Rally car in a business suit?
By: Evan ‘Evo’ Yates
Admittedly, my only prior experience with the WRX was a decade ago when a pair of rich kids would show up to our street races with their second-generation maize WRX and blue STi – whipping the pants off most of the competition. Any other memories were of the ever-so-present rally cars on the internet and television with likes of Ken Block behind the wheel. Apparently, I’m a little behind the times because in 2015 Subaru is into their fourth generation of the WRX and upon first sight, my initial reaction was that of curiosity and intrigue because when I heard WRX, I expected something much different.
From the exterior, the profile view of the WRX reminds me of a Corolla with a big nose and little rear end. As you walk around towards the front, its becomes apparent that this vehicle is far from a Corolla with the prominent, protruding front fenders, sleek body kit and menacing front fascia. The wide-mouth hood scoop is an instant reminder that you’re not only looking at Subaru, but a fast one at that. The only thing missing on the exterior that I think would tie in the look is some sort of mild spoiler – nothing as high profile as the STI – but just something to make it look as sporty as it actually is but I figured Subaru may have been going for the ‘sleeper’ look which I certainly embrace.
The interior was as to be expected with nothing jumping out at you in a negative or positive way. Everything seems to flow well and is ergonomically satisfying. The racing-style seats are actually pretty comfortable and certainly hold you tight when testing the cornering capabilities of the WRX. My test car was an automatic which even though isn’t very popular among typical enthusiasts, I had no problem with it in the traditional sense but did experience some annoyances but we’ll get to that later. The head unit was rudimentary yet quite capable of doing what I needed it to do. I would have liked a larger display for track information but that type of stuff really isn’t expected in this type of vehicle. I enjoyed the boost gauge the most in the interior as I would watch it sink down into the -10 psi range and ultimately climb as high as +20 psi – again and again.
Speaking of boost, I have always despised turbos and loved superchargers. There’s something about turbo lag that I can’t wrap my head around because at least in stock form, it seems useless compared to the instant power of a super charger. That being said, once you get used to the turbos spooling up, driving this car is quite fun. By the end of my test time, I was actually more concerned that I would be seeing blue lights behind me before it was all said and done. (I didn’t, thankfully!) In regards to handling, the WRX is a like a go kart and the suspension is STIFF. Going over speed bumps is not for the faint of heart or those with previous sports injuries. Overall, the WRX does not feel stock and there is definitely something respectable about a factory vehicle that feels modified.
What ties it all into together for me is the price. At right around $31k fully-loaded, the WRX Limited is simply a steal for those in the market for something fun, agile while keeping its character in tact.
Does Nissan explore rogue territory?
By: Richard Melick
I get it. Car names are often thought up to bring the customer in and make them excited about the newest ride. Most of the time, these names fit (somewhat) into the vehicle’s design and purpose, while other miss the mark. This does not make them bad vehicles by any means, but more of a defined marketing ploy to help deliver the excitement of the new vehicle that is hitting the showroom floor.
I remember when the first generation Nissan Rogue was announced and shown off. It had unique styling, that while boring, made it stand out. The pronounced, thick grill was noticeable, and the headlights gave off a bit of a bug look to it, but you knew it was what it was. There was no mistaking it. And while the looks on the outside were different, it delivered the appeal of a fairly standard interior layout for smaller SUVs, ensuring new customers were comfortable inside. Overall, for a first generation ride, it wasn’t bad. It lost a few points in comfort and overall fit, but the popularity showed as more and more Rogues hit the road for families.
Then came the 2014 debut, and I hate to say it, but it was a bit underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong; this is a great looking car. It has solid styling, great features, covered the need for the improved interior, and brought it to the next level, but gone was the rogue feeling the first generation invoked. And while it may seem that I am judging a vehicle based solely on the name, I feel the name of a ride should really help define it and not be more about marketing. Instead, the 2014 Nissan Rogue is missing those unique features that helped it stand out before, the elements that could be hinted at in other vehicles, such as the headlights that were shaped similar to the GT-R with the vertical curve. I missed those unique factors immediately.
So what are the redeeming factors of the new non-rogue Rogue? Honestly, almost everything. I loved the interior, the creature comforts, and the ride was fantastic. The power was a bit on the low end, but knowing this ride is more for the family made that acceptable. Storage was everywhere, and it was easy to drive. Gas mileage was beyond impressive, especially with the number of hills, mountains, and traffic jams it was involved it. Back seat spacing was fantastic, which is something I feel Nissan has done well across all of it’s 4-door lineup. The driver controls and switches down by my left knee were a bit out of place and inconvenient to use while in the car, but aside from that, it was impressive.
But going back to the styling, it felt too safe and easy. Every time I looked at the profile, I saw the Subaru Forester’s design elements. I wanted to see another vehicle, something that stood out. But maybe that’s the appeal; maybe that is what the customers are looking for in a car. Just like planned communities, maybe they want unique on the inside, which the Rogue does well, and standard on the outside.
