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Archive for the ‘Rant’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Is the BMW M4 Worth it with the M2 Competition around?

Back in 2015, BMW did something really cool for old-school enthusiasts by launching the M2. A spiritual successor to the highly acclaimed 1M Coupe, the M2 is a tad smaller than the M4, and although it misses 60 horsepower and 63 pound-feet, it’s only three-tenths of a second slower to 60 mph and only six seconds slower on the Nurburgring. The M2 is the modern embodiment of the original M3, a status that the M4 will never benefit from. Things have just become a lot more serious for the M2 now, which climbed another step on the performance ladder with the Competition package.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Bugatti Is Trying Way Too Hard with the Chiron

The Bugatti Veyron was a really cool car. When it arrived back in 2005, it had never-before-seen power, a crazy engine, and the highest top speed of a production car. But it had one big issue compared to the other extreme supercars on the market and the ones that followed: it wasn’t suited for track performance. At more than 4,000 pounds, it was way too heavy, and the way it was built prevented it from becoming a part-time track car. Bugatti did launch a Super Sport model with more power and better handling, but the purpose of that vehicle was to set a new world speed record. The Veyron was replaced with the Chiron after ten years on the market, but sadly Bugatti did not change its strategy. If we ignore all the new tech and the revised drivetrain components, the Chiron is just a beefed-up Veyron that still sucks on the race track.


The Buggati Chiron Sport Weighs Less, Gets Carbon Fiber Wipers and a New Exhaust Layout; Costs an Extra $1 Million - image 772077
“Isn't the aim to make cars lighter for the new generation? Not for Bugatti apparently”

Bugatti may want you to think different with the new Chiron Sport model, which gained a few chassis updates for “significantly improved handling and even greater agility,” but things haven’t changed that much. Sure, the French claim that the Chiron Sport is five seconds quicker than the regular model around the Nardo track, but I haven’t seen any videos yet. And I’d like to see this car take on the Nurburgring. Or the Spa Fancorchamps or Laguna Seca tracks.

Bugatti also brags about the Chiron Sport being almost 40 pounds lighter, but what it doesn’t say is that it’s slightly heavier than the Veyron. Isn’t the aim to make cars lighter for the new generation? Not for Bugatti apparently. You can’t really expect a 4,400-pound car to handle well at the track. At least not in the same way the Koenigsegg Agera and the McLaren Senna do. These supercars were designed to handle a weekend at the races. The Chiron, on the other hand, is focused on luxury and top speed.


The Buggati Chiron Sport Weighs Less, Gets Carbon Fiber Wipers and a New Exhaust Layout; Costs an Extra $1 Million - image 772080
“Stop trying dudes, you're really good at building fast potatoes on wheels anyway”

And there’s nothing wrong with that, but Bugatti should stop talking about handling and agility on the racing circuit. It already has its very own niche and a well-established customer base. Why would it drag the Chiron into the track-prepped supercar war? It’s really rough out there, and very few vehicles manage to stand out. And none of them weigh as much as a full-size sedan with all the electronics and safety features in the world. Not to mention that Bugatti doesn’t really have a talent for race-ready vehicles. It failed with the Veyron, and it failed with the EB110 before it. And before that… well, nothing happened since the 1930s. You can’t rely on motorsport success you had almost 100 years ago.

And you know what? The Super Sport model that will probably be here next year won’t be a better track car either. It will just be another attempt at a world record. Especially now that Bugatti can’t sleep at night due to Koenigsegg having set a new benchmark. With top speed a priority, track performance will always fall behind. And the Chiron won’t become significantly lighter, as it already has all the carbon-fiber in the world. Unless Bugatti finds a way to build a carbon-fiber engine, it will still tip the scales at more than 4,000 pounds. Stop trying dudes; you’re really good at building fast potatoes on wheels anyway.

References


2018 Bugatti Chiron - image 667473

Read our full review on the 2018 Bugatti Chiron.


The Buggati Chiron Sport Weighs Less, Gets Carbon Fiber Wipers and a New Exhaust Layout; Costs an Extra $1 Million - image 772167

Read more on the 2018 Bugatti Chiron Sport.


2021 Bugatti Chiron Super Sport - image 675474

Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Bugatti Chiron Super Sport.


maker logos - image 743561

Read more Bugatti news.


Pops' Rants: Cadillac Sucks, Ferrari Is a Hypocrite, Civic Si Gets Turbo for Nothing - image 712265

Read more Pops’ Rants news.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Yup, Ferrari Can No Longer Be Trusted

Like many business relationships, that between carmakers and customers should be one of trust and respect. Automakers should make sure that they deliver a solid product as they cash the check, while customers should use the cars accordingly. Unfortunately, recent events prove that car companies can’t be trusted. Volkswagen was caught cheating on their emission tests for diesel cars, while many other brands have admitted to lying about MPG figures for some vehicles. Mercedes and BMW have been accused of testing dirty diesel engines on monkies, and some reports claim that they used human volunteers as well. Now, it turns out that Ferrari can’t be trusted either. Ferrari! An automaker that asks between hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars for its cars and has strict rules for potential customers.

I’m not saying that Ferrari should stick to the rules more than any other automaker out there, but it’s massively ironic that Maranello cheated its clients. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, it has been revealed that Ferrari allowed its dealers to roll back odometers on used cars in the U.S., a move that inflates prices for used models artificially.

Greedy Much?


2014 Ferrari LaFerrari - image 685812
“Ferrari tried really hard to keep it in the vault”

As with most scandals of this type, Ferrari tried really hard to keep it in the vault. They actually fired a longtime dealer from Florida for trying to unveil the odometer rollbacks. And then Maranello sent a memo to all dealers to halt the rollbacks. Fortunately for us, the said dealer sued Ferrari and the aforementioned memo made it to the lawsuit file and it’s now available publicly. Funny how karma does it’s thing all the time, huh?

Long story short, Ferrari knew that its dealers were using a device to roll back odometers in order to pump up resale value and did nothing to stop it. This is a big deal, and I find it amazing that such a high-profile manufacturer resorted to this type of scheme to increase the value of its cars. I mean really now, aren’t Ferraris already pretty expensive, even on the used market? Isn’t the brand big enough nowadays? It definitely is, but for some reason, Ferrari is too greedy to acknowledge that. And the fact that it has such strict purchase conditions makes it a much bigger deal. “Don’t make a fool of yourself” should be a goal for all automakers, no matter how big.


2014 Ferrari LaFerrari - image 495577
“Ferrari knew that its dealers were using a device to roll back odometers in order to pump up resale value and did nothing to stop it”

Unfortunately, there is another issue here. While Ferrari admitted that it allowed dealers to roll back odometers, sometimes all the way back to zero, the market and the customers won’t punish the Italian firm. Ferraris are too desireable for wealthy customers to boycott the cars. New or used, they will still buy them. And they will put up with these awful practices in order to own a Ferrari. It’s the same reason why automakers are getting away with cheating devices and gassing monkeys and why the industry won’t change in the future. Ferrari can no longer be trusted, but the force is strong with the Prancing Horse.

Well, have fun paying extra for rolled back odometers then!

But wait, I’m not done for today.

Seat’s Confusing Marketing


2019 Cupra Ateca - image 770198
“Someone over at Seat must have gotten all this marketing stuff a bit wrong”

Seat recently joined the automaker elite with its own performance brand. Yey! This is actually great news as the company’s Cupra-badged models are pretty cool (despite the Leon Cupra being a rebodied version of the Golf GTI). By separating the Cupra as a stand-alone brand also means that we will see more Seat models with high-performance engines, including SUVs. Given that Volkswagen itself doesn’t offer one yet, it’s another good selling point in Seat’s bag.

But there’s an issue.

Apparently, the Spanish carmaker is still selling Cupra models with the “Seat” badge alongside the new ones from the independent Cupra division. And I’m not talking only about the existing Leon Cupra 300. Seat just launched a station wagon version of the Leon Cupra R at the same time it announced the brand-new models of the Cupra sub-brand. Well, someone at Seat must have gotten all this marketing stuff a bit wrong. It’s like Mercedes would be selling a stand-alone Maybach model alongside the existing Mercedes-Maybach version. Or another AMG GT model but wihtout the Mercedes badge alonside the already available AMG GT lineup. Confused? Well, that’s what Seat is doing right now. Or Seat and Cupra, it must be a collaborative effort of sorts.

Maybe the firm is trying to please customers that like the new “Cupra” badge and those that still want a “Seat” insignia on their cars. Yes, I’m being sarcastic. Seat needs better marketing.

References


maker logos - image 742470

Read more Ferrari news.


maker logos - image 764380

Read more Seat news.


Pops' Rants: Cadillac Sucks, Ferrari Is a Hypocrite, Civic Si Gets Turbo for Nothing - image 712265

Read more Pops’ Rants news.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: All This Hype about Tesla Outselling German Luxury Cars in Europe Is Misleading

Tesla has been offering mass-production electric cars for six years now, and it’s safe to say that Elon Musk’s company is doing great. Sure, the Model X came a bit late and Tesla is still struggling to put the Model 3 on the assembly line, but the carmaker’s EVs are becoming increasingly popular, especially in Europe.

