Tag Archives: German Cars

Taking a spin in a BMW E86 Z4 M Coupe (it’s for sale!)

BMW Z4 M Coupe E86 1

A “special” car will keep your attention long after you’ve left it parked. It’s one thing to have a car you want to look back at as you walk away, but it’s a whole different level when you spend all day looking forward to your drive home. A car that has both the looks to make you turn around and the driving experience to keep you craving is a car that is truly remarkable, indeed.

“Special” is the single most important aspect of an enthusiast automobile, it’s what makes it much more than a mere transportation appliance. “Special” cars come in all shapes and sizes, and you can find one whether your budget is $10 grand or $10 million.

For a budget around $30 grand, an E86 BMW Z4 M Coupe is one of the most “special” sports cars you can buy. It has speed, style, and rarity. The Imola Red car you see here has just recently gone on the market for $33,500 with only 33,000 miles on the ticker.

I was offered a chance to take a spin in the car for this article, and how could I say no? I’ve been wanting to get behind the wheel of a Z4 M for quite some time now, and a more perfect example would be difficult to find. My impressions of the car are as follows…

Continue reading Taking a spin in a BMW E86 Z4 M Coupe (it’s for sale!)

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My first Bugatti Chiron at NYIAS

Bugatti Chiron NYIAS 7

I got my first in-person look at the new Bugatti Chiron at the New York International Auto Show. Naturally it was from behind the fence meant to keep the proletariat at bay, but what I could see was spectacular. There seems to be another level of fine detail in the Chiron over that of the Veyron. It’s even more of a work of art, and that has become increasingly important for cars at this ultimate level.

One thing I noticed in particular was the Bugatti badge on the front grille. It has more dimension and appears to be hand made and hand painted. It helps give a little artisan appeal to the Chiron’s otherwise all-too-perfect modern mechanical nature.

Enjoy the photos of what should soon be confirmed as the fastest car in the world.

Continue reading My first Bugatti Chiron at NYIAS

Mercedes just dropped my dream SUV, the GLC63 AMG

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Yesterday I reviewed the impressive, but massive, BMW X6 M. In that article I talked about how the performance of large SUVs will always be held back by their hefty physical size and weight. While the X6 M was mighty impressive for what it was, I still found myself wanting one of the options one size smaller. As it so happened, the same day my review went live, Mercedes-Benz decided to drop their trump card. Meet the GLC63 AMG.

How did we get to this point, where there is now a 503hp twin turbo V8 engine in a medium-size crossover. Less than a decade ago, a crossover like this was a sign that a car enthusiast had given up on fun, that family life had beaten them into submission. But you can fit a car seat, or two, in this AMG just the same as you can a basic Subaru Forester. It’s still a fully functional crossover, but now with some brutally serious high performance credentials. This is a family car I’ll be more than happy to consider whenever that time comes (If I can afford one by then, of course).

Performance wise, the thing we most need to consider when comparing the GLC63 to the likes of a BMW X6 M is weight. The 4.0L twin turbo V8 only adds around 100lbs to the weight of the Mercedes C-Class, comparing the C43 and C63. Apply that same difference onto the GLC43, at 4,150lbs, and the GLC63 should weigh around 4,250lbs. That’s 1,000lbs less than the BMW X6 M, and the GLC63 S still has over 500hp. So it’s a LOT lighter and will handle much better as a result, and it’s also not much less powerful at all. In short, this new Merc will be better than any of the bigger options, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche the like.

I already loved the Mercedes GLC43 AMG, the Porsche Macan S/GTS/Turbo, and the Jaguar F-Pace S, and they only have 350-400hp. The GLC63 AMG S is upping the bar to 500hp, and as of now it’s only real rival will be the Alfa Romeo Stelvio QV.

I love that we’re actually at a time where I can be genuinely excited about SUVs. These medium size high performance models drive like luxurious rally cars, and they’re a phenomenal package for the real world.

It would appear that BMW and Porsche need to catch up…

-Nick Walker

BMW X6 M Driven: The best and worst of BMW

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The big teal thing you see here is a BMW X6 M, and it’s everything that’s right and everything that’s wrong with BMW sitting on the same four wheels. Think of it as a BMW M5 with AWD and more ground clearance. Being an X6, and not an X5, it’s also a “Coupe SUV,” which I still find very odd.

On a totally subjective level, I’m not a fan of the BMW X6. I’d even say it’s the flagship of everything I don’t like about the modern BMW brand. They’ve been over-segmenting like crazy, trying to carve the market into thinner and thinner slices, and the X6 is largely where it began.

It all started when Mercedes made the CLS, a beautiful sedan with the sleek design and style of a coupe. BMW saw how well it was received, and decided to try and do the same thing, but with a big SUV. The problem is SUVs aren’t sleek by nature, so the sloped roofline makes the X6 look bulbous and awkward from most angles. With such a large chunky profile, I just think the full roofline of the X5 looks a lot better. People seem to like the X6 because it’s different, but different isn’t always a good thing.

So, in my eyes, BMW was shooting for style, and they missed by a mile. Why, then, would anyone buy an X6 over an X5? Apparently I just don’t “get it.”

In an effort to try and understand the X6, I figured I’d take a spin in the ultimate BMW X6 M. It’s everything the X6 can be with an extra serving of horsepower and handling. If there were any way to make me come around to the BMW X6, driving this beast would surely be it.

First, come along for the ride…

Continue reading BMW X6 M Driven: The best and worst of BMW

A pristine Mercedes 300SL Gullwing in Scarsdale

Mercedes 300SL Gullwing at Scarsdale

Many of you see an old antique Mercedes here, but I see the first supercar. The Mercedes-Benz 300SL was a car that moved the bar for performance to an entirely new level in the 1950s. It was the first road car capable of reaching 150 mph, and it was raced extensively all over the world. The coupe version of the 300SL also had the fabulous gulling doors you see here, which really set it apart from anything else on the road.

Yes, today it is a classic, maybe even a museum piece, but I hope anyone lucky enough to own one of these cars has the dignity to let it stretch its legs, at least once in a while.

-Nick

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