Sunday, November 27, 2011

"New" New Beetle

So they dropped the "New" this time. It is just the Beetle again. I stopped at the local VW dealer this Saturday. They had a 2012 Beetle Turbo sitting out front that drew my curiosity. I didn't have time for a drive as I was supposed to be Christmas shopping. A quick glance at the window sticker had to do. This Car comes with VW's tried and true 2.0L Turbo four. In this model making 200hp. The sticker on this particular car was $25,000. That is a pretty good price for this engine. It is essentially the same engine that Audi sells in half their lineup (A3, A4, A5 and TT). Maybe this thing is worth a second look. Maybe the new marketing approach is working. My wife says it is starting to look like an old Porsche. I think she works for them!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Car Movie List Update

I got some criticism over my car movie post. Some said I should have made the good and bad list a little easier to read. I also thought of a few movies to add to the list since then. I realized I left off one of the all time great if not the greatest car movie of all time American Graffiti. There is so much to say about this movie. Great story, director, actors, cars and of course John Milner in the yellow '32. "Hey what happened to your flathead?". Watch it, enjoy it.
I also forgot Talledega Nights. This movie is just plain funny. Days of Thunder should have been more like this or Stroker Ace. When you watch the movie think of when Juan Pablo Montoya joined NASCAR racing. What could be better than a NASCAR movie that makes fun of NASCAR and their fans without either realizing it.
Another movie that needs mentioning is The Fast and The Furious. The movie was not great overall, but it came out at the height of the import "tuner" era. It represents an era in car culture sort of like American Graffiti did. Just don't bother with the sequels.
So here is the list as it stands now
The Good:
Original Herbie Movies
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Blues Brothers
Smokey and the Bandit
Cannonball Run
Greased Lighting
Grand Prix
Dust to Glory
American Graffiti
Talladega Nights
Stroker Ace
The Fast and the Furious

And the Bad:
Smokey and the Bandit sequels
Cannonball Run sequels
Cars 2
The Fast and the Furious sequels
Dukes of Hazzard the movie

Yet to be seen and rated Senna and Truth in 24.
i hope this makes things a bit clearer

Get to Know: 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe R-Spec

Today I stopped over at our local "HUGE!" Fuccillo Hyundai of Schenectady and took a drive in the 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe R-Spec with the 3.8L V-6. The Genesis coupe is a front engine rear drive platform which set the stage for Hyundai to develop a true enthusiast model. This is where the R-Spec comes in.
The version I drove was white with the 306hp V-6, it is also available in 210 hp 2.0L 4cyl. turbo. R-Spec model is only available in 6 speed manual. Also comes with a limited slip rear differential and Brembo brakes. Hyundai also cut some weight out of the car. What they put together is exactly what I like in a car, all the performance parts and no extra frills. The car felt very nice and solid on the road. It was easy to have a nice spirited drive right out of the box. Engine had a nice smooth and long power band. Seating position, seats, and steering wheel felt right for the package. Brembo brakes were as expected with good pedal feel and stopping power. Suspension was firm and provided good feel. The car overall gave me the confidence to push the car a little in the corners. The stabiilty/traction control kicked in a little sooner than I would have liked. I left it switched on since I didn't have the time to become fully acclimated to the cars handling characteristics.
Overall for the price (sticker $27,700) it is a very nice solid package. Other companies should build a car like this for enthusiasts. Anytime BMW or Porsche build a special no frills model they actually charge MORE money for it. Hyundai takes the other approach which is refreshing. I would compare this car to the Nissan 370Z, Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang, BMW 135i or even 335i. It may not win the race but it will give you a fighting chance. Don't forget it costs $10-20,000 less than the above mentioned cars. Hyundai has come a long way in the last 10 years. They seem to be covering all the bases. Maybe a super car is on the way?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Photo of the week #8

Mark Donahue at Bridgehampton raceway on Long island. He is driving a 1970 Penske racing AMC Javelin.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Event: Albany New Auto Show

Every Fall for as long as I can remember the Capital District auto dealers have an auto show at the Empire State Plaza in Albany. It coincides withe Ski and Snow expo at the same location. I remember going there with my father and brother in 1983 to see the much anticipated all new Pontiac Trans Am. What a disappointment that was for an 11 year old fan of Smokey and the Bandit. I was horrified at what they did to the Bandit's Trans Am. Oh well.
This year I went with my family to see what auto makers have to offer for 2012. This is an auto show where you can get in and check out all the cars and trucks. Where else can three kids climb around in a $98,000 BMW 750Li like it is a jungle gym?
Some notable new models we were able to kick the tires on were The new New Beetle, Mini Cooper Coupe, Hyundai Veloster, and Buick Regal GS.
I took some time to show the kids what a luxury car feels like. We checked out the old world make Jaguar XF, Lincoln MKZ, Mercedes E350, Audi A7 and previously mentioned BMW 750Li. I was surprisingly impressed with the Suzuki Kisashi and Buick Regal GS. The car I would most want to take home was the Audi A5 S line. That car felt fast just sitting there.
Anyway it was a fun afternoon with the family kicking tires