment system isn’t quite the task it used to be (maybe I’m getting used to it), but making the simplest of adjustments still requires extra steps that can be a distraction when you are driving. Not everything needs to be operated off the screen.

Would I buy the 2018 BMW M550i xDrive? Yes. You can get into the 5-Series for much less than the M550i’s price tag, but you’ll miss out on getting all it has to offer.

Thursday, December 21, 2017



After going through a mid-cycle refreshing this year, the Lincoln MKZ will remain basically unchanged for the 2018 model year. which means that unless you are fanatical about having the “latest, newest” of everything, you could get into the entry-level luxury market at some savings by going with the 2017 MKZ.

In fact, you could probably go back to the first year of this, the second, generation (2013) and still get to enjoy the laundry list of features that Lincoln has built into this mid-size family sedan while keeping the MSRP in the mid-$35,000 range.

Or you can go full-blast with the top-of-the-line Black Label edition of the MKZ and get even more.

Black Label is a program Lincoln introduced to dial up the luxury for its top-of-the-line trims, upgrading interiors with higher grade leather and real wood trim and faux suede headliners and offering unique exterior colors and wheels. It was first introduced, appropriately enough for this review, on the 2015 MKZ.

Going with that option does add to the cost, of course, as the 2017 Lincoln MKZ Black Label edition with all-wheel drive that I had for a couple of weeks carried a base price of $50,485 (including destination and delivery) with extras like the 3.0-liter V6 engine, a climate package,and a batch of technological features running the total to $61,765.

That’s not quite the bargain of the basic MKZ, but it’s still under what most of its competitors ask for with their top models.

Though the optional twin-turbo V6 engine delivers up to 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque (in all-wheel drive configuration; front-wheel drive models are limited to 350 horsepower) to enhance the driving experience, the MKZ is not so much about performance as it is cruising comfort. Frankly, that’s probably more in line with what many of us expect from the luxury class to begin with.

The combination of the V6 and AWD mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission results in somewhat disappointing fuel figures of 17 miles-per-gallon city, 26 highway, and 20 combined.

To compensate, it does run on regular 87 octane fuel. So, too, do models with the turbo-4 and the hybrid setup that are rated at 21/31/24 and 40/38, respectively. Many competitors in the segment demand premium fuel. Or at least recommend it.

The list of standard equipment for the MKZ includes that Alcantara headliner, dual exhaust with chrome tips, adaptive headlamps with signature lighting, dual zone electronic auto climate control, heated and cooled 10-way adjustable front seats with lumbar support, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, remote start, rearview camera, leather seats, and a voice-activated navigation system.

That's enough to satisfy most of your needs without even going into options.

I have seen the MKZ referred to as a “Baby Continental” but would take issue with that on a couple of counts.

One, when the MKZ was introduced in 2006 as Lincoln Zephyr, in homage to the Lincoln Zephyr models of the 1930s, the Continental had been out of production for about four years. By the time Lincoln brought the Continental back as a 2017 model, the MKZ was well into its second generation.

Also, though the Continental has numerous merits in its favor, calling the MKZ a “baby” anything demeans it unnecessarily. Yes it is slightly smaller than a Continental — at 193.9 inches long the MKZ is 7.5 inches shorter than the Continental and its wheelbase of 11.2 inches is 5.7 inches shorter — but it has a roomy feel about it.

Legroom in front is a generous 44.3 inches — about the same as that offered by the Continental — though the back is a more snug 37 inches compared to the 41. 3 in its bigger sibling, which can be a factor if you typically have a couple of adults riding back there.

Plus, I’ve never seen a Lexus EX referred to as a “Baby LS.”

What I liked about the 2017 Lincoln MKZ Black Label: Getting the hang of the Sync 3 system for infotainment functions is a snap, and the 8-inch screen is easy on the eyes. Getting into the driver’s seat was easier than getting into the Continental with its front-seat side bolsters getting in the way. Styling is a matter of preference, but I like the MKZ’s exterior look.

