Wednesday, June 29, 2005

1989 Nissan Skyline R32 GTR Skyline


Engine : RB26DETT
2.6ltr, 6cyl, twin turbo

Output : 208kw@6800rpm (276hp)

CC : 2568

0-60mph: 4.7 seconds

1/4mile: 13.0 seconds

Puntiki:..The R32 GT-R uses the RB26DETT engine, a DOHC inline-6 with 24-valves and a six-throttle inlet manifold. A bore of 86mm in connection with a stroke of 73.7mm make for an overall displacement of 2568cc. A compression ratio of 8.5:1, twin T28 Garrett turbochargers and a large front-mounted intercooler help the RB26DETT produce 280hp at 6800rpm and 360Nm (260lb-ft) of torque at 4400rpm. It is possible to get over 550hp out of these engines without changing internal parts. This is a very under rated engine.

The GTR is four wheel drive and was named "Godzilla" by the Australian press as it kicked everyone and everything in the 1990 Bathurst race. It was banned the following year as the Ozzy made cars were not able to keep up, and the Australians had sour grapes.

Now it is clearly outdated, but so is the 348 Ferrari. The GTR is an amazing peice of machinery... it could keep up with Porche's and Ferrari's and out manouver most of them with it's advanced ATTESSA 4wd system, it was a top race car and it is one of the most revered vehicles to ever come from Japan. It has a cult following.

Pablo A technical tour-de-force, and a nasty wakeup call for European car manufacturers. But as impressive as the car is on paper and the track, it seems strangely soulless to me. Here's the analogy I would use - would you rather be an owner of a 1989 Godzilla, or a 1989 Porsche 911? The Nissan might be a better car to drive, but is it a better car to own?

I wish I could get excited, but it just doesn't do it for me. I know that I have a bias towards European cars, but still, the Nissan, for all its grunt and power it is still just a Nissan. I guess if I was going to choose a Japanese rocketship, I would probably lean towards the Subaru Impreza or Legacy (STI version). The Subaru seems to come with a build quality and aura that pleases the owner as well as the driver.

Friday, June 24, 2005

2003 BMW Z8 Alpina

ALPINA has transformed the Z8 through a variety of refinements, some dramatic and some subtle. Most dramatically, the BMW ALPINA ROADSTER V8 replaces the Z8's BMW M engine (5.0 liters, 394 horsepower, elaborate individual throttles for each of the eight cylinders and many other racecar-like engineering characteristics) with a performance-developed version of BMW's "regular" V-8 engine. Remarkably, the 4.8-liter ALPINA engine comes to within 19 hp of the BMW M unit (375 hp, vs. 394), does so at lower rpm levels, and is thus suited to teaming with an automatic transmission. Its power peak comes at 5800
rpm, vs. 6600; its torque peak occurs at the same 3800 rpm but is actually higher: 383 lb-ft. (vs. 368 lb-ft). In another significant departure from the original Z8, and in harmony with the new engine, the 6-speed manual transmission is replaced by a special BMW ALPINA automatic transmission. Based on the 5-speed ZF automatic employed in V8-powered 5 and X5 Series, the ALPINA version features SWITCH-TRONIC.

In addition to up- and downshifting by "tipping" the shift lever rearward or forward, the driver can also shift by pressing "+" and "-" buttons near the steering-wheel rim. Directly in front of the driver, a transmission display instrument indicates the range (P, R, N, D), mode (Automatic or Manual) and the gear currently engaged.

Modifications to the beautiful exterior of the Z8 have been kept to a minimum. Special BMW ALPINA 20-inch wheels, with five clusters of four spokes each are 9.0 inches wide at the front and 10.0 at the rear. They carry Y-rated performance tires of dimensions 255/35R-20 at the front and 285/30R-20 at the rear.

Retaining the Z8's power telescopic adjustment, the BMW ALPINA ROADSTER V8 adopts a different steering wheel, with three leather-and-metal-finished spokes in place of the Z8's "banjo" spokes. An ALPINA logo replaces the BMW emblem on the steering wheel's center hub. The cockpit is upholstered in Soft Nappa (distinctive from the Z8's Nappa), with special piping and ALPINA logos in the upper seatback. Three color schemes are offered: Black/Black, Black/Crema and Black/Sport Red.

