Friday, March 30, 2012

The Average Man’s Aston

Ok so it’s not an Aston at all, but with a front end that looks somewhat similar to a DB9 it seems like Ford borrowed some styling cues from their previously owned company when designing the 2013 Ford Fusion.

Aston Martin DB9

2013 Ford Fusion

Aston or not it’s hard to deny that this is a fine looking car. Ford designers say their goal when creating the new Fusion was to make something that stood out among all the Camry’s, Accord’s, and Sonata’s out there. I’d say they accomplished that. The new Fusion is set to go on sale this summer and will be available in a plethora of different engine and powertrain options.
The pure petrol Fusion will be available with 3 different engines which include a 170 hp 2.5 liter four cylinder, a 179 hp 1.6 liter turbo four cylinder, and a 237 hp 2.0 liter EcoBoost four cylinder. All will be fitted with 6 gear automatic transmissions with the exception of the 1.6 liter turbo four which will be available in either 6 speed auto or manual.  Ford plans to one-up the competition with their hybrid version of the Fusion which will have a new 2.0 liter four accompanied by an electric motor which will supposedly accomplish 47/44 mpg city/highway.  And last but not least they’ll be releasing a 100% plug in version which is predicted at over 100 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent). Ford claims the new Fusion will drive well too saying it will “please a well-seasoned enthusiast” with its electric steering, strut front suspension, and multilink rear suspension. So what do you guys think? Would you take the Aston-esque Fusion over its foreign competitors? Personally I’d still rather have the 2.0 Turbo Sonata, but that’s just me.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Porsche vs. Corvette: Rematch

To me there’s nothing better than taking two epic sports cars and pitting them against each other in a dual to see which one comes out on top. Last month Motor Trend did just that when they put the Chevy Corvette Grand Sport in the ring with the Porsche 911 Carrera S. It sounded like a decent matchup until I realized the 40k price difference between the two. Was Motor Trend kidding? I’m a diehard vette lover but I’d hope at almost twice the price the 911 would come out on top. So to move past Motor Trend’s almost comical comparison I decided to do a more price equal one of my own. Yes the contenders are still a Corvette and a Porsche, but this time the ZR1 vs. the 911 Carrera 4 GTS. With the ZR1 coming in at about $111k and the GTS at just over $110k these two wild animals should match up much better than the previous two. Check out the jump for the comparison. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

If I had a billion dollars

By: Gregan Pace

So you win the lottery for 350 million dollars, find a great investor who quadruples it and you, plus your following six generations are set for life. What do you buy? I think everyone has that list of ridiculous things they will buy next month when this happens. My list starts and ends with my garage. I once saw a home with car risers in the garage so it could park 6 cars in a 3x2 fashion. It was cool. Of course these cars included a Mercedes, Ferrari, and Aston Martin among others. Throw in one of the 10 PPI tuned Audi R8s and tools to work on just about any project I could want, and this fulfills my criteria.
But what about when you check everything off that list, buy all of your family and friends a BMW, and spend years travelling the world? What do you buy next? I ran out of ideas pretty quick, but when it comes to the professional money-spenders, there are a few people who really go above and beyond. Take a look at these ridiculous paint jobs and insane aesthetic mods people have done to their cars that really make them stand out above the rest. 

The chrome and gold plating of high-end cars has become all the rage in the middle east and eastern Europe. This 6 figure add-on is sure to catch the eye of any and all people within 40 miles of direct sunlight.

The Chrome Plating

If you are looking for a truly one of a kind ride, or are a 13 year-old girl, have we got the car for you…

The Matte Purple Checkered Audi R8

The only way to off-road in a suit.

The Rally-Ready Rolls

Bugatti showed off this factory produced special addition Veyron Grand Sport L’Or Blanc followed by a lengthy justification for putting porcelain on and in the worlds fastest production car. To us, it’s just weird, ugly, and worth a lot of money.

The Porcelain Veyron

Literally. This car, fit with 300,000 crystals, was a show car worth $1 Million. $1000 fee required just to touch it. A similar Benz belongs to the Prince of Saudi Arabia, but this time covered in diamonds, estimated worth at $4.8 million.

