Category Archives: Opinions

Discussion of matters in the automotive industry and in car culture. Our opinions on what is going on, manufacturer’s products, etc

Let’s Talk Boost

I had a revelation today when I drove this Stage 1+ Audi RS3 and it put my sentiments on the Ferrari 488 I drove last weekend into perspective.

I’m not “anti-turbo” in the slightest. Boost has been in my life since I began driving. My first car was a 2004 Subaru STi, which I still have. I love boost!

But I think that’s actually the point here… if a car is turbocharged, then I want the full experience of boost, lag, surge, noises, etc. I want all of that, leave nothing out.

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What is the point of a Toyota with BMW reliability and running costs?

toyota-supra-2020-1600-3a

That question has been on my mind all day, because looking at the new Supra, I see a lot of BMW parts where Toyota’s build quality really matters (engine, drivetrain, etc). If the Supra shares all of the BMW electronics as well, then this will likely be the most unreliable Toyota of all time. And it’s going to be built in Austria, so you know it will. That’s kinda shitty for a brand who is otherwise the benchmark of reliability and long term quality.

Don’t get me wrong, I love much of what they’ve done with this new Supra, and I’m sure they will deliver a brilliantly executed car on the front end. I like the look, I like its flavor, and I’m sure I’ll love the performance. I drove a BMW X3 M40i and loved it, the Supra has that engine with RWD and over 1,000lbs less weight. It will be fun, no doubt.

But how will these fair a decade or two from now? I’m not that confident.

The Supra’s other massive shortcoming is the lack of a manual transmission option. This is a small 2 seat sports car, not a supercar, not a GT car, not a sedan. It needs a manual to “be all it can be.” End of story. Toyota should at least fix that, and we can all find a way to live with the BMW issues underneath.

I just want to be clear, here. I don’t count myself as a Supra hater. I actually really like the car overall, but I have high standards in a world of increasing compromise. To me, the MKV Supra is a C+/B- as it sits. If they just add a crisp-shifting Japanese manual to the mix it would climb to a B+/A-. To get the full A+ it would need the full bulletproof Toyota build quality, but unfortunately, that just wasn’t feasible in the current market climate.

It’s a good effort, but there is some very clear room for improvement. For most driving enthusiasts, a small sports car with 2 pedals simply isn’t on the menu, especially not for $60 grand when you could have the manual Porsche 997 of your dreams instead.

-Nick

Podcast: Is the McLaren Speedtail Really the F1’s Successor?

McLaren’s new hypercar is quite striking, but is it really worthy of being hailed as the sole successor in one of the most-royal automotive bloodlines? Let’s look at what this is vs. what the McLaren F1 was and see where that puts things.

-Nick Walker

Miata Meditation

Miata Meditation

I’ve owned my Miata Club Edition for two years now, and I’m still absolutely in love with it. That said, I have often thought back to why I didn’t get one of the faster, maybe more impressive cars I was considering at the time (Corvette, M3, Cayman, etc). I remember it was a feeling, a sense of calm rather than excitement or lust. It resonated so clearly with the personal journey I had been on that it seemed just right.

Moderation. Not abstinence, nor indulgence. That was one of the main philosophies of the Buddha, at least as I’ve come to understand. Many may find it odd that I apply Buddhist philosophy to my own pursuit of material pleasures, but for a car enthusiast it is a way of life. I’m not over here trying to be a monk, giving up all material things. I’m a real man with my share of hypocritical beliefs and practices, and I actually quite enjoy being afflicted with desire. Sure, it brings with it pain and anxiety, but it also makes life interesting. Like sitting on the tip of a pin, you feel very alive despite the side effects.

The key is to also be mindful, so you don’t take things too far and find yourself consumed to the very core with material interests. You have to keep these things in context with the experience you’re looking to have in life. I never want to be one of those people who can’t be happy no matter how far they go or how high they climb. What’s the point of all that if you’re going to die miserable anyway? Learning to embrace “what is” is just as important as focusing on “what could be.” Both are important to me, so I try and share my focus between each.

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Why I don’t think the Japanese “Get” the American Performance Market At All

05-2018-subaru-wrx-sti-type-ra-fd-1

Various media outlets have been reporting headlines along the lines of “Subaru Adds More Power to the STI!!!” But in reality, it’s just 5hp which changes absolutely nothing. It does, however, raise a larger issue I’ve had with Japanese automakers seeming to lack a basic understanding of the American market’s constant need for improvements.

Honestly, I say Subaru can go screw themselves until they make some real and meaningful improvements to the STI. They’re over a decade late on a real power bump for this car. My 04 STI was a Porsche 911 killer when it came out, and now an STI will lose to a V6 Camry on a highway pull. Even though the STI hasn’t changed much at all, somehow it’s nowhere near the same caliber of car it once was.

I don’t think the Japanese really understand the idea of growth in the performance market because they’ve made the exact same mistake with many other models over the years. They always seem to make a great product to start, but then they leave it the same for 10-15 years and finally kill it because it’s not selling and they wonder why…

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Can Cadillac Connect with Millennials via their new XT4?

Cadillac XT4 Detail

Cadillac is not a brand known for being popular with Millennials who are looking at luxury transportation. No matter how good their cars are (and for the most part, they’re far better than they were when I was in high school), people of my generation, for the most part, have stayed away–preferring either Buicks (shockingly enough), Audis, and Lexuses. I’ve also seen an increasing number of well-heeled fellow twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings chasing after the usual BMW and Mercedes suspects. Well, I think Cadillac might have a winner with their new XT4. Continue reading Can Cadillac Connect with Millennials via their new XT4?

The Senna is awesome, but please stop calling it a “hypercar”

The new McLaren Senna is sure to be many things, but I really don’t think it should be considered a “hypercar.” Yes, that’s right, while most others are writing the same sort of ass-kissing articles about the Senna, I’m over here with my critic hat on.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the Senna a lot, and I’m sure it will be fast in ways not thought possible, but performance alone doesn’t constitute what makes a hypercar a hypercar. In fact, I’d say it’s traditional for the next generation of track-focused supercars to exceed the performance of the previous generation’s hypercars. I mean, the Porsche GT2 RS just shattered the 918’s Nürburgring time, but does anyone consider that a hypercar?

To me, the Senna seems pretty much the 720S equivalent of the 675LT in the previous generation, an ultra hardcore track-focused version of the McLaren Super Series car. Now, it does seem as though the Senna is an even more of a step up over the 720S than the 675LT was over the 650S. They’ve definitely raised the stakes here, so if the 675LT was the 650S turned up to 11, then the Senna is the 720S turned up to 12. But, faster lap times or not, that sure as hell doesn’t put it at the relative level of a P1, let alone the legendary F1.

Continue reading The Senna is awesome, but please stop calling it a “hypercar”