F1 For the Road – The Ferrari F50 »

It’s not often one gets handed the keys to a million dollar car. Well in this case, about 1.6 million, but who’s counting.

Performance Redefined: Nissan GTR »

The Nissan GTR is a bit of an enigma. It’s one of the rare few that satisfies more than one personality traits. It’s nearly untouchable at the Ring, only beat by the million dollar Porsche 918 when counting series production vehicles.

Life Lessons, Courtesy of Mercedes »

Before we start, I need to apologize for being late. Partly due to real life getting in the way, but mostly due to the fact that I struggled to write this.

Canadian JDM Invasion – Honda Integra Type-R »

This week, I had a chance to check out NRGie’s 1996 Honda Integra Type-R. While GTRs have dominated the JDM imports, the ITR is a bit of a hidden gem out of Japan.

The Track Rat: ESS Supercharged BMW M3 »

This week, I had the pleasure of driving Jason’s (CSMRX7) amazing track weapon, the ESS Supercharged BMW E90 M3. I may be an AMG fanboy as of late [...]


November 21st, 2014

Mercedes-AMG-GTS-LA-2014-1

I think that everything that needs to be said about the AMG GT has been said already. The spiritual replacement for the Mercedes-AMG SLS is a big hit on the review circuit.

I would love the opportunity to review its driving characteristics, but the opportunity has not presented itself yet. Shame. It is such a beautiful car in person. The lines are quite different from what we are used to from Merccedes-AMG. In place of the stronger lines are soft round curves.

The rear end still looks like a Porsche to me. I don’t know if that was intentional being that the GT is a “911 fighter,” or if it is just co-incidental.

You’ll notice the grey car in the gallery has a carbon roof.

The seating position of the car is fabulous with decent visibility out the rear. The seats hug you without being too tight. It is noticeably smaller inside than the outgoing SLS AMG.

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November 21st, 2014

Seeing the 2015 C63 again here in LA has confirmed why I like the brand. Some might call me a fanboy. Haters will hate. I appreciate nice things. Especially ones with a lot of horsepower.

Mercedes-AMG (not AMG or Mercedes-Benz AMG) brought the car to LA for its North American debut. It was a sight to behold.

Mercedes-AMG-C63S-LA-2014-2

All of the technical details were discussed and revealed before and in Paris. Here and here and here. This time around, I wanted to pay special attention to the smaller aspects that we simply didn’t have time or access to in Paris. We had the same problems here in LA.

Things like the S-model’s exhaust flap which I couldn’t get a picture of because of how low the car is and where the flap is located. I did find a switch in the console that allows you to change the tone of the exhaust.

Mercedes-AMG-C63S-LA-2014-14

I wanted to get a picture of the engine, but Mercedes decided to take the hood release right off the car and only left the cable end.

The one thing we saw in Paris that is missing here in LA is the wagon variant. It’s a pity that wagons aren’t more popular in North America.

Enjoy the live shots we took of the car here in LA.

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November 20th, 2014

Toyota-Sienna-Spongebob-LA-2014-3

I’ve been very excited over the new SpongeBob SquarePants movie coming out next year. Now that I have kids, it’ll be a bit less creepy catching the movie in theaters this time around. There’s nothing more awkward than going to a kids movie with adult friends, surrounded by parents wondering WTF we were doing there. I’d like to believe that I was tasked to write about the Toyota Sienna SpongeBob edition because I was a SpongeBob fan, and not because of the long running joke that I’m solely responsible for covering minivans because I have kids.

The Sienna in SpongeBob trim is an interesting vehicle, not because it’s as extreme as an Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, but the fact that it’s at the LA Auto Show, and not something like SEMA where it would fit right in. It’s a blatant cross promotion for the upcoming movie, and in no way would it be safe to drive, as steering motion is heavily hampered by the captain’s wheel intruding into where your crotch would be. I guess if SpongeBob was driving it, it could work. Fellow drivers around you would also be susceptible to danger, as the roof mounted bubble blower would blanket everyone behind you with bubbles. Oh, did I say bubbles? I hope I don’t get beaten senseless by every able-bodied patron in the bar. *kneeslap*

All jokes aside, as ridiculous as it is, it’s an awesome looking vehicle. Check it out for yourself in our gallery.

