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2016 BMW 640i Convertible Test - A Closer Look

"It pounces on corners, tracks flat through the apexes, and devours the straights with a burly snarl from the V-8. It laps up freeway kilometers at triple-digit speeds, the suspension digesting ripples and dips so thoroughly that the body remains almost inert. All the driver has to do is aim the 645 and it goes there. Fast."
Sounds great, right? Absolutely, except for the fact that it isn't about this 640i. Keen BMW fans would probably be fast to note that this 640i doesn't even come with a V8. The above is from a review of a 645Ci that was published back in January 2004, 12 years ago. This new review, though, was.. let's be kind and say less flattering.




As seems to be a pattern now for all BMW's, except the 2-series and M models, there's lots of disappointment. "Our car, equipped with BMW’s M Sport package, offered what seemed to be a slathering of faux sportiness." It only managed 0.86 g on Car and Driver's 300-ft dia. skidpad, which was …

Sabine Schmitz in a Porsche 911 GT3 R at the Nurburgring

If you're one of those people who complain about not enough action and passing in racing (I don't blame you), the video below may just restore your faith. Sabine Schmitz, famous Nurburgring taxi driver, race car driver, and now one of the new presenters of Top Gear UK (we forgive her for that), is piloting a GT3 R in the video below at the Nurburgring, in the wet. And it's awesome.





911 GT3 vs Nissan GT-R Track.. in the WET

Ever wonder how a 911 GT3 might stack up against a GT-R Track Edition.. in the wet?  The GT-R comes with Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT 600 DSST CTT tires and the GT3 comes with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2. The Dunlops are classified as Extreme Performance Summer tires on Tire Rack while the Michelins are Streetable Track & Competition so the GT-R should have the tire advantage in the wet. The GT-R obviously has the traction advantage due to being AWD but remember, no 2WD car has more traction than a 911, assuming comparable tires, due to the engine placement so don't place your bets just yet. Watch and find out who wins, but don't forget to comment below!



Ford GT Returns at Rolex 24 with Chip Ganassi Racing

A photo posted by Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (@chipganassiracing) on Jan 28, 2016 at 6:17am PST

I, unfortunately, haven't been writing in a while.. Okay, a very long while. I had been waiting until I can catch up with all the reviews and tests that I missed. The new ATS-V and CTS-V. The new Camaro SS. The new C63 AMG. The long awaited Shelby GT350.. and many more. I started watching Rolex 24 hours at Daytona today, though, and I thought what better weekend to go back to writing than the weekend Ford brought back the GT to go racing.


A photo posted by Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (@chipganassiracing) on Jan 31, 2016 at 3:37am PST

I haven't seen all of it yet, I've only watched the two hours so far but it was a great showing. *SPOILER ALERT* So far, the GT seems to be running great and very, very competitive. And man, does the new GT ever look fantastic, especially in racing livery. They've only had one issue where one of the cars was stuck in 5th gear. *SPOILER ALERT*

It typ…

6th Generation 2016 Chevy Camaro

This surprises a lot of people, considering that I have a Mustang and a Boss 302 at that, but I'm a Camaro fan. For one, I've always been a Chevy small block fan. They're compact and light (for the displacement), powerful, efficient and reliable. Secondly, without Camaro rivalry, I don't think the Mustang would be as good. Finally, I'm a domestic kind of guy so I like seeing good products from all domestics. As a result, I was looking forward to the highly anticipated 6th generation Camaro and I must say, it doesn't look like it will disappoint.

The first and most important piece of information is that the Camaro is all new. It shares nothing with the previous generation. People will no longer be able to say this is an old bloated chassis or it's just a rebadged Holden. This one is based on the Alpha chassis Cadillac developed for the Cadillac ATS. It's lightweight, compact and strong where as the previous Zeta chassis was intended for a full size seda…

JLT Oil Catch Can Review

I've had a catch can for about a couple of years. If you've been following my blog, you may know that I've had a seldom problem with power steering randomly cutting off. I thought I had it fixed several times but it kept returning. Finally, towards the end of last summer, the problem was found by a tech at one of the local dealers. After a lot of time behind the wheel on and off the track, I can confidently say the problem is gone. I hate to admit but it was my fault. The catch can that I bought was a bigger unit that came with a mounting bracket. Without checking the wiring, I mounted it where the electric power steering rack ground was. Sometimes, while turning, the can would shift so slightly but enough to move the ground cable, cut power and therefore power steering. It was terrifying, especially on the track, and really hurt with being confident behind the wheel.

