Jan 212014

MB S550 bmw 750il


I was invited by BMW to test drive the 2013 BMW 750iL vs. the 2013 Mercedes Benz S550 in a side-by-side test.   It was a perfect opportunity to compare both vehicles at the same time.

Here are the quick stats:

Price (MSRP) Engine Horsepower Torque City/Hwy fuel economy
BMW 750iL $90,500 4.4 liter V8 445 480 17/25
Mercedes Benz S550 $95,000 4.7 liter V8 429 516 15/25


Stepping into the Mercedes first, it was large, luxurious and comfortable.  The controls on the dash and door mounted window and seat controls seemed a bit dated and chunky.  However, materials inside the car were top-notch as expected.  While the ride was smooth, it was more limo-like than sporty.  Nailing the gas unleashed the massive power from the V8, but motivating this 5,800 pound car wasn’t easy.  The transmission kicked the gears down a tad slow on rapid acceleration.  0-60 mph felt around mid 5 seconds, which is amazing for this massive car.  Cruising in traffic was effortless and smooth.

Back at the car lot, I got into the BMW 750iL.  Night and day difference.  It was more modern inside with a larger navigation screen, a better in dash console data center, and controls seemed more current than the Mercedes.  I still don’t like the confusing iDrive system, as it is distracting, but the system is improving.  Waiting for a traffic light on a freeway on ramp, I floored it and the BMW launched like a rocket.  It felt around a 5 second flat 0-60 mph time – super impressive for a 5,700 pound car.  Ultimately, it was more sporty than the Benz and drove more spirited.  But with so many driving settings, it takes a master’s degree to figure out how to use the car.

Both cars get around 20 m.p.g in mixed driving and requires premium fuel.

Verdict:  Two separate cars for two separate personalities.  Ultimate Driving Machine = sporty, and the Benz is refined and confident.  Both will hit your pocketbook for north of $100K with options.  I personally liked how advanced and modern the BMW was, and how it drove like a much smaller automobile.

S550 2 750il 2

Oct 142013

Mixalot Porsche1

Ever dream of owning a superstar’s ride?   Well, here is your chance.  Seattle’s own Sir Mix-A-Lot is selling his cool Porsche.  It is a 1984 Gemballa Porsche 935 slantnose convertible

There is something special about a celebrity’s car.  Maybe you want to be just like them, or admire their taste in the finer things in life.  Sir Mix-A-Lot (aka Anthony Ray) is known for putting Seattle on the rap scene in the 1990s, and for his love of fast and exotic automobiles.  He is often seen at the Redmond Exotics Car Meet with Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches.


Mix’s ride, known as Blurple, is going for about $49K and has had extensive modifications.  And this baby has back too…

Mixalot Porsche2

Cat’s Exotics, who is selling the Porsche for Mix, is even offering a personal meeting and autograph with the rapper (@therealmix).



Aug 182013

Here are some crazy cool rides from overseas that the U.S. will never see.

Dartz Prombron Monaco Red Diamond Edition (Russia)

Price: $1.5M

Engine:  8.1liter GM V-8 450HP

Features:  Gold-plated bulletproof windows, Tungsten and white gold gauges with diamonds and rubies, Whale Penis Leather interior, Rocket & Grenade proof, includes three bottles of world’s most expensive vodka – RussoBaltique









Tushek Renovatio T500 (Slovenia)

Price: $370,000

Engine:  4.2 liter Audi V8 444HP

Features:  0-60 in 3.7 sec, top speed of 200 mph, 2,403 pounds curb weight, scissor doors




Rimac Automobili Concept One (Croatia)

Price: $1,000,000

Engine:   1,088HP, 2,802 ft/lbs of torque – each wheel has own motor, invertor, induction gearbox

Features:  Electric Car with 91KwH battery, 0-60 in 2.8 sec, 360 mile range, 88 total built, 189 mph top speed




Arrinera Hussarya (Poland)

Price: $160,000

Engine:   6.2-liter, mid-mounted V8 engine delivering 650 horsepower

Features:  0-60 in 3.2 sec, 211 mph top speed, UK’s Lee Noble (created Ultima GTR and Noble cars) is advisor/collaborator




Aug 182013

When driving through a parking lot, you will see many similar looking cars.  Toyota, Hyundai, Honda, Lexus, BMW, Audi, etc all sort of blend together when comparing their side and front profiles.

The reason is aerodynamics.  In order for automakers to meet CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) ratings of 54.5 mpg in 2025 set by the US government, they need to work on reducing Cd (coefficient of drag).  The government will fine automakers millions of dollars in penalties if their average car fleet is below CAFE standards.

As you can see below, the drag coefficient is the most important lever for increasing fuel efficiency.  If automakers can reduce drag by 0.05, fuel economy improves by 1 mpg.


Back to the car shape and Cd.  The ‘half moon shape’ that is commonly used in car design today has the lowest Cd, while still maintaining the most interior room.  Thus, autos start to look like one another.  Look at these similar car profiles that I picked at random (All the cars below have lower Cd’s of around 0.30):

Lexus ES


Audi A4


Ford Fusion


Cadillas ATS


Buick Verano


Boring right?  At some point, automakers need to differentiate car body styles to avoid being too common.  Other fuel saving measures like direct injection, engine stop/start, lower resistance tires, transmissions with more gearing, and utilizing hybrid engine setups will help fuel efficiency.

