I recently attended the annual M Car Day gathering up at Griot’s Garage in Tacoma, Washington. A day where BMW M Car owners meet up, share insights, lessons learned, and basically drool over each others cars.
Actually, if we are being honest, I wasn’t going to go. I had wanted to go, looked forward to going, but in the end had decided I was going to stay home. Then a few of my buddies at Portland Cars And Coffee basically bullied me into going.
A handful of the local Portland BMW M Car owners met up at Elmer’s Cafe near the Portland International Airport at 7:00 AM the morning of the event. We had breakfast while sharing stories about our cars. Then we caravanned from Portland, Oregon to Griot’s Garage in Tacoma, Washington. It was a blast caravanning with a bunch of other M cars for a few hours.
There were a total of five E34 M5s in attendance including mine. From what I’m told, this was an impressive showing for the E34 M5. It was interesting to see some of the modifications that the other owners had done to their cars. I also enjoyed learning from their experiences, and really enjoyed swapping stories. I even learned some new information about my car.
Nearly every kind of M car except an M1 was in attendance. From the Z8 to the E30 M3, not much was left out. Of course, E46 and E90 M3s dominated the scene. But I really enjoyed looking at the E28 and E39 M5s. A lot of the owners have done some unique modifications that make these cars stand out.
Griot’s Garage was a terrific host for the gathering. There was a raffle with prizes and a few vendors selling food. Definitely a cool event here in the North West that I hope to be able to attend again next year, and in the end I’m very glad I went.
Enjoy the full photo gallery below and the video of the caravan heading up to Griot’s Garage.
March brings many things to Minneapolis, melting snow, warmer weather, usually at least one large snow storm, and of course, the Minneapolis Auto Show. This year the automakers were in full force. Both Porsche and BMW returned to the show, sadly Infiniti was still notably absent. Without further delay, lets jump in and take a look at the winners, losers and just some general observations of the show. Read More…
In my short time on this earth, the Buick Regal has never been a car that seemed like it was sport injected. Yet for some years that was the marketing that went along with the nameplate. Sure, from 1997 to 2004 you could get a supercharged V-6 in a Regal. But did that really make it sporty?
Now we have a new Regal, and yes, it is sport injected. At least that is what the marketing tells us. I recently spent a week with the new Regal to see if the marketing really translates to the pavement. Read More…
Mitsubishi’s marketing is all about being different for a reason. With that in mind, it would make sense that its Outlander CUV would be different than the rest of the competition, now wouldn’t it? I spent a week to find out if the Outlander is truly different, and if so, is there a reason.
Let’s be frank, the exterior of the Outlander GT is a mess, but a hot mess in my eyes. The front clip looks like that of an enlarged Evo, or Lancer if you will. Though, it is slightly less aggressive. When standing directly next to the Outlander GT you’ll be surprised by two things: the huge front overhang residing in front of the wheels, and also the long hood.
Out back, two things stand out to me. The first is the taillights, these also have the downward slanted appearance that the Evo has, though that is where the similarities end. The second is how Japanese, and dare I say, Mitsubishi the rear end looks. Seriously, this rear end screams Mitsubishi to me, but in a very good way. The LED taillights and overall design work. I also love the two-piece tailgate similar in style to the first generation BMW X5. Very handy for loading large cargo into the rear end.
The sides are somewhat slab sided, but it works. The chrome trim that runs along window sills follows the glass up the C-pillar ending at the top. It is a nice touch, and helps finish the look.
When I said the exterior is a mess I meant it. The front is Evo with its big gaping mouth. The front clip ends up kind of looking tacked on. In reality the look works for me, but for many it won’t.
The interior was upgraded in 2010 with much nicer materials. The dash, along with the top of the door panels is covered in leather-like material. The Outlander features dual glove boxes. This allows you store all your stuff in an organized manner. The rear seats slide fore and aft, which is nice for adjusting leg room.
If you need to carry seven people the Outlander can handle the task. Though you’d have to truly hate the two people in the third row. That, or they need to be kids that pretty much have no legs. The third row folds out of the floor and is pretty sad. The headrests are either plastic or cardboard that is wrapped in cloth. Without question it is the sorriest third row I have ever seen.
The front seats are comfortable, but offer little in the way of bolstering. They are somewhat flatter than I expected. They feature a nice design in the center sections. Suede and leather trim the sides. I found it very odd that at $30k the seats were not power operated, but rather manually adjustable.
One thing that really made it hard to get comfortable was the lack of a telescoping steering wheel. In reality, at $30k in this class, a steering wheel that does not telescope is borderline unacceptable.
The powertrain in the Outlander GT is a 3.0-liter V6 that puts 230-horsepower and 215 lb-ft to all four wheels. The power is routed through a six-speed Sportronic transmission. You do have manual shift control both through the shifter as well as the metal paddle shifters that are mounted to the steering column. These are the same paddle shifters that are featured in the Evo.
The Outlander GT is no rocket, and in fact the V-6 produces somewhat disappointing numbers on paper. Driving the Outlander, you feel as if it has more power than it actually does. The engine and transmission definitely work together to make the most of the power. Above 3,500 RPM the engine almost sounds downright snarly. While you wont be racing to the soccer game, you’ll get there without having to worry about passing power.
A four cylinder model is available as well, though I’m not sure you would want it. The four cylinder all-wheel drive model is rated at 22/27 mpg while the V6 all-wheel drive model is rated at 19/25. You lose 3 mpg in the city and 2 on the highway for power that would be sorely missed. I saw an average of 19.5 mpg in mixed urban and suburban highway driving.
The GT features Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) system. This is the same system that is used in the Evo. It features an active front differential and three drive mode selections: tarmac, snow, and lock. Obviously the tarmac is for dry roads, snow is for snowy roads and lock is for locking the all-wheel drive system.
Due to the snowy roads here in Minnesota, I left the S-AWC in snow mode. It distributed power quickly when going around slick corners, and front to back launching from a stop light. Just like the Evo, the Outlander has the same S-AWC graph in the information display that shows you where the power is being distributed in relation to the wheels. It is highly impressive in the Evo and no less so in the Outlander GT.
Overall the Outlander GT was a nice CUV to drive. It wasn’t the ride or handling that really stood out to me for this CUV. It was the S-AWC system. It was so controlled over the slick roads that I almost forgot that this was a crossover with all-wheel drive.
At $30,275 after destination, the Outlander GT is not a bargain. The pricing has it right in the heart of the CUV market. While it may not be as conventional and mass market as the competition, it is definitely competitive. The Outlander is definitely different, but I’m ok with different. It will not be for everyone styling wise, but you can’t argue that some of the features are well thought out. Add to that what might be a contender for one of the best-in class all-wheel drive systems, and the Outlander is probably a vehicle that is overlooked too often in the big sea of CUVs.
Full Disclosure – The review vehicle was provided by Mitsubishi
Cadillac latest advertising campaign pegs the brand as “The New Standard of the World.” But are they really? Over the past 10 years, there is no question that they haven’t been. But do vehicles like the Cadillac Escalade Platinum stand to change that?
The Cadillac Escalade Platinum stands for all the right things at the wrong time. With 22″ wheels, three TV screens and a 6.0-Liter V8, the Escalade is what many would say is wrong with America. Wait a second, what’s this? It’s a hybrid!
GM launched its two-mode hybrid system in the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon full size SUVs. Both of those full size SUVs share the GMT-900 platform with the Cadillac Escalade, making an Escalade hybrid model a no brainer.
The exterior of the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and the GMC Yukon Hybrid both feature slightly tweaked exteriors for enhanced aerodynamics. The Escalade hybrid does not feature a different front end or body work, but the Platinum edition does.
The grille is an egg crate-like design that is more in-line with the rest of the Cadillac line-up. The headlights are fully LED with a unique design exclusive to the Platinum edition. I actually like the grille design on the Platinum better than the regular Escalade.
While the headlight design is certainly unique, I’m not sure if they are better or worse. The LED headlights flood the road with natural blueish white light. This clashes with the yellow light that hits the road from the halogen fog lights. I wish Cadillac has fitted LED lights in the fog lights along with the headlights. This would give the front end a much more cohesive look at night.
The Platinum also features 22″ chrome multi-spoke wheels which put the Escalade up in the air. To help get into this land barge you have automatic step bars. They deploy as soon as any of the doors open. Around back, the Escalade Platinum features all-LED lighting.
Visually the Escalade is already an in your face, over the top vehicle. The Platinum edition takes that all one step further and in reality it looks better than the regular Escalade in many regards.
The interior takes the regular Escalade to the next level. Everything is pretty much real wood, real aluminum or one of two different kinds of real wood. The doors and top of the dash are both wrapped in leather while the center stack and anything on the dash that isn’t wood is aluminum.
The steering wheel features a nice combination of all three materials. While the Platinum features a heated steering wheel, the Hybrid Platinum does not. Cadillac decided to forgo this feature due to the energy draw. Too bad, with aluminum and wood on the steering wheel, chilly doesn’t begin to describe the feeling in your hands when it is zero degrees outside.
The fist two rows are covered in a very nice aniline leather, while the third row settles for nuance leather. In all reality, both are very nice looking and feel great. As mentioned before, the Platinum Escalade features two different types of wood inside. Both olive ash and walnut burl adorn the dash with an intricate yet tasteful break to switch from one to the other.
The gauges are white with blue needles. Chrome surrounds the gauges, which I might have thought would be distracting in sunlight, but I am happy to report it is not.
Navigation is standard, though slightly dated. The system is DVD-based which means it is not instant when changing map views and such. The navigation system does have live traffic,which is provided by XM. The main navigation screen is also home to most of the settings, the sound system and the hybrid drivetrain graphic, which shows you where the power is being routed and from what source. The sound system is Bose branded and sounds alright, but it isn’t mind blowing by any means. The Harman Kardon and Pioneer sound systems that GM has been using in other vehicles sound better.
The Escalade Hybrid Platinum features a rear seat entertainment package. This consisted of not one or two, but three screens. Why three? Because this is the Platinum. Two of those screens are seven inches in dimater and are mounted in the front two headrests. The third screen is eight inches and drops down from the top of the Escalade. There were remotes and headphones galore.
If you haven’t already decided from the pictures and all the above, the interior of the Escalade Hybrid Platinum is definitely a nice place to both be for both the driver and passengers. I would go as far as to say, the interior of the Platinum is exactly what a Cadillac should be. Granted I would give it a technology update, but that is beside the point.
The Escalade Hybrid’s powertrain is a 6.0-liter Vortec V-8 with active fuel management paired to two 60 kilowatt electric motors. The power goes through a 2-mode transmission, which is essentially a four speed. Two speeds are for city speeds, while two speeds are for highway speeds. The cutoff is at 40 miles per hour for switching from city to highway mode.
I was highly impressed with the system. It is smooth and overall very seamless. During the week I had the Escalade Hybrid it was around zero degrees the entire time. This meant that the battery pack had to work harder to hold a charge.
The engine stop-start function didn’t really kick in until the vehicle and battery were both thoroughly warmed up. So short drives did not get the full benefit of the hybrid powertrain. When I had the Tahoe Hybrid it was spring and warm. I saw an average of 19.6 mpg in mixed urban/suburban driving. With the Escalade Hybrid Platinum I saw an average of 15.3 mpg. While the weather definitely impacted my mileage, this is better than the 12 mpg I probably would have seen with the non-hybrid version.
The Escalade Hybrid Platinum I had for a week had a sticker price of $89,090. That is a lot of coin for an SUV, or any vehicle for that matter. The Hybrid Platinum is the highest trim model of Escalade that you can purchase. Is it worth nearly $90,000? Probably not. Then again I wouldn’t spend nearly $90k for a BMW X6M either, and that has 555 horsepower. The price tag seems a bit unreasonable.
With all that said, this is absolutely without a question the nicest Cadillac Escalade available, and it is a little greener to boot. There is no question that the Hybrid is more fuel efficient, especially when it is not 0 degrees outside.
I’m going to stick with my statement from earlier, defining this vehicle as what a Cadillac should be. A really nice interior filled with leather, real metal and wood, and a powerful yet somewhat green powertrain. If Cadillac can build vehicles like this and push the boundaries of technology further, they might have a chance at yet again becoming the standard of the world.
Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by General Motors
I’m literally speeechless….Not even sure how to approach this. It’s a BMW 5 Series in the front and Mustang in the back? This is not like business in the front and party in back people. This is almost a serious offense. He should be given a ticket for doing such a thing.
Another month, another gathering of man and machine. Of course I speak of Cars & Café, out at the AutoMotorPlex in Chanhassen. This month promised, as usual, to be eventful. I woke up a little early (4:40 am), as I did poor planning. I had not washed the 300ZX (note to self: next month wash the 300ZX before the morning of Cars & Café). So, I washed the 300ZX and popped off the T-Tops.
As I was cruising out West to meet up with my buddy in his S2000, I saw black sky in front of me – then lightning – and then I saw a car come over the hill with windshield wipers on (this was not going well). I hit the gas and made it to his garage with the 300ZX still clean and dry. We ended up taking his daily driver and leaving the 300ZX and his S2000 there, as it started pouring down rain right after I pulled into the garage.
Upon arriving, it was clear the rain, which was at this point a nice steady rain coming down, had affecte turn out. Nooooooooo I cried to the car gods. Luckily some of the cooler rides still managed to show up. As I was admiring a nice Ford F150 Lightning, I heard something loud pulling into the complex.
I turn to see a true hard core car guy (you would have to be) driving a Cobra in (remember no top) through the rain. Two Dodge GLH Turbos sat next to each other, both in ridiculously good condition. I also counted not one but two Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbos (I drooled a little). Quite a few Acura NSX’s showed up, along with a Lexus IS-F.
Two BMW’s caught my eyes this month. One was a early 90’s 540i manual white on black with only 28k on the odometer. The kicker? It is for sale and they are asking only $25k!
Someone buy that car or buy me that car! There was also a mid 80’s M6 in fantastic condition that caught my eye., along with an early 2000’s black Audi S8 that is a regular at Cars & Café. I just love that car!
So good story, I am walking by the club house and hear tires squealing like a burn out. I look around and am quite confused. Suddenly I realize that the sound is coming from behind this building in the VIP section. I go running through the crowd, and as I turn the corner I almost fall over.
This Lamborghini Miura owner clearly had put the car in reverse instead of first gear (as best I can tell from the situation). The car had gone backwards off the cement and onto the pebbles directly below. Part of the car definitely was resting on the cement. The tires were squealing and these two guys were pushing the back of the Miura trying to get it back onto the cement. Finally after a few minutes they accomplished this task, but not before you could smell the clutch and tires. It was quite a scene.
Also filed in the – ahem – interesting category, was the Toyota Camry Solara parked in the American muscle section. Hey at least it was on dubs! Sitting next to that was a Chrysler 300C. Not just any Chrysler 300C, but one riding on 24’s – and wait – it gets better.
The person had welded extensions (eyebrows?) onto the leading edge of the hood. You can still see where the person welded and sanded them. They were not painted yet (I am assuming they are going to paint them….at least I hope so). Let’s not forget the white Toyota Yaris hatch with lime green wheels.
On the list of awesome cars I would include the RUF 911, Aston Martin DB7 Vantage, and a Jensen that showed up. The red GMC Typhoon that was for sale earlier this year was on hand, along with two Ford GT’s (they are Cars and Cafe regulars). A new Lotus Evora made the trip, along with a Ford Mustang Shelby Super Snake.
One of the cleaner Oldsmobile 442’s I’ve seen was on site as well. Obviously I have already mentioned the two Dodge GLH Turbo’s but I want to just mentioned them again in this section of awesome. Last but not least was the regular BMW 200ti. It is a work in progress, but hot all the same.
One cool thing was this garage that had a Corvette Z06 in it. Ok that car was nice but you know those bag chairs you take to soccer games and such? Well they had one of those. and then they had a ginormous one that was literally super sized. To get a idea of just how big it was they let me sit in it and I got a picture!
Overall the rain really put a damper on the attendance, or at least it felt that way. With most of the people clearing out before 10 AM, it had to be one of the shortest Cars & Cafés I have attended yet. Thankfully, the doughnut holes provided by Imola Motorsports stayed dry in the clubhouse.
Yes they were tasty,and yes I ate some. Just for the record, doughnut holes always seems to taste better when they are delivered in a BMW M5. I can not prove that, but that seems to be my experience. Here’s hoping for a dry Cars & Café next month!
That is correct! The owner of the infamous Imola Motorsports is selling the vehicle that brings us all such joy when it pulls into Cars & Café with doughnut holes each and every month. The vehicle is Kevin’s personal 2006 BMW M5. This is the car I always seem to be taking pictures of and tweeting about for your viewing pleasure. I have personally had a ride in this car and it is just terrific. The exhaust system sounds heavenly.
Below are some details.
Exterior- Interlagos Blue
Approx 38,800 miles
Edmunds Certified used car value $49,284
Asking $49,000 with ALL the modifications listed
All service completed either at BMW Motorwerks or Imola Motorsports. transferrable CPO warranty through BMW
322 Comfort Accesso – $1,000
Smart card / smart key automatic, includes central locking and includes ignition starter
416 Rear Electric Sunshadeo – $575
Side manual blind; Rear electric blind
453 Seat Ventilationo – $800
Driver and passenger ventilated seat; Requires: [X2xx] Full Leather w/ Alcantara Roofliner And [4MA] M Multifunction Seats w/ Active Width
465 Fold Down Rear Seatso – $475
Rear seat center armrest with ski bag; Asymmetrical front facing rear seats
4MA M Multifunction Seats w/ Active Widtho – $1,900
Active backrest width adjustment 610 Head-up Displayo – $1,000
Dashboard with head-up display 655 SIRIUS Satellite Radio – $595
Audio system with satellite X3xx Full Leather w/ Alcantara Rooflinero – $3,500
Leather seat upholstery with additional leather; Luxury trim leather on dashboard; Leather handbrake; Excludes: [X2xx] Full Leather w/ Alcantara Roofliner BMW IPOD Integration kit – $550
Eisenhauso Meisterschaft GT with Carbon tips ($2200)
Wheels & tires:
Radenergie 20×9 Fronts ($1400 each)
Toyo T1-R 255/35-20
Radenergie 20×10.5 Rears ($1800 each)
Toyo T1-R 285/30-20
Full LED interior ($100)
Factory European headlights with clear corners ($1450)
Euro Angel Eyes ($249)
Vorsteiner Carbon splitters ($600)
Vorsteiner Replica hood ($1200)
Painted Hartge rear diffuser included
Painted rear windshield spoiler included
BMW Carbon Emblems
Black front grills
Black side grills
Front Clear Bra
Tell your friends and empty your piggy banks kids. This is one sweet ride. If you are interested sound off in the comments and I will see if I can’t swing you a super deal. I already checked and my piggy bank and find myself a little short. Otherwise I would consider this fine piece of V10 beast for my garage possibly.
I wanted to start this review off by stating how much I really like the current Chevrolet Tahoe. As far as larger body on frame SUV’s go, I like it a lot. When I received word I would have a Tahoe Hybrid to review, my first thought was how interesting it would be. Since I like the regular Tahoe, would I like the hybrid? After a week, lets dive in and find out.
