X-raid Mini ALL4 Racing – Dakar Rally Winner


The fastest version of the not-so-mini Mini Countryman is the John Cooper Works (JCW) version. John Cooper himself will need to have been spinning in his grave when he found out about that one: the initialshare with you another version of the Mini Countryman, and it also, too, has all-wheel drive. And while you can’t acquire one from your local dealership, we suspect Mr. Cooper would approve. You’re looking at the Dakar Rally winning Mini ALL4 Racing, an extreme race machine, purpose-built by X-raid in Trebur, Germany.

Admittedly, to think of it a Mini Countryman is stretching the purpose somewhat, because the only parts shared with the biggest Mini are definitely thebigger than the road car’s. Don’t think for a minute that it’s a lightweight structure, though.part ofWhich he, alongside co-driver Michel Perin, endured six-hour stints at the wheel in cabin temps up to 120 degrees F reveals just how mighty their achievement was.

It’s a bit cooler for your test in the middle of open desert not not even close to Dubai. And it also was only a point of time before somebody asked if the racer had air cooling, it’s above 100 degrees F. It doesn’t, incidentally, unless you count the roof-mounted airscoop that can be manually closed and openedin and approximately to terrify co-driver Michel Périn.

Nonetheless, there’s excessive to learn about the vehicle to be worrying about comfort. I’m strapped into the Recaro seat with a six-point Sparco harness, and my co-driver shakes my hand before rattling throughout the controls.

I’ll never complain again about a haphazard dashboard layout, because the Mini was plain bewildering. Very little is familiar.

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I spot items such as the speed limiter control. It works much like a pit lane limiter and is suited for the public road sections, where competitors must adhere to speed limits for safety. It’s monitored instantly by the authorities via satellite tracking which means you don’t wish to forget it.

There are controls for the lockable differentials plus much more, including several display monitors, one of which wouldn’t look out of place in an engine test cell. It has direct accessibility bespoke ECU and allows the co-driver to monitor every facet ofIt will alert him if measurements go outside safe limits (temperatures and pressures mainly), allowing detailed analysis if needed, so he can speak to the team in the satellite phone to identify or rectify any issue. That’s not allowed traveling, however, which is just as well, as we were about to discover…

The only controls that demanded my attention related to keeping the Mini going in approximately the correct direction as quickly as I could manage. I’m most certainly not about to destroy the beast because this very car is due back in competitive action a few daysto make use of. That was created in a bid to reduce driver fatigue, undoubtedly. The steering wheel is normal, if detachable to help ease entry, where there are three pedals in the footwell.

I’m told the Mini All4 Racing clutch pedal is only necessary to move away from a standstill, so that’s one less thing to worry about. The Sadev sequential transmission is controlled by way of a substantial lever that sits next to the steering wheel-pull back to change up, push forward to decline. Easy. And it’s light in operation.

2014 mini ALL4 racing user interfaceFirst and feather the throttle. The revs flare. This doesn’t sound like a typical turbodiesel engine… There’s no requirement for revs to consider off with a great deal torque on tap. It is designed to wade through mud and deep sand, or anything else that gets in its way, so the development engineers focused entirely on torque instead of outright power.

At the heart from the engine, which can be mounted deep in the chassis at the front, sat quite far back, is a straight-six BMW 3.0L turbodiesel. It uses twin sequential turbochargers, with the smaller turbo always spinning. Which means there’s no lag. A bypass valve is opened gradually allowing the exhaust gases to spin the bigger turbo, helping it make the 516 lb-ft of torque.

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Moreimpressively and perhaps, is that this occurs at just 2,100 rpm, and it’s plain weird to change up not long after that. The deep reserves of grunt at low revs make themselves known as we enter a 180-degree hairpin in soft, rutted sand. It is like the car will almost certainly bog down. My co-driver shakes his head and tells me to hold the gas pedal pinned. Sure enough, there’s a gradual accumulation of boost and the car suddenly rises out of the ruts and throws itself toward the nearest sand dune.

I sense my co-driver tense as he suggests slowing down to the jump rather late. We have some air, but my ego comes crashing right down to earth by using a bang since the car’s weight conspires with gravity to bury us in the sand. It’s no match for the Mini, though, therefore we emerge on the other side in a cloud of dust and a burst of revs.you would expect this to get relatively comfortable, thanks to the soft sand, high-profile tires, and long-travel suspension, you’d be as surprised as I was to discover the ALL4 Racing features a hard, uncomfortable ride, jiggling its occupants on relatively smooth surfaces and pounding them mercilessly over rutted and broken terrain. After 30 minutes in the wheel, I’m bruised but exhilarated.

Right after a efforts and breather to get my thoughts, it’s time for you to play the co-driver as Nani takes the wheel to demonstrate me exactly what the Mini can really do. Within yards, it’s clear I didn’t scratch the top of theas he commits 100 percent to ruts, bumps and corners and jumps. It’s not comfortable (in fact, it’s violent), but it really sure as hell works well. Every time a wheel loses contact with the ground, it quickly returns to terra firma, allowing complete confidence in where car will likely be pointing afterward.

Nani hits the hairpins at greater speeds, using the power and four-wheel drive.

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If the racer will probably topple over, as it certainly pitches about when changed into a corner-it’s a high vehicle, even in his hands, occasionally I wonder. Yet Nani is in the zone and we’re soon attacking a series of sand dunes at speed. This is apparently normal to the car and driver, as neither seemed the least bit fazed at the conclusion of the ordeal, although every landing is torture.

You might not be able to order a Mini ALL4 Racing from the factory, but if you possess the cash, the X-raid team will gladly include you in their program.most powerful engine from theTechnology Underbody flaps produce downforce or reduce drag as needed

Electronics Side Slip Angle Control is perfectimagineSome time five seconds: While driving in traffic on your way to work, this small segment of your energy takes longer to describe than actually experience. Yet at Fiorano racetrack, Ferrari hallowed home circuit of, 1.5 seconds is an eternity.

Ferrari originally built Fiorano in 1972 to give the organization a benchmark for development and testing. The 1.86-mile circuit has 12 curves, and it has a good driver in a very good car to lap 1.5 seconds quicker than the1 minute, 23.5 seconds around Fiorano, the 458 Speciale was exactly 1.5 seconds faster than the standard 458 Italia, and 1.4 seconds faster than the legendary Ferrari Enzo.

2012 Ferrari 458 Spider – First Drive

There’s little wrong with all the 458 Italia to start with, as well as the improvements Ferrari has wrought for the Speciale are in the same vein because the 360 Challenge 430 and Stradale Scuderia. These are derived from the classic trifecta of increased power, less weight, andmaking it the most powerful engine of its kind that Ferrari has ever produced.

Boasting a specific production of 135 hp/liter, the engine features a new crankshaft, pistons, rod bushes, combustion chambers, camshafts, and a host of mods that strengthened the internals. With its incredible 14: 1 compression ratio and 9,000-rpm rev limit, it demands a strict diet of top-quality fuel.

The result is a power hike from your Italia’s 570 hp to 605 hp at 9,000 rpm. If the peak of 400 lb-ft at 6,000 rpm remains unchanged, Torque also improved across the board, even.In the Speciale it feels almost explosive, although acceleration always felt strong. And also the enhanced seven-speed F1 dual-clutch gearbox now fires 20 % faster 44 and upshifts percent faster downshifts.

Between the first three ratios, the rev counter needle races round the dial so rapidly, the eyes and brain are grateful for the red warning flashes that arrive a split second ahead of the rev limiter arrives.

It all helps, and full noise throughout the gears delivers -60 mph in 2.8 seconds, although quite frankly, shift speed is now at the point where any more improvement is just of academic interest.

