Archive | June, 2010

Naked 2011 Refreshed Hyundai Genesis

Yup, that’s right, you are viewing the completely undisguised 2011 Hyundai Genesis.  Most changes are slight but still notable.  The front end has a new front bumper (see the lower air intakes) with updated headlights (reportedly LED’s), new front/rear/side skirts and rear bumper with Lexus LS460 looking exhaust outlets integrated nicely.  That new rumored eight speed transmission is obviously on board with the new BMW looking “shift knob.”  That eight speed transmission is probably hooked to the rumored 5.0 liter Tau V8 which is an update to the current 4.6 liter Tau V8.  Most likely the output will break the 400 hp barrier.  This engine will also probably be in the upcoming Equus.  Check out more spy shots at The Car Blogger.

AutoBird Podcast – Esp 30: “Bon Voyage Episode”

Episode 30 starts with introducing this weeks guest Drew Dowdell owner of CheersandGears.  Moving into the garage we talk about the 2011 Ford Fiesta I was in for the past week along with the Chevrolet Malibu Drew was in. We then move along to the major news of the week segment.  This week included-

  • 2011 Honda Odyssey (Link)
  • 2011 VW Jetta (Link)
  • 2011 Dodge Challenger details (Link)
  • Hyundai Equus, Genesis to get 5.0 L Tau V8 (Link)

We then proceed to the clip of the week segment.  This week we featured an ad by Daimler proclaiming the best or nothing. (Link)

This week we introduce a new segment called car spotting.

Next came our main topic which was discussing Tesla and their upcoming IPO and everything that comes along with that.

Last we plug our respective blogs, Cheers and Gears,  AutoBird Blog and Accelerate Mpls.

Is There a Replacement for Displacement?

The question many people ask me is if there is a replacement for displacement.  I have had this discussion at length multiple times recently. With all the new CAFE requirements and the public’s demand for better fuel economy, some people are worried about fun cars.

While it is true things need to change to achieve better gas mileage numbers, that does not mean the fun will end.  New technologies are making different things possible for this new age.  The use of direct injection and forced induction will likely play a large role in the future of the combustion engine  Many automakers are already downsizing their engines and starting to implement these technologies.

Ford is utilizing twin-turbo charging in combination with direct injection to create more power from smaller displacement engines.  They are calling this technology EcoBoost.  Using two turbos spooling up at different times, it reduces the old problem of turbo lag.  Achieving maximum torque under 2000 rpm’s is one benefit from using this set up.  Even better is that the torque curve is flat!  Ford is getting 365 horsepower and 355 pound feet of torque out of a EcoBoost V-6 displacing only 3.5 liters!  The engine could undoubtedly handle more boost and produce much higher numbers than that, but long term durability would be called into question at some point. Some theorize that the 3.5 liter EcoBoost could have an output of 450+ hp and 450+ ft-lb.

2010 Audi S4 Supercharged 3.0 liter V6

I mentioned earlier that many companies are downsizing the displacement of their engines.  Ford’s EcoBoost powerplant is just the beginning.  In the 2010 Audi S4, a supercharged V6 is used.  This replaces the 4.2 liter V8 found in the previous generation S4.  Many worried about the hp and torque ratings of the car when the smaller displacement engine was announced.  The fact is, the 2010 S4 with its supercharged V6 has more torque and only slightly less hp than the V-8.  The gas mileage has improved greatly and the driving dynamics are still intact.  The only real loss was the deep burble from the throaty V-8.  Problem was, that V-8 was thirsty.

Mercedes has also announced they will start downsizing their engines and will begin to offer more forced induction on future models.  Mercedes’ performance arm AMG will be following suit with downsizing and forced induction as well.  BMW has already started this with the latest M models, which utilize twin-turbo V8’s instead of naturally aspirated V10’s.

