Recently, I was reading the May 2013 issue of European Car that featured a Lamborghini Gallardo on the cover. The horsepower figure said 1200. That is a smorgasbord of power. But this wasn’t the first time I’d seen such powerful cars being exhibited. I’ve come across various YouTube videos of 1,200 horsepower Lambos, 900 Horsepower GTRs, the list just goes on; name any supercar and I’ve probably seen a 1,000 horsepower version of it somewhere.
On paper, these monstrous machines seem awe-inspiring, the type of car that has the sort of performance to make the hair on the back of your neck to give a standing ovation. But in the real world, well it’s a bit of a different story.
Those of you familiar with this site probably know that my family recently purchased Volkswagen’s new Jetta Hybrid. So far we have loved everything about the car, and it has proven capable of delivering on VW’s MPG claims. I have even seen as high as 53mpg average on some trips, and that means VW has managed to out-do the Toyota Prius. I say that because the Jetta is also an extremely competent performing car in all other respects aside from gas mileage. They’ve used a turbocharged engine in it, so it has enough squirt to get out of its own way. The Jetta Hybrid also happens to handle extremely well because it has the same suspension architecture as the Jetta GLI. Where most hybrids tend to be extremely compromised in all aspects besides fuel economy, the Jetta Hybrid manages to be extremely well rounded while also seeing the same sort of MPG as the hybrid pimp-daddy, the Prius. So now I have to wonder, what could VW do if they really decided to focus a car on fuel economy to the same degree Toyota has done?
It just so happens that VW already has all of the tools it would need to create the ultimate economy car. The answer is a painfully obvious one, yet it the bean counters have been avoiding it because it may upset their current marketing scheme. I am talking about VW making a diesel hybrid.
The recession had a serious effect on the American automobile market. We all know what happened to the Big Three. However, there are a few small Japanese companies that are definitely worth mentioning because they seem to hang on either by a thread, or by a sizable rope, in the US domestic market. Subaru, Mazda, Suzuki, and Mitsubishi are the four non-major Japanese players in the US market. Well, they were. One of these four announced late on November 5, 2012 that they were pulling their automotive arm from the US market. So, allow me to say…and then there were three. But soon, I think there will be two. Read the rest of this entry »
After an early wakeup, an unexpected overnight stay, and a bus trip I’d rather not talk about, I found myself amongst the thousands of others who had also flocked to 2013’s edition of the New York International Auto Show. Having endured the exhausting trials of the trip to the Big Apple and being dragged to a late-night Broadway show by mom (although seeing Ferris Bueller in person can’t necessarily be complained about), I was ecstatic to finally be standing with the sorts of cars that I had only previously seen in pictures and read about in magazines.
One car in particular stood out among the rest; that controversial Porsche 991 GT3 has been the topic of an immeasurable amount of cooler talk conversations. Granted, it doesn’t look all that different from the 997 GT3, but the knowledge of all the differences under the body frame was what made seeing the car in person so special. So, after cramming my cell phone’s memory card full with photos of the car, I took a moment to stand back and examine the car – including a gander into the tinted windows to take a peek at those notorious paddle shifters.
If you watched the 2013 Sebring 12 Hour race, you already know that Corvette won. If you didn’t watch the 2013 Sebring 12 Hour race, the vibrant, yellow Corvettes with the brutal and grunty V8 engines won the 61st edition of the 12 hour endurance race held in Florida every year. However, if you watched the race, you also know that in order to win, Corvette Racing had to endure some nerve-wrecking technical difficulties rather early on in the event that forced the #3 Corvette Racing car to retire. Luckily, the #4 team was able to look past the problems of their sister car and provide an exhilarating final few hours on their march to victory while ‘Vette Racing lovers slowly but surely recovered from their mini heart attacks.
It also, however, caused me to think a bit about the growing change in the complexity of racing cars. And unfortunately, not all teams have been able to overcome non-driver-error technical difficulties like Corvette Racing did, resulting in disappointment among the team’s fans and racing lovers alike (let alone the team itself). With that being said, I asked myself: ‘Is there too much technology in today’s racing cars?’
There have been rumors for a while now that Porsche will be replacing the six cylinder engines in their lower-end models with turbocharged four cylinders. This would follow their recent downsizing move with the Panamera S models, where they replaced the 4.6L V8 with a twin turbo 3.0L V6. Porsche already has a history with four cylinder engines from their 912, 924, 944 and 968 models, so this move would be far from unprecedented. I myself have a lot of personal experience with the topic at hand. I learned to drive on a Porsche 944 S2, the 7 years I have owned my Subaru STi have given me a lot of insight into the performance merits of turbocharged engines, and I have also sampled many modern Porsches through my work for this website. So putting all of this together, I feel I can offer a very well rounded opinion on this issue. I also have some wonderful ideas for where it could take things in the future.
