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8 Car-Related Videos You MUST Watch This Week: December 14, 2011

It’s simply overwhelming. There’s too much. How can one person possible stay on top of it all the awesome car videos??

Relax. It’s ok. Just close your eyes for a moment and take a deep breath. We’ve done the work for you so pop some corn, grab a beer, and enjoy the eight must-see videos for this week. Don’t have the time right now? No worries, you’ve got all week. Bookmark it and come back when you’re ready to bask in the glory of the automobile. Enjoy!

 

1. Sebastian Thrun on Google’s Driverless Car:

He’s passionate, he’s persuasive, and he’s showing us a glimpse of the future. As long as there are still closed race tracks, count us in!

Faster, hairier, and louder cars are after the jump!

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Carspotting and Bicycling in Berlin, Germany

by Peter Dushenski

It’s amazing to see what people drive when they don’t need to drive.

I’ve spent the past two weeks cycling and taking the S-Bahn everywhere I’ve needed to go in Berlin. It’s been punctual, efficient, healthy, and a fraction of the cost of car ownership. Berlin is no small town. With a population of 4.4 million, the capital city of reunified Germany (arguably the wealthiest country in the world today) covers a huge area, about as much as metro Edmonton. Yet, car ownership is far from a necessity. In this expansive cosmopolitan area, bicycles are not only given priority by automobile drivers, but cyclists are granted their own dedicated lanes in the overwhelming majority of the city, demarcated by a red tinged strip of special pavement three feet wide. The S-Bahn (above ground subway), which complements the U-Bahn (uh, underground subway), works in concert to provide a transportation network that whisks citizens and tourists whenever they are too tired or lazy to walk or cycle. So owning a car isn’t weird – it isn’t awkward – it’s simply a luxury.

As a result of this intricate and inspired alternative transportation network, Berliners make do with only 358 cars per 1000 people compared to an average of 570 per thousand in Germany and very nearly the same density in Canada (although personally owning two cars at home skews this somewhat). An S-Bahn pass for 5 days costs around $35, which is on its own less than the cost of the gas it’d take to travel the same distances we did, with none of the depreciation, insurance, maintenance, and interest payments associated with car ownership.

Yet despite, or perhaps because of, the obvious financial, logical, and environmental detriment entailed by car ownership, Berliners have nothing less than an eclectic taste in automobilia. Classic French icons mingle with Autobahn Destroyers, which in turn covort with British Bruisers and limited editions galore. The streets of Berlin alone are worth the trip and being on a bicycle is a great way to see them all up close.

Here are my highlights:

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Tangential Treatise #0: Why You Should Care (And Worry) About The 2010 Mercedes GP Formula 1 Team

It would be too easy to assume that Ross Brawn, despite the driver in the seat, is a sufficiently brilliant strategist to conjure up Formula 1 victories from nothing more than willpower. Mr. Brawn is that special. To say nothing of his newest driver, one fourty-one year old Michael Schumacher, the umpteen-time World Champion. Reuniting those previously-Maranellan forces alone should be enough to convince you that Mercedes GP should be taken very seriously. But to assume that those two alone will win the Championship would be to miss something much bigger.

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F1 Driver News Roundup: Yes, Virginia, There Is A Schumacher

283797989__commission_schumacher As both the title of this post and the photo to the left of this text indicate, you may soon be seeing Michael Schumacher return to an F1 track near you—not as any mere consultant, either, but as an actual driver. However, you may also note the lack of red anywhere in that photo. That, too, is indicative of a future that’s looking more and more likely as of this writing. Follow the jump for more.

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F1 News: Bridgestone Done with Formula One, Barichello Leaves Brawn, Vettel Wins

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With global economic pressures mounting, Bridgestone has formally announced today that it is pulling out of Formula One after the close of the 2010 season. Why? More after the jump.

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Da Streetz: Mercedes G 280 GE Cabrio (W460)

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I’m an unabashed fan of the Merc G wagon. Ask me what SUV I would put in my driveway and I will blurt out “G500″ without hesitation. For a car guy, not an SUV guy, the connection I have with the G is not to be underestimated. For me, the X-factor is the heritage of a true off-roader that has scarcely changed in 30 years. You might call it a failure to engineer or just plain laziness. I call it brilliant.

The owner of the vehicle you see today claimed that it was a 1989 model and that the G intimidating me from across 99 st in South Edmonton Common was the only cabrio in Canada, although Craigslist Vancouver might have something to say about that. Maybe his was the only ’89 cabrio with an automatic, Bosch light covers, and a dog in the back?

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Lexus And Golf – Like Peas In A Pod

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Take a quick trip through your local private golf club and you’ll notice more than a few Lexuses. Well-heeled golfers just like their comfort, I suppose. This also explains the number of Mercedes cars and SUVs at the G&CC. What you don’t see are many Buicks, despite Tiger Woods and his (previous) affiliation with the brand.

So now that Buick and GM are cutting back on sponsorship of golf events like the US Open, the door is, errr, open for companies like Lexus to make their presence known. And that’s pretty much how a dimpled LS460 L ended up at Bethpage Black this week for the US Open’s return to the famed public course for the first time since 2002.

Although the tournament itself has been struggling with rain-related postponements, you can still cheer for the Canadians in the field. Who, I should mention, are doing exceptionally. Mike Weir, winner of the 2003 Masters, is in 3rd place at -6. Nick Taylor, the 20-year-old amateur from Abbotsford BC, is in an incredible 7th place at -2.

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Review: Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG

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My freshman year of college, my good friend Cole and I were hungry and wandering about campus somewhat aimlessly. We tried to go to the food court, put it had closed at 9:30, since apparently Midwesterners never eat after the sun goes down. We then went to the inconvenience store, which was closed, as always. In fact, the only time I ever saw it open was when I was walking between classes. Neither of us had a car (terrifying, I know), so we decided to walk down to 38th Street for some wings. This began as a joke, but somehow it turned into our plan for the night.

We set out on our 9.2 kilometre journey, not really thinking about how it would mostly be on the highway. Walking down the shoulder, or sometimes the median, or sometimes along a steep slope just off the road, isn’t the brightest move, we did it anyway. We even made it through a one kilometer stretch where the shoulder had been taken over by bushes and trees just off the highway. In order to keep moving forward, we hatched a plan that only two 18-year-old college students in need of some hot wings would come up with. We waited in the bushes until we couldn’t see any headlights coming our way, and then jumped out into the right lane and ran like hell. When we saw the road start to lighten, we jumped back into the bushes.

Eventually, we made it to the dodgy part of town, and had some wings. This is when I suggested that we could have simply ordered a pizza, like normal people. Anyway, I promise I’ll start talking about cars after the jump.

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