FINAL REPORT - scroll down for earlier reports“Do you know what?” my partner asked me as we homed back in on Calais after 1500 miles in a week in the BMW 320d xDrive, adding those to the 15,000 miles racked up in the previous 11 months. “I’m really going to miss this car.” Why did she think that? “I don’t know why...”Ah. But as strange as it sounds, I’m with her on that. Well, I do know why, but I understand what she meant: the 3 Series is one of those cars that gets pretty much every little thing right, in such an unassuming way, that it makes life with it so easy, enjoyable and rewarding almost without you ever really noticing it.Whatever the 3 Series’ status and reputation as a stellar car to drive and a fine all-rounder, though, it still arrived in our possession last summer with a lot to prove. Back then, it had just undergone a facelift and its position as the star pupil of the class it had ruled for so long was under … [Read more...] about BMW 320d long-term test review: all the car you’d ever need?
1100 words you need to know
Suddenly, it’s 1973 again. That big SUV in your garage feels as modern as a Nixon-era Olds 88. Global warming and our everlasting oil dependency are dimming the prospects of GM and Ford following Chrysler into the rear-drive V-8 sedan business. You could drive yourself to work in a Toyota Prius or one of the stealthier hybrids, but even at $3 per, the hybrid won’t pay off for years. By then, the interest on your adjustable-rate mortgage could be sky high. The good news is that, when it comes to finding a cheap, economical commuter-combat car, it’s not 1973 anymore. No more Datsun B-210s or Honda Civic CVCCs. Of course, your target price is now “under $20,000,” not “under $3000.” The Civic and the Sentra, the latter having been on the market since about the time Datsun was changing its name to Nissan, are no longer their brands’ entry-level cars. The Mitsubishi Lancer, having reached near oblivion as a no-money-down special since it … [Read more...] about Comparison: 2007 Honda Civic vs 2007 Hyundai Elantra vs 2007 Mitsubishi Lancer vs 2007 Nissan Sentra
20 Years And CountingIt hardly seems possible, but Circle Track magazine is 20 years old. In motorsports terms, if something has been around for 20 years, you can bet it is well worth your time. Circle Track has been there, done that, and moved along with time, the changing patterns of both the sport and the economy and the faddish nature of American culture. Circle Track was born from the fertile mind of Bob Petersen and nursed into being by the firm hand and quick wits of C.J. Baker. The brainchild of car guys with a bent for motorsports, Circle Track was founded to be the place racers turned for racing tech answers, entertainment, and news. Writers like Bob Myers, Bill Von Helmolt, Bill Auda, and West Coast wordsmith Joe Scalzo, gave racers info by the bucketful, as evidenced by the Tech Index you’ll find in this issue. In 1982, there was no 24-hour access to motorsports unless you were involved on the team or series level. Cable TV was a shadow of what it is today, and the … [Read more...] about The History of Circle Track Magazine – Turn Five
The Legend is as old as the muscle car—a guy buys a cool muscle car, say a Boss 429, drives it 25 miles before getting shipped off to Vietnam, and never returns. The distraught family stuck the car in a barn to avoid dealing with the painful memory associated with it, until decades later when some gearhead stumbles upon it. Whether or not that has ever happened in reality, it makes for a good dream scenario and drives enthusiast like us to constantly be on the lookout for hidden gems. Sometimes a kid trips over a gold nugget, but rarely. After writing Rare Finds monthly for 25 years in four different car magazines, here are the 10 most common ways that Jerry Heasley has noticed people discover Rare Finds. 10. No-Secret “I’m in a Ford car club. We’d sit around and talk about this car,” John Morris of Marydel, Delaware said. Nobody could buy the ultrarare 1968½ Cobra Jet coupe until Charlie MacFarland died. The heirs wanted the car sold so they could … [Read more...] about Top 10 Ways to Search Out Rare Finds
Normally at international car shows it’s easy to pick trends. It’ll be plug-in hybrids, or SUVs, or autonomous cars - or simply cars with too much horsepower - that seem to lead most manufacturers in a particular direction. This year's Geneva motor show did what people have praised it for down the years: it had everything. The Swiss city's biggest motor event has always been popular with exhibitors and attendees because it’s no-one’s home turf. Tata meets Porsche and Subaru meets SsangYong on neutral territory, and the amount of attention anyone gets has nothing to do with a home advantage. You win notice strictly on merit, which is why everyone seems to bring their best work to the expanding-but-still-manageable collection of exhibition halls beside Geneva’s convenient airport. Aston Martin probably took the honours with DB11, simply because a completely new Aston is such a rare event, and everyone seems to love the company at … [Read more...] about 2016 Geneva motor show report and photo gallery