Norway continues to be Tesla’s second largest market after the U.S., where the Model S actually climbed atop the all-popular Volkswagen Golf. More recently, the Model S also began outselling German luxury sedans like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series in Europe for the very first time. It’s a big deal, and I can understand why most outlets are going crazy about it, but all this talk about Tesla ripping the Germans to shreds is misleading.

For starters, this has happened before in the U.S. I know, the U.S. is Tesla’s home turf, and it’s easier to sell cars here rather than export them to Europe, but it’s a valid precedent. Second, and what everyone seems to be missing, the Model S is not a competitor for the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series, and Audi A8. It’s actually more the size of theE-Class, 5 Series, and Audi A6, something Elon Musk himself stressed a while back. Here’s why this is important.

Continue reading for the full story.

We’re Looking at Different Sales Figures


2017 Tesla Model S - image 703865
“Mercedes sold more than 120,000 E-Class models in 2017 or about 750 percent more than the Model S”

With sales of more than 16,000 units in 2017, the Model S is indeed above the S-Class and 7 Series, which moved 13,359 and 11,735 units last year, respectively. No argument here! However, if we compare the Tesla to the cars it actually goes against, things aren’t exactly spectacular. For instance, Mercedes-Benz sold in excess of 120,000 E-Class models in 2017, or about 750 percent more than the Model S. Simply put, the Germans sold more sedans in the last two months of 2017 than Tesla did throughout the entire year. Moving over to the BMW 5 Series, the firm delivered almost 110,000 examples in 2017, again, far more than the Model S. Believe it or not, it’s not that unbelievable…

Before you say anything, I’m well aware that the Model S is far more expensive than the E-Class and 5 Series and that it’s sticker puts it in S-Class and 7 Series territory. But, at the same time, the S-Class isn’t a luxury car. It has all the cool gadgets, but is by no means as fancy as the German flagship models. If we take all of this into account, the comparison becomes rather pointless. It’s just a reason to poke at the Germans for falling behind an electric car. Or a reason to feel good about ourselves for trying to save the planet.

Well, the fact of the matter is that we’re not saving anything. Some 16,000 expensive electric cars sold in Europe in 2017 won’t help the ozone layer.

Stop Fooling Yourselves


2016 Tesla Model X - image 559188
“At most, Tesla is mainstream in Norway, where wages are among the highest in Europe”

Then there’s all this talk about Tesla finally becoming mainstream. Well no, that’s not what’s happening here. At most, Tesla is mainstream in Norway, where wages are among the highest in Europe and where people have been buying electric cars and hybrids in large numbers for many years. A few tens of thousands of Model S in Europe make no difference among hundreds of millions of gasoline or diesel vehicles.

I know I’ve said this before, but Tesla will become mainstream when it starts offering affordable cars that the average Joe can buy. And I’m not talking about the Model 3, which will cost $35,000 bone stock and close to $50,000 with all the desirable features. It will happen when Tesla provides a roomy sedan that can be had for as low as $25,000 and maybe a hatchback at around $20,000 before options.

It will probably happen when batteries become better and cheaper in a few years, but Tesla won’t be alone on the market when that happens. Every important automaker will have at least a couple of EVs in two years or so and the market will get really tough. Tesla has done great things so far, but a big automaker with factories all around the world is more capable of providing affordable cars. We need to keep this in mind every time we read some new hype about the Model S outselling slow-selling vehicles in certain markets.

References


2017 Tesla Model S - image 672438

Read our full review on the 2017 Tesla Model S.


2016 Tesla Model X - image 648879

Read our full review on the 2017 Tesla Model X.


2018 Tesla Model 3 - image 727971

Read our full review on the 2018 Tesla Model 3.


maker logos - image 746180

Read more Tesla news.


Pops' Rants: Cadillac Sucks, Ferrari Is a Hypocrite, Civic Si Gets Turbo for Nothing - image 712265

Read more Pops’ Rants news.

PostHeaderIcon Why Are Automakers Getting Away with Cheating Devices and Gassing People?

There’s something terribly wrong with the auto industry today! And reading this week’s news is enough to notice it. Assuming you’re a sane person that is! While the folks over at Jalopnik uncovered how Goodyear hid evidence of a tire that caused at least nine deaths over nearly 20 years, other outlets are reporting how certain German carmakers paid scientists to gas monkeys and humans with toxic diesel fumes. Yeah, I know, it sounds like an overinflated conspiracy theory, but it’s all true, unfortunately.

Goodyear, one of the world’s most biggest tire manufacturers, is now under scrutiny for an issue that dates back to the early 2000s and is linked to more than 40 lawsuits and at least nine deaths. In short, the brand approved the G159, a tire designed in the mid-1990s for lower-speed delivery vehicles, for motorhome use. Motorhomes usually run at higher speeds than the said tire can handle, which resulted in numerous crashes and deaths. On top of that, it turns out that Goodyear managed to keep complaints and claim data sealed from auto safety regulators for all these years. It’s only now, in 2018, that a proper investigation was launched. Check out Jalopnik’s story for the full details.

Then we have all the big media outlets reporting about German scientists having gassed human volunteers with toxic diesel fumes in tests funded by big car manufacturers. Commissioned by the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT), these tests were backed by Volkswagen, BMW, and Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz. In the U.S., then monkeys were gassed with exhaust fumes from a VW Beetle in 2014 by the U.S.-based Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute.

The EUGT was dissolved in 2016, and it remains unclear whether the carmakers were aware of monkeys and humans being gassed, or at least that’s what many reports claim. Be that as it may —, and I must say I have strong doubts that VW, BMW, and Daimler were unaware of what happened behind closed doors — it’s still a sick thing to do in the name of science. And the big problem is that the carmakers will get away with it.

Hurt Them Where It Matters Most


BMW, Daimler, and VW Paid To Put Monkeys In Diesel-Emission Gas Chamber For “Research” - image 763868
“Carmakers don't get the punishment they deserve”

Yes, the “Dieselgate” scandal sent some high-ranking representatives to jail and forced Volkswagen to pay some serious fines, but hey, it’s been only a couple of years since the German firm admitted to using software to cheat tests and the Volkswagen Group is again the world’s largest automaker by sales. So nothing really changed outside the fact that regulators are more careful when certifying diesels. And that’s the biggest issue: carmakers don’t get the punishment they deserve.

You know what actually prompted Volkswagen to cheat? Becoming number one! Selling as many cars as possible and beating Toyota as the world’s largest manufacturer. It’s all about this race to gathering bragging rights. And as it turns out, automakers will do anything to get there. Anything! They will lie about their car’s emissions, they will gas animals and human beings, and, much like Goodyear did, they will use the law to prevent you from finding out that some of their products are crap. All this is possible because the penalties aren’t harsh enough.


Why Are Automakers Getting Away with Cheating Devices and Gassing People? - image 765081
“Governments should put a ban on their sales”

So what if a couple of former Volkswagen executives have been sentenced to years in jail? Their lives have been destroyed, yet Volkswagen continued to sell millions of cars. So what if VW pays billions of dollars for recalls and compensation? It’s not like they won’t get it back by selling millions of cars every year. Not even the fact that the firm deceived its customers doesn’t matter much. Faulty cars are being replaced with vehicles from the same company and as it turns out drivers still want to buy Volkswagens in massive numbers.

The way I see it, there’s only one way to punish companies that do all of the above: governments should put a ban on their sales. The U.S. Government should have issues a stop-sale for al Volkswagen cars until all drivetrains were checked and all of their diesel models should have been banned. The same actions should have taken place in Europe. A stop-sale order for a couple of months would have been enough to dig a big hole in the VW Group’s finances, reducing profits by around 20 percent. As a big company, you only learn valuable lessons when you lose money. That’s when you realize that things must change and that you can’t lie and get away with it.


Why Are Automakers Getting Away with Cheating Devices and Gassing People? - image 765080
“BMW and Daimler should be held responsible for gassing people in a similar way”

And yes, BMW and Daimler should be held responsible for gassing people in a similar manner. Halt diesel sales until the court figures out what happened and then hit them with a massive fine. Same goes for Goodyear, which shouldn’t get away with just fines and recalls. A measure that hurts the company’s sales will be the most efficient. The market shouldn’t tolerate thieves and liars and companies that hide behind court settlements to get away with selling faulty products. Hurt them where it matters most and they will their shit together. It’s either that or bankruptcy.

Yeah, I know this is a radical idea, and I’m pretty sure we won’t see it put into practice anytime soon, but is it really that crazy?

References


VW, BMW, and Daimler Also Gas-Chambered Humans In Diesel Emission Study - image 764208

VW, BMW, and Daimler Also Gas-Chambered Humans In Diesel Emission Study


BMW, Daimler, and VW Paid To Put Monkeys In Diesel-Emission Gas Chamber For “Research” - image 763868

BMW, Daimler, and VW Paid To Put Monkeys In Diesel-Emission Gas Chamber For “Research”


Pops' Rants: Cadillac Sucks, Ferrari Is a Hypocrite, Civic Si Gets Turbo for Nothing - image 712265

Read more Pops’ Rants news.