What I didn’t like about the 2017 Lincoln MKZ Black Label: A little more in the way of performance might be nice, as well as improved fuel mileage. Guess that’s a conflicting wish there. The trunk is roomy enough in non-hybrid models (15.4 cubic feet) but the configuration to accommodate rear speakers makes arranging storage loads a big tricky.

Would I buy the 2017 Lincoln MKZ Black Label? Yes. If you want a traditional, true luxury car without a luxury price tag the MKZ is worth a look.

Monday, December 11, 2017



A recent study out of a university in the Netherlands proclaims that there is no such thing as love at first sight. What people often call love at first sight really is just a strong physical attraction, more like lust at first sight.

When it comes to the Jaguar F-Type, both emotions fit for me.

I know that I feel in love with the performance oriented two-seater when it hit the streets as a 2014 convertible (a coupe would follow), and I have lusted after it ever since. For those of you who may argue that “love at first sight” doesn’t last, I will only say that each year Jaguar tinkers with this roadster simply raises the intensity of my feelings for it.

Oh, I realize it’s not a perfect car. It’s technology is a bit cumbersome to operate and is about a half-step behind that of its competitors, but quibbling about that is like demanding that the world’s most beautiful female be able to cook like Betty Crocker. Would Cindy Crawford be Cindy Crawford without her trademark mole?

I think not.

Being Jaguar’s first sports car since the E-Type was discontinued in 1974, the F-Type was not shy on horsepower when it was introduced three years ago or so. The base model’s V6 was rated at 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. The V6 in the F-Type S bumped that up to 380/339, respectively, and the F-Type V8 S had numbers of 495/ 460 with a reported zero-to-60 mph clocking of 4.2 seconds.

The F-Type R launched for the 2015 model year upped those figures to 550/502 with a sub 4.0-second zero to 60 time.

Who could want more? Apparently someone, because for 2017, Jaguar launched the F-Type SVR with a supercharged V8 jacking up horsepower and torque figures to 575/516, respectively, with a zero-to-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds.

But the tenths of a second shaved off the zero-to-60 time came with an MSRP of 128,800, nearly double that of the base F-Type. Total cost of the 2017 SVR I drove last spring was $132,283 with extras and destination and delivery included.

For 2018, a new 4-cylinder F-Type joins the lineup as well as a 400 Sport model that I recently had the opportunity — and pleasure — to drive for a week.

A limited production model that will be on sale only for the 2018 model year, the F-Type 400 Sport has all the features of the base model plus distinct design features like special 400 badging at the front and rear, full leather seats and panels, a heated steering wheel and other distinctive cosmetic touches that intensify the roadster’s sportiness.

Under the hood is a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that is rated at 400 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers are not up to the supercharged V8s in the R or SVR, but unless you really want to shave a second from your zero-to-60 or your name is Lewis Hamilton, you’ll probably going to be satisfied with the 400’s performance over the more expensive SVR and may not even notice the difference.

The only transmission offered on the 400 is an 8-speed Quickshift automatic with paddle shifters. (Sorry, stick fans. If you want a manual, you’ll have to go with a lesser-powered models. Not that that is a bad thing.) You can flick the switch on the center console to dynamic mode for even quicker throttle response and a firmer ride, plus get extra pops from the dual exhaust.

Did I mention fuel mileage? No, I didn’t. The government says you should get around 19 miles-per-gallon around town, 27 on the highway, and 22 combined, which isn’t bad considering the fun you get behind the wheel and the looks of envy from bystanders and parking valets.

The government says you’ll pay about an extra $2,750 in fuel costs over a 5-year period.

Hey, it’s worth it.

Speaking of cost, the Monroney sticker that came with my test 400 Sport had the base MSRP at $0.00 with options like a climate package, premium sound system, and wind deflector adding $0.00 for a total of $0.00 with destination and delivery added in.

I put my bid in for two at that cost — one for me, one for my wife — but I’m still waiting. Later, a company spokesperson reported the MSRP for the F-Type 400 Sport actually is $93,595, including destination and delivery charges.

