Scalpel or Hammer?

2019 Acura NSX vs 2019 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye If you’re like me, you might be anticipating a major life phase change. And as a car person, likely the next thing on your mind will be how this might positively affect your future stable. My current phase is one of “peak college”, let’s call it. Come autumn, three of my offspring will be chasing higher education. The title of this post does not represent which of my kids are shooting to become a doctor and which are aiming for trade school. But, instead, which car might anyone in anticipating that …

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Track Test Review – 2019 Acura NSX – By Carl Malek

When the Acura NSX originally made its debut back in 2016, Acura was keen on reestablishing itself as a technological leader, while also breathing new life into arguably one of its most iconic nameplates. The reborn NSX proved to be a spirited offering, and smashed any doubts that were cast on it with its impressive performance numbers, smooth hybrid technology, and being a futuristic shot of adrenaline for buyers looking for something different from the usual Porsche and even Ferrari powered tonics that were out in the marketplace at the time. But like all good things, even the NSX can …

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Track Drive Review – 2015 Subaru WRX Manual is Turbo Boxer HEAVEN

UPDATED 10.23.14 Thrilled to have spent more time with the new WRX — again on a racetrack! Pretty lucky chap. And this time, we came back thrilled. Absolutely floored with love for the WRX. Why? This test car was a manual versus the automatic. The differences could not be more stark – with big engine burble, more playful handling, and feeling like it has and extra 100 horsepower versus the pokey auto. Love it. Check out the full drive video below. It picks up about 3-minutes in.     The 2015 Subaru WRX is really a terrific car: much more …

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4.4s 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C USA Priced from $54k in 200 New Photos

UPDATED 9.8.14 With Official USA details and 160 new photos. Who knews when one might need this many amazing photos of the all-new Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe — but here they are! The official pricing is mid-way down the photo showcase. 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C       PREVIOUS We’ve been pretty bearish on the Alfa 4C’s prospects in the United States – until seeing one in the flesh this week at Road America. This $66,000 sports coupe is deliciously wide, low and sexy from all sides. New USA features include a refined set of bumpers to fit our license …

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Updated with 20 Sexy New Photos – Track Test Review – 2015 Subaru WRX STI

Updated 8.13.14 Is this white over black wheels and trim STI the sexiest thing you have ever seen from Subaru since the 555 WR Blue racers from the 1990s? Yes, yes it is. Hopefully this latest vogue style does not become a fad or something that dates all 2014/2015 cars in the future. For now, however, there is nothing hotter on the world’s expressways and racetracks.   LATEST PHOTOS             The 2015 Subaru WRX STI! The time has come for (one of..) the last of my reviews from the amazing sojourn up north to Road …

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Track Test Review – 2014 Mazda MX-5 Club Hardtop at Road America Autocross

Track Test Review – 2014 Mazda MX-5 Club Hardtop at Road America Autocross The next MX-5 is in the home stretch of development in Japan ahead of an expected debut some time in 2014 or early 2015, with deliveries to America set to start shortly afterward. The next MX-5 will spawn an Alfa Romeo Spider twin, with both built to quality standards Fiat could not dream of achieving without Mazda’s Hiroshima-based talent. Development of the MX-5 is the cornerstone of Mazda’s sports car teams these days – and for good reason! The MX-5 is the ultimate track-day thriller: with enough …

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Updated with 37 High-Res Photos – Track Review – 2015 Subaru WRX Automatic

Updated with 37 High-Res Photos – Track Review – 2015 Subaru WRX Automatic The 2015 Subaru WRX is really a terrific car: much more rigid chassis, same awesome handling, but now much better-looking and far more liveable on a daily basis. The regular WRX is also darn close to the STI in the official sprint times: 5.2s for the WRX plays about 4.8-seconds for the STI. This test car is the automatic, which is a CVT this year with six-speed or eight-speed paddle-shifter settings available. Unfortunately, the automatic WRX did not feel quite as peppy as the manual cars’ times …

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Track Test Review – 2015 Subaru WRX STI Is Brilliantly Fast, Grippy and Fun on Autocross

The 2015 Subaru WRX STI! The time has come for (one of..) the last of my reviews from the amazing sojern up north to Road America last month. The STI is certainly in my Greatest Hits column. It feels punchy, fast, vocally boxer and turbocharged, eager to turn in and happy to muscle its way out of any corner. As such, the STI was swamped with wanna-be rally heroes for its big laps of the main Road America circuit. But there was time for some on-camera bonding via the smaller Go-Kart track that we set up as a timed Autocross. …

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Track Drive Review – 2014 BMW M235i Is Best Junior Supercar… EVER!