PostHeaderIcon Why Are Automakers Getting Away with Cheating Devices and Gassing People?

There’s something terribly wrong with the auto industry today! And reading this week’s news is enough to notice it. Assuming you’re a sane person that is! While the folks over at Jalopnik uncovered how Goodyear hid evidence of a tire that caused at least nine deaths over nearly 20 years, other outlets are reporting how certain German carmakers paid scientists to gas monkeys and humans with toxic diesel fumes. Yeah, I know, it sounds like an overinflated conspiracy theory, but it’s all true, unfortunately.

Goodyear, one of the world’s most biggest tire manufacturers, is now under scrutiny for an issue that dates back to the early 2000s and is linked to more than 40 lawsuits and at least nine deaths. In short, the brand approved the G159, a tire designed in the mid-1990s for lower-speed delivery vehicles, for motorhome use. Motorhomes usually run at higher speeds than the said tire can handle, which resulted in numerous crashes and deaths. On top of that, it turns out that Goodyear managed to keep complaints and claim data sealed from auto safety regulators for all these years. It’s only now, in 2018, that a proper investigation was launched. Check out Jalopnik’s story for the full details.

Then we have all the big media outlets reporting about German scientists having gassed human volunteers with toxic diesel fumes in tests funded by big car manufacturers. Commissioned by the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT), these tests were backed by Volkswagen, BMW, and Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz. In the U.S., then monkeys were gassed with exhaust fumes from a VW Beetle in 2014 by the U.S.-based Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute.

The EUGT was dissolved in 2016, and it remains unclear whether the carmakers were aware of monkeys and humans being gassed, or at least that’s what many reports claim. Be that as it may —, and I must say I have strong doubts that VW, BMW, and Daimler were unaware of what happened behind closed doors — it’s still a sick thing to do in the name of science. And the big problem is that the carmakers will get away with it.

Hurt Them Where It Matters Most


BMW, Daimler, and VW Paid To Put Monkeys In Diesel-Emission Gas Chamber For “Research” - image 763868
“Carmakers don't get the punishment they deserve”

Yes, the “Dieselgate” scandal sent some high-ranking representatives to jail and forced Volkswagen to pay some serious fines, but hey, it’s been only a couple of years since the German firm admitted to using software to cheat tests and the Volkswagen Group is again the world’s largest automaker by sales. So nothing really changed outside the fact that regulators are more careful when certifying diesels. And that’s the biggest issue: carmakers don’t get the punishment they deserve.

You know what actually prompted Volkswagen to cheat? Becoming number one! Selling as many cars as possible and beating Toyota as the world’s largest manufacturer. It’s all about this race to gathering bragging rights. And as it turns out, automakers will do anything to get there. Anything! They will lie about their car’s emissions, they will gas animals and human beings, and, much like Goodyear did, they will use the law to prevent you from finding out that some of their products are crap. All this is possible because the penalties aren’t harsh enough.


Why Are Automakers Getting Away with Cheating Devices and Gassing People? - image 765081
“Governments should put a ban on their sales”

So what if a couple of former Volkswagen executives have been sentenced to years in jail? Their lives have been destroyed, yet Volkswagen continued to sell millions of cars. So what if VW pays billions of dollars for recalls and compensation? It’s not like they won’t get it back by selling millions of cars every year. Not even the fact that the firm deceived its customers doesn’t matter much. Faulty cars are being replaced with vehicles from the same company and as it turns out drivers still want to buy Volkswagens in massive numbers.

The way I see it, there’s only one way to punish companies that do all of the above: governments should put a ban on their sales. The U.S. Government should have issues a stop-sale for al Volkswagen cars until all drivetrains were checked and all of their diesel models should have been banned. The same actions should have taken place in Europe. A stop-sale order for a couple of months would have been enough to dig a big hole in the VW Group’s finances, reducing profits by around 20 percent. As a big company, you only learn valuable lessons when you lose money. That’s when you realize that things must change and that you can’t lie and get away with it.


Why Are Automakers Getting Away with Cheating Devices and Gassing People? - image 765080
“BMW and Daimler should be held responsible for gassing people in a similar way”

And yes, BMW and Daimler should be held responsible for gassing people in a similar manner. Halt diesel sales until the court figures out what happened and then hit them with a massive fine. Same goes for Goodyear, which shouldn’t get away with just fines and recalls. A measure that hurts the company’s sales will be the most efficient. The market shouldn’t tolerate thieves and liars and companies that hide behind court settlements to get away with selling faulty products. Hurt them where it matters most and they will their shit together. It’s either that or bankruptcy.

Yeah, I know this is a radical idea, and I’m pretty sure we won’t see it put into practice anytime soon, but is it really that crazy?

References


VW, BMW, and Daimler Also Gas-Chambered Humans In Diesel Emission Study - image 764208

VW, BMW, and Daimler Also Gas-Chambered Humans In Diesel Emission Study


BMW, Daimler, and VW Paid To Put Monkeys In Diesel-Emission Gas Chamber For “Research” - image 763868

BMW, Daimler, and VW Paid To Put Monkeys In Diesel-Emission Gas Chamber For “Research”


Pops' Rants: Cadillac Sucks, Ferrari Is a Hypocrite, Civic Si Gets Turbo for Nothing - image 712265

Read more Pops’ Rants news.

PostHeaderIcon Why Are Automakers Getting Away with Cheating Devices and Gassing People?

There’s something terribly wrong with the auto industry today! And reading this week’s news is enough to notice it. Assuming you’re a sane person that is! While the folks over at Jalopnik uncovered how Goodyear hid evidence of a tire that caused at least nine deaths over nearly 20 years, other outlets are reporting how certain German carmakers paid scientists to gas monkeys and humans with toxic diesel fumes. Yeah, I know, it sounds like an overinflated conspiracy theory, but it’s all true, unfortunately.

Goodyear, one of the world’s most biggest tire manufacturers, is now under scrutiny for an issue that dates back to the early 2000s and is linked to more than 40 lawsuits and at least nine deaths. In short, the brand approved the G159, a tire designed in the mid-1990s for lower-speed delivery vehicles, for motorhome use. Motorhomes usually run at higher speeds than the said tire can handle, which resulted in numerous crashes and deaths. On top of that, it turns out that Goodyear managed to keep complaints and claim data sealed from auto safety regulators for all these years. It’s only now, in 2018, that a proper investigation was launched. Check out Jalopnik’s story for the full details.

Then we have all the big media outlets reporting about German scientists having gassed human volunteers with toxic diesel fumes in tests funded by big car manufacturers. Commissioned by the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT), these tests were backed by Volkswagen, BMW, and Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz. In the U.S., then monkeys were gassed with exhaust fumes from a VW Beetle in 2014 by the U.S.-based Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute.

The EUGT was dissolved in 2016, and it remains unclear whether the carmakers were aware of monkeys and humans being gassed, or at least that’s what many reports claim. Be that as it may —, and I must say I have strong doubts that VW, BMW, and Daimler were unaware of what happened behind closed doors — it’s still a sick thing to do in the name of science. And the big problem is that the carmakers will get away with it.

Hurt Them Where It Matters Most


BMW, Daimler, and VW Paid To Put Monkeys In Diesel-Emission Gas Chamber For “Research” - image 763868
“Carmakers don't get the punishment they deserve”

Yes, the “Dieselgate” scandal sent some high-ranking representatives to jail and forced Volkswagen to pay some serious fines, but hey, it’s been only a couple of years since the German firm admitted to using software to cheat tests and the Volkswagen Group is again the world’s largest automaker by sales. So nothing really changed outside the fact that regulators are more careful when certifying diesels. And that’s the biggest issue: carmakers don’t get the punishment they deserve.

You know what actually prompted Volkswagen to cheat? Becoming number one! Selling as many cars as possible and beating Toyota as the world’s largest manufacturer. It’s all about this race to gathering bragging rights. And as it turns out, automakers will do anything to get there. Anything! They will lie about their car’s emissions, they will gas animals and human beings, and, much like Goodyear did, they will use the law to prevent you from finding out that some of their products are crap. All this is possible because the penalties aren’t harsh enough.


Why Are Automakers Getting Away with Cheating Devices and Gassing People? - image 765081
“Governments should put a ban on their sales”

So what if a couple of former Volkswagen executives have been sentenced to years in jail? Their lives have been destroyed, yet Volkswagen continued to sell millions of cars. So what if VW pays billions of dollars for recalls and compensation? It’s not like they won’t get it back by selling millions of cars every year. Not even the fact that the firm deceived its customers doesn’t matter much. Faulty cars are being replaced with vehicles from the same company and as it turns out drivers still want to buy Volkswagens in massive numbers.

