November is one of my favorite months and for good reason. There is just so much to look forward to on the 11th month of the year: Some of the best football games all year, Thanksgiving, the start of the holiday season, and the LA Auto Show. The last item on that list should be particularly exciting this year as the LA Auto Show has announced that they are expecting 25 world debuts at the show this year from the likes of Acura, Audi, BMW, Chrysler, GM, Hyundai, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Scion, Toyota, Volvo, and Volkswagen. That is a pretty long list, no? What will all those brands debut? Well we don’t officially know yet but if history is an indicator I am sure we will find out about most of the debuts from embargo breakers weeks before the show starts.
However, we are still quite a ways from that as well so how about we play a nice healthy game of speculation? I am going to list off what I think (or want) each brand on that list is going to debut in LA this year. Feel free to add your own in the comments!
Production version of the new NSX (its time Acura, its time…)
Production ready e-Tron cars, S3, that cool new R8 with the laser headlights
A concept for the Z4 successor, M4 convertible, a new edition to the electric “i” cars (i5, i7)
We will finally get a production version of the ME Four-Twelve (wishful thinking)
I dunno a truck or somethin’?
The official successor to the Genesis coupe
Production RC and RC-F coupes
New Mazdaspeed3, Mazdaspeed2 (because we want it), Mazdaspeed6-look they just need to “Mazdaspeed” everything and give it to us. I want a Mazdaspeed stroller! A Mazdaspeed coffee maker! Oh, they will also probably show off the new MX-5…and Mazdaspeed it!
The new AMG GT Coupe with out that funny looking neon zebra camouflage all over it…that stuff is ugly..
The next tC release series, production ready TRD-supercharged FR-S
The next Camry in its new “super beige” color, A somewhat less-concept FT-1 coupe
A consumer version of the semi trucks that Jean Claude Van-Damme did splits on in that crazy viral video
The Forza 5 DLC just keeps on chugging along with a brand new DLC pack for this month. Their newest offering, curated by Hot Wheels brings a slew of classics and a few modern cars to Forza Motorsport 5. As seen above, owners of the DLC will get to drive the fabled Audi Auto Union (one of the rarest collector cars on the planet) as well as the gundam-esque Lamborghini Veneno! There are also plenty of other gems included in the DLC but I will let you see it all for yourself by watching the video below! By the way the Hot Wheels car pack DLC is available now!
Here we are with another gallery from the epic Long Beach Grand Prix weekend. As you may or may not know, the TUDOR series has their race on Saturday, so come Saturday night their paddock clears out as they head off to the next race. In its place on Sunday morning is a cavalcade of luxury and exotic cars filling the lot completely and its all furnished by Mother’s Car Polish. First thing Sunday morning I headed out to the newly filled lot and started shooting away. Granted, not every car there was photo worthy but I snapped the best stuff and now I am presenting it all to you in a new gallery. Just scroll down to check it out.
I showed you the best now its time for me to show you the god awful. It never ceases to amaze me how a huge multi-million dollar company can spend a huge portion of those millions on ad space for one of the most watched television events in the world, yet still drop the ball so hard on executing a commercial. Heck, really it doesn’t even have to be a “great’ commercial as long as its adequate but sometimes they can’t even hit the mediocre mark! What’s going on people?! Sigh…ok lets get this over with.. scroll down please.
Third Place: “Doberhuahua” – Audi
This was more of a disappointment than a straight out bad commercial. First of all lets not get it twisted: I am not an Audi hater. In fact, I like Audi a lot which makes this spot all the more disappointing. Audi has been doing some seriously crazy stuff over the last few months. Remember all that cool new tech they showed off at CES? Laser beam headlights? Cars that can read street signs and park themselves? They’re practically living 5 years in the future but instead of showcasing any of that (the way they did when they partnered up with Marvel and Iron Man) they bring us some weird monster movie throw back staring a creepy mutant dog! What the heck Audi?! There is so much more that could have been done here! I weep at the possibilities… Next year Audi better come correct!
Second Place: “Nice” – Hyundai
Oh Hyundai, like Audi you did so little with so much. When I first learned that Big Bang Theory star Johnny Galecki would be the lead in Hyundai’s Super Bowl spot I had very high hopes going in. Imagine my disappointment after watching what transpired. I am still not even totally sure what was going on in this spot. Whatever this girl says just magically happens to poor Johnny yet he still can’t get the hint that he stop trying to hit on her from a moving vehicle? BLAH! Dude! I know its a cheap tactic but they could have played off of Johnny’s Big Bang character Leonard Hofstadter! This could have been so much better than it was! Instead it just ended up as a confusing mess.
