Driving the Audi RS 3

I was able to spend a little time in this immaculate Stage 1+ Audi RS3 this week. Some details are still top secret, but what I can say is that I’m totally in love with this car.

I’ve driven hundreds of very cool and fun cars over the years and I’m struggling to think of a more complete package than this. Literally every aspect of the RS3 experience I’d categorize as “great,” not just “good.”

It’s got substantial power, the tune gets it into the 500bhp range, and it’s 5 cylinder engine is so unique. It feels so brilliantly turbocharged, with just enough spool time to let the anticipation build before all hell breaks loose. It also had AWE’s SwitchPath Exhaust on it, so it had a substantial 5 cylinder roar when I got on the gas and some lovely pops and burbles when I let off. The stock exhaust is okay, but the amount the AWE system opens it up both power and sound wise, it would be a must have for me.

In addition to the power and sound the RS3’s handling and driving dynamics are right on-point. A lot of cars out there are fast, but the real X-factor for me is the feeling of connection between me, the car, and the road. Through corners the RS3 felt telepathic with immediate steering and nice feel coming through from the road surface. It’s a proper rally-inspired back road attack machine.

The RS3’s S tronic gearbox is also crisp as can be. Part of me would still want a manual in a car like this, but it’d need to be a really great manual for it to be preferable to the S tronic. Normal shit just wouldn’t do.

I loved how special and hardcore the RS3 felt in Dynamic Mode, it’s a proper thrill ride experience. I also loved how it was able to relax in Comfort Mode and be a genuinely livable small sedan with a nice and comfortable interior. It never feels like a normal car, though. Its always a wolf, never a sheep, which is good.

This is one of the few cars I’ve driven where I have literally zero complaints. It may be a little small for some people, but that also allows it to drive and handle in a way that a bigger car just can’t match. For me, this is as close to the perfect single car as I’ve experienced.

– Nick

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Nostalgia Time

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This is my favorite photo of my STI, capturing it at its peak. This car is so satisfying on so many levels and, being my first car, it has a ton of sentimental value for me.

I think I still see it for what it was during my high school and college years. It was a helluva car to have during my youth, and I literally got to live out that dream of being the young guy with the fast car. And quite fast it was in the era before most cars had turbos, say 2006-2012ish.

My car with light mods and tuning had around 400hp, and performed a little better than an Audi RS4 at the time (lighter, better handling, more torque, more usable power). Sure there were plenty of faster cars out there, but I was faster than most of the common stuff, 4.6 Mustangs, 4.2 S4s, 350/370Zs, GTOs, and E46 M3s were not fucking with me. Even lightly modded Evos would fall back on a top end pull. And the races I lost, I usually hung on to some respectable stuff. I was only 1-2 car lengths behind a CTS-V Coupe at 130mph. It was real world fast, and fast enough to scare people in some pretty serious cars, Ferrari 360s, Porsche 911s, etc.

It was a crazy car in a relatively much simpler time, back when horsepower figures were only just starting to jump. Now many cars are easily this fast, either stock or with light mods. The bar has now been raised, but for six years of my youth, I was dangerous on the streets. I’m lucky and thankful that I experienced that back when I was young and dumb enough to really enjoy it. And as a bonus, I managed not to hurt anything but a few feelings along the way (especially the Mustang guys, their tears were always the sweetest 😂). Call that a win!

-Nick

A Supercar with Massaging Seats, the BMW F90 M5

The BMW F90 M5 is like the Millennium Falcon. It’s big and can haul lots of cargo, it has lots of extra features and tech, and it’s also the fastest ship in the galaxy.

Continue reading A Supercar with Massaging Seats, the BMW F90 M5

Impressions from the Jaguar I-Pace

The Jaguar I-Pace is the first electric car I’ve driven that I could actually see myself owning, and I say this having driven some of the fast Teslas.

I just found the Jag a better all around package. See, I’m not a fan of the idea of an electric sports car at all… totally ruins the point IMO. That said, I love the idea of having an electric daily driver, and the I-Pace just seemed to fit my taste a bit better than the Teslas.

Continue reading Impressions from the Jaguar I-Pace

A quick spin in a ‘67 GTO

The GTO was the original Muscle Car and I got to take this beautiful ‘67 for a spin last week. This was my second time driving a 60s era muscle car, and first time in one that was an actual “muscle car” and not technically a “pony car.”

The GTO is a big comfortable cruiser with a big 400ci V8 that’s got some good pull and a ton of character. While definitely not fast by modern standards, the GTO did deliver the muscle car experience I was looking for, cruising around, looking good, with the soundtrack of a V8 rumbling or roaring. It really is an ideal boulevard cruiser, and that’s what the classic muscle cars were all about.

This GTO had the 3 speed auto, but in a big cruiser like this, I was more than fine with that. What I wasn’t fine with were the drum brakes, which really just don’t work in the modern world. Even at a safe following distance, if the soccer mom in front of you decides to slam on her brakes for a squirrel, you pretty little GTO will be toast. All drum brakes do is add a huge amount of un-needed anxiety to an otherwise quite pleasurable driving experience. I’d advise anyone looking to drive their GTO to convert to disc brakes ASAP, and save the originals for when you sell the car.

