Maserati GranTurismo – Talk about Italian super-car manufacturers and what comes into your mind might be one or the other: Ferrari or Lamborghini. Maserati is undoubtedly the estranged sibling in terms of Italian luxury automotive marque. Even under its parent, Fiat, is the venerable Ferrari and Alfa Romeo, which leaves Maserati in a bit of an awkward spot.
Back in the days though, Maserati was an adored automotive manufacturer with plenty of racing pedigree underneath its belt that, at one point, exclusively produced stunning coupes and the original Quattroporte. Now though, as Maserati switches owners multiple times over the years, they’ve slowly broadened their lineup to appeal to a wider audience.
However, a model that Maserati still produces to this day that does represent the Maserati ethos is the GranTurismo. A grand tourer has always been at the heart of Maserati, and the GranTurismo is a spiritual successor to the genesis, the gorgeous 1947 Maserati A6 1500. Since then a grand tourer Maserati has always been something special, from the 3500 GT to the classic Ghibli.
And now, the GranTurismo. Originally unveiled all the way back at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show, it is quite the suave looker and built to succeed the Maserati Coupe. Powered by a proper Ferrari-Maserati co-developed V8, it is the quintessential Maserati 2+2 grand tourer.
The intriguing thing is that while it is a grand tourer, Maserati has put plenty of emphasis on driver-engagement. Endowing it with the Maserati M139 platform, it utilized double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension with a nigh 50-50 weight distribution. While the engine initially had 4.2-liter to work with, afterwards it was revised and enlarged to 4.7-liter. Remaining naturally-aspirated, it produces 434 horsepower and 490 Nm of torque. Interestingly the engine is also shared with the scarce Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione.
That engine has since then enjoyed a modest bump in power, to 454 horsepower and 520 Nm of torque. Depending on the trim level, the powertrain is mated to a ZF 6-speed or a semi-automatic 6-speed also derived from Ferrari. In its quickest GranTurismo McStradale guise, it’ll manage the century sprint in 4.5 seconds, onto a top speed of over 300 km/h.
Of course, it’s not a cheap car. For someone who’s gauging needs based on the specs sheet, the GranTurismo might not be all that much of a car for a starting price of $130,000. Especially when you think about how the drivetrain is beginning to show its age, in a time where most other competitively-priced performance cars will easily trump the GranTurismo around the corners and in a straight line.
However, one thing that the GranTurismo has going for it that none other has is its elegant lines and stunning packaging. For a shape that originated over 10 years ago, the GranTurismo certainly touts a timeless bodyline. And it’s paired with an engine that does it justice as well, a classic naturally aspirated V8 that bellows a sonorous 8-cylinder crescendo all the way to redline. It is also something rather unique these days, which is a noteworthy point in its own.
Regardless, there’s no arguing that the Maserati GranTurismo is beginning to show its age, and Maserati’s reliability is dubious at best. The GranTurismo is still very much a ‘past-generation’ super-car, in a sense. But that’s part of the charm. With that said, as Maserati is beginning to expand its range in an effort to appeal to an eclectic audience, the GranTurismo might not remain as we know and understand it in the future. If you’re piqued by the idea of one, now might be good to look for one.
Independent Repair Shops For Porsche – Do you just so happen to own a Porsche? Then you should have plenty of first-hand experiences behind how it is owning a Porsche. Despite Porsche’s increasingly broad and eclectic range of models, from the ‘everyman’s Porsche’, the Macan, all the way to the $300,000 Porsche 911 GT2 RS, one thing remains common amongst Porsches, and that’s their emphasis on performance. Even in a Macan, you will find sporting ambitions tucked within.
And because of these sporting character, Porsche owners are also expected to be able to maintain the upkeep that comes associated with performance. Of course, if you have a brand new Porsche 911, you’ll likely want to stick to the dealer workshops purely to avert any qualms with preserving your warranty status. That said, larger independent workshops might be able to carry out warranty work as well. But sticking to dealers give you big leverage when it comes to oddball cases without going out of pocket.
However, if you’re dipping your feet into old Porsche or out-of-warranty second-hand Porsche, then maybe independent Porsche workshops are the better way to go. So, why choose independent repair shops for Porsche over the dealer?
