Monthly Archives: July 2011

Audi R8 LMS GT3 wins 24 hours of Spa.

Audi have just one their first ever Spa 24 hours race with a GT3-class R8 LMS.    The class is HIGHLY competitive, and the R8 beat out Porsche, BMW, Aston Martin, Mercedes and many other manufacturers for their first ever win at the 63rd running of the legendary Belgian endurance race.  The 2nd place finishers (BMW) were a full 2 laps behind the R8….

WELL done!

more details about the race here:

http://www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk/2011/07/2011-total-24-hours-of-spa-audi-complete-spa-domination

photos via Audi Sport


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foto of the day. A110.

*sigh*

from TuningFever (with some modification)

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night lights.

So yeah i’m still gushing about my new car, every day I drive it, i love it even more.  A couple of days ago, I realised that I hadn’t actually seen what the headlights and taillights looked like at night, so i got out of the car and looked.  The attention to detail is beautiful.  The headlights have LED lighting across the top, angling down—with bi-xenon primary headlights.  The look is just evil!  The taillights, are using piped LED tubes—which lead to quite a dramatic effect.


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video of the day. C111

i find the Mercedes C111 to be one of the more fascinating lost concept cars which never made it to production, mainly because MB evolved this car constantly, and used it to test their new technologies—-and then aborted the car completely after several years of evolution.

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foto of the day. 928 GTS.

still one of my favourite supercars, the Porsche 928 GTS—-photograph by Rene Staud

 

 

 

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Singer Porsche. #2.

Rob Dickinson’s Singer company are likely making the nicest and most detail oriented 911s on the market right now, and I have to say that the new white Singer Porsche 911 is absolutely stunning, i especially love the contrasted Green leather buckets.  Of course these cars are tailor-made for their customers, with every attention paid to the detail of the fittings, colours, and materials used.  There is a price to pay, however in my honest opinion—-it is money well spent for a 911 of a lifetime.

I’ve spoken to Rob in the past, and he’s told me that the Singer 911s start at around $190k, and go up to over $300k depending on the demands of the customer.

 

 

you can go to the SINGER site and download ALL of the Singer 911 photos in a single file, if you click the link at the top of their page:

http://www.singervehicledesign.com/gallery/

 

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Jochen 70 Monza Bag.

Oh I really want this bag.  294 Euros.  Will have to save up.

http://www.jochen70.com/268-0-Double+Zip+Bag.html


The combination of finest calf leather and smooth Alcantara interior lining gives this super elegant bag great charm.

Double Zip Bag has two big zippered main compartments (2 zippers for comfortable closing and opening) and a smaller compartement on the back. Inside the bag there is a small zippered pocket and pockets for your cell phone, cards and pens for additional space. The wide shoulder strap is adjustable in length.

The JOCHEN70 leather stripe is available in different colors:

  • Racing Green
  • Foxy Orange
  • Tender Beige
  • Natural Python
  • Black Carbon
  • Italian Red
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foto of the day. garage spots.

Sometimes i just stand in my garage…..wait i’m lying—-i go to the garage A LOT these days just to hang out and catch a nice view!  I can’t help it.

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IEDEI buys a new car!

Apologies for not updating this Sunday, however I was too busy enjoying the hell out of my new car buying experience!

Car shopping has been a very enjoyable experience.   I must admit that I only posted  3 of my favourite cars I reviewed, however there were many others which I ended up testing but never wrote a review on. Some of the others included: Subaru WRX, Mercedes C300, VW GTI, Audi A4, BMW 135i, Audi RS6 (C5), and a few more.  I really enjoyed the Evo 10, and honestly it was the best performing car I drove amongst all of them—however I could get past the vulgarity of it, the subwoofer and battery filling up the trunk, and the poor mileage (15-20mpg).  The Audi S4 was a superbly nice car to sit in and drive, however it felt too imposing for me and too large.  I liked it, but I didn’t love it.  The BMW 335i was a decent package which sort of occupied the middle of the road here.  In my decision making process, I really started to understand why I really didn’t want any of those cars—–because they were either too big, not enough fun, OR not built well enough.

2 years ago, my wife and I had driven to an Audi dealership to drive (and buy) an Audi A3.  We both loved the car, however we couldn’t really afford to buy one new at the time.  Now, we were able to afford one, so that’s exactly what i’ve done.  The car wasn’t easy to find in the spec I wanted, as there was only ONE car in this spec arriving in the USA this month.  I found that car, and had to really do some hustling to get it before somebody else did.

2012 Audi A3 2.0T quattro: titanium sport package (sport suspension, sport seats, black trim interior/exterior, 18″ RS titanium/silver wheels), navigation with ipod integration, bluetooth, open sky (full front/rear sunroof), cold weather package (heated seats, heated mirrors, heated blah blah), S-Tronic DSG (dual-clutch transmission)

I picked up the car on saturday morning.  I have not stopped smiling every since! It is such a riot to drive, and I am so impressed by its agility, composure, handling, acceleration, and its overall build quality.  The car feels extremely well built, each door closes with a german ‘thud’, and every time i get into the special leather & perforated alcantara seats and wrap my hands around the thick perforated leather steering wheel—the car feels very special.  Audi states the mfg 0-60 times of 6.7 seconds, although it feels very quick—even quicker than that.  The quattro system keeps all the 200hp useable and you feel huge amounts of grip in the corners.  A $500 ECU ‘reflash’ adds 50hp and 100+lb/fut torque.  What a car though…..i’m enjoying every minute of it!

There were other cars I tested which were faster or more capable performers than the A3, however none of them offered the entire package of style and substance like the A3 does—–and none of them made me happy like the A3 does!  The interior of the car is just downright fantastic, and really impresses me with its final attention to detail (white stitching on dark grey leather with perforated alcantara inserts) and materials.  The layout is minimalist and very easy to use—especially since much of it was modeled after my other car, the MK1 TT.  The ‘sport’ seats are better than I expected, with nice big bolsters on the sides and on the shoulders.   I had never seen these seats in person before, but was highly pleased with them on the car.  The RNS-E updated Navigation system is very easy to use, and being someone who isn’t particularly tech savvy when it comes to connecting devices, I have found the bluetooth connectivity to my iPhone to be remarkably easy to use and intuitive.

Let me be honest by saying that NO Audi is ‘cheap’ to buy, and I spent a significant amount of money getting the car in exactly the spec I wanted to—–but I will say that after driving this since Saturday, I think the car definitely feels or exceeds its price in every way.  There is a level of build quality and thoughtfulness throughout the design which exceeds my expectations.  This 8P generation of the Audi A3 has been around for several years now, first debut’ing in the US market back in 2006.  However I think the design of the car is just wonderful, and harks back to the older days of Audi, when they were a bit more understated and boxy.  The headlights and taillights are truly a work of art, with LEDs present on both ends and bixenon headlights rolling in the front.   Notice that the Titanium sport package removes the ‘chrome’ outline around the large modern Audi single frame grille design, making the grille far more subtle and not so ‘bling’—-something i wanted as a priority on this car.  I think the blackened grille surround really adds to the appeal of the front end.

Driving wise, I am really enjoying the hell out of the car.  The S-tronic/DSG (dual clutch transmission) is unbelievable….and after years of driving manual gearboxes, I am truly amazed by the performance which can be transmitted to the road with the DSG.  While there are great amounts of satisfaction in pressing a clutch and shifting a gear on a manual transmission car–I am finding great satisfaction of having both hands on the wheel and getting an instant, race car-like shift using the paddle shifters on the back of the steering wheel.  This is not an automatic transmission, it is a truly automated manual transmission utilizing clutches (2 of them) just like a manual transmission would—-the difference is that the box is electronically controlled and you press the paddles without the use of a clutch everytime you shift.  If you haven’t tried this gearbox out, you must do so!  There is a level of control which I have never felt in all of my years in driving manuals.   The handling on the A3 quattro is superb, very sure footed and very firm with great levels of grip on the 18″ special RS titanium and silver wheels.  I have already flung the car into corners with great composure, and the stiffened sport package springs keeping everything neutral and alive.  The steering feel is among the best i’ve felt in an Audi.  I am the first to admit that the big weakness in most Audis I have driven has been steering response; in my TT I actually modified the car to with new control arms bushings to improve the response, which it did dramatically.  The A3, on the other hand, feels great right out of the box.

So there it is….my first new car!  I can’t tell you how great the feeling is of getting in the car and smelling the freshness of that ‘new car smell’….it is one of the great joys of life IMO!  To know that nobody else has owned it or driven it before.   I also can’t tell you how happy it makes me to look in my garage spot now and see the A3 and the TT sitting together, dressed in black.  Behold, the beginning of the IEDEI AUTO HAREM!

