Italy

First drive: 2020 Audi A4 in Italy

First drive: 2020 Audi A4 in Italy

Sedans are dying – this is what automotive sales charts around the world indicate, thanks to the mass exodus of buyers to the crossover SUV segment. The latter genre is booming and virtually every manufacturer under the sun – Audi included – has been stuffing its line-up over the past decade or so with an assortment of high-roofed contraptions offering at least a pretence of off-road ability.

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First drive: 2018 Ferrari Portofino in Italy

First drive: 2018 Ferrari Portofino in Italy

It seemed a no-brainer that Ferrari would launch the Portofino in the picturesque northern Italian fishing village after which it is was named. However, company execs say Portofino is a ghost town in winter – everything shuts down – so instead we find ourselves in Puglia, in the south eastern tip of Italy, for our maiden acquaintance with Maranello’s all-new drop-top that replaces the California T.

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First drive: 2018 Volvo XC40 in Italy

First drive: 2018 Volvo XC40 in Italy

Volvo is on a roll at the moment. Since it was taken over by Geely back in 2010, some skeptics thought it was the beginning of the end for the semi-premium Swedish car manufacturer. But since the launch of the XC90, Volvo has come back on the radar in a big way as a properly premium brand. After launching the impressive XC60 recently, the Swedes have taken on a new segment, the lucrative Compact SUV market, with the launch of the all-new Volvo XC40, currently dominated by the Germans.

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First drive: 2018 Ferrari 812 Superfast in Italy

First drive: 2018 Ferrari 812 Superfast in Italy

Perhaps it’s a legacy of Enzo himself, but Ferrari has never been one to err on the side of conservatism or modesty. Who else would roll out cars with names like ‘Speciale’, ‘LaFerrari’ and ‘Superfast’? Fortunately, the company has the cojones and know-how to back up the bluster, and whenever it unleashes a car with a superlative appellation, said vehicle never fails to deliver on its promise.

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First drive: 2016 Jeep Renegade 4x4 Limited in Italy

First drive: 2016 Jeep Renegade 4×4 Limited in Italy

The crossover segment has become a big deal in recent times, and Jeep had already thrown its hat in the ring with the Compass and Patriot models. Clearly they were left wanting, so Jeep utilised their ties with new parent-company Fiat to create the Renegade. It’s the first Jeep built in Italy, which would explain what we were doing in Sicily for this test drive on the fringes of an active volcano.

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