Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ridiculously Addictive: my drive in Jaguar's newest jungle cat

I had the incredible opportunity to test drive a Jaguar F-Type Coupe R in Carmel, CA yesterday. Oh my, where do I start with this one..

The first thing you notice when stepping into this beast is how luxurious it is. Ok there's no treated wood from a thousand year old maple tree that was recently found at the bottom of Lake Tahoe or acres of alcantara. What you do get is a cabin festooned of fine leather and high quality composites. Very nice; nicer cabin compared to numerous Ferraris I have sat in.  

Right, foot on the brake, hit the engine start button and up fires the 550hp, 5 liter supercharged V8 with a growl. The second thing you notice about this car comes shortly after pulling out; stepping on the brake. I've never driven a car with a brake pedal as sensitive as the F-Type. It's a little strange at first but eventually you get the hang of it.

Before pulling onto the main road my Jaguar test drive representative told me to turn off the active exhaust to show me just how quiet this car is with it not activated. Amazingly the car was nearly silent while driving down the road. But then I thought to myself, I'm in a supercharged V8 Jag, so I turned the active exhaust back on right before entering onto the main road. I got on, stopped, looked around then gunned it. Holy crap! Pinned hard back in my beautifully wrapped comfy leather chair while Mount Vesuvius was erupting behind me. Damn is this thing fast. Truly felt like the fastest car I have ever driven or ridden in.

Then came a small tunnel that was roughly 15' tall by 50' long. The sound was so loud my ears were ringing a bit after exiting.

The rest of the test drive was full of neck breaking accelerations and unnecessary downshifts. The gearbox was amazing. It's not a dual clutch but the shifts were just as fast and as smooth as one.
Pulling into the golf course where the test drive event was held was also an interesting experience. The entrance of the course was nearly a mile away from where the event was held. Even below 30 miles an hour in second gear at nearly 2000 revs the exhaust was crackling profusely, making me grin like a village idiot all the way back.

I stepped out in shock at this magnificent machine saying to myself this is the one. I have fallen deeply in love with this thing. My test drive was during Car Week in Monterey and during my 25 minute drive I passed a LaFerrari, 918, Veyron Vitesse and countless Ferraris, Lambos, and Porsches; but none of that mattered. I didn't care. I was in a total state of bliss. The Jaguar F-Type Coupe R is my idea of the perfect car. Is it everyone's cup of tea? No, but one test drive might make a skeptical chap a believer. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Monterey Car Week 2014: Day 2

Oh my god. Lots of exotics out today but none of them came close than seeing this non road legal Maserati MC12 Corsa (1 of 12). This is by far the most insane thing I have ever seen drive on the road. More pictures from today coming soon!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monterey Car Week 2014: Day 1

Car Week has officially begun! Wow, where do I start; what an amazing day! It's only Monday and already there were a ton of exotics out today. I will be posting more pictures later, but for now enjoy this shot I took of this magnificent McLaren P1 from Texas. The owner of this P1 has also brought along his blue carbon fiber Pagani Huayra. Also spotted by myself and fellow photographers today also included:
-dark grey Ferrari LaFerrari
-silver Porsche 918 Spyder
-2 Lexus LFAs (One of which is a Nurburgring Edition)
-5-6 Alfa Romeo 4Cs
and a bunch of other exotics.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

8 Days to Monterey Car Week 2014

It's just about that time of year again. The second week of August is Car Week in Monterey California.

This year is going to be absolutely insane. As I say ever year this is going to be the one to remember, but in reality this is definitely going to be the one that will go down in history. The follow list of cars is not 100% certain/ confirmed but is high likely at this year's Monterey Car Week.

-Multiple Pagani Huayras; rumored to include a white Huayra from the Middle East.
-4 Pagani Zondas; yes, Zondas. While they weren't sold in the U.S. Pagani is rumored to bring 4 for this year's Car Week. One Zonda in particular was just recently spotted at Laguna Seca.
-Multiple Porsche 918s: two of which are currently at Carlsen Porsche in the SF Bay Area.
-Multiple McLaren P1s
-Ferrari LaFerrari; there will for sure be a LaFerrari at this year's concept lawn, but there might be one or two more customer owned cars.
-Koenigsegg One:1: almost certain to be on the concept lawn.
-Multiple Bugatti Veyrons
-Multiple Lamborghini Huracans
-Multiple Alfa Romeo 4Cs
-Multiple Ferrari 458 Speciales

-McLaren P1 GTR
-Porsche 911 (991 gen) GT3 RS: this isn't certain, but highly likely.
-Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo

***Ferrari 250 GTO: yes, a 250 GTO! This is the first time in a while that a 250 GTO has come to auction. The last 250 GTO sold for $52 million during a private sale; perhaps we will see a new record with this GTO. The bidding goes down Thursday during Car Week.
-Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale: extremely rare; perhaps another record breaker.
-Ferrari 275 GTB/4: once owned by Steve McQueen; estimated to bring $8-12 million.
-McLaren F1: the only white McLaren F1 is going to auction; $12-14 million estimate.
-Countless other rare, multimillion dollar cars to be auctioned off.