Costs and Efficiency
Of course, the most obvious reason, and the primary motivation for folks to look to a third-party shop is cost. Since dealer workshops have something that’s colloquially referred to as ‘dealer tax’, they often demand a higher premium on labor costs and often part costs too.
There’s valid reasoning behind dealer tax, of course. Ideally, you’re dealing with a very involved and lengthy standard of procedure where everything has to be tediously and meticulously documented in depth. Of course, the people working on your car has to also be trained specially to work on Porsche’s, and all the parts come from sanctioned sources. This is where all your money is going towards.
However, it’s not a stretch to say that specialist independent repair shops for Porsche will be able to offer similar levels of professionalism, with less stringent standards they need to match. This means lower costs and less time for your car to spend just sitting around, waiting for processing. If you choose wisely, the quality control of an independent shop might even be better, while there will still be workshop-specific customer documentation.
Of course, while dealers and Porsche are the ones to train up techs to work on their cars, it’s common for experienced technicians to leave and branch off on their own after a few years to independent shops. This is particularly veracious when it comes to older, classic Porsche’s. You’re going to want a real specialist to restore your classic 911 here, and that’s not a job that dealers can do, at least not for reasonable prices.
Typically, smaller independent shops with a bunch of close-knitted technicians are also friendlier, and typically more customer-oriented than a large, chaotic dealer service centre. This means that they might pay more attention to the little details, which is what you want when it comes to a Porsche.
Another big advantage to independent repair shops, for me, is the fact that you can generally build a more amicable relationship with the technician. They’re the ones that are actually working on the car after all. In a dealership, it’s likely that you’re dealing with service advisers. In fact, you can essentially never see the person working on your car throughout your entire experience servicing your car at a dealer.
In an independent workshop though it’s quite different, where everything is more down to Earth, and you can talk to the one working on your car in person. It’s also likelier that you’ll know each other by name, and a good chance that you’ll end up with the same tech every time once you’ve built a solid owner-technician relationship. After all, who knows the mechanical bits of your car better than the one who wrenches on it?
Those are the few reasons why I recommend you stick to specialist independent repair shops for Porsche, rather than the dealer. Of course, if you have something like a brand new 911 Turbo, the dealer makes more sense. But, if you’re starting out with your first Porsche, say a 986 Boxster, it’s best that you find a venerated Porsche specialist nearby, and stick to it.
Audi Parts – It is indeed true to a degree that Germans produce some of the finest motors in the world, and their innate engineering prowess is all but a fable. With that said, amongst the big three German marques, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, I have to say that I do favor the latter-most. If nothing else it’s their obsession with Avants and inline-5s that really does it.
However, since their motto states: ’Being Ahead through Technology’, and being cutting edge isn’t cheap, people have generally gathered that owning an Audi won’t be cheap. Here’s the thing, are Audi parts expensive?
Of course, right out of the gate, I think it should be immediately eminent that if you are an Audi owner, you are expected to be able to pay a bit more than say, a Škoda. They’re made to be premium cars and quality never comes cheap. And thus you should adjust your expectations accordingly.
That said, a manufacturer like Audi touts an eclectic range of models, from their basic Audi A1 supermini all the way to the full-blown R8 supercar. Therefore, how much you are expected to spend depends on how big and how exotic of an Audi you’ve got. As such we’re taking the basic A4 with a 2.0 TFSi as the baseline.
One thing is common amongst any Audi out there, and that’s to stay on top of your maintenance. Luckily, Audi does boast a generous service schedule, with new 2019 models requiring their first minor maintenance 10,000 miles in, or 1 year, whichever comes first. Typical service parts, including Audi approved VW 505 00 engine oil and filter should come in at just around $90.
You should also definitely keep up with your transmission oil service, as the S-Tronic transmission Audi uses demands quality service and oil to stay in top shape. You’re going to need 7-litres of DCT ATF and filters, a service kit costs around $300, while the 8-speed Tiptronic comes in at around $350.
The S-Tronic has a service interval of 40,000 miles, and while Audi doesn’t specify for the Tiptronic, stick to the same interval as the S-Tronic for peace of mind. The differential fluid change should be performed around this time as well, and for $10 per qt of quality Redline fluids, it’s definitely worth it.
