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Showing posts from February, 2015

Chevrolet SS 1LE Handling Package Possible!

Chevrolet delighted many car enthusiasts when it announced that it will offer a new model called the Chevrolet SS; a RWD sedan based on the Holden Commodore with a standard LS3 6.2 litre V8. Many considered it a replacement to the much loved but short lived Pontiac G8 which was also based on the Holden Commodore. Unsurprisingly, the Chevy SS has been well received in reviews since its introduction, like the G8.

Chevy decided that that wasn't enough, though. Last year, it decided to give another treat to the car's fans and made a 6-speed manual transmission available instead of just the 6-speed auto and the now-well-known GM magnetic shocks also became an option. I wasn't expecting much more to be changed from now on. Since the SS is based on the Commodore and also built alongside of it in Australia, it is expected to go out of production when Holden's manufacturing operations close in Australia and start relying on global GM platforms. A Motor Trend source, though, sa…

2016 Ferrari 488GTB - 458 Replacement

I know this isn't a video of a 488GTB but bear with me. This is a video by Motor Trend of a 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia. It shows a very brief review and hot lapping at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the 2011 Best Driver's Car (BDC) feature. Play the video, skip to 0:42 and listen. Once you get to about 1:00, you should rewind back to 0:42 and let it play again to 1:00. I did that a few times. That's what the Ferrari 458 Italia sounds like, with a screaming 4.5 litre V8 that revs all the way to 9,000 rpm, where it produces peak aural pleasure and power. Rev matching downshifts are awesome. What an engine. What a noise. Sadly, the replacement of the Ferrari 458 will almost certainly not sound like that. 



The 488 GTB will replace the 4.5 litre V8 with a 3.9 litre V8 that makes peak power at 8,000 rpm and will probably redline at the same point like the last one, which would mean a drop of 1,000 rpm. A pair of turbochargers ensure what's left of that high pitched noise is …

2016 Cadillac CT6 Surprise Unveil

In an unprecedented move, Cadillac chose to unveil a brand new car (one that is currently going to sit at the top of the lineup at that) in an Oscars commercial instead of a car show or press release. Meet the CT6, completely unveiled, although we'll have to wait until the New York Auto Show for the official debut with all the details and get a better look at it from different angles. I think it's a very smart move, capturing an unexpected moment and a lot of excitement, but only time will tell if it will pay off in sales.

I've always been a fan of Cadillac's Art and Science design language and this is no exception. I think it looks great and elegant. What's even more important to me in this segment is looking substantial but not bulky and demanding presence. I think it hits all the right marks.




As far as mechanical details, so far it's expected to receive 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 and an optional plug-in hybrid powertrain that should get about 70 mpge. It will …

1,000 hp Twin-Turbo Dodge Viper TA

Over 1,000 hp V10 engine, in a RWD car with a six speed manual. This car also happens to be a Viper, one of the most charismatic cars on the road. This is the work of RSI Racing Solutions through their RSI Twin Turbo Race Systems kit. Starting from $89,950 on top of the price of a Viper, the kit brings Precision 72 mm turbos (76 mm are optional) with custom associated plumbing, cooling, intake and exhaust. The kit also brings built forged block and internals with a 528 c.i. (8.7 litre) stroker kit. The heads and valvetrain, fuel system and clutch are also upgraded to handle the newfound horsepower. The transmission, clutch, differential and axles can also be built to handle the added grunt. If that's more than you'd like, you can forego the built block and heads and go with smaller, 62 mm turbos along with their plumbing and cooling and upgraded fuelling which starts at $44,950. This kit, called RSI Twin Turbo Systems is good for over 850 hp at the wheels. Awesome. Check out …

Lexus LF-SA Teaser

When will Lexus spare the world from this terrible design language? A commenter on Motor Trend Wide Open Throttle's post said: 
"What a hideous, deformed, loud-mouthed, inside-out, upside-down terror is this?!?!? This...this "thing" is an utter disgrace. Wait, I'm sorry! That statement was a disgrace to "things" everywhere! I weep for Lexus enthusiasts everywhere (except BD, he probably deserves this)! Where did they get the inspiration for this monstrosity??? From a deep sea angler???

C'mon, Akio! What happened to the people who designed the FRS?? Were they mysteriously wiped out by an asteroid one night while working on this vehicle, so you decided to hire a bunch of teenage metal-heads who spend their days playing Zombie Apocalypse finish the design??? Oh man, if only there were enough negative adjectives to describe this horrible...this horrible....phenomenon.

I heretofore refuse to call whatever this ill-conceived hunk of metal is a "car&…

Small Block V8 RWD Drifting Minivan

This "Momkhana" video commercial is a spoof of Ken Block's Gymkhana videos. A second generation Toyota Sienna minivan has had its stock engine and drivetrain thrown out and replaced with a small block V8 and RWD. This is how minivans should come from the factory. Imagine pulling up next to this at a traffic light and hearing it. If at least one manufacturer made an optional trim/package for a production minivan of this caliber or close to, even if it's a turbo V6 with a simple FWD-based AWD system, minivans will be cool again. They probably won't sell well or make money for the manufacturers so it'll never happen. 




