Category Archives: Exotic Supercars

My Drive in a BMW i8: A Concept Car for the Street

BMW i8 Review 4

I’ve been itching to get my hands on a BMW i8 ever since I first saw it, and the chance finally came. As a car blogger working to grow my following, it’s still a very special occasion when someone is willing to throw me the keys to a six-figure set of wheels. As you might expect, it’s awesome to get to live the dream, even if it’s only for a little bit.

The BMW i8 is a total show-stopper. More of a UFO than a car, people go crazy when they see it out on the street. Most of them won’t even know what it is, but they will know that it’s something very, very special.

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Jaguar F-Type R AWD: A Cat Tamed By Four Paws?

Jaguar F-Type R AWD Review 1

I’ve been lucky to have driven a few Jaguar F-Types in the last few years. I drove the V6S and V8S models when they first came out, and then I drove the R Coupe a year later.

I think my biggest takeaway was just how much crazier the V8 was, with all that extra power going to the rear wheels. It was fast, like scary fast, and there was always the sense that it was testing the limits of its rear tires. It really kept me on my toes, and that made it really, really exciting.

Unfortunately, exciting doesn’t bode well with the safety concerns of modern automakers. We enthusiasts were hoping Jaguar would give us the V8 F-Type with a manual gearbox. Instead, they left the V8 models automatic-only, and took away our rear wheel drive. I guess that’s the price we pay for getting our hopes up.

So, has Jaguar tamed the beast? Have they neutered the big cat?

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Infiniti QX80 Limited Review: The Plush Utility Vehicle

Infiniti QX80 Limited Review 1

I believe the term is “Land Yacht.” A massive, expensive way of getting from place to place for people who like to take up their slightly-more-than-fair share of space in the world. It also works great if you have a large family, although, most forms of birth control are a lot cheaper than this $90,000 behemoth.

Either way, if this is the way you want to get around in the world, then the Infiniti QX80 Limited will do a lot to float your boat. Maybe a Cadillac Escalade is too “Tony Soprano” for you. Maybe you’d like a Mercedes GLS, but, unfortunately, your local dealer just sold their last one to another real estate agent who’s drowning themselves in payments trying to “project an image of success” to their clients. Have no fear, the QX80 is here to save the day, and you just might be glad you didn’t get the others.

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Porsche 991.2 Carrera S Review: Do Turbos Make a Better 911?

Porsche 991.2 Carrera S Turbo Review 7

Everyone sharpen your pitchforks and light your torches! Porsche has gone and changed the 911 again, and this time we’re gonna burn Stuttgart to the ground! They won’t get a way with it this time!

Wait, what? What’s that you say? Porsche has turbocharged all of the 911 Carrera models, and now they’re actually improved? You say Porsche has secretly answered our purist prayers and we don’t even know it? How can that be?!!!!

Well it’s true, folks, all of it. Porsche has made all of their 911s into 911 Turbos, although they’ll surely hate me for saying it that way. The way Porsche would want me to say it is, “911 Carrera and Targa models all now have a 3.0L Twin Turbocharged Flat-Six engine, but they are not “911 Turbos” because the 911 Turbo and 911 Turbo S each have a 3.8L Twin Turbocharged Flat-Six engine.” See what I mean?

There are a few ways to look at this new 991.2 generation Porsche 911. I’m going to go through the way I see the car now, after taking it for a spin recently.

I’m not going to waste our time talking much about the aspects of the 911 that haven’t changed much. Just know that it’s still a wonderful handling car, it still has the best electric power steering in the business, it’s still of top-notch build quality, and PDK is still among the best dual-clutch trannies around.

Alright, now let’s talk about that new turbocharged engine, and what it does for the 911 as a car…

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Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Review: A Recipe Perfected

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Review 4

There is absolutely no substitute for seat time when judging a car. I thought Alfa Romeo had sold themselves out when they built the 4C without the option of a manual gearbox. I mean, who on earth would want a light little sports car without a clutch pedal and a gear lever? But the truth is, building a good car is a lot like cooking a good meal. Each ingredient must be executed well in its own right, but then the most important thing is how it all comes together as a whole.