The way I see it, there’s only one way to punish companies that do all of the above: governments should put a ban on their sales. The U.S. Government should have issues a stop-sale for al Volkswagen cars until all drivetrains were checked and all of their diesel models should have been banned. The same actions should have taken place in Europe. A stop-sale order for a couple of months would have been enough to dig a big hole in the VW Group’s finances, reducing profits by around 20 percent. As a big company, you only learn valuable lessons when you lose money. That’s when you realize that things must change and that you can’t lie and get away with it.


Why Are Automakers Getting Away with Cheating Devices and Gassing People? - image 765080
“BMW and Daimler should be held responsible for gassing people in a similar way”

And yes, BMW and Daimler should be held responsible for gassing people in a similar manner. Halt diesel sales until the court figures out what happened and then hit them with a massive fine. Same goes for Goodyear, which shouldn’t get away with just fines and recalls. A measure that hurts the company’s sales will be the most efficient. The market shouldn’t tolerate thieves and liars and companies that hide behind court settlements to get away with selling faulty products. Hurt them where it matters most and they will their shit together. It’s either that or bankruptcy.

Yeah, I know this is a radical idea, and I’m pretty sure we won’t see it put into practice anytime soon, but is it really that crazy?

References


VW, BMW, and Daimler Also Gas-Chambered Humans In Diesel Emission Study - image 764208

VW, BMW, and Daimler Also Gas-Chambered Humans In Diesel Emission Study


BMW, Daimler, and VW Paid To Put Monkeys In Diesel-Emission Gas Chamber For “Research” - image 763868

BMW, Daimler, and VW Paid To Put Monkeys In Diesel-Emission Gas Chamber For “Research”


Pops' Rants: Cadillac Sucks, Ferrari Is a Hypocrite, Civic Si Gets Turbo for Nothing - image 712265

Read more Pops’ Rants news.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Karma Just Kicked Elon Musk in the Nuts

Another day, another carrot. I just dropped by to tell you that I love karma. Nope, not the Fisker Karma. That karma. The principle that Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering. It’s the concept that keeps all life in a perfect balance. And the same concept made Elon Musk look pretty dumb after Hyundai launched the Nexo hydrogen fuel cell SUV at the Consumer Electronics Show. Yup, gotta love karma!

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In case you haven’t been following the latest electric car market disputes, Elon Musk made a few smug comments in recent years. One was aimed at the Nissan Leaf when Musk said that the Model 3 will provide more range at a more affordable price. The compact sedan isn’t yet available, as Tesla is struggling with production issues, but we already know that it’s more efficient than the redesigned Leaf. However, it’s a bit more expensive in base trim and significantly pricier if you want the longer range option and some tech. Pricier as in you can buy a BMW instead.

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In early 2016, Musk made a public statement in which it called hydrogen cars “incredibly dumb” when compared to electric vehicle. Granted, he had a few valid reasons about the process of splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen and compressing the latter cars, but it was still pretty rude to just take a dump on all automakers working on fuel cell technology. Especially with so many engineers claiming that it’s a viable solution. Well, Hyundai just launched the hydrogen-powered Nexo SUV with a range of 370 miles, 75 more than the range-topping Tesla Model X. And karma entered the room to kick Elon in the nuts.

Sure, only time will tell if the Nexo is as good as Hyundai claims, but some were skeptical when the Toyota Mirai entered production, and the Japanese sedan has done pretty well until now. And, unlike Tesla, Hyundai has kept its promises recently and didn’t miss its production schedule due to rash decisions. Maybe Elon could take a break and take a few notes from the Koreans. Hydrogen might be worth something after all now that carbon tanks are becoming more affordable and hydrogen stations are becoming a thing. Let’s not forget that hybrid and all-electric drivetrains were considered ludicrous a few decades ago…

Karma wins. Every time.

References

Hyundai Nexo


2019 Hyundai Nexo - image 756408

Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai Nexo.


2016 Tesla Model X - image 678035

Read our full review on the 2017 Tesla Model X.


Pops' Rants: Cadillac Sucks, Ferrari Is a Hypocrite, Civic Si Gets Turbo for Nothing - image 712265

Read more Pops’ Rants news.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: The Automotive Sausage Fest Is Real!

And how are you folks doing in the new year? Any new year resolutions for 2018? Nah, don’t bother, I don’t care. It’s not like these resolutions last more than a few weeks anyway. But hey, since we’re allowed to make wishes I’m gonna blow the candles and say it: I wish automakers would stop making all their cars look the same. I hate the corporate look strategy. I used to only hate Audi for doing it, but this thing spread like the Black Plague in recent years. Mercedes is also doing the “same sausage, different lengths” thing and BMW is very close to implementing it across the range. It will be complete once the 6 Series is phased out. It’s a sausage fest I’m telling you, and it just got worse!

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“What was once an Audi thing, spread like the plague throughout the group.”

Have you seen the sketches of the upcoming Volkswagen Jetta? If not, check out our review, I’ll give you a few moments. Looking good right? I no longer feel like I want to kill myself when I look at it. Sure, the front end is taken off the Passat and it’s not very inspiring but I don’t mind. I get the marketing behind the corporate look. But that rear end has Audi A4 written all over it. Just like the Passat looks like a poor man’s A6. And how the Toledo looks like the A4 and the Leon X-Perience looks like the A4 Allroad.

Yup, not only have most Volkswagen Group brands adopted the “same sausage, different lengths” approach on their own, but they’re actually using it as some sort of group identity. What was once an Audi thing, spread like the plague throughout the group. And it sucks! While I’m not a fan of products from the dirty VAG, I always loved the fact that the Seat Leon is significantly different from the Volkswagen Golf it was based on. Or that the Audi R8 has its own identity, despite sharing underpinnings with the Lamborghini Huracan. But, everything else has become increasingly diluted in recent years and it appears to be getting worse.

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“We're an inch away from getting perfectly identical cars that are only longer and wider depending on the segment they're competing in”

It’s not only Volkswagen that is being moved closer and closer to Audi up the premium ladder, but it’s also using more and more styling cues from its Ingolstadt cousin. Just look at the Passat, Arteon, and now the Jetta. Even Seat models are starting to look more and more like their Volkswagen counterparts, also getting Audi bits here and there. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that the next-generation Touareg is a rebadged, poor man’s Audi Q7, either.

We’re an inch away from getting perfectly identical cars that are only longer and wider depending on the segment they’re competing in. Damn, even “The Flintstones” animated series had more exciting cars than Volkswagen. Footmobile power!

References


Pops' Rants: Cadillac Sucks, Ferrari Is a Hypocrite, Civic Si Gets Turbo for Nothing - image 712265

Read more Pops’ Rants news.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Dear Lincoln and BMW, Please Stop Being So Pathetic

Man, this has been a rough week. Automotive-wise. The Los Angeles Auto Show sucked on so many levels. I haven’t seen so many crossovers in one place since the Soccer Mom Annual Meeting. Oh wait, that doesn’t sound right. Give me a minute here… Since the… uhm… wait, I got it… since the… Ah, screw it, I’m not in a mood for jokes. It just sucks! Then there’s the Urus, which isn’t a real Lamborghini and everyone gets excited as if they just launched the second-generation Miura. Do millennials even know what a Miura is? But the worst thing about this year’s L.A. show is that some automakers were set to remind me that press releases have more bullshit than a dairy farm.

Stop calling mild facelifts “brand-new,” you half-baked hippies! You’re not fooling anyone.

Yeah, they’re at it again. Especially Lincoln and BMW. The American brand, which is struggling to stay afloat these days, just launched a mid-cycle facelift for the MKC with a new front grille. That’s it, a new grille! And they call it “new” with a “commanding new design.” Hello?! It’s a new grille, not a new car. Now repeat after me: a new grille doesn’t make the entire car new. But wait, there’s more. Lincoln also introduced the Nautilus, a brand-new SUV according to the company’s PR division. Except it’s not new. It’s the MKX with a new grille and a new name. Hey, I like the fact that you’re using actual names now Lincoln, but it’s not a brand-new car! I can’t change my name and pretend I’m a new person. Okay, I can actually do that, but I may be spending my final years in a nuthouse. And trust me, the nuthouse isn’t good for business; there’s no room for a car production line in there.

But Lincoln isn’t the only company pretending customers are stupid. BMW also called the facelifted i8 new. Sure, the Roadster version is new indeed, but the coupe is identical to the car launched in 2014, save for the wheels, mildly revised headlamps and taillights, and the 12 extra horsepower. This is the most pathetic facelift I’ve seen in years. It’s not a new car, just a BRAND-NEW way to be lazy and pathetic! Go home BMW; you’re drunk!

References

Lincoln MKC


2019 Lincoln MKC - image 746611

Read our full review on the 2019 Lincoln MKC.

Lincoln Nautilus


Lincoln Updates MKX at L.A. Auto Show, Renames it Nautilus - image 747903

Read more about the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus.

BMW i8


BMW Debuts “New” i8 Coupe and the First i8 Roadster - image 748136

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW i8.


2018 BMW i8 Roadster - image 748125

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW i8 Roadster.