2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo MR Test - A Closer Look

"True, the Evo MR is an aged dog. Its equipment is antiquated." Who would have thought this would be how to describe an Evo? It has basically been unchanged since its introduction. In fact, the pictures posted here are from Mitsubishi's website. A link that takes you to a flickr Mitsubishi account where the pictures are titled 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

 The Lancer Evolution has always been a performance bargain, offering performance that nothing in its budget did but, with a starting price that's as close as makes no difference $40,000 and no updates since its introduction, that's no longer the case. You can get Camaros, Mustangs and Challengers that are faster and quicker now. Many people now know that a Camaro SS 1LE or a Mustang GT Track Pack are hugely capable on a track and can easily beat an Evo but would struggle to believe that a Challenger would beat an Evo on the track but during Car and Driver Lightning Lap features, a 2011 Challenger SRT8 392…

Juns Subaru BRZ - 2.4 litre Synergy V8

Meet Juns Subaru BRZ. If the traditional power adding methods like forced induction or dropping a small block V8 aren't your thing, this may be it (although I imagine swapping a small block V8 into something small is typically a North American - and awesome - solution, but I digress). This one does have a V8 but it's a very different kind of V8 and, at $70,000, it will cost you a multiple of that but you will no doubt have something very unique.




The engine is based on two Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R engines and has a displacement of 2.4 litres. Power? 356 hp at 10,680 rpm, a whopping 156 hp over stock, although torque gets a much more modest jump to 199 lb-ft, "only" 48 lb-ft over stock. This frankenstein engine is the work of Synery Power in New Zealand, which developed the engine for midget car speedway racing but they have wanted to put it in a street car. I would imagine the experience might be similar to a rotary engine, making a lot of power but all very high in the…

2016 Acura NSX - A little late to the party

I've been asked why I haven't posted about the reveal of this car despite it being very highly anticipated so here's why. I was somewhat underwhelmed to be honest when it came out. Firstly, I make it no secret that I'm a fan of domestics so I typically get more excited about domestics and Ford stole the flashlights with three very special models; the Ford GT, Mustang Shelby GT350R and F-150 Raptor at the Detroit Auto Show. Secondly, and much more importantly, this seems like it's a few years too late in terms of specs (on paper). Acura has been teasing the return of the NSX for years. This builds up hype and expectations and when you don't deliver something really special, disappointment is inevitable. To make matters worse, Acura seems oblivious to the matter.




Mike Accavitti, VP and general manager of Acura, said (and excuse the language) that the NSX is "just badass.. in a luxury kind of way," according to Motor Trend. Acura estimates power to be m…

A tribute to the Shelby AC Cobra

"This hand built super car combines American muscle and European maneuverability to reach speeds of up to 200 miles per hour." The purpose and the looks just scream AC Cobra to me. I don't know if the builder had it in mind when designing the car but, to me, it looks like a modern take on an AC Cobra with an AC Daytona front end. The car, named Lucra LC470, can be had with one of two GM small block V8s, though, not Ford engines. The standard engine is a 6.2 litre LS3 and, as you may have guessed, the 7.0 litre (427 c.i.) LS7 is an option, just like the legendary AC Cobra 427. This one demands a much higher premium, though, costing over $120,000 whereas the original AC Cobra 427 cost approximately $7,000 back in the day, or nearly $53,000 in today's money. Power is routed through a Tremec TKO 600RR 5-speed (H-pattern) transmission.




The car utilizes a carbon fibre body and weighs just 2,000 pounds and with small-block V8 power, it can reach 60 mph in just under 3 seco…

2016 Ford Focus RS

I can't believe we are getting another performance vehicle from +Ford so soon. Everyone was expecting a Focus RS but I didn't think we would see it this soon. To recap, over the last few months, Ford's lineup has gained many options for a gear head. The Mustang gained a new engine option, the 2.3L EcoBoost to bridge the gap between the V6 and the GT. The GT350 name returned with a flat-plane crank making more than 500 naturally aspirated horsepower from a 5.2L V8. Then a GT350R was revealed, a more hardcore track version of the car. The legendary Ford GT came back to, once again, take on Ferrari and a new F150 Raptor was revealed on the opposite end of the performance spectrum. Now, we have another one. A step up from the Focus ST that, according to Ford, without worry about stepping on the toes of the Mustang.

Ford said this will be the most powerful Focus, with "well in excess of 315 horsepower." If that includes the limited edition RS500, which made 345 hp, T…

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 vs 2015 Nissan GT-R Nismo - A Closer Look

This is the one every one has been waiting for, myself included. The two big giant killers - the Corvette and the Nissan GT-R. Let's cut to the chase, the Vette lost and people are surprised, disappointed or both. Around Willow Springs, the GT-R Nismo posted a lap time of 1:25.7 and Corvette Z06 posted a lap time of 1:27.1. That's 1.4 sec on a 1:25 lap which isn't insignificant.



I am surprised and disappointed myself. I thought the Corvette would have easily edged out the GT-R based on the handling tests, not just expectations:

Test Corvette Stingray Z06 (Z07)Nissan GT-R NismoBraking, 60-0 MPH91 ft97 ftLateral Acceleration1.17 g (avg)1.03 g (avg)MT Figure Eight22.3 sec @ 1.06 g (avg)23.1 sec @ 0.99 g (avg)

The gap between the two is so large, you would be forgiven to think they are in two different classes. It's hard to believe it doesn't translate to benefit on the track. I think the fact that it didn't is down to a few factors: The most obvious one is the fac…