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Mar 132011
 

Have you seen this commercial? I bet you have. Makes me wonder… does Mercedes make cars for morons? Morons who don’t know how to drive? Who are distracted while on the road? Why in the world would anyone need crap like lane departure warning, self emergency braking and so on if drivers bothered to do what they are SUPPOSED to do while behind the wheel? We’re now substituting electronic aids in place of common sense. It’s apparent these idiots have more money than sense.

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Feb 232011
 

You’ve seen ‘em before. We certainly have. And we’ve spoken out before in complete support of harsher penalties for people who illegally use their cell phones while driving. Finally, someone seems to have listened and done something about it. New York state has now attached a 2-point penalty on one’s driving record, in addition to their existing $100 fine, for talking on a cell phone while driving. While we applaud this move – especially considering studies show cell phone use while driving causes about 20% – 28% of all car crashes according to various studies –  we feel things need to go further.

Just speaking on personal experience alone, I’ve been run off the road twice by distracted drivers. Been cut off a countless number of times by the same type of idiots who couldn’t bother to turn their heads to see if anyone was in their blind spot. And stuck in traffic caused by those who couldn’t be bothered. It’s time to up the ante.

We need SIGNIFICANT fines imposed on these inconsiderate and reckless drivers. $20 fine? $50 fine? $100 fine? No. We need to increase that fine to $500 for the first offense, $1,000 for the second and $2,500 for the third. We need to impose a mandatory suspension of driving priviledges upon the 3rd violation within a 2-year period.

Some may call these penalties draconian, but if you aren’t violating the law, there’s nothing to be worried about. Correct?

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Dec 262010
 

If you’ve played any sort of auto racing game, be it any in the Forza Motorsport or Gran Turismo franchise, watched Formula 1 or DTM or just an automotive history buff in general, the name Nurburgring should speak quite loudly without saying a word. One of the most sacred and hallowed motorsports venues in the world – next to Spa-Francorchamps, Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Silverstone – the Ring and its famous Nordschleife represent a purity that is motorsport. It seems, however, that things have been headed in the wrong direction for the Ring and things aren’t looking any brighter at the moment:

From SaveTheRing.org’s website:

From 2007 – 2009 the German government built a huge Leisure Park at the Nürburgring. It is based on fake visitor numbers, oversized and badly executed. Most of the time it is an empty ghost town. Once promised as private investment, it is now based on a debt of 350+ million EUR public money.

Instead of pulling the plug they rented the park – including both race tracks – to exactly the same privateers (Kai Richter, Jörg Lindner), who were driving forces behind the Leisure Park’s initial private setup.

Without Racing experience they are since experimenting with events completely unrelated to Motorsport (German Volksmusik for example, another one here) – all under the iconic “Nürburgring” brand name.

They now want Nordschleife to pay for the huge losses of “NüroDisney”: record prices and bundled packages for tourist drives plus a 5 times increase for the automotive industry in rent for their prototype testing sessions.

It’s quite obvious to us at RevdCars.net that those who don’t understand nor have the passion for all things automotive and motorsports should stay the hell out of the Ring. Sure, money needs to be made. You can’t continue operating in the red in your P&L. We understand. But we firmly believe you CAN combine financial sensibility with respect for the Ring or any other motorsports venue.

For more information on how YOU can help Save the Ring, visit their website by clicking here.

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Nov 252010
 

Day 2 at the LA Auto Show gave us a chance to spend more time at the LA Convention Center, take more photos and delve further into automotive offerings for 2011.

BUICK PULLS OFF THE COVERS ON THE NEW REGAL

Normally, we’re not big fans of sheet metal from Detroit but this Buick made us do a double take. We’re waiting for our chance behind the wheel to decide whether the double take was based on just a mirage or some real substance.

FLAT IS IN AT MERCEDES

Yes, it’s the Mercedes AMG CLS 63 hyper sedan that you see before you. But that’s not what we’re showcasing. Look a little closer. Notice the flat paint? No, it’s not a custom job. Rather, it’s a factory option available to you. Frankly, it was novel when car customizers first started giving cars the flat treatment but it’s rather played out at this point.

