The New Ferrari Portofino — The California We Never Got

BREAKING NEWS!

By: Mr. Power & Mr. Slide

Mr. Power and Mr. Slide sit down to discuss Ferrari’s newest vehicle dropped today : The Portofino

Mr. Slide: Well, it looks like the California is dead and Ferrari has officially announced its replacement — the Portofino

 

Mr. Power: Yes, Mr. Slide. The ugly stepchild of the Ferrari brand is out. The California, in its last iteration, was a far cry from its classic movie star heritage. If Enzo was still alive he would’ve never let it outside the factory gates.

 

Mr. S: Strong words, Mr. Power. But how about this new Portofino? Named after the small (expensive) vacation city in Italy, its looks are phenomenal. With a 598hp V8 this car can absolutely fly — reaching 60mph in only 3.5 seconds. Ferrari also completely revamped the old California T by adding 40hp, an overhauled intake system, electric power steering, and that fancy new torque delivery technology (the Variable Boost Management system). Added to all this is that fiery electronic rear differential.

 

Mr. P: I agree, this car is stunning to look at, it blows the California away. Honestly, it may be the best looking car Ferrari currently makes. I think it has perfect dimensions and a better wheel design then the 812 Super Fast. Ferrari’s design department took styling queues from the Aston Martin Zagato and it shows. The fluid shapes and exterior contours are stunningly beautiful. For the first time Ferrari has finally made a GT car that is aerodynamically designed with just the right amount of Italian flair. Well done.

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 11.36.42 PM
Image of the Portofino from Ferrari’s website http://auto.ferrari.com/en_US/sports-cars-models/car-range/ferrari-portofino/

Mr. S: I guess I would agree. I’m impressed with the beauty of this so called, “starter Ferrari[1].” Would you buy one?

 

Mr. P: Trying to buy a Ferrari is a complicated process. Most dealers will emphasize how difficult it is for people to get in the Ferrari brand, or fit the qualifications to buy a new one. However, if I had the money, I would most certainly buy one. I’m a huge fan of the cars Ferrari makes, but I hate all the strings attached. They have done an impeccable job retaining their customers, however they have turned their backs to new buyers. If for whatever reason you are a 20-something-year-old with a big enough trust fund to endorse such a brash decision, I would highly recommend considering the Portofino as your first Ferrari.

 

[1] Whatever that means…

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36,000hp Semi Truck

By: Mr. Slide

Exotic vehicles can be broken down into three categories; ones that you have to drive to appreciate, ones that you have to ride passenger in to appreciate, and ones that you just have to watch to appreciate. The 36,000hp Shockwave definitely falls into the last category.

 

Combining the power of three U.S. Navy jet engines (each producing 12,000hp) allows this rig to hit 376mph and clear a quarter mile in just six-and-a-half seconds. I know, sounds bananas, but it’s true.

 

 

The Shockwave is also one of the wildest looking vehicles ever produced — think RC car with a rocket attached (like from Toy Story) only scaled up by a million. It has double smokestacks that spit out demonic black clouds, an absurd flame throwing tailpipe, and military grade parachutes for “brakes.” It seriously sounds like a rocket ship and resembles a bullet train whizzing by (except it’s 125mph faster). However, it’s just a Chevy…from 1957. Bananas.

 

Neal Darnell, the brave man who drives Shockwave, claims that he experiences 6G of positive force while accelerating and then negative 9G of force when the parachute brakes eject. That’s more than what astronauts experience during liftoff. In fact, most people pass out at 9Gs of force because blood struggles to reach the brain[1].

 

So there you have it, one of the craziest vehicles ever made — the Shockwave. You wouldn’t want to drive it, you wouldn’t want to ride in it, but you would definitely want to see it.

 

SOURCES

[1] Baily, Zoe. “Is the Sun Pulling the Planets Closer to It? | Space Facts – Astronomy, the Solar System & Outer Space | All About Space Magazine.” Space Facts Astronomy the Solar System Outer Space All About Space Magazine, Space Answers, http://www.spaceanswers.com/solar-system/is-the-sun-pulling-the-planets-closer-to-it/.
Cover image from WonderfulEngineering.com  http://cdn.wonderfulengineering.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Shockwave-4.jpg
Watson, Leon. “One Lorry You Won’t Get Stuck behind: Introducing the 400mph Shockwave, the World’s Fastest Truck That Can Outrun a Japanese Bullet Train.” Daily Mail Online, Associated Newspapers, 17 Feb. 2014,  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2561173/One-lorry-wont-stuck-Introducing-400mph-Shockwave-worlds-fastest-truck-outrun-Japanese-bullet-train.html
Toy Story images from: (Left) https://thepowerslideblog.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/63b02-toystory_149pyxurz.jpg
(Right)  https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2216/2519512734_2f9e601194_z.jpg?zz=1

