Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Volkswagen T2 Microbus Production to Cease in 2013

To refer to this as the end of an era, would be putting it too lightly. It has been confirmed by Volkswagen of Brazil CEO Thomas Schmall that production on the Volkswagen T2 will cease at the end of 2013.

Now some of you may be thinking to yourselves, "They still make those?"

It is unfortunately not-very-common knowledge that the T2 (AKA Microbus, AKA Camper, AKA Bus, AKA Kombi, AKA Transporter, AKA Pick-up, AKA - aw screw it, you get the point) is still currently on sale in Brazil, where it been a strong seller for many years. During that time, the T2 only had minor modern upgrades - and it wasn't until 2005 that its iconic 80-horsepower air-cooled engine was swapped out for a 1.4-liter water-cooled straight-four.

The reason for the T2's demise is reportedly stricter upcoming safety laws, which, when you think about it, makes it all the more surprising this is just happening now. Nonetheless, I'm sure classic VW enthusiasts everywhere are saddened by this news.

Monday, October 15, 2012

2013 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S Unveiled

I've always had a soft spot (read: hard-on) for performance SUV's, especially the Porsche Cayenne, since its introduction to Porsche's vehicle line-up in 2003. Now in its second generation, we've seen some impressive statistics from the Cayenne over the past decade, including a 0-60mph acceleration of 4.7 seconds from the 2008 Turbo S model.

Porsche has been kind enough to give the world a sneak peak at its 2013 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, which is will be meeting the public at the Los Angeles Motor Show next month. They've made some modest performance improvements, outlined below.

Utilizing the same twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 as under the hood of the Turbo, the Turbo S has a re-designed intake manifold, increased boost, and a re-mapped ECU, which produce 550 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. Reportedly, these modifications have resulted in a 0-60mph acceleration in 4.5 seconds, and thanks to the 8-speed Tiptronic S transmission, the Turbo S can achieve a top speed of 175 mph.

As expected, buyers will also find all of Porsche's latest equipment, including Dynamic Chassis Control and Porsche's Active Suspension Management.

The 2013 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S will be available for sale in the spring, with a base price of $146,975 USD.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Garmin Nuvi 5" GPS (1490 LMT) Review

The price of quality, name brand GPS systems has been steadily decreasing over the past couple of years. This can mainly be attributed to the prevalence of GPS systems being included in new vehicles, as well as people using their smart phones for that same purpose.

A quick browse through any electronic store's inventory will reveal numerous good deals on GPS units, but there is one unit in particular that I would like to highlight - the Garmin Nuvi 5".

As a name brand product, the price definitely caught my eye. But as I read over the specs of this unit, I was surprised at how good of a deal this actually is. Equipped with Bluetooth hands-free calling and free lifetime updates, this unit contains most of the features you need, and leaves out the ones that you would probably never use. See the below chart for more details.
Bluetooth Handsfree Calling - Yes
Dimmable LCD - Yes
Keypad Interface - Yes
LCD Resolution - 480 x 272
LCD Screen Size - 5"
Touchscreen Interface- Yes
Vent Mount - No
Windshield Mount - Yes
Address Book - Yes
Audible Directions - Yes
DC Car Adapter - Yes
Distance Log - Yes
Downloadable Maps - Yes
Downloadable Voices - Yes
External Antenna - Not Applicable
GPS Chipset - Multiple
Includes Lifetime Map Updates - Yes
Includes Lifetime Traffic Updates - Yes
Integrated Antenna - Yes
Points of Interest Yes - 6 Million
Programmable Waypoints - Yes
Product Depth - 1.6 cm
Product Height - 8.6 cm
Product Width - 13.7 cm
Product Weight - 221 g
Remote Control - No
Warranty Labour - 1 Year(s)
Warranty Parts - 1 Year(s)

Garmin has always been known for standing behind their products, and creating quality technology to being with. In a store, you can expect to pay at least $200 plus tax. I did some searching around, and it seems that Amazon is the cheapest place to buy the Garmin Nuvi. Even with shipping, it still usually works out to be cheaper than buying it in store.
I recently ordered a couple of these units  that I intend on using as Christmas gifts this year. Why not shop early before the price goes up?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ferrari Gives the Finger to Electric Cars

Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari's president, said his company will never make electric cars as he doesn't believe in them.
I agree with di Montezemolo's assessment of environmental alternatives, such as Hybrids, since they will be much more practical for Ferrari from a business perspective. Who in their right mind (and who isn't a celebrity) would actually purchase an electric Ferrari? A fully electric engine would detract from the rich engineering history that encompasses Ferrari's vehicle line-up.

"You will never see a Ferrari electric because I don’t believe in electric cars, because I don’t think they represent an important step forward for pollution or CO2 or the environment. But, we are working very, very hard on the hybrid Ferrari. This should be the future, and I hope in a couple of years you can see it."

The hybrid system that is alluded to in the above quote is rumored to be Ferrari's KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) technology which the company currently uses in its Formula 1 cars.