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…
While Detroit has been down in the dumps for a while, this years auto show definitely shows things might be back on track in the D. Of course it had to snow while everyone was in town, but it gave those from the warmer climates a chance to see what us snow belt state peeps live through on a daily basis.
Some of you will remember that last year I wanted to differentiate myself. I started tweeting pictures of cars with the models and tagged them as #EyeCandy. This quickly became a hot topic. A few of my followers mentioned this year that I was not really tweeting any #EyeCandy and asked why not. The simple answer, there wasn’t any. Few booths had the babes that were in attendance last year. Though Chrysler group and Ferrari still pulled through.
But lets get down the to the product. The new Chrysler 300 looks terrific. In reality, many wondered when they saw the pictures if it can recapture the market that the 300 once had in 2005. Upon seeing the car in real life, I am happy to report that it looks much better in person. The interior really does deliver on the promise that the 300 made back in 2005. American luxury. From the great new Pentastar V6, to the growling Hemi V8 in the 300C, this is American luxury in a rear-wheel drive car.
Another car I was anxious to see in real life was the new Chevrolet Sonic. The Sonic is Chevrolet’s new B-Segment car which will take on the likes of the new Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris and many others. I have to say, while I think the new Sonic is a home run from a styling perspective, I can see how many will not. It will be either a love it or hate it vehicle. From the exposed barrel headlights to the ridiculously short rear overhang and really long front overhang, the styling is nothing short of eye catching. The interior gauge cluster is also interesting, as they actually put into the production model the Aveo RS concept’s gauge cluster. With a racing like analogue tachometer and a digital speedometer, the gauge cluster is more reminiscent of a race car or motorcycle than that of a sub-compact car. Going on sale later this year I can’t wait to get behind the wheel and see how the driving dynamics compare to the competition.
The new A6 has already won a design award without even leaving the show floor. In my opinion the new A6 takes everything that is right with the new A8 and A4 while dropping everything that is wrong with them. Smashing all the good together to make a great looking Audi. The design language has really come together for this car. The interior is terrific and the exterior is eye catching. The optional LED headlights are very intricately designed when inspecting them up close. You will see the new A6 on the road later this year.
Toyota has finally unveiled a larger Prius. The model is called the Prius V. This is especially confusing to some since the regular Prius has trim level packages that are in roman numerals. Right now if you go buy a Prius in the top trim level you are buying a Prius V. Wait, that can’t make sense. So when you buy a top trim level Prius V will you be buying a Prius V V? This is clearly not well thought out. I wonder if Toyota realizes this yet. Maybe someone should send them a note. Regardless, I heard many people comment on how the Prius V rear end has a lot of Honda Fit in it. I can see that. The front, well it looks like a third generation Prius with a few slight tweaks. You’ll still know it’s a Prius. You will see the people mover Prius at a dealership near you in the Summer.
Ah the Honda Civic Concept. Honda waltzed Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy on stage to talk about the new Civic Concept. Here’s the problem, either Wentz was drunk or he really could care less about being there. He enthusiasm was worse than the new Civic’s styling. He barely stumbled through his words off the teleprompter. Note to Honda: make sure your spokesperson is somewhat excited about your luke warm product.
But getting back to that product, the new Civic Concept looks as if a new Odyssey and the current generation Civic got it on in the back room. That, or a designer of the current Civic got wasted one night, and just took the current Civics lines and tweaked them a little. For a mid-cycle refresh, I am not sure how this will be competitive until 2016 with new competition from Hyundai, Ford and Chevrolet. We will have to wait and see when the new Civic comes out, but I am not holding my breath.
Mercedes had its SLS E-Cell electric car on display. In a word it is blinding. The paint job on this car can literally sear your retinas. Beyond the paint job, it looks fairly identical on the outside to the current SLS. The interior changes a little as most of the gauges and center stack are now LCD screens. This car will go into production, but if you have to ask range or price, you can’t afford it.
I don’t really want to spend much time on the Passat as I’m not sure it deserves it. I’ll reserve final judgement until I drive one. Until then, I’ll say this, Volkswagen is going downmarket to sell more cars. Is that really a good idea? Why alienate all your current customers. People that buy current Passats pay more because they expect to get better quality materials. Cheapening the car for a lower base price is going to hurt your brand image. This is no longer just German engineering, it is German engineering to a price point.