On the other end from the scale, the 398mm front and 360mm rear carbon-ceramic brakes the engineers say are almost straight from LaFerrari bring a brand new meaning towards the phrase throwing out the anchor!

In the event the standard- fit four-point harnesses will leave a permanent impression on your own shoulders, they work so well, it feels as. Mean-while, the steering is so direct and precise, it makes the remarkable 458 Italia’s responses feel relatively sedate.

Aerodynamic fine-tuning reduced drag and increased downforce. Depending on speed, one horizontal and two vertical flaps right in front end move to increase radiator airflow at low speeds and reduce lift above 105 mph.

The larger rear spoiler increases downforce over the rear axle at speed, while active underbody rear flaps are adjusted as expected to either produce more downforce or reduce drag by stalling airflow to the rear diffuser.

From the cabin, non-essential items for example the glovebox, leather interior trim, door panel armrests, and the standard center console were removed. Including the sound insulation was substituted for thinner, lighter materials. Lightweight race seats and thinner rear glass added to this list of weight- pruning measures.

The body weight saving trail even led to the more effective air intake system, cutting 17.6 pounds away from the 458 Italia intake. The effect was a total weight decrease in 198 pounds and a more intense soundtrack for occupants, even if the external levels remain EU regulation-friendly.

In Sport mode, the re-calibrated magnetorheo-logical frequency-dependent damping is noticeably firmer compared to the standard 458, but Comfort mode enables you to dial some semblance of normality back into the ride when you’re sauntering along. The Comfort setting also retards the engine and gearbox reflexes back from Defcon Two, lowering your adrenalin rush at the same time.

Race mode is much like Defcon One. Too edgy for most public roads, its natural environment is the racetrack, where full throttle and full braking-with little else in between-is the order of the day.

While Pirelli continues its long-standing partnership of all Ferrari models, the Speciale’s 20×9-inch and 11-inch forged wheels wear 245/305 and 35/30 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber. This is the 1st time track day tires have featured on a production, street-legal Ferrari-by using these allowing the Speciale to pull 1.33 g of lateral acceleration.

While some rival manufacturers are adopting similar footwear for his or her limited edition lightweight models, Ferrari has always been wary of the reduced tread depth that makes hydroplaning more likely if the driver pushes too hard in wet conditions. The Italians were finally convinced that Michelin’s latest Cup 2 tires won’t relinquish their grip inside the bounds of common sense, however. So Ferrari adopted the bespoke rubber to maximize the car’s steeringhandling and response, and grip.

In my experience, track day rubber may be worth a second or two a lap, so I was frankly surprised the performance trifecta didn’t actually produce a much larger gap between the two 458 variants. Looked at a different way, rather than as an indictment of any more expensive Speciale, it’s actually a evidence of how good the standard Italia is, over three years on.

It also shows-and you’ll only realize after driving both cars-that the additional money isn’t for purely empirical improvements up against the stopwatch. Your cash pays for the greater number of visceral experience that reaches out to you through the controls, grabs the seat of your respective pants, and hammers at your eardrums when you’re in attack mode.

The Speciale delivers a degree of involvement few cars at any price can match, and in an accessible way, even if you’re only piloting this low-flying machine at two thirds of its ability.

An added setting around the familiar Manettino controls a whole new function with addictive potential. Ferrari’s rather tortuous good name for the system is Side Slip Angle Control (SSC). It allows you to drive sideways under power with all the ESP fully engaged by balancing the interplay in between the ESC stability control, third generation E-diff, and engine torque. Unofficially, it’s the right drifting aid.

The high-resolution sensors and ECU mapping were designed to differentiate between a situation in which the car is running out of grip, and one wherein the driver is deliberately provoking oversteer.

Inside the latter situation, the sensors ascertain the optimum steering angle, throttle position, engine revs, and tire slip for a given point in a bend. By reacting in milliseconds, the system removes exactly the right amount of throttle as required, while adjusting the E-differential’s locking action to help you achieve the most suitable cornering attitude, because so many drivers tend to apply an excessive amount of throttle whenever a car begins to lose adhesion at the driven wheels.

Working seamlessly, you never feel the SSC is intrusive or abrupt like some traction control systems used to be. Smooth and progressive, it makes a typical driver look good, and a good driver seem like a hero.

Of course, you are able to still turn everything off, but then you’re on your own with a decent chance of spinning if you overcook things.

While electronics play a major role in the Speciale’s dynamic makeup, making them transparent and ensuring they support the car’s immensespeed and excitement, and driver involvement is a major achievement. Retaining the user friendliness and driving ease of the essential Ferrari 458 is another. The Ferrari 458 Speciale is unquestionably well named.

How to Actually Make Money as a Singer Songwriter

In this day and age it’s nearly impossible to make money as an independent singer songwriter. Many people think it’s actually physically impossible but the truth of the matter is that there is a way. And it’s not as difficult as you think, you just have to know what to do and how to do it. Many people think they can’t tour and make money until they have label support – but that’s an old construct that is simply not realistic anymore. you need to show that you can make money and tour successfully before any label will even take you on. So what do you need to know?


First and foremost, you have to actually go on tour. No one’s going to do it for you at first. You won’t be able to get any sort of quality booking agent before you can book your own independent tour on your own. So just start booking a little mini tour. Shoot some emails out to places along the routing that you choose. Go for a little long weekend run, or do 2 weeks out. The point is to keep going out and starting. Look at coffee shops, places that may not pay you a lot, but will let you play on other days of the week other than Friday and Saturday nights. You will eventually be able to work your way up if you just get started. You don’t even have to be that good – you just have to work hard, keep at it, and be cool to make friends along the way.


Then you got to get the right wheels for the job. You need something reliable that will be able to get you there and around the country, while not sucking down gas, and not being a very obvious touring vehicle. If you’re in something that looks obviously like a musician’s car, you’re going to set yourself up for being robbed (especially if you go to St. Louis). Check out the used cars in San Bernardino, there are going to be some great options for the newbie singer songwriter. It won’t only be Nissans at that place, cause they take trade ins from other car manufacturers. And if all else fails, head to Metro Nissan Redlands because they can get you some great deals on cars that will definitely help you move about the country freely and easily.


Since you won’t be able to command huge guarantees in your first few months and years, you’re going to want to get some merchandise to sell. Even if you make $20 from a coffee shop in NowheresVille USA, you can at least sell a few CDs, or beer koozies or other such merchandise to the people there and get money for that gas tank. There are a lot of options for cheap merchandise that will really make a huge difference for you and will make that tour successful instead of total and utter failure.

1991-1994 Mercedes-Benz 500E / E500 W124 – Classic Revisited


The Panamera is not the 1st sedan Porsche has ever made. Years before, the company built the Type 2758, more often called the Mercedes-Benz 500E. This is based on the W124 generation (1985 to 1996) in the three-pointed star’s ever-popular premium midsize sedan.

After the 959 and 928 models ceased production, Porsche required to drum up some business to keep its line in Rossle-Bau, Zuffenhausen from falling idle. It really so happened that Mercedes-Benz wanted something with entice drivers who weren’t chauffeurs or popes. The answer had been aa time when the AMG tuning house was still an independent company and its great claim to fame was the Hammer, based, again, around the W124 and powered by a rudely muscular V8 to reach a top speed of 190 mph. The 500E (whose proper code number is W124.036; some people like this stuff) went for more modest engine power but could still hit 60 mph in less than 6 seconds, which was fast in those days.