So where am I going with this? Well, let’s call it a challenge to Nissan. Let’s see you make this ride stand out again. Let’s see the Rogue be unique; actually be rogue-ish. Let’s see you step away from safe exterior styling and deliver something in this size just as you did with the Juke. I want to have heads turn, not to lose the vehicle in the parking lot.
The annual Pebble Beach weekend dazzles attendees.
At 204 mph the SRT Hellcat is the fastest sedan in the world!
August 13, 2014 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Dodge is upping its high-performance game again with the unveiling of the new 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.
The new Charger SRT Hellcat will feature the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI® Hellcat V-8 engine that produces 707 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque – making it the quickest, fastest, most powerful production sedan in the world, as well as the most capable and technologically advanced four-door muscle car in America.
“For the last eight years, a large part of the Dodge Charger’s successful formula has been its many personalities. It’s a muscle car, a performance sedan, a family capable sedan; its success is that it can be any or all of those things, depending on how the customer chooses to equip their car,” said Tim Kuniskis, President and CEO — Dodge and SRT Brands. “And now, with a NHRA-certified quarter mile time of 11.0 seconds and a 204 mph top speed, the new 2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat redefines itself again, as the quickest, fastest, most powerful sedan in the world!”
The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat will be built at the Brampton (Ont.) Assembly plant. Production is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2015.
Awe-inspiring powertrain; largest brakes ever offered in a Chrysler Group vehicle
The new 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is powered by the new supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V-8 engine. Its 707 horsepower matches the highest rating of any V-8 engine in Chrysler Group’s celebrated history – that of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.
The all-new supercharged V-8 engine is mated to the beefy new TorqueFlite 8HP90 eight-speed automatic transmission.
This new Hellcat engine is Dodge and SRT’s first application of V-8 supercharger technology, featuring a forged-steel crankshaft with induction-hardened bearing surfaces. The result is a crank so well-engineered it can withstand firing pressures of 110 bar (1,595 psi) – the equivalent of five family sedans standing on each piston, every two revolutions. And its unique, specially tuned crank damper has been tested to 13,000 rpm.
High-strength, forged-alloy pistons, developed using advanced telemetry measurement, are coupled to powder-forged connecting rods with high-load-capacity bushings and diamond-like-carbon-coated piston pins.
The supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V-8 has premium-grade, heat-treated aluminum-alloy cylinder heads, which are optimized for superior thermal conductivity. And its die-cast aluminum rocker covers are HEMI Orange.
Standard on the Charger SRT Hellcat is the largest front-brake package ever offered in a Chrysler Group vehicle, which were first introduced on the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat, featuring all-new 390-mm (15.4-inch) Brembo two-piece rotors with six-piston calipers for outstanding heat management and thermal capacity and longevity.
The unrivaled four-door performance numbers tell an impressive story with the quarter mile in 11.0 seconds, 0-100-0 mph in under 13 seconds, and a top speed of 204 mile per hour (mph).
All-new Drive Modes tailor the driving experience to each individual driver
Whether its on-road or on-track, Charger SRT Hellcat owners can personalize their drive experience, via the all-new Drive Modes feature. Drive Modes tailor the driving experience by controlling horsepower, transmission shift speeds, paddle shifters, traction and suspension. Drive Modes are pre-configured for Sport, Track and Default settings, while the Custom setting lets the driver customize the drive experience to their favorite settings.
Custom — Allows the driver to personalize the vehicle’s performance
Sport — Delivers increased vehicle performance capability over the Default Mode
Track — Delivers maximum vehicle performance capability on smooth, dry surfaces
Default — Activates automatically when starting the vehicle
Eco — Maximizes fuel economy with a revised shift schedule, pedal map and second-gear starts
The Drive Modes feature is controlled through the Uconnect system and may be accessed by performing any of the following:
Pushing the SRT button on the instrument panel switch bank
Selecting “Drive Modes” from the “SRT & Apps” menu
Selecting “Drive Modes” from within the Performance Pages menu
Unlocking the power
The all-new 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat comes standard with two key fobs – red and black. The red key fob is the only key that can unlock the full horsepower and torque potential of the SRT Hellcat engine; while the black key fob limits the driver to a reduced engine output.
When Valet Mode is activated, the following vehicle configurations are enabled:
Engine is remapped to significantly reduce horsepower and torque; limited to 4,000 rpm
Transmission locks out access to first gear and upshifts earlier than normal
Transmission will treat the manual shifter position the same as the drive position
Traction, steering and suspension are set to their “Street” settings
Steering-wheel paddle shifters are disabled
Drive Mode functions are disabled
Electronic stability control (ESC) is enabled to Full-on
Launch Control is disabled
The driver can activate and deactivate Valet Mode with a four-digit PIN code they create.
Sinister, functional exterior design
Inspired by its performance-enthusiast roots when Charger first launched more than 45 years ago, the new Charger successfully pays homage to past muscle cars while offering distinctly modern all-new exterior and interior appointments.
The Dodge and SRT design team builds upon the 2015 Dodge Charger’s new modern four-door fastback coupe’s already iconic exterior styling by adding a sinister-looking, unique front fascia, hood, rear fascia and spoiler.
The new exterior of the 2015 Dodge Charger is spiritually inspired by the iconic second-generation Charger from the late 1960s, and for 2015, specifically draws its cues from the 1969 model. With its rear-wheel-drive (RWD) platform and proven power, the Charger’s modern take on old-school muscle is sure to resonate with today’s enthusiasts.
Up front, the Charger SRT Hellcat receives the larger, power-bulge aluminum hood, which features a dedicated “cold-air” intake – a visual styling cue from the first Viper coupe built in 1996 – and dual air extractors to ensure effective removal of heat and reduced air turbulence in the engine compartment.
The redesigned front fascia and grille use unique, blacked out upper and lower textures to produce the menacing look that is sure to make onlookers notice the ultimate performance sedan.
An integrated front splitter optimizes airflow to the cooling modules without compromising vehicle balance.
Filling the wheel wells are “Slingshot” split-seven spoke 20 x 9.5-inch, lightweight forged-aluminum wheels with either standard Matte Black or available Brass Monkey/dark bronze finishes.
Two new 275/40ZR20 Pirelli P Zero tires provide performance for all seasons. Both Pirelli P Zero Nero and P Zero tires are Y-Plus rated to handle the extreme speeds the Charger SRT Hellcat is capable of producing.
At the rear, a single piece decked spoiler is painted in body color while the unique fascia and valence showcase the 4-inch round exhaust tips.
The Dodge Charger SRT’s signature “racetrack” LED tail lamps take on the same continuous glowing ribbon of light that debuted on the new 2014 Dodge Durango.
The center high-mounted stop lamp is relocated from the top of the deck lid to the roofline inside the back glass, allowing centering of the Charger SRT’s backup camera.
The rear styling makeover begins at the touchdown point of the C-pillar, which is moved rearward to create an even more pronounced fastback appearance combined with a shorter rear overhang.
High-performance driver-oriented interior
The 2015 Charger SRT Hellcat’s restyled driver-focused interior features premium, soft-touch materials, a new 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) customizable digital instrument gauge cluster and a new instrument panel center stack with the latest generation 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen media center.
New for 2015, drivers can select one of the many offered backgrounds to connect the digital look and feel with their chosen interior package. In addition, the Charger SRT Hellcat comes standard with a premium 900 watt, 18-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system.
An all-new and class-exclusive electronic shifter with an all-new driver-oriented T-handle provides the driver with intuitive gear selection and offers an Auto Stick selector gate for added control.
A redesigned SRT-branded heated steering wheel features a flat bottom and thick rim for the high-performance driver. Standard paddle shifters are located on the back of the upper spokes. The buttons to control the driver-configurable, full-color thin-film transistor (TFT) display are large and illuminated. Buttons for Uconnect and phone access now reside along the bottom edge of the horizontal spokes. Optional adaptive cruise control is configured by buttons that are symmetrically opposite on the right-hand side of the wheel. As before, the highly praised audio controls are still found on the back of the upper spokes. This new power tilt-telescoping steering wheel also has a 360-degree heat element.
The new 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat features redesigned seats with improved cushioning and more comfortable contours. For improved comfort and convenience, the SRT Hellcat includes standard heated and ventilated front high-performance seats and heated rear seats.
Charger continues to grow its market share
The 2015 Dodge Charger competes in the U.S. full-size car market, but stands alone in a class by itself as the only American-bred four-door muscle car. In March of 2014, the Dodge brand reached a significant milestone, with Challenger and Charger sales combining to sell a total of more than 1 million units in the United States.
The Charger’s combination of aggressive and youthful image, full-size functionality and world-class engineering and quality resonates with young and affluent buyers. Charger’s purchasers on average are 15 years younger than its competitors’ buyers within the segment, with more than half identifying themselves as millennials or Generation Xers.
The Charger’s appeal is attracting a high number of conquest buyers, helping drive a 62 percent increase in sales since 2009 – double the growth of the standard full-size car segment. In 2013, Charger posted its best sales year since 2007, further fueling a 3.2 percentage point gain in market share since 2009.
If you’re looking for a little coupe that can embarrass much bigger and pricier machines, you’ve found it here.
Story: Adam Kaslikowski
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Truer words were never spoken to describe the 2014 CLA AMG. With 355hp and 332lb-ft of torque packed into a go-kart sized coupe, this little dog has got some serious fight in it.
AMG has always been the nutter muscle jockey among the German in-house tuners. It regularly outguns both the M Division and Audi S line. AMG clearly believes might makes right, and the CLA AMG is so so right.
If you’re looking for a little coupe that can embarrass much bigger and pricier machines, you’ve found it here. Pick up the CLA AMG, throw out your sense of self control, and drive until Death catches up with you.
With the help of MC Customs, a set of HRE Wheels gave this vintage Porsche a touch of modern.
[Photos via MC Customs.]