The Italians are known for treating their cars exactly as they treat their food, as works of art. Alfa Romeos, in particular, have always had a sense of living soul, even if, at times, there wasn’t much else good about them. My friend, Evan, had an old Alfa Spider that only ever worked properly when he was taking a girl out on a date in it – now, isn’t that the most Italian thing you’ve ever heard?

Alfa Romeos are cars built on an ideology of passion and emotion first, and everything else second. Sure, in the past that has sometimes meant questionable dependability, but at least they never committed the atrocity of making life boring or mundane. Life is worth more than just living, it’s worth enjoying, and that is what Alfa Romeos are all about.

This white 4C Spider is actually the first Alfa Romeo I’ve ever driven. It marks the return of Alfa Romeo production cars to the USA, and will be soon followed by the new Giulia sedan. Being my first Alfa, I admit that I had underestimated the way they can make the ingredients of a car come together into one delicious masterpiece of a machine.

I quickly realized that the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider has something very special about it. I drove 8 very cool cars in the same weekend, including a Ferrari and some Porsches, but this Alfa 4C was the one I just couldn’t stop thinking about. Here’s why…

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BMW M5 Review (10/10): The Epitome of the Modern Automobile?

BMW M5 F10 Review 1

I despised this BMW M5 when it came out, but then I drove it and it totally won me over. You see, I had always seen the E39 M5 as the quintessential BMW M5, and in many ways I still do. But I had been defining the M5 as a driver’s car, which is only a part of what it is actually meant to be. The BMW M5 has really always been about being a four-door useable supercar. As supercars have changed over the last decade or so, the BMW M5 has changed along with them.

The F10 generation M5 you see here is the most modern idea of what a four-door supercar should be, and I must admit that it blew my mind with it’s bag-o-tricks.

What’s Good?

It Does More of Everything Now

The original E28 BMW M5 from the 1980s was a practical 5-Series sedan with the engine from the BMW M1 Supercar stuffed under the hood. Sedan practicality with supercar levels of punch, and handling to match. Back then, refinement only really went so far, and there was a trade off between comfort and performance.

Over time, that has become less, and less the case. And now the craziest thing about the M5 is that it is basically a full-fledged luxury cruiser in addition to being a practical supercar.

Looking back to the early 2000s, the E39 M5’s era, the current 5-Series is the same size as the 7-Series was back then. If this M5 were out 10-15 years ago, it would’ve been an M7.

It’s not just the size, though. The M5 can have almost all of the same luxury features available on today’s BMW 7-Series. If it weren’t for the M-Badge and all the extra performance, the M5 would do just fine as an everyday luxury sedan.

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Jaguar F-Type R Coupe Review: The Best Luxury Sports Car under $120 grand?

Jaguar F-Type R Coupe Review 1

The Porsche 911 has traditionally been the king of luxury sports cars, but the current generation has become way too expensive and is fairly forgettable. 911 Carrera S models start at $100,000 and can top $150,000 with all the options you want. For that kind of money, don’t you want something with a little more impact?

The 911 is probably as weak as it has ever been right now, and happily, there are many great options that can be had for under $120,000, let alone under $150,000.

The Jaguar F-Type is a relative newcomer, and it has a hell of a lot to offer for very reasonable money.

This is the Jaguar F-Type R Coupe, a rear wheel drive one, which sadly will only exist for the 2015 model year. Come 2016, and all V8 F-Types will all be all wheel drive. The plus, longer tire life and more grip… the minus, longer tire life and more grip.

In either RWD or AWD form, though, the V8 Jag F-Type is a hugely desirable car. To the extent that I might argue it’s the best luxury sports car (or “Sports Grand Tourer”) to buy right now, overall.

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Tesla Model S P85D Review

Tesla Model S P85D Front

Tesla has taken the industry by storm, shattering all expectations and continuing to surprise everyone. I remember about a year ago when Tesla shares were around $120 and many analysts were saying that was far too high. Well guess what, today shares are selling for $218.

Elon Musk’s can-do spirit permeates through the Tesla brand. That charisma associated with the brand seems to appeal to many customers as much the car itself does. Lately, I’ve grown accustomed to seeing Teslas everywhere in my area. For a high-end luxury car, they are selling like hotcakes.