Options like a Climate Package (dual-zone A/C, heated windshield, and heated and cooled seats), suede visors, a Meridien premium sound system, and blind spot monitor can get the total to nearly $97,000.

But keep in mind that things like a premium leather interior, LED headlamps an taillights, keyless entry with push-button start/stop, Bluetooth, rear parking aid,  premium sound system, an 8-inch touchscreen system with Navigation Pro are all standard. A roll-over protection system is among safety features.

The MSRP range for the 2018 F-Type is $59,900 to $125,000.

What I liked about the 2018 Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport convertible: The performance is breathtaking, even when you aren’t where you are able to push it. Once you’re in it, the ride is comfortable as well (but not especially quiet). Raising and lowering the top is a one-button operation, and it comes with an electronic parking brake.

What I didn’t like about the 2018 Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport Convertible: The infotainment system is on the fussy side. Why have a knob to turn the radio on/off and adjust the sound level (also available on a control on the steering wheel) and not have one to surf the dial?

Would I buy the 2018 Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport Convertible? If it were only in my budget, I’d do it in a heartbeat. But, as with most (if not all) convertibles, this is not for family transportation and may represent the ultimate in automotive indulgence. But, hey! You only live once.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Twice since introducing it as a luxury convertible in 1939, Ford has suspended production of the Lincoln Continental for extended periods of its own volition.

We’re not counting the hiatus in production from 1942-45 brought on by the U.S. entry into World War II, though the first gap in production came shortly after that.

The 1948 Lincoln Continental was the last American-made car from a major manufacturer with a V12 engine, and it also was the last Continental off the Lincoln assembly line until 1956.

When it was brought back as a Continental Mark II, it carried a nearly $10,000 price tag, making it the most expensive American car on the market that year, equivalent to over $90,000 in today’s dollars. The Continental “spare tire” at the rear’s exterior was a distinctive styling feature.

For several decades after that, the Continental was recognized as a top-flight American luxury car and even served as a presidential limousine. Yes, it was a Lincoln Continental, a four-door convertible, that President Kennedy was riding in that tragic day in Dallas. Continentals were even in use when assassination attempts were made on Presidents Ford and Reagan.

But Continental sales began to decline as it moved into its ninth generation with the 1995 model and by 1999, numbers had dipped below 30,000. Soon after, Lincoln announced that the 2002 Continental would be the last.

What happened? Frankly, I don’t now, but I figure that Lincoln people either had taken for granted their status in the segment or simply run out of ideas to keep the Continental competitive.

Quality was an issue, of course. One critic referred to the Continental as a “tarted-up Taurus.” Its appeal was pretty much limited to an older generation perhaps reflecting on the glory days of the car’s past. By the end, the average age of a Lincoln buyer was dead.

But fear not! Lincoln showed off a concept of a potential new Continental at the New York Auto Show in 2015, and the positive reception it garnered led to its second (or third, if you’re counting the WWII years) resurrection.

But the 2017 Lincoln Continental is a much different animal from its stodgy predecessor. The large luxury sedan field has grown many times since the Continental’s early incarnations, especially with the emergence of imports (speaking of WWII) from Germany and Japan, and the newest Continental doesn’t take a backseat to any in the segment.

It has the looks of a luxury car inside and out, delivers a quiet, smooth ride, and, though it may not match the performance of so-called luxury “sport” sedans, has a nice response when the accelerator is punched.

The top-of-the-line Black Label edition that served as my test vehicle came with an optional 3.0-liter, twin-turbo V6 engine pumping out 400 horsepower and delivering 400 pound-feet of torque. It is mated to a 6-speed, SelectShift automatic transmission with paddle shifters and a sport mode to enliven the driving experience. All-wheel drive is standard with this engine.

Other models get a 3.7L V6 or a 2.7L twin-turbo V6. Estimated fuel mileage for the 3.7L is 17 miles-per-gallon city, 26 highway, and 20 combined and 18/27/21 for the 2.7L turbo, both with front-wheel drive. Those numbers are slightly down about a mile per gallon with all-wheel drive models, and they are 16/19/24 for the 3.0L turbo with its AWD.