Pops' Rants: Cadillac Sucks, Ferrari Is a Hypocrite, Civic Si Gets Turbo for Nothing - image 712265

Read more Pops’ Rants news.

PostHeaderIcon The Urus Is Cool and All, But It’s Not a Lamborghini!

The much-anticipated Lamborghini Urus is finally official. It looks like a Lambo, it’s fast as a sports car, and it’s more aggressive than any SUV out there. Whoopee! But there’s a tiny problem: the Urus is not a Lambo. Yeah, I know it has a bull badge, but this doesn’t make it a Lamborghini. A Prius with a Lambo badge is still a Toyota, right? “But this SUV was designed and built by Lamborghini,” you might say. Well, I can’t argue with that, but the Urus simply doesn’t feel like a Lambo. It’s brutal and delivers outstanding performance, but it needs more than that to be a Lambo.

For starters, it needs to sound like one. And the Urus doesn’t!

Of course, the responsibility for the SUV’s underwhelming exhaust note falls on the shoulders of the 4.0-liter V-8. It may generate an exciting 650 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque and help the SUV hit 62 mph in just 3.6 seconds, to go with a top speed of 190 mph, but it’s nowhere near as aggressive sounding as the Huracan or Aventador. It doesn’t come as a surprise. We’re talking about a twin-turbo V-8 versus naturally aspirated V-10 and V-12 units. Turbos may be good for fuel economy and all that jazz but they won’t make a V-8 sound as terrifying as a V-12. And, let’s face it, a Lamborghini needs to sound terrifying. It’s what makes a Lambo a Lambo.

Continue reading for the full story.

I’m Not Ready for Lambo’s V-8 Future

The fact that it fits into the lineup by design kinda saves it a little bit. Unlike theLM002, Lambo’s first utility vehicle and a miserable failure, the Urus was designed to do just that. Fit it with the Huracan and Aventador but provide more passenger and luggage room, two features that the supercars have in very limited supply. As an SUV, the Urus is just what the doctored ordered, and it will probably sell like hotcakes (the Porsche Cayenne story all over again). But, it lacks one vital element: the exhaust note.

Just check out this video:

Kinda sounds like a Mercedes-AMG C63. Not kidding, just hit the 7:00-minute mark below:

I’m pretty sure a BMW M5 sounds just as aggressive, but I’m too lazy to look for videos.

So yeah, the Urus is just a cool SUV. It’s as cool as the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. And, there’s a big change: it’s a bit slower. Ratings for the new Turbo S aren’t yet available, but given that the previous model needed 3.8 seconds to hit 60 mph, the updated model should be at least two tenths quicker. See, you don’t even need a Lambo badge to make a cool SUV.

References

Lamborghini Urus


2019 Lamborghini Urus - image 749811

Read our full review on the 2019 Lamborghini Urus.


2012 Lamborghini Urus - image 451044

Read our full review on the Lamborghini Urus Concept.


1986 - 1993 Lamborghini LM002 - image 737272

Read our full review on the 1986-1993 Lamborghini LM002.

PostHeaderIcon The Urus Is Cool and All, But It’s Not a Lamborghini!

The much-anticipated Lamborghini Urus is finally official. It looks like a Lambo, it’s fast as a sports car, and it’s more aggressive than any SUV out there. Whoopee! But there’s a tiny problem: the Urus is not a Lambo. Yeah, I know it has a bull badge, but this doesn’t make it a Lamborghini. A Prius with a Lambo badge is still a Toyota, right? “But this SUV was designed and built by Lamborghini,” you might say. Well, I can’t argue with that, but the Urus simply doesn’t feel like a Lambo. It’s brutal and delivers outstanding performance, but it needs more than that to be a Lambo.

For starters, it needs to sound like one. And the Urus doesn’t!

Of course, the responsibility for the SUV’s underwhelming exhaust note falls on the shoulders of the 4.0-liter V-8. It may generate an exciting 650 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque and help the SUV hit 62 mph in just 3.6 seconds, to go with a top speed of 190 mph, but it’s nowhere near as aggressive sounding as the Huracan or Aventador. It doesn’t come as a surprise. We’re talking about a twin-turbo V-8 versus naturally aspirated V-10 and V-12 units. Turbos may be good for fuel economy and all that jazz but they won’t make a V-8 sound as terrifying as a V-12. And, let’s face it, a Lamborghini needs to sound terrifying. It’s what makes a Lambo a Lambo.

Continue reading for the full story.

I’m Not Ready for Lambo’s V-8 Future

The fact that it fits into the lineup by design kinda saves it a little bit. Unlike theLM002, Lambo’s first utility vehicle and a miserable failure, the Urus was designed to do just that. Fit it with the Huracan and Aventador but provide more passenger and luggage room, two features that the supercars have in very limited supply. As an SUV, the Urus is just what the doctored ordered, and it will probably sell like hotcakes (the Porsche Cayenne story all over again). But, it lacks one vital element: the exhaust note.

Just check out this video:

Kinda sounds like a Mercedes-AMG C63. Not kidding, just hit the 7:00-minute mark below:

I’m pretty sure a BMW M5 sounds just as aggressive, but I’m too lazy to look for videos.

So yeah, the Urus is just a cool SUV. It’s as cool as the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. And, there’s a big change: it’s a bit slower. Ratings for the new Turbo S aren’t yet available, but given that the previous model needed 3.8 seconds to hit 60 mph, the updated model should be at least two tenths quicker. See, you don’t even need a Lambo badge to make a cool SUV.

References

Lamborghini Urus


2019 Lamborghini Urus - image 749811

Read our full review on the 2019 Lamborghini Urus.


2012 Lamborghini Urus - image 451044

Read our full review on the Lamborghini Urus Concept.


1986 - 1993 Lamborghini LM002 - image 737272

Read our full review on the 1986-1993 Lamborghini LM002.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Tesla Needs to Learn that Hype and Fast Cars don’t Pay the Bills

2020 Tesla Roadster

I don’t know about you, but I had way too much Tesla Roadster in my feed this week. If I read one more of those “oh my god, 1.9 seconds to 60 mph” I will probably puke. Heck, I actually feel like puking right now, but I popped in to say “I told you so!” In my previous rant, I slammed the second-generation Roadster and its incredible performance features for being Elon Musk’s desperate attempt to bring in some cash without actually giving something in return. Although the Roadster won’t be available until 2020, Tesla is asking $50,000 for preorders of the regular model and a full $250,000 down payment for the Founders Series. With the latter limited to 1,000 units, we’re talking at least $250 million from preorders for a car that’s three years away. And I’m not even including the Semi truck.

Tesla is in big trouble financially, and making matters worse is the fact that it can’t deliver new products. The Model 3 is behind schedule a few months, with orders for non-Tesla employees opened this month. But customers who have already ordered one won’t get it anytime soon, with full production to commence in March. If we are to believe Tesla of course because more delays are very likely. And the company is losing money big time. What’s more, according to Bloomberg, Tesla spent no less than $4.2 billion over the past 12 months. That’s $8,000 a minute or nearly half a million bucks an hour!

Keep reading for the full story.

The Massive Hemorrhage Behind the Hype


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 746110
“Tesla may be all bells and whistles when it comes to performance figures, but a carmaker cannot survive on numbers”

Tesla may be all bells and whistles when it comes to performance figures, but a carmaker cannot survive on numbers. Likewise, it can’t survive on unveilings and rolling prototypes or concept cars. Tesla needs to roll out cars and needs to do it fast. And things are going as planned. While some customers complain about quality issues with the Model S and Model X, the Model 3, the company’s much-promised affordable EV, won’t be available until next year, despite initial plans to offer it in 2017.

And this is why Tesla is basically trying to survive with the hype that surrounds it and by previewing impressive, high-priced vehicles with expensive preorder tags. Elon Musk is effectively trying to keep the company afloat until the Model 3 arrives in dealerships and starts bringing in the much-needed cash. Sure, this strategy is far from unusual. It’s what most automakers do, and it’s precisely how many carmakers survive. But while giants like GM and Chrysler have managed to survive a bankruptcy, Tesla may not.


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 746106
“Tesla's current cash reserves won't last beyond August 2018”

Another problem is that at the current spendings rate, Tesla’s current cash reserves won’t last beyond August 2018. Of course, the Model 3 might bring in more cash until then, as will preorders for the Roadster II and Semi truck, but if something goes wrong and the Model 3 is again delayed, Tesla may run into a lot of trouble financially. But assuming that things will go as planned over the next few months and the Model 3 rolls out on time and saves the company, Tesla may have similar issues when the Roadster and the Semi need to go into production. The company is obviously trying to do more than it can at this point, and this strategy could prove disastrous at some point.

Unless things pick up fast, Tesla may have the same fate as Fisker Automotive. And it would be tragic for the auto industry to lose a carmaker that has made tremendous progress in the EV field. But Musk needs to realize that hype and impressive performance figures won’t pay the bills.

References

Tesla Roadster


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 745807

Read our full review on the 2020 Tesla Roadster.