So when you are sitting in your million square foot home with too much money and nothing to do, you could ask around to see if you can get one of these. That is, if you can stomach looking at it for longer than 30 seconds… Personally, I would rather stick to my PPI R8.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ken Block & James May Joyride - one more time

I'm sure most of us have already seen this insane video of Ken Block taking Top Gear presenter James May on a joyride around an old airfield, but it can't hurt to see it one more time:) I could watch this every day and never get sick of Ken Block's mad skills.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

We all have a little "redneck" in us

What in the world is it about rednecks that we find so interesting? Is it the cut off jean shorts and the flannel shirts? Or is it mudbogging and the redneck girls that could beat any average man in a wrestling match? Maybe people just love laughing at ‘you might be a redneck’ jokes and Larry the Cable Guy. I think it’s more than that though and I’ve come up with a theory. My theory is that we’re interested in rednecks because deep down all of us want to know what it’s like to be one. We want to have that carefree attitude and do whatever we want, when we want. But how do we let the redneck within us run free? I believe it starts with a truck. So to help satisfy our burning desire I’ve scavenged and found 3 of the best redneck trucks I could for under $3000. Check em out below.  

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mighty MX-5

Over the past year or so there has been an outrageous amount of hype over the Subaru BRZ/ Toyota FT-86. Everyone, including me, is so eager to finally have an affordable front engine rear wheel drive sports car they can use as a daily driver and a weekend trackster. Hang on a second though, hasn’t Mazda been making that exact thing for the past 23 years now? That’s right, they have. It's called the MX-5 Miata. Now before you hop on the bandwagon and declare the Miata a "girl's car" just know that this peppy little 2 seater is a favorite among scca racers in it's class. I admit it doesn't make me want to watch Rambo and kill a lion with my bear hands when I look at it, but for pure driving experience the Miata dominates. Now we can move on. Mazda introduced the MX-5 back in 1989 and it's still being pumped out of their factories today.
And while it has put on a couple pounds over the years it’s still an excellent car for the man who has the nurburgring tattooed on his butt, but still enjoys ordering off the dollar menu at Wendy’s. Sounds a lot like me, aside from the tatoo. The 2012 MX-5 is no exception to the past 2 decades either. The straight 4 cylinder 2.0 liter engine pumps out a solid 167 hp with 140-lb-ft of torque which is enough to propel it to 60 mph in a mere 6.5 seconds. Most cars that can pull off a sub-7 0-60 time are a good $10k more expensive.
Let’s not forget about the almost perfect weight distribution either. With a 52/48 front/rear distribution for the soft top and a 51/49 for the hard top this car has dreams of hugging tight and twisty corners every night while it sleeps. Available with either a 5 or 6 speed manual, depending on the edition, or a 6 speed automatic this little racer satisfies all different driving preferences. And the cherry on top is a sticker price that starts under 24k. So while the BRZ/ FT-86 will most likely take the spotlight in coming months, let’s not forget that the Miata is the granddaddy of small sports cars and will still be there when all the Subieoyta hype settles.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Monster GTR

Most people don't drive a car that goes 0-60 in under 9 seconds let alone 0-170 in under 9. Well this guy commanded his beasty GTR down the 1/4 mile drag strip in 8.63 seconds at 172 mph. That's pretty impressive. Check it out above.

The best written car ad ever

I don’t even know where to begin on this one. Let’s just say that when some people sell a car, they go above and beyond when writing the ad for it. Whoever wrote this one on not only had a lot of love for the vehicle they were selling, but they had an incredible knack for metaphors, wordplay, and making the reader laugh the whole way through. With 56000 views this ad would have gone viral on youtube if it was a video. Just check it out…..

Ford Escort ZX2"Well. The wait is over. The most ballingest car ever is finally on the market. This one-of-a-kind ZX2 coupe is to the limit. And it takes no prisoners.

Thats a double whammy.

Features? Yeah, its got em. Like how about it comes in sparkly, get-rich-or-die-tryin green. That means its camouflaged in the forest or lush fields of grass where you will undoubtedly be taking your lady (or ladies if youre driving this) for a picnic of skewered lamb and frosty beverages. Green = the new whatever color you want. Green = mother natures cloaking device.

Its got privacy glass so you can do whatever the eff you want as you blitz past zombies on the freeway. Plus, while everyone else is looking at each other picking their nose, youll be chillin in a darkened cocoon of comfort and maintaining the mystique and mystery that comes naturally when you own a ZX2.
Check out the jump for the rest of this hilarious ad....

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ride of a lifetime

This S2000 was about take flight before the driver wrestled it back down to solid ground. I bet he wasn't too worried about losing the race after saving his car, and maybe his life.