There will always be some people that view a car as just an appliance, and its only purpose is to get you to and fro.   But for others that are passionate about styling, performance, fuel efficiency and technology, we still want cool cars that don’t look like a carbon copy of everything else on the road today.


Aug 132013

Sure, very few individuals have a glass garage/display museum like Cameron’s father had in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (and I would build a shrine for that Ferrari 250 GT California too).

ferris bueller

But if you had the means to build a car temple, where would you build it?

Would you put your prized collection inside your living room like this guy (Ferrari 355)?


Or would you build a specialized garage/lounge for your ride (1984 Ferrari 512 BBi)


Or would you instruct in your will that you need to be buried with your car?  (1964 Ferrari 330GT)

How about a glass wall between your garage and main home to gaze at the beauty?  (Ferrari Dino)

garage dino

Or, would you commit a sin and simply bury it behind a home in Los Angeles (1974 Ferrari Dino 246) – this was a case of stealing it for insurance payout…

buried dino

As you can see, based on pictures above, that Ferrari owners want to worship their rides.  Are they crazy?

Here is a Porsche 911 fanatic and his special home

porsche 911 in home

Art is in the eye of the beholder; thus it seems completely logical to me to display cars in a museum-like atmosphere.  As long as they are not garage queens….


Aug 102013

Porsches are timeless – built to be driven hard, and at the same time, can be a daily driver and are very reliable.  From the early racing Porsches, to the iconic 911, to the next generation of hybrid supercar 918.   Here are a few pictures of my favorite Porsches of all time.

550 904 911r  930 956 959 carrera gt 918

Aug 102013

In my opinion, the McLaren F1 is one of the finest supercars ever built.  Gordon Murray had a vision to build a pure supercar – from it’s hand-built BMW 6.1 liter V12, to its carbon fiber chassis, the F1 enabled the driver to hit record speeds and handle superbly, due to the mid-engine layout of the engine.  With 627 horsepower and weighing close to 2500 pounds, the F1 held the title of world fastest production car for many years – 240 mph.  And it is a rare supercar too – only 106 were made, of which only 64 copies were produced for the street.

Today it is still the fastest normally aspirated supercar in the world – enjoy Jay Leno’s garage video of this amazing supercar


Aug 102013


Too bad for us Americans – we never get the cool cars.  These two super wagons are brilliant – twin turbocharged, gobs of horsepower and torque, and too fast unless you are on the autobahn.  The Mercedes-Benz has a twin turbo V8, 5.5 liters of displacement, generating 525 horsepower and 516 lb.ft of torque.  The Audi uses a twin turbo V8 too, but with 4 liters of displacement and 560 horsepower and 516 ft lbs of torque.  The Mercedes puts the power to the ground with rear wheel drive, and the Audi uses its Quattro all-wheel drive system.

Chris Harris puts these cars through the ringer during this great comparison.   So cool


Aug 102013

senna honda nsx senna

One of the greatest drivers of all time, Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna, helped fine tune the cornering/handling with Honda’s engineering team during the NSX prototype testing at the Suzuka circuit in Japan.

Back in time when supercars where temperamental, difficult to drive and unreliable, Honda redefined the supercar category by making a car that had Honda reliability, and high performance comparable to the Porsche 911 and Ferrari 348.

According to this eBay link, this NSX was 1 of 3 that Senna owned, and is now up for sale on eBay.  The item is currently bidding at 51K GBP ($79K). Not a lot of evidence in the listing to support the claim of being owned by Senna, but still a cool item.

Aug 102013

[Volvo-V60-Hybrid-2 Volvo-V60-Hybrid-7v60 1

As Americans become more enamored of cleaner diesel cars, major automakers like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, VW, Chevrolet and Jeep are introducing exciting new cars with awesome oil burning engines.  But why haven’t automakers merged diesel power with hybrid technology?  It is mostly a case of demand.  Diesel are just becoming hot in the U.S., thanks to increasing prices at the pump.  But adding hybrid power to a car generally bumps price by several thousand dollars.  Combine that with the extra cost of a diesel engine (compared to a gas engine), those other costs make automakers weary of the potential sales numbers.

But in Europe, where diesels cars are the norm, and hybrids are slowly catching on, there are a few car companies experimenting with the diesel+hybrid mix.  Peugeot was first to market with the 3008 diesel hybrid car, which can get up to 62 mpg.  Citroen has the DS5 Hybrid.  And Volvo has followed up with their own plug-in hybrid diesel, the V60 wagon.   I love the idea of a torquey engine paired with a hybrid for city commuting.

The Volvo V60 Diesel Hybrid wagon is the first plug-in hybrid diesel.  It has a 215 horsepower turbo diesel engine powering the front wheels, and a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 11.2 KwH connected to the rear wheels.  That battery provides up to 68 more horsepower.  The entire hybrid set-up gives the V60 a 0-60 time of 6.1 seconds, and a range of over 550 miles.  In full hybrid mode, the V60 can provide more than 50 mpg, which is fantastic in a very spirited car.  Unfortunately, the U.S. won’t see this car as Volvo isn’t importing it.  Time to pray to the car gods…

%d bloggers like this: