Tag Archives: German Cars

Porsche Carrera GT at the Greenwich Concours

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The ultimate Porsche supercar at the center of the action at the Greenwich Concours. The Carrera GT, along with the Ford GT and the Pagani Zonda, stands as the modern epitome of the analogue hypercar.

It is always a privilege to be in the presence of such a legend.

-Nick Walker

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That time I saw Sir Stirling Moss driving the 300 SLR 722 at Pebble Beach

Mercedes 300 SLR 722 Stirling Moss

Taking a trip down memory lane, looking through the photos I’ve taken over the years, I stumbled across this gem from Pebble Beach in 2011. It’s none other than Sir Stirling Moss, and he’s driving the legendary Mercedes 300 SLR 722 in which he won the 1955 Mille Miglia. He set the all-time speed record for the Mille Miglia that year, and it has never been beaten.  I realized I hadn’t shared it yet, and it definitely needed to be published.

Sir Stirling Moss is a gentleman about as epic as they come. His wit is hysterical in conversation, and he’s an absolutely fearless driver. Stirling didn’t just put-put the SLR around at the event either. No, after I snapped the shot above, he took the 722 down to the shoreline for a quick photo-op, and then proceeded to absolutely flog the car up the side road behind the lodge. The crowd had moved on while Sir Stirling was having his photo-op, and everyone was astonished and surprised as the SLR’s racing-spec straight-six was fully unleashed, tires screeched, and we all saw a silver flash pass between the openings between buildings. The sound was delicious to our ears, and I was beyond thrilled to see the man himself give it the beans for old time’s sake.

Sure, the 300 SLR 722 is about as valuable as a car can be, easily worth $50 million + if it ever went to auction, but who better to let it rip than the man who still know’s it best? It’s a moment I will surely never forget.

More photos of the car from Pebble Beach below, as well as two videos about Sir Stirling Moss and this most-insane Mercedes racecar.

Mercedes 300 SLR 722 Stirling Moss 2Mercedes 300 SLR 722 Pebble Beach 1 Mercedes 300 SLR 722 Pebble Beach  2

Petrolicious on the 1955 Milli Miglia:

My video from a press conference Sir Stirling held at Lime Rock:

My take on the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

The Geneva Motor Show happened this week, and every year it’s like Christmas has come for the car industry.

Here are the highlights for me, and my thoughts on each…

Ferrari 812 Superfast

The front-engine V12 Ferraris are by far my favorite Ferraris. They have always been the ultimate expression of what a grand touring car can be, and their lineage goes all the way back to the beginning of Ferrari road cars in the early 1950s.

The 812 Superfast takes the insanity of the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, and takes it up yet another notch. With damn near 800hp on tap from its still-naturally-aspirated-V12 engine, the 812 Superfast is now the ultimate GT car (really more of a supercar) that money can buy. I also think it looks absolutely manic, yet somehow still in an elegant sort of way.

Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid

Do you think anyone ever imagined this when the Toyota Prius first came out? Hybrids were once pathetic little econo-boxes, but here is a 680hp Porsche Panamera with a hybrid system developed from the 918 hypercar. This is exactly how hybrid technology should be used. I want a 680hp bullet that can still get decent MPG when I’m not thrashing it. If nothing else, isn’t technology all about having your cake and eating it too?

Continue reading My take on the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

What will the new 4.0L Porsche 991.2 GT3 do to the 911 Market?

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Porsche has finally done it, they’ve brought back the manual GT3 and have given it the 4.0L engine to boot. It’s basically the Porsche we’ve all been dreaming about, and it’s the car Porsche once said they’d never build again. Right after Porsche said the days of manual GT3s were over, values of 997 GT3s immediately went through the roof. It became abundantly clear that Porsche was making a mistake, and this new 991.2 GT3 is here to set things right.

But what’s going to happen to the values of all of those 997 GT3 models that skyrocketed in the last few years? This new 4.0L GT3 with a manual is pretty much an attainable version of the coveted 997 GT3 RS 4.0 or the mighty 911 R, and with PDK it’s a little too similar to the much-inflated 991 GT3 RS.

