This is a big moment for American auto industry, one that can mark a turning point toward success or a continued trend of let downs in the luxury market. Obviously the big comparison is with the BMW 3 series, and I have been very unimpressed with the comparisons done by large publications so far (favoritism and bias run rampant over objectivism and sense). So, I went out and drove the ATS and BMW 3 series back to back to see what I thought from the driver seat. I’m not going to string you along, I liked the Cadillac better, and I will explain why in the paragraphs that follow. 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 »
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.
My family and I had this Mercedes C180 Estate for two weeks during our recent trip to Germany. Here in America we have the Mercedes C class, but we do not have the wagon version nor the C180 model, so it was cool to try something a bit different. I have driven a few previous generation C classes over the years, however this was my first experience with the current generation, and this car was fitted with many of Mercedes’ newer gizmos and gadgets. So all in all this C180 offered many new things for me as an American driver, including driving in Germany for the first time. Read the rest of this entry »
While in Zurich it seemed as if the Swiss did not buy any non-RS Audi models, they were literally everywhere. I know many of our European viewers may find these cars a bit normal, but we don’t get these RS models in America so it was quite a thrill to see them for me. Hopefully Audi will wake up and realize they could sell double the number of RS models if they would just offer the full line of them on the US market. Either way it was cool to finally see the V10 RS6 up close, as well as the RS5, and B5 RS4; epic cars. Enjoy the pics.
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 »
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 »
The Evo 8 was the first version of the famed Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution to hit US shores back in 2003, following the success of Subaru’s WRX Imprezas in years prior. The Evo was a different sort of animal though, offering 271hp to the WRX’s 227hp as well as a higher level of technology in its all wheel drive system. The Evo became the car to beat in 2003, so much so that Subaru decided to bring its WRX STi to the US for 2004. The Evo offers a simple but effective package; on the surface it is just a tweaked version of a Japanese economy sedan, but in its day it could also rival many serious performance cars like Porsche’s, M3s, and Corvettes. My friend Pete, has a 2005 Evo 8, and every so often he lets me get behind the wheel, so after a recent drive I finally felt like I had enough to put pen to paper on the car. Read the rest of this entry »
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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