The "1 liter" car

(concept XL1)
If time is money then this may be one expensive car. Ten years ago Volkswagen built a concept “1 liter” car that could supposedly travel 100 km (62 miles) using just one liter of fuel. But with a 0-50 mph time of 32 seconds VW realized that people would age ten years and inflation would occur before the car actually got people anywhere. So VW decided the car was impractical and said they would never produce it. Well last year they came out with a similar concept called the XL1. Fitted with a 2 cylinder diesel engine, a lithium ion battery pack and a dual-clutch seven speed tranny the XL1 accomplished an incredible 235 mpg. It also reported a 0-62 mph time of 11.9 seconds which is a colossal improvement from the 32 second 0-50 time of its predecessor. Now according to one of Autoblog’s spy shooters Volkswagen is actually working on a production model of the XL1. Don’t get your undies in a bunch just yet though. The spy for autoblog also reported that this new XL1 is back to a crawl with yet another 32 second 0-50 mph time. So by the time you reach the end of the freeway onramp you'll be traveling at approximately 23 mph. Sounds like a lot of honks and middle fingers will be in store for whoever drives this car. Who knows if that’s really accurate or not, but if it is would you be willing to triple the amount of time it takes you to get anywhere just to save a little fuel? To me time is money and I’d personally rather ride my bicycle which is probably faster and gets unlimited miles per gallon than drive a car that slow. We can only hope that if Volkswagen really does come out with a production XL1 it's speed will be closer to that of the concept than that of the original. Only time will tell.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon

The iconic station wagon. No other car exemplifies the American family better than this vehicle. Gather the family, including Aunt Edna, hop in your big V8 powered gas guzzling wagon and head out onto the open road. It doesn’t even matter where you go, it’s all about the drive and the experiences that you have along the way. Sadly though, that dream faded about the time I was born. The days of sitting too close to your annoying siblings and enduring endless hours of sweaty driving came to an abrupt halt in the 80’s. Minivans and suv’s took center stage as family haulers. But did the dream really die? Maybe the sweet station wagon just went dormant for awhile and its comeback time is now. Some auto-makers seem to think this is the case. One of those companies is Cadillac and their CTS-V Sport Wagon has the potential to explode the dormant wagon back onto the market.
 You may have already read some articles about this car in the past but I just want to reiterate the absurdity of this thing. Powered by a 6.2 liter V8 the monster wagon puts out 556 hp and 551 lb.-ft of torque which should be plenty to haul any American sized family across the country.  And sure it’s on the list for the least fuel efficient cars of 2012, but that just adds to the ridiculousness of this thing and makes me want it even more. With oversized Brembo brakes and the same magnetic ride controls GM has been fitting on most of their sport models this wagon handles quite a bit better than an old caprice too.
It’s available with a 6-speed auto with paddle shifters or a 6-speed manual which would definitely be my preference. All of this comes together to provide a blistering 4 second 0-60 time. That’s quick enough to light your vacation trousers on fire. A station wagon wouldn’t be a station wagon without some massive cargo space too and with 58 cubic feet the CTS-V proves it’s a legitimate wagon. So with station wagons making a comeback I think it would be appropriate for the Griswold’s to get back together for another fun filled trip across the country, but this time in a new Cadillac CTS-V sport wagon.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Unfortunate Karma