Propulsion comes from M-B’s M119 engine. Also energizing the Mercedes-Benz 500SL, it’s a 5.-liter V8 renowned for being able to cover half a million kilometers without skipping a beat, provided that it’s maintained properly. Remember, this is the era when Mercedes-Benz over-engineered everything. Variable valve timing around theelasticity and strength of the engine’s 354 lb-ft of torque turn this into gearbox easy to live with. That drive goes to the rear wheels turned by an R126 axle.

The brakes also came from the 500SL, with 11.8-inch ventilated front disks bitten by four-piston calipers. Rear discs are 10.9 inches and ventilated, no matter model year.

1994 Mercedes-Benz E500 Limited – Feature Car

It’s generally challenging to tell a Mercedes-Benz 500E from most of its W124 brethren, though a lower front lip helps make a distinction. A wider track (by 1.5 inches), as well as wider wheels and tires, means larger flares on top of the wheelwells. The auto left the factory with 16-inch alloy wheels; the standard models had 15-inchers. And thanks to a suspension re-tuned by Porsche (using Bilstein shock absorbers), the 500E sits .9 inches lower than standard.

Jamming a V8 into the engine bay left no room for the battery, so that was relocated towards the trunk.

To stay in one of the four leather-covered Recaro seats (the fronts are heated) is usually to enjoy a serene wood-trimmed cabin where you could almost be oblivious on the quickly gathering momentum if a person neglected to check the speedometer. Only slightly worrying is the fact that some early versions didn’t possess any airbags.

Each car is virtually handmade and took 18 days to build. Compare that with the 3 days required to build a regular W124 E-Class. Completion rate was an average of 10 cars a day.

The essential bodies in white arrived of Mercedes-Benz’s Sindelfingen plant, headed to Porsche’s Rossle-Bau line at Zuffenhausen, in order to the north of Stuttgart, for structural mods. Then back to Sindelfingen for painting and rustproofing. And finally back to Rossle-Bau (where10,000 examples were produced, with 1,500 or so seeing the United States. That was the final run of 12 cars made for Switzerland if you ever see an E500 Limited by having an even plusher interior. There’s an ultra-rare E60 AMG version in the Mercedes-Benz E500 packing a 381hp 6.-liter version in the M119 V8, with an AMG suspension and AMG twin-outlet exhaust.

The name went from 500E to E500 for the 1994 model year face-lift that applied to the entire E-Class range. The E500 now took the 12.6-inch front brake discs from the SL600. Sadly, 1994 U.S.-spec models also saw a 7hp downturn; blame emissions regulations.

As well as looking out for the usual stuff-bashed alloy wheels, general signs of abuse, uneven tire wear, if the heavy seller has ruined the cushioning of the driver’s seat, etc.-possible buyers should also be aware of a few other specific things. The main problem seems to be the engine wiring harness, a problem shared with many Mercedes-Benz cars from this period. They sure turned out to be below driver-friendly by disintegrating and causing electrical shorts, however the wires were sheathed in materials that had been supposed to be eco-friendly. The ignition control module has also been known to fail on rare occasions.

Earlier 1992 models had Brembo aluminum calipers. If the brake pads wore down, the system would start making a noise. Cars from later in the year1993 and ) had heavier iron calipers supplied by ATE that never had such a problem. With a car that’s both powerful and high (3,850 pounds), substantial brake wear is unavoidable. A big difference of rotors every 60,000 miles or so would have been a good call.

And think about rebuilding the transmission every 150,000 miles. The back suspension is a self-leveling setup that stands the rigors of use and time.

The Becker 1432 sound system in the 500E has a good reputation for patchy quality; E500 models received a 10-speaker Alpine system which was definitely one step up.

Kelley Blue Book values an excellent-condition ’94 E500 with 100,000 miles on the clock at $11,746. But things are never so easy in the world of collector cars, which the 500E/E500 is quickly becoming. Expect to pay around $30,000 or higher for a low-mileage example in great shape. A fast web search unearthed a ’93 500E with 50,300 miles going for $49,900.

1996 Nissan 240SX – No Limits



0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds with Sport Chrono
Sports car handling
Excellent quality and comfort
Aggressive styling
Good off-road ability
Comfort for four people and luggage

Technology 400 hp 3.6L V6 biturbo engine or… | 340 hp 3.0L V6 birtubo engine | Standard PDK dual-clutch auto | Active AWD | PASM active suspension | Optional air suspension

Electronics Porsche Traction Management | Torque Vectoring option

+ Pros Excellent performance and handling | Wonderful interior | Good looks | It’s a Porsche

– Cons Options add up quick
2015 porsche macan passenger side front view 04 Photo 2/36 | 2015 Porsche Macan – First Drive

When Porsche announced the Cayenne back in 2002, you could argue the company deserved the flak it got from enthusiasts who were upset at the apparent dilution of the brand and rather dismayed by its challenging design.

Of course, sales justified Weissach’s decision and perhaps kept the 911 assembly lines open during the recession. However, you can’t help but think things might have gone smoother if they started with the Macan.

Undoubtedly, time has softened opinions, but still the Macan’s smaller dimensions seem better suited to the sports car company. Its lower weight also makes it a more convincing sport truck.

Obviously, the new Macan is a product of the lessons learned from the Cayenne, so it’s a stronger proposition from the outset. However, I’d suggest the new Turbo model is perhaps the first truly practical sports car Porsche has ever built (please address letters of dismay to the editor, Mike Febbo, who disagrees).

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You don’t want to talk about the Macan’s Audi Q5 genes around any Porsche personnel because they’ll take a swing at your ear. Very little of it remains, although the platform is obviously shared. Porsche’s designers and engineers did a thorough job of separating them.

Visually, the Macan appears far wider and lower, thanks to its 38-pound aluminum, clamshell hood that houses wide-set 911-style headlights. Then there’s the wide center air intake and brake ducts pushed into the corners of the front bumper; the claw-like strakes giving the car extra menace.

From the rear, the Macan has 911 Turbo-esque hips, with the narrow glasshouse flaring out around the 918-style horizontal taillights. The profile shows a sloping roofline, reminiscent perhaps of the company’s sports cars, while the trim insert on the lower door panels can be finished in black, carbon fiber, or color-matched to suit your taste.

In the right body color, with the black trim package and 21-inch 911 Turbo Design wheels, the Porsche Macan is an attractive car that will undoubtedly dominate the style-conscious crossover segment, outgunning the Evoque with more power, and being more distinctive than BMW’s offerings.
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The interior is typically Porsche and an interesting alternative to the aforementioned machines. The driver sits 2.75 inches lower than in the Cayenne, and you feel more integrated into the machine.

Where most manufacturers are taking the minimalist approach, the Macan cabin is still unashamedly button-heavy. The console is lined with a dizzying array of buttons that require you to take your eyes off the road for a considerable time when first searching for a particular function. Familiarity will inevitably alleviate the problem, and the styling is undoubtedly sporty in nature.

Yet Porsche has never been solely about appearance or style. Form follows function and, by definition, the Macan has to perform at the highest level. But how do you demonstrate the breadth of capabilities of a machine like this?

Fortunately, Porsche had devised a test that would let us go from city to freeway to canyon roads. We’d then climb steep, rocky hillsides and take high-speed laps of a demanding racetrack, sampling the Macan in almost every environment imaginable.

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Fitted with the optional $2,745 air suspension, the vehicle can be raised to increase ground clearance. It has a series of off-road traction and hill descent technologies that allowed it to tackle some very challenging terrain on the same tires we’d use on the track. The off-road button affected gear selection, traction control, and ride height, making it surprisingly adept in difficult terrain. Its ability to clear large ruts and straddle troughs was impressive, as was the way it found grip despite a very loose, dusty surface. We had the active all-wheel drive and Porsche Traction Management (PTM) systems to thank for our forward momentum and we can only imagine that, with the right tires, the Macan will be a useful tool in winter.