First Place: “The Truth” – Kia
Here it is. The worst of the worst. What Kia did here is so bad its baffling! No matter what your opinion of the Matrix movies are, I think we can all agree that the character Morpheus is awesome. Yet, the folks at Kia drove up to Lawrence Fishburn’s house with a truck full of money and convinced him that turning the folk hero for the entire people struggling for freedom from robotic overlords into a shill for the K900 was a good idea. I guess there really are no plans for another Matrix movie otherwise there is no way I can see the studio allowing this farce to happen! Thanks to Kia I can no longer take Morepheus seriously! PRO TIP: When trying to advertise your car, don’t ruin a Sci-Fi icon in the process!! FAIL-SAUCE!!
There you have it. The three worst (in my opinion) car commercials from this year’s Super Bowl. Now just to be clear I don’t dislike any of the brands mentioned in this post. I really like Audi and Hyundai won me over with the Genesis coupe and Kia…well I don’t dislike Kia. I am only singling these companies out because of the commercials they made this year, which just happened to not be so great. Really, I want ALL car commercials during the Super Bowl to be awesome but that wont happen unless the OEMs and the ad agencies they hire know what not to do. So consider this a loving (albeit pointed) critique. Let us all hope that these guys do much better next year!
Ok, I am going to warn you now: this is going to be a long post. Why? Because Audi just dropped a metric ton (see what I did there? German? Metric system? No? Ok moving on..) of new tech, concepts, and sneak peaks at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas today.
First of all lets start with what has the car nuts drooling in their computer chairs. While highlighting their new infotainment display Audi has also graced the world with a glimpse of what the next Audi TT interior will look like. Astute observers will notice the stick shift lever between the seats which confirms that a full manual option will be available! This is great news for those who feared the next TT would be a strictly “F1 inspired” mass of tech and “flappy paddle” shifting. While I personally have nothing against paddle or sequential shifters, it does add something to the driving experience to be able to row through the gears. While the transmission Easter egg was cool the real point of showing off the interior is to highlight the new MMI “multi media interface” display which will be available on the new TT. The display allows for integration of navigation, entertainment, and the controls for other systems such as the AC all in one screen which replaces the main gauge cluster. This also means that all the important gauges: MPH, RPMs, temp, etc will be completely digital as well. Everything that the driver needs to know will be displayed on a 12.3 inch TFT monitor. Now for those who are worried about having all that info in their faces, the great thing about the all digital gauge cluster is that it is completely customizable, as in it can be changed to suit visual preferences. If a driver just wants the see the basic needle style gauges then they can have that! Everything can be controlled via buttons on the steering wheel or with a set up on the center console. Audi promises the controls will be easy to use and intuitive but we will just have to wait and see how well it all works out when the TT is released. For some pics of the new TT interior and new digital gauge cluster just click the thumbnails above this paragraph.
Next I want to talk a little bit about Audi’s “Active Saftey” technology suite. Audi calls it “Active Safety” but really its a collection of autonomous driving features, each increasingly more awesome than the last. Naturally, “stop and go” adaptive cruise control (ACC) comes to the party but Audi has taken it up a few notches by increasing the distance that the radar can detect objects from 820 feet away. It can bring the car to a full stop, and then proceed, on its own! The new ACC also works with other systems in the car such as Navigation, for example if the driving is approaching a scheduled turn it will adjust the speed accordingly. The system also uses “Active Lane Assist” which essentially keeps drivers in their lane by using cameras to detect markings on the asphalt and then adjusts steering automatically if the driver begins to veer out of it without the turn signal on. Audi has also brought their Parking Assist feature to a new level by using ultrasound sensors to detect the curb and other objects around a parking space to help line itself up to park and there are also 4 cameras for a “surround view” so that when parking manually drivers can literally see everything around them. This is definitely helpful for those who still have problems with parallel parking. Although out of all the Active Safety Systems I think my favorite is the traffic sign recognition. Yes, you read correctly, it can read traffic signs! Not only does it read signs but it will give the driver a heads up or adjust the speed automatically for you if you want it to once it reads the posted speed limits. It also cross references where the driver is via GPS and the local traffic laws for that area and provide notifications incase the driver may be doing something that would get them in hot water. Yes, these features lean a bit on the “Skynet” side but the fact that the tech has come this far is pretty cool. To see how some of the Active Saftey tech works just watch the video above.