CADILLAC UNVEILS FUNKY LITTLE CONCEPT FOR THE “URBAN” SET

The Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept (ULC for short) is a small city car designed for urban dwellers that just can’t do without some bling to complement their brownstone in upper east side Manhattan. Powered by a teeny, weeny 1.0L turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, the ULC supposedly generates 56mpg in the city and 65mpg on the highway with a cadre of technology including start-stop and brake energy recovery system (a la Formula 1 KERS?). Call us skeptics but we can’t see this car seeing the light of day unless Cadillac’s intention is to meet the even more stringent average fleet fuel efficiency mandate set by the EPA. There are already city car-type variants out there (the Smart, for one) and wonder if we really need a microcar studded with so much unnecessary bling. Keep it simple, stupid. That’s what we say.

DROP TOP CHEVY CAMARO

Open top version of the Chevy Camaro. Nothing else to say about it, really.

FORD FINALLY BRINGS THE FOCUS ST STATESIDE

We’ve always been big fans of “hot hatches,” but the announced arrival of the Focus ST didn’t quite have the effect Ford may have intended. With us, at least. This car has been in existence in Europe since 2009 (the turbocharged 5-cylinder variant killed off due to Europe V emissions regulations). Yet again, American consumers are left getting a car far later after introduced to the rest of the world. I personally find the front end boring, looking quite a bit like a fish; resembles nothing like the aggressive snub nosed design on the original European Focus ST.

GMC’S FORAY INTO THE SUBCOMPACT SEGMENT

When you think of GMC, what comes to mind? Fun cars? Probably not. Utilitarian trucks, SUVs and vans? Absolutely. Perhaps the make is looking to change all that with the introduction of the GMC Granite concept. The front end is large and aggressive, keeping in line with the GMC lineage, but the rest of the vehicle is sleek. The rear end looks particularly similar to the current gen VW GTI. Not sure if this little compact will ever see production, but if it does, it will be the first to shake things up in the segment since the original Scion xB.

JAGUAR’S STUNNER

Wow. That’s about most appropriate word we can use to describe the stunning “green” C-X75 concept. With lines not see since the XJ220 hyper car from the Thatcher era, the concept will hopefully bring new excitement over the old English marquee. But what you find under the sheet metal is completely new school. Each wheel is driven by its own electric motor, with a range of 68 miles from a 6-hour charge at home. Once that juice runs out, however, its lithium ion batteries are recharged by micro gas turbines, extending the “theoretical” range to 560 miles.

Did we mention its claimed top speed of 205mph?

KIA EMERGES FROM HYUNDAI’S SHADOWS

New sheet metal, dimensions, interior and more add up to quite the competition for offerings from sister brand Hyundai. Call it a one-two combo, but Honda, Toyota and Nissan have much to fear from Kia (and Hyundai).

LEXUS’ SPORTY HYBRID HATCH

Funny enough, when we spoke with our friends at Lexus PR, they too agreed that the car looks quite a bit like the Mazda3 / Mazdaspeed3. Mind you, that’s not a bad thing, sharing similar lines as one of our favorites in the segment. No MSRP on this 5-door hatch but we’re hoping to get more info and perhaps our dirty mittens behind the wheel in the near future.

MAZDA’S GORGEOUS CONCEPT

The Shinari concept vehicle in Mazda’s booth was epic. No, it was spectacular. It’s kind of what I envisioned the Aston Martin Rapide would look like, expect this design came from a place a little closer to the shinkansen rather than the tres grande vitesse. No matter. There were more curves and organic forms on this concept than ALL cars on the show floor combined. Perhaps it’s a good indication of things to come from Mazda, as rumors are aplenty about the return of the turbo rotary.

Well, that’s it for us from the second and final press day of the 2010 LA Auto Show. This year’s show was particularly notable as we saw more alternative fuel vehicles than ever before (ed – our take on that coming soon) but came away happy to see that the manufacturers aren’t forgetting about style, sizzle and performance in their offerings.

Until next year!

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Jun 042010
 


I really liked Sebastian Vettel. When he first burst onto the scene, everyone said he had the talent to become world champion. He was a young guy with big dreams and a personality that was animated and fun. He always had a smile in front of the cameras and was a welcome departure from robots like Kimi Raikkonen. I was cheering him on when he took his first victory as a driver at Monza in rain soaked conditions.

