I have yet to meet an owner of a Mazdaspeed3 (MS3) who didn’t legitimately love their car. Something about the car seems to inspire people, they always have that “I know something you don’t” smirk on their face. Mazdas have always had a good sporting dynamic to them, but the enthusiasm that owners seem to have about this car goes beyond that. I have always known about the MS3, but somehow, while I’ve been out driving all sorts of fun cars over the years, it has eluded me. So recently, I decided it was time I take one out for a spin to see what these owners are so smug about. Read the rest of this entry »
The new Dart is the first car to market that is truly a joint effort between Fiat and Chrysler. The chassis and mechanicals come straight from the European Alfa Romeo Giulietta, while the exterior, interior, and Tigershark engines are all American. This is a critical product for Chrysler, one that will serve as a first impression for their alliance with Fiat, and the things to come. I went in to find out for myself if this new car marked a positive beginning for “Second Half America”, or a fumbled, Frankenstein-like creation from two companies caught in their own financial struggles. In many ways I felt a lot was riding on this drive when I stepped into this hot blue Dart. Read the rest of this entry »
By now most of us car folks know that BMW has been working on a line of front wheel drive cars, but today it has basically become official. I saw on Jalopnik that BMW will launch their first front drive car at the Paris Motor Show later this year. For me this marks the end of an era for BMW because they have finally made the commitment to stray from the ideals that made their great name. This is on top the fact that their entire line of cars has been getting bigger, heavier, and softer in recent years. In my opinion there are also no “true” M cars right now either, as all of the current ones put luxury as the priority over proper driving dynamics, when traditionally it was the other way around (see the fake engine noises in the M5). BMW has been going soft for some time now, whilst catering to the yuppy, poser crowd that just wants a status symbol in their driveway; the same people who buy X6s, X3s and whatnot. I see this as the end of an era for BMW because by making a front drive car they are showing their priority commitment to this plastic sort of customer at the expense of the brand’s own established identity and their previous customer base. BMW has always been about driving pleasure, now they are more about being a fashion accessory; going a similar route Toyota did back in the early 00s with the “green” stuff. They will likely be financially successful, but the BMW brand will have lost its significant reputation, in favor of becoming a cliché trademark of superficial and insincere culture. Cherish the memories folks, as there were some really great times over the years.
PS: Buy late model M cars soon because they will likely all be appreciating within a few years. I could’ve had an E30 M3 for 7k when I first got my license, now I’m kicking myself.
The Chevy Sonic comes from a line of shamelessly terrible econo-boxes. The first generation Aveo made car lovers cringe every time they saw one, and the Sonic is its replacement. So, things don’t look good for the Sonic if its family tree is anything to go by, but thankfully it seems the Sonic was adopted. Up front I will tell you that this car is a vast improvement, and tangible evidence of GM’s improvement over the last few years. I had seen the Sonic at a few car shows, and I thought it was pretty cool for what it was, but other than that I never gave it too much consideration. Then I recently started seeing comparison tests in magazines pitting the Sonic against the Fiat 500 Abarth and the Mini Cooper S, which peaked my interest big time. Read the rest of this entry »
Definitely had a turbocharger, but I’m not sure what motor he had in it. It is always fun to see a bumperless 240 rolling around in public with just a big intercooler up front. The 240 crowd is an interesting bunch, and I respect their love for making most people go “huh?”. Cool Car, more pics below.
Chrysler’s Superbowl ad with Clint Eastwood was a nice way to incite faith that the American auto industry will recover. Chrysler has shown much improvement in the last few years, and as soon as I saw the new Dodge Dart I knew they were on the right track. It is based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, meaning its European roots should make it much more attractive than the Civic or the Corolla, which are both shamelessly boring at this point. There is however another market segment that exists with cars in that segment, one where engines are turbocharged, suspensions are stiffened, and priority is given to high MPH over high MPG. Dodge has competed here before with their SRT-4 Neon and Caliber, and everyone is eagerly awaiting the Dart SRT-4 in the next few years. Prior SRT-4s were relics of first half America though, the one that had to be bailed out, so the question is now, what should the SRT-4 of the second half be like?
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In BBC Top Gear Jeremy Clarkson was amazed at what the Fiat 500 Abarth felt like with 160hp. Well Italian tuner Romeo Ferraris thought that that was still a bit weak, so they upped the ante to 300hp… in that same car the size of a shoe. All of that turbocharged power sent to the front wheel will surely make this thing quite a handful to drive, and it is outfitted as such. The interior looks to be quite racy but somehow they decided a touch of luxury alcantara would be necessary as well. Romeo Ferraris (yes, a name bordering on infringing the rights of two Italian automakers) seems to be a force to be reckoned with. If they are crazy enough to make a Fiat 500 like this, then I can only imagine what they would do with other cars. Be sure to keep an eye on them. More pics below. Read the rest of this entry »