With pricing starting from $144,650, and surely going up to cross $200,000, loaded with options, why on earth would you want to buy a 997 GT3 or RS for the same money? And can the PDK-only 991 GT3 even have a prayer? How about the 991 GT3 RS?

The 991.2 GT3 is about to make things very interesting in the Porsche market, and not everyone is going to be thrilled about it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be the guy who just dropped $200,000 on a 997 GT3 RS, or $175,000 on a 991.1 GT3.

Continue reading What will the new 4.0L Porsche 991.2 GT3 do to the 911 Market?

That Time BMW Put a Le Mans-Winning V12 Into an X5 SUV

BMW X5 LM V12 Amelia 1

This is the BMW X5 LM. It’s a prototype from the era before the super-SUVs of today, powered by the same V12 that propelled the BMW V12 LMR to victory at Le Mans. That’s 700hp and 531ft/lbs under the hood that made this the first sub-8-minute SUV around the Nurburgring. And this was all in 2000, years before Porsche made the Cayenne Turbo and set the SUV world ablaze with performance. However, as it turned out, the V12 from a Le Mans racecar didn’t make a very good production engine, so BMW never produced the X5 LM. Woe is us, but at least the prototype still exists.

-Nick

A Farewell Ride in My Dad’s Porsche 996

Porsche 996 Carrera Arena Red 1

My parents are moving down to their place at the shore full time soon, and of course they’re taking their cars with them. They’re only going to be 2 hours away, but driving-wise the shore doesn’t hold a candle to the back roads of Bucks County, PA. The topography at the shore is all flat, the back roads barely curve at all, and the main roads are so crowded, and so heavily patrolled by cops, that there’s nowhere to really let the car run free. I may get to drive the 996 a few times when I visit, but it will never be like it was up here, with old our colonial roads that snake their way endlessly through the forest.

I had to take the Porsche for one more solid drive up here to say my goodbye, of sorts. So one night, after work, I spent 2 blissful hours in it out driving a greatest hits tour of my favorite roads.

Continue reading A Farewell Ride in My Dad’s Porsche 996

Porsche 918 Spyder Weissach in Outrageous Orange!

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It’s amazing how much the right color can add to the impact a car has on the world around it. The Porsche 918 Spyder has a ton of presence to begin with, but in this molten orange it seems like it can stop time itself.

People were pouring over this thing in Scarsdale, especially little kids, who must have been totally transfixed . Even with all of the other insane machines around it, this Porsche had it’s own special sort of gravity.

In addition to it’s spectacular paint job, this 918 Spyder was also fitted with the coveted Weissach Package. That made it extra cool for me because it’s actually the first Weissach-equipped Porsche 918 I’ve laid eyes on in person.

Enjoy the gallery!

Continue reading Porsche 918 Spyder Weissach in Outrageous Orange!

Could we see a mid-engined Porsche 911 road car soon?

991 GT3 RS ORG

The new Porsche 991.2 GT3 is rumored to be essentially like the previous 4.0L RSs, with Porsche’s mighty 4.0L flat six, around 500hp, and a choice of two or three pedals. Meanwhile, the new 911 RSR racecar is a mid engined now. So the next 991.2 GT3 RS finds itself at a fork in the road. Should it stay as the ultimate rear engine track crusher? Or should it be based on the new mid engine RSR, staying true to form as a racecar for the street?

If the new 991.2 GT3 RS were to be based on the mid engine RSR, it could create a break-point between rear and mid engine 911 models, which would amount to the line between sports cars and supercars.

The rear engine 911 is a great sports car, maybe the greatest, because it offers a totally unique driving experience. However, Porsche clearly knows they’re pushing the boundaries of what a rear engine layout can do. The fact that the new 911 RSR racecar is blatantly mid engine just makes it obvious, but Porsche has been pushing the 911’s engine more and more forward of the rear axle with each new generation. At this point, the current 991 is extremely close to technically being a mid-engine car.

Look, whether it happens within the 991.2 generation or not, I think a mid engined 911 GT model, or lineup of models, is absolutely coming. People want what the racecar has, and now the racecar has its engine in the middle.