INTRO Favorite car? Best sports-car? I am running out of superlative awards here – but the points made in the above video are all certainly still felt by me today. The above film is actually pretty watch-able, with some great insights after hopping right in the M235i and doing a lap of Road America right after doing the same in the 2014 M5. Truth be told, for a relative new-comer to the huge-power BMW and sportscar arena, the M235i felt a little more my speed. It was more forgiving on the track, and at the same time friskier and more …

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Track Drive Review – 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG at Road America

Hmmm, despite my grand ambitions to film every car I had the chance to drive at the MAMA Spring Rally this year for auto journalists – the exterior videos are pretty dull. Without the time and motivation to cut the interior and exterior videos together, the exteriors are best with the camera near th exhaust pipe — so there is at least some exhaust noise drama to make things watch-able. The CLA45 AMG is certainly not short of exhaust noise drama! While it never quite sounds as good as you might think and AMG should, it does have character versus …

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2014 Bentley GT Speed W12 Easily Wins Fastest, Most-Sideways Award at Road America

How can an all-wheel-drive supercoupe be ‘most sideways,’ you ask? The Conti GT Speed was giving demo rides with none other than Bentley Works GT3 driver Jamie Morrow at the helm. This polite and dapper gentleman turns into a car-hurling beast on the track — with lurid Scandinavian flicks rocking the car off-balance and the huge, huge W12 Speed’s engine power pulling around corners in a perma-drift heaven. It was absolutely magnificent. A man in a Breitling watch and an official Bentley pay stub can certainly push the car he knows so well to the limits — better than a …

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2014 Ford Focus ST Is Most Ferocious and Grippy Car at Road America Autocross

Like every journalist everywhere who has written unexpected results: we can only revert to an old stand-by defense. “…We don’t make the news, we just report it…!” It is this situation now, reporting that the Focus ST indeed felt the most ferocious and grippy around the Go-Kart track of Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Perhaps because this mini road course is so similar to many proving grounds in the UK where the Focus ST honed its skills? The Focus ST could even be caught briefly doing the old cover-shot classic pose: with its rear inner tire off the ground …

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2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S – Road Test Review of AMG and BMW’s New Daddy

Does anyone else recall the Fox TV network’s endless promo’s many years ago for that crappy show called Wife Swap? “Meet your new mommy!” the announcer crowed over video of the horrified children — shocked that their parents would sign up for this reality-show charade? That is my face now as I say to myself, “Wow, meet the new luxury supercar ‘Daddy.’” The Bentley Continental GT has faced many harsh critiques over the years it has dominated its market segment – criticized even while selling so many that it defined what a modern, successful Bentley Cars Ltd should be in …

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2014 Fiat Abarth 500C Wins Hottest Exhaust Note on Autocross Track

 Listen to this gurgling little slugger! The 500C Abarth was perhaps the closest kindred spirit to the Fiesta ST we crowned as Most Fun around the Road America Go-Kart Autocross track. And while the Fiesta ST’s induction path in the front of the car definitely sounds good, it really cannot compete with the amazing aurals out back from the Fiat. The Abarth 500C’s drop-top is a welcome piece of kit for the fun little machine – operating smoothly and in a power-operated fashion that makes losing the whole roof panel as easy as opening a normal car’s moonroof. Where the …

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2014 BMW 435i Cabrio Track Tested at Road America – Best All-Around Drop-Top Ever?

The BMW 435i Convertible is just about the sweetest companion you could imagine: all the power and poise of the best BMW’s ever made: plus a bit of extra wind in your hair. What is not to like? The 435i and cheaper 428i compete most directly with the Audi A5 and Mercedes-Benz E350 Cabrio’s these days, so BMW does not really have the segment of four-seat convertibles all to itself these days. But it does command the most market share — largely thanks to the legacy this car has since defining the 90210-chic as far back as the 1989 325i …

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VIDEO: 2014 Ford Fiesta ST is Most Fun at Road America Autocross Track

Do you ever want to reach into TopGear magazine sometimes and shake them by the collar, yelling: “YES, We know the Fiesta ST is fun. Next topic!” Oh, that is just me? Whatever then! I have gotten really fatigued with Fiesta ST rave reviews. It just didn’t seem relevant. Until the first peel-out. On the go-kart-track turned Autocross of Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin – the Fiesta ST comes alive. I finally get it. Finally. Finally! The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST really is a hoot. It is How Stella Got Her Groove Back. It is the g-spot in Octopussy. …

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2015 Subaru WRX Colors – All 7 Shades in Animated Turntables + Track Testing Videos

The 2015 Subaru WRX is really a terrific car: much more rigid chassis, same awesome handling, but now much better-looking and far more liveable on a daily basis. The regular WRX is also darn close to the STI in the official sprint times: 5.2s for the WRX plays about 4.8-seconds for the STI. This test car is the automatic, which is a CVT this year with six-speed or eight-speed paddle-shifter settings available. Unfortunately, the automatic WRX did not feel quite as peppy as the manual cars’ times suggest above: we estimate this automatic WRX to hit 60-mph in about 6.2 …

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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Shows Its Trail Rated Skills Off-Road

When someone or something is world-renowned for a certain skill – it is only natural to want to see it performed up close. It is why we all want to hear a band or musician’s greatest hits mixed in with whatever those weird songs are from the new album. It is the reason Justin Bieber will be belting out “Baby, baby, baby… Ohhh!” until he withers away into dust. The Jeep Grand Cherokee, and all Jeeps for that matter, have made their Trail Rated prowess a key selling point. No matter how soft the road settings can be to keep …

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2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America

Alternative headlines? “GSR Aims at Autocross Target, Misses.” “Beetle GSR Drives Like It Has Gorilla On Roof.” The Beetle GSR is supposedly tailor-made for racing and timed laps – it even includes a chronometer stopwatch right in the central dashboard and racing stripes outside. Unfortunately, all who drove it at Road America last week came away with various harsh critiques. Brakes were spongy and non-existent, the tires washed out all sense of grip, it felt pokey, and most damning of all: it handled extremely poorly. My critique that it felt like a gorilla was on the roof was echoed by …

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2014 BMW M5 Track Tested at Road America in 1080P HD Video

Have you ever dreamed about something for so long that you start to lose hope about ever doing it in real life? That is the BMW M5 for me. But I drove this dream. Not just drove it around a parking lot, either: we hit 130-mph at Road America. Afterward, the M5 asked me to remind you…: “Dream Big.” The BMW M5 is the hottest woman, the biggest house, and the best job all rolled into one super saloon car. I have longed for the car – felt the ache in my loins to get behind the wheel every morning …

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Gorgeous 2015 Alfa-Romeo 4C Revealed in Full USA Trim + New Headlights!

We’ve been pretty bearish on the Alfa 4C’s prospects in the United States – until seeing one in the flesh this week at Road America. This $66,000 sports coupe is deliciously wide, low and sexy from all sides. New USA features include a refined set of bumpers to fit our license plates and the latest headlamps from the 4C Spider concept. Trust me on this: the car is absolutely divine in person, with proportions and style to make your heart ache. The new lights feature shrouded projector-beams flanked by four white LED daytime-running-lights above the main beam. It is subtle …

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In-House Racing Expert Chris May Asks — Are Established Tracks Safe For Today’s Race Pace?

By: Special Contributor Chris May Established Race Tracks:  Are they Safe Anymore? It’s a loaded question that I have been wrestling with over the past couple of weeks.  So you might ask, ‘Why is this on your mind, bit of a random thought?’ Well, the genesis of the thought process started last year when the racing community lost Allan Simonsen tragically at Le Mans.         I, just like many other racing fans, was glued to the TV as we watched the historical event unfold and the tragic cloud that fell upon the race with 23 hours left …

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