ALPINA built only 555 BMW ALPINA ROADSTER V8s. Of those approximately 450 were sold in the US

- 4,837 cc 4.8 liters V 8 front engine with 93 mm bore, 89 mm stroke, 10.5
compression ratio, double overhead cam, variable valve timing/camshaft and four valves per cylinder
- Premium unleaded fuel
- Fuel economy EPA highway (mpg): 21 and EPA city (mpg): 14
- Multi-point injection fuel system
- 19.3 gallon main premium unleaded fuel tank
- Power: 280 kW , 375 HP SAE @ 5,800 rpm; 383 ft lb , 519 Nm @ 3,800 rpm
- 0-60 mph 5.0 seconds
- Top speed 162 MPH ( Electronically limited )

Puntiki:.. This car is very rare. I put 800 miles on one last year and I enjoyed my time in it. The quality is great and the performance is more than adequate for this roadster. The Z8 and Alpina were designed off the 1957 BMW 507. It is a retro roadster and there is only 1 in Australasia.... It also happens to be the one I did 800 miles in. The turning circle is not the best if you want to do a quick U turn, and the hard top lifts on or off, A LA 450SL, which allows for a nice canvas electric top in case it rains. It comes equipped with navigation, telephone, and a great stereo system. It is a car that grows on you, I think it is beautiful. This car will appreciate.

Pablo: The real question is why? Why would you want a BMW Z8 Alpina when you could have a Mercedes SL500 or a 911. I know the BMW is a good looking car (one of the few good looking cars that Chris Bangle has designed) but it's not good looking enough to make me look at it twice if it was parked next to a 911 or SL. Sure, it's rare, which means that you don't look like every other person with a sports car out there in places like Beverly Hills, but 375hp is not much chop when BMW make great cars like the M3 and the M5.

This is supposed to be a flagship car - something exciting, something special. It should have had an M badge and none of this Alpina nonsense. Sorry, but for the dollars involved I would have looked elsewhere.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Ferrari F40


Type: Twin-Turbo V8
Displacement: 2936 cc
Horsepower: 478 bhp @ 7000 rpm
Torque: 424 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
Redline: 7750 rpm


0-60 mph: 3.8 sec
0-100 mph: 8.0 sec
Quarter Mile: 11.8 sec @ 124 mph
Skidpad: .94g
Top Speed: 201 mph
60-0 mph: 122 ft
Slalom Speed: 68.3 mph

Puntiki: The Ferrari F40 is one of the most exotic and best looking Ferraris made. But it is very basic on the inside and had a tendancy to give the driver a head ach after prancing around in it for over 30 minutes. The twin turbo V8 produced 478 HP, and although you can get more hp than that now in a $65,800 US Corvette Z06, it was very impressive at the time. The car was commissioned by the great Enzo Ferrari before he died. The top speed of 201MPH gave it the highest top speed of any production car made until the boys at McLaren popped out something called the F1. I would own one of these F40's in a heart beat.... I'd also invest in some good quality earplugs and go for a long drive.

Pablo: Ah yes. the swansong of il maestro Enzo Ferrari. This car scared Nigel Mansell (then a racer for Ferrari) when he drove it, which says something about how powerful it was when it was released. The F40 is gorgeous to behold, frightening to drive, a pleasure to own and as Puntiki has said, noisy to drive. It is in my opinion, the best car of the 1990s, certainly the best Ferrari made in a decade of awful Americanised Ferraris like the Testarossa and the 348.

One of my favourite computer games of the late 1980s was Test Drive, which pitched the Ferrari F40 against the Porsche 959, the limited edition 4wd turbo Porsche that held the crown as the world fastest car for around 2 months - until the F40 was released. I would always choose the Porsche because even at age 12 and 13 I was biased against Italian engineering - even playing a game I expected the Italian car to break down.

But I digress - the F40 is a gorgeous Ferrari - and Enzo Ferrari could have passed into his well deserved place in the afterlife knowing that the Archangel Gabriel would have asked him for a test drive in an F40 for a no-questions asked entrance pass to heaven.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Mercedes Benz S600

The 2006 S600 Sedan
Featuring a twin-turbocharged V-12 and Active Body Control (ABC), the S600 delivers world-class power and performance. It's the undisputed leader in the luxury sedan segment. According to MB USA.

