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Genesis Coupe Commercial

Genesis Coupe

Who didn’t watch the Super Bowl?  Who caught the Genesis coupe commercial with Rhys Millens?  I know I did and it was awesome.  So those of you who some how managed to fall off the face of the planet and missed this check it out at:


I can’t wait,  in a few months I’m going to Hyundai to test drive one.  While your at it try to edit your own commercial. Here’s mine:


Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Profile Genesis Coupe

I had to put a post on the upcoming Genesis Coupe (GC).  This has been a long anticipated car for me and a step in the right direction for Hyundai.  There are simply not enough affordable rear-wheel-drive sport coupes on the market today. Plus, if Hyundai can make one why can’t other companies like Toyota (That is my shameless request for Toyota to come out with a new sports car.)

The Genesis Coupe has the combination of looks that are reminiscent of Hyundai’s no longer produced 2008 Tiburon,  but the GC has a more ominous feel.  It has the looks of a bee.  They look cool but you really don’t want to be messing with it our you might get stung.  Stung by what though?  Hyundai is know for economic cars and low horsepower engines.

Backend Genesis Coupe

Well Hyundai has put some “buzz” under their hood with two engine choices.  The first variant is 3.8 liter V-6 producing 306 HP and 266 ft-lbs of torque that can be equipped with a six speed automatic with paddle shifters or a six speed manual transmission.  The other far more interesting engine is a turbocharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder that produces a decent 210 hp and 233 ft-lbs of torque and can be mated to a six speed manual transmission.   Here is the comment I pulled from Hyundai’s press release about its four-cylinder engine.

“While some turbochargers sacrifice smooth drive-ability with high operating boost pressures in the 20 psi range, Genesis Coupe uses a refined, low-boost calibration for smoothness and efficiency,” said Derek Joyce, Genesis Coupe product manager. “We could have opted solely for big performance numbers, but our focus for the 2.0T was a more balanced package.”

Let me tell you what this means to me.  Did you catch the “low-boost calibration” and “We could have opted solely for big boost performance numbers” comments”?  Well that means this engine can be tuned.  Hyundai is reaching out to the tuner crowd saying “Take it.  Make it faster, that’s why we built it, for you…”   But that isn’t the only thing that struck me about the four-cylinder engine.  Take a look at the pictures below, looks like a mirror image, right?

Hyundai 2.0T Engine sr20det

Some of you might recognize the 2.0 liter engine on the right, it’s an SR20DET found in the Nissan Silvia in Japan.  Its a common swap in the Nissan 240sx in the states.  Coincidentally, it is the exact same bore and stroke (86mm x 86mm) as the Hyundai Genesis Coupe’s new power plant.  Well if Hyundai built it even remotely like Nissan’s SR20 then the Hyundai’s engine is going to be killer.  And if you don’t think there is going to be an aftermarket for the engine, you’re wrong.  Hyundai has already provided HKS a Genesis Coupe to tune.

Interior Genesis Coupe

Guess what else is great about this car?  If you’re not the do-it-yourself tuner or like having a warranty on your car then Hyundai is going to be releasing track models with 13.4″ front  and 13″ rear Brembo brakes with stiffer suspension, and even a R-spec model for the die hard.  You can get the track model with either engine as well. Plus with both track and non-track models, you have the option of a Torsen Limited Slip Differential.

Well, I’m sold. Of course I’m not sure what the price is yet because that hasn’t been release.  With the loss of the Tiburon, and the fact that the Genesis Sedan starts at $32,000 and the high model of the Tiburon was $22,700, I would guess the base model coupe will be starting between 25K and 26K which would make it quite comparable to the Ford Mustang GT.  But I’m hoping that Hyundai will come in under the 25K mark.  We’ll just have to wait a few more months until spring to find out.

All Pictures are © Hyundai Motor America

2010 Fusion Hybrid Dashboard

I was able to get one of the Ford representatives to give me a quick rundown of the dashboard system on the new 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. I have been reading about it a bit and honestly I think it is one of the best innovations of any new car by any manufacturer.