It would be nice if those numbers were slightly higher, but all the engines run on 87 octane fuel to compensate for that, though 93 is recommended to meet the top performance numbers.

The Continental Black Label’s exterior comes with such standard features as Lincoln’s chrome-mesh grille, HID headlamps with signature LED lighting, LED tail lamps, and a hands-free, foot-activated trunk opener — nice when your arms are full of packages.

The interior features heated and cooled seats, leather-wood steering wheel, power telescoping steering wheel, tri-zone automatic climate control, Venetian leather trim, heated and cooled seats, and heated steering wheel (of no use at all in South Florida), all standard.

Other standard features include a rear-view camera, blind-spot warning, keyless entry and push-button start, a remote start, voice-activated navigation systems, and Ford’s Sync3 system to operate infotainment functions — a really user-friendly system that always gets points with me.

All that is included in the base price of $66,000 including destination and delivery charges. Such a low MSRP leaves you plenty of room to add options like a Technology Package that includes parking assist and adaptive cruise control among its functionsm the 3.0L twin-turbo engine, and a Continental Climate Package (heated rear seats, windshield wiper de-icer, and rain-sensing wipers ) that ran the total for my test vehicle to $73,065, still a bargain in a class that has vehicles running into six figures.

Extras with the Black Label edition include a 4-year, 50,000-mile maintenance plan, remote new vehicle delivery, remote service pickup and return (20-mile limit), anytime car wash, annual detailing, and a Culinary Collection membership that gives you access to a curated list of exquisite restaurants from coast to coast, including a complimentary dinner for two for new members. 

What I liked about the 2017 Lincoln Continental Black Label: The infotainment system is very accommodating for those of us who are technologically challenged, a big bonus in the segment filled with techno wonders. The front offered up to 44.4 inches of legroom, the back an accommodating 41.3.

What I didn’t like about the 2017 Lincoln Continental Black Label: The seat bolster on the driver’s side actually got in my way numerous times when I would get in and out of the vehicle. But that may have been an issue with his particular car, or maybe with me. The trunk (16.7 cubic feet) could be bigger.

Would I buy the 2017 Lincoln Continental Black Label? Frankly, the base Premier, Select and Reserve trims all may be worth a look. The base starts at just over $45,000 including destination and delivery and with no skimping in quality of materials that makes it an even bigger bargain. But if money was no object, yes, I would definitely buy the Continental Black Label.

Thursday, November 9, 2017



One can never be sure — there are always grammar nazis around ready to jump on you for the slightest misuse of a term — but I think I have this right.

One of the ironies in the automotive world today is that the better manufacturers are making sedans, the fewer the public seems to be interested in buying.

If that doesn't fit the exact definition of the term “ironic” or “irony,” please take your complaint elsewhere because that’s not the point here. Just reread the part of the second paragraph that starts with the words “… that the better,” which is the gist of today’s blog.

Yes, we are headed into a country where crossovers and SUVs overrun our streets, if we haven’t gotten there already. The family sedan? Not so much.

Consider, the latest U.S. sales numbers show that last October seven of the top 10 selling family sedans — Honda Civic and Accord, Toyota Camry and Corolla, Nissan Sentra and Altima, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Elantra, and Chevrolet Malibu and Cruze — all showed declining numbers for the month over the same time period last year.

Same thing for year-to-date sales comparing 2017 to 2016. They are down anywhere from 2.3 to 22.6 percent for seven of the top 10.

To be fair here, sales of seven of the top-10 selling SUVs were also down for October, but only two of the top 10 were down for the year-to-date.

As a segment, passenger car sales were down 600,000 units over the same time a year ago, according to data compiled on the website

Analyzing the reasons for all this is something that is beyond my pay grade. I’m just here to say that, despite the declining sales numbers, it appears to me that the choices in the affordable sedan segment long dominated by the likes of the Toyota Camry and Corolla and Honda’s Civic and Accord are more varied than ever.

If you don’t like the Japanese imports, you have many other quality options for sensible, comfortable, and affordable family transportation.