Onto some bigger parts such as the absorbers, where OEM BIlsteins will cost around $90 each front and back. Need a timing chain job done? The parts will total to around $500. Water pump went kaput? That’ll be around $200 in parts. Brakes vary heavily, as a basic ventilated rotors might be $100 for a set, but big ceramic rotors will easily top $1000 for just one.
Of course, now you might be thinking that doesn’t sound all that bad. And honestly, if we’re just talking about parts, Audi parts really doesn’t cost as much as you might expect. It’s comparable to other German luxury cars. However, unless you’re an especially savvy guy that knows his way around tools, you’re probably going to need a workshop to carry out most major jobs.
And if parts don’t cost you, the labour certainly will. Audis aren’t exactly DIY-friendly cars, and space is almost always at a premium here. With that said, this article is here to dispel the myth that German luxury cars automatically costs more in parts. It’s the truth if you go original, but being prudent and knowing which OEM parts you need can save you a lot in the long run. Audi parts are expensive, but Audi OEM parts don’t exactly demand all that much.
Independent Repair Shops For Mercedes Benz – Mercedes-Benz is certainly one of the biggest names in the business of automotive manufacturing. They have been pioneering and making some of the finest luxury automobiles for some time now. And being the paragon of premium automobile manufacturer means that they tend to introduce more experimental novelty technology that is sophisticated entirely by nature, which may translate to more frequent repairs.
With that said, you may think that a complex car needs factory trained technicians to diagnose and mend, which means going to the dealers. And while that might be the better approach if we’re talking about a Mercedes that’s still under warranty, what if I told you that there are plenty of independent repair shops for Mercedes Benz models that are plenty competent, if not more so than the dealers? There are reasons why you might want to stick with independent repair shops for Mercedes-Benz rather than the dealers, and here are 5 of them here.
Lower Repair Bills
There’s no way around it, Mercedes-Benz demands a hefty sum for their time, and that’s to pay for all of the processes plus getting their trained technicians to sort out one single car. It’s arguable whether if the amount of money you’re forking over is worth it or not, but that’s what they charge.
Therefore, by sticking with independent repair shops for Mercedes-Benz cars, it’s not quite an international effort to document everything, you aren’t paying for factory trained expertise, and most importantly they don’t emphasize solely on genuine original factory parts stamped with the star. OEM parts that are essentially identical may cost less than half as much as original parts.
The other great thing about independent workshops is the fact that they are allowed to be more flexible with how they approach your vehicle. They aren’t dead set on original Mercedes parts. In lieu of ‘original is the best’, they might instead use aftermarket parts that perform as well, if not better than the original. Independent repair shops can offer a list of options for you to adapt to your budget.
Other than that, independent workshops also work with a varied range of operating fluids from a variety of aftermarket manufacturers, so you’re not being charged the manufacturer premium even though it will work just fine.
When you’re working with a dealer, especially a massive one with a high throughput after-sales service department, you will be just another customer to the dealer, even if you own a Mercedes-Benz. Unless you’re an extremely important client with considerable influence, they just want to get your car in and out as fast as possible, while offering extra services that you don’t necessarily need by the script. You’ll also rarely get to interact with the technician actually wrenching on your car because the service advisor is the middleman in between.
However, with an independent shop, it’s straightforward. There are no after-sales service department. You step in, talk with the person-in-charge, then they try to accommodate your requests as long as it’s reasonable. You may also communicate directly with your technician, and you will eventually recognize the workshop personnel by name.
Pertaining to what is stated above, for any independent repair shops, customer loyalty is imperative. Rather than dealers who know they’re locking you in via new car warranty, independent repair shops for Mercedes-Benz realizes that new customers are hard to come by, so they must work to maintain an ardent fanbase. They have no new car sales to rely on, so it’s all about preserving the regulars. You can bet that independent shops can offer a service easily on par with what the dealers provide, and even far surpass the dealers.
Mercedes-Benz cars are complex to diagnose, therefore their dealers will have technicians that essentially listens and waits for instructions from their experts that try to diagnose issues without even touching your car. They’re also used to identifying patterns and making repairs according to known issues.
With that said, when you’re bringing in an Mercedes-Benz with a tricky fault, what you’re going to need is an ace diagnostician to work on your car. It’s not to say that dealers don’t have competent diagnostician, but independent repair shops will have a diagnostician that’s used to dealing with an eclectic range of problems.