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November 20th, 2014

Audi-TTS-TT-LA-2014-2

At the 2014 LA Auto Show, Audi finally brings the new TT and TTS Roadster for an official US debut. Already unveiled in our Paris Motor Show coverage, the new TT and TTS Roadster modernizes the TT line, with a virtual cockpit concept that focuses on presenting information to the driver, allowing you to concentrate on the road.

The TT in US guise will feature a 2.0L four cylinder pumping out 220hp, while the TTS variant massages the same engine to a tune of 295hp. While the TT will be available as either a coupe or a convertible, the TTS will only be available as a coupe. Both trims come standard with the latest generation of Audi Quattro AWD, fitted with the 6 speed S Tronic dual clutch transmission. Magnetic suspension comes standard on the TTS, and is optional on the TT.

While the new TT and TTS will be available in 2015 as a 2016 model, Audi has even bigger plans for the line. The following year should see the introduction of an even more powerful TT RS coupe, as well as a front wheel drive entry level model. No word on pricing yet on the show floor, but we will surely update you as soon as we know.

Check out the gallery for more pics of the TT and TTS.

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November 20th, 2014

Acura-ILX-LA-2014-10

So I recently turned 30. This doesn’t mean I’m the oldest person in the world, but I’ve clearly crossed the threshold into really ridiculously old people who enjoy things like porridge and a good sit. How do I know this? I just came from an Acura presentation thinking “Hmm, neat”.

Modern Acuras are boring. This is a fact of life almost as old as I am. If you were to ask somebody to draw a normal car, whatever scraggled output they presented would resemble an Acura. When the new RLX and TLX were revealed, I said the same thing. I talked about how much more I respected Lexus for releasing a bold new design. I said that I don’t care if Honda keeps pushing out boring cars, I just wish they’d stop pretending the white rice they put in showrooms is exciting. I posited that these cars are for boring people who pretend they know what a fun driving experience is.

This year Acura repeated the same schtick for a third time except, prior to the reveal, they droned on about the TLX instead of the NSX. They emphasized that Acura listened to the fans, who apparently love the exterior, and made the ILX more fun, more luxurious and more technological. I don’t know who these people are, but I’m skeptical of any claim where people are okay with Acura’s current styling. Anyway, the new ILX grabs the 200 horsepower 2.4L and 8 speed DCT avec torque converter from the TLX, along with a handful of AcuraWatch safety features. New technology includes a smartphone-managed nav system in addition to the onboard unit. There’s even a new top-of-the-line A-spec with bigger wheels and Acura’s attempt at sporty styling.

Due to my transition from doe-eyed youth to stick-ball aficionado, I left thinking “Huh. I’m gonna drive one as soon as I get the chance”.

“So what?”, you ask. “Wanting to drive a car is a perfectly logical response to seeing a presentation about it”.

Wrong. Wanting to drive the ILX implies that I think it’s capable of living up to its own hype.  This is awkward and unfamiliar territory for me. The car is just the same as ever. It looks like an Acura, it feels like an Acura, it’s under-powered like an Acura, it’s got all the features from the other Acuras. Clearly I’m the one who’s changed, and that’s scary. It means my thoughts are not my own, I’m just a demographic. I’m no longer an 18-29 white male, I’m a 30-DEAD  white male.

Perhaps when I slip into the grave, it will be from boredom while driving the new ILX. Or maybe it’ll be from hooning it off a cliff. I don’t even know anymore.

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November 20th, 2014

Chapparal-GT-LA-2014-1

Chevrolet brought two new vehicles to the 2014 LA Auto Show, the Chaparral 2X Vision GT concept and Colorado ZR2 off-road concept.

Chevrolet’s Vision GT, like Volkswagen’s, is a purely conceptual race car designed specifically for Playstation’s Gran Turismo Vision GT project and will never see the light of production. That doesn’t stop it from being cool as hell and worthy of its own gallery.

Chevy-Colorado-ZR-2-LA-2014-4

Like the Vision GT, the Colorado ZR2 is a concept meant for off-road use., but this one might actually show up in dealerships. The ZR2 features a plethora of off-road features which make it an enticing offering for anybody with one foot in the mud. A wider track, grille with integrated winch, quick release spare tire, 2″ lift, skid plates, and front/rear e-lock differential are some of the notable enhancements over the base model. Also new in the ZR2 is Chevy’s new 2.8L Cummins turbo diesel. Making 180hp and 365ft/lb of torque, the new engine may have been revealed in a concept car, but has been confirmed in the 2016 Colorado.

Both vehicles are exciting in their own right and deserve a thorough look. Check ‘em out in the gallery below.