Save for the terror of the lack of brakes, I really enjoyed driving this GTO. It was a beautiful spec and it made me feel like a real bad muthafucka behind the wheel.

-Nick

Porsche GT2 RS in Miami Blue at Porsche of Princeton

Stopped by Porsche of Princeton in NJ recently. I saw this GT2 RS in the window a few days earlier and I had to get a few pics. The ultimate 911 in the best color. Absolutely unreal on its own, but they actually have 3 GT2 RSs on the showroom floor right now.

Continue reading Porsche GT2 RS in Miami Blue at Porsche of Princeton

1968 Dodge Charger at the Fall 2018 Cars and Caffe

When it comes to the Bergen County Cars and Caffe meet held twice a year at the truly enormous Garden State Plaza shopping mall (home to a crowded IKEA with 30% screaming children and 60% exasperated parents), muscle cars are typically under-represented. Those that do show, however, are very strong examples as per the rest of the field for the day. This fully-prepped Charger was running around the outside perimeter, and being a Mopar addict, I just had to shoot it. The black paint, fetching chrome wheels, and evil exhaust note brought this sleek beauty to life around the mall.

My Biggest Surprise in the Ferrari 612

Driving a Ferrari 612 on such a tight track was an eye-opening experience for me. This is a big V12 GT car meant for the open road, how on Earth did Ferrari make it handle so light and nimbly on a small track with some areas only a little bigger than an autocross? And how did the car give me so much confidence after just getting to know it that I was comfortable taking the chicane that splits up the main straight flat, reaching 200kph (124mph) on the back straight before diving into the hairpin?

Looking at this track, you wouldn’t think that sort of speed would be possible from a big car like this. The 612 should have been totally out of its element here, but it was so willing the change direction, and so nicely balanced, that it actually felt right at home. I was enthralled by Ferrari when I first drove the 430 Scuderia on track, but this 612 sold me for good on their ability to make any car drive as it should. Just as the Scuderia did, the 612 seemed to connect right to my brain stem, and driving it felt more telepathic than artificial. The fact that they could do that with a big 2 ton GT car is unbelievable. Most big GTs I’ve driven don’t really get past being merely competent in tight corners, but this 612 was genuinely playful. I remain blown away by it. And that V12!! 🎶🎶🎶

-Nick

The BMW i8 is basically what the DeLorean would’ve been

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The BMW i8 is today a lot like the DeLorean was in the early 80s.

While not nearly the political phenomenon the DeLorean was, in the market it occupies the exact same slot: a spaceship-looking car with epic doors that doesn’t perform nearly as good as it looks. In fact, the ratio of the i8’s power compared to the Ferrari 488’s is nearly identical to that of the DeLorean compared to a Ferrari 308.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually really love the i8 for what it is, and I enjoyed cruising around in the sapphire blue one you see above. But the i8’s party piece is its appearance rather than its performance. It’s only about as fast as a stage 2 Subaru, but it will turn as many heads in town as a Koenigsegg, especially in an insane color like this. We actually had a guy push his stroller into a curb because he was so fixated on our i8 just sitting at a red light.

The i8 is really is a concept car you can buy, but it’s more for casual drivers than enthusiasts in terms of the driving experience it offers. Also just like the DeLorean ⛄️

-Nick

Highlights from the 2019 Philadelphia Auto Show

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The Philly Auto Show was great this year. We got to see some of the hottest new industry offerings, and the CF Charities hypercar exhibit was better than ever this year. It’s always a bright spot for us Northeastern car folks in the dead of Winter. Enjoy!

Continue reading Highlights from the 2019 Philadelphia Auto Show

Maybach in its last days

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I was lucky enough to take this 57S out for a spin just a few months before Maybach folded. It was always my preference to a Rolls Phantom as a kid looking through DuPont Registry, but on my 2011 trip to Pebble Beach I drove this Maybach back to back with two Rolls Royce’s and my opinion totally changed.

The Maybach was awesome in so many ways, but it never really shakes it’s S-Class roots. But behind the wheel it drove exactly like a W220 S Class, just a little bigger and with a lot more power. It was nowhere near the unique driving experience you get in a Rolls. After driving this car, I understood why the brand was folding. It just wasn’t quite distinctive enough for those who want the opposite of a regular experience.

-Nick

Driving my first modern Jag

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The first modern Jag I ever drove was this mental XKR-S. One of just 300, it also remains one of the rarest cars I’ve driven.

I knew it would be fast with its 550hp supercharged V8, but at the time, I hadn’t expected it to be so hardcore in terms of ride and handling. This is very much on the sport end of the GT range. And the sound this thing made was unreal, a genuinely savage roar.

This was quite a car to experience back in 2011, and these are actually quite a deal today considering their rarity and performance. Just be ready to handle the obvious Jag issues. Also, as I’ve been posting all this stuff from the past, I’m starting to realize I had quite a burgundy thing going on.

-Nick

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