MSRP $128,725* US
Engine5.5L 36-valve V-12
Net Power493 hp @ 5,000 rpm
Net Torque590 lb-ft @ 1,800 - 3,500 rpm

Puntiki: A very very fast automobile. It is capable of 0- 100Kph in under 5 seconds. It is a huge vehicle and after you drive it you really wonder what the S65 with 604 hp would drive like. The S600 spins the wheels with the traction control on if you dont watch it. I think that the suspension could do with a bit of a tweek, as it does not feel as good in my opinion as the 7 series BMW. Wouldn't want to get a second hand S600 out of warranty, as it is expensive to fix.

Pablo: Hmm - an iron fist wrapped in a silk glove is the metaphor that springs to mind. With every conceivable electronic gadget that the Krauts could invent stacked either under the bonnet or in the cabin, the S-Class is a technological tour de force.

It is, as Rob points out, a VERY large car, meaning that it is hideously impractical for the streets of Parnell and Remuera, where the car is likely to be found in greater numbers once it reaches the shores of NZ. The S Class makes no apologies for its size - rather, it dares the owner to think larger instead. However, despite it's impractical size, it's actually a very good looking German tank, and a far better looking S-Class than the obese and slab sided early 1990s S-Class (which was also light years ahead of its competition in size and technology).

So then, why choose an S-Class over the BMW 7 Series, the Jaguar XJ12, the Audi A8 and other luxury cars like the Rolls or Bentley? Well, maybe because its better looking than the Bentley or Rolls (less ungainly for such a large car), and maybe it's better looking than the unusually shaped 7 Series (with that god-awful ass and the even worse I-Drive system), and maybe because it's more prestigious than the Audi (a luxury car for people who don't want the neighbours reporting you to the IRD out of jealousy). But for me, I would save $100k in NZD, and a lot of bother and hassle in owning a car THAT big by going for the Mercedes tour-de-force that is the E Class 55 AMG. I have heard a story of NZ bigwigs all lunching over several bottles of wine having a big discussion on what was the best car in the world. They all disagreed on their number one pick, but could all agree on their number 2 choice. The E55 AMG has the power, the size and space, the image and the engineering excellence that a Mercedes owner aspires to own. The S600 is an impressive car, but it is not a car that you drive to work in - rather, it is the car that you are driven to work in.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

2005 BMW M3 ( US Spec )

2005 BMW M3


Unladen 3415 lbs

Weight distribution, front/rear 50.3/49.7 %

Liter/type/valves 3.2/inline 6/24
Displacement 3246 cu cm
Bore/stroke 3.43/3.58 inch
Nominal output/rpm 333/7900 hp
Max. torque/rpm 262/4900 lb-ft
Fuel grade Premium unleaded

Front/rear 12.8/12.9 in
Tire dimensions (performance tires) - front 1 225/45R-18
Tire dimensions (performance tires) - rear 1 255/40R-18
Wheel dimensions - front/rear 18 x 8.0/18 x 9.0
Material Light Cast Alloy

Gear ratios - Manual or SMG - I/II/III 4.23/2.53/1.67 :1
Gear ratios - Manual or SMG - IV/V/VI/R 1.23/1.00/0.83/3.75 :1
Gear Ratios - Manual or SMG - Final drive ratio 3.64 :1

Drag coefficient 0.33 Cd
Top speed 155 mph
Acceleration 0-60 mph 4.8 sec

Fuel Consumption
6 speed manual transmission - City 16 mpg
6 speed manual transmission - Highway 24 mpg
6 speed SMG transmission - City 16 mpg
6 speed SMG transmission - Highway 23 mpg

Puntiki:...A truly magnificent all round sports car. capable of comfortably carrying 4 people. The car is electronically limited to 155 mph ( 250 kph ) but without the limiter would be capable of 180mph. The vehicle is available in 6 speed manual or SMG (Sequential manual transmission). The SMG is effectivelty the same gearbox with a clutch plate but hydraliclly changes gears Schumacher fast with the pull of a paddle behind the steering wheel. The SMG is a must if you track race the car. In the USA the maintanence is free for 4 years or 50,000 miles and the warranty is the same. The car is very practical and is available from $47,000 to $67,000 (convertible)