I do think the basic 911 Carrara up through GT3 and Turbo models should remain “rear engine” sports cars to stay true to form. After all, a rear engine is the defining feature of a Porsche 911. That said, I also think that opening up a range of mid engine 911 supercar models at the top of the range creates a healthy evolution for the Porsche brand. Okay, sure, maybe they might call the new mid engined cars by a name other than “911”, but they would essentially be mid engined 911s. For those of you scoffing right now, appalled at the idea of a 911 with an engine in the middle, just remember there’s already a major precedent for this from the late 90s; it’s called the 911 GT1.

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What I think may happen here is the 911 GT3 and Turbo will be the top of the rear engined 911 range. Then the hardcore GT3 RS will kick off the new range of mid-engine, 911 GT1-style supercars derived from the RSR. The GT3 RS would have the rumored 4.0L+ naturally aspirated flat-six, as well as a host of track-ready features. Porsche should then offer turbocharged models of the mid engine 911 supercar, ready to compete directly with the Ferrari 488s, Ford GTs, and McLaren 650s of the world. Maybe that would be the “GT2”, and then have a “GT2 RS” with an upgraded turbo engine (a turbo 4.0?) and all of the trackday tricks of the GT3 RS.

Price wise, I picture it as follows: Rear engined 911 Turbo and GT3 models occupy the $150k-$250k range, as they do right now. The mid engine GT3 RS would come in around $300k, the turbocharged mid engine GT2 would run $350-400k, and the GT2 RS would be $500-600k and be built in limited numbers.

This is all just me pondering at this point, but if you remember back a couple years, there were rumors of Porsche wanting to develop a mid engine supercar above the 911 Turbo but below the 918. This would be that car, clear as day. Porsche had supposedly sacked the idea, but now they have a racing program with a mid engined 911 RSR?

It sure seems like they’re headed in this direction…

-Nick Walker

Quick Spin: BMW G11 750i xDrive

BMW G11 750i 3This is not so much a car as it is a rolling spa. Sure, I had some time behind the wheel of this new BMW G11 750i, but what really stuck in my mind was the massage I got while riding around in the back seat. It was pouring rain, we were stuck in a traffic jam, and I wouldn’t have been anywhere else in the world if I could have. It’s an optional extra, but what’s an extra $7 grand for the pleasure of being able to have a heated, or cooled, massage everywhere you go? I could really go for one right now, as a matter of fact.

The new 750i may be a rolling spa, but it’s one that moves pretty good, too. BMW claims 445 hp and 480 ft/lbs of torque from its “Hot Vee” twin turbo V8, and that’s enough to propel your pampered ass from a snooze to a heart attack in just 4.3 seconds.

Really though, the G11 is the expected next step for the BMW 7 Series, nothing less, but nothing more either. It’s really nice, but they’ve all been nice over the years. It’s really fast, and handles well for a big limo, but again, same with every other 7 Series. The G11 is also full of lots of fancy, cutting edge technology, which is awesome today, but it will suck in ten years for the poor sap who buys this once-$120,000 luxo-barge for $13,988. Go try to use the nav on a late 90’s E38 7 Series, and you’ll see what I mean.

In fact, staggering depreciation is probably just as much of what makes a 7 Series a 7 Series as the car’s big comfort or big horsepower. Well-optioned, it’s not a bad value for what you get for $120,000 or so, but you can be damn sure you won’t be seeing much of that money back. Leasing may be a good idea here, people.

The G11 750i is among the nearly flawless lineup of current luxury cars. They’re all just really good, almost to a fault, if only for the fact that such uniform perfection lacks character. Objectively, this BMW 750i is good enough as a luxury cruiser to make me wonder why anyone would shell out triple the money for a Bentley or a Rolls. I mean, how much more comfortable could you possibly be?

But really it’s not about features, or the comfort, or any of that. It comes back to the car being good, really good, too good for its own good. The G11 is a lot like that guy at the party who just keeps talking, on and on, about his own accomplishments. He’s very impressive and all, but people just keep walking away, don’t they? That’s because endless perfection gets boring pretty quick, and it’s usually a lot more fun to hear people talk about their mistakes.

Nick Walker

MoM Score: BMW G11 750i xDrive
Primary Function: Luxury: 2
Secondary Functions: Performance(2) Practicality(2) MPG(2): 2
Visual Appeal: 1
Build Quality: 2
Value for Money: 1
Final Score: 8 /10

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