2009 Chevrolet Corvette LS3 6.2L V8

All this talk about forced induction is great.  Downsizing is definitely going to play a role in the future.  However, that is not to say you can’t get decent gas mileage out of a big, naturally-aspirated engine.  A base model Chevrolet Corvette is rated at 26 mpg on the highway.  That is 26 mpg from a 6.2 liter V-8, producing 430 hp!  That isn’t terrible – in fact that is down right great!  No direct injection, no turbos, no superchargers – just good old American muscle.  The 2010 Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 achieves 25 mpg on the highway.  Again, naturally aspirated, with no forced induction.

Back to the original question, is there a replacement for displacement?  It really can be answered either way.  Yes, you can get the power of a naturally aspirated V-10 out of a blown V-8, or V8 power from a technology-infused blown V-6.  And now, we are just starting to see V-6 power from inline 4’s with direction injection and turbos.  What you do lose when you try replacing displacement is the sound and feel of the engine.  A turbo V-6 just doesn’t have the same rumble when you start it up.  Everyone’s opinion will differ on this topic.  In the end, mine is that you can replace the power of a larger displacement motor and even get some better characteristics, but in the end you can not replace the feel and experience of a larger, naturally-aspirated engine.  It will always be different, but not necessarily worse.

The Story Of The 300 MPH Speeding Ticket

Source- Twitter

Chrysler to Produce a “Man Van”

Apparently Chrysler is preparing a “man van”, which will be a special version of the Dodge Grand Caravan.  Expect a slight body kit, larger wheels, and “hot-colored” stitching on the seats and steering wheel.  It sounds like Chrysler knows it will not generate huge sales rather just buzz and attention.

Source- The Wall Street Journal

Chrysler to Produce a Citadel

The now dead Chrysler Aspen

According to The Wall Street Journal, Chrysler is working on a luxury version of the upcoming Dodge Durango Magnum.  This model will reportedly wear the Citadel name plate.  This was tried once before, anyone remember the Chrysler Aspen?  I personally am not sure how likely this is to happen based on the previous attempt.

Source- The Wall Street Journal

How Many People Does It Take To Break Into A 1996 Cutlass Supreme?

So I was just out to lunch with my coworkers and girlfriend.  As I look across the street I witness this event unfolding before my eyes.  The girl posing above locked herself out of her 1996 Cutlass Supreme.  The others are either watching, giving “advice” or helping.  Needless to say after about 15-20 minutes they were finally successful.  The tools they used?  Why none other then a bent coat hanger (not the tool that ended up unlocking the car) and a set of RCA cables (this is what they used).  They managed to loop the RCA’s around the lock inside (one window was rolled down two inches) and pulled enough times.  Once it did unlock pretty much everyone on the block started screaming and yelling.  It was an interesting entertainment for the lunch hour.  Oh and we ate Chinese food outside.

First Drive – 2010 Porsche Panamera 4S

Back in the days of yore if someone suggested there would be a Porsche SUV you would be laughed out of the room but not before getting slapped in the face.  Flash forward to the current year and the best selling model in the Porsche line up is a SUV!  Whoa how did that happen?  It is simple really; a small 2 door car coupe/convertible/etc is not practical for everyone.  To build on that success Porsche figured why not build a four door “sports” car.  People seem to want to purchase a Porsche and some people care about practicality.  The two combined equals a need for more then just two door sports cars.  Now we have a new four door (it is really a five door but more on that later) Porsche sedan.  The real question I had was whether the sedan was a true Porsche or does it just wear the crest?

The exterior of the Panamera is recognizable as a Porsche without question.  The front end has styling elements that make it look like an enormous redone 911.  The two round headlights have LED strips hanging below them on the bumper.  The LED strips are day time running lights and at night the same housing has another set of lights that come on.  These act as fog lights or driving lights in a sense.  The side profile has nice sculpting from right behind the front fenders down the side.  The rear is what is truly controversial.  Let’s just get something out of the way quickly.  I like this car.  I like the way it looks.  I am apparently weird and I am ok with that.  Ok now moving on, the rear is what some call hunch backed or carrying too much baggage.  Some are saying it is droopy.  Call it what you want but I see Porsche design in it.  This car is nothing short of huge.  It is right around the size of a BMW 7 Series, Mercedes S-Class and Audi A8 to mention a few.  Technically speaking the Panamera is a five door since the rear does not have a trunk lid rather a rear hatch.  The quad exhaust peak out from the rear to remind you of the power that lurks in the engine bay both on the naturally aspirated V8 and the Twin Turbo V8.