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ad of the day. Fulvia Zagato.

i love this car, and i love this ad! Vintage Lancia! 

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a tribute to a fantastic car. my TT.

TOMORROW, i am picking up my new car.  After driving my 2001 Audi TT every single day as my daily driver for the last 8 years of my life, I am adding another car to my garage.  The TT now has 115k+ miles on it, miles that have been filled with life, moving, adventure, love, stress, happiness, sadness, soul, nostalgia, future, hope, satisfaction, worry, and time.  We forget how much we experience in our automobiles—and it is a special thing.  In the last 8 years I have owned the TT, i have lived in 8 different apartments.  The TT felt like more of a stable ‘home’ to me in my time of transitions.  When i got the TT in 2003, I was a medical student living in Chicago—-struggling to find my future, struggling to cope with my own stresses, unmarried, and to be honest; pretty lonely.  I have taken the TT to all settings of life, from the backroads of Brooklyn through forests in Vermonts to the sweeping race track turns of Road America.   I rarely get attached to material objects, and I rarely hold onto things more for a couple of years—-but the TT is an exception to my rules.   There isn’t a week that goes by where people don’t stop me to ask questions about the car,  every commute is accompanied by glances, staring, and admiration.  The car is still gorgeous, and unique in terms of iconic design in the modern era of plagiarism.  Most of all, every time i come home after a hard day at work—i park the car in my apartment building’s garage, lock the door, and always glance back at it in admiration of it.

My opinion of the car?  To me, the MK1 (first generation) Audi TT is one of the all-time iconic coupes.  Prior to purchasing it, i dreamt and fascinating about the car quite intensely.  Prior to owning it, I had never felt such attachment to a shape, a design, or any automobile.  In the 21st century—where cars are now churned out to be mass produced profit counters—-the TT represented a creative hurrah by duplicating the gorgeous concept car design into a production reality.  The interior of the TT is by all accounts one of the most expensive interiors ever put into a non-exotic production vehicle.   The humble beginnings off a shortened MK4 Golf chassis are nothing to be ashamed of—as the structure was reinforced, shortened, and optimized for the TT specifically.  The 1.8T engine which was placed in my 225’s bay is a uniquely reinforced engine which is like no other Audi or VW engine produced from that time.  Double intercooled, K04 (big) turbo, and beefed up internals, heads, hoses, and structures.  Easy to modify (my car is estimated at about 275hp after tuning), and easy to love driving—-adding a few simple modifications to the suspension (Koni shocks/Neuspeed springs/Neuspeed 22 inch sway bar) really make the car a total joy to drive.  I have timed my 0-60 runs between 5.0 to 5.5 seconds consistently. A borla exhaust has added a deep rumble, and the lightweight 18″ SSR Type C wheels have reduced the unsprung weight and increased the agility in handling.   The TT always puts a smile on my face, and I love the car more now than i did 8 years ago.  I have often joked with my wife that I would like to keep the TT for many many years—-and to be that old grandad who keeps a beautiful german coupe locked away in the garage—–it is looking more and more that this will be the case (hopefully!).

So long story short, I am keeping the TT tomorrow, and adding another family member. The TT will now become my ‘weekend fun car’.  This is the beginning of the “IEDEI Auto Harem”!  More details on the new car tomorrow—-but for right now I will just say that the new car is practical, handsome, very nicely appointed, and very fun to drive.  I look forward to revealing it tomorrow!

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video of the day. night driving. 911 GT3 R @ ‘Ring

all types of goodness…

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foto of the day. GTV & TT.

My friend and photographer Sal Coppola from Brooklyn took this photo at a family get together, where a relative of his brought his beautiful Alfa GTV.  The blue TT is Sal’s car.

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Porsche Design Bong…errr, i mean Shisha Pipe.

Smoking Shisha is a big part of middle eastern culture, and a very pleasurable manner in which to consume flavoured tobacco products.  Porsche Design has always sold very nice lighters and pipes to discerning customers, and now they’ve added to the stable with a newly designed bong water pipe!  Very nice for what it is.  Surely to be expensive i’m sure…

download the official Porsche Design Press PDF

 

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the lost: BMW Z29 prototype.

I love prototypes which have been lost or aborted during their development—-they have a curious aura of mystery surrounding them, and blistering questions of “what may have been” and “where are they now”.  in 2001, BMW was working on a lightweight (2500+ pound) coupe with 300+ HP capable of 0-60 times of under 5 seconds.  Judging by the Toyota-like styling, and not-so-BMW-like design features and its MK1 Audi TT inspired minimalist interior—-it is very possible this car was merely a test bed for new technologies.  I don’t think the world will have a breakdown because it was never produced, however it can definitely be added to the list of mysterious prototypes which were tested and then dissappeared.  I’m guessing this car eventually morphed into the Z4 Coupe in 2006 and maybe used the carbon fiber technologies towards their M3 CSL.

Autocar article: http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsArticle/BMW-Concepts/248500/

BMW themselves eventually released photos of the car in 2010, as part of their 25th anniversary celebration of BMW Technik GmBH.

The two-seater sportscar was designed to be as light as possible through the use of high-tech materials.

The centre section of the car – from the front bulkhead to the rear bulkhead was a monocoque made from carbon-fibre reinforced plastics. The front and rear subframes were made of aluminium. The final prototype weighed just 1166kgs.

The Z29 was powered by the then-current 336bhp straight-six engine used in the M3, which gave the car a 0-62mph sprint time of just 4.4 seconds.

The Z29’s unusual scissor doors never made it onto a production car, but the Z29 is said to have influenced the 2006 M Roadster.

However the project had its biggest influence on the 2004 M3 CSL, which used carbon-fibre, reinforced plastics for the roof panel, as well as various other body mouldings including the front bumper.

BMW founded the Technik GmbH division in 1985, with the intention of using as a think-tank to ‘develop and innovative, future-oriented and original overall vehicle concepts and sub-concepts away from the constraints of a specific series workflow schedule’. However, the board added that Technik’s objective should ‘always be to develop solutions that have the potential for series development.”

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IEDEI car shopping. Review #3

As many of you who regularly (or not regularly) check this blog know, I am indeed an Audiphile (i have come to terms with  my problem), however I have a great amount of respect and admiration for all marques of cars (besides Ferrari, of course).  It is inevitable, however, that during my car search I obviously explored the current Audi line to find out what fit into my criteria of selecting a new car.  The most obvious frontrunner for the task was the 2011 Audi S4.  A little over a year ago, I helped my mother decide on a 2010 Audi A4, which she has really enjoyed owning and I have enjoyed driving during my visits to my parents’ house.  Although I like the A4 quite a bit, I felt like i needed something a bit more active and less comfortable—with better handling and sharper characteristics.  That being said, i think the A4 is a wonderful car overall, and would make a great choice for most people—however i’m not sure i qualify as sane like most people.  The S4 squares directly against the BMW 335i I tested prior, and I was keen to find out whether it lived up to the hype I had created for it in my deranged, hyperactive brain.

Styling.

I think this is easily one of the most handsome and well executed Audi designs on the road—-with classic and timeless sedan features, as well as trademark features of current Audi styling including LED lighting and single large frame grille.  I do think the car is a little bit large from the outside, however the proportions sit well like a tall supermodel lying on a psychiatrist’s sofa.  For me, the ultimate cosmetic package on any Audi is the current Titanium Sport pkg, which my test car had.  Adding black single frame outline and darkened titanium and silver sport RS wheels really make the S4 stand out from its other siblings as well as from other cars on the road.  I absolutely love the RS wheels on this car, and I think these may be the best looking OEM wheels i’ve seen on any car.  I wasn’t a fan of the silver mirror housings (an S car feature) or the silver door sill treatment under the doors.  Overall though, a very slick package which really has a lot of presence and attitude.

Interior.


The interior of the S4 felt very much like the interior of the A4.  This car didn’t have a built-in navigation device, which was disappointing as it is one of the things I would really like in my next car.  The Silk Nappa seats were very comfortable and supportive; however I found the black/grey & white combination to really bling things up a bit too much.  I love leather seats, but not white ones! I would have also preferred the leather/alcantara combination rather to the all-leather ones.  As with most Audis, the materials used on the interior are first class, and I have yet to find another manufacturer which puts so much effort and detail into their interiors; it is part of the reason I am such an Audiphile.  That being said, I think there may be a bit too much silver going on in the dash, which adds a shininess I am not particularly fond of.  The dials had a very sporting touch though, and the ‘cockpit’ like surroundings really make the driver feel as if they are in control of what is going on.  The car I drove this particular day at the dual-clutch S-Tronic/DSG gearbox, which came with paddle shifters present on the back of the steering wheel with metal finish.  The steering wheel was leather wrapped and felt nice, if a bit light and not as heavy to hold as the older Audi steering wheels present on my car.  Back seat room was plentifull, and the trunk was quite vast.  All in all, a very nicely executed interior which earns its 4 rings.

