Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ferrari's new 458 Spider

Ferrari has revealed the long anticipated convertible version of the new 458 Italia. As rumors have suggested, this will be the first mid engined car that will have a folding hardtop. Ferrari has ingeniously created a hardtop that flips over and hides under the rear deck lid keeping it out of the elements, unlike the similar version found on the earlier Ferrari Superamerica. The car will make it's official public debut at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.

 Here is a video of the top in action via YouTube.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

2012 Porsche 911 Photos

Official photos of the upcoming 2012 Porsche 911, internally dubbed the 991, have finally surfaced on the internet.  The look of the new model hasn't strayed from the iconic shape everyone is used to but the body has grown by a little over 2 inches in length and it sports new LED running lights and different taillights than the outgoing 997.  Overall the car looks much the same if you aren't paying attention.

What has changed lots is the interior which now looks more like the interior found on the Panamera sedan.  Another change for the 991 can be found under the trunk....or whatever it's called, where there now resides more powerful engines.  Base models will now have a 3.4L direct injected flat 6cyl making 350HP/280TQ and the Carrera S will sport a direct injected 3.8L flat 6cyl with 400HP.  As has been rumored, both engines can be had with either a 7 speed manual (not a typo) or the PDK transmission.

The 991 will make it's official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Jersey Cars & Croissants

Ever since the original Cars & Coffee started up in California, the concept has spread throughout the rest of the country.  Today my son and I visited New Jersey's version, called Cars & Croissants.  The weather was beautiful and the cars were amazing.

Here are some of the highlights.

Ferrari Enzo

Ferrari 599 GTO

Ferrari F40

Porsche 959

Ferrari 250 SWB

Citroen 2CV

Renault Alpine

Those are just some of the cars.  I took close to 100 photos and you can check them all out in my Photobucket Album

Monday, August 1, 2011

Main Street In Motion

Over the weekend my son and I checked out Main Street in Motion which is a GM promotional tour that lets you drive many of their cars along with some of the competition.  They had something similar a few years ago that was called the GM Auto Show in Motion.  This was pretty much the same.

The highlight of the day was the performance course where you had your choice of the Camaro SS or V6 in coupe or convertible and the Corvette Grand Sport in coupe or vert. You only got three runs with an instructor riding shotgun so I drove the Camaro SS coupe and both Corvette Grand Sports. The Camaro was OK, moved pretty good but driving the Corvette after just blew it away, as expected. The Corvette was so much fun. Great handling, the interior is fine with me, much improved, and the sound of that dual mode exhaust opening up at full throttle was awesome. It was a tight course with a couple of places you could bury the gas and the car just flew. Sadly, none of the cars were available with manual transmissions. I asked the guy who rode with me in the Corvette why and he said "didn't make sense, no one knows how to drive them anymore"....sad. The coolest thing was that since my 17 year old son couldn't drive or ride with me in the Vettes, they offered to have him ride shotgun with one of the instructors and that looked like quite a ride. Those guys really hustled through the course.

Other cars I drove were the new Cruze (you had to drive it first if you wanted to test the Volt) and was given an Eco model to drive. I was pleasantly surprised by the Cruze. Nicely built inside and out and moved and handled pretty well even for the Eco model. The Volt was quite impressive. They had a product specialist ride with you on the 1 mile course they had set up that took you out onto some public roads. Driving in silence with no vibration would take some getting used to but beyond that it felt just like any other car. Acceleration, thanks to the instant torque of the electric motor, was very nice. I really liked the Volt. Then I drove the new Buick Regal Turbo which was a bit of a disappointment. I like the way the car looks but the interior was not my taste with too much shiny plastic. Driving it was OK, decent amount of turbo lag and coupled to an automatic, made it less than exciting.

Non GM vehicles I drove were an Acura TSX which was OK. My wife has an 07 and I prefer the styling of the older car, the interior on the new one was much better. Drove an Acura TL also and that was nice. Moved pretty good with the V6 but, again, I don't like the styling. Handles pretty good for a fairly big sedan. Was sort of excited to drive the Hyundai Elantra but I was seriously disappointed. Love the styling but the interior was cheap, much more so than the Cruze, the engine was a bit sluggish and the handling was downright bad. The Nissan Maxima was OK. Styling is not my favorite but the V6 moves nicely and it handled pretty good. I did really like the grippy seats though. The Ford Taurus was really boring and just not comfortable to drive. It is a big car and it felt like it. Handling was so-so and the high cowl really obstructs your forward view. I'd have to jack the seat up.

They had a bunch of SUVs and Trucks there but I didn't drive any of them since I have no interest. All in all, a nice way to kill a Saturday morning. I just kept thinking, I should go to the parking lot to get my Miata and sneak onto the course for a few laps.

There are a few stops left on the tour and the whole thing is free so check it out.  Remaining dates can be found here - Event Locations.