I have been wondering for ages why nobody has yet put an LCD gauge cluster in their cars and Ford has gone and done it first. From the looks of it they have a winner too. It seems like it would take a bit of playing around with it to customize it exactly how you want, but I think it is very innovative and certainly visually appealing.

Volkswagen BlueSport


Volkswagen debuts a new concept that has Austin trembling in fear.  A potential Miata killer.  The Volkswagen BlueSport is built with intent on bringing an economical rear drive roadster into the mix.  With fuel economy ranging from 35 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway, the angular BlueSport will be powered by a mid-engine 2.0 L direct injected turbo Diesel.  The engine will put out a 177 horsepower and a tire shredding 258 ft-lbs of torque.  In spite of the Diesel engine the two seater isn’t heavy.  In fact the BlueSport has similar dimensions to a Miata and it flips the scales at a mere 2,600 lbs.  Volkswagen says the little beast will have a 0-60 time of 6.2 seconds and with the sharp angles it will certainly dispel any “cutesy” connotations that are found with Miata.

To be honest, I think it will take a lot to dislodge the Miata’s title of ”the most popular roadster in the world” with the BlueSport.  Not to mention, Volkswagen hasn’t made any serious plans to build this concept so there is potential this car could stay just a concept.  But if they do decide to build it, you can bet I’ll be watching.

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2010 Porsche Panamera Gran Turismo

Panamera front

You know what I really want?  I want a sports car that I can put the whole family in.   A car that doesn’t compromise on luggage space, that has comfort enough for four adults, pulls a lateral G around the skid pad with out a tether, stops an inch short of a foot, and still has a zero to 60 mph time under the 5 second mark.  Impossible! Maybe, for this decade anyways.  Well luckily this decade is almost over.

In 2010, Porsche is going to be releasing a new model named the Panamera with the aim of speed, luxury, agility, and even fuel economy.  The four door sports sedan is going to be placing Porsche into a  market where it has never been;  A market where BMW, Mercedes, and Audi have dominated.   But Porsche intends on waging war in that market by obliterating the idea that performance sedans like the BMW M5,  Mercedes S65 AMG or Audi S8 have to be generic looking.  Porsche is attacking those cars visually by supplying the world a vehicle that looks as vicious as its own 911.

To start the next decade, the Panamera will be available in only two options for the U.S. market.  A naturally aspirated V-8 that runs through Porsche’s PDK, which is really short for Doppelkupplungsgetriebe transmission (I don’t know how a person is suppose to say this and I don’t think Porsche does either as they use the abbreviation PDK.  In other words, it is a fancy German term for a double clutch gear box.).  While the naturally aspirated Panamera will send power only the rear wheels, the other and more exciting version, known as the 4S, will be powered by a twin turbo v-8 that will have all wheel drive.   But Porsche has plans for other option of the car including a V-6 model and even a hybrid version for those people who want to drive a sports sedan and save the planet.

No official horsepower numbers have been release for the any of the variants of the Panamera but Porsche gave a vague idea between 300 and 500.  But if I had to guess they are going to use the same or similar engines from the glorious Cayenne.  So to get your hopes up here are the horsepower numbers for Cayenne based on engine size below.  Do I want a Panamera Gran Turismo?  Hell yes!  Just take a look at the pictures, everyone gets racing buckets.

V-6:   290 hp @ 6200 rpm and 273 ft-lbs of toque @ 3000 rpm.

V-8:  385 hp @ 6200 rpm and 369 ft-lbs of torque @ 3500 rpm.

Twin Turbo V-8: 500 hp @ 6000 rpm and 516 ft-lbs of torque between 2250-4500 rpm

Panamera buckets

All Pictures are © 2009 Porsche Cars North America

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2009 Saturn Astra


I live right by an elementary school and have to drive by it to get home.  The past few days I have noticed this sharp looking white 5-door compact and can’t help but wonder who makes that car.  Turns out it is the new Saturn Astra.

