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.
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.
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 ⛄️
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.
Back in the Seventies, Ford boldy advertised a number of self-determined similarities between the Mercedes W124 E-Class sedan with their newly-launched Granada sedan. While it didn’t exactly draw buyers to the showrooms away from the three-pointed star to the Blue Oval, it certainly got people talking at the time and was unconventional for the time. 40 years later though, I think Mercedes may have won the war. Take a look and tell me–do you see a difference? I can see it, but after a few whiskey sours, maybe I can be convinced that the Granada and the 230-E are the same car. Continue reading Is it a Ford? Or is it a Mercedes? That infamous advertisement, 40 years on.→
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.
I’ve got a secret to tell you, the Porsche 996 is a ton of fun, despite the hate it gets from Porsche “purists.” It’s surely not the last word in Porsche perfection, but it is a really satisfying sports car experience, especially when you consider the money. Sure a 997 is better, but you’ll spend more than double for it.
My dad traded his 944 for this 996 a few months after I got my Subaru, and it’s the car I know second best in this world.
300hp in a 2900lb car, RWD with an LSD, and a 6 speed manual transmission with perfect gearing. The handling is sharp and nimble and the flat 6 engine howls with fury as the revs climb. It puts most other sports cars in its price range to shame, and there is nothing missing from the experience.
My dad still enjoys it, and I’ve been thankful he’s let me enjoy it over the years as well. It’s a Porsche you can really get out and drive because it has nothing to prove. I love that.
New year, new beginning, and it’s making me think back on my journey as a driver and car enthusiast as I consider where I want to go from here.
My car obsession began as a kid, but my enthusiast driving really began with this, a 1990 Porsche 944 S2 just like the one shown here (not my photo). My Dad wanted to teach me to drive stick and he also wanted a sports car for some fun, so we found this 944 with 142k miles for around $9 grand and it was absolutely perfect. I first went over 100mph in this car, and my dad was very cool about it. I also learned to “drift” by sliding this car with it’s perfect 50/50 weight distribution (not sure if Dad knows that).
This car opened my eyes to the world of sports cars from the time I was 16 on a learner’s permit and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the 944. For me as a driver, this is Genesis.
A proper racecar for the road, this 991.2 GT3 RS sounded amazing as it sped off with its 4.0L naturally aspirated flat six. We have to cherish these cars because we don’t know how much longer 9000 rpm internal combustion engines will exist.
The ultimate Porsche 911 at the ultimate supercar show in New Jersey, Cars and Caffe. The 991 GT2 RS wears red well, and it looks absolutely evil with its black and carbon accents. This is one of those cars that may well go on to represent a pinnacle point in the 911’s history. Enjoy the pics!