Fast forward to 2010. At the Turkish Grand Prix, Vettel veers right into the path of his team mate, Mark Webber, causing a crash that takes out both cars. Webber was able to continue and get a podium but he was all but assured 1st place up to this point. After he gets out of his race car, Vettel makes the above gesture as he makes his way pack to the paddock. Replay after replay shows that there was no steering movement in Webber’s cockpit. Vettel says he was ahead but he clearly wasn’t. However you put it, it was Vettel’s mistake.

Red Bull Racing declares that it was Webber’s mistake. The team management hug and pat Vettel on the back – even though Seb caused the crash. What is this? Kindergarten? Others within the team declare Webber should have let Vettel pass him – where they got this idea is unknown, but when do you just let someone past because he wants to? This is racing. That doesn’t happen. Then based on the backlash by the F1 fanbase force their hand, with team principal declaring it a “racing incident” and even force the two to take what I deem as an incredibly uncomfortable photo, for they have “buried the hatchet.”

What hatchet? It’s clear Vettel screwed up due to his inflated ego (no doubt inflated further by the team) and / or a stupid rookie mistake… except Vettel is no rookie. He’s a third year professional in an organization at the highest form of motorsport and they currently have the fastest car. It’s also clear that Mark Webber is getting a bum deal. He’s been driving at his peak, taking home the victory at Spain and Monaco. Is this how you treat a driver who’s delivering the goods?

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Jun 032010
 

Considering I am Asian myself, it’s a tad disturbing when I hear comments about “Asian drivers.” Let’s just say I don’t fit the stereotype and pretty sure that I can drive circles around 99% of the population out there.

Regardless, even myths and rumors are borne out of reality and truth. Have a look at these accidents on roads in China. Kinda makes you reconsider whether it’s really a myth…

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May 252010
 

feature_by_johnchoi2

Introduction

It’s all been said before. Mass media and automotive outlets have eschewed the virtues of the R35 Nissan GT-R. Every superlative has been assigned to the first supercar to arrive from the Land of the Rising Sun in quite a while. Fast. Wicked. Tenacious. Quick. Outlandish. It’s all been said before.

I’m not going to bore you with what the GT-R can do on the track. Let’s face it. Unless you’re pining for a heavy fine and points off your driving record, you’ll never discover the true potential of the GT-R. So the obvious questions beg to be answered: How good is the GT-R under “normal” driving conditions? As good as the GT-R is as a sports car, how civil is it? Well, let’s find out.

First Impressions

In 2008, I was one of the forunate few who got a few days behind the wheels of the first production year GT-R. Having spent some time behind the wheels of all previous generations of Nissan’s halo vehicle – the R32 GT-R, R33 GT-R, R33 GT-R V-Spec, R33 GT-R LM, R34 GT-R V-Spec – the R35 was pure joy.

The 2010 edition isn’t very different from the 2009 model, although launch control has been re-programmed by Nissan to prevent premature transmission failures. The Premium edition model we had was coated in “Super Silver” special metallic paint. Apparently, this is a special paint applied via a multi-step process that provides the ultimate in paint jobs among all color options. With the Premium edition only near-black metallic finish wheels, the car was quite the looker and attracted all sorts of attention from other drivers on the road.

Sure, attention is nice and all but the GT-R tends to attract quite a bit of “negative” as well. All means of cars, from an older M5 to a “fixed” up Honda Civic would rev their engines at stoplights and on the freeway. No thanks, folks. Frankly, the GT-R will blow the doors off your “fast” rides but that doesn’t mean we would be baited into a street race or another. Keep it on the track.

Right. More about the GT-R.

  • Inside, the interior is fairly straightforward and simple; whereas the trend by many makes has been to overwhelm the driver with every button imaginable, the GT-R’s array of controls is much simpler
  • The LCD screen in the center console unifies all entertainment, navigation and vehicle sensor interfaces into one, eliminating the need for multiple screens

  • Speaking of vehicle sensors, the interface allows the driver to customize what he / she sees; considering the complexity and multitude of the systems involved in forward motion for the GT-R, this is a God send
  • Although the navigation screen isn’t as sharp as that we found in the Hyundai Genesis sedan, it’s a great system and very easy to use
  • Bluetooth pairing with a mobile phone was a snap
  • The iPod interface works very well, displaying actual song information including artist, album, etc.; would you believe this isn’t the case in more expensive vehicles, like the Audi R8?
  • The seats are supportive and offer plenty of adjustment; for me personally, however, I found the seating position a bit high for my 6’3″ frame; even though I was able to find a good seating position, head room left a bit to be desired
  • Honestly, the rear seats are only good for stowing a briefcase or a duffel bag; we can’t see full grown adults finding it comfortable for more than a 15-minute somewhere