Pops' Rants: Cadillac Sucks, Ferrari Is a Hypocrite, Civic Si Gets Turbo for Nothing - image 712265

Read more Pops’ Rants news.

PostHeaderIcon The New Corvette ZR1 Is the Mel Brooks of Sports Cars

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

When you’ve been around as long as I have, you realize that cinematography is going downhill. Yes, I know, new movies have a ton of cool special effects and CGI is getting better and better, but movies have been lacking substance for decades now. The fingers on my two hands are enough to count the great movies I’ve seen in recent decades. The rest of them… well, the same cliches and expensive struggles to make up for the lack of originality with fancy special effects and computer-generated imagery. This might piss you off, but all those superhero movies, the James Bond franchise, and the latest sci-fi stuff suck. Things get worse in the comedy business. I can’t say I laughed too much during 2017’s best-rated comedy films. Mel Brooks and John Cleese may still be alive as of 2017, but comedy screenwriting is as dead and stiff as a doorknob.

Oh, you’re probably wondering what’s with all the movie hate in a Chevrolet Corvette article. Well, it’s all Chevy’s fault. Don’t know if you noticed this, but its press release for the Corvette ZR1 end with the phrase “it’s good to be the king!” As in the new ZR1 is the king of the Corvette reign. Or maybe even the king of the sports car business. That’s cool for marketing, but what you might not know is that the phrase is taken word by word from “History of the World,” an anthology comedy film written, produced, and directed by Mel Brooks. It was launched in 1981, and it became a classic. And, in case you haven’t seen it yet, which is very likely if you think the “American Pie” series is funny, the “it’s good to be the king” phrase is used in its final sketch, “The French Revolution,” by King Louis of France, played by Mel Brooks.

Continue reading for the full story.

Corvette with a mustache

The king is depicted as a pervert. A smug person that’s only interested in his own well-being. He’s playing chess with real people on a huge board in the yard and makes up his own rules to win games. He gropes women living in and around his castle and requests sexual pleasures to fulfill his duty as king. Oh, and he has a tiny mustache, a mole on his right cheek, and a wig. And like any king out there, he wears a golden crown. Here, have a look at some highlights from the said scene.

Granted, the Corvette ZR1 doesn’t come with a mustache or a mole, but it comes with a bad attitude.

It will grope pretty Japanese sports car on the race track before leaving them behind in a trail of smoke. And it’ll yell “it’s good to be the king” as it crosses the finish line. Giving a crap about others would be the last thing on its mind. It’s the king of the Corvette dominion and a solid candidate to rule the sports car market. And that’s what kings do. They are smug, vain, and arrogant. And needless to say, the Corvette ZR1 is definitely a pervert by way of exterior design, drivetrain, and performance.

Okay okay, I might like Mel Brooks’ work a tad too much but there’s must be a reason why Chevy ended its press release the way it did. Either the person who wrote it is also a “History of the World” fan or Chevy is trying to prepare the competition for what’s coming when the ZR1 hits the streets and the race tracks. Fear the mustache! And supercharged V-8 engines!

References

Chevrolet Corvette


2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - image 744530

Read our full review on the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.


Pops' Rants: Cadillac Sucks, Ferrari Is a Hypocrite, Civic Si Gets Turbo for Nothing - image 712265

Read more Pops’ Rants news.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Tesla’s Uber-fast Roadster Is Proof that Elon Musk Is Desperate

Boy, these past two weeks have been all about high-speed and high-power action. I barely had time to get over Koenigsegg’s new world speed record and Chevrolet launched its monstrous Corvette ZR1 yet. Now, with the weekend upon us, Tesla took the wraps off its new semi truck and the second-generation Roadster. Neither are ready to go into production just yet, but the preliminary data hints at tremendous performance and new benchmarks for the electric car market. The Roadster’s 0-to-60 mph sprint only 1.9 seconds probably caused a few heart strokes over at Ferrari quarters. And I have a feeling that the guys working on the next-generation Nissan GT-R Nismo aren’t feeling better either. But behind Tesla’s new tour de force hides Elon Musk’s fear that his automobile brand may not succeed as planned.

It may seem that Tesla is simply pushing the envelope and presenting the world with revolutionary electric cars, but there’s more to this showcase. Tesla is actually struggling to keep its promises. The new Model 3, which is supposed to become the affordable electric car everyone is dreaming about, is late to the party. Production isn’t going as planned and it seems that the Model X fiasco is happening all over again. On top of that, the Model S isn’t getting the best reviews and Consumer Reports isn’t very optimistic about the Model 3’s reliability. So Tesla needs to find a way to keep all the hype alive, and the upcoming Roadster is the perfect car for this. The strategy is simple, unveiled a cool looking prototype, claim it will hit 60 mph in less than two seconds, set a big preorder price, and wait for the cash to fix ongoing problems.

Continue reading for the full story.

From Affordable to $200K


Pops' Rants: Tesla's Uber-fast Roadster Is Proof that Elon Musk Is Desperate - image 746100

Yup, that’s all it takes. A couple of incredible but fictional performance figures, and everyone will get excited. And some of them will even agree to pay $50,000 reservations for a car they won’t get to drive until 2020. Assuming that Tesla manages to roll the new Roadster out by then. If the Model X and Model 3 are any indication, it won’t happen sooner than 2021, or even 2022.

But that’s not the only issue. Let’s say that I’m wrong and Tesla will get production sorted and everything will be fine and on time. And quality control will improve and Consumer Reports won’t upset Elon Musk ever again. In this perfect scenario, the new Roadster is still a meaningless car. Let’s not forget that Musk’s objective was to deliver an affordable EV for the average Joe. It was supposed to be the Model 3. But it’s not. The Model 3 costs some $30,000 before options, and the nice extras will actually push the sticker beyond the $40,000. At this point, the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Bolt are the better options.

And while I can understand that expensive, $200,000 supercars like the upcoming Roadster are used to fund affordable vehicles, it seems that Elon Musk is out to prove that Tesla can make the quickest production car before anything else. With this car, Tesla is basically moving farther away form its professed goal and slowly becoming a disappointment for the electric car industry. The fact that Tesla is the leading automaker in this field makes things that much more frustrating.

PostHeaderIcon Koenigsegg’s New Speed Record Doesn’t Mean Squat

I wasn’t planning to blab about cars again anytime soon, but something amazing happened this weekend: someone actually smashed Bugatti’s world speed record for production cars after a whopping seven years. If you’ve been living under a rock, a Koenigsegg Agera RS averaged 277.9 mph on a two-way run on a highway in Nevada, beating the record set by the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport in 2010 by 10 mph. An impressive display by the Swedish automaker, achieved with a production model that was actually borrowed from a customer. The record has yet to be confirmed by Guinness World Records as of this writing, but whether it qualifies or not, the Agera RS’s run will remain an important page in high-performance automotive history. However, I still think that all this ludicrous speed stuff for production cars is absolute nonsense.

Before I move any further, I want to make it clear that I’m not questioning Koenigsegg’s big achievement. I’ve already seen all sorts of comments questioning whether the record was set using a stock car with stock parts and a production setup. Those are made by morons. First, Koenigsegg isn’t the type of company that would risk damaging its relationship with its customers by lying to the extent that most automakers do when setting records, especially track records at the Nurburgring. Second, I don’t think it’s a record that the Swedish firm was actually dying to own. It just happened, and it didn’t make a big fuss about it. And, it was very entitled to make a big fuss given that the Agera RS hit a top speed of 284 mph. That’s just a hair away from the magic 300-mph mark. But I digress…

Continue reading for the full story.

The Top Speed You’ll Never get to Experience

“It's cool to have it on a piece of paper or as a YouTube video to wank to, but it's not something a customer will achieve”

So why do I think this record means squat? Well, it’s simply not a feature that defines a production car. It’s cool to have it on a piece of paper or as a YouTube video to wank to, but it’s not something a customer will achieve. There’s no way you can hit that top speed on a public road, and even if you find a traffic-free road, it’s illegal. Not to mention dangerous, because every little bump may cause you to lose control at high speeds. Other hazards, including wild animals, could put your life at risk too.

Now I know what you’re thinking, you could take the Agera RS to ludicrous high speeds on a race track. Well, you can’t actually. There aren’t any race tracks with a long enough strip to allow you to go well past the 200-mph mark. If you watch Koenigsegg’s video, you’ll notice that it took the driver around seven miles to hit maximum speed. It can probably be done faster since he wasn’t in a hurry to accelerate to 150 mph, but it would still need almost six miles to get there.


Koenigsegg's New Speed Record Doesn't Mean Squat - image 736455
“Much like the Bugatti Veyron and the Chiron, the Agera RS comes with a top speed that's useless in the real world”

And, once you get there, you also need to brake, so it’s safe to assume you need a couple more miles to get to a safe speed. This basically means that you need a track with a straight run of around eight miles, which is impossible to find on any permanent race track nowadays. The Nardo Ring, where Koenigsegg set a record with the CCR many years back would be an option, but the oval track isn’t opened for public days.