The interior is not quite as controversial as the exterior.  It is pure sporting luxury.  The seats are comfortable and supportive.  They hug you in all the right places.  These are not barcaloungers and no they will not massage you.  They are meant to hold you in place firmly.  The center console between the driver and passenger runs the length of the car.  In the front it rises up and meets the PCM (Porsche Communication Management System).  This design cue is somewhat similar to the center stack in the Carrera GT.  That center stack houses a dizzying array of buttons though they are all clearly marked and clumped together by function.  The PCM is a touch screen along with plenty of buttons to choose from to help operate it.  This was definitely a complex system but I was able to use it without the owners manual though others in this segment have easier systems to operate.  The interior fit and finish is definitely without question up to Porsche standards if not raising the bar within the company.

The engine in this car was a 4.8 liter direct injected V8 pumping out 400 hp and 369 lb-ft to all four wheels.  Since this was a Panamera 4S all wheel drive was standard.  The one choice transmission was Porsches newer PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung) dual clutch transmission.  Launch control is activated by pushing the sport plus button then hitting the brake and then the gas.  You get a visual confirmation launch control is activated and let go of the brake.  You will hear a noise and then suddenly all four wheels grab the pavement and launch the car.  You are thrown back into your seat as the car launches hard and fast.  (PSA – Do this on an empty road two lane road).  You can use the transmission in full automatic mode or shift yourself using the buttons (hate those things) or by moving the gear shift to the manual gate.  The 911 Turbo is getting true paddles this year so hopefully they will trickle down and replace those buttons.  The car without question handles like a true Porsche.  Yes I have driven a different Porsche recently and yes, this does handle differently.  It is a big car, but with that said, the faster you go the smaller the car seems.  It shrinks as you go around corners and off ramps.  It shrugs off speed.  Handling is very impressive.

The particular Panamera 4S I was in had quite a few option packages.  I will skip going through them all though the options rang up to a total of $17,550.  That was on top of the base price of a Panamera 4S which starts at $93,800.  When all is said and done the total sticker price out the door would be $112,325.  That is a lot of coin, but the reality of it is that the Panamera is in the thick of it with the rest of the high priced luxury cars.

The original question was whether the sedan was a true Porsche or does it just wear the crest?  This car is a true Porsche.  Sure many Porschephile’s will say this is not a true Porsche because it weighs nearly 4,300 lbs and has four doors (by the way, that is light for a car this big).  My only question to them is: have you driven one? While it will not be for everyone the reality of it is simple, higher volume selling vehicles like the Cayenne and possibly the Panamera help keep the lights on for future development of lower volume cars like the 911 and whatever the next halo car might be.

Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by a local Porsche dealership

Fallon Dumps Chrysler and Signs Cadillac Account

Word on the street is Fallon here in Minneapolis just signed the Cadillac account.  Supposedly to do so they had to dump the Chrysler account.  This is just another shake up for the Cadillac marketing account as it just went to Bartle Bogle Hegarty five months ago.  Of course no one will comment on the situation (Fallon, Chrysler or Cadillac).

Source- Adweek

Breaking – Toyota’s Chief Test Driver and Godfather of the LFA Dies

You read correctly, the chief test driver and essentially the godfather of the LFA died behind the wheel of a special edition LFA today.  Colliding head on with two other test drivers who were in a BMW.  The two BMW drivers are in critical condition while Hiromu Naruse (67), the driver of the LFA died behind the wheel.  The LFA is the upcoming LFA Nurburgring Edition which was recently spotted on the Nurburgring for testing.  A moment of silence please.

Video of the scene is after the jump.

Source- AutoBlog

Read More…