Here are just a few reasons why you might want to bring your Car to an independent repair shop for Mercedes-Benz, rather than defaulting to the dealer next time around. While you might argue with some of the points above, I’m here to clarify that dealers might not be the best answer, even for your costly Mercedes.
BMW Repairs – Shopping for a used or brand new BMW? Perhaps you’d want to hold off pulling that trigger because it’s prudent that you know a bit more about luxury German car ownership before even thinking about buying one. While BMW is widely venerated for their consistently excellent products, their introductory price definitely reflects in their after-purchase cost too.
Depending on what kind of BMW that you’re looking for, the maintenance and repairs cost can vary wildly. However, it’s without hesitation that a problem arising within your pricey German luxury cruiser is going to demand more out of your wallet than a Japanese sedan. Enough for the marque to land a spot in multiple lists ranking manufacturers with the costliest upkeep.
BMW Repairs & Maintenance
Of course, while it all depends on the model and age, you can generally expect a typical annual minor service, such as an oil and filter change to range from $200 to $400. For a major service with less frequency which typically includes transmission work, that can bump the cost up to $600.
One thing to note is that many of the wear and tear parts do change based on what model of BMW you’ve got. You’re going to need more specific, more expensive fully synthetic oil for your performance M car, while your massive brake discs and beefier brake calipers also demand much bigger and thus pricier brake pads. Tires are also part of the discussion, and none of the above are things you’d want to skimp on if you intend to keep your BMW driving like a proper one.
BMW Repairs & Parts
That’s not the main thing about a BMW vehicle that’s eye-watering to common folks though. BMW repairs and major jobs are what sets them apart. With the Germans always seeking to be at the forefront of automotive technology, they have less time to test out new gadgets and are also forced to undertake more risks to stay competitive. This means that many of your BMW parts are complex to manufacture, which reflects in their individual pricing.
Thus, typical BMW repairs are pricier than normal, but again, it changes with regards to what problem you’re facing. A BMW 3-series starter replacement, for instance, can cost upwards of $900, which is quite expensive owing to the laborious procedures involved for quality BMW repairs. And that’s before we get into the flagship models, such as the M-division products, the 7-series and the hybrid models.
With all that said, the whole notion behind a contemporary luxury vehicle is for there to be as little compromises as possible, and the quality is what you’re paying for in a BMW. Certainly, BMW repairs aren’t exactly affordable, but if you can afford a luxury car serving as an exemplary representation of driving pleasure, it’s only expected that you can afford the running costs associated with it too.
Being a premium product, they’d also need to confront stringent quality control and tough standard of procedure to preserve their brand image as a premier automotive manufacturer. From pre-sales to after-sales, BMW does attempt to provide the best, most effortless customer experience possible.
Therefore, if the answer wasn’t quite overt enough for anyone out there, BMW repairs are indeed expensive and pricey. But all of that isn’t without reasoning and basis, they certainly aren’t charging people whatever they fancy. Being a luxury vehicle with plenty of complicated mechanics and a multitude of electrical components throughout though, it’s only expected that the repairs do cost more.
Porsche Cayman – If the idea of a Porsche intrigues you, you’ll be glad to know that you have plenty of options to dip your feet into the world of Porsche ownership. With a lengthy and varied history, there are many ways to go about with your first Porsche. However, if you want an entry-level Porsche that provides a satisfactory hint of the world of Porsche, the Porsche Cayman might just be what you’re looking for.
Initially introduced in late-2005, the Porsche Cayman really be explained as the fastback-coupe variant of the second-generation Porsche Boxster. Even during the Boxster’s initial inception, it attracted a fair amount of contrasting opinions from a tumultuous crowd. So you can only imagine how they felt about a Porsche fastback-coupe that could threaten the throne that the marque-defining Porsche 911 has fostered over the years. As of now, there have been three-interpretations of the Porsche Cayman, and all of them enjoy the distinct advantage in being a mid-engine sports coupe powered by a flat engine. Since Porsche didn’t have a tradition or ardent fans they needed to please with the Cayman, unlike the 911, they could adopt a more sensible powertrain layout with the Cayman.