I would include the 2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T R-Line high in that group.

The R-Line is one of four trim lines VW offers on the Passat for 2017. The German manufacturer — though the Passat comes out of the VW assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee — calls it the “most sporting variant” of the group with 19-inch wheels, unique rocker panels and grille, a different front bumper, and chrome-tipped exhaust among distinguishing marks.

Other standard equipment includes 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support (manual for the passenger), leatherette seat surfaces, leather-wrapped steering wheel, brake lever, and shift knob, R-line interior trim, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a rearview camera and blindspot monitoring system with rear traffic alert, a six-speaker sound system, and a 6.3-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system.

It also features VW’s Intelligent Crash Response System, which in the event of a crash unlocks all the doors in the car (making for quicker access by emergency responders), activates all the interior lights, and disengages the fuel pump (stopping the engine and reducing the risk of fire) and all high-voltage electronics.

Oh. And the ICRS also turns on the hazard lights to let others know where you are and that you are in trouble. (Three words here to you who turn on your hazard lights when driving in the rain: STOP DOING THAT!)

All that is included in the base MSRP of $24,795 including the $820 destination and delivery charge. That’s a small step up from the $23,260 asking price for the base 1.8T S and well under the $34,715 tag for the top of the line V6 SEL Premium model.

Often, an “R” designation on a car model denotes a vehicle with enhanced performance, but that’s not so much the case with the Passat R-Line. Handling is improved, but it comes with a 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine also found in the S, SE, and SEL trips. You can get a V6, which boosts the MSRP up to $30,115 for the SE w/Technology and $34,815 for the SEL Premium.

The 1.8T produces 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, the V6 280/258, respectively. Mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission, the 1.8T is rated at 23 miles-per-gallon city, 34 highway, and 27 combined, which a bit below average for its class, but the overall driving experience is enhanced when the sport mode setting is engaged, which makes up for that.

I just reminded myself that I wasn’t driving a sport sedan and was OK with the 1.8T experience.

The interior is a tad short of luxury class, but easy on the eyes. It is functional, comfortable, quiet and also roomy. Front legroom is over 42 inches, rear just over 39.

The infotainment system is easy to operate (thank you, VW, for providing knobs to adjust volume and surf the radio dial and knobs for the A/C). The touch screen is on the small side, but my test vehicle did not come with navigation so screen size really wasn’t an issue this time.

I’m not sure why VW went back to a pull-lever on the console for the parking brake after earlier models, like the 2007 Passat Wagon my wife drives, operated with the push of a button, but that’s not really a deal breaker. Think of it as exercise.

In short, the Passat 1.8T R-Line is a very capable sedan that provides a choice for the buyer who likes to think outside the box. If it doesn’t stand out from its competitors as exceptional, it does everything well and is a solid entrant in a competitive class.

What I liked about the 2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T R-Line: The cabin is very roomy, and it also has good trunk space for a midsize (15.9 cubic feet). 

What didn’t like about the 2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T R-Line: I’d like a little more kick when it comes to throttle response.

Would I buy the 2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T R-Line? Yes. My recommendation may be influenced by the good experience I have had with my wife’s Passat Wagon for nearly a decade, but the new sedan stands solidly on its own as well.

Monday, October 30, 2017


Muscle Car aficionados and automotive purists may have been unhappy when Dodge resurrected the Charger as a four-door sedan instead of the two-door coupe from the 1960s and ’70s, but a little over a decade later, it seems to have worked out just fine.

The Charger in four-door form is the brand’s best-seller among coupes and sedans and actually is outselling the Durango crossover so far in 2017. Dodge reported sales of 9,230 Chargers for September to 6,207 for the Durango.

For the year to date, the Charger was holding a nearly 15,000 advantage in sales over the Durango through September.

With the Charger in four-door form, buyers who really want a Muscle Car but need transportation for the family have an easy decision.

They can have both!

As a full-size sedan, the Charger offers such family family features as a nice-sized trunk (16.5 cubic feet), room for three in the backseat (and two rear doors to give them easy access back there), and a 5-star overall safety rating from the government.

