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2016 Ford Focus RS vs. 2015 Subaru WRX STI vs 2016 VW Golf R - A Closer Look

This picture is a little misleading. Unfortunately, this isn't a post about a race on a frozen lake or a snow covered rally stage involving the three hottest AWD hot hatches (the WRX STI only a hatch in spirit). This is about the highly anticipated test recently posted by Car & Driver. First things first, I wish C&D would stop testing 30-50 mph and 50-70 mph in top gear for manual performance cars. They are hugely (almost exclusively) influenced by gearing and are completely irrelevant. I could see them being relevant in a more mainstream class (say, comparing a base Focus manual to a base Cruze manual) because an average buyer may not want to shift. But there is no way the buyer of any of these cars is going to wait over 7 seconds to go from 30-50 or approximately 6 seconds to go from 50-70? Worse yet, why would anyone floor a small 4 cyl turbo in an overdrive gear and lug the engine outside of boost? Now with the rant out of the way, let’s look at numbers.

2016 BMW 328i xDrive Automatic at M3 price?

Car and Driver recently tested a 2016 BMW 328i xDrive. It has good performance numbers (posted here earlier in the ATS4 2.0T post). It seems like a good little car.. until you get to the price. I'm more dumbfounded by the proximity of price to the +BMW  M3 than I am by the price alone. $59k?? One doesn't have to go far to find a much better deal. An +Audi  S4 starts almost $10k under it. I just can't wrap my head around choosing this over an S4. This isn't expensive compared to a mainstream car with comparable performance/options. Both this and the S4 are German, both are AWD, and both are well established luxury brands. I personally put a lot of weight on a RWD-based chassis but this automatic 328i xDrive isn’t exactly a purist’s choice and at 3,700 lbs, it isn’t a featherweight. I would imagine discounts on it would be huge to lure someone away from an S4. That, or you have to be an absolute die-hard BMW fan to buy one.  

2016 Cadillac ATS Sedan 2.0T AWD - A Closer Look

The biggest news I found in this test is a huge improvement in power output. Looking back at one of the very early tests of the +Cadillac   ATS with this engine done by Car & Driver was a comparison test back in 2012, the ATS 2.0T was noticeably lacking in power compared to the 328i. Although the older tested cars were very different (i.e. lighter, manual equipped RWD versions) than this Cadillac, Car & Driver recently also tested a 2016 BMW 328i xDrive so we can have an apples-to-apples comparison of this AWD, 4-cyl turbo ATS and an AWD, 4-cyl turbo 328i. In the early test, the numbers were: 2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T 2012 BMW 328i 0-30 mph 2.0 s 2.0 s 0-60 mph 6.3 s 5.6 s 0-100 mph 16.7 s 14.5 s 0-130 mph 34.7 s 26.4 s 1/4 mile 14.8 s @ 94 mph 14.3 s @ 99 mph 5-60 mph (street start) 7.4 s 6.6 s At the time, the car made 272 hp @ 5

Ideal seating position, courtesy of Porsche

Great short video on ideal seating position, courtesy of +Porsche  . One of the first things I had to learn when I started high performance driving was adjusting the seating position to allow better control. It took some adjusting at first but after getting used to, I could never go back.






Does An Aftermarket Grille Really Increase Airflow?
I put a Saleen S281 grille to the test to answer that question.

Stock Suspension S197 Mustang With Square 305/30/19's
What you need to fit a proper size square tire setup.

How Limited Slip Diffs Make You Faster on Track
What you need to know about how they put power down and pros and cons.

Can Telemetry Explain Schumacher's Talent?
A comparison between Schumacher's and then team mate Herbert's data.






Cayman GT4 Track Review
The first Cayman with proper (911-challenging) power.

Is an EcoBoost Mustang any good on Track?
Two days at the track in a Mustang short 4 cylinders.

2016 BMW M4 DCT Track Review
It's quick (properly quick). But is it fun?

Can a stock Golf Diesel handle a Track Day?
Not your every day track beater.




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Michelin Pilot Super Sports vs Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 - Street Review

I've been a huge fan of Michelin PSS tires and exclusively bought them for the Mustang over the last four years. So how did I end up here? This year, I was hugely interested in trying an "R-comp" tire. I had my eyes set on Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R's for two simple reasons: price and reputation. Although not a true "R-comp" tire on paper, it performs like one by the account of every single test and review I've read (down to wear rates...). They seem like they're easily the most affordable (from a big brand) R-comp tire and combine that with a reputation for having tons of grip, it was an easy top contender. I had my concerns, though. For one, I'm told and have read that they are an autox tire, not really designed for high speed, pressure, and temps associated with open track. For another, the Mustang is a heavy car (as far as track cars are concerned) being roughly 3,800 lb. (including driver), which will amplify the unwanted open track load

Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R Track Review

2012 Boss 302 on square 305/30/19 RE-71R's at AMP - Graham MacNeil © For better or for worse, I have heard and read so much about RE-71R's. Everyone swears by the grip but complains about the wear. Generally speaking, the pros are: 1. They grip as well or better than most R comps. 2. They don't wear as quickly as R comps if driven occasionally on the street. 3. They work better in the rain than R comps. The cons were limited to overheating quickly when used on track (being an autocross tire) and wearing too fast on heavy cars like mine. In the popular 200 TW category, they are faster than the popular Hankook RS-4's and BFGoodrich Rival S's according to published Tire Rack Tests. According to plenty of reviews, they are also faster than well established R comps like R888R's (which don't seem to work too well on heavy cars anyway) and the venerable NT01's. But I was still hesitant for a while until I talked to a tire tech support gentleman

Michelin PSS vs Firestone Indy 500 - Track Review

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my first impressions of Michelin's PSS vs Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 tires. I've run PSS's for several years on the Boss, but I'm trying the Indy 500's for the first time. In short, I was worried about the narrower tires (I was running 285/35/18 PSS but could only find the Indy 500 in 275/35/18) and tread squirm, but I was happy with them up to that point just driving on the street. I had the chance to drive on them for three track days now. So what were they like? After my first session, they made an impression that basically persisted for the rest of track sessions on them. Phenomenal, unmatched value. Now, if value is something that stands out above all else, it typically means the compromise between qualities you want and those you don't is less than ideal, but the value is attractive. This is no different. I'll start with the bad, which really boil down to two: ultimate grip and grip longevity. Grip is noticeably l

Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2's vs Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R's

I never thought I'd ever run Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2's on my 2012 Boss 302. The cost is astronomical and they are supposed to last the least of anything comparable. So how did I end up with (nearly) fresh Sport Cup 2's? A complete fluke. I came across a lightly used set with only a few hundred miles and no track time; 305/30/19 takeoffs from a GT Performance Pack Level 2 (GT PPL2). I knew my 71R's were getting very worn before the season started and likely wouldn't last the whole season, even this short one. The price was far better than a new set of RE-71R's, a little more than half, and local Time Attack rules (Canadian Automobile Sport Clubs) recently made 180 and 200 TW tires equivalent, meaning no PAX or PIP point penalty for going with 180 TW tire like the Pilot Sport Cup 2's. I have been very curious about how PSC2's compare to RE 71R's but I stayed away due to their being painfully expensive and, up to last year, their 180 TW rating would