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Mark Savage's auto review column, Savage On Wheels, looks at a new vehicle every week and tells consumers what’s good, what’s not so good, and how the vehicle fits into the marketplace. Value, simple functionality and good looks are always key components on Savage’s evaluation checklist. The Sunday column aims to give an honest account of a vehicle’s merits after a week’s test drive during which gas mileage is measured for a real-world report.

How Luxury Vehicles Are Outpacing Muscle Cars

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Mark Savage
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The 2020 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody is a luxurious ode to muscle cars with its retro look, power, and good handling.

Now that we’re driving less, doing something like purchasing a muscle or luxury car you’ve always wanted probably isn’t a high priority. In addition to consumer trends, many auto plants are closed, or their chain supply has been greatly impacted. 

But that doesn’t mean that our automotive contributor Mark Savage doesn’t get to test drive and enjoy some high-powered muscle cars. He says as powerful vehicles increase in price, they are losing their muscle but keeping the speed.

“I think it really is a stretch to call the really high end ones muscle cars. They’ve got more power than the muscle cars, first of all, but the muscle cars are the ones that I think people have grown used to and also are affordable,” says Savage.

In the past two months, Savage has reviewed four of these cars.

BMW M8 Competition Convertible
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Credit Mark Savage
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The 2020 BMW M8 Competition Convertible comes with a fair amount of sticker shock but provides cool looks, awesome power, and beautiful balance with responsive handling.

Hits: Cool looks, awesome power, beautiful balance with responsive handling, plus AWD and impressive brakes. Power convertible top, power trunk lid, gorgeous interior, cooled seats, heated wheel, wind screen, gold brake calipers.

Misses: Price is a shocker, ride is stiff especially in Sport mode, massive A-pillars, and tight rear seat.

Engine: 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, 617 hp

Top Speed: 189 mph

MPG: 15/21, 19.2 (tested)

Test Vehicle: $180,245

READ: 2020 BMW M8 Competition Convertible Review

Lexus LC 500 Convertible
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Credit Mark Savage
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The 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible is a vehicle built with beauty in mind. Beautiful styling, smooth handling, and handsome interior are all included in Lexus' newest luxury convertible.

Hits: Beautiful styling, plus power, smooth handling, comfortable ride and handsome interior. Heated power tilt/telescope steering wheel, heated/cooled seats, 6 drive modes, big dash screen, complete cast of safety aids. Powerful Levinson surround sound stereo. A bona fide touring car.

Misses: Annoying laptop-style touchpad on console to adjust screen functions, plus tiny trunk.

Engine: 5.0-liter V8, 471 hp

MPG: 15/25, 18.0 (tested)

Test Vehicle: $102,025

READ: 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible Review

Corvette C8 Mid-Engine
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Credit Mark Savage
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The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe is a Chevy's newest supercar. It features a powerful V8 engine, excellent handling with multiple drive modes and a comfy interior.

Hits: Supercar looks, powerful V8, excellent handling and multiple drive modes. Comfy interior with good screen, easy controls for driver, fine stereo, power tilt/telescope wheel, square steering wheel, HUD, plus removable and storable roof panel, two trunks and great stopping power. Price is a bargain!

Misses: Stiff ride, especially in Track mode, tight foot well, poor rear visibility, awkward climate controls for passenger and tough-to reach wireless charger behind seats.

Engine: 6.2-liter V8, 495 hp

MPG: 15/27, 19.3 (tested)

Test Vehicle: $79,315  

READ: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe Review

Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody
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Credit Mark Savage
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The 2020 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody is an ode to muscle cars with its retro look, power, and good handling.

Hits: Cool retro looks, POWER, good handling, total performance adjustability (on screen), comfy supportive seats, heated/cooled front seats, heated wheel, big volume/tuning knobs and climate buttons, rockin’ radio, big HD info screen, and big price per horsepower winner.

Misses: MPG is poor, super deep trunk 

Engine: 392 HEMI V8, 485 hp

MPG: 15/24, 16.6 (tested)

Test Vehicle: $56,450

READ: 2020 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody Review

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