In SE or SXT trim, the Charger comes with a V6 Pentastar engine rated at 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, which is adequate for most everyday driving situations. 

Call it the Clark Kent version.

But move up to V8 power, and the Charger becomes Superman.

The 2017 Dodge Charger Daytona I recently had the opportunity to drive for a week (yes, the name is taken from the Daytona 500; a Dodge Charger Daytona was the first stock car to break 200 mph, though it was at Talladega, not Daytona) is in the middle of the Charger lineup but definitely leans toward Muscle Car. It will take a nano-second after you push the star/stop button and those deep bass exhaust notes emanate from the rear to convince you of that.

Hey! Does this thing have a HEMI?

Of course, it does!

The Charger Daytona (and R/T trim) gets a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that sends 370 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission with optional Sport mode or paddle shifters for manual gear selection. (All-wheel drive is optional on SE and SXT models.)

Not enough power?

You can always opt for the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 (485 hp, 475 lb.-ft. of torque) standard in the R/T Scat Pack, Daytona 392 and SRT 392 trims or the 6.2-liter supercharged beast (707 hp/650 lb.-ft.) in the Hellcat.

Too much of a fuel eater?

Well, the 5.7L V8 in the Daytona features what Dodge calls “fuel saver technology” that turns theV8 engine into a 4-cylinder operation when cruising at highway speed or operating under light conditions. That doesn’t make the Charger a Prius hybrid, but it does make for slightly better mileage (16 miles-per-gallon city, 25 highway, and 19 combined) than you might expect.

Recommended fuel is 89 octane for the 5.7-liter V8, though the company says regular is acceptable. (The V6 runs on regular 87 octane; premium 91 octane is recommended on the 6.4L V8, and the Hellcat V8.)

Obviously, with power numbers like those above, you’re never going to be lacking for punch when it comes to performance. But in addition to the straight-line get-up-and-go, the Charger handles corners well while delivering a firm, but not overly stiff ride, that has good road manners.

Some Muscle Cars can take, well, muscle to maneuver, but not the Charger. You may get the impression the Charger Daytona is about a half-acre wide when you look over the flat hood, which includes huge HEMI lettering over the large functional hood scoop, but it doesn’t drive that big.

Still, it is a full-size sedan, so the front especially is roomy, and the backseat offers just over 40 inches of legroom.

The Daytona also gets some extra styling touches, like heated and ventilated sport, suede/leather seats with “Daytona” embroidered on the backrests, special floor mats, a performance steering wheel, and extra stitching on the seats and door panels.

It’s not a luxurious interior, but is functional and nicely laid out.

The exterior, too, gets attention with prominent “Daytona” and “HEMI” markings and badges in several prominent spots (including the front grille), 20-inch black forged aluminum wheels, and a satin black performance spoiler.

There’s no mistaking this car when you are coming down the street either visually or audibly.

All that does come with a cost, though. You can get into a base Charger SE for just over $29,000 (when destination and delivery charges are thrown in), depending on your negotiating skills, of course. The Daytona with the 5.7-liter V8 starts at $40,985 and gives you pretty much all the fun that the Hellcat does for nearly $29,000 less.

The Daytona 392, which has the 6.4-liter V8, has a listed MSRP of 46,095, which is close to the listed $46,315 that was listed on the Monroney sticker for my test Daytona.

I will say that a price topping the $40,000 mark is rare territory for a Dodge, but if you're looking for performance in a full-size sedan/Muscle Car, the Charger is hard to beat.

What I liked about the 2017 Dodge Charger Daytona: The fun-to-drive quotient is pretty much off the char.  I also liked he optional UConnect 8.4 Nav system for the simplicity of its operation.

What I didn't like about the 2017 Dodge Charger Daytona: Rear vision is somewhat restricted. The interior, while not bad, could use a bit more refinement. 

Would I buy the 2017 Dodge Charger Daytona? Yes. It's a bit on the expensive side, but if you're considering a Charger, this is no time to skimp.