The DEATH of the Minivan

By: Mr. Power

The year is 1997, highways are infested with Mini vans. Silver ones, blue ones, or the worst of all — gold ones. All car enthusiast can admit these were dark times for the auto industry. Suburban America was obsessed with Ford Windstars, Dodge Grand Caravans, and the historically disturbing Mazda MPV. Good cars, however they focused too much on practicality and not enough on speed.

mazda-mpv-ii-lw-[5755]
The Mazda MPV from autodata.com http://www.autodata1.com/media/mazda/pics/mazda-mpv-ii-lw-%5B5755%5D.jpg

Longevity = Finding the Balance

Flash forward 20 years and the American automotive scene is at another crossroad. Highways are once again plagued with large variants of motor vehicles — except now they’re called SUVs. With subclasses ranging from crossovers to the more extreme 4×4 style, SUVs offer more ground clearance compared to other types of cars. They are also very practical and extremely well rounded. However, their added height leads to pitiful handling dynamics and horrendous fuel economy (comparatively speaking). Also all midlevel SUVs feel the exact same behind the wheel (if you can feel the difference in driving dynamics between the Honda CRV and the Toyota Rav4 you deserve an award). These cars suffer from chronic boredom and they don’t have to! SUV drivers are extremely fun and deserve more than dreary styling, lackluster engine performance, and mundane handling!

 

I understand that these cars provide more room than other variants of automobiles — thus making for great people carriers. However, there is a great SUV competitor that commonly gets overlooked…The Station-Wagon.

New Volvo V90 Cross Country Driving
Volvo V90 Cross Country from caradvice.com.au http://s3.caradvice.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/2017_volvo_v90_cross-country_02-1.jpg

Wagon Up!

These cars handle better, pack more than enough room, and provide better fuel economy. One of the best manufactures in the station-wagon game is Volvo. Recently healed from its abusive relationship with Ford, most Volvos are being made right here in America (and China). Other manufacturing plants include Sweden — where these cars are more popular than Michael Jordan in the 90’s.

 

Seriously, look at the all-new V90 cross-country. Volvo has integrated sleek Swedish design with a fruity punch of American ingenuity. Delicious. This car offers all the off-road capabilities anyone would need, a world-renowned all-wheel drive system, and the comfiest seats in the automotive world. So next time you’re looking at getting a new car, don’t just go straight for the SUVs, try a wagon (preferably a Volvo because the Swedish know how to do it best). You’ve driven an SUV — now try something different.

285121_2017_Volvo_V90
There it is again! from guideautoweb.com https://a.gaw.to/photos/2/8/5/285121_2017_Volvo_V90.jpg?1024×640

How To Never Forget Where you Parked

By: Mr. Slide

Everybody can relate to that annoying feeling of forgetting where their car is parked. You step outside the mall after a long day of tedious errand running and boom…it’s like looking at a colony[1] of penguins bunched up on an iceberg. The sun’s harsh rays add to your mall induced delirium, combining for an evil hex that forces you to exclaim, “Drat, where did I park?”

 

parking-lot-full-of-durangos
Image From autoblog.com http://www.blogcdn.com/green.autoblog.com/media/2012/05/parking-lot-full-of-durangos.jpg

 

HELP!

 

Obviously, you’re a prideful person, the last thing you want to do is hit the alarm button on your fancy new key fob. That’s essentially the automotive equivalent of having the clerk at the store’s courtesy booth use the all-call to flag down your kid. How could you be so irresponsible? Are you an idiot? It’s your car for gosh sakes, you parked it! Yet in your moment of panic, hands full of groceries, and patience thin, you press that button faster than a ship’s captain lights up a flair.

 

*BEEP….BEEP….BEEEEEEP…YOU PARKED OVER HERE, BABOON*

 

…oh right, yeah………..haha….sorry…

 

Then — after raising the white flag — you invoke the power of hearing to help locate the lost chariot. Finally, moments later, you find your grey car…right in-between the other grey one and the silver one. Ha.