This means that the Cayman technically puts more emphasis on canyon carving, and hence why the Cayman has garnered such popularity amongst the track day crowd. With Porsche’s cornering know-how and an actually pragmatic engine layout meant that the Cayman is endowed with a capable chassis and a range of competent engine options.
It’s an enjoyable car to drive, and one that avid drivers can actually drive well with the electronics turned off. The short wheelbase, consistently precise driver inputs, responsive engine, darty nose and assertive cornering demeanour means that the Cayman is a genuinely inspiring car to drive fast, and one that rightly rewards you so. All generations even enjoy a sweet manual for those particularly keen on track days.
Of course, being a mid-engine Porsche, it may be perfectly tuned for the track, but it’s less impressive if you have perilous asphalt to deal with. It’s also not that practical, but driveability remains admirable around urban traffic. Being a Porsche though, it does suffer from the maintenance and upkeep of a Porsche as well.
There are three distinct generations, and the key here is to buy the newest model you can. In general, the Caymans that you should avoid even with a 10-foot pole are those that can’t produce a regular service and maintenance record or are dubiously affordable. Remember, even though it’s entry-level, regular care and attention is absolutely crucial, and something that can prove to be catastrophic when skimped on. It’s easy to end up with a money pit should you end up with a neglected Cayman. Desirable options are the active ride suspension and interior conveniences, with the Cayman GT4 models reigning as the best trim that the Cayman has to offer.
Although it’s worth noting that the latest generation 982 Caymans have actually ditched the flat-6 in favour of a a range of turbocharged flat-4s. Of course, it’s downsizing due to increasingly stringent emissions standard, but make no mistake, it’s a Cayman in every sense of the term.
It’ll be interesting to see how Porsche will proceed with the Cayman. Now that it has lost its flat-6 powerplant, the line between a 911 and Cayman has been segregated. Going forward, the path that follows can only be a hybrid powerplant, and perhaps even a full-electric variant.
How long can you go without oil changes – Oil changes are a mystery to many. Despite it being mandatory for each and every car owner out there, I’m certain that not many truly understand the importance and purpose of timely oil changes. Of course, for new car buyers, it’s often less of an issue, as manufacturers nowadays make services as easy and effortless as possible for the customers. However, for cars out of warranty who often entrusts their regular preventative maintenance to outside workshops, there’s always a lingering question: how flexible are oil changes?
Before you talk about how often you should make oil changes, you should understand why oil changes are necessary. After all, engine oil is a very inert material in a pretty enclosed circuit, why does it need changing? Engine oil performs the crucial role of lubrication, micro-sealing and transferring heat in an engine, and it’s imperative that your engine oil is always up to par to perform its duty efficaciously.
The thing is that, while oil in nature is extremely enduring and often a cause of concern environmental-wise, inside an engine where it’s continuously subjected to extreme operating conditions, engine oil actually breaks down and deteriorates rather quickly. The important additives inside the oil also begin to decay over time, losing their effectiveness. Engine oil darkening is a natural process of wear and tear caused by heat and combustion byproducts, hence your engine oil starts out golden and silky, yet ends up either runny and thin or thick and sludgy. Therefore there’s always a rough interval you should follow to ensure that your engine oil is actually still engine oil.
How Long Can You Go Without Oil Changes
With that said, what most workshops follow as a guideline is that you should change your engine oil once every 3,000 miles. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, and it’s not a problem if you can afford it, thanks to modern technology in terms of engine development and oil refinery, engines can last longer without such frequent oil changes.
For contemporary cars, a closer estimate would be around 5,000 to 7,000 miles. The figure varies based on what kind of traffic you manage on a daily basis, and there’s often a time factor too since your engine is still running even at idle. But here’s the thing, how far can you go over the regular interval without performing an oil change?
The thing is theoretically speaking, with modern internal combustion engines, an oil change can last for tens of thousands of miles. People have gone over 60,000 miles without an oil change. With quality fully synthetic oil, it’s possible to even see service intervals exceeding 10,000 miles. But here’s the thing, oil breaks down gradually, and they can lose their critical properties that keep your engine running fit and healthy.
Over time, overdue oil changes and continuous low-temperature cycles can even lead to what is known as sludging. Sludging is particularly nefarious towards your valvetrain, where it can seriously impact normal operation and even cause catastrophic engine failure. However, sludging is often a non-issue given that you perform regular oil changes with quality engine oil. Doing so can even de-sludge an engine.