A few months ago I somehow convinced my wife that for our weekend date we should go to the Motor Trend auto show that was in Salt Lake City that coming weekend.  Not surprisingly most of the big name manufacturers like Chevy, Dodge, Ford, Toyota, Honda, etc. were all there showcasing some of their newest models. Even Ferrari had a 458 there for people to “ooh” and “ahh” at. As we strolled through the show everything looked pretty familiar until we came across a Fisker Karma. What in the world is a Fisker? I feel like I’m pretty up to date on most things automotive but I had never heard of Fisker before. The weird name started to matter less and less as I walked around the car and realized how attractive it was. It had supercar looks with a hint of Aston Martin but it was a four door and it said hybrid on it. You may want to read that last line again because yes I did mention supercar, Aston Martin looks, four doors, and hybrid all in the same sentence. But how can this be?
2012 Fisker Karma rear 3/4 driving view
This looked nothing like a Toyota Prius or a Chevy Volt. It even looked more sophisticated than a Tesla. These dashing looks are attributable to the founder of the company, Henrik Fisker. Henrik was the design man behind the Aston Martin DB9 and V8 Vantage which are both stunning cars. This explains the somewhat Aston look of the Fisker Karma. Another difference between other electric cars and this one is the $100k price tag. But with the increase in price comes a substantial increase in performance making the Karma much quicker than any Prius out there. When the car is running off pure electric it gets to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds, which is decent, but when you flip on the gasoline engine which generates an additional 260 hp it propels you to 60 mph in an impressive 5.9 seconds.
2012 Fisker Karma badgeConsidering the car will get around 90 mpg running on pure electric and 35/40 city/highway with the gasoline engine running I’d say those performance numbers are something Fisker can be proud of. One of the cars biggest setbacks is its weight. With a gasoline engine in the front, a large battery pack in the middle, and two electric motors mounted to the rear axle this behemoth weighs in at well over two tons. So even with its supercar looks it may not be quite as nimble as a 911 around the track. Whatever the car lacks in handling though, it makes up in “greenness”. With an interior constructed of 100% animal free products, a solar panel roof to help power the electronics, a composite hood and plastic bumpers, this is a car that Greenpeace would be proud of. While the Karma sounds spectacular on paper it has faced multiple issues over the past couple years that have caused significant delays in production. The most recent setback occured when Consumer Reports purchased the $100k car directly from a dealership and it broke down soon thereafter during a routine test. Many believe that the problems Fisker is facing are due to the short amount of time in which the car was developed. So maybe Karma is the perfect name for this highly plagued hybrid. Hopefully they can resolve these issues soon because the more problems they face, the less demand there will be for this luxury electric car. 

2012 Fisker Karma interior

Monday, March 12, 2012

Nissan Juke-R

After looking at the above picture you might be asking yourself what that pray mantis faced hatchback is doing in the same picture as a Lamborghini Gallardo and a Mercedes SLS. You may even think that some poor mom got lost in the wrong neighborhood and is now being chased by bad guys in supercars. Well maybe you should take a closer look at the license plate of the oddball out front. It says Juke-R. And what else does Nissan make that ends with an R? That’s right, the GT-R. But there can’t possibly be any other similarities between the two, right? Wrong. In fact, this flat black monster has been packed full of the GT-R’s insides. So that means it has the same 3.8 liter, twin turbo, 480 hp engine that the GT-R sports. It also has the same transmission, suspension, and brakes as the GT-R which means that not only does this thing blaze from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds and conquer the ¼ mile in 11.9, but it also obliterates the track. Aside from a little body roll this thing eats corners alive. Nissan Europe commissioned for 2 of these bad boys to be built and the work was done by RML Group’s Motorsports division who has created many other engineering masterpieces. While Nissan originally claimed these were the only two they’d make, recent news makes it sound like a production Juke-R isn’t completely out of the question. So if you ever see a Juke pull up next to a Lambo at a stop light, sit back and enjoy the awesomeness because it might be a closer race than you think.

Check out Car and Driver's article for more details and a ton of pics.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Geneva Showstoppers

Auto shows give automakers a chance to create mindblowing cars that attract immense amounts of attention. The Geneva Autoshow is a prime example of this. Car manufacturers from all around the world gather to show off their newest and most daring creations. But there’s always those few truly unbelievable, almost ridiculous cars that the cameras seem to be attached to. Not surprisingly the new Chevy Cruze wagon was not one of these cars. Check out which ones stole the spotlight at the Geneva Auto Show this year.

Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse
Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse Front Three Quarter.JPG Hey let’s see if we can make a 1000 hp car. All right let’s do it. That’s about how the Bugatti Veyron came into existence back in 2005 and it’s been breaking records ever since. The Super Sport Veyron currently holds the world record for fastest production car with a top speed of 268 mph. Bugatti decided the Vitesse (French for “speed”) needed a little more power so after tweaking the engine they managed to pull out an insane 1200 hp. That’s double what most supercars today have. And about 8 times as much as a normal compact car. While this beautiful convertible is very easy on the eyes it won’t be so easy on the wallet with an estimated price tag of between 2 and 3 million bucks. So if you’re interested you better start saving your pennies, and benjamins.

Lamborghini Aventador J           
Lamboghini Aventador J Front Left View Lamborghini decided to attract even more attention to their already popular Aventador by chopping the top off and turning it into a speedster. They call it the J. Don’t ask me what that stands for because I have no idea, but that’s not really the important thing here. Just take a look at it. From the missing windshield to the alien like rear view mirror to the wing on the back it just looks fierce and dangerous. If demons drove cars I’m certain they would look very similar to this. Twelve cylinder 700 hp supercars are pretty dangerous as is but when you chop the top completely off it propels this car into a new realm of chaos. While this is only a concept car it’s a good indicator that Lamborghini will eventually produce a convertible version of the Aventador.

Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible Front Three Quarter
The Range Rover Evoque became an instant sensation when it was released last year. This little brother to the Range Rover is currently offered as either a 4 door or a coupe. Or a convertible? Land Rover introduced a convertible version of the Evoque at the auto show and for a convertible crossover it looked surprisingly good.  While only adding 165 lbs and maintaining the beautiful lines of the body and the terrific interior it seems like this could be a winner. This also was just a concept but it sounds like the convertible Evoque will most likely be available for purchase within 2 years.

So there ya have it. A few of the most extreme and innovative cars that were presented at this years Geneva Auto Show, and they all happened to be convertibles. So if you live in a place where shorts and flip flops are worn year round then maybe you should consider purchasing one of these beauties. Or you can just daydream about them like the rest of us.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Better boom for the zoom zoom

Mazda has always been known for their sporty, well performing, yet affordable cars. From the small Mazda 3 to one of their biggest vehicles, the CX-9, they all seem to offer the driver a very enjoyable driving experience. But in a world where “efficiency” is becoming increasingly important, is it even possible to go fast and use less fuel at the same time? The answer is yes. Many companies have recently introduced new technologies that give their vehicles more or equal power while increasing fuel economy. Mazda calls their new technology Skyactiv and they claim it has given their vehicles a 15% increase in fuel efficiency and torque. So how did these Japanese geniuses accomplish such a feat? The secret lies in the high compression ratio in their new engines.

Now the more research I did the more complicated everything got so I’ll try to avoid most of the mumbo jumbo and just give you the important parts. Most engines have a compression ratio of 10:1 which means that when the piston is at the top of its stroke in a 1000cc combustion chamber, the chamber has been reduced to 100cc. Hence 10:1. The new Skyactiv engine has an impressive 14:1 compression ratio.The reason a larger compression ratio is such a good thing is because it enables the engine to use more of the energy that it produces. This better use of energy is what causes the boost in torque and fuel efficiency. So why doesn’t every company use these high compression engines? Well with the increased compression comes the added risk of engine knocking. Engine knocking is when the air-fuel mixture ignites too early due to the higher temperatures and pressure within the combustion chamber. Mazda came up with some creative solutions to this problem including a 4-2-1 exhaust system and piston cavities. These help reduce the temperature within the chamber so that ignition occurs at the exact time it needs to.  Enough with the technicalities, the important thing is how much torque and what kind of fuel economy these new engines produce. The new 2.0 liter Skyactiv engine puts out 148 lb-ft of torque and can get up to 40 mpg highway. That’s not a bad increase from the previous 2.0 liter which produced 135 lb-ft of torque and only 33 mpg highway. With their new Skyactiv technology Mazda has given me a renewed hope that the future won’t be full of just Toyota Prius’ and Nissan Leaf’s, but that we might actually be able to maintain the joy of driving a sporty car while also achieving fuel efficiency.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Ferrari Fantasies


Every ten year old boy has a dream car. The one he hangs posters of on his bedroom wall and fantasizes about one day driving. Let’s get real though, that dream follows most of us right into manhood. And while our wives might not let us hang pictures of it in the bedroom, its image and sound is still burned into the testosterone pumping part of our brains. The car that takes up most of my daydreaming is the Ferrari 458. Since the first one I saw on the British autoholic show “Top Gear” I’ve been thinking of ways to become an overnight millionaire so I can buy one. I’ve never seen a more beautiful car than the 458. Well now Ferrari is trying to steal that dream from me and replace it with the newest addition to their lineup; the F12 Berlinetta. The F12 is Ferrari’s replacement for the 599 GTB Fiorano which has been in production since 2006. While the F12 has a similar shape to that of its predecessor, hints of the 458 and the FF are present in the headlights and grill. It even shares the same 12 cylinder engine as the FF that produces an astounding 730 horsepower. Let me repeat that one more time, 730 horsepower. I guess 700 is the new 600. In addition to the added power this new model has been on the Atkins diet and shed 370 lbs. More power and less weight, sounds like a winner to me. It’s also shorter, slimmer, and lower than the GTB. Ferrari claims a 0-62 time of 3.1 seconds with a top speed of 211 mph which is impressive to say the least. But is it enough to steal my heart? Not yet. While the  F12 Berlinetta will likely be an incredible car, for now the 458 still rules my dreams day and night.

F12 Berlinetta