2016 BMW M4 GTS

There are only 300 of these stunningly hot cars headed to the USA. The first water injection system on a production car and the M dual-clutch transmission with Drivelogic is an innovative 7-gear dual-clutch transmission are only a couple of the technological innovations BMW is introducing on this machine. There is even a heads up color display so you can keep your eyes ahead which is a pretty good idea particularly if you decide to apply the full 493 bHP to the asphalt! This is a seriously fast road car coming in at a reported (by BMW) top speed of 250 k/hr which translates in my book to slightly over 156 mph and the 0-100 k/hr is 4.1s which is under 4.1 for 0-60 translated into Detroit lingo. See it and read about it here at the webpage BMW dedicated to it. And after talking to Joe Victor the other day there is a rumor floating around that one of the 300 may be on the way to Stark County,


Cutting Edge Hybrid Searching For Thrill Seekers

In this the term “hybrid” is referring to yet another vehicle running on a combination of gasoline and battery power. This time Polaris is at the wheel and has taken their years of ATV, motorcycle and snowmobile engineering to present a street vehicle that combines a bit of them all.

The Victor crew found The Slingshot, a three-wheeled street vehicle, is clearly targeting thrill seekers who are looking for something a little safer than a motorcycle. The vehicles angled, armor-like side panels and tube-framing make it look like something out of the newest Batman incarnations. The front is composed of a double-wishbone suspension, coil-over shocks and a sway bar while the back sports a single aluminum swing arm.

Although it is driven like a car (it really looks like some kind of sci-fi dune buggy) operators will require a motorcycle license as it doesn’t meet crash test standards or have air bags. It does, however, have lateral seating, stability control, antilock breaks. And last, but not least, a glove box. Oh, and you’ll have to wear a helmet while operating it. It is a far different animal than the up and coming Can-Am Spyder and is more on par in size with a Mazda MX-5 Miata. The standard version will come in around 19K while the “luxury version” will come in around 24K—it will include wind screen, larger wheels, an entertainment system with Bluetooth and a backup camera. The Slingshot is strictly a topless roadster, making it a fair-weather ride. But, just in case, the seats are waterproof and there are lockable bins in the rear for storage.

It is good to see Polaris innovating in area of the recreational production vehicles as there are is a market for forward thinking thrill seekers who are looking for something a little bit different.

Joe Victor

The Numbers Are In: Dodge SRT Hellecat Most Powerful Muscle in Town

Recently Dodge released some info about its supercharged 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat, specifically that it would be powered by an engine that could produce an astonishing 707 horsepower. But they had withheld any performance numbers … until. Finally, we’ve got an official NHRA-certified quarter mile time.

The Challenger SRT completed its quarter mile in an amazing 10.85 at 126.18 MPH. This was done on street legal drag racing radial tires. As a point of comparison a Camaro ZL1 can achieve about 12.3 seconds at 119 miles per hour, while a Shelby GT500 can accomplish a pretty stunning 11.8 second run at a 125 miles per hour according to Car and Driver.

A 10-second quarter mile is a coveted time among drag strip junkies and it seems Dodge can deliver.

Joe Victor

Old Reliable

There are all kinds of summer travel for which people require a reliable vehicle. Dad needs the family trickster ready for road trips, teens need that well-loved first car, mom needs the mini-van prepped for baseball and the community pool.

These days many of us are keeping cars longer due to financial restraints. It is not uncommon for Americans to trade in for a new vehicle well before the older one is ready for the scrap yard. Popular Mechanics tell us that cars built in the last decade and a half should be able to go 200,000 to 300,000 miles if given the right care.

But how do we keep our road-weary vehicles healthy into their autumn years? Popular Mechanics makes some suggestions.

Clean your car. The upholstery needs to be shampooed. All trash cleaned out. The best vacuum job you know how. All dirt and grime removed from tire wells and engine bay. A “hardcore scrubbing” is what is needed. Take this time to inspect your car for problems as well.

Attend to the cockpit. You can feel more confident in your vehicle if you get a steering wheel cover for that worn out one, the same for the dashboard. Check all dash illumination and buttons/knobs. Many of these can be replaced cheaply or with recycled parts. A clean, new salvaged seat might only set you back 100-150 dollars.

Update the electronics. For around 100 bucks you can get a CD/FM/MP3 unit with an input that will accept an audio cord from an MP3 player or Smart Phone.