I know yesterday it was mentioned that GM and Chrysler have their work cut out for them. GM, who I think is ahead of the game over Chrysler, deserves major credit when they decided to bring the Saturn Astra over from Europe.  This isn’t a new car for GM as the Saturn Astra is based on a Opel and Vauxhall car that has been selling for years in Europe.

The Astra is available in either a teenager friendly 3-Door or a family friendly 5-door, both equipped with a 1.8 L Variable Valve timing engine capable of a modest 138 HP.  I wasn’t joking about the teenager friendly 3-door,  it is supplied with stiffer suspension, 15 mm lower ride height over the 5-door and a quicker ratio power steering rack.  Both body types can be optioned with an automatic, but come equipped with a 5 speed manual.  With the low horsepower number, one would expect the fuel economy to be high and it is with 24 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway.

Unfortunately,  nothing is terribly superb on the technical side of the car, in fact there are several manufactures that produce significantly better vehicles that have six speeds and higher horsepower for the $16,000 to $19,000 price range.  However, most of the manufacturers, like Toyota and Honda, produce typically bland vehicles that are capable of reaching a wider variety of people without offending them visually.  Not that I think the Astra is capable of offending anybody visually, but I think GM wanted to play it conservatively, so they placed it in the Saturn line-up.  I for one think the car visually stands out from the typical fuel sipping crowd.  I just hope Saturn can make a more performance oriented one. Anyways, the Astra has my attention and I wouldn’t be ashamed to be driving the 3-door version anywhere. Continue reading →

2009 Subaru Impreza WRX


What’s not to like about the new 2009 Imprezza WRX?  It has all wheel drive, a turbocharged 2.5 L engine stolen right out of an STI and a zero to 60 mile per hour time that could make a grown man pee his pants.  Even with all that acceleration, the WRX does fair decent on the gas mileage by pulling down 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

The gas mileage is not to impressive compared to a Honda Civic, but I don’t see stock Civic SI’s putting down horsepower numbers like these.  Take a look, Subaru upped the power output of the standard WRX to 265 HP and 244 ft-lbs of torque from previous model years 224 HP and 226 ft-lbs of torque.

Subaru didn’t just mess with the engine, they also changed the handling characteristics to provide a firmer suspension feel with less under-steer than the 2008 WRX. In addition, the regular WRX comes in two body styles, a hatch and a sedan, both with curb weight of 3,175 lbs that is a staggering 220 lbs lighter than the STI version of the WRX.  But that’s not all, the new price of the  WRX is $24,995, $10,000 less than an STI.  Not bad for an all-wheel-drive, turbocharged, drives like its on rails, monster.

I guess the only question now is, what do you like better the five doors or four?


2009 Volkswagen CC

2009 Volkswagen CC Exterior

To be totally and completely honest I have always sort of had a crush on VW. I don’t really know why. I loved the way that the Mk4 Golf’s looked. I loved the way that the Jetta looked. I owned a Mk3 Golf that would have been quite the oddity in America as it was carburated and had a manual choke, but I owned it in South Africa where they still make the Mk1 Golf. Needless to day that I always have looked on them with favor…until this last generation. You will notice that I emphasize how much I LIKED the way they looked. I think that the latest generation of Volkswagen sedans just don’t look very good. Something to do with the rump I think. Be that as it may I am finally seeing a VW that I can dig again.

The 2009 Volkswagen CC.

Allen for some reason feels that the new Mazda6 is the sexiest sedan out there for the price, and to be totally honest, I think he is wrong. I don’t think he has paid close enough attention to what VW is doing.

Here is the gist. Its a super slick looking 4 door sedan weighing 3,300 lbs with a 6 speed manual or 6 speed tiptronic transmission. Uses VWs 2.0T, a 2.0 liter, turbocharged engine producing 200 hp and getting a whopping 31mpg on the highway. This setup for right around $27,000. Not too shabby.That is the entry level and the price jumps pretty quickly into what is a more typical VW fashion of “more expensive than it needs to be.” You can also get the CC in a VR6 all-wheel-drive model which is the top of the line. This includes their 3.6L engine running a smooth 280 hp and getting 27mpg on the highway and checking in at the none to light weight of 3,800 lbs. This version comes with all of the fixin’s including leather seats, 18″ rims, 12 way seats, Sirius Radio, etc. The whole kit (minus any extras of course) for $39,000 plus destination charges. That’s a bit bigger bite to chew, but honestly it is a beautiful bite to chew.