The exterior of the current Tahoe is terrific. Changes were necessary in many areas on the exterior for the Hybrid model. These changes were for improvements to aerodynamics, which include a different grille, new lower air dam which is much lower to the ground, slight sculpting in the rear rocker panels and other little things. The wheels are also a different design, and are wrapped in low rolling resistance tires. The Tahoe is a sharp vehicle but the lower front air dam on the hybrid looks somewhat awkward to me. The lower ground clearance in the front meant I scraped the front end on a few driveway entrances. This is a full-size SUV in which I can scrape the bottom front air dam on a driveway entrance. That somewhat bothered me! I also like the non-hybrid grilles slightly better. Other then the front end and wheels, you will not notice a huge difference between the hybrid and regular Tahoe aside from the hybrid badges. Though I am not a huge fan of all the necessary aerodynamic changes, the Tahoe is still a looker and the hybrid model is not that much worse.
I also like the interior of the regular Tahoe and not many changes were made for the hybrid. The battery pack resides under the second row of seats. They can tumble fully forward. The third row tumbles forward but does not fold flat like the current generation Ford Expedition and can be fully removed, but they are not light. Make sure you do not have a bad back! Also make sure you have somewhere to store them. The front seats are very comfortable and will be easy to take a long road trip with. The navigation unit is still disc based and the resolution on the particular unit in this Tahoe hybrid had a somewhat fuzzy aspect to it. The words and everything just did not seem as crisp as other units I have seen from GM of the same variety. You do have a hybrid mode screen where you can see exactly what is happening with the powertrain. I found that,while it was cool, ultimately I would rather have the navigation map up or the radio station presets. I found that to be more useful. The gauge cluster has plenty of information to inform you what mode you are running in and how much power is coming from where. The rest of the interior is standard Tahoe, which is nice – however a power lift gate on a SUV with this price tag would not be a lot to ask for. Not to mention the lack of telescoping steering wheel! Overall, the interior is a nice place to spend your time, but small changes could be made to enhance it.
The powertrain is a 6.0 liter Vortec V8 with active fuel management, along with two 60 kilowatt electric motors. This was a four-wheel drive model, so the power can be pushed to the rear wheels or all four depending on the mode. The transmission is a “2-mode” system that was developed in collaboration with Daimler and BMW. The transmission essentially works in two modes, one in the city at speeds below 40 miles per hour an one at speeds above 40 miles per hour. Essentially one is a city mode and one is a highway mode. They are trying to maximize both conditions with less compromises. It is a somewhat unique approach, seeing as most hybrids do not focus on highway mileage as much as city mileage. I was highly impressed with the overall system. The switching between battery and gasoline, as well as the combination of both, was very smooth. I noticed the engine was operating in four-cylinder mode a lot more often then the Silverado I recently had with active fuel management. This tells me that the settings are much more aggressive due to the battery and electric motor assistance. The EPA rates the mileage at 21/22 mpg. I saw an average of 19.6 mpg in mixed city driving.
The battery pack
The total bill for this Tahoe after options and everything was $56,810 including destination. The only two options on this particular vehicle was the entertainment/destination package which was $2,390 and the red jewel tintcoat paint for $395. Many features that are optional on non-hybrid models or that you need to upgrade trim levels for normally, are standard on the hybrid model – including the navigation package. The base price for the Tahoe Hybrid with four wheel drive is $53,525.
So at the end of the week, did I like the Tahoe hybrid as much as I like the Tahoe? The reality of it is that the powertrain and driving experience is much more seamless and refined then I imagined it would be. I was highly impressed in that regard. The bottom line, if you are in the market for a full-size (body on frame) SUV and care about the environment mileage numbers, then the Tahoe Hybrid delivers on the promise of better fuel economy with a refined hybrid experience.
Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by General Motors
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.