On the other hand, overheating and worn engine oil will become thinner and runnier as time passes, eventually losing its lubricity and viscosity. Even if your oil doesn’t break down, it’s important to keep in mind that the oil filter will also contaminate over time, and if clogged to a certain extent will affect oil flow.
Therefore, it’s important that you try to keep your oil changes regular, as a preventative measure. It’s not that expensive, and even in the long run, it’s worth the trouble over a complete engine overhaul. If you truly intend to stretch your oil changes, stick to quality fully synthetic motor oil which can last longer without deteriorating.
With the latest G20 BMW 3 Series out, it’s a better time than ever to talk about the extensive history of BMW’s beloved compact sedan. Initially incepted in the mid-1970s, the BMW 3-Series was built and marketed as a sport-infused compact sedan. However, with such an enduring and persistent demand for the BMW 3 Series, generation after generation, it is quite a testimony to BMW’s consistent engineering brilliance.
In June of 1975, the first generation of the BMW 3 Series was born, the E21. Borrowing design cues from the gorgeous BMW 2002, the E21 remains a design classic. It was initially only available in a sleek, coupe body. Propelled by a selection of four and six-cylinders, and intriguingly, the adoption of the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection for the 320i and 323i models translated to a relatively surprising efficiency. It was an enamoring little guy, garnering accolades such as ‘the world’s best sedan’, and shifting an all-time high of 1.4 million units worldwide. Intriguingly, the lower output models (316 and 318) had single round headlamps, while the rest received twin headlamps. Cabriolet ‘Baur’ models were available in limited quantity too.
With such impressive sales, the E21 had a slow phase out, it’s not until 1983 before BMW finally halted productions. Introducing the all-new BMW E30, which still had the defining round headlamps and boxy styling. The big change made here are significant body strengthening over its predecessor and the introduction of the four-door and wagon or touring body styles. It was still a big hit, but the headline here is the E30 M3. It’s not just a performance enhancement, it was a total redesign with new body panels, widened track and comprehensive rehash of the suspension. It’s motorsport success also graced us with the homogenization specials, the Evo 1, Evo 2 and Sport Evolution variants. While the E30 M3 only had 4-cylinders to work with, it was certainly no slouch with its impeccable dynamism.
While the E30 continued production, 1990 was the debut of the BMW E36. Forsaking the classic styling, BMW finally made the move to modernize the BMW 3 Series. While it can be argued that it isn’t quite the stellar looker, it was a marked improvement in multiple measures. A new, proper Z-axle rear multi-link setup combined with a 50/50 weight distribution tidied up the uncouth ride noticeably. The new E36 model was centric on inline-6 engines, and fortunately, the new M50 DOHC 24-valve inline-6 engine was plenty robust and brawny. In fact, in its 325i form which also came with VANOS after 1993, Car and Driver timed it at around 7.0 seconds for a century sprint. The sweet sonorous yet smooth inline-6 note paired with contentious performance and smooth ride made the E36 an immaculate cruiser.
BMW 3 Series
In the very late 90s, BMW released the next encore – the E46 3-Series. Boasting an arguably improved aesthetics, it was yet another hit. Mechanically it was largely unchanged, albeit with more weight-cutting and body stiffening. The 328i model was replaced by the 330i in a mid-run face-lift and offered a lot more grunt along with it. It was undoubtedly stupendous to drive, but the E46 M3 really took the limelight here. It really shifted the M3’s focus from a sleek darty coupe to a muscular brute that preserves the 3-Series’s driving quality. And then there’s the frankly ludicrous ‘race-car with a license’ M3 GTR that enjoyed prominent feature in the 2005 Need for Speed: Most Wanted.
With a major skip in model numbering, the 5th generation E9X BMW 3 Series was introduced in 2004. The 2006 335i model also marked BMW’s first attempt at a turbocharged 3-Series in the pursuit for better efficiency without forgoing performance. The E90 models also brought along with it run-flat tires. Most importantly though, the E9X models may look vastly different, but it still preserved, even improved on the 3-Series’s renowned handling with unmatched steering feel and ride thanks to a further revised rear-axle multi-link suspension. The E92 M3 was particularly adored for its very high-revving 4.0-liter naturally-aspirated V8.
