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Entries in Ferrari (4)


September 2014

September 26, 2014: We finally got on the roads above Los Angeles in the 2015 Mustang during a time when temps in the valley reached an indicated 108 degrees. Judging from the reactions to the car, the air temperature wasn’t the only thing that was hot as Mustang and Camaro drivers, passersby and even exotic car drivers stopped and asked about the car. Does it meet or exceed the expectations set by the hype? We take an in-depth look. What does it take to start a new sports car company? We speak with former Caterham CEO and Lotus alumnus Ansar Ali about his past, and how it led to the creation of Zenos Cars. Then we examine the technology that makes the Zenos E10 a fascinating, high-tech, and surprisingly practical track day car. And if this little soap opera doesn’t satisfy you, we look at Pocket Classics’ lineup of pint-sized collector cars that even adults can enjoy. Toyota’s Tundra visited our offices recently, and left us wondering why it doesn’t sell in larger numbers. And Al Vinikour talks about his battle with spare tires, and why full-size spares are preferable to the alternatives.


September 12, 2014: We took a short break after the Labor Day holiday, but are back like Nixon in ’68; tanned, rested and ready. For those looking for a story on Mazda’s latest Miata, you will be disappointed. The seminal sports car has been covered to the point of annoyance elsewhere, and we’re not about to add to that until more solid information is available. Continuing on around the theme of annoyance, Jaguar finally pulled the wraps off the XE sedan after what seemed like an eternity of teases and information leaks. It wasn’t a subtle launch. Mercedes-AMG also pulled the covers off its GT and GT S two seaters, and we distilled a wordy press release about the car down to its bare essentials for your enjoyment. Speaking of having fun, earlier this week we were out at the Monticello Motor Club to drive the new Lexus RC350, RC F Sport and RC F. It’s an impressive car that’s indicative of where the brand intends to go, but you may be surprised by some of our initial impressions as to which model is best. Elsewhere, Ferrari chairman Luca Montezemolo was shown the door by Fiat Chrysler chairman Sergio Marchionne, but not before he collected a $35 million severance package. We look at what’s going on behind the scenes at the home of the Prancing Horse. Thankfully, the newly retired Montezemolo didn’t have the bad fortune to cross the street with his stash in front of our own Al Vinikour. It seems Al has a problem with folks who dawdle in the crosswalk, and isn’t afraid to share his solutions with anyone who’ll listen.



April 2013

April 25, 2013: We're taking the week off here at TVD, but will be back next week with new features and reviews. In the interim, take the time to tour the site, see some things you might have missed, and leave comments for our staff.


April 19, 2013: The race engineers at Prodrive have gotten together with the production engineers and created a formula by which they can create an optimized race car for a reasonable amount of money. Though it sounds like heresy, they claim to have developed the idea while creating the Mini Countryman World Rally car, a vehicle that proved quite successful straight out of the box. Perhaps more bizarre are the chairs designed by Maserati and Mazda for Milan Design Week. The Maserati seat looks more comfortable, but it is Mazda’s Kodo Chair that has the sleekness you would expect from a maker of expensive Italian sports cars. At Shanghai’s motor show, Mercedes pulled the wraps off its Concept GLA. This small SUV has many over-the-top features you expect from a concept, but is very close in look and feel to the production GLA that launches next year. Shanghai also is the venue at which BMW launched its X4 concept. A bite-sized version of the X6 SUV coupe, the X4 seems like the answer to a question nobody asked. However, when you run the numbers, the idea behind these vehicles makes a lot of sense. Continuing with the BMW theme, the company’s heritage division teams up with transmission ZF to make a limited number of new transmissions for its 1930s 328 sports car to the original design, only better. Lastly, Al Vinikour questions whether or not anyone at the car companies is paying attention to the design of steering wheel controls, or whether they consider it enough just to have them.


April 12, 2013: Sunday April 7th was the 45th anniversary of one of the saddest days in motor racing. On that day in 1968, two-time F1 World Champion Jim Clark was killed while competing in a F2 race at Germany’s Hockenheim. A man of incredible talent, Clark was admired by fans and competitors alike, and his death shook the foundations of the sport. We have downloaded a documentary on the life and times of the Scottish champion that originally appeared on BBC Four. If you know nothing about the man, take this as an opportunity to learn about the quiet sheep farmer turned race driver. Conversely, if you are familiar with Clark, become reacquainted with his accomplishments and gentle nature. Speaking of Formula One and heroes, the new Ron Howard film, Rush, which chronicles the story of Niki Lauda’s near-fatal crash at the Nurburgring in 1976 and his battle for the F1 driver’s title against James Hunt, premiers later this year. Chris Sawyer looks back to that time, and recounts a chance encounter with an American hero who played a pivotal role in Lauda’s survival. On a completely different note, Yamaha introduces a product that bike owners, especially those who go off road, will appreciate. It’s not what you expect from the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer. Finally this week, our own Al Vinikour has a solution for interminable construction delays. It’s a simple common sense solution that could cut construction time in half, and drive everyone wed to the old ways crazy.


April 5, 2013: We were there for the launch of the Prius v, but now we’ve had the chance to spend a week behind the wheel. Is it a hybrid SUV alternative or just a glorified Prius wagon? And why is Mazda’s full-size CX-9 not one of the most popular crossovers in the market? Based on our time with the Japanese mild-roader, it should be at the top of shopping lists. Nissan released two videos this week. This first looks at digital versus analog design, and reminds us of time spent in Canada with a famous designer. The second shows the post-war ancestor of the all-electric Nissan Leaf, and an innovative answer to difficult times. Fancy a quick cup of espresso? How about one brewed in a V10 or V12 engine? However, if you really fancy the best of the best, you might want to consider buying the Ferrari F1 team, which gets plenty of perks from the FIA. Speaking of initials in place of names, Al Vinikour vents about the recent spate of alphanumeric car names.



March 2013

March 29, 2013: The auto show circus stopped in New York this week. Plenty of new sheetmetal, new tech and new ideas mixed with enough facelifts, refreshes and updates to keep journalists on their toes. Even Hyundai, which showed off its revised Equus luxury sedan, got into the act with a reveal that combined lounge and trendy eatery on the show floor, and made company President and CEO John Krafcik look as though he was trying out for Leno’s slot on The Tonight Show. You can read about the more interesting models in our New York coverage. Under the Driver’s Seat heading you’ll also find a comparison of Toyota’s Camry and Ford’s latest Fusion. The best-selling Camry had a higher trim level than the Ford, but that didn’t hold Dearborn’s mid-size sedan back. It came out swinging. See if it landed a knockout or got its clock cleaned. On the lighter side, though the folks from Consumer Reports probably didn’t intend it that way, is a report on motorcycle reliability. It’s an eye-opener for reasons other than the obvious. And Al Vinikour tells tales of car salesmen and their tricks.


March 22, 2013: The weather in The Soo, as it’s called, was great, and so were the technologies shown by Continental Automotive Systems. You can read about them here. Speaking of technology, it’s a big week for new tech at The Virtual Driver. Xtrac shows off a hybridized automated manual gearbox for supercars that cuts emissions, increases efficiency, improves shift quality and costs less than a DCT. Not to be outdone, the folks from CVT maker Torotrak have taken a financial interest in Flybrid, makers of flywheel-powered hybrid units. McLaren Automotive, meanwhile, put out a video to celebrate the Stateside arrival of the MP4-12C Spider, and shot it on a cold and snowy pass in Colorado. Speaking of marketing, why is Chrysler doing better than Lincoln despite spending far less money? We have an opinion. Saab’s creditors are auctioning off the last 78 vehicles in their possession, including a few rare treats. Detroit Electric rises from the ashes with two ex-Lotus types at the helm, and promises a new electric sports car that’s built in Detroit with the help of a “global manufacturer.” Meanwhile, Hyundai teases its next-generation Genesis Coupe with a concept to be shown at the South Korean Motor Show. And Al Vinikour goes off on a tirade about gas caps and the people who ignore them.


March 14, 2013: We’re a little early this week as the staff is heading for beautiful Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to drive vehicles with new technologies from the folks from Continental Automotive. Given that this Upper Peninsula paradise just got seven inches of new snow, it might be a great place for the Ford Explorer Sport we just tested. The Terrain Management System and all-wheel drive would be a big help, but its relative thirst and sporty pretensions might not. Another non-starter in the snow sweepstakes would be Harley-Davidson’s new bike, the Breakout. The chopped fenders and fat rear tires are best left for sunny weather. Speaking of vacations, how about renting a supercar the next time you travel to Europe? Hertz Supercars has a lineup you won’t want to miss. However, if low-volume exotic that doesn’t need constant care is more your style, check out Infiniti’s QX60 Hybrid. It’s powered by a combination of a supercharged four-cylinder engine and electric motor. Speaking of force-fed small displacement motors, the rumor mill is full of talk that McLaren will dump Mercedes power for Honda in 2015. And our own Al Vinikour spouts off about manually shifted automatic and automatically shifted manual transmissions. He’s not happy, though that’s nothing new.


March 8, 2013: The Geneva Motor Show was this week, and saw the introduction of a number of new cars. Perhaps the most interesting, as much for its technology as its name, was the Ferrari LaFerrari. (You read that right.) This hypercar brings F1 technology to the street, and is a direct competitor for the McLaren P1. Speaking of the LaFerrari, Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo’s statement about who the car is for is perhaps one of the most cynical utterances ever, and raises the question about the need for such machines. You can read our take, here. At the show, Rolls Royce pulled the wraps off its gargantuan Wraith Coupe. And Toyota and Buick (through Opel/Vauxhall) showed a pair of convertibles destined for these shores. Back in the real world, we test a Mazda MX-5 Miata in the snow, and like it. Ditto the Mercedes C300 Al Vinikour piloted, though with the bonus of 4Matic all-wheel drive. Al also takes to task the “geniuses” who measure out parking lot slots.