► Range Rover Sport long-term test diary► Our version is a 3.0 SDV6 HSE Dynamic► Sporting pretensions but still an RR at heartAs a nation we seem to have forgotten our suspicion of SUVs. I handed my Range Rover Sport back just as this car and its maker seemed to be reaching new heights of public adoration.In December Land Rover auctioned the two millionth Defender for an astonishing £400,000, and the following month Defender production finally ceased after 68 years. These two events reminded us of the contribution Land Rovers (and Range Rovers) have made to the nation. They were transport for our farmers, soldiers and explorers, they were the advance guard of Britain’s post-war export drive, and have been big overseas earners ever since.At about the same time, and rather more trivially, James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke films went as viral as Spanish Flu. The new Late Late Show host drives (or is trailered) around Hollywood in a Range Rover Sport, … [Read more...] about Range Rover Sport (2016) long-term test review
Sight, touch, smell, taste and sound. They are the five senses that define all human experiences. And all of them except taste (maybe) are also what defines your motorcycling experience. However, the one sense that rules above all has to be the sound. The sound that a motorcycle makes has to be the most defining characteristic it has. The growl of a V4, the scream of an inline-four and the whine of a triple are all examples of one of the most defining traits of any motorcycle.And today, my head is about to explode, thanks to all three of these delivering their music to my ears one after the other. This has to be the most unlikely set of motorcycles we have brought together. An exotic Italian, a Brit brute and a Japanese assassin. And each of them with a soundtrack of its own. Hello guv'nor! The Speed Triple might be feeling a little old now, but it can still blow you away with some serious performance. And if you're willing to rough her up a bit, she's a lot of fun tooIt is an … [Read more...] about Comparo: Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory vs Suzuki GSX-S1000 vs Triumph Speed Triple
At just 10:30 AM the sun was already near its full zenith and it beat down upon the city of Osaka with an intense, angry glare. Waves of heat shimmered up from the pavement and superheated the air which blew around in tepid, weak breezes that offered little respite. Perhaps later, the column of heat created by the great city’s many square miles of pavement would spark a sudden thunderstorm as it rose high into the stratosphere and the resultant rain would bring relief as it cascaded down and turned the streets into raging torrents. For now, however, there was only the glare of the sun, the stifling heat and, for me, the thought that riding an 1100 cc air cooled sport bike in a full set of leathers was a choice I should have avoided making.The morning had begun as all summer mornings do in Japan, with the incessant shrieking of cicadas and the knowledge that sweltering heat and insufferable humidity were to follow. Regardless, my bike had sat unused for far too many days and I … [Read more...] about Close Encounters of the Japanese Kind
It might look like a still from a video game, but what you see here is the nearly finished design of the forthcoming AM-RB 001, the joint collaboration between Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing. Its makers aim to claim the title of fastest street- legal car in the world—by a considerable margin—when it arrives, probably late next year. It could create a whole new category of car in need of a fresh prefix, over and beyond super-, mega-, and even hypercars. It’s an extraordinary-looking thing, with a tiny passenger compartment and a motorsport-style “keel” running beneath the car, and the 001’s aerodynamic mission is demonstrated by the fact that the face it presents to the wind is as much gap as it is bodywork. According to Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s chief creative officer, approximately 100 copies will be built—the final figure is still being decided—with two variants, one being fully street legal and one being track only. … [Read more...] about Aston Martin and Red Bull’s $3 Million Hypercar Is Here: Meet the 2018 AM-RB 001
Note: A bug in the GPS software inverted the overall and moving averages. After this paragraph, you’ll have the chance to read nearly 6,300 words about the fastest transcontinental drive in history. Most of the important stuff is near the top; the rest of it is a detail-oriented interview with Alex for the community of fans across the country who live and die for this sort of thing. A personal disclaimer: In my opinion, having the “transcontinental record” is an accomplishment roughly on the same level as having the most awesome fox suit at a furry convention. But TTAC isn’t a charity. It’s a business. And we need those sweet, sweet clicks. Integrity? What’s that? — jb“I’ve always said I’d never do this again, but as a minor Bond villain put it, never say never.”So says Alex Roy – the Doctor Evil of illegal long-distance driving events. According to Roy, women want him, and men want to be him. According to actual … [Read more...] about NY to LA. 26 Hours. 28 Minutes. With A GT-R-Powered, Dual-Control Infiniti Q50.