Finally, the sixth generation F30 3-Series. Made public in 2011, the F30 3-Series dialed back on the throttle. To meet ever-stringent emissions, BMW opted for extensive usage of small-displacement turbocharged engines, while cutting weight to offset for the power loss. The interior was upgraded to bring it up to par against competing models, but the driving dynamics still remains. Interestingly, the 335d with its twin-turbocharged inline-6 diesel engine would outrun an E93 M3 with the V8 in a dash to 62 mph.
Of course, the F30 3-Series is now going to fade out as BMW announces the G20 3-Series. However, if there’s one thing that’s for sure, people love the BMW 3 Series for its enthralling driving experience. In a world where sportiness is currently dominant, BMW already has a head start, and it’ll be curious to see how would they orient the endearing BMW 3 Series.
Audi E-Tron – eminently, the automotive climate is rapidly shifting. From around eighteen years ago, hybrid powertrains were just beginning to gain traction in the form of the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. And since then, the world has attempted pure electric vehicles many times. But in just 15 years, EVs are now an actually viable option and are seemingly threatening internal combustion as a method of vehicle propulsion. With that, even long-established companies are eagerly adopting electric power, with Audi being one of them.
More specifically, the Audi e-tron. It’s a four-wheel-drive SUV, a popular genre of cars, but at the same time also powered purely by electric motors. But to really top the headlines with your EV nowadays, you do have to pack some resemblance of innovation, which the e-tron does, let’s walk through it.
Aside from the camouflage that the e-tron dons for the press, it’s actually a largely conventional-styled Audi SUV. Following Audi’s modern design language that we’re accustomed to, it’s sharp and sleek, with no real indication of its silent nature. As crisp and well-defined its lines are, Audi also says the shape is sculpted to minimize drag.
Powered by two electric motors that output a combined 350 hp and 414 lb-ft of torque, the e-tron runs on a different kind of four-wheel drive system from your regular Audi Quattro. This powertrain can also ‘boost’ to 402 horsepower propelling the e-tron from 0-62 mph in under 6-seconds, a remarkable feat for an SUV that will no doubt be portly.
Providing the fuel is a 95 kWh battery that’s also capable of sustained 150 kW DC fast charging that nearly brims the charge in just 30 minutes, surpassing even Tesla’s venerated supercharger network. It can also be charged on a more sedate 11 kW pace at AC charging stations that can double to 22 kW with Audi’s optional on-board charger.
That said, ever since the inception of the Audi e-tron, the headline story is the exceptional recuperation ability of the vehicle itself. With an intelligent electrohydraulic braking system, the recuperation system can determine the amount of regenerative braking to utilize, and the driver can pull the ‘shifter paddle’ behind the steering wheel to demand even more severe regent braking if desired.
The braking is done entirely via wire, which means that the car can also ascertain whether if you need the hydraulic brakes dependent on the pedal input. If it’s a bit of a panic situation or if you require heavy braking, the hydraulic brakes kick in for better response. This system is so efficient in fact that it’s said to contribute about 30% of the e-tron’s range. And if you’re on an especially elevated terrain such as Pikes Peak and rolling down, it can muster about 1 mile of range for every mile you travel down. And you’ll largely be relying on the regenerative braking which reduces the brakes’ temperatures and wear.
Of course, since the e-tron isn’t truly fully unveiled and released just yet, we can’t truly be certain on how it compares to others of its segment. Right now, the two other obvious contenders are the Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X. The Jaguar I-Pace is undoubtedly one suave looking brute that’s more performance-centric. Right now, the I-Pace seems faster but offers less range and charges at a slower speed, and it’s also more akin to a ‘coupe crossover’ than an actual SUV.
The Model X, on the other hand, is Tesla’s first endeavour into the SUV market. It’s a genuinely practical 7-seater SUV that’s also capable of shaming an Audi R8 in its P100D trim. It also offers more range, but charges at a slower pace even with Tesla’s supercharging station. And it also boasts the ‘Falcon Wing’ rear doors, if that enthrals you.
What the Audi e-tron offers though, I reckon, is probably one of the most cutting-edge regenerative braking system, and Audi’s established build quality and German-tier fit and finish. It also has a solid EV infrastructure. That said, to truly know how it’ll compare against its competitors though, we’ll have to wait until early 2019, which is the e-tron’s projected production date.