You can kick up your horsepower a little by adding aftermarket intake systems and air filters. Cold air intakes are available for most vehicles, some costing less than 200 dollars. Many can be installed with just a screwdriver.

Restore you headlight covers. From around 30 dollars you can get a kit that will have your headlights looking bright and new. This only requires time and elbow grease.

Even these basic tips will make your summer driving more pleasurable. For more tips check out the full article.

~ Joe Victor

A vehicle for your next wilderness adventure

It will be trail season again soon in Northeast, Ohio and that means camping, fishing, off-roading and other activities in rugged terrain. Jody Victor wanted to know which 2014 off-road vehicles were up to the test of wilderness trails, rocky inclines, and uneven terrain.

Consumer Reports uses a seemingly unsophisticated, but useful system to test “…axle articulation, suspension travel, traction, approach and departure angels, and more.” The test system is a simulated “Rock Hill” consisting of a 23 degree incline of boulders arranged in cement.

They suggest the benefits of their testing system are twofold: first, it provides a “repeatable terrain” or one that doesn’t change after many test runs; second, it simulates an honest, if not extreme, terrain. This terrain is similar to something one would find in the American Southwest.

They further explain that sophisticated off-road 4-wheel drive systems helped scores on some vehicles, but were not a major factor in determining off-road performance. The Toyota FJ Cruiser came out on top over vehicles like the Land Rover LR4 which employs such off-road gadgetry.

In fact, Toyota came in second, fifth and ninth as well with their Tacoma, Sequoia Limited and their 4Runner SR5.

Jody, you can find out more at Consumer Reports.

~ Joe Victor

Plug-In Car Technology: From Economy to Royalty

Well, Jody Victor, if you haven’t yet seen the 2014 Cadillac ELR, you need to take a look. Like the rest of the 2014 fleet, the ELR is far from the big, square asphalt-sailing boats some of us remember our grandparents driving. The design of the ELR has been described by Car and Driver as: “Low, chiseled, aggressive, provocative, and uncompromised by any concession to practicality, it seems to have been time-warped out of some Gene Roddenberry–spec, 23rd-century future onto today’s roads.”

Over the years Cadillac has done a great job keeping their image relevant, whether it has been through their advertising or product design. Now, keeping step with the cleaner, “greener” car movement, the ELR is the next step in their ever evolving product line and image.

Car and Driver reports that the ELR is based on the same technology as the “humble” Chevy Volt! Though you wouldn’t know it by looking. Like the Volt, the ELR runs mostly on electricity, though the vehicle does still need a standard combustion engine to keep the lithium ion battery charged. Which means the almost 80K vehicle qualifies for a federal tax credit of up to 7,500 dollars.

You can read more about what Car and Driver had to say here.

Jody, Cadillac sure has taken the clean car movement to the next level.

~ Joe Victor

There’s a new luxury car in town

Jody‘s crew went looking into a new luxury car out there. You may have seen the commercial with Morpheus from the Matrix selling a new kind of luxury car. Did you really pay attention to the car they were advertising? It is the new Kia K900. The new 2015 Model will be available Spring 2014. Most surprising is its $59,500 starting price. They believe they can compete with BMW or Audi money with this luxury car.

As a side note, the K900 in Korea is known as the K9 (in a succession of K3, K5, K7, K9) but the American Marketers knew that calling a car after a dog would never fly so they renamed it the K900.

Joe Victor

Electric Cars

Jody Victor‘s crew found out that driving an electric car will certainly save fuel consumption, but it presents other problems.

How do we charge them?
Where do we charge them?
Can our power current grids handle them all?

President Obama in 2011 set a goal to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. Most cars get between 50 to 80 miles on a single charge, although the Tesla electric sports car Model S can get up to 300 miles.

Most people charge at night so their vehicle is ready for their morning commute. Power companies can keep their eyes on where power is being drawn so they can see if an area needs to be upgraded. If they knew where all the electric cars were, when they needed to be charged by, how much of a charge they needed, they could figure out a way to round-robin the charges to keep everybody happy. In the meantime, we just have to wait and see.

Joe Victor

Another way to park it.

If you live in England, you might have already heard about the CarDok. If you want to protect your car from the elements, or need the space, you can park multiple cars one on top of the other and hide it underground, or keep them parked above ground. Park 2 cars in the space of 1 or 4 cars in the space of 2. It comes with a backup generator should the electric go out. It takes about 3 days to install. It works hydraulically so it is pretty quiet. It can handle up to 10 tonnes.

~ Joe Victor