FISKER KARMA…ECO-COOL!

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

I don’t know too much about hybrid cars.  I personally like the sound of a great exhaust system spewing sweet-smelling fumes from a high performance gas guzzling power plant.  One thing I do know about hybrids is that they all tend to look a little weird.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Take the Prius for example.  I know it’s trendy in LA to drive a Prius as to show the fellow Angeleno’s you’re doing your part to save the world, but does it really have to look like that?  Even the all-electric Tesla (see previous post) manages to look just a little off from your typical sports car.  The list goes on but it seems someone finally took note and is trying to change things.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

The company Fisker has come a long way from the days of being an aftermarket coach builder; rebodying BMW’s and MB’s to name few.  Founders Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Koehler have decided to change the way hybrid/electric cars are perceived and to prove to the world that you can have a fuel-efficient car without looking like a member of the chess club.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

The Fisker Karma is a beautifully designed sedan and one of the few cars that has managed to stay true to its concept form.  A solar roof is tastefully incorporated into the body adding a futuristic element to an already forward design.  Other elements such as 22” wheels and Fisker’s signature sleek front grille adorn the wonderfully sculpted bodywork of the Karma.

The Karma’s powertrain uses the internal combustion engine in series with a generator and the Lithium-ion battery to power the electric motors that power the rear wheels giving up to 50 mi of electric driving.  After that, the internal combustion engine engages to generate energy for the electric motors providing up to an additional 250 mi of range; equating to about 52 mpg.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

The Karma has (2) 201 bhp motors that can produce a 0-60 time in 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph (Sport Mode).  Materials such as Water-Based Paints, Reclaimed Woods and EcoSuede are just a few of the ingredients that go into making this eco-friendly, state-of-the-art sports sedan.

While I can literally write a book about the Karma’s technical attributes I really like this car for the way it looks.  The performance specs aren’t the greatest, especially when you compare them to other sports sedans in the same price range  ($104K – $120K) but sometimes specs aren’t’ everything.  The person that drives this car is much like the car itself; a sleek and sophisticated forward thinking individual that believes looking cool is just as important as saving the world.  I like to call it “Eco-Cool”.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

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2012 NISSAN GT-R PREMIUM…STOCKING STUFFER?

Autumn is upon us and what better time to start fantasizing about what car you would like under that Xmas tree with a big red bow on it than right now.  This way your significant other or Santa (if you still believe) will have plenty of time to seek out the right color combo and have it gift wrapped for you just like in those Lexus commercials!

2012-Nissan-GT-R

2012-Nissan-GT-R

The car that I most envision getting for Xmas this year is the 2012 Nissan GT-R Premium.  Why that car you ask?  Well I will tell you why; because it has either beaten or has seriously come close to beating just about every Sports Car and Super Car on the planet, it’s been ravely reviewed by every respectable car magazine possible, and it almost broke Jeremy Clarkson’s neck when he test drove it on Top Gear.  It’s priced so realistically that even the brokest among us can dream about owning this car someday, it won “The World’s Greatest Drag Race” hosted by Motor Trend (video below), it was pitted up next to a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport in Road & Track…I mean how many cars can even qualify to do that; a V6 vs. V16, really?  It looks cool, it sounds cool, heck it even smells cool, the car is just damn cool.

2012-Nissan-GT-R

2012-Nissan-GT-R

2012-Nissan-GT-R

2012-Nissan-GT-R

If that’s not enough the boys at Nissan felt they could represent the GT-R nameplate just a little better.  That being said, improvements on the 2012 begin with an increase in turbo boost complimenting a larger intake and exhaust system along with revised valve timing and air/fuel ratio.  These tweaks and upgrades earned the 2012 GT-R Premium an additional 45 bhp totaling 530 bhp and 448 lb.-ft., up from 434 lb.-ft.  Oh one last thing…it goes 0-60 in 2.94 seconds.

Uhmmmmm, let me put that into some perspective for you; it only takes the GT-R .42 seconds longer to go 0-60 mph than the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport and costs the same amount it would be to maintain the Super Sport for one year.  By the time you scroll down to the video in this post, the GT-R would have already launched itself to over 60 mph.  The 2012 Nissan GT-R is definitely going on my Xmas list this year, I really hope Santa has an enclosed trailer!

2012-Nissan-GT-R

2012-Nissan-GT-R

Check out the GT-R Perform Admirably in “The World’s Greatest Drag Race” hosted by Motor Trend Below!

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THE 2011 BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT….SHE’S ALL GROWNS’D UP!