The same air suspension, when equipped with the $1,490 Torque Vectoring system, made the Macan unbelievable nimble on the handling course, being able to turn tightly at high speed without suffering understeer-something that wasn’t true of models without this technology. But at 4,300 pounds (depending on spec), some understeer is inevitable when pushed really hard. And yet, the most remarkable memory of the experience was the Macan’s agility. It really was like a taller, heavier car rather than a lowered SUV.

Our choice of engine would undoubtedly be the 400hp 3.6L V6 biturbo in the Macan Turbo. But with an MSRP starting at $72,300, and several of the well-equipped test vehicles exceeding $100k, the Macan S will inevitably be more popular.

Boasting a respectable 340 hp from its 3.0L V6 biturbo engine, the S starts at $49,900, which compares well to the $51,900 Audi Q5 3.0TFSI Prestige model.

If you’re going to buy the S, we advise you not to sample the Turbo. In fact, don’t go anywhere near one. It’s better looking with its deeper chin spoiler, and the performance is intoxicating. In fact, the Sport Chrono package fitted to the Turbo model will propel it from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds. Even the S will reach 60 mph in 5 seconds with the Sport Chrono pack, making it capable of terrifying the wife, kids, and dog!
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Although these cars will rarely find a racetrack, we couldn’t resist a few hot laps, and were extremely impressed at the Macan’s poise and stability. There were times when its weight was an encumbrance, but the optioned Torque Vectoring allowed you to hold a tight line and throw the SUV into turns with merry abandon.

The cars are equipped with staggered wheels to give the handling a rear-wheel bias for mid-corner balance. And it works, but again, it’s the ability of the Torque Vectoring that’s worth its weight in gold if you intend to drive the Macan hard.

The S model comes with standard, non-adjustable suspension, while the Turbo is equipped with Porsche’s PASM active suspension, which adapts to road conditions, creating a significantly more capable machine. Yet the optional air-ride is the ultimate solution for sports handling, being 15mm lower and seemingly better able to respond to hard cornering.

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The Macan is a handsome, capable, efficient means of transport that will do extremely well in the compact SUV segment. It brings oodles of class and delivers in every respect. Inevitably, it will become the ultimate family car for school runs, but it’s prowess is probably better suited to the 911 owner who likes to get away with the family, or sometimes needs extra cargo capacity for work.

Make no mistake, the Porsche Macan is a sports car with a tailgate. It will humiliate the vast majority of cars in any environment you care to name, and be more stylish, comfortable, and enjoyable.

The only thing I’ve found that comes close to the Macan Turbo would be the Range Rover Sport or BMW X5M, which will probably option out at a similar price once you’ve specified all the toys. It’s also the four-door, four-seat Porsche I’d choose over the Cayenne and Panamera.

The eternal struggle in our community is trying to be “”different.”” No matter how hard you try to set yourself apart from the rest, you end up in the cycle of trends where your ideas get thrown in with what will eventually become popular. You find yourself no different than the guy who took your idea and posted it on Instagram more times than you did before. That’s the trouble with our community today. That sense of individuality is gone because Internet “”fame”” and being a social media superhero is more important than building a truly unique vehicle.

It seems the only way to be an individual in 2014 is to avoid the Internet completely and just keep to yourself. The problem that presents itself at that point is you’re becoming too quiet and avoiding anyone who can potentially appreciate your ride or become “inspired” by your build. It’s a double-edge sword. You want to be able to enjoy this hobby with your fellow enthusiasts, but you also don’t want someone to build a car just like yours and take the credit for coming up with your ideas first. You can say you don’t care, but then again, nobody likes a copycat. The alternative is to build something that is a little too far beyond the realm of anyone’s expectations, and to create something incredibly unique, borderline ridiculous, where most people wouldn’t attempt to go. You risk being mocked for your efforts, and only the few who appreciate forward thinking will understand what you’ve done.
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Chris Milan is one of those risk takers who drew inspiration from multiple areas and created something that he can genuinely call his own. While we’re on the path of honesty, allow us to be the first to admit that Chris’ Super Grape Metallic S14 is a tad ridiculous—just a tad. That can be good or bad, depending on which end of the spectrum you stand, but you really need to understand what all went into this build before you can pass judgment on it. “”Unique”” is a word that you could easily apply to his build because there aren’t many guys squeezing 18×12″” -81 offset wheels on their projects, and more importantly, doing the bodywork to make it fit. This may not be your cup of tea, but before you flip the pages to the next story, please continue to read on because there are some modifications that will literally make you appreciate what Chris has put together. You’ll find yourself pulling this issue closer to your face so you can study the details of this Kouki S14.

“I’ve always been into cars ever since I was a kid,” Chris started. “I would always play racing video games with my brother, and my dad would even tell me stories about how he used to race when he was younger. My older brother was a huge influence in keeping me around cars constantly, and I knew I wanted to build a car the moment I learned how to drive. After two years of saving up, I was able to get a Mitsubishi Evo, but it kept breaking so often that I just lost interest in it. I found myself going to a lot of local drift events and hanging out with other guys who were modding Nissan S-chassis’—so I began to hunt for one.”
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Vented Chase Aero hood features a cutout for the turbo dump tube.

Luckily, S-chassis aren’t too hard to find—what’s problematic is finding a clean one. Not only is it rare to find an unmolested one, try finding one that has all the original body panels on it…even that seems impossible. All this would lead you to believe that we’re going to tell you that Chris found himself a gem of an S14, but that is certainly not the case. He went and unearthed himself the biggest pile of shit ever!

“This S14 shell was literally a rolling piece of junk that I bought off some guy in Miami for $400,” he explains. “I really wanted to buy a right-hand drive S15 Silvia, but I just didn’t have $20K, so I settled. It had a crashed front end, beat-up quarter-panels, and an interior that looked like a bear might have torn through it. I towed it home, dragged it into my one-car garage, and started tearing it apart.”
1996 nissan 240SX JDM s15 silvia center console 04 Photo 4/24 |
The retrofitted JDM S15 Silvia dashboard and center console appear as if they belonged in Chris’ S14 from the factory.

Realistically, Chris had no idea what he was doing. He was always good with his hands and had a good imagination, but he had zero experience when it came to building a full-on project from start to finish. What you see here came as a result of a whole lot of trial and error. As he tells us, “”I bought a MIG welder, angle grinder, and just started cutting into the car while I collected information through a popular S-chassis web forum. One of the first mods that I did was the right-hand drive conversion. Once I completed that, it gave me confidence to do everything else, so I fabricated my own rollcage, widened the wheel wells by tubbing them, and tubed the front end for better structural rigidity. I really just kept going and did as much as I could to challenge myself. It wasn’t easy. I went through so many different variations of mods until I was eventually satisfied, then I would move onto something else and repeat the process. Something as simple as a fuse panel, I made nine times just so it was as close to perfect as I envisioned it!””

After six months of intense fab work, Chris sold his Evo to free up some money for the engine swap. The chassis was just a rolling shell without a motor when he acquired it, so he had freedom to go with any engine his heart desired. An SR20DET or even RB26 was a possibility, but he chose the affordable but potent Toyota 1JZ-GTE swap. The 1JZ was the 2.5-liter version of the venerable 2JZ-GTE and was capable of producing good, reliable power. Providing it with some added kick was a turbo kit from CXRacing.
1996 nissan 240SX 5ONE OZ superleggera III wheel 09 Photo 5/24 |
12-inch-wide custom step-lip OZ Superleggeras made by 5ONE.