While I skipped Porsches press conference to eat breakfast at my hotel (it was at 6:30 AM), I will say looking at the car in person, it is stunning. Seeing that huge flywheel in the passenger seat, yea. This is how you build a hybrid. It is good to see Porsche looking at new technology for racing. If this car does go into the racing circuit it could change the game. With less fuel stops needed and more power on tap for instant bursts, it could be a whole new era of racing.
At the end of the day I was exhausted. Most journalists were up at 5 AM and didn’t leave the show floor till nearly 8 PM. I ran to nearly every press conference and went through approximately 6,600 milliamps of battery power for my iPhone4. It was a good show with some great product. Not everything was great, but it was a good to see where each automaker is going in 2011.
Full Disclosure- My NAIAS travel and accommodations are being provided by General Motors
The first generation Cayenne was heavy, it could definitely go off road and it was much more capable then most any owner would ever demand of it. But was it a good vehicle? That depends on your definition of good.
As I just mentioned above, the first generation was heavy. The interior was not made of the best quality materials in certain spots (far too many certain spots). Sure, it could go off road but who really did that with it once they owned it?
What about on-road driving? Yeah it drove like a Porsche of SUVs, but you could feel the heft. Yet despite that, the first generation Cayenne quickly become the best-selling Porsche model. So did the second-generation fix those problems and finally become the true Porsche of SUV’s?
The front of the Cayenne has evolved. It has taken on the look of the new Panamera sedan. The headlights are very similar and the LED daytime running lights are great looking. The rear is no longer blocky and square looking, rather it has hips (if you will) and they curve with the tail lights which are LED and very bright at night. The tail lights are also similar to those found on the new Panamera. The sides have a nip and tuck towards the bottom with some nice sculpting. The exterior has been throughly updated and overall feels more taught. The styling falls right in line with the new Panamera.
As mentioned before, the last generation’s Cayenne interior was nothing to write home about. In fact it was worse then that, but we wont go into that. Good news! The interior of the latest Cayenne is all that and a bag of Skittles. Have you been in the new Panamera? Have you been in the last generation Cayenne? Mix the few good things from the old Cayenne and most everything else from the new Panamera and you have the new Cayenne. The grab handles between the seats are still there, but the rest was dumped for the new Panamera interior. The center console rises to meet the dash between the seats. The touch screen works well and is not ridiculously confusing. The materials are top notch, though like the Panamera there is a sea of buttons. Luckily, they are grouped together by function. The rear seats slide fore and aft to either give rear seat occupants more leg room or to gain more cargo room. The interior fit and finish, along with materials all meet the bar that was raised in the Porsche line up by the Panamera.
The new Cayenne has three current engine choices, with a hybrid model on the way. For now, we will focus on the Cayenne S model I was in. The Cayenne S features the same 4.8-liter direct-injection V-8 that is in the Panamera S sedan. Pumping out 400 horsepowerp and 369 lb-ft to all four wheels, this is no slouch of an engine. The power is put down through an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. Note that this is not the newer PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung) transmission in some other new Porsches. This setup is good for a quoted 5.6 second 0-60 run and a top speed of 160 mph (after all, it is a Porsche). The Cayenne S is rated at 16/22 MPG and I saw an average of 16.2 mpg in mixed city driving. The engine features auto start/stop technology for fuel savings at stop lights and in heavy traffic.
This is only when enough energy has been stored from braking. It is fairly smooth and not intrusive, but you can notice when the V-8 shuts down and starts up. To lose some of that weight (the new Cayenne is over 400 pounds lighter then the last generation) Porsche dropped the mechanical locking differential and went to a electronic locking differential, among other things. The weight loss is hugely noticeable! It feels like the Cayenne went to fat kid camp and came back not only looking leaner, but driving leaner as well.
Overall, this new Cayenne is better in every way compared the original. I sincerely doubt most any owner is going to miss the mechanical locking differential and accompanying hardware. The weight loss is noticeable and makes for a better overall vehicle. The look is leaner, more taught and overall a nice evolution.
The Cayenne S has a base price of $63,700, but as with any Porsche the options list is more then plentiful and they add up quite quickly. The options list on this exact Cayenne S is a small laundry list but added up to a total of $21,940! Again, that was not fully loaded. Total price for the Cayenne S I was in came to $86,615.