The Model S P85D is surely the most multi-functional vehicle that I’ve ever experienced, and that is what surprised and impressed me the most about it. In fact, I’d say it’s like having four distinct cars in one…

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2015 Kia K900 Reviewed (7/10)

Kia K900 Front

This is Kia’s new K900, and it costs $60,000… that’s right, $60,000… for a Kia. That sounds outrageous, I know, and it may even be enough to render any of the K900’s good attributes irrelevant. But I’ve always been a fan of giving the benefit of the doubt to anyone willing to try their best, so it was with that mindset that I took the wheel of this white Kia K900.

So what do you get for your $60 grand?

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Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid Reviewed (10/10)

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid Review

Everyone, meet Porsche’s Prius! The new Panamera S E-Hybrid, like the Prius, is a 4-door hatchback, and it uses an electric motor to help out its gas engine in a similar way. Furthermore, the Panamera S E-Hybrid has shown in real world tests that it can top 50 mpg, also just like the Prius! Yes, the similarities between the two cars go surprisingly far, much further than most might expect, but they couldn’t be more different in their fundamental purpose.

The Toyota Prius is an economy car for people who want to spend as little money as possible on a car. The Panamera, on the other hand, is a high-end luxury machine for people who are comfortable writing a six figure check for a single car. You can buy four Toyota Priuses for the starting price of this Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, and that’s before adding any expensive options. However, playing Devil’s advocate, the Panamera does have nearly the horsepower of all four of those Priuses combined. The Panamera may cost as much as four Priuses, but you could also argue that it’s also four times the car.

I remember being amazed when Al Gore’s son got caught going 100mph in his Prius, not because of his behavior, but because he actually got a Prius to top 100mph. If he buys one of these Porsches, then maybe next time he can be pushing 170mph.

Okay, it’s time to acknowledge the elephant in the room here: The Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid will not be competing for buyers with the Toyota Prius (sorry to disappoint). No, it will be going head-to-head against the almighty Tesla Model S, and Elon Musk’s trendy “King Innovator” brand image. It is a massive challenge, one that basically killed Fisker, but I think this Porsche is up to it, and I will explain why.

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Cadillac ELR Reviewed (6.5/10)

Cadillac ELR Review

The Chevrolet Volt hasn’t sold well, despite its fantastic technological design. The reason Volt hasn’t sold is because it costs around $40,000 when a Toyota Prius costs around $25,000; who would’ve guessed, but most cost-conscious consumers would rather save their extra fifteen grand.

GM knows the Volt is in trouble, so they’ve decided to attack the problem from a different angle — if the Volt is too expensive, then why not make it into a Cadillac, called the ELR, which can command a higher price. On the surface that seems like a good idea: take an over-priced economy car, turn it into a luxury car, and add a couple grand to the price tag.

Here’s the problem, though. GM didn’t just add a couple grand to the Volt’s price tag, they went and doubled it. So now, a way over-priced economy car has become a way over-priced luxury coupe.

Knowing all of this, when given the opportunity to take an ELR for a spin, I decided to put my predispositions aside, and see what the car had to offer. Maybe, just maybe, GM could’ve sprinkled it with some sort of magical pixy dust that would make it worth the $80,000…

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Porsche 911 Carrera S Review, Al’s Take (Grade: B)

2014 Porsche 911 Carrera S Front Left

Porsche is one of those brands that hasn’t changed much, despite their appearances. The company may have a lot of great fans, but there are a lot of traditionalists too. This mix of fans is pretty eclectic, ranging from autocross nuts (who love their 944s), Sunday drivers (who could be driving anything from a 914 to a fire-breathing Turbo S), executives (to some, a 911 Carrera is a real symbol of success), to wealthy soccer moms (Cayennes). The traditionalists fume when you bring up the Cayenne or the Panamera and I know what they are all about–Porsche should be about sports cars, not everyday “boring” vehicles. Well, it doesn’t matter what Porsche makes, because they are a company that wants all of their product to have the same message. That message hasn’t changed since the birth of the company, which is that Porsches aren’t ever supposed to feel like a normal car. They should touch the soul, and reward the owner with dynamics and driving feel that excite the senses. I took out this 911 Carrera S around Amelia Island to find out how the flavor tastes in Porsche’s most familiar formula: RWD, a flat-six engine, and a rear axle with that engine hanging out behind it. I wasn’t disappointed.

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