  • The trunk, by comparison to past GT-Rs, is cavernous – the BNR32 GT-R had a decently-sized trunk but the BCNR33 and BNR34 GT-Rs really had a sorry excuse of a trunk
  • It swallowed up two rolling carry on bags, 2 computer bags, a camera bag and other assorted items with ease
  • We would NOT recommend putting any refrigerated or frozen grocery goods in the trunk for any extended period of time, as the gearbox and other mechanical goodies seems to generate an inordinate amount of heat that warmed the trunk to temps resembling a pizza oven… unless you wanted to warm up a pizza back there

  • The GT-R is a BIG car and you can see its girth in clear detail when parked among other cars
  • Visibility out the back is lacking and it would have been a nice touch if Nissan added a reverse / backup camera to make parking easier

Driving Impressions

As we stated before, the GT-R has been thoroughly vetted on the track so we won’t delve too much into its performance aspects.

  • The GT-R is really easy to drive, with the steering providing very positive feedback
  • Stoplight-to-stoplight drag races are disposed of with ease; even with the revised launch control system settings, the GT-R roars off the line with a level of impatience seen not more than once, maybe twice, in one’s motoring life
  • Even when in the GT-R’s automatic shift mode, it still performs quite like the supercar that it is, aka SCARY QUICK and FAST!
  • Frankly, unless you really want to get into some spirited driving, automatic mode seemed quite adequate for the majority of driving; for long distance highway driving, say, from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back, it’s perfect

  • Sure, it has “comfort” mode available on the suspension setting, it really doesn’t feel any different than when set in “normal” mode; heck, we really couldn’t notice much difference between “comfort” and “R” mode
  • Ride quality, as stiff as the suspension may be, was fairly comfortable; mind you, this isn’t a Lexus LS460, but it’s not bad at all
  • Speaking of suspension, the GT-R has an endless amount of grip; even when we went way too hot into a corner, we didn’t hear a single chirp from the tires
  • Braking was solid, courtesy of the huge Brembo rotors and multi-piston calipers
  • Perhaps it’s related to the pizza oven trunk, but the center transmission / driveshaft tunnel also generates a fair amount of heat; this necessitated the air conditioning on full blast to cool things down for occupants
  • Although the GT-R is fitted with massive tires and 20″ wheels, in-cabin noise level wasn’t bad at all; conversation at normal speaking levels was fine
  • At speed – and we don’t condone speeding *wink* – the GT-R sounds like a Boeing 747 from the inside; not an overpowering noise, but just a hum of the engine and transmission
  • We were able to achieve 21MPG on while cruising along on the freeway; more realistically, however, we achieved 16MPG on mixed driving

Conclusion

Some other reviews we read have said that the GT-R is too removed, too automated… almost soul-less. We say… RUBBISH. There isn’t a single car at the GT-R’s price point that comes even close to its performance. But value isn’t why you buy this car. You buy it because it’s so unique in the way it delivers the goods. About the closest thing to the GT-R is a Porsche. No, not a Boxster nor Cayman. We’re talking about a REAL Porsche. Namely, the 911 Turbo. That’s yet another supercar that could be driven day-in, day-out yet put to the pavement insane performance. It’s no wonder that Nissan used the 911 Turbo as the benchmark when developing the GT-R. Porsche purists might be crying foul at this point, but get over it. Really.

As we discovered during our rather 4 short days with the 2010 Nissan GT-R, there is much to love about the car. Road trips? Check. Grocery shopping? Check. A day at the track? Check. Commuting to work? Check. We don’t know of many cars that can say yes to so many things. So WE say yes. Yes, we absolutely LOVE the GT-R.

P.S. — If you’re serious about getting your hands on a GT-R and modifying it to deliver even MORE stunning performance, check out our R35 GT-R Aftermarket Buyers Guide!

Sourcebox

Nissan North America
P.O. Box 685003
Franklin TN 37068-5003
(800) NISSAN-1

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