A right-hand drive S14 with a boosted Toyota engine already sounds cool, but it just continued to get crazier from there. Inside the cockpit was a fully retrofitted dashboard and center console from an S15 Silvia. The dashboard looks as if it came that way from the factory, other than the added aftermarket gauges and custom switch panel. The interior also featured a white Cusco rollcage, Sparco EVO seats replacing the tattered OEM pieces, while a Grip Royal steering wheel superseded the bulky factory wheel.

Clearly, the most extreme of alterations to this S14 is the exterior. Drawing inspiration from the Japanese, Chris realized his love for extreme ride height and aggressive “”oni-kyan”” or “”demon camber.”” He went through a couple of different wheel setups before he purchased a pair of BN Sports front fenders and super-wide Chargespeed rear blister fenders. Realizing there wasn’t a set of off-the-shelf wheels that would fit this otherwise uncommon fender combo, Milan opted to build his own. He contacted the wheel specialists at 5ONE who were able to take apart a set of old OZ Superleggeras and mate the faces with new forged barrels. By doing so, he was able to use a traditional wheel and re-create them to his exact one-of-a-kind specifications. The result is something otherworldly with the fronts being 18×11 inches and the rears 12-inches deep!
1996 nissan 240SX m sport front bumper 03 Photo 6/24 | 1996 Nissan 240SX – No Limits

You’d think this S14 was on air suspension judging by how low it sits, but the vehicle is indeed at this static ride height courtesy of Japanese R.Y.O RII coilovers. Amazing how the M-Sport front bumper and BN Sports rear survive the rigors of everyday driving as they float just millimeters above the pavement.

Hate it or love it, you have to appreciate the fact that this wild machination came to be inside of a tiny one-car garage. One man was able to teach himself how to create a very exceptional car with just the ideas in his head and some basic handtools. If the end goal was to be different, then mission accomplished. There simply isn’t anything else like Chris’ S14 around, and there aren’t many enthusiasts who are hardcore enough to go to these extremes.

1996 nissan 240SX sparco EVO seats 05
1996 nissan 240SX custom switch panel 07
1996 nissan 240SX side exit exhaust 08

Tuning Menu
1996 Nissan 240SX

Owner Chris Milan

Location Boca Raton, FL

Occupation Dreamer

Power 350hp (estimated)

Engine 1992 2.5L Toyota 1JZ-GTE swap; Xcessive Manufacturing motor mount brackets; custom 3″” side-exit exhaust with HKS muffler; Walbro 255lph external fuel pump; OEM Toyota 440CC 2JZ-GTE injectors; Summit Racing 10-gallon fuel cell with -6AN fuel lines; CXRacing turbo kit featuring GT35 turbocharger, T-304 stainless steel turbo manifold, downpipe, 50mm wastegate; Race Part Solutions 3″” intercooler, intercooler piping; ISIS aluminum KA radiator; Drift Motion radiator hoses; Mishimoto 10″” cooling fans
1996 nissan 240SX 1JZ GTE swap 10 Photo 10/24 |
A 2.5-liter 1JZ-GTE engine rests inside the tubbed engine bay. With bolt-ons including a CX Racing turbo kit, this S14 has no problems breaking the rear tires loose!

Drivetrain Toyota R154 manual transmission; welded factory differential; Driveshaft Power one-piece driveshaft; OEM S13 axles; ACT stage 4 clutch, lightweight flywheel

Engine Management APEX’i S-AFC NEO piggyback EMS; STRI Motorsport Electronics boost, water temperature, oil pressure, voltmeter and fuel pressure gauges; Innovate wideband MTX-L; Turbosmart boost controller

Footwork & Chassis R.Y.O RII Hi-Max coilovers with 8K front, 6K rear spring rates; ISIS rear camber arms, toe control arms, rear traction arms; Cusco six-point rollcage; JDM right-hand drive S14 Silvia conversion with steering rack; custom tubbed front and rear wheel wells; tubed front end, bash bar

Brakes OEM Z32 front calipers; StopTech stainless lines; JDM brake booster; Race Part Solutions hard lines

Wheels & Tires 18×11″” -50 front, 18×12″” -81 rear 5ONE OZ Superleggera III wheels; 245/35 R18 front Achilles ATR Sport, 265/35 R18 rear Syron Race tires; Agency Power closed-end lug nuts

Exterior M-Sport front bumper, side skirts; BN Sports Type 1 rear bumper, front fenders; custom 350Z carbon-fiber rear diffuser; D-Max rear spoiler; Chaser Aero vented hood; Chargespeed rear over-fenders bowed to 90mm; Super Grape Metallic paint; JDM Kouki S14 Silvia headlights, taillights; Circuit Sport clear turn signals
1996 nissan 240SX innovate motorsport tachometer 06 Photo 11/24 | 1996 Nissan 240SX – No Limits

Interior Sparco EVO seats, four-point harnesses; NRG harness bar, steering short hub; Grip Royal steering wheel; retrofitted S15 dashboard, gauge cluster, center console; Black Marine carpet; custom interior wiring, switch panel, fuse panel

Thanks You Steve at 5ONE for building these amazing wheels; Elite Roads for always taking care of me with tires and alignments; Dan at HQ Auto Body for the great paint jobs; My parents for being so patient with me and for being so supportive; my brother because I wouldn’t even be into cars without him

How to Actually Make Money as a Singer Songwriter

In this day and age it’s nearly impossible to make money as an independent singer songwriter. Many people think it’s actually physically impossible but the truth of the matter is that there is a way. And it’s not as difficult as you think, you just have to know what to do and how to do it. Many people think they can’t tour and make money until they have label support – but that’s an old construct that is simply not realistic anymore. you need to show that you can make money and tour successfully before any label will even take you on. So what do you need to know?


First and foremost, you have to actually go on tour. No one’s going to do it for you at first. You won’t be able to get any sort of quality booking agent before you can book your own independent tour on your own. So just start booking a little mini tour. Shoot some emails out to places along the routing that you choose. Go for a little long weekend run, or do 2 weeks out. The point is to keep going out and starting. Look at coffee shops, places that may not pay you a lot, but will let you play on other days of the week other than Friday and Saturday nights. You will eventually be able to work your way up if you just get started. You don’t even have to be that good – you just have to work hard, keep at it, and be cool to make friends along the way.


Then you got to get the right wheels for the job. You need something reliable that will be able to get you there and around the country, while not sucking down gas, and not being a very obvious touring vehicle. If you’re in something that looks obviously like a musician’s car, you’re going to set yourself up for being robbed (especially if you go to St. Louis). Check out the used cars in San Bernardino, there are going to be some great options for the newbie singer songwriter. It won’t only be Nissans at that place, cause they take trade ins from other car manufacturers. And if all else fails, head to Metro Nissan Redlands because they can get you some great deals on cars that will definitely help you move about the country freely and easily.


Since you won’t be able to command huge guarantees in your first few months and years, you’re going to want to get some merchandise to sell. Even if you make $20 from a coffee shop in NowheresVille USA, you can at least sell a few CDs, or beer koozies or other such merchandise to the people there and get money for that gas tank. There are a lot of options for cheap merchandise that will really make a huge difference for you and will make that tour successful instead of total and utter failure.