Finally, we get to one of the coolest/craziest things Audi brought to CES: The Audi Sport Quattro Laserlight concept car. This is the next iteration of the highly sought after Quattro concept but with one very notable addition. I will focus on the concept as a whole in a later post but for now I want to talk about this “addition”. Audi has been leading the way with headlight tech since they began their push on LED headlights. Well, now they are going beyond that with lasers. Yes, freakin’ lasers. The low beams on the Quattro Laserlight concept are still high output LEDs but the high beams are now laser beams! Despite the laser diodes being only a few microns in diameter they can light the road ahead at a distance over 1,600 feet! That is three times the power of LED headlights. Audi has also stated that they will test their laser light tech on the Audi R18 e-tron Quattro race car this year. That should make for some interesting endurance races! Hit the thumbnails above for some detailed looks at the laser light tech and stay tuned for another post about the laser light concept car specifically.
Unfortunately, there are many car lovers out there who will probably never get to own amazing cars like the Ferrari 458, the Lamborghini Gallardo, the Porsche 911 turbo, or a Nissan GT-R. If I had my way everyone in the world would be able to have one of these cars in their driveway, but alas such a thing is not possible (not yet anyway).
Although there is another way… What if I told you that you could drive six-figure exotic supercars, on a race track no less? Well thanks to Exotics Racing such a thing is in fact possible. I know since I got to pay them a visit at something of a soft opening at their new location at Auto Club Speedway (AKA California Speedway). Exotics Racing is essentially every car nut’s dream come true. Imagine showing up at a race track with a fleet of top-end super cars parked in front of you. Then, a professional driving instructor approaches you and walks you to any of the cars you’d like then coaches you through several laps at full tilt? In a nutshell that is the reality of Exotics Racing. All you need to do is show up, pick a driving package and then you are off!
Well, there are a few formalities. After you choose from a range of driving packages that includes everything from laps in any car you want to ride longs, and even drift car ride alongs, you join a group for a short “in class” instruction session in which the teacher (a professional driver) will talk about the fundamentals of how to drive a supercar, how to drive a supercar fast, and how not to crash said super car.
After the class session the group is split up into smaller groups and taken out in a pair of Porsche Cayennes to take an “introduction lap”. This is pretty much the equivalent to a “track walk”. During the introduction lap the instructor will point out all the nuances of the track, covering breaking points, driving line, etc. All of this is an effort to get the drivers more accustomed to the course.
From there, you just wait for your name to be called by a driving instructor and you are then escorted to the car of your choice for several laps of awesome! The really cool part is there are add-ons to help you document your experience the best of which is a video package. Each car comes equipped with several cameras and track GPS to capture what’s going on outside and inside and it records the entire experience. For an extra fee drivers can have their videos edited and given to them on DVD or data disc so they can upload their laps to YouTube, Facebook etc. Trust me, you will want to do this should you pay Exotics Racing a visit.
Although I’d have to say one of the coolest things I saw in my visit was Tony’s driving experience. Who’s Tony? Tony is a great guy who is a huge sports car enthusiast and also happens to be confined to a wheelchair. Despite being in a wheel chair Tony is a avid driver thanks to the advent of special hand controls that Tony can use for the throttle and brake. Exotics Racing is as far as I know, the only service of its kind to offer hand controls for participants who use wheelchairs. And since the hand controls are removable, wheelchair participants still have a healthy choice of supercars to choose from. Tony chose the black Ferrari F430 Scuderia…an excellent choice if I’d say so myself!
If you are in California or Las Vegas (their two locations) I would highly recommend checking out Exotics Racing for yourself. Its well worth the price for experience provided! If you want to try it out for yourself visit ExoticsRacing.com to book a day!
There are a lot of reasons to love Audi. What’s not to like about the super luxury A8 sedan? Or the more sporty A7? Seriously how many people out there don’t like the R8? If you are into luxury sedans or exotic cars that are livable then Audi is pretty much the way to go. Although this year in Los Angeles Audi was actually putting most of their energies behind their new A3/S3 compact. Yes, the little guy got center stage at the Audi booth this year!