Friday, March 14, 2014

McLaren 650S and the Future of McLaren Automotive

A few weeks ago McLaren unveiled the 650S and later at Geneva the 650S Spider. You can think of the 650S as sort of a tarted up 12C. Power is up from the 12C's 625 PS to 650 PS (as the name 650 suggests), and so is the torque, up 75 NM from the 12C's 600. The 650S is also slightly lighter than the 12C ( weighing around 100 pounds fewer). All these improvements makes the 650S a slightly better car than the 12C. That's great. But my question is what does this mean for the future of McLaren's lineup? Well, let me start with some constructive criticism, if I may.

If the changes to the 650S are slightly better than the 12C, why would one even buy (apart from the looks as this thing, in my opinion, looks a bit odd) a 12C? Chances are if you can buy a brand new 12C you can spend the extra money and get a 650S.

And another thing: the name. Whoever is in charge of naming McLaren's cars should be fired. The model lineup makes no sense at all. Yes, 650S (again designating the power output) is clever, but it's a re-bodied, tarted up 12C. Why not call it: the McLaren 12C-650S?

Even the 12C's name was confusing. When it was first launched the Coupe was called the MP4-12C. Then the Spider came along and that was called the 12C. Then McLaren decided to drop the MP4 bit for the Coupe and thus the lineup became the: 12C Coupe & 12C Spider. Confusing, I know.

And it's going to me even more confusing. In the next few years, McLaren is rumored to add two more cars to the lineup; rumored to be called the McLaren P13 and P15.

Arriving first will most likely be the P13. Rumored to be the new baby in the lineup, the P13 is believed to be a direct competitor to the Porsche 911 Turbo and upcoming Mercedes-Benz GT AMG. This would most likely place the price near $200,000; ouch.

Following the production of the P13 will most likely be the P15. The P15 was initially rumored to fill the gap between the 12C and the P1. Many believe, however, the P15 is actually the code name for the 650S. Others now believe this may not be true. In that case, the P15 will be rumored to fill the gap between (you guessed it) the 650S and the P1.

So going back to my argument regarding the fate of McLaren's future models: will the P13, P15 and 650S sell in large numbers? It's anyone's guess, really. I bring this question up as it seems like there isn't much diversity in the current McLaren lineup. Yes the P1 is a mega step forward from the 12C and 650S but if you think about it, they are all pretty much the same car: carbon fiber tub, 3.8 liter twin turbo V8, etc. Where's the creativity? Does it make sense to have all these different cars in the lineup? 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My Current Obsession: Lamborghini Huracan, but is it a true Lambo?

After watching a few videos after it's first public unveiling at Geneva, yesterday, I became a Lamborghini Huracan fanatic. I mean look at it. It's design is undeniably Lamborghini: a uninterrupted, curved line from front to back with hexagonal shaped styling all over. As far as power and drivetrain go it shares the same engine as the outgoing Gallardo: a 5.2 liter V10. The last iteration of the Gallardo, the Squadra Corse, had a mere 570 metric horsepower. The Huracan has 610 and a seven speed dual clutch gear box (a first in the company's history). This means the Huracan will most likely be very fast on a track; a Lamborghini that can now keep up with Ferrari 458s and McLaren 12Cs.

But does this mean it's a true Lamborghini? Well if you're Jeremy Clarkson, not really. Clarkson stated recently, 'it doesn't matter how a Lamborghini drives. Ferraris are for going around Silverstone (race track) in two minutes, thirty five seconds. Lamborghinis are for going around Knightsbridge at two thirty five in the morning.' In other words a Lamborghini has to be extreme. Clarkson and many others have criticized the Huracan's looks and drivetrain, saying Lamborghini have gone a bit soft.

How is a 610 hp V10 Lambo that looks absolutely insane soft!?

I think when people see the car they'll change their mind. After all many criticized the Aventador, in the beginning, as being too soft.

The Huracan is special car as it marks a new chapter for Lamborghini. It's a true example of mad styling and up to date technology. I'm really exciting to see the upcoming variants for this magnificent car.
For now I'd take one in matte black paint, red calipers, and a two tone black and red alcantara interior. Here's a link for the configurator of the 2015 Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Great Hypercar Battle of the 21st Century: called off for 3-4 Months

     Today Top Gear was supposed to answer perhaps one of the biggest automotive questions of the 21st Century. Which is faster around a track: a Porsche 918 Spyder or a McLaren P1? Unfortunately we will have to wait three or four months for the answer, due to wet conditions at the Top Gear test track. This will be the ultimate showdown as both cars are referred to by automotive journalist and enthusiast as pinnacles of automotive engineering. But there is a third car to also consider for a possible contender in this battle: the Ferrari LaFerrari. The LaFerrari (or the Ferrari TheFerrari) is a mystery however. It's figures and similar layout to the 918 and P1 suggest it's a prime contender but no journalist has ever gotten their hands on one, nor has Ferrari released any information on lap times at the Nurburgring. Though McLaren hasn't released an official Nurburgring lap time they did at least say their car completed a sub-seven minute lap time.