“SEMA 2014 Preview – Smitten Ice Cream Soul EV “


Smitten Ice Cream Kia Soul EV Preview Details:

Kia and Smitten Frozen Goodies creating 2015 Ice Cream Soul EV, aka The Slinger

Gallagher Designs commissioned to make rolling soft ice cream parlor

Will probably beOther highlights include Rockford Fosgate sound McKenna and system Metal custom trailer

The annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas results in rides made to capture the casino-glazed gaze of a hundred thousand over-stimulated conventioneers, peppering them with a healthy overdose of glitz, glitter and glamour – the latter slathered on everything from blackjack tables to areas of the bodysoft ice cream truck game. Ha, obtain it?

SEMA feature vehicles scream for your attention even more desperately than a bathroom selfie girl, and a car that is greater than a car is always a good thing (much like a properly-attired bathroom selfie). Mutating SEMA cars morph into Zen gardens, zombie hunters plus more. While you cant ever have enough zombie defense measure preparation, not all build needs stanced wheels, sticker-bombed bike racks and zipfrom where the magic happens – that sweet, creamy magic. We’re still talking about frozen treats, right?

Kia gets this, which is why it hooked up with Smitten Frozen Treats to create this 2015 Frozen Goodies Soul EV (aka The Slinger) for your SEMA Show. The 2015 Soul EV is straight outta the near future, with a synchronous AC motor rated at 109 hp and three different ways for you to getBrewing and Spirits to produce a second build – a 2015 Sedona beer wagon (soccer moms rejoice! ) It doesn’t get much better than an ice cream truck, unless you add another one that serves beer (which truly makes everything better). We’re talking about ice cream AND beer together – there is a god. Kia’s collabs with these two disruptive companies celebrates the fine art of crafting and creating something as opposed to the more usual manufacturing and assemblyYou’ll need a slide out countertop if you truly want to sling ice cream in style.

Much like the way Ballast Point got its start, Smitten founder Robyn Sue Fisher wasn’t satisfied with the way mainstream ice cream was made with preservatives along with other more nefarious sounding unpronounceable ingredients. She hooked up using a nerd herd of engineers to create the Brrr system, which uses liquid nitrogen to make the creamiest ice cream, made-to-order, from scratch in minutes. Robyn took her Brrr to the streets of San Francisco within a Radio Flyer wagon along with theclass and seats-leading cargo space. The Slinger carries a Smitten frozen goodies parlor. Your move, conventional wisdom.

Gallagher Designs in Portland, Oregon was given the job of creating the Smitten Slinger. Gallagher specializes in small, and large scale installations for such notable clients as Nike and vehicle builds that include menacing big fire and rigs trucks with basketball hoops projecting from allIce Cream started from the back of a Radio Flyer Wagon. This custom deal promises a lot less speed wobble on the highway.

The lead designer on the Soft Ice Cream Soul, Gallagher’s Matt Geiger, wanted to incorporate Smitten’s initial identity of Robyn and her little red wagon into the build. The Frozen Treats Slinger is more than an ice cream truck. It’s a rolling frozen treats parlor that can cause each scoop from scratch. While the Soul EV is much smaller than Gallagher’s prior builds, Matt describes it no less ambitious. I wouldIt would shoot out like the arm sword of a mecha anime creature if this were as much as us. Good thing it isn’t up to us.

Gallagher proposed that the Soul tow a trailer, in a nod to Robyn’s original little red wagon. The crew at McKenna Metal fabricated a custom trailer, a necessity because of the unique demands of the build. Those classic teardrop trailers that are going for a hipster renaissance as of late inspire the look. The Soul EV also lends itself to the classic theme. While the EV technology will be allWe will have used real waffle cones for purposes of authenticity… and laziness.

The Ice Cream Slinger will be swathed in Smitten Red with white accents and a Rockford Fosgate sound system will announce the wagon’s arrival via custom roof-mounted waffle cone speaker enclosures. Once parked, the Slinger coverts into a real frozen goodies machine with countertops bridging the gap involving the Soul EV and the custom trailer. The Brrr System and liquid nitrogen tanks are housed in the rear of the Soul EV and the back of the trailer posesses a fixins bar (because good ice cream is certainly not without the fixins).

“2000 Honda Civic – A Special Kind of EJ Hatch “


White body, shaved engine bay, K-swap… Like an unofficial user guide, these same three steps seem to pop up over and over for modern-day Honda builds, all with varying degrees of success. A lot of said success is based on the builder’s skill level, depth of his pockets and the amount of dedication. Naturally, with so many similar versions being pieced together, the number of high-quality builds is normally outnumbered with the mediocre ones and can wind up lost from the shuffle. Building a standout in today’s ever-booming Honda community is a tall order and something that Daniel Stoicescu ofRogers and Arkansas, took very seriously with hisOn paper, Daniel’s EJ hatch might not sound like a standout. It relies upon many of the same ingredients that enthusiasts base their builds upon. The difference here is the minute and execution attention to detail that help set his sixth-gen apart from a tremendous crowd. Having purchased his ’00 Civic the same day that his first son came to be, Daniel’s poured more money and man-hours into his hatch than they can possibly recall. He adds, It’s a never-ending project and has gone from the track, to shows, and was all built inA Unique Kind of EJ Hatch

Having devised an agenda for the envisioning and build the finished product, determining the power equation was high on his to-do list. As opposed to working with the factory SOHC heart, Daniel opted for a K24 as his weapon of choice-a fairly common yet pricey swap that you can do at home more than a single weekend. But this wasn’t going to be a 48-hour project. He wanted it done right, so he set-asideType of EJ Hatch

Any non-essentials under the hood were ditched and numerous factory holes welded shut and smoothed over for a seamless look. The shock towers were welded and boxed to avoid the inevitable cracking that accompanies road time. Rather than deciding on a brake booster delete to allow to get more space, Daniel chose to keep his braking system as Honda intended but with bent custom hard lines into position. A set of Wilwood calipers replaced the anemic stock brakes that were created to control much lessWith the engine bay complete and prepped for paint, Daniel sprayed the complete car in factory Honda Taffeta White. The freshly sprayed exterior included a number of Civic Type R body pieces that maintain the car’s factory-fresh appearance and steer away from gaudy changes he might regret in a few years. To enhance the OEM-supplied variants are Devsport winglets, carbon bumper ducts as well as a CCC Racing carbon rear wing that add contrast to the stark white body, as perform the Enkei RPF1 rollers that sit comfortably in the wheel wells thanks toHow do we activate XM radio?

Once the paint had cured properly, the engine was carefully lowered into place and secured with Hasport mounts, then outfitted with a custom header and 3-inch V-band exhaust system. The same piping hardware and diameter were utilized on the custom intake that leads to a BDL throttle body and port-matched RBC intake manifold. The combination, controlled via Hondata K-Pro management, is good for 227hp and overWhilst the exterior carries a rather low profile, the interior is the exact opposite. Bright yellow and black Recaro Tomcat seats laced with Crow harnesses are flanked by CTR door panel inserts. A Key! s steering wheel is joined by way of a K-Tuned shift knob and staging brake, while a CTR cluster and HKS gauges keep tabs in the vitals. The rear seats were replaced with Type R counterparts and surrounded by Top Fuel pillar bars.

Having reconditioned, replaced or upgraded just about every piece of this hatchback, Daniel is certainly content, if only for the brief period. Plans to boost the engine searching for 600 hp are already in the works. Plus, with a growing family, the purpose of the build now has more meaning than before as it combines his faith with future weekends that can no doubt be spent under the hood along with his kids. He adds, I want this to continue to be something I can do with my boys-pass it on to them. It’s our goal to hopefully inspire others and use this as a tool to share the gospel. Our motto is ‘race to win’ (Corinthians 9: 24). So, in all of the I do, I aim for excellence to make sure the glory goes toward the only one who really deserves it.Sort of EJ Hatch

EJ6 hatch? ! Dude, it’s an EK!

