Posts tagged whee!
I’ve got a rare opportunity for some track time in a Porsche 911. I’m sitting at the entrance to the track, staring down the straight, and, I floorboard the gas and brake at the same time. It might seem ridiculous, but this is exactly what the car wants. The engine snarls and immediately starts hitting its rev limiter—wwwrrrrrrrrrrYAPAPAPAPAPAPAPAPA—and then I lift off the brakes and all hell breaks loose, without a hint of wheelspin or tire squirm, courtesy of a system called “Launch Control.”
The Porsche 911 appears to defy all automotive and racing logic. This rear-engined, rear-wheel drive sports coupe hasn’t just remained unchanged in spirit for the past forty-nine years, all the while competing with the elite sports cars of the automotive world–it’s consistently been one of the best. Ferraris and Jaguars have come and gone, and the Chevrolet Corvette had a few forgettable years, but the 911 soldiers on undaunted and not at all threatened by the competition. The 911′s basic concept and form have remained the same over the years, but Porsche’s obsessive attention to minutia has ensured that with each successive generation the 911 gets better. For 2012, there’s yet another all-new 911, becoming the seventh generation since the car’s introduction.
It’s practically a tradition that the North American International Auto Show in Detroit is accompanied by the worst weather of the season. The second week in January in Detroit is rarely a pleasant place, but this year’s show was preceded by unseasonably warm and sunny weather. All thoughts of global warming aside, it seemed to indicate a subtle change in the climate of the automotive industry as well. No-shows included Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Jaguar/Land Rover, but all of the major industry players were present.
Several years of economic hardship (and more than a few casualties) have left the auto industry cautious; the wild abandon that characterized auto shows past is long gone. In its place, there’s a pragmatic realism–but for 2012, that realistic outlook is also optimistic. In addition to the upcoming products that are useful refinements of existing vehicles, Detroit also saw the debut of some honest-to-goodness concept cars, showing that the industry may have scaled back on the wildest flights of fancy, but it hasn’t forgotten how to dream. (more…)
The question of what, exactly, the BMW X6 is, and how to classify it, is not made any easier with the installation of a race-bred 4.4 liter twin-turbo V8.
Really, it was already confusing enough. This big BMW’s coupe-like five-door body and sporty lines would defy convention even if they weren’t riding on a tall, SUV-like chassis with all-wheel drive. And now, a powerful engine and the performance credentials of BMW’s M division are added to the mix? I just don’t know what to think. (more…)