So, much like the Bugatti Veyron and the Chiron, the Agera RS comes with a top speed that’s useless in the real world. Much like all those cars that set fast laps at the Nurburgring. You’ll never get to lap the Nordschleife as quick as Lamborghini did with the Huracan Performante. You don’t have the skill, and you’ll never have the track to yourself. And, assuming that a carmaker used some tricks to score its awesome lap, like Nissan did with the GT-R Nismo, you won’t be able to do it as quick no matter how good you are. Sure, you can brag in front of your friends and at the local sports car meeting, but this is where it ends.

You might as well buy a Jaguar XF and argue that that the British firm had the fastest car in the world back in 1949. Because it did, and it’s worth as much as having a spec sheet with a top speed you’ll never be able to experience.

References

Koenigsegg Agera


Koenigsegg's New Speed Record Doesn't Mean Squat - image 657709

Read our full review on the 2015 Koenigsegg Agera RS.



Read more Koenigsegg news.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Here’s What’s Wrong with the Awesome Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato

So Aston Martin just launched a new version of the Vanquish Zagato with a shooting brake body. Pretty cool, eh? Actually, it’s more than that. Cool is something I would use to describe a Toyota 86 with an extra 30 horsepower. This thing is exciting, to say the least. The sporty cues of the Vanquish, the more aggressive styling of Zagato, and all that carbon-fiber make for a great combination, especially if the end result is a shooting brake. Yeah, I’m crazy about wagons, and I like shooting brakes even more. But despite my feelings toward long-roofed vehicles and the fact that the Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is brilliant in just about any department, I still have a big rant to shoot out of my system.

Why would I complain about a seemingly perfect car (from my point of view)? Well, it’s not exactly the car I want to complain about. It’s about Aston Martin’s marketing strategy, and the fact that this Vanquish Zagato run is too damn exclusive. And it’s like Aston Martin is going against the tide, which isn’t exactly what it needs at this point as it has yet to reach that safe point after years of struggle. Let me explain what I mean.

Continue reading for the full story.

Make the Zagato a Full-Time Lineup


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake - image 740279
“These designs deserve to become full-time models in the Aston Martin lineup”

Yes, that’s what’s wrong with the four Vanquish Zagato model that Aston Martin launched since 2016. They’re way too exclusive, with just 99 coupes, convertibles, and shooting brakes each and only 28 speedsters. These designs deserve to become full-time models in the Aston Martin lineup and an upgrade for more than just the Vanquish.

Specifically, Aston Martin should find a way to turn Zagato into a higher-end offering for at least the Vanquish and the DB11. Granted, making Zagato some sort of luxury or performance division isn’t the easiest thing, as the Italians seem to enjoy being an independent company, but a collaboration of sorts is definitely possible in today’s market. But Aston Martin could also start thinking about creating its own division. With every important carmaker out there having either a performance or luxury division at its disposal, Aston Martin would make quite an impact with something a little different. And by that, I mean products similar to these Zagato-upgraded Vanquish. Keep the interior similar, but add extra features, uprate the engine, so it stands out compared to the standard unit, but revise the exterior completely for a unique design. What’s more, the speedster and the shooting brake could remain exclusive to this high-end brand, prompting customers to take the big financial step for something entirely different.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster - image 726604
“The speedster and the shooting brake should remain exclusive to this high-end brand”

Definitely more appealing than the larger vents and different wheels you get with the “AMG,” “BMW M,” and “RS” badges.

As for pricing, there’s a reason why I haven’t labeled the Vanquish Zagato as overpriced, despite the fact that the Speedster is rumored to cost more than $1.5 million. If these cars become full-time production models, Aston Martin would be right to charge way in excess of $500,000 or even $1 million, given that factory output remains limited and the cars are built by hand with tremendous attention to detail.

Seriously now, it may sound difficult to achieve, but it’s not. At least not for a company like Aston Martin. It may require some serious funding, but the Brits are getting back on their feet. Actually, an SUV might solve that problem. And in an era where every automaker is annoyingly predictable and we get similar products from every direction, a full-time lineup of Zagato-designed cars would finally add some excitement.

Revive the Great Coachbuilders

This would also be a great opportunity to save the famous coachbuilder that have entered bankruptcy or have been sold to other firms recently. If more carmakers adopt the idea, we could see Pininfarina and Bertone return to their former glory. Ghia and Vignale could also roll out more intriguing designs instead of Ford trim lines. And why not, maybe we could witness rivals of iconic coachbuilders like Frua, Karmann, Gurney Nutting, Vanden Plas, and Fleetwood.

I can dream, can’t I?

References

Aston Martin Vanquish


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake - image 740277

Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster - image 726604

Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Volvo Shamelessly Reheated an Old Concept to Revive Polestar

As much as I’m in love with the 1950s and 1960s when it comes to car designs, the automotive industry is living a golden era as we speak. The variety is incredible, there are plenty of attractive offers at dealerships, and nearly every car, no matter how affordable, packs a ton of tech that makes life behind the steering wheel easier. But this golden era also comes with a lot of bullshit, ranging from fancy and unnecessary PR talk to bragging about performance figures that aren’t that great. And of course, trying to justify overpriced special-edition model with extra features that are either barely noticeable or useless. Which brings me to the latest car that’s getting everyone excited: the Polestar 1.

A while back Volvo decided that Polestar should also make its own cars besides tuning what’s already available in dealerships. Polestar delivered and announced the 1. I mean the Polestar 1, because the “1” nameplate doesn’t make much sense by itself. Everyone got excited! Oh my God, pretty coupe, powerful hybrid drivetrain, shut up and take my money! Well no, the Polestar 1 doesn’t deserve all the attention. And it doesn’t deserve your hard-earned money. Let me explain.

Continue reading for the full story.

Can You Handle the Truth?


2013 Volvo Concept Coupe - image 520429
“It's just a mildly revised and renamed version of a concept car that Volvo unveiled in 2013”

Because it’s a reheated concept car from 2013!

There you go.

Now you know.

My mission here is done.

Have a nice weekend!

Damn it, I can’t do this. I can’t stop writing unless I rant for a while, so you’re getting the long version.

I’m not trying to say that you’ve been living under a rock or anything, but if you’re among those that got really excited about the Polestar 1, you probably are! Because the Polestar 1 is anything but new. It’s just a mildly revised and renamed version of a concept car that Volvo unveiled in 2013. It’s called the Concept Coupe and even though it had only two doors, it was used to preview the S90 sedan and the company’s current design language. And yes, people got excited and began wondering whether Volvo will actually make a coupe version of the then-upcoming sedan. It didn’t happen, but Volvo obviously had a plan to give Polestar more autonomy and a lineup of its own.

Good idea? Definitely! But everything died when the Polestar 1 was unveiled. Because it’s a Concept Coupe with a new grille, reshaped front bumper, new wheels, and larger side mirrors. Or should I say a Volvo with a Polestar badge and grille?


2018 Polestar 1 - image 739271
“Give me some carbon-fiber, some unique trim, and we can talk expensive price tags”

And you know what else is wrong with it? The cabin is identical to the S90. There’s nothing wrong with that, because the S90 has a gorgeous interior, but it doesn’t even qualify as a luxury or performance upgrade over the sedan. I mean come on, the idea is to give customers a higher performance version of the S90, but in a two-door format, right? Something to rival offerings from Mercedes-AMG and BMW M. Well, replacing the badge on the steering wheel and removing the wood veneer from the dashboard and door panels ain’t gonna cut the mustard. Give me some carbon-fiber, some unique trim, and we can talk expensive price tags.

Yes, expensive. This thing is gonna cost a lot of dough. Volvos are already pretty expensive compared to their German counterparts and the Polestar will add even more premium to that price tag. It will probably cost as much as the AMGs and the Ms, if not more, and at this point I think they will be too expensive for what they offer. Then there’s the fact that you won’t be able to buy it as a regular car, but only through the company’s subscription program. But it’s not the program itself that bugs me, but the fact that customers might not be ready to purchase cars this way. It seems that Volvo just wants to make things a bit complicated for the sake of being different. And I like a different approach, but not this time around.


2018 Polestar 1 - image 738878

Look Volvo, I understand what you’re trying to do here. You want to be like everyone else and have a superior line with added performance. And you want a different badge for that, because that’s what’s cool nowadays. And fortunately you have Polestar for that. But this isn’t the way to go. Make something entirely new, innovate. Or at least don’t act like the Concept Coupe never existed.

Tesla Is a Whiny Old Man


2018 Tesla Model 3 - image 727971
“Tesla is in fact a whiny old man that can't handle a bit of criticism”

Tesla may be an electric car manufacturer based on the products it sells, but it’s in fact a whiny old man that can’t handle a bit of criticism. It’s been like that ever since the Model S came out, but things got worse when Consumer Reports revoked the maximum rating it gave the all-electric sedan. It’s when Tesla began accusing the publication of singling out its cars for being unsafe and unreliable. Butthurt much? Now, Tesla got upset when Consumer Reports’ reliability scores for the year gave the new Model 3 an “average” score.