Actually, it’s not. Honda enthusiasts have used chassis codes for years when referring to specific models, but more often than not, they’re not used correctly. The sixth-generation Civic hatchback inside the U.S. carries an EJ chassis code on its nameplate the same as its non-Si coupe counterpart. In Japan and other parts of the world, the EK designation is applied. Which includes the coveted CTR (EK9), which unfortunately, the Usa never received.

Guide to Buying a Used Car

There are lots of lovely shiny new motors all gleaming in the showrooms at santa monica fiat, but no matter what great offers and discounts they have not everybody can afford to buy new. That’s okay, they’ve got some great used cars too (check them out at OC Fiat) but some people are still wary when it comes to buying a used car.
Used cars are holding their prices more and more these days, particularly the smaller, fuel efficient vehicles and some buyers may find that they have a limited selection to choose from. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t some great deals available – just follow the following three strategies and you won’t go far wrong.


Sorting Out The Money
• The first thing you’ve got to do is to work out exactly how much you can afford to spend on a new vehicle. Think about the re-sale value of your present car which you are selling, calculate how much additional cash you will need for a down payment and a realistic amount which you can afford on the monthlies. A maximum of 5 year loan is suggested by the USAA for cars.


• Don’t forget to check out the insurance costs of cars you have on your radar. These will help you to determine the real cost of their ownership. Remember however that used cars will usually have lower premiums when it comes to things like collision and comprehensive cover.
• Seek out some low loan rates. You may be able to get a good financial package from the dealer but it always pays to check out the figures with banks and financial institutions too.
• Pre-approval is a necessity, that way you know exactly what you are up against when you start searching for the car of your dreams.
Finding The Right Car
• Make a list of the features which you particularly like, remembering things like cargo space, engine power and style.
• Remember to keep your options open and be flexible. You should have two or three models in mind which will suit both your needs and your pocket.
• Do a little research on your chosen market. Check out prices online at reputable car dealers as well as in motor magazines and even the local classifieds.

Due Diligence
• Make a thorough inspection of the car, and if you are not really experienced in cars then take someone with you who is. Inspect the model year, the mileage and tire tread to give you some idea about how long it will be before the motor will need maintenance or replacement parts.

Young woman watching car for sale --- Image by © Drew Myers/Corbis
Young woman watching car for sale — Image by © Drew Myers/Corbis

• Take a test drive, this is the only way you can really tell whether the car is performing correctly. Take it for a drive and see how it feels, whether it makes any unusual noises and if it handles as it should. This also gives you the opportunity to see if the vehicle is comfortable for you to drive.
• Check up on the history of the car. If you are buying your used car from a reputable dealer then this should all have been taken care of but it is incredibly important if you buy a used car from a private person. Make sure that the car has not been involved in any accidents etc.
And that’s just about all there is to it. If you have a mechanic friend then it’s a really good idea to take them along with you when you look over a used car before you part with any of your hard earned cash.

“2014 Audi TTS S Tronic – First Drive “


2014 Audi TTS S Tronic Details:

Exquisite detailing outside
Virtual cockpit digital instruments
Jet wing-inspired dash with cool air vents
Longer wheelbase increases interior space
Four-wheel-drive system can push 100 percent of drive to rear
Four-cylinder turbo sounds more exotic than it is

2014 audi TT S tronic passenger side front view 02 Photo 2/37 | 2014 Audi TTS S Tronic – First Drive


310hp 2.0L turbocharged petrol motor
Torque is 280 lb-ft from 1,800-5,700 rpm
Six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and four-wheel drive
Audi Drive Select offers a variety of driving modes
Torque vectoring via the ESC system

2014 audi TT S tronic steering wheel 03 Photo 3/37 | 2014 Audi TTS S Tronic – First Drive

+ Pros

Hugely quick
Sensational interior fit, finish, and design
Clever new virtual cockpit
Sounds more exotic than it is
Agile and fun

– Cons

Rear seats little more than luggage space
Transmission paddles need to be bigger
Not distinct enough from lesser models
TTS bettered by its cheaper relations
Virtual cockpit fiddly operation

2014 audi TT S tronic fuel filler 05 Photo 4/37 | 2014 Audi TTS S Tronic – First Drive

Nineteen ninety-eight, the day after the first-generation Audi TT was launched, I’m sat in the passenger seat in the U.K. heading to a test track. It’s stopping traffic, the TT’s impact impossible to forget, its concept-car-to-reality still utterly captivating today; back then they were like something from another planet.
2014 audi TT S tronic driver side front view 29 Photo 5/37 | 2014 Audi TT S Tronic Driver Side Front View 29

2014 audi TT S tronic rear diffuser 23
2014 audi TT S tronic passenger side rear quarter view 33
2014 audi TT S tronic passenger side front view 35

The figuring session that took place afterward has faded from memory, but the look on people’s faces hasn’t. The TT has arguably always been best enjoyed from the passenger seat. For all its sensational good looks, it’s never quite lived up to its promise on the road. Fast? Certainly, but there have always been better driving rivals.
2014 audi TT S tronic steering wheel 06 Photo 9/37 | 2014 Audi TTS S Tronic – First Drive

It is 16 years later and I’m at the launch of the new TT in Spain. Race Resort Ascari is at our disposal, and the roads in this bottom portion of Spain are both testing, and largely traffic free. It’s pretty much the perfect environment for launching a car, particularly as, along with all the chat about clever instrument displays and iconic design language, Audi’s people are talking about a more engaging driving experience.

2014 audi TT S tronic passenger side front view 30
2014 audi TT S tronic front seats 13
2014 audi TT S tronic driver side skirt 21

By people, I mean Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenburg, member of the Board of Management Audi AG, Technical Development, who says “”We have moved from the understeer tendency and more toward oversteer with torque vectoring. You can steer it on the throttle.”” That might be true, but Ascari Audi is reluctant to let us find that out. The ESC system, which is on by default, comes with a Sport mode with higher intervention levels and a fully off mode. Yet here, at a closed circuit in controlled conditions, Audi’s people have been fiddling with the electrics to disallow any fully off exploration, despite what the display in that trick new instrument binnacle says.
2014 audi TT S tronic front fascia 07 Photo 13/37 | 2014 Audi TTS S Tronic – First Drive

1983 Audi Quattro – Updating A Classic (w/video)

And it says a lot. Indeed, alongside the usual spiel about reinterpretation of an iconic shape, the main talking point at the TT’s launch is its “”virtual cockpit.”” It replaces conventional instruments with a very sharp TFT screen that’s controlled via either wheel-mounted buttons, a revised MMI operating system or voice activation. It’ll display, along with instruments of varying size, satnav mapping, audio, driver assist, and vehicle status settings in front of you, removing the need for a screen in the center of the dashboard.
2014 audi TT S tronic passenger side front view 37 Photo 14/37 | 2014 Audi TT S Tronic Passenger Side Front View 37

That virtual cockpit frees up the space for a cleaner, jet wing-inspired dash top, the five air vents, with their neat, integrated push and twist controls dominating the view inside. Audi has stayed true to the TT’s design-led form then, the interior fairly spectacular for a car with a starting price of around $40,000. Indeed, it wouldn’t look out of place in a car costing triple that. Don’t sit in a TT in an Audi showroom before you get in an R8, unless you want to be disappointed, that is.