I remember when I first laid eyes on her back in 2004.  Beautiful curves, a big shiny front grille with a rear-end that could stop a freight train dead in its tracks.  She had it all, looks, power, and prestige.  I knew instantly she was going to be one of the popular girls.  Just as I suspected, she quickly became the “it” girl and like all popular girls, she lived in the fast lane mixing with the in-crowd as she grew-up through her rebellious years.  At one time or another I’ve seen her ensconced entirely in cubic zirconia, fitted with 24”& 26” wheels, painted matte pink, and appearing in just about every rap video known to man.  I’m also pretty sure I spotted her made entirely from gold in Saudi Arabia.

Those days have since passed and today she has blossomed into a more beautifully refined, elegant woman.  Despite everywhere she’s been and everything she’s done, she never forgot her roots.  The 2011 Bentley Continental GT is an all-new model and not simply a newer look as quoted by officials at Bentley.  Her newly staggered bi-xenon headlamps have been jeweled with LED daytime running lights and flow beautifully with her ever prominent front grille, which stands nearly upright now.  Her bold sexy curves remain as beautiful as ever however look more chiseled and sculpted as they draw your eyes towards her sultry rear-end.  Her tail lights have grown a bit, giving her an eye-catching European style you can only get after traveling the world.

Don’t get me wrong looks are very important but it’s what’s inside that really matters.  Her impressive 6.0 liter twin turbo charged W-12 has been improved on giving her “instant accessible supercar performance across the complete rev range.”  She’s lost a little weight and gained some muscle due to her four-cam, 48-valve mill which employs lighter, low-friction internals that shed 143 pounds off the outgoing engine. Her power is up by 15 horses and 37 pound-feet of torque (totaling 567 HP and 516 lb-ft of torque), making this girl wicked fast going 0-60 in a dashing 4.4 seconds with a top speed of 198 MPH.  She still sports those beautiful 20” five-spoke wheels and offers a 21” wheel upgrade, what a sweat heart!

Just like all beautiful woman she doesn’t come cheap, starting with a base price of $180K.  But don’t worry, if you think she’s a little too much to handle I’m told she has a little sister that’s a bit more tame (high-output V8) arriving later year.

Bentley did an amazing job of refining what was already an impressive and elegant sports coupe.  The 2011 Bentley Continental GT is as beautiful as ever and like a fine wine, just keeps getting better with age.

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FERRARI 599 GTO…POSSIBLY THE ANSWER WE’VE ALL BEEN SEARCHING FOR!

Being known as a major car guy, I am often posed the question ”if you had to pick only one favorite car what would it be?”  This question is torture to someone like me because I have about 50 favorite cars and they change on a daily basis.  I will have to say however, that the car that has almost gotten my answer to that evil question would have to be the Ferrari 599 GTO. 

I am a huge fan of the 599 Fiorano because it embodies so many things right about a sports car of this caliber.  It is a true sports coupe in every sense of the word. Powered by a massive V12 and ensconced in the best leather in the world; what more can you want? Well how about being able to say you own the fastest Ferrari road car ever made for starters? If that’s not enough, how about being able to say you drive a car with about 661bhp and 458 lb.-ft of torque and weighing in 220lbs less than the 599 GTB? Satisfied?

Aside from the jaw dropping technical data, it’s also quite special to own a GTO.  Ferrari doesn’t often label a model GTO unless it has some serious umpf to back it up.  The last car to be labeled a GTO was the infamous 288GTO whom people still make replicas of to this day.  Now let’s talk sound.  Have you ever heard one of these cars go?  If you haven’t, stop everything you’re doing and find one you can listen to.  Actually, I will place a youtube video of a 599GTO at the bottom of this post, so feel free to disregard my last sentence.  This car sounds as if they dropped an F1 car on the highway and let it go to town.

 

The Ferrari 599 GTO is truly a collectible car and is somewhat reasonably priced at $410K.  Is any car reasonable at $410K you ask?  Well, if you compare it to the next closest thing, the 599XX priced at $1.2M, the GTO seems like a steal!  With that being said, the Ferrari GTO is going in my dream garage and might be my answer to that age-old question, “if you had to pick a favorite car, which one would it be”.

Now close your eyes and listen to video below:

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THINGS GET HEATED UP AT THE TARGA TROPHY RALLY IN HOLLYWOOD, CA

With all the automotive events going on lately it’s getting difficult to keep track, however I was lucky enough to catch up with what is quickly becoming a premier automotive lifestyle event, the Targa Trophy Rally.

The rally began at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, which took over the entire parking lot leaving the valet and hotel guests dumbfounded.  A massive DJ tent claimed its territory directly behind the valet stand and proceeded to play loud dance music all day long.  One of the main sponsors of the rally, Luxury4play.com, brought their Bugatti Veyron and Maybach out to play with the other impressive arsenal of exotic sports cars participating in the rally.

As the 100 or so teams reported to the check-in, the drivers and their navigators placed stickers on their cars and chatted with other teams.  Entries included Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s, Porsches, Audi’s Viper’s, and BMW’s to name a few.

Many participants sported their finest costumes which included a Mouse helmet girl, Spiderman, Ironman, and a guy wearing daisy-dukes with a wig (really wish I didn’t see that).  As noon approached all teams were summoned to the DJ tent for a quick “drivers meeting”, in which event founder Jason Overell, forewarned the driver’s of the treacherous course and driving conditions that lay before them.

                     

At high noon the rally began and cars lined up to clock-in and receive the coveted top secret course information.  The instructions revealed the check points, and what to do while there.  A strategic point system took both driver and navigator through a 3 ½ hour course and required proof of check-in by obtaining a receipt or picture.  The adrenaline pumping rally took supreme driving machines through some of LA’s most beautiful canyons and back roads with sharp switch-backs and deadly drop-offs.  Temperatures soared to above 110 degrees which caused some tempers to flare and mechanical break downs along the way.

The rally concluded back at the Roosevelt Hotel where Targa Trophy revealed the winner of the event.  In true road rally fashion, the partying continued throughout the night at Hemingway’s and later at the Roxbury, both in Hollywood.

This was a great event but don’t kick yourself if you missed out on all the action.  I was told by Targa Trophy they are planning a 3 day event sometime in November so stay tuned for more information.  Rubber & Fumes will be there covering all the motoring goodness.

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WINNING BULLRUN IN A 725HP SHELBY SUPER SNAKE….ONE HELLUVA RIDE

I’ve been getting a lot of requests to talk about the car I won Bullrun Season 2 on Speed TV in.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with me or the show, I participated and won the reality TV Show Bullrun on Speed TV for Season 2.

In the show, my friend Spiro and I piloted a very rare 725HP 2007 Shelby GT 500 Super Snake.  What makes this particular car so rare is due, in part, to its limited production.  For each model year Shelby only produced 1000 Super Snakes and out of that number only hardtops were fitted with 725HP engine modification.  The convertibles had to settle for 600HP engine mod’s due to the increase in torque the body sustains.  About 500 or so could have gotten the 725HP option but not everyone did as this option voided the manufacturer’s warranty and obviously cost more money.  If you add colors and options into the mix there aren’t many 725HP White/Black GT500 Super Snakes out there.

With that being said, the Super Snake is hands down the meanest, fastest car I have ever driven and will ever want to drive.  It is uncontrollably fast and literally makes you feel invincible when driving in it.  There are very few cars you will run into, either on the track or on the street, that are faster than the 725HP Super Snake.  The Super Snake looks mean and intimidating and can back it all up! Everybody on the road wanted to race just to see the car in action.  It got so bad, my wife refused to ride in the car with me anymore.

It’s difficult for me to say if the $38K upgrade was worth it.  I personally did the upgrade because I have always been a big fan of the 1967 GT500 and thought it was my chance to invest in a collectible early on.  Unfortunately, with the economy the way it is, the value of this car diminished and it certainly didn’t help to be getting 3 mpg either.  You read right; I was getting 3 mpg when I got on the gas! I’m kind of proud of that in a weird sick way, not many of you can say you’ve gotten 3 mpg’s in your car, right?

Here is our Bullrun Casting Video that Spiro and I filmed to get on the show:

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ASTON MARTIN RAPIDE…BY-GEORGE I THINK THEY’VE DONE IT!

It’s pretty obvious to most that there is a battle being waged by high-end car companies to design the best 4-door sport sedan/hatchback.  Many car companies have made some sad attempts of coming out with their version of the of the sedan hatchback i.e BMW GT, however one of the best looking sedans to have come along is the Aston Martin Rapide.  The Aston Martin design team did an amazing job of designing a 4 door while still maintaining the sexy lines of say their DB9 Coupe.  The Rapide is actually a hatchback although you wouldn’t really know simply by glancing at it.

The Rapide also has some very unique and noteworthy design features such as the individual rear buckets seats with personal climate controls.  Although it seems a little claustrophobic at first glance, there is actually a lot of room and great views from every angle.  It definitely eliminates the need to call out “Shotgun” when going for a ride in this car.

Other design features include a hatchback tailgate, power folding seats and movable bulkhead which afford the Rapide probably the highest degree of practicality ever offered by an Aston Martin.

The Rapide is powered by a massive 5.9 liter V12 which produces 470 hp @ 6000 rpm and 443 lb-ft torque @ 5000 rpm.  It goes 0-60 in 5.1 seconds and claims a top speed of 188 mph.

Although I think the Rapide is as close to perfection as one can get for a sedan, I really would have liked to of seen some more horse power.   I almost wonder if they would have been better off with well-tuned V8 vs. their V12.  Ferrari and Lamborghini aside, V12’s are very heavy, and never seem produce the amount of horse power you would expect from that size of engine.  This would have at least lowered the Rapide’s MSRP of $207K +/-.  With all that aside, the Aston Martin Rapide still makes it into my dream garage!

vrooom!

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