Tag Archives: 2011

BMW 1M vs. Audi TT-RS

Car & Driver is improving!!—-good on them to test the 2 cars we have all been waiting to see a test of against each other—the wicked Audi TT-RS and the majestic BMW 1M. I love both of these cars—kind of torn because of my ‘Audiphile’ nature telling me to prefer the TT-RS, however deep somewhere in my head it’s the 1M that captures my imagination massively.   I do despise the looks of the TT-RS, as i think they pretty much ruined the 2nd generation of the TT—a car that deserved to evolve better from the timless MK1.  To me, the 1M’s styling makes it one of the best looking cars of my lifetime.  Imaginative, toy-like, and just aggressive.

The Infiniti G37 IPL is also in this comparison, however doesn’t really match up to the other 2 in terms of size, style, or performance.  The TT-RS posts a 0-60 time of 3.6 seconds (!!!!!) and beats the other two in lap times and most performance criteria.  No surprise there, but by price, i have to say the BMW 1M is such a great car starting at $47k.  I don’t think the owners of either of these 2 monsters will be dissappointed….i think the Porsche Cayman R would have been a good 3rd car in this comparison.  Meanwhile….please excuse me while i continue to have wet dreams about that orange 1M.

 

(these scans were uploaded by Superchargedcarman from 1addicts)

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R18.

the Audi R18 has been testing at Sebring this past week…here are some official pics of this evil new Le Mans fighter….it is beautiful in black.


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hatchbacks: Suzuki Swift Sport

After my trip to Italy, I found myself with a new appreciation for ‘small’ hatchbacks one can throw around into parking spots—-one of my favourite hatchbacks i saw in Italy was the Suzuki Swift Sport.  Firstly, their interiors are very cool and little hot hatch-ish goodness—i like their boxy, functional lines, and they have a very planted look to them in person.  I didn’t see many of these during my trip—-but the 2 or 3 of them I did see convinced me I liked them.  Rumour has it that Suzuki will introduce this car to the US market this year—–hey Suzuki—-DO IT! pioneer the ‘new’ hot hatch movement in the states!

I just went to the UK Suzuki site, and found that this 125 HP, 2400 pounds….for 12,995 GBP.  If they brought this car over here for $15k, it would be absolutely stellar……hey Suzuki…..DO IT!

 

btw, here’s the latest Suzuki Swift S-Concept presented in March at the Geneva Auto Show….a little ‘overdone’ in styling, but upgraded performance likely makes the upgrades worth it.  Digging the functional and tidy interior as well.

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Tag Heuer Monza; 2011 edition!

I own one of the 2003 edition Tag Heuer Monzas, and have always lusted after the ‘older’ ones, however I have only recently learned that my Monza has much in common with the original 1933 Heuer Chronograph as originally I had been thinking that it was more like a Heuer Camaro than anything else—-I was wrong!  Very interesting.

Tag Heuer, after discontinuing my version of the Monza a few years ago—-in typical Tag Heuer fashion—has reissued the watch in a ‘new’ ode-to-1933 version.

here’s a great link to an article comparing the 2000 Tag Heuer Monza to the original 1933 Chronograph and the NEW 2011 Tag Heuer Monza

http://www.calibre11.com/2011-tag-heuer-monza/


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Italy; observations about motoring & their cars.

IEDEI is back after a week away in Italy.  The purpose of this trip was not car-related, but as a vacation for my wife and I to get away from the busy NYC days and to check out Italy for the first time.  Firstly, we loved Italy for its superb food, beautiful historical city and landscapes, lovely people, and it’s good vibes.  I had originally planned to drive for a few days within Italy, however due to our short itinerary, we decided that using the superb Eurostar train system there seemed optimal and most efficient.  The trains are of course very comfortable, and very easy to use—and I highly recommend them to anyone traveling through Italy or the rest of western Europe.

Here are a list of some basic observations I made about motoring and cars in Italy from a passenger point of view.

1. People have very eccentric parking habits in Rome—-pretty much makes NYC parking look like a regulated, organized affair.