Controversy isn’t rare when it comes to the automotive industry. There’s not a manufacturer on earth that hasn’t made something that, to put it nicely, didn’t quite stick. However, I think it’s fair to say that we’ve not seen such a controversial topic as Porsche’s new 991 GT3 for quite some time.
Now if you’ve for some reason had your head fully submerged in a pit of mud, let me explain why this new GT3 is so controversial. Recently, Porsche has been equipping it’s freshest sports cars with the company’s own PDK gearbox. Along with the new electric power steering, Porsche’s latest creations have received quite an earful of complaints from nostalgic Porsche fanboys concerning the paddle-shifters located behind the shining steering wheels. And when Porsche came out and said that the new GT3 would also be equipped with the PDK twin-clutch gearbox, the automotive world’s close followers erupted into an immense amount of complaints about the car.
Even after evo magazine released an almost twenty minute long interview with Porsche GT3 head Andreas Preuninger, and other online magazines also did their best to convince the growing population of groaning car enthusiasts that the car could still be great, many still remained unconvinced (keeping in mind that no one’s actually driven the car yet).
However, the new GT3 is not alone. It seems that the conversion of manual ‘box cars to semi-automatic, paddle-shifting machines is a growing trend in the realm of sports cars. Car after car, more and more companies are pressing on and equipping drivers with the flappy paddles as standard, and sometimes, it is the only option. So, taking this into careful consideration, what can be said about the future of the sports car? Where will manual ‘box cars be within the next two decades? Where will paddle-shifting cars be within the next twenty years? It’s a growing concern among many, and they’re all dying to find the answer.
Today was the first day of Spring, and the weather, while still a bit chilly by most standards, was nice enough to take my MX5 Miata out for some roofless fun. I met up with my friend Dan, whose photos have been featured on this site many times, and we went for a nice long drive, two Miatas tearing hard through the woods. This was one of those days where you just forget everything else in your life, and enjoy cruising along. For me, such cruising is like a form of meditation, very in the moment, and focused on enjoying the little things in life. An MX5 allows you to enjoy the world even more, because with the top down you are truly outside, connected with your surroundings. Toward the end of the drive I had a huge grin on my face, and I got to thinking about exactly what it is that makes this car so great, for so many people. Read the rest of this entry »
Recently, I found myself engaged in a conversation with my non-car enthusiast friend about the current state of the automobile. The engaging talk was mainly comprised of a light-hearted debate about things such as hybrids and sports cars. That is, until, my good pal took it a step beyond. After I brought up a brief reference to a Lamborghini, my friend decided to ask me, notorious for my obsession with high-powered, noisy, speed freak machines, “What’s a supercar good for, they’re not economical or very comfortable, what’s their purpose?”
Immediately after hearing this, a few lone drops of the cold, deliciously carbonated Mountain Dew that I was sipping on at the time, wandered down the wrong pipe. My friend, realizing what he had just said, suddenly had a change in face and, as his eyes widened, realized that a long lecture was on hand.
BMW has always held a special place in my list of carmakers. After the end of WWII, they were in tatters, like the other German car companies. But, in the 1960s and 1970s, their commitment to making cars that could make the driver grin endlessly (for a price) gave them a reputation of being a bit of an upper middle class car guy’s hero, in that for the price of a Cadillac or a Mercedes sedan, you could get a car that was capable of brightening your melancholy day with just a squeeze of the gas pedal and a turn of the wheel. But that was nearly 40 years ago, and based on what I’m seeing in the news (and what I’ve driven in the past year or two), I’m skeptical of their old motto. Read the rest of this entry »
Mercedes-Benz isn’t all what it seems. While some may mock it for expanding the E-Class range to a coupe and a convertible, and some may question it for offering AWD on the AMG products, no one will see me on that side of the line. In fact, I’m the one doing the slow clap. Mercedes is taking a lesson from its rivals, Audi and BMW, and using the best of what it’s learning. The German luxury market is changing, and Mercedes is keeping up with it in an exemplary way–but the new E63 is proof that they’ve got their ears to the streets and listening to the good word. Read the rest of this entry »
Happy New year everyone! On this first day of 2013 I would like to take a look back at 2012, both for us at MoM and for cars in general. Below are my general thoughts on the industry this past year, as well as my favorite cars I have driven this year, and of course a gallery of some of my favorite moments from 2012. Lets revisit this great year one more time before we set out into 2013…