The Golf R carries on the torch, held by the R32 before it, as the ultimate Volkswagen Golf. The R32 first came on the scene in 2002, sharing most of its mechanical features with the top spec Audi TT. It was placed above the famous GTI in the Golf lineup, and offered a bigger VR6 engine that sent power to all four wheels, opposed to just the front in the GTI. The Golf R has changed from the original R32 in many of its details, but still offers the same package in the modern lineup. America was not originally supposed to receive the Golf R when it debuted in 2010, but there was so much outspoken demand for the car that they were landing on our shores by the spring of 2012. This is a car I have been wanting to test for a while now, and as it turned out my family decided to buy another Volkswagen. So after we committed to the buy, I asked if I could have a drive in the Golf R to sweeten the deal a little, and they were more than happy to oblige. Read the rest of this entry »
Nirvana is a state of absolute peace. A realm of balance where one is content with who they are, and what they have. Thoughts of the future and past are to be cast aside in favor of finding joy in what the current moment has to offer. It is this concept that I feel defines the character of the Scion FRS. It is a car that forgoes excess in any one aspect in order to focus on pure driving enjoyment alone. Yes I realize the paradox of comparing a material item to the Buddhist concept of absolute tranquility, one that is supposed to be free of worldly desires. However, if you look at the FRS as a car amongst other cars, then I think you will see what I mean.
I love the Carrera GT. It is one of the last truly raw supercars, on that requires a skilled driver to even operate. It is also one of the best sounding cars ever made in my opinion, with its racing-derived V10. Leave it to Porsche to make something absolutely epic in an era where safety and electronics were taking over the supercar realm. It is always a treat to see a Carrera GT in person because, aside from its performance, it is also a classically beautiful car with nice curves and proportions. The more time passes, and the more new cars come out with all sorts of complex technology, the more I find myself drawn to the Carrera GT. In hindsight it is likely one of the last “pure” supercars to be produced, and for me that makes it more appealing than an Enzo or SLR Mclaren (top competitors of the 2000s supercar boom). This one was at the Concours d’ Elegance of America in Detroit, Michigan. Enjoy the pics.
There is a wonderful array of legitimately fun cars available for under $30k these days. Ford has had the Mustang available for for those who like high horsepower and rear wheel drive, but now they have added a different flavor to their pallet. Meet the Focus ST, a turbocharged hot hatch from the European market now hitting US shores for the first time. Over in Europe the Ford Focus has been a benchmark setter for some time now, acclaimed by everyone as a fantastic car. Here in America we have always had a different, much more mediocre version… until now. Knowing this, and having recently driven many of the ST’s competitors, I went to go see how it stacked up from behind the wheel. Read the rest of this entry »
A Wankel, or rotary, engine is a bit of an automotive conundrum these days. It is a technology with some very distinctive pros and cons, making it very controversial amongst car people. In fact, Mazda is the only company that has dabbled with it in modern production cars, and the RX8 just recently went out of production. The rotary is the trademark feature of their RX line of sports cars, in the same way that a rear engine design is the hallmark of the Porsche 911. I got my first taste of a rotary when I reviewed the RX8, and I thought it was quite fun. So when my friend Shane told me I could borrow his ’91 RX7 convertible for the afternoon, while he was at work, I jumped at the opportunity. Sunny day, convertible sports car, rev happy Wankel motor, it sounded like a great time to me.
The Stance Movement has become quite a big thing in recent years. For those unfamiliar with the trend it is sort of like a neo-lowrider thing. People have been taking cars of all sorts and dropping them down as low as they can go, all in the name of “Stance”. Nowhere is this fad bigger than in the Volkswagen crowd, as can be seen at a host of water themed events that take place all over the country. My friend Justin spent months scouring the forums to find a slammed VW of his own, and he finally found the clean ’98 GTI you see here. He was nice enough to let me take it out recently so I could see what a slammed car is all about from the driver seat. What followed was a very interesting experience. Read the rest of this entry »
Volkswagen’s Jetta is one of the old reliable pals of the automotive world, a solid everyday package for everyday people. In America Jettas have always been seen as a slightly nicer, better built alternative to Japanese and American compact cars. Volkswagen means “people’s car” in German, and the Jetta continues to be an exemplary specimen of those ideals. The Jetta you see here is not just any Jetta though, this is the GLI, the hot version. In the VW lineup GLI is to Jetta as GTI is to Golf, and they are basically the same car other than the body style. I liked the GTI when I drove it against the Beetle Turbo last year, but I wanted to see how the package transferred to the larger Jetta platform. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
I just saw Chris Harris’ new video on Drive where he informed us he had sold his Porsche GT3 RS 4.0 and had bought a Ferrari 599. While I understand his motives, this made me wonder if he had just made a financial mistake that he would regret for the rest of his life. I have talked to far too many people with the same story, “If only I had held onto that (now incredibly valuable car) I had back then…”. You see, looking forward I think that the 997 series of GT 911s may well be a pinnacle generation for Porsche, just as the 993s were, being the last air-cooled cars.
Rumors have been circulating that there will come a time when GT series 911s will no longer be available with a clutch pedal, and it could even happen soon with the 991. Porsche has already wet their feet in this approach with the 997 Turbo S, which was only offered with their PDK transmission. Paddle shift gearboxes have basically become the norm for high performance cars, and they are undoubtedly faster on the track. So, is there any reason to doubt these rumors? Unfortunately not, and that could make the 997 GTs some of the most sought after Porsches in the future.
This is especially so of the top spec RS models, cars that had very limited production. The GT2 RS and the GT3 RS 4.0 will command the highest amounts for sure, but I see more normal GT3 RSs and standard GT3s appreciating as well. Sure I expect the 991 GT3 RS to be faster and more powerful than the 997 RS 4.0, but without the manual it will never offer the same sort of experience. A similar situation can be seen today where 991 Carrera Ss match the power and performance of the old 993 Turbos, but the 993s still command the same money as a new 991 and will definitely continue to appreciate whereas the 991s will not.
Whenever there is a big change in the Porsche 911, enthusiasts tend to respond with skepticism and turn to the best of the old 911s with their money. It happened with the death of air-cooling, and I believe it will happen again with the death of the manual transmission. So if you are in the market comparing your options, it may be smarter to buy that GT3 RS, or GT2 instead of a Ferrari 430 or Lambo Gallardo right about now. We will see what happens, but you may thank me in a few years.
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 »
The HemiCuda is my favorite “muscle car” bar none, and occupies a spot on my most coveted list of cars. It has everything I look for in American Muscle; an epic motor (The legendary 426 Hemi), an badass name (Barracuda), cool features (the pistolgrip manual shifter), and awesome, cartoonish styling that brings out childish enthusiasm. The car you see here is pretty much my ideal ‘Cuda, exactly as I just described. Being a ’71 Hemi ‘Cuda, this car is worth a fortune (at least $400k, and climbing) because only a handful were built due to lower demand in its day. That makes it just as unattainable as every other car on my most coveted list, and a real treat to behold in person. Enjoy the epic badassary….
Ten years ago if someone had told me that Hyundai would soon be making sports and luxury cars I would have laughed in their face. Hyundai was basically the poster child for offensively cheap cars that people would only buy because they couldn’t afford a Honda or Toyota. Over the next decade though, Hyundai would make one hell of an effort toward improvement, becoming one of the best real values on the market. I have been a huge fan of Hyundai in recent years, applauding their innovation and commitment to quality in their drive up market. The Genesis Coupe you see here is one of the cars that helped vastly step their game up, a fast sports car from a company with little racing history. It couldn’t possibly be that good, could it? Read the rest of this entry »