After the tech found it, he put a second nut on that bolt to hold it better and it worked so much better …

Ford Focus RS Makes Big Power!

Just remember, you heard it (or read it) here first. Ford said that this will be the most powerful Focus ever with "well in excess of 315 hp". Back in February when I posted about it (2016 Focus RS), I brought up the extremely limited edition RS500 which made 345 hp so I expected this one to make close to 350 hp. Sure enough, Ford officially revealed that the Focus RS will make 345 hp and 324 lb-ft of torque from its 2.3 litre EcoBoost engine. This time, though, it won't be a very limited edition to get all that power. All RS's will make that power, at least until Ford makes a performance package or special edition with even more.




As Ford said when it debuted the RS, the engine has been significantly upgraded to handle the added power compared to the 310 hp unit found in the Mustang EcoBoost. The 2.3 litre engine shares the block with the Mustang but significant upgrades support the increased power. The radiator and intercooler are both much bigger units. A new twin…

Mustang Shelby GT350 - Legendary Name Brings Legendary Power

It's old news by now but I can't see my blog not having a post about this.. I'm a big Mustang fun. It's the highest revving, most powerful and most power dense production engine in Ford's history. Need more superlatives? It's also Ford's first flat-plane crankshaft and the world's largest flat-plane crankshaft V8. It also has another achievement to add to its portfolio. At 526 hp, it makes over 100 hp/litre.




It will make its peak power, 526 hp, at 7,500 rpm and a peak torque value of 429 lb-ft at 4,750 rpm which gives it a healthy hp and torque peaks spread of 2,750 rpms. Moreover, 90% of peak torque is available from approximately 3,450 rpm and 7,000 rpm. Optimizations have been made everywhere to ensure the engine is always happy to go around a track.

As everyone now knows, the engine will feature a plat-plane crankshaft to improve engine breathing. It does so by separating cylinder banks exhaust pulses (i.e. you can't have two cylinders on oppos…

Dodge Viper ACR is back!

If you've just bought the most hardcore version of any car that's currently on sale, it will very soon be rendered pedestrian. That's because the Viper ACR is back and it's even more capable. In fact, it's a lot more capable.






Upgraded suspension? Check. The brakes are carbon-ceramic Brembo units with six piston callipers in the front clamping on 15.4 inches rotors and four piston callipers in the back clamping on 14.2 in rotors. Adjustable Bilstein coil-overs replace the stock units and the springs now are stiffer at 600 lb/in in the front and an eye water 1,300 lb/in in the back. Unlike many aftermarket adjustable dampers, those shocks feature 10 settings to adjust both rebound and compression. The coil-overs also allow for ride height adjustment of up to 3 inches! The tires? Oh, they're big. 295/25/19 in the front and 355/30/19 in the rear. If all of this adjustability isn't enough, consider the adjustable aero bits.






An optional Extreme Aero package will…

Cadillac ATS-V+ with LS7 Power

Once I learned that the ATS-V will come with a twin-turbo V6, I was a little disappointed but thought that that it actually needs a TT V6 to compete with the M3. If it didn't have one, the ATS-V would have been looked down upon by German brand loyalists as being "old tech" and "inefficient". Cadillac still has to build brand credibility in that market so it's smart to offer the same type of technology so that the brand is the only thing they have to work hard to sell, not what's under the hood. Still, I (and many other fans) wanted a V8 but I never thought I'd see the day. A few weeks ago, though, a rumour has been going around that a higher version of the ATS-V will come and be called ATS-V+. It won't get the new LT1 V8, though, found in the Stingray and upcoming Camaro. No, it will come with the monster LS7 7.0 litre V8 that was in the C6 Corvette Z06 and the current Camaro Z/28. AWESOME.
I read that this was just that, a rumour. The fact tha…






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 loads.…

Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R Track Review

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 at Tire Rack who has gone faster on RE-71R's than NT01s. In a Mustang (his own, not…

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.


The R32, R33, and R34 Skyline GT-R's used a system that looked basically identical to the traditiona…

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 lowe…