 

park-509881_1920

 

Super Solution

 

“There must be a better way to find my parked car!” you think to yourself as you carefully exit, avoiding other drivers hunting the massive penguin colony. Well, it turns out — there is! The folks over at Find My Car Smarter have released an app that utilizes Bluetooth Smart Technology in order to eliminate the need to hit the shameful alarm button. You simply plug your phone into the cigarette lighter (if you still have one of those suckers); open the app and it will use the GPS to mark where you park. Then, upon exiting the mall, you open your phone and easily navigate the crowded colony. Simple as pie!

 

……Okay, frankly we can’t necessarily say to buy the app, and honestly it would be way better if everybody just bought cooler cars. You would never forget where you parked because your car would stand out to you. “Ah! There is my nitrous blue Ford Focus RS! I recognize it because I love it, take pride in it, and enjoy driving it!” That’s what you would say. You wouldn’t even need that alarm. The app is fantastic and really helps if you’re in a bind, however buying an unmistakable, unforgettable, car is truly the best option.

Ford Focus RS
A Ford Focus RS from autocar.co.uk http://images.cdn.autocar.co.uk/sites/autocar.co.uk/files/styles/gallery_slide/public/ford-focus-rs-rt-2016-125.jpg?itok=chMaUcOh

 

[1] Also known as a waddle

The Scalpel of Track cars: 2018 Porsche GT3

By: Mr. Power

The 991.2 Porsche GT3, a.k.a. the car that no automotive journalist can hate. Honestly, Porsche has created a car that has ZERO flaws. Seriously; none, zippo, nada. What’s not to love about the 4.0 liter flat six that can punch out roughly 500hp?

 

An Elite Runner

 

2018-Porsche-911-GT3-150
Image from Car and Driver http://www.caranddriver.com/photo-gallery/2018-porsche-911-gt3-first-drive-review-gallery#49

 

Fitted with either the lightning fast PDK transmission, or the more involved six-speed manual, this car can stretch its legs all the way up to 9,000rpm. One would think that the doctors who drive these cars would struggle to control its power. However, Porsche has honed in is rear-wheel steer system that now makes even pizza delivery drivers look clinically clean while hitting racing lines. Porsche has developed this car to be a track ace and (amazingly) hasn’t damaged the GT3 sports car feel.

 

Less Fear. More Fun.

 

2018_porsche_911_gt3_4k-wide-1
Image from HD Wallpapers http://www.hdwallpapers.in/2018_porsche_911_gt3_4k-wallpapers.html

 

There is nothing scary about this vehicle. The ABS doesn’t flash every time you stab the throttle, nor are you met with unyielding over-steer in the bends. The GT3 is confidence inspiring, and it dares its drivers to absolutely mash the throttle.

 

The lucky few that can afford this car (and the even luckier who can get their hands on one) will be graced with automotive bliss. Starting at $144,650 the lucky owners of the Porsche GT3 will be able to enjoy there own little slice of driving bliss. Not many car brands can match Porsche’s sport car heritage while delivering true track reliability.

Mr. Power’s overall grade: 10/10

Where do Your Loyalties Lie? A Casual Conversation

“What was that flash?!”

Two astronauts hovering around in the International Space Station hopelessly stare out the window as a large flash of light transcends from North America. “Was that a meteor that just struck the US?” one terrified astronaut asks the other.

“no…” a third voice whispers from the shadows. “That was the start of a CCC.”

 

Casual Car Conversation (CCC)

By: Mr. Power & Mr. Slide

We start these conversations with simple, yet thought provoking, questions. This week’s will be, “What side of the fence are you on in the great turbo vs. natural aspiration debate?”

turbo-995256_1920

 

Mr. Slide: Do people really love naturally aspirated engines? Or are they a dinosaurs’ technology that folks are too afraid to stray from?

 

Mr. Power: I think naturally aspirated engines evoke a certain emotion when inside a super-exotic or beefy muscle car. These types of engines bring three things to the table; better acoustics, linear power delivery, and in some cases easier general maintenance. That being said, in this day in age, people should not be shy about purchasing a turbo charged car. They provide more usable power and better fuel economy.

 

Mr. S: That’s true, can’t beat the sweet, bellowing, sound of a juicy V8 motoring up though.

 

Mr. P: Turbo charged cars bring a lot to the table when they are done right. Just look at the Mercedes AMG division. Leave it to the Germans to maintain the boisterous roots of the V8 while delivering even more power. I like the idea of turbo charged cars because they put an emphasis on efficiency, while again, adding more flare and usable power.

 

Mr. S: One thing about turbos though is that they are EXPENSIVE to fix and you’d need a second mortgage to replace one. I too enjoy their sparkle, but wonder if turbos are in the cards for all car companies. It would be blasphemous for say Mazda to make a turbo charged Miata in-house. A lot of cars just fit natural aspiration.

