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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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GTR vs Evo X vs STI: which has the best AWD system?

A few weeks ago, I made a post explaining  mainstream AWD system types and how they compare , pros and cons, etc. including some simple diagrams to show where the power goes and how much. As promised, this post will focus on specific cars and what AWD systems they use, especially ones that that have more or less been defined by their AWD systems, and the best place to start may be with a bombshell; the Nissan GT-R. Nissan GT-R (R35) The GT-R has built a reputation around having monster traction and very approachable performance, thanks to its AWD system - Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All-Terrain (ATTESA) - and what it can do for you. But the GT-R doesn't actually use the most mechanically sophisticated type of AWD systems discussed in the previous article, namely a "true" AWD with a centre differential. Instead, it uses a clutch pack to transfer power. RWD-based clutch-type AWD schematic - Rams Eye The Track Guy © The R32, R33, and R34 Sky

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

All Mainstream AWD and 4WD Systems Compared and Explained

Mitsubishi Evo X GSR at Atlantic Motorsport Park - Kevin Doubleday  © If you live in Canada or the US, you'll find that plenty of people hold sacred the terms '4x4' and '4WD' to describe a 'true 4x4', where you have a butch transfer case with a low speed, perhaps a body on frame chassis, and ideally a solid axle or two. I'm not sure how that translates to the rest of the world. My extensive research into the motoring industry in Europe (which exclusively consists of watching Top Gear and The Grand Tour...) concluded that most people across the pond simply refer to any vehicle that is capable of sending any power to all four wheels as a 4WD vehicle, further muddying the waters. Where I grew up, 4x4 was more or less synonymous with 'Jeep' so that's not much help either. However, despite all various systems attempting to do the same sort of thing - distribute power between all four wheels instead of two - not all systems are created equal,

How would a Mustang 3.5L EcoBoost compare to the 5.0L V8?

Ever wonder how a 3.5 litre EcoBoost might fair against the 5.0 litre V8 in the Mustang? Of course you have. Ever since Ford dropped it in the F150 (and perhaps well before), everyone has been wondering how it would perform. There are basically two camps; those who think it would be awesome because of tuneability and power potential and those who think it means the death of the V8 in the Mustang. If you are in the latter group, we seem to be good so far with continuous upgrades to the 5.0 litre Coyote and the brand new Shelby GT500 which still uses a supercharged V8 as it has been for over a decade and multiple iterations. But what if... Well, it seems we are closer than ever to finding out the answer to that question. American Trucks recently got together two crew cab, short box, 4x4 F150's but one has the 5.0 litre V8 and the other has the 3.5 litre EcoBoost V6. There has been a few comparisons between 5.0 litre and 3.5 litre EB F150's, but this seems to be the most di