Porsche 911 Carrera
Porsche 911 Carrera- If we’re talking about automotive icons, Porsche is undoubtedly a marque that won’t be forsaken. And the reason is plain and simple in 3 letters – the Porsche 911. Being one of the longest running sports car nameplates to exist, it was quite an engineering marvel back then in the 1960s, yet it remains to be plenty competent even when pitted against contemporary super cars.
Over 5 decades ago was the inception of a concept that Porsche itself would never expect to be so enduring. As a successor to the Porsche 356, the original Porsche 911 was known as the Porsche 901 and was meant to be a more practical variant of the 356 with an extra set of seats. Hence the ethos of a ‘daily sports car Porsche so keenly touts. While the original interpretation proved to be lacking in guts, Porsche and the crowd found the optimum to be the air-cooled 207 horsepower 911 Carrera RS, which was both lightweight and suitably zestful with an exhaust note that nothing else can quite match.
Of course, after the original Porsche 911 was the introduction of a variant often hailed as the ultimate 911 – the Porsche 930. Certainly, the melding of a turbocharger with a rear-engine rear-wheel drive sports car also conferred it the notorious title of the ‘widow maker’. While its acceleration prowess was unparalleled; the extreme turbo lag and frankly mercurial road demeanor translated to a capricious mistress to tame. However, it provided the predicate to some of Porsche’s finest Group 4 and Group 5 racing cars, notably the Porsche 934 and 935.
Following the initial success, about 3 decades of the same generation later in the late 1980s, Porsche finally released a major update: the Porsche 964. It’s an endeavor to modernize the 911 to bring it up to date for the recession. It was the first time any 911 utilized power steering, ABS, airbags and also marked the launch of the 4-wheel drive Carrera 4. And just 5 years after the 964, Porsche debuted the 993. Widely regarded as the best rendition of the air-cooled 911s, It also brought us the GT2, an even more fickle car than the 930 to domesticate.
But that was the last air-cooled generation. As 1998 rolled along, Porsche migrated to water-cooled engines and a significant exterior update. Purists, of course, scowled at such a move, but it was inevitable in the pursuit of performance. Known as the 996, people hated how it looked inside and out which prompted a vital face lift in 2001 to the 996.2. But people commented on how it lost its ‘soul’. A new model was introduced in 997 which was styled with cues to the classic 911, with the 997.2 following 4 years later along with the PDK dual-clutch automatic.
It’s not until the 991 in 2012 that Porsche made another controversial switch – electromechanical steering. While it originally compromised the extremely precise and communicative steering, the latest representation of the 911, the 991.2, refined it to a degree that most find it agreeable. However, the 991.2 was bestowed with another potentially contentious change itself: a total migration to turbocharged power. While turbochargers used to be reserved for the fastest 911s, it has now trickled down to even the humble 991.2 Carrera. It’s an understandably unavoidable step towards the future with increasingly stringent emissions law, and I think it’s one that pushes the 911 further towards the ‘daily sports car’ ethos. The delivery quality of power may be vastly dissimilar, but it’s still a great engine in its own regard.
So, why do the crowd covet the 911 so much? Even in its latest iteration, the 911 Carrera remains a valid option for those who value the driving experience more. The answer is simple, it is the quintessential sports car. The 911 Carrera isn’t a trailblazer, but its cornering finesse remains peerless. People love the shape of the 911, which isn’t found anywhere else other than the Volkswagen Beetle, and they adore how Porsche has made such a daft idea that is locating the engine at the rear function with spectacular results. The exhaust note of a flat-6 is also distinctive, a trait that many love.
Of course, the purists dote the classic 911 Carreras, but I reckon the latest 911 Carrera deserves a mention too. Porsche has never made the 911 Carrera so fast that it becomes scary, and instead offer limitless traction reserve, a darty responsive chassis, slick driver inputs and generous daily accessibility. And perhaps most importantly, Porsche still offers many 911 variants with a proper H-gate manual transmission, a perk that’s increasingly scarce to find nowadays.
You can certainly find cars with a much more impressive specification sheet nowadays for the same money for a Porsche 911, but then you won’t end up with a Porsche 911. If you want a Porsche 911, there really is no other alternative out there quite like it.