So why is Audi showering so much attention on the A3? Well there are two answers to that really. The first is that the A3 is getting a refresh in looks and performance for 2015. The second is that the new A3 will also play host to a bunch of new tech including being the first car with 4G LTE connectivity as part of the next gen “Audi connect” system. The Audi Connect system will also allow for the installation of existing apps as well as future Audi-developed apps. Essentially the new A3 line could end up becoming a smart phone with wheels.
What about the performance you say? Well over the course of the next 18 months Audi plans to grant the A3 with 4 engine options: a standard 1.8 liter TFSI 170hp engine, a 2.0 liter TFSI 220hp engine, a 2.0 liter TDI clean diesel 150hp engine, and for the S3 a 2.0 liter TFSI 290hp engine. For those who wish to really be environmentally friendly Audi announced that by early 2015 an A3 sportback e-tron PHEV (plug-in hybrid) will be available in the U.S. It will run off a gasoline engine and a 100hp electric motor. So, if anyone out there is interested in the A3 they will have many different flavors to choose from.
Apart from the A3 Audi featured plenty of other vehicles in their exhibit including the awesome S7 and the new R8 with a factory “Sepang blue” matte exterior treatment. In other words the Audi booth is just one big piece of eye candy with a carbon fiber wrapper. Definitely worth checking out! For now you can click any of the thumbnails above for a full size picture and you can scroll below for official videos from Audi of the A3 and S3.
In just 10 days Xbox One will be released upon the world and all of us crazy kids can finally get our hands on Forza Motorsport 5. In anticipation, or maybe just to goad us further, Microsoft has released two new gameplay videos. One of the Lotus E21 F1 car taking a full lap around Yas Marina Circuit and another of the Audi R18 taking a lap of LeMans. Both videos will make you throw tantrums and ask “Why don’t I have Forza 5 now?! Waagghh!” Just me? Ok nevermind… Just watch the videos!
To celebrate their recent success with their DTM team and driver Mike Rockenfeller Audi is releasing a special “DTM Champion” edition A5 coupe later this month (Oct. 21st). Actually, it is more of a special dealer option package but either way its limited and its kind of awesome. The package includes a color matched fixed rear wing, special 20 inch aluminum wheels, DTM badging, and comes in one of three colors (Misano Red, Daytona Grey, or Glacier White).
Only 300 of these packages will be produced and will come in at a cost of 1,900 Euros which is about $2,600. Although the fact that the press release only mentions the price in Euros is a pretty strong indicator that this package won’t bee seen at American Audi dealerships.
Although if you “know a guy” maybe you can get one shipped over. That would score major jealousy points with fellow Audi-philes! For now you can click the thumbnail below for an HD-sized picture of the DTM Champion package so you can see all the little details.
Attractive extras emphasize the individuality of the special edition model: DTM badges on the door sill trims, the fenders and the side sills add further styling touches. Other special features are the fixed rear wing in body color and exterior mirrors in aluminum look. 20-inch cast aluminum wheels in 5 V-spoke design round out the equipment list. This special package is priced at 1,900 euros.
The special edition A5 DTM Champion model can be ordered from October 21 and is available in the colors Misano red, Daytona gray and Glacier white. There is a choice of four engines: 2.0 TDI quattro with 130 kW (177 hp), 3.0 TDI quattro with 180 kW (245 hp), 2.0 TFSI quattro with 165 kW (225 hp) and 3.0 TFSI quattro with 200 kW (272 hp).
Audi is celebrating the success of Mike Rockenfeller with the special edition “A5 DTM Champion” model. Production of the model is limited to 300 units and will not only excite fans of “Rocky”. With victory in Zandvoort, the Audi works driver won the 2013 DTM season with races to spare, thus securing his first ever title in the popular touring car series.
It may be a while before I could ever afford an Audi but I will be forever grateful to them for giving me a reason to express my Iron Man fanboy-dom all over this blog! And with Iron Man 3 less than a week away I am in full nerd mode! In today’s flimsy excuse I present a recently released video from Audi which takes the audience into Tony Stark’s famous workshop. Not only is his workshop where most of his inventions, including the Iron Man suit itself was born but it also doubles as the garage for all of his rides, including his two Audi R8’s (5.2 V10 and eTron). Take a look at all of his “cool stuff” (see what I did there?) below.