March 1, 2013: We spend time with Jon Bereisa, spiritual father of the Chevy Volt and all-around smart guy to talk about EVs, hybrids, Tesla and more. Bereisa pulls no punches, lays out the plusses and minuses of our current trip down the road to vehicle electrification, and gives a fascinating look into what the cars of 2040 might be like. Closer to this decade, Al Vinikour drives the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and disses a girly-man who gets in his way. Chris Sawyer takes a first look at the 2014 Kia Forte. But does this handsome compact sedan promise more than it delivers? Finally, Al gets a truck delivered to his home, and finds technologies he forgot existed inside.




November 2012

November 30, 2012: While the rest of the world was running from stand to stand at the L.A. Auto Show, TVD’s editors were taking in the scenery. The Lincoln stand’s homage to Lincolns past caught their attention, but so did something else. Speaking of retro, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering has a way to make your new Camaro look more like its ancestor. Despite sharing DNA with its predecessor, the 2013 Toyota Avalon is a big step forward, though the Sport mode button still baffles. Speaking of distractions, Toyota and the University of Michigan recently completed a study on driver distraction, and the results aren’t promising, especially for parents. We’re tech heavy this week with three stories you’re sure to like. First, French supplier Faurecia designs seats that move and coddle, interiors that take cues from major cities, and… an exhaust manifold for Ford hybrids? Meanwhile, Visteon shows just how detailed 3D instrument displays can be, and our Director of Web Development goes to Burger King with Ferrari’s design house. Finally, Al Vinikour beats a man when he’s down… with a hub cap!


November 20, 2012: It’s a short week for the staff at The Virtual Driver as they travel to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family. Nevertheless, we’ve picked some of our favorite stories from the past for your entertainment. First up is the story of Andy Peace and his Maserati Tipo 250, a Fifties grand prix car you can drive every day. Next up is the Eagle Speedster, a rumored £500,000 ($796,000) re-do of the classic Jaguar E-Type, and one of the most beautiful Jaguars ever. Those more interested in modern metal might like the review of Chevy’s Volt; a very nice car that makes little economic sense. Judging from its readership, a perennial favorite is William Sawyer’s reminiscence of days of racing past; a time of innovation and lost innocence. Finally, those looking for a touch of comedy may enjoy the Al Vinikour/Chris Sawyer co-review of Hyundai’s Elantra Coupe and GT. We also invite you to wander the site and leave your comments along the way between football games and turkey and stuffing-induced comas. Here’s wishing you and yours the very best this Thanksgiving.


November 16, 2012: Australia’s Carbon Revolution just launched a set of carbon fiber road wheels for high-performance sports cars, but that’s not the news. The company has plans to bring these lightweight rims to automotive, aerospace and trucking at competitive prices. Speaking of revolutions, Ford introduces a new minivan closer in size to Chrysler’s original, and BMW announces plans to produce a new air-cooled boxer sport bike. Mini, meanwhile, has a new collection of bags inspired by the car and its native culture. Cadillac’s native culture used to be squishy luxury, but recent products have combined sport with luxury. Does the XTS continue this trend, look to the past or straddle these two worlds? And TVD’s own culture czar, Al Vinikour questions the placement of certain features on new cars.


November 9, 2012: Al Vinikour goes out on the trail to drive the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder, an SUV that has moved from body-on-frame to monocoque chassis. Has capability been lost in the translation? Honda has signed a letter of agreement with Proton/Lotus owner DRB-Hicom. Is there any fire behind this smoke, and what might it mean for the struggling British sports car maker? Mercedes has commissioned a limited number of 1:43 models of its 300 SL and its latest progeny, but you’d better be able to speak German if you want one. Speaking of presents, TVD has joined forces with Cars In Context Television to create a new car show. You can see the first episode here. If that’s not enough, Chris Sawyer drives the new Jetta Hybrid, a vehicle that brings performance to the hybrid competitive set while getting diesel-like mileage. Finally, Al Vinikour uses the S-word in public, and wants you to do the same.


November 2, 2012: Ford launches a new Cobra Jet, a twin-turbo V8-powered drag car concept that may hold the key to future performance Mustangs. If that isn’t enough, the company also relaunched the 1940 Ford; a sheetmetal tool room copy of the original Coupe designed for restorers and rodders. Controlled Power Technologies claims it has the answer to providing both the power and economy necessary to meet future fuel economy standards and customer performance demands. Editor Sawyer drives the Challenger Rallye Redline, and wonders if it’s a pony car competitor or luxo barge. And Al Vinikour talks about the days when he was a (tire) smoker too addicted to quit.