Driving.

For me, this was the most important part of the S4 experience, as I expected a lot.  What I can tell you is that the S4 is fast—-as in hooker-being-chased-by-a-police-officer-through-a-seedy-motel-parking-lot fast.  0-60 felt instant (i’ve read between 4.4-4.9 seconds in various magazines), and the rate at which the supercharged 3.0L V6 gains speed at any speed really is remarkable.  The DSG gearbox is simply wicked in every way, it burps during upshifts, and blips during downshifts—-entertaining sounds coming from a highly entertaining gearbox.  The car felt sports car quick.  The handling was also to spec of a high performance and special german saloon—-as quick turns felt accurate, responsive, and very well balanced.  Huge amounts of grip, and vast amounts of confidence to the driver.  In terms of ability to gain speed and momentum, the S4 definitely trumps the Evo and the 335i in most respects.  Much of this comes down to the combination of the DSG and the supercharged V6.  The braking was excellent, as most Audis are—however the biggest improvement was in the quicker steering response as compared to previous generation S4s. They have changed the torque distribution to 60% to the rear wheels, which may have greatly influenced this positive change.  I think this felt overall like one of the better balanced Audi setups i’ve driven, and surely the data emerging that this 333hp S4 is as quick as the 414hp B7 RS4 in a track setting is evidence to that.  My biggest complaint about the driving experience, is that the exhaust was far too quiet (almost silent), and that the car is too refined.  It feels too well engineered, which made me feel slightly numb after driving it.  When I drove the Evo 10, i got out of the car wanting to get drunk and scream about how good it was to drive—-when I got out of the S4, I felt like drinking a glass of milk and turning on the news.  Overall though, it has the performance to match the good looks and the expectations.

Overall.

I really like the S4—i think it is a handsome package with a slick engine and a nicely trimmed outline.  The Titanium package makes it look very evil (in a good way) and the car has plenty of presence on the road. The price of the car I tested was $53k, and put the S4 out of my preferred price range.   Do i think it is worth that money? Yes i do.  Will I be paying that kind of money? No I won’t.  The S4 did not excite me in a visceral way—-and to me this served as evidence that a fast 0-60 time, my favourite marque,  and a pretty package are not enough to excite me about a car.  There are intangible qualities which makes people love cars, and for me at this time—this is not the car which suits my state-of-mind.

In terms of comparing with the 335i and the Evo; the S4 easily trumps the 335i in pretty much every way I an think of, besides price—–however it doesn’t fare as well against the Evo 10.  Why? The Evo 10 had a lot of passion in its engineering, passion one can feel—-and it went after a very simple goal: to create the best performance sedan possible on a budget.  The S4 tries to blend upscale luxury with effortless performance—-and it does it quite successfully, but i’m not sure If i’m as appreciative of that combination. I am looking for a car which I can easily drive plenty of freeway miles in day after day and then arrive home to Brooklyn, drive around Manhattan on the weekends, expand our family with, and to take to the airport and back—-as that car, this feels like too imposing of a package….maybe even too “mature” of a package.  So in summary: great car, but not for me.

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foto of the day. Jarama.

I’m not sure what to think of the design of the Lamborghini Jarama, but I will say that it has to be one of the most unique and oddest supercar designs of the 70s.


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foto of the day. RS3.

2012 Audi RS3. all types of wonderful.

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Deus SR542.

I’ve mentioned this before—but I have a secret desire to get into motorcycles—–however at this time I am supressing it because I know I will get too into them just like I am into cars.  Sometimes though, I see a motorcycle too cool not to post about.  This is one of them—–if anything, for the beauty in the details.

produced by Deus Customs, you can check out the rest of the photos on their flickr page

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video of the day. The Supercharger.

fascinating 25 minute video from a show called “Coltrane’s Planes & Automobiles”

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foto of the day. 6c 2500.

eat your heart out, Ferrari FF.  the Alfa Romeo 6c 2500 Competizione from 1948.

Photo by Sebastien Morliere.

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