Wednesday, March 28, 2007


These pics are supposedly of the new WRX leaked from a copy of Motor Trend sent too early. Perhaps a bit of Mazda3 envy?

Separated at Birth?

Subaru B9 Tribeca

Infiniti EX Concept

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Battle of the Titans

The stage is now set for the ultimate showdown.

BMW just released the details of the engine which will form the heart of the new M3. The car that has shared the pinnacle of 6-cylinder performance with Porsche for the past umpteen years has just made a major leap, adding two more cylinders. BMW is finally ready to aim head-on for the Audi RS 4.

What makes this thought so exciting is the similarity in the way each company has gone about its engineering. Audi has been chasing BMW for decades, especially regarding its reputation in the US. But finally we see a clear case of BMW trying to catch up to Audi. (In the ultimate irony, Audi has recently chosen to drop its US tagline "Never Follow", just as it's finally gained the ring of truth.)

First Audi came out with its 4.2L FSI V8, putting out 420 hp at 7500 rpm and 317 lb-ft at 6000 rpm. This engine revs all the way to 8250 rpm (your average redline happens shortly after 6000 rpm).

Then BMW said "Screw that! We're gonna come up with an engine that's even more frenetic!" Thus was born the 4.0L V8 (closely related to BMW's already kick-ass 5.0L V10 from the M5 and M6). It gets the same power out of an even smaller and higher-revving V8. BMW doesn't disclose at what engine speed it achieves this hp, but looking at the torque spec of 295 lb-ft (at 3900 rpm), it's most likely even closer to 8000 than the Audi. And the engine finally hits redline at 8300 rpm (Take that, Audi!!!).

Not only are these engines similar in execution, but the companies have very similar ways of talking about them. Audi talks about the 4.2L's "high-revving drive concept", while BMW claims to have outfitted the 4.0L with the new "M high-speed engine concept". Something tells me their engineers are drinking the same coffee.

Suffice to say, I can't wait for Car and Driver's cover story comparo of the two. Okay, if need be I'll tolerate a C63 AMG thrown into the mix, but the exciting part is that we finally get to see a head-to-head showdown between the engineering might of Audi and BMW. For years auto scribes could talk about the completely different characters of the torquey Audi S4 (first through a twin turbo V6, then through the A8's V8 being tossed into an A4) vs. the high-revving I-6 Bimmer M3. The buff books could declare "They're for different kinds of drivers." But now both brands have ostensibly the same car to throw into the ring. There will be a winner. I wait with bated breath.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Cars & Drugs

My friend is in town to visit. He's a drug rep for Pfizer, and he was telling me some very interesting things about his company, that had a very familiar echo. Apparently, Pfizer has been relying heavily on one drug--Lipitor--for much of its profits for several years now. It seems the company had gotten quite complacent with its cash cow, and instead of focusing on developing more drugs within its traditional R&D channels, Pfizer went on a buying spree, snapping up hot shot drugs like Celebrex that never quite panned out the way they'd hoped.

As most of us know, Pfizer has had to close facilities and cut jobs (20% of its sales force alone). But the company has a new plan now, and while many analysts are concerned about its future pipeline, my friend insists that the company still has a strong product lineup.

Okay, if you're getting a feeling of deja vu, there's a reason. You could basically swap out a few words in the previous two paragraphs for terms like, say, "Ford", "SUVs", "European luxury brands" and "blue collar workers", and it would be the exact same story you've been reading in Automotive News for the past year. Hell, both companies even sport a blue oval!
So here's hoping that different industries can learn from one another. While they're at it, they might as well work out a trade of some cars for Xanax.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hyundai's Bad Qarma

Holy freakin' shite!!! They did it again. This is the Hyundai QarmaQ concept. Another crossover/coupe/abomination from Hyundai. This is inexcusable. Hyundai has officially fallen into the deepest design rut in the history of cars. For further proof, take a look at this post. Did I mention it looks like a sneaker?

Body Doubles

The Mazda Hakaze concept and Pontiac Grand Am. Can you tell which is which? Hint: try to ignore the ribs.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Mi Hermano en Latinoamerica

My brother Adam, to whom I owe the spark of inspiration to start this blog, recently kicked off his own, covering his travels through Latin America. Please, take a look as he becomes an amateur food critic and teaches the locals to talk like Xzibit.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Maserati's Self Deprecation

I just read one of the most interesting car tidbits in AutoWeek. For the first time that I've ever seen, a car brand is trying to knock its own reputation down a few notches.

“We’ve got a situation where prospective customers immediately associate the Maserati name with the likes of Aston Martin, Ferrari and even Lamborghini. That is simply not the case,” [former Maserati boss Karl-Heinz] Kalbfell said in an interview with AutoWeek before his departure from Maserati. “The real rivals are upper-end Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz models from quattro, M division and AMG.”

It seems Maser's scaring away prospective customers with images of lofty stickers. Now the the Fiat division is trying to find a comfy nook between the Alfa Romeo and Ferrari brands. They plan to do that with the $130K GranTurismo (above). Let's hope that humility pays off in this situation.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

My Car

Here's a recent pic w/ my Euro plate. I hated having a front plate in Michigan where it's not required, but this one is pretty spiffy.