June 20, 2014 | by Joe Phillips
Off-the-line tuners
SUBARU WRX STI Limited, autos, gay news, Washington Blade

Subaru WRX STI Limited

True tuner cars are crazypants. They’re loaded with tons of aftermarket gear, like chrome rims, custom paint jobs, fat exhaust pipes, under-car neon, hood scoops, roof scoops, spoilers and more. Ka-ching! That makes these rides mondo pricey (oh, and some add-ons may void a car’s warranty). Luckily, automakers offer tamer tuners straight off the production line. Sure, these hepped-up compacts may not have as much bling, but there’s still some swagger there, along with plenty of power.

 

 

SUBARU WRX STI Limited

$41,000

 

Mpg: 17 city/23 highway

 

0-to-60 mph: 5.1 seconds

 

 

A fave of “Fast & Furious” fans, the WRX STI gets a snappy redesign. The snarkier styling has lots of sexy creases and flared fenders. And who could miss that huge rear spoiler, stretching skyward on the trunk? There’s also sharper steering, Brembo brakes and a much stiffer suspension (trust me, it’s way better than any Pilates butt blaster). You can also skip the dumbbell curls and calf exercises, thanks to the quick shifter and smooth clutch on the manual transmission. The roomier cabin, with boffo visibility for the driver, boasts race car features: fitted seats, flat-bottomed steering wheel and a sporty gauge cluster on the dash. That 305-hp turbo is the same as before, but it’s still thrilling. After all, this Subaru is as fast as a Porsche 911, but costs half the price.

 

 

 

VOLVO V60 T5 Drive-E

VOLVO V60 T5 Drive-E, autos, gay news, Washington Blade

Volvo V60 T5 Drive-E

$39,000

 

Mpg: 25 city/37 highway

 

0-to-60 mph: 6.4 seconds

 

 

A Volvo racer? And a station wagon, to boot? Based on the popular S60 midsized sedan, the V60 is stunning with coupe-like styling, sure handling and choice of three energetic engines. Yep, the pricey high-test T6 model is blazingly fast. But the T5 Drive-E gets Volvo’s new four-cylinder turbo, which is still pretty quick and has an automatic stop-start function that shuts off the engine when the car is stopped to save gas. This T5 is only offered with front-wheel drive, yet the optional paddle shifters help it scoot around corners and zip past pokey freeway drivers. Fold the rear seats down and there’s oodles of room in the classy interior. And this being Volvo, there are lots of safety systems: blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, drowsy-driver warning and front-collision warning with full auto-braking. For those who barely made it through driver’s ed, there’s even an automatic parallel-parking system.

 

 

 

VW BEETLE R-LINE

VW BEETLE R-LINE, autos, gay news, Washington Blade

VW Beetle R-Line

$26,000

 

Mpg: 23 city/31 highway

 

0-to-60 mph: 6.5 seconds

 

 

How to make “Herbie the Love Bug” a macho-mobile? First, VW added more aggressive design cues. Now the new R-Line ups the testosterone with more horsepower, sport-tuned suspension, faux carbon-fiber trim, alloy wheels and a cheeky rear spoiler. It’s hard to convince anyone who hasn’t driven a Beetle just how fun and athletic these cars really are, with the nimble handling, responsive steering and pert braking. The whisper-quiet interior is another plus, as is the stereo system, trunk space and all that headroom and legroom. Some Audi touches have made their way here, too, with heated seats/mirrors, heated windshield-washer nozzles, LED running lights and surround-sound stereo. A dandy telematics service includes roadside assistance, stolen-vehicle locator, crash notification and remote door unlocking.

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