Nice wide haunches, lines that flow all the way around the car, and a fantastic sloping roof line. One of the things that I like the best is that it’s rear doesn’t look nearly as fat as it does on say the Mk5 Golf. Though it is also a much larger car so maybe it just fits better.

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2009 Mazda 6


Have you seen the new Mazda 6, I mean really stopped to take a look it?  It is absolutely sexy.  In fact, it is redefining the word, it’s “sixy”.

The beautiful body lines curve and shape with every aspect of the car.  The wheel arches are complimented by defined but not too intrusive wheel flares.  Then the line that flows the length of the body right to the very edge of the trunk lid gives the illusion of a spoiler which only seems to add to the enjoyment for my eyes.  Every body line on the car never seems to end, they are continuously flowing and always avoiding the piercing headlights.  Those shapely headlights that could cut through the darkness and illuminate the world in its darkest hour.  It is absolutely “sixy”.

One might expect this vehicle to be lacking on performance and driving experience but the Mazda 6 doesn’t.  It can be equipped with either a 2.5 L four cylinder engine producing 170 HP and 167 ft-lbs of torque or a gutsy 3.7 L six or “sixy” cylinder engine which produces and impressive 272 HP and 269 ft-lbs of torque.  Surprisingly, the fuel economy isn’t that bad considering the 3,550 lbs curb weight of the V-6 equipped model.  The four banger pushes 21/30 mpg (City/Hwy.) and the six cylinder does 17/25 mpg, respectively.


So you get “sixy” looks, decent performance and great fuel economy all at the starting price of $19,000 for the four cylinder which can be equipped with a six speed manual transmission or five speed automatic.  But if you really want to bite the bullet the V-6 equipped model with a six speed automatic and paddle shifters will run you about $25,000.

I’m going to try pitching the idea of buying one to my wife.  I think I’m going to tell her to imagine how “sixy” she looks sitting in her new “sixy”  Mazda 6.  Who knows, I might get to have “six” out of the deal if she really likes the car.

all images ©Mazda Motor Corporation

BMW 335d

BMW 335d

What if you could have a family sedan that could accelerate to 60 miles per hour in under 6.0 seconds and still get 36 miles per gallon on the highways, would you buy one?  Now what if I told you it was a diesel, would you still want one?  For me, I’m…not so sure.

The new 335d has quite an exciting prospect for a family car with an impressive twin turbo 3.0L diesel engine delivering 265 HP and a monstrous 425 ft-lbs of torque.  This Beamer also has an impressive 560 mile range due to its fuel-efficient diesel engine and it will give it’s driver an estimated 23 miles per gallon in the city and 36 on the highway.  Can you say road trip?

But all this comes at a price.  The 335d starts at almost $44,000 and is the most expensive of the 3 series BMWs.  In addition the engine requires a special fluid which reduces emissions that must be added at every maintenance interval.  But as BMW so kindly points out, the fluid, called BluePerformance, will be added free of charge the first 4 years or 50,000 miles while it is under warranty.

I’m all for diesels, in fact I wish we had more of them.  But it is hard for me to justify spending the extra in diesel fuel cost (I can’t figure out why diesel is so expensive when compared to gasoline considering it is a less refined fuel.), extra money on a liquid emission-reducing catalyst every oil change, and the extra in price over a regular 328i.

It would be a hard sell for me, but it could be done, especially if the sales person pointed out the amazing acceleration of the car, the great gas mileage and the fact that a diesel can last nearly the life of their owner.  In fact I would probably buy one if it didn’t require the additional dealership-only maintenance.  Oh well, I’ll wait to find something that allows me to do my own maintenance.

photo © BMW AG