2. The freeways are very tame, boring affairs—-similar to freeways anywhere else, including the US.

3. I would say 95% of the cars seen parked and driving consist of small, slow, functional economy hatchbacks.

4. In 7 days in Italy, through 4 cities (Roma, Firenze, Napoli, and Capri)—- i did not see a SINGLE Maserati, Ferrari, Lamborghini, pre-1990 Alfa Romeo, pre-1990 Lancia, or pre-1990 Fiat.  I was shocked at the lack of interesting Italian cars present there.  I can honestly say that the most interesting cars I saw in Italy were a couple Alfa Romeo Breras, a bunch of fanastic Audis not readily seen in US markets(A1, S3, A3 Roadster, B8 S4 Avant, A4 Allroad), many Alfa Romeo 159s (which are much more beautiful in person than even the photos show), and ONE Alfa Romeo 147 GTA and ONE Alfa Romeo GTV (mid 90s version).

5.  I spoke with a guy who was working at a Lancia repair centre, and asked him what he thought of the ‘new’ Lancias (like the Ypsilon) and he said “Lancia has not been Lancia for many years”—to which i completely agreed with him.  When i asked him why Italians don’t drive ‘older’ Alfas and Lancias he told me “because it is not easy to drive an older Alfa or Lancia everyday in our cities, and many of the cars have broken and are gone”. I think this summed up the situation pretty well.  Sad for classic cars in Italy then…..

6. I started wanting to buy a small hatchback.  Even the absolutely terrible Lancia Ypsilon started to look alright to me after a week there—-but then i stopped drinking and remembered how rubbish it is.  The ‘newer’ Alfa Romeo Mito and Alfa Romeo Giuliettas are very cool little cars…..the Giuletta is very beautiful in person, and would love to see it make it over to the US market.  It has a lot more presence on the road than most hatchbacks its size.   The Mito is the perfect Alfa answer to the small hatchback italian solution—-however I was shocked to see that the pricing on the Mito starts at 16k Euros and goes all the way into the low 20k range.  The Audi A1 is a simply stunning example of a hatchback, beautifully proportioned, very stylish, and very well put together.

7.  My wife commented that Audis parked there looked more Italian than Italian cars there…and I have to say that probably rings true for the modern cars being sold in Italy.  Plenty of Audis there, as the Italians have picked up on the styling as well, and have bought into it.  I would say that 1 out of every 3 ‘nice’ cars seems to be an Audi.  This pleased my Audiphile tendencies, of course!

8.  Word is, that the Alfa Romeo Museum has been shut for good——at least that’s what somebody told me there.  I was not planning on visiting it on this trip anyways, however it seems that it was closed a couple of months ago for renovation, and there are no plans to re-open it—-which would be an absolute shame of course.

9. Fiats are definitely the most popular cars in Italy—–i’d say 6 to 1 over everything else.

10.  Traffic is slow, pedestrians are plenty, traffic rules are not obeyed all the time, however I found it actually less chaotic than NYC driving—-at least from a passenger seat.  The problem here in NYC is the amount of speed people carry on the roads; whereas in Italy, I didn’t seen people bustling in speed—at least not in the 4 cities I went to.

A couple random photos:

I did happen to stumble upon a ‘motoring’ channel on the Italian cable TV during our last night stay in Rome, where they showed 24 hour coverage of weird obscure motoring events around Italy—pretty cool I have to say! GTV InterMotori

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foto of the day. Japan.

As you know, a large earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on Friday.  I found this very strange photo on MSN of a huge supply parking lot for Infiniti.  Obviously I wish the best to the Japanese readers of IEDEI and everyone else there, and for a recovery from this crazy disaster.

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oh Lancia you crack me up!

There’s no point in posting the ‘exterior’ of the new Lancia Ypsilon—because it is about as attractive as a pimple on a toad.  After seeing the photo of the interior, however—i was reminded of something.  But i couldn’t quite figure it out!  I have never seen such an awkward pattern on the seats of a car….and then i remembered what it reminded me of! Surely the target audience has now been figured out.

BTW, this horrendous little car will be coming to the US as a Chrysler soon; not much of a surprise, i suppose.  What an embarassing end stage to a great marque..

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new A3 sedan ‘concept’ is coming to Geneva.

I remember hearing this new A3 Sedan, which has specifically been designed for the US market (the hatchback resistant market) is roughly the size of the B3/B4 80/90/4000—which to me is THE perfect size for a sedan.  I can’t wait to see what they’ve come up with…..if it is anything like this sketch, it will be a huge success i’m sure.


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“SENNA”: some thoughts about the film…

This afternoon, at the uneasy time of 12:15am on a Saturday, I was joined by a couple mates (also from the automotive blogging world) to go see “Senna”, which is playing at the Village East Cinema in NYC.  We entered the theatre right on time, and joked that we were wondering who the other 15-20 people were in the theatre; and WHY they were there!  Could there be this many motorheads willing to make it to the theatre at that time on a Saturday? Apparently so.