While that is not a cheap date, it certainly more worthy of its price tag then the last-generation Cayenne. This lighter, more luxurious, better handling, better looking Cayenne is the Porsche of SUV’s. One last thing – there is a lot of competition with more coming so while it is the Porsche of SUV’s, is that enough? Probably, and it will most likely continue to be one of Porsche’s best selling vehicles, right next to the Panamera.
Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by a local Porsche dealership
Episode 33 starts with introducing this weeks guest Nick Salvatore from SpeedSportLife. Moving into the garage we talk about the 2011 Porsche Cayenne and 1967 Ford Mustang I drove since the last recording. We also heard about the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS and Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec Nick was in. We then move along to the major news of the week segment. This week included-
NADA picks vehicles with best cost of ownership (Link)
- Nissan vs. Hyundai – Who is going to be the #2 Asian Automaker (Link)
This week we continue with the newer segment called car spotting. Justin spotted a Chevrolet Corvair. Nick saw a Alfa 159 Wagon when in Europe and his new Glut Orange Audi S5.
Another month has come and gone which means it is time for yet again another Cars & Café. Unfortunately this month the Saturday happened to fall on the holiday weekend known as Labor Day. Most people in Minnesota that have a cabin know Labor Day weekend as a work weekend and I fall into that category. As I was cleaning up boats, many auto enthusiasts in Minneapolis were gathering for coffee and doughnuts. Oh and there were cars as well.
The weather was gorgeous (where as last month is was *ahem* crappy) and the cars flowed in. Luckily for us my friends Ross and Alex Bellus both were in attendance reporting back.
The good is a long list this month. The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Super Snake made an appearance again as did the Aston Martin DB7 Vantage. The Bentley Continental SuperSport made an appearance along with three Porsche GT3 RS’s. These are all super but the Mazda Miata with a LS3 V8 shoved in it, well that really takes a special place in my heart. The amount of awesomeness that oozes from that is off the charts.
I’m told little to no head scratching vehicles made an appearance, so I will just have to take the word that there were few. I did hear about a VW Golf that had digital camouflage (what!?). Also, the above VW something or another that was chopped and had a small bed welded on on the back made an appearance. Oh and that VW something or another had full hydraulics in the front which the owner lowered down once parking. Also a BMW had a very unique sound system in the trunk that payed homage to BMW’s M division.
From the Super Seven to the Yenko Camaro, the cars were all there and the weather cooperated. Many thank’s to Ross and Alex Bellus for providing the photo’s. Until next month when the enthusiasts gather again for a cup of coffee and doughnuts, oh and the cars.
Photography- Alex Bellus and Ross
Hey remember Jack Baruth’s Porsche lime green Audi S5? No?! Here’s a reminder. Well that was a unique whip and he sold it *insert sad face here*. Regardless Nick Salvatore from SpeedSportLife just purchased this Audi S5 in Glut Orange. This vehicle was part of the Audi Exclusive program, the same program that Jack’s car was ordered through. This car is Glut Orange with a black interior. The car is located in Texas (quick someone alert the troopers). Nick already has plenty of upgrades both on the way and some arrived before the car even arrived. The bottom line? There are two very bright citrus colored Audi S5′s in this country.
pPhotography- Zerin Dube
Remember when you were a kid and your parents told you money doesn’t buy happiness? They lied! They didn’t mean to lie but they did. You see Porsche is building a mere 250 911 Sport Classic’s priced at an eye watering $255,600! You see this car is a emotional purchase not a reasonably thought out purchase. You can buy a lot of car for that kind of cash but this, this is the Sport Classic. An extra 23 horsepower over a stock 911 and that amazing duck tail spoiler. They also throw in carbon ceramic brakes but that color….that color with the two tone racing stripes just finishes it off with the black wheels and the duck tail. Watch the video and listen to that exhaust note and the engine wind up. Just heavenly. Yes folks money may not actually buy happiness but it can buy things that make you happy and isn’t that darn close?
Any person that is interested in cars in the great state of Minnesota has heard of BIR. BIR is Brainerd International Raceway and home of the BIR Performance Driving School. Now some that are involved in social media have heard of Groupon. This is essentially a social media (in a form) group coupon service. Today’s deal? A 50% discount on a professional racing package in your own car! You will get instruction from an expert driver and a full day of racing your own car around the track. No restrictions on vehicles, though you must own your own vehicle. BIR would not want to have to foot the bill if you wreck Uncle Billy’s Porsche. If you are under 18 you must have parental consent. Oh and you must wear closed toed shoes (sorry kids no Birkenstocks). Don’t have the necessary racing gear? No worries they have you covered with race suites, helmets and anything else you need (included in this price). I know you are waiting for the price. This smokin deal will cost you $142. By the way, if you want to upgrade into one of their Ford race cars you can for $295 for a 25 minute session (you will get 15% off that price). Alright you have a little over 2 days left to snag this deal so go here to purchase. Go go go!
Episode 32 starts with introducing this weeks guest Tony Pimpo from GM Inside News. Moving into the garage we talk about the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze press launch I attended last week. We then move along to the major news of the week segment. This week included-
New Ford Explorer Debut (Link)
Leaked Jeep Wrangler Interior (Link)
2011 Porsche Hybrid (Link)
Chevrolet Captiva Photos with no cammo (Link)
This week we continue with the new segment called car spotting. Justin spotted a 1980 Corvette Indy Pace Car, Detomasso Pantera, 1960s jaguar e type convertible, Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, possibally a Pagoni Zonda. Tony & I lead boring lives the last few weeks in comparison to Justin, thus we spotted nothing exciting.
Early this morning while we were all sleeping at approximately 3 am EST the Evolution Motorsports team had an accident in New York. Thankfully no one was injured though the trailer is a total loss. The three cars inside of the trailer were the Porsche 997.1 EVT1200, 997.2 EVT650 and the Gumpert Apollo. The 997.1 EVT1200 took the brunt of the damage while the Gumpert Apollo left the trailer without a scratch. The summer tour has been put on hold after July 18 and will hopefully resume after August 10.
The press release is below.
URGENT – IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Evolution MotorSports & Gumpert Racing
Summer Tour Suffers Set Back
Traffic Accident in New York Destroys EVOMS Trailer
• Evolution MotorSports & Gumpert Racing 3 car hauler accident in New York
• Everyone OK
• Occupants: Todd Zuccone- Founder of EVOMS, Matthew R. Carrick- subcontractor
• Cars on Board: 997.1 EVT1200, 997.2 EVT650, Gumpert apollo
• Summer Tour Dates after 18 July on hold.
- – -
12 July 2010 / Tempe, AZ – The Evolution MotorSports & Gumpert Racing Summer Tour suffered a set back this morning after an accident in New York at approximately 3 am EST. All occupants were uninjured, and there were no peripheral accidents for passing traffic.
On board the 3 car EVOMS hauler were Evolution MotorSports founder and president, Todd Zuccone, along with Matthew Carrick, subcontractor for Evolution MotorSports. Mr. Carrick was driving at the time of the incident.
While everyone is okay, the trailer is a complete loss. Of the three cars on the trailer, the 997.1 EVT1200 took the most damage to the hood, front fenders and windshield. There were a few scratches to the 997.2 EVT650 and the Gumpert apollo came out unscathed. These three high performance machines were only 5 miles from their next stop at Legend Porsche on Long Island, NY for events scheduled for the 12 / 13 July.
The Evolution MotorSports & Gumpert Racing Tour, based in Tempe, AZ departed for the East Coast of the USA June 15. The tour has made dozens of stops at Porsche and Performance dealers as well as race track events in Florida, South Carolina, and several stops in the New York/New Jersey area.
The most recent stop was at the Monticello Motor Club in Monticello, New York on Sunday 11 July for a private viewing to club members. The two Porsches and the Gumpert apollo will continue to be on display at Legend Porsche in Massapequa, NY on Long Island as scheduled for 12/13 July.
At the end of this week, the cars will be on display at New Jersey Motorsports Park on Friday for the “Hooked on Driving” event, on Saturday with Fabspeed for a reservations required tuning event and on Sunday at Fabspeed’s facility near Philadelphia.
The company intends to have the two Porsches back in Arizona for repairs in the week of 18 July along with the Gumpert apollo. Tour dates between 18 July and 10 August must be cancelled. With the success of the tour thus far, the company plans to complete the scheduled tour dates which now has appearances scheduled through the first week of October.
For further information, contact H. Christopher Parvin, Vice President and Managing Partner of Evolution MotorSports at the number listed above.
About Evolution MotorSports, Inc.
Founded in 1997, Evolution Motorsports has been the leader in aftermarket tuning of high performance automobiles. From casual street to aggressive track, Evolution Motorsports research and product development has become the standard by which all high performance automobiles are judged. View the company website at www.EVOMS.com