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November 20th, 2014

Jaguar-F-Type-AWD-LA-2014-3

When Jaguar first unveiled the F-TYPE, it was generally very well accepted. A great looking little coupe that had some pretty respectable performance. The only complaint from a vocal minority was that it was lacking a manual shift option. Apparently that minority is not so minor as Jaguar has just announced it is adding a manual shifting option for the 2016 model year. It will be paired exclusively to the 3.0L supercharged V6. It won’t however be available with another option Jaguar is adding for the new F-TYPE: An all-wheel-drive option. This shouldn’t be a problem since those that prefer to shift manually are likely going to stick with the rear-wheel drive versions. Jaguar also announced the addition of a F-TYPE R Convertible model, extending the range to 14 derivatives up from 6.

Phil Popham, Group Marketing Director, Jaguar Land Rover said: “The F-TYPE Coupé and Convertible already represent everything you’d expect from a Jaguar sports car – seductive design, stunning performance and amazing agility. The addition of all-wheel drive and manual transmission options to the range will further enhance the F-TYPE’s dynamic capability and offer even greater driver reward – broadening its appeal to sports car enthusiasts worldwide.”

The addition of AWD coupled with the 542 horsepower from the 5.0L supercharged V8 enable both the F-TYPE R coupe and convertible to rocket from 0-60 in just 3.9 seconds up to a governed top speed of 186mph. AWD is also available on the F-TYPE S models. I was quite surprised when Jaguar first announced the new AWD option for the F-TYPE

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November 20th, 2014

Jaguar-Project-7-LA-2014-1 I just spent a few sentences complaining that the Porsche Panamera Turbo S Executive Exclusive Series was lame because it’s expensive, super limited and doesn’t have any significant changes. Then the Jaguar F-Type Project 7 got put in front of me.

Well shit.

Carbon ceramic brakes, front splitter, racing seats and DAT HAUNCH. I don’t care that only 250 are being made. I don’t care that it’s out of the price range of everybody I know. I don’t care that I’ll likely never have the chance to see one on the street. It’s a throwback to some amazingly cool classic race cars and it works so well. The F-Type hasn’t aged a day since it’s initial release and the Project 7 just makes the entire range more interesting. There’s really not much more to say, only more to see. Read the rest of this post »


November 20th, 2014

Lexus-LF-C2-Concept-LA-2014-1

When the shroud around the Lexus LF-C2 concept was lifted to reveal the latest concept car here at the LA Auto Show, the first thought that came into my mind was that this looked a lot more production ready than I had imagined. The only part of the car that looks “concepty” were the vented rear quarters and super slim side mirrors. The large hourglass front grill is there, the split headlights and the characteristic flared rear quarters from the RC F. Is this a preview of an upcoming RC or RC F Convertible? One thing I loved about the design were the pair of speed humps integrated into the trunk lid and the lack of any obvious soft-top storage area or hard-top mechanism.

Lexus is not being very forthcoming with their plans with the LF-C2 Concept, and in fact they just refer to the concept as a design study exploring styling themes involved with the Lexus brand’s future.

“The LF-C2 concept shows what’s in store for our brand’s future design direction,” said Jeff Bracken, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “This concept shows consumers around the world Lexus’ devotion to emotional designs as well as our passion for an exceptional driving experience.”

On the inside, buttons are replaced with touch-sensitive surfaces that surround the two LCD screens, one of which is essentially a giant touchscreen control panel. The center console extends through to the back of the car between the two rear seats and back up and eventually blending into the trunk between the speed humps. The concept was fitted with a bright white and grey interior that actually looked really pleasing and luxurious, which is huge because I hate light-colored interiors.

I’m definitely curious what the next iteration of this concept will be, or what an eventual production version will look like. Check out the gallery for way more pictures.

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November 20th, 2014

Volvo-V60-XC-LA-2014-1

Volvo makes great vehicles. They arguably kept the sport wagon segment alive when nobody else would touch it. Their cars look great, sound great, feel great and have that whole safety thing going for them as well. None of that has changed with the V60 XC. It was given the usual Cross Country treatment with increased ride height, skid plates, fender extenders, and available 250hp T5 engine. Sure, most of the V60 XCs sold will never see anything resembling what they’re built for, but then how many Ferraris see a race track? Regardless of their use, I’d welcome a sea of capable wagons over the glut of SUVs and crossovers we’ve got these days.

Check out the gallery and let us know if you agree!

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