Granted, I understand Tesla’s rant over Consumer Reports giving scores for a car its has yet to test (the Model 3 is not yet available), but the outlet has been doing the same with other nameplates too. The Kia Stinger, for instance, received the same “average” score, and I haven’t seen the Korean brand release angry statements so far. And I don’t see why Tesla makes such a big deal out of this. It’s not like customers will cancel preorders based on a statistic made by Consumer Reports. Based on consumers’ experiences with other vehicles from the company, in this case the Model S. After all, it’s true that the Model 3 is using many of the same components as the Model S, so it’s not that outrageous to consider the issues of the latter.


2018 Tesla Model 3 - image 727972
“Less complaining on the Internet, more working on improving your products”

I truly believe that Tesla customers are smarter than that and CR’s new report won’t affect Model 3 sales in any way. What’s more, once Consumer Reports gets its hands on the new sedan, which will happen once it becomes available, a more accurate report will be released. Tesla is acting rather silly here and coming up with all sorts of conspiracy scenarios is childish and makes Elon Musk’s company sound whiny as hell. And I don’t want that from a brand that’s supposed to innovate and change the way we view electric cars. Build quality issues are real. When pointed out, you must fix them. Less complaining on the Internet, more working on improving your products. Is it that hard?

References

Polestar 1


2018 Polestar 1 - image 739271

Read our full review on the 2018 Polestar 1.

Volvo S90 Sedan


2017 Volvo S90 - image 658241

Read our full review on the 2017 Volvo S90.


2013 Volvo Concept Coupe - image 520468

Read our full review on the 2013 Volvo Concept Coupe.

Tesla Model 3


2018 Tesla Model 3 - image 725394

Read our full review on the 2018 Tesla Model 3.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Dumb Decisions Made in Japan

Nothing like a Friday 13th to end your work week, huh? Well, I’m not the superstitious type, but it’s on this day that I found out that Honda isn’t making a baby NSX. And that’s particularly upsetting since the design patent believed to be an upcoming sports car turned out to be just another Vision Gran Turismo thing. Nothing like getting a virtual car for a video game instead of an actual vehicle that could be really cool. Yuck!

In case you’re not familiar with the matter, a design patent that surfaced the web a while back hinted at a new Honda sports car. Its design was based on the bonkers NSX, it had a mid-engined layout, and it was smaller. This also meant it was lighter and more affordable. Like a dream come true, right? Well, it’s not gonna happen. Honda just wanted to make a Vision car for the upcoming Gran Turismo Sport video game. What a sad day…

Continue reading for the full story.

We Want It, Honda Needs It!


2009 Honda S2000 - image 261606
“Come on Honda, we need a new S2000 but with the engine behind the seats”

The NSX is cool and all, but it’s also extremely expensive for the average Joe. And that’s exactly why a baby NSX is a good idea. Let’s say it would be a great competitor for the Porsche Cayman with a price tag between $55,000 to $60,000. Without an electric motor of course. Or at least with the option to get a range-topping hybrid model, but with a gasoline-only base car that delivers around 300 horsepower. And Honda would benefit greatly from such an offering, especially in the U.S.

But no, they’re more interested in having a Vision Gran Turismo car in a stupid video game. Yeah, I know, marketing and stuff, but it’s still an awful idea when you don’t have that many exciting cars on offer. Come on Honda, we need a new S2000 but with the engine behind the seats. Make it happen already!

Lexus Loves to Waste Time


2018 Lexus LC Structural Blue Edition - image 737618
“Why in the hell would you spend 15 years to make a special paint?”

Now listen to this! Lexus just launched a new paint for LC coupe, and it made a big deal about how it spent 15 years to create it. Yup, 15 years. Not weeks or months, 15 freaking years. For paint. That thing that gets scratched and fades away from enduring sunny, hot summers after snowy, freezing winters.

The new paint is called Structural Blue, and you saw it for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show. Granted, it’s gorgeous to look, and it’s not the typical blue you get from other carmakers. But it’s still paint, and it’s still blue. It’s far from amazing. So why the big fuss? Well, Lexus says it spent a lot of time to create a color that’s “more blue” than anything seen before. Much sense, such wow!

“I can live without the bluest blue out there”

Okay, okay, this one’s is more serious to read: Lexus says the specific hue it wanted to create was so complex that it required 40 separate layers. Sounds difficult and expensive to create. So it worked on it until it managed to obtain it with just a seven-layer structure. That’s great progress from a technique point of view, but I’m still missing on what they actually did in those 15 years.

And why in the hell would you spend 15 years to make a special paint? Entire cars need less than that to be designed, built, showcased, and launched. Heck, in 15 years we get two and a half generations of any popular car out there. That’s five models including the facelifts. Maybe Lexus should spend more time on improving some of its design. I can live without the bluest blue out there, but I can’t stand that ugly front grille and headlamps arrangement. Get your damn priorities straight!

References

Acura NSX


2019 Baby Acura NSX - image 634346

Read our full review on the 2019 Acura Baby NSX.

Lexus LC


2018 Lexus LC Structural Blue Edition - image 737617

Read our full review on the 2018 Lexus LS Structural Blue.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Here’s Why the Nissan Leaf Nismo Will Suck

If you’ve been following me, you probably know that Nissan is my favorite brand. Yeah, I know, why can’t I be a normal person and worship brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini or Bugatti? Well, I’m not in the mood to write a piece on why I like Nissan, so I’ll explain it in a few simple sentences. I think that cars made by this brand come with a lot of bang for the buck, I love its latest design language, and the massive efforts it makes to keep all motorsport projects alive. I also think that the Maxima, Juke, and Murano are exotic vehicles in their respective niches and that almost every other car or crossover have what it takes to give the competition a run for its money.

But I admit that Nissan has its own flaws. For starters, both the 370Z and GT-R are getting a bit too long in the tooth, which leaves the brand without a solid sports car lineup. Second, the Rogue and Rogue Sport are too damn similar, and the $3,000 price difference between them has cannibalization written all over it. And third, I simply can’t forgive them for giving up on the GT-R LM Nismo project at Le Mans. Nissan just gave up too soon. Which brings me to today’s rant: why can’t Nissan build every Nismo the proper way, as in with a significantly more powerful engine than the standard model? More specifically, why in the hell is the Leaf Nismo Concept — and at the same time the upcoming production car — just a regular Leaf with a nicer appearance? It’s so frustrating!

Continue reading for the full story.

What’s Wrong with the Leaf Nismo Concept?


2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept - image 735737
“Nismo means more power and enhanced performance, and this is exactly what I can't find in this concept car”

I could say nothing because it has a cool, sporty exterior packed with Nismo-specific features. Seen from the outside, it says what a proper Nismo should say: “I look cool, and I’m faster, more powerful than my standard sibling.” The interior isn’t bad either with all that contrast stitching and the sportier seats. I could spend hours in that cabin with a big smile on my face every day. But it all becomes disappointing under the hood, where the Leaf Nismo Concept is just a regular Leaf.

Am I being picky here? Some would say yes because the new Leaf is significantly more powerful than the outgoing model, it has a better range, and it has many new features that make it more exciting to drive. But, I’m not. Nismo means more horsepower and enhanced performance by tradition, and this is exactly what I can’t find in this concept car.

Why Is This a Problem?


2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept - image 735736
“A production Leaf Nismo with the same specs as the standard Leaf wouldn't do much to help Nissan in the current EV market”

For starters, I’m pretty certain that the production Leaf Nismo will be 99-percent identical to the concept car. Just look at it, it’s basically ready to go on the production line. The design add-ons are similar to those seen on production Nismo models, and those interior updates are definitely doable, simply because they aren’t such a big deal. And, the drivetrain… well, the drivetrain is already in production and a revised suspension isn’t something that Nissan and Nismo couldn’t develop immediately.

The big issue is that a production Leaf Nismo with the same specs as the standard Leaf wouldn’t do much to help Nissan in the current EV market. Sure, some would pay the premium to get that sexy exterior so sales wouldn’t be bad, but the issue here is that Nissan actually needs a more powerful version of the Leaf. With an output of 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet, the standard Leaf falls behind the Chevrolet Bolt (200 horsepower, 266 pound-feet) and it will probably do the same compared to the upcoming Tesla Model 3. The same happens in the range department, with the Leaf being able to deliver 150 miles, whereas both the Bolt and Model 3 are returning in excess of 200 miles.

A proper Leaf Nismo version would reduce that deficit — and maybe even deliver matching performance — but for some reason, Nissan doesn’t want that yet…

It Already Happened


2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept - image 735735

Sadly, the Leaf Nismo won’t be the first Nismo to lack proper engine/motor upgrades. While the GT-R and Juke received notable drivetrain updates with the Nismo badge, cars like the Sentra, Patrol, Note, and Micra didn’t. And don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Nismo as an appearance and suspension package, but it’s been a while since Nissan launched a proper Nismo car with a noteworthy engine under the hood.

References

Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept


2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept - image 735734

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept.

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