2014 audi TT S tronic gauge cluster 20
2014 audi TT S tronic gauge cluster 04
2014 audi TT S tronic gauge cluster 19

There’s a bit more space in there, too, thanks to a wheelbase stretch, though the rear seats remain best considered as additional luggage space; it’d be cruel and unkind to expect anyone to sit back there. The trunk remains usefully sized for a coupe, though.
2014 audi TT S tronic passenger side rear view 31 Photo 18/37 | 2014 Audi TT S Tronic Passenger Side Rear View 31

Outwardly, the TT retains its iconic surfacing and profile, with some neat touches, most centered around the LED lights, the aluminum filler cover (now capless underneath), and pronounced wheel arches-an Audi TT signature. In profile, it’s obviously a TT, yet its bonnet surfacing and the grille point to the 2010 quattro concept.
2014 audi TT S tronic passenger side rear quarter view 08 Photo 19/37 | 2014 Audi TTS S Tronic – First Drive

It looks good, but then it always has. The range-topping TTS gains Audi’s usual performance signifiers of aluminum-capped rearview mirrors, a more intricate dual-element metal grille treatment, and larger 18-inch alloy wheels. Subtle lower sill treatments and re-profiled bumpers with more aggressive-looking air intakes and a rear “”diffuser”” complete the changes, along with some TTS badges, in case you don’t notice them. Which you might not.

2014 audi TT S tronic passenger side front view 28
2014 audi TT S tronic gas tank door 24
2014 audi TT S tronic front grill 22

Where it really surprises though is on the road. The journey up to Ascari is in a 2.0 TFSI 230hp quattro model with S tronic, and the TTS’s understudy quickly reveals a chassis that’s more composed, more agile, and far more involving than any TT before it.
2014 audi TT S tronic passenger side front wheel 09 Photo 23/37 | 2014 Audi TTS S Tronic – First Drive

With a 0-62-mph time trailing the TTS by just 0.7 seconds, 230 hp, and just an 8-lb-ft torque deficit, the lesser TT doesn’t feel shortchanged on the road. On track, that TTS’s additional firepower is apparent, the 2.0L engine’s ample urge and any-rev flexibility giving it effortless pace. That’s not untrue of its predecessor, though the way the new chassis deals with it is rather revelatory. Turn the flat-bottomed steering wheel and the front tucks in with real urgency. Only foolishly ambitious turn-in speeds will result in push-on understeer and even then it’s adjustable with a judicious lift of the accelerator. It’ll trim its line, and hold it, the TTS being neutral and benign when you approach and breach it’s huge limits of grip.
2014 audi TT S tronic driver side rear quarter view 32 Photo 24/37 | 2014 Audi TT S Tronic Driver Side Rear Quarter View 32

The rear can be brought into the mix, a little, though the TTS remains an entirely predictable and safe choice, thanks in no small part to its quattro drivetrain. It now features torque vectoring, which uses the ESC system and brakes individual wheels to transfer power to the wheels that can best use it. The brakes themselves are strong, though heavy use results in plenty of smoke and heat. Even so, the pedal retains much of its feel and doesn’t go overly long.
2014 audi TT S tronic engine cover 10 Photo 25/37 | 2014 Audi TTS S Tronic – First Drive

The suspension plays a strong role in the TTS’s agility, too, as it comes as standard with magnetic dampers, configurable via the Drive Select and MMI system, and delivering fine ride comfort and control—though stray away from the Comfort setting and all you do is increase unnecessary harshness through the car. The steering remains the biggest revelation, though; not just its accuracy and feel, but the response to turn-in, the TTS now living up to its sports car billing.

2014 audi TT S tronic driver side rear quarter view 27
2014 audi TT S tronic center console 16
2014 audi TT S tronic door sill garnish 18

That’s true though of its lesser siblings, albeit without the TTS’s firepower and exhaust note—which sounds more pugnacious and historically relevant five-cylinder than its actual four-cylinder format. It might be helped with a sound actuator, and like so much of the TTS, is configurable in the Drive Select menus, but you’ll care little when its tearing up through the revs and roaring and flaring on up- and downshifts via the quick-shifting S tronic gearbox. It’s typically good the twin-clutch auto transmission, and while slower and less efficient when picked with a six-speed manual, choosing it would add even more fun to the TTS’s remit. Sadly, that’s an option that’ll likely be denied U.S. customers.
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Regardless, the TT, in any guise, is a more engaging, more thrilling drive than it’s ever been, yet still as stunning to look at and be in. The TTS, by virtue of being the range-topper, is the fastest, which puts it up against some difficult rivals price-wise, it being perilously close to Porsche’s Cayman—a car the TTS just cannot match for driver appeal, even if the Audi has the greater firepower. The sweet spot remains lower down the lineup, but the TT has come a long way in 16 years, finally offering a drive to match those iconic looks.

911 Tuning


The Real Porsche.

The 911 represents the epitome of everything Porsche.

Together with the right mods you can improve the already impressive 911 and shave precious seconds off your lap times.

One of the most reliable supercars around thanks to the impeccable German engineering it can be loved by prestige fleet hire companies and city brokers alike.

You buy in a lifestyle when you get a 911, and you certainly get one hell of a car.

The 911 has enjoyed a long production run, giving Porsche time for you to perfect the engineering. Brands like RUF have come along and brought the 911 to new levels. The performance is obviously matched through the handling.

As the styling is different little throughout the years you get the identical emotional response from a classic 911 that you will get looking at the latest one in the showroom. A lot of our members used Porsche engines in other projects such as a Morris Minor and numerous Classic VW Beetles.

Tuning tips and articles

The 911 captured the imagination of the city brokers in the 1980 and is probably the most reliable supercars around.

The engines were built for power and the sheer reliability of the engine shows that although powerful, Porsche were playing it safe together with the power figures. So, what should be in your 911 tuning projects parts list?

The following modifications are often performed by our members, select how far you would like to go before starting.

Getting the right mods for your planned utilization of the car is important. Stage 3 (competition) mods just don’t work well on the road.

Stage 1 mods: Exhaust, Panel air filter, Remap, lighter flywheel

Stage 2 mods: Ported and polished head, Fast road cam, fuel injector & fuel pump upgrades,power clutch

Stage 3 mods: Engine balancing, adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), competition cam, sports gearbox.

Fast road cams offer one of the biggest performance gains as far as a bolt on part goes. Don’t forget to uprate the fueling when you are boosting the power – it makes the vehicle more thirsty. Improve your cars response to the throttle having a Fuel pressure boost valve. Uprated injectors will enable you to deliver sufficient fuel to the engine. When upping your fueling furthermore you will need to get a greater fuel pump to supply it.

Porsche 911 Exhaust and Intake.

The next area for modification is the intake and exhaust. For small 911 engine sizes go with a washable panel air filter. On larger engines and turbo vehicles an induction kit will help increase power. Usually do not go with the biggest exhaust you can find – the most effective for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches.

Once you start tuning your 911 you will recognize that the standard clutch starts to complain so get an uprated clutch. Turbo engines are just begging to be custom remapped.You will see big power gains on most turbo engined cars including diesels setting up a remap one of the most cost effective modifications.Adding forced induction will spot big power gains but this is usually too costly to be affordable. It is much easier to bolt on the supercharger than it is to get a turbo working. It is harder to map a turbo as the boost comes on exponentially with engine speed. It is actually easier to map a supercharger because the boost is proportional to engine speed with a linear curve. Decreasing the engines compression ratio will allow you to add forced induction, water injection may also help prevent detonation.

Porsche 911 Wheel modifications.

The advantages of alloy wheels include a lower unsprung weight and more efficient brake cooling. You change your effective final drive ratio and this will have a detrimental result on performance. That’s the downside to large alloy wheels in your 911. We understand some of our members have gone larger than this without having problems., though for this reason we may advise sticking to a maximum wheel dimensions of 18 inches