The film was quite lovely; made like a documentary—spanning from the beginning of his career in karting til the obvious end of his career.  Touching on his youth, but showing some very rare and moving film clips with scenes I had never seen before.  As a kid growing up in Detroit, one of the events I annually attended with my father was the Detroit Grand Prix, where I remember there was a time when Senna would win every year.  The first year I went, i remember Nelson Piquet winning.  So naturally, my favourite 2 F1 drivers became Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna.

(sorry, i took these pics with a mobile phone!)

I know that Senna was a character.  He was competitive, full of personality, not afraid to speak his mind, and most of all a tremendous driver.  This film essentially covered all of his positive attributes, and showed him in the light of a tribute.  It was a fitting tribute.   I had seen many clips of his races online, and a lot of this film I had seen in some form or another; but I have never seen any clips of driver’s meetings with the FIA directors, I had never seen some of the more candid interviews and conversations—–and maybe because I was too young—I never realised how much battling and political stuff was going on between Prost & Senna.  Now it makes sense WHY i hated Prost as a kid—-because he was always batting with my favourite who was Senna.

I won’t tell you the full details of the film, because I feel you should watch it yourself.  Seeing F1 in the movie theater was a  pleasure, and although it seems like a collage of document film clips taken from many different sources; it was full of great commentary, great footage, and some truly moving moments.  All in all, a great film; I am really glad someone made it (in this case, a gentleman named Asif Kapadia)—-you should all see it.

Senna is playing at the Village East Cinema in the East Village of NYC.  (thanks to Xander for the tip!)

http://www.villageeastcinema.com/angelika_film.asp?hID=166&ID=fmj4747.79896806s137092v9.38

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weird of the day. NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!


I got this monstrosity of a photoshop from a blog known as Fiat Returns To America

To my friends over at that blog (nice blog, by the way), I think you have the right intent, and i applaud your appeal to resurrect the Alfa Romeo Montreal nameplate; HOWEVER good god not on a Challenger body!  Have you guys seen the size of a Challenger?  It is monstrous large….have you seen a Montreal in real life? it’s pretty damn small.

i do thank you for the entertainment!  It would be great to see an Alfa Montreal resurrected….just not this!

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foto of the day. neu GT3 RS

well, not really new—-just livery and slight changes for 2011.  love this pic though.

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the stranger next generation Porsche 911

I saw some photos of the ‘next’ 911 on Car Magazine‘s site earlier….and can’t help but find the new outline a little awkward.  That front end looks very upright, and the whole car looks quite a bit longer than the outgoing 997.  Whether this is simply an illusion doe to the way the photo was taken, or whether it’s real i’m not sure.  But i am sure that i’m not too sure that i like it!  We’ll have to wait til the camo comes off for the full view judgement.

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audi quattro concept; real life pics!

Thanks to Brad (Automobiliac) for pointing me towards this post on Jalopnik, where they show real life pics of the quattro concept in Malibu, California!  The best new design of 2010 looks even better in the real world! WOW! DO WANT.

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2011 video game preview: Dirt 3

Next week, i am trading in my dusty, neglected old Playstation 2 for a new Playstation 3 with Gran Turismo 5.  Gran Turismo 5 is released next week, on the 24th….i’m damn excited.  The previous games in the series have been amazing…..each one bettering the previous.

Here’s another game I just found out about today.  It will be out in 2011.  It’s called “Dirt 3” a continuation of the Dirt series of Rally games.  Looks like my GT5 disc is going to have some company in the flat!

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Porsche Cayman R.

Just debut’d at the LA auto show, although the photos i’m seeing of the actual car are pissing me off as they have ‘polished lip’ wheels; which, for me, ruin everything.

But i’m digging the idea and the car.  330hp. lighter. cooler interior.  better exterior.  $66k.  sweet! it’s like a pocket sized GT3.

more pics and info here: http://www.motorauthority.com/blog/1051594_2012-porsche-cayman-r-first-look

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RS5 & urquattro.

1981 Audi urquattro and 2010 Audi RS5

What a fantastic set of pictures….here are just 4 of them.  Click on the link to read the full article, and to see the full set of 40+ photos!  beautiful photos of 2 stunning cars separated by a good 30 years.