 

Mr. P: This is very true. However show me a mainstream car manufacture that doesn’t produce a turbo! The way I look at is that turbos have actually come to save superb naturally aspirated cars — like the Miatas and Audi R8s. Cars that emphasize true driving pleasure will always serve as an oasis for their consumers. They will only become more special and unique as more turbos hit the streets.

 

Mr. S: The turbocharger, another great piece of engineering stolen from the racing world and adopted into ours.

e-Pedal to the Metal

By: Mr. Power

Self-driving cars are fidget spinners for automakers. All the popular kids are addicted to electric vehicles with autonomous driving technology. At first they were made fun of for their ugly, underpowered, Prius and Smart Fortwo. Then a new student showed up and proved that the power of electricity could accelerate a car from 0-60 in 2.5 seconds. Tesla caught the eye of all the big dogs and soon everybody wanted to mimic it.

 

Companies looked at Elon Musk’s baby and simply tried to copy its 100% electric engine. This is like taking a fire truck and painting it to look like a police cruiser. Yeah it’s got the lights and sirens already but it’s not going to drive like the dogs. They failed to examine what makes a Tesla great — its technology.

 

Until now…

 

After years of failed electric cars, Nissan has finally teased us with the new 2018 Volt. Set to release on September 6th, it will have the same powertrain as the 2017 model: 107hp, 187lb-ft of torque. However, the famous front-wheel drive Leaf will now come with a choice of batteries ranging between 40 kWh and 60kWh. That’s up big from last year’s standard 30kWh pack.

 

“wow…those aren’t Tesla specs at all.”

 

Nissan-Leaf-EV-493x349
Photo from The Cool Gadgets thecoolgadgets.com/nissan-leaf-evs-target-for-25000-units-production-by-2012/

 

YOU’RE RIGHT! The phenomenal thing about this new Leaf is that will adopt a fancy piece of ‘Tesla-like’ technology — the e-Pedal. Granted the name needs some work but this innovative pedal is issuing in a new style of driving for the common citizen. Simply push a switch on the car’s drive selector and the gas pedal becomes all one needs for 90% of their driving.

 

One Planet, One Pedal

 

earth-11015_1920

 

Teslas are able to anticipate the road ahead and come to a stop, but the e-Pedal can take over the role of the brake. The driver removes their foot from the gas and the car immediately begins to decelerate until it comes to a complete stop. This makes me wonder, “don’t most cars begin to decelerate when the accelerator is released?” They do, but not at the rate of the Nissan Leaf. The e-Pedal’s braking is so powerful it will even stop the car on a hill.

 

I think this mode would be perfect for city driving, the injured, and the ditsy. Good job, Nissan. Thank you for taking a swing at new technology.

You talkin’ to Me? Why Change the Taxi?

By: Mr. Slide

Think about this: you’ve just landed in an exotic city for the first time. You don’t know anything about the town and you’re itching for some sizzling entertainment. Who’s the first person you ask for fun suggestions? That’s right — the taxi driver at the airport[1].

The cabbie will break off into a 45min rant about the best spots in town before dropping you off at your hotel. Five seconds after exiting the vehicle you immediately realize you forgot all the hot spots he mentioned (along with your passport, wallet, phone, and suitcase) in the taxi.

 

It’s a vacation tradition!

black-and-white-2119607_1920

 

Yellow Cab3

Well, not anymore actually. The automotive company Continental has designed a fancy new (autonomous) taxi replacement. It’s known as the CUbE and it’s absolutely WILD looking.

The CUbE’s perfectly rectangular shape gives it a toolbox-on-wheels kind of swagger. Continental claims that the CUbE’s figure allows the inside to be comfier than a taxicab…c’mon, the inside of a chicken coop is comfier than a taxicab.

 

Regardless, the main selling point with the CUbE is that it will cut down traffic. Continental claims that the autonomous taxi will be more efficient because it can carry a lot of people, thereby fostering an environment of ride splitting.

Flip the CUbE

Wait, wait, wait…a taxi replacement? Leave the taxis alone; they’ve been through enough with the ride-sharing app fad. Plus, I think the CUbE would be the perfect bus replacement. Imagine that, send the CUbE to the gym for a few months and BOOM — efficient autonomous mass-transportation. The taxis aren’t the biggest threats on the roads…it’s the buses. They’re too big, unattractive, and volatile, replace them with the CUbE and create happier roads for all. Keep the vacation tradition alive.

