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Post Tagged with: "AWD"

Split Seconds In The Audi RS5

In celebration of CarEnvy’s 1000th post, we have a special treat for you today…

By Peter Dushenski @carenvy

There are untold scores of new cars for sale in Canada, but the list of two-door cars that you’d want to drive year-round in Alberta is seriously limited. For those of us who live in this winter wonderland, the AWD Coupé is Automotive Nirvana: the place where a single car can drift us through knee-deep snow while maintaining the youthful irreverence of two-door transport. If you’re even pickier than that, if you also want eye-widening style and one of the finest engines for sale, well, you’re about to find yourself behind the wheel of the 2013 Audi RS5.

Last week, when I was presented the opportunity to drive what is arguably the hottest new car from Germany’s hottest luxury automaker, I leapt like Jesse Owens when he found out the 1936 Olympics were in Berlin. I wouldn’t have more than a few hours with the car, but I was intent on translating this condensed experience into thousands of individual packets – each completely satisfying in its own right – in an effort to find out if the RS5 is really as exceptional behind the wheel as it is on paper.

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Team O’Neil, Left Foot Braking, Roller Coasters, and the Ford Fiesta

By Peter Dushenski

Rally aspirations don’t really suit the Ford Fiesta.

It’s no Subaru WRX, no Mini Countryman, not even a Citroen DS3. It’s a subcompact bought by teenagers and retirees. For this exact purpose it needs to be fuel efficient, safe, easy to see out of, and logical to operate. It can even have a dose of fun, just to raise it above the pack, but not so much that it overwhelms the Fiesta’s calling card – it’s a small car that feels bigger and more mature than it is. See our earlier review if you don’t believe us.

Rally cars, on the other hand, are AWD, sequentially shifting, turbocharged purveyors of the kind of fizz more commonly found in alka selzer. The Ford Fiesta that you and I can buy is none of these things. But defeat the ABS and TC and the Fiesta gains a cool unflappability on gravel that makes it a shrewd tool for hills, crests, and sweeping forest gaps that define rally courses. Of course, the car alone isn’t enough to conquer the shifty surface. For that, something called “technique” is relied upon.

Which is what brought CarEnvy to New Hampshire and the Team O’Neil Rally Driving School with a bunch, nay, a fleet of seemingly unsuitable Fiestas. The technique du jour? The black art of Left Foot Braking, also known as LFB.

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The Ford Explorer Limerick Review

The 2011 Explorer takes an entirely different tack for Ford, certainly compared to its tire-exploding predecessors, so I’m going to take a similarly atypical approach with this review. It’s a limerick.

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Review: 2011 Nissan Juke – The Compact Crossover That Doesn’t Fit In The City

The Nissan Juke is a city-sized car that doesn’t work in the city.

It’s not a big vehicle, this, make no mistake. Its dimensions should lend themselves ideally to the concrete urban jungle. But beneath the controversial looks that fill your retinae and play magic tricks on your occipital lobe are shortcomings too damning to overlook.

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Part 2: The MKX Express, Henry Dreyfuss, and Traveling by Train

Part 1: Catabolizing designs, The Three Schools of Car Design, Art Deco, and the 2011 Lincoln MKX can be found here.

Locomotives trains, as a form of transport, had their glory days when my maternal grandparents were young children. Not that their jet-black hair ever rustled in the passenger train’s open window. No, they missed the steam-powered magnificence along with the rest of their youth. In Axis-controlled Romania, trains were avoided, lest they be the kind with no return trip.

Life couldn’t have been more different in the sanguine land of opportunity that was America. In the early 1930’s, the stock markets took a beating the likes of which weren’t seen again until 2008. Still, American men and women had their pride – they were still living in the greatest country on earth and making sure that everyone else knew it. This meant constructing grand physical monuments and advancing technology to its limits wherever possible. The train system was no exception. Making it from New York to Chicago in 16 hours, less than 800 miles, was a monumental accomplishment for the rail system, or any system for that matter. The car wasn’t mature enough as a technology to accomplish the trip with anything resembling reliability. The mighty steam engine, on the other hand, averaged speeds of 50 mph, or 81 kph. This was a lofty industrial design problem, to be sure.

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Review: 2010 Audi S4


By Mark Atkinson

Fans of understated Q-cars should be celebrating because Audi’s latest S4 rocketship is all new for 2010, and not to spoil the plot at all, but it’s very, very good. It takes a modern view to performance and does away with all that’s wasteful. A pure Audi? It does exist.

Audi gets all German when it comes to the art of going fast – meaning it throws lots of technology at the problem. The most notable change over the outgoing S4 is a new powerplant efficiently thumping underhood. Gone is the sonorous but fuel-sucking 4.2-litre V8, replaced by a new 333-hp 3.0-litre supercharged V6. While that’s down a few ponies compared to the old car, the new engine is lighter, and produces more torque – 325 lb-ft – at a lower rpm. It’s also a throwback to the old boosted S cars from the ‘80s and ‘90s, and more keeping in the S4’s character.

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Review: 2009 Infiniti G37 sedan, 6-Speed Manual

infiniti-g37-sedan-11

By Kevin Harrison

About three weeks ago, I was requested and required to drive a friend’s 1999 Infiniti G20 due to his indulgence in a little too much cheap Australian Shiraz. During the drive, he must’ve told me to take care of his ‘baby’ about a million times. To get him to shut up, I drove as if I was 80 years old.

What he doesn’t know is, once I dropped him off at his home, I took to driving it like I would any other test vehicle. Sub-par is the most polite way I can describe the G20.

My friend likes to think of his car as a sports luxury sedan. When he came to my house the next day, substantially more sober to pick up his car, I had no choice but to offer him another sobering comment:

“This is no sports luxury sedan” I told him, I least I didn’t call him outright delusional. Needless to say, people don’t take well to critism of their cars and Andrew was no exception. But to show him what a real sports luxury sedan could do, I took him out for a drive the 2009 Infiniti G37 six speed manual press car I was driving that week.

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Review: 2009 BMW 535xi

DSC03289

By Kevin Harrison

A little while back I reviewed the Cadillac CTS. It was by no means a horrible car, but I gave it a less than stellar rating.

Designed to compete against a BMW 5-series (even more so when it likely will move more upscale once the smaller ATS arrives), it is priced like a 3-series and thus, retains the price advantage.

As I followed sales manager Campbell Harbord out to the back to the dealership to pick up my tester, I had mentioned my review of the CTS and how I was eager to see how it compared.

He stopped and laughed.

“Oh, you consider it to be more of a 3-series competitor then?” I asked.

“We don’t consider Cadillac to be competition for us at all,” Campbell replied.

Bold statement.

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