LINK TO MORE PICS AND ARTICLE:

http://www.insideline.com/audi/rs5/2011/2011-audi-rs5-vs-1981-audi-coupe-quattro.html

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Audi mulling over building the neu quattro!

BUILD IT! put me on the list!

“Describing the new two-door as more than just a one-off show car, Stefan Reil, head of development at Audi’s Quattro Gmbh division, confirmed plans for a limited production run were fairly advanced. “We are rethinking standard processes to make it possible,” he said. “We know how to engineer it already.”

 

more info at Autocar:

http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsArticle/Audi-Concepts/253226/


 

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is VW trying to buy Alfa Romeo (!?)

Well this is a hell of a rumour, that has been getting louder and louder over the past few months.  Fiat has been whining about Alfa Romeo not making any money for the company for a LONG time now….and according to several articles I have been reading as of late, it seems that Walter De Silva (ex-Alfa Romeo design chief, now VW/Audi design chief) has been urging Martin Winterkorn to really go after buying Alfa Romeo should Fiat decide to sell the brand.  Walter De Silva is so excited about this all, that according to one article i found, it states: “Given what is assumingly the passion for Alfa design, de Silva has in thoughts already about 8 models for Alfa, along with designs as well as drawings.” Easy boy!

To be honest, as someone who is REALLY into Audis and their philosophy, I have been seeing Audi as the new Alfa Romeo for the past few years…..they’re making the cars that Alfa should be making….and the Volkswagen group buying Alfa Romeo could REALLY rejuvenate the brand.

Is there any truth to this? we’ll have to see!  It could just be substance-less, gossip…..or it could be the real thing.  Knowing the way Volkswagen works, i wouldn’t doubt they are after the brand.

here are some articles about it:

http://www.alfaamore.com/news/vw_aquisition

http://www.autosnewspaper.com/2010/08/01/volkswagen-to-squeeze-alfa-romeo-marchionne-to-sell-to-germans/

http://www.motobullet.com/news.php?id=10344

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resurrection of the Lancia Stratos?

that’s what Italiaspeed is reporting, after these weird spy pics of a Stratos testing at a FIAT test track in June.  I just hope it doesn’t come to america as the Chrysler Conquest or something…

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Audi & the design of “inward flow”

CLICK TO ENLARGE ANY FOTOS

Well i gotta give it to Audi, not just because they are my favourite car company, but because they are the only company I can think of who are currently designing cars which will look classic in 10, 20, or 30 years from now (pardon me Alfa Romeo, but you’re kinda losing it).  They are the only company I can think of who have attention to detail.  The evidence for this is in the brand new Audi A7 introduced this past week in Germany.   The rear end of the new A7 has been getting under my skin since the introduction….and now i know why.

The back end flows inwards, going back towards the body.  Sure there is a bumper, however this inward flow hasn’t been used in many modern cars….until now. They have brought back the inward flow of the rear end!  I know Alfa Romeo have used this ‘inward flow’ (as i refer to it) in their 8c Competizione, however it was a bit overdone with the weird round tail light, but i’m not complaining! The 8c was a stunningly designed car.  I think Corvettes and special edition cars like the Ford GT also used this, but when have you recently seen it on a production sedan? i can’t remember any car in the last 10 or 20 years with this….production sedan, shall is say.

Alfa Romeo has a long history of sports cars with this inward flow, I generally recollect one of my favourite Alfa Romeos, the superb Montreal:

Audi claims their inspiration for the new style rear-end comes from them analyzing the 1970s Audi 100 Coupes and i can definitely see what they were looking at…..in fact, i think this new car has more similarity to that design than any other current Audi.

Apparently, this was a very conscious effort to consider ‘older’ designs when designing the A7.  Check out this drawing that Audi issued to the press about the influences of the A7 design.

It seems though, that Lamborghini has been flirting with this idea for a while!  Well at least in concept form.  Check out the Lamborghini Estoque Concept and the Lamborghini Miura Concept from the past several years.  Same indented inward flow rear end.  Lamborghini, however, is a company essentially operated by Audi, so this isn’t surprising at all….

So what do you guys think about this? will this set a trend and bring this design sense back into the currently lackluster japanese & korean-influenced automotive design world? Can Audi influence other car makers to bring something new & old back into design?  Alfa Romeo from a few years ago (2000-2007) really influenced alot of automotive design, however it didn’t last…..but I feel that Audi has already caused all these companies to use “big grilles”….can they get the rest of the industry to throw a bit of retro in the game? I hope so.

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