[1] Or, if your under the age of 40, the Uber driver at the airport (same deal)

The Party’s over for Fiestas

By: Mr. Slide

Men’s cuffed jeans, soccer, monarchies, some European cultural trademarks never take off in America. Now, added to this list, is the Ford Fiesta. It’s true; Ford’s front-engine — front-wheel drive — supermini will no longer be sold in the US. It’s heading back to Europe where sales are stronger, food is better, and roads are smaller.

 

Wait…hasn’t the Fiesta already left once?

Euro. Techno. Fiesta!

Yes. It has. The Fiesta originally left the US for a study-abroad trip in 1980. While there it learned how to be sportier, eco-friendly, and safer. Having matured, the Fiesta moved back home in 2010. It was a big hit and sold over 521,500 models between 2010 and 2016. However, over the same six years, Ford sold 695,007 Fiestas in the UK[1].

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Fiesta#/media/File:2011_Ford_Fiesta_SES_hatchback_--_02-18-2011.jpg
Picture from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Fiesta#/media/File:2011_Ford_Fiesta_SES_hatchback_–_02-18-2011.jpg

 

With sales down for 2017, Ford decided to call the Fiesta back to Europe. Should we be upset about this? Maybe.

It needs to be HOTTER

Cars like the Honda Fit and Ford’s very own Focus seem to sell better over here, but not by much (56k Fits sold in the US for 2016[2]). The reason for these low numbers is obvious — Americans don’t love subcompacts (yet). With wide roads, big families, and cheap gas, buying a Fiesta almost seems like a compromise. Combine this with the car’s notably unreliable automatic transmission and engine’s tendency to explode and it understandable why sales tanked.

 

The only thing is: Americans cannot afford to send the message to automakers that they hate hot-hatches. We are already being robbed of the beautiful (231bhp) Audi S1, the Renault Megane Renaultsport Trophy-R (271bhp), Vauxhall Astra VXR (276bhp), Seat Leon Cupra (286bhp), VW Golf GTI Club Sport (305bhp) and many other beasts.

 

Hopefully, the fact that we didn’t like the 90bhp Ford Fiesta highlights our hunger. The US is ready for REAL hot hatchbacks. It’s time to eat, put down the kids’ menu.

auto-383897_1920
The Audi S1 we are missing out on in the US

[1] “Ford Fiesta.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 July 2017. Web. Link

[2] “Honda Fit.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 July 2017. Web. Link

How to Never be Bored in Traffic

By: Mr. Slide

*panting*

*pitter-patter-pitter-patter*

*beep..beep*

*SLAM*

*VROOOM*

*screeeeeeech…….* stopped.

 

And it starts from here. Tuesday afternoon. You’re finally done with the nine to five, eight-hour, marathon. All you want is to cruise home, yet a sea of red brake lights lies on the horizon. You’re a marble attempting to penetrate a jar of Nutella.

traffic-843309_1920

Traffix

“There is no way I can enjoy this!” You think to yourself, “traffic is an inescapable burden of modern life that I must suffer through like the hunter/gatherers did the Namib Desert.”

 

Incorrect! Believe it or not, there is a way to make traffic more enjoyable. However, it requires a little effort out of the commuter. Next time you’re parked on the freeway take a look in the rearview mirror. Turn off the radio and just look in your mirror. Don’t look at yourself — look at the interior of your vehicle. Do this for a few seconds until the car in front of you moves. Then, once you stop again, look at your eyes in the mirror. If you’re unhappy, I guarantee that you can’t hold your own gaze for five seconds.

GO!

“What are you trying to do here Mr. Slide? Automotive Yoga? Car Jedi mind tricks? Hypnotism? PILATIES?!”

 

no!

 

That was simply self-examination. Most likely, after staring at your car’s interior and then into your eyes, you thought, “perhaps I’d be happier in a different vehicle.” If this was the case consider buying an absurd 1997 Jeep Wrangler Sport. Solely for the commute — get it in forest green. The manual gearbox in traffic will keep you on your toes and without the doors there really isn’t much boring interior to even look at. Finally, the Jeep’s off-road capabilities offer the chance to eradicate traffic at any time. Honestly, it’s your commute, why be practical? Have some fun.

 

jeep-1323573_1920

 

*if the Jeep is too costly just cover your interior upholstery with tiger striped cloth. At least you’ll laugh when you do your automotive-Jedi-hypnotic-pilates*

1997 Jeep Wrangler Avoiding Traffic