Sunday, April 30, 2017

Watch: Learn to Drive a Stick with Death Metal


By: Sebastien Bell
The world is full of educational songs. From the alphabet song to School House Rock, few things stick in your mind like a tune. Now, though, music is finally being used to teach something important: how to drive stick shift.

The guys from RiffShop are doing their part to #savethemanuals by using their chosen genre, death metal, to help you through the challenging process of learning to drive a manual.
Everything from starting the car, to pulling away from a stop, to dealing with the embarrassment of inevitably stalling the car on your first attempt is covered here.
While I personally am a bigger fan of using Gilbert and Sullivan’s light operettas as the basis for educational easy listening, à-la Animaniacs, RiffShop is undeniably having a blast here and it’s infectious.
Even if you know how to drive a manual, give the song a listen. It’s well worth your time and will have you headbanging and bang shifting in no time.


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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Two Guys Garage Takes on the GTI


By: Sebastien Bell
For 16 years now, Kevin and Willie from Two Guys Garage have been tackling project cars, but this Sunday they’ll be doing something a little different. This week they’ll be taking on a 2013 GTI Autobahn edition.
Normally the Velocity Channel show covers muscle cars and other American cars, but on Sunday at 10:00 AM Kevin and Willie will be looking to double the power output of their GTI through the cunning use of air.
Along the way they’ll add a new turbo kit, intake manifold, exhaust, and some other goodies to get the car up and over 400 hp.
HPA Motorsports will also be featured on the show, so if you’re looking for performance packages, mention Two Guys Garage and you’ll receive special pricing.
You can watch the guys discuss the project that they’re calling… *sigh* “Pretty Fly for a GTI,” above.


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Friday, April 28, 2017

Volkswagen Teases the T-Roc


By: Sebastien Bell
Volkswagen’s little SUV is on its way and the automaker is teasing it ahead of its official reveal, which is expected in September at the Frankfurt Auto Show.
We first saw the T-Roc in 2014, at the Geneva Motor show as a concept, and we now know that it will be keeping its name when it hits the showroom floor.
Based on the MQB platform, the T-Roc will be about the size of a Golf, but higher off the ground, much like Audi’s Q2.
A range of engines will be available in Europe. Everything from a 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder, 115 hp engine to the much loved 2.0-liter power plant. Europeans will also have the option of a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed DSG unit.
This is the latest in Volkswagen’s SUV push, and the automaker is eager to make the T-Roc appealing to enthusiasts. As a result, it may eventually come with similar power to a Golf R. A T-Roc GTI, though, has been ruled out.
Past reports have suggested that this little SUV is bound for the US, where it would compete with small crossovers like the Chevy Trax and the Honda HR-V.


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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Enthusiast Groups Unsure How to Best Handle Crash Avoidance Technology on Track Day


By: Matt Posky
For the most part, crash avoidance and driver assistance technology is a welcome addition to the automotive landscape. While they can be a little invasive sometimes, they’re usually doing what they’re supposed to and helping to save the lives of drivers who may have had a momentary lapse in judgment or focus. However, there is a lot of worry over how lane assistance or emergency braking software will behave when you bring a streetcar to the track.
Several chapters of the BMW Car Club of America and the Porsche Club of America have already decided to forbid any vehicle equipped with aids. The fear is that track day organizers or instructors could be found liable if a car suddenly jerks right when it approaches the apex of a corner or suddenly decelerate when in close proximity to other vehicles. A driver might be caught off-guard if a car unexpectedly takes over and be unsure how to mitigate inputs they were unprepared for.
The bottom line is that newer cars are finding themselves in danger of being banned wholesale, and that’s just not going to work if track days are to continue in the years to come.
The BMW Car Club seems to be aware of this. After the earlier ban, the Genesee Valley chapter in New York has revised its decision and now wants assist-equipped vehicles marked for an additional safety check that would ensure those systems have been deactivated. “Because [crash avoidance systems] become active automatically at vehicle startup, it will be incumbent upon drivers to ensure they manually shut down their systems before proceeding onto the track,” the chapter’s chief driving instructor explained in a letter to Jalopnik. “Instructors and pit-out marshals will verify that the systems are indeed shut down before allowing your car on track. Cars will be required to display a special sticker on the windshield if these systems are installed, so that pit marshals can easily identify them and verify that the systems have been shut down prior to release into pit lane.”
Of course, this is just one chapter. The BMWCCA’s overall stance is a little different and has been working with BMW of North America to address the issue. In an earlier discussion with Road & Track the automaker made it clear that, while driving aids can be disabled, “Most advanced driver aids like lane departure warning and blind spot detection do not affect the ability of the driver to control the car on-track at high speed. In addition, the systems can be shut off so that they are also not a distraction to a student.”
Meanwhile, BMWCCA’s national driving events chairman Jack Joyner has suggested this is much ado about nothing. “As I understand it, these systems can be turned off, and that might be all we need,” he said. “If I have heard correctly, people were freaking out over ABS when it was introduced too. I would ask the newer car owners not to panic, as we will be having a call or two on this subject over the next few days.”


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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

2,200 HP Huracan Hits 217 MPH in 1500 Feet


By: Sebastien Bell
Underground Racing is widely known for taking already ferocious Lamborghinis (among other things) and turning them up to 11. Case in point, this twin turbocharged, 2,200 hp Lamborghini Huracan that just hit 217 mph in a rolling drag race.

As Carscoops points out, 217 mph is the same speed a Lamborghini Aventador tops out at, and according to the driver of this Huracan, the car’s wheels were slipping when it hit 211 mph, so the extra horsepower is as noticeable as having an actual horse in the passenger seat.
If you’re a Huracan owner who’s suddenly feeling envy’s sting, Underground Racing will happily provide you with the balm. For only $49,000 you can get your exotic up to 800 bhp, but it’ll cost you $150,000 to get your Huracan up to 2,000 hp.
Now that may sound like a lot, especially when you factor in the price of the Huracan, but remember, a Bugatti Chiron only makes 1,500 hp and that thing costs $2.5 million. And it’s not like you’ll be laughed off Amelia Island in your Lambo (I assume) so, really, this is the bargain of the century.


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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Millennials Just as Distrusting of EVs as Older Drivers


By: Sebastien Bell
These past few weeks have been good for intergenerational dialogue, as we’ve finally found the only two topics on which millennials and old older generations can agree: the Juicero is a comically bad idea and electric vehicles aren’t all that appealing.
Seventy percent of millennials say that they do not want to buy an electric car over a traditional car, according to a survey of 157,000 respondents taken by driving-tests.org.
“We used the word ‘striking,’” Andrei Zakhareuski, CEO of driving-test.org, told Forbes. “It was also striking for its uniformity across all age groups. Any thoughts that millennials would be more favorably disposed toward electric cars than seniors were not supported by the evidence.”
Driving-tests.org provides free practice tests for people looking to get their license. As a result, it appeals disproportionally to younger people. Even among 6-12-year-olds, though, roughly 70 percent of respondents said that they did not want to buy an electric car.
One reason for this preference might be that current electric vehicles don’t quite cut the mustard yet. Data from the Consumer Federation of America shows that 57 percent of people would buy an electric vehicle if it cost the same to buy and operate as an internal combustion car, if it had a 200-mile range, and could be charged in less than an hour.
So far only Tesla and the Chevy Bolt come close to satisfying all those demands, and even then it’s a bit of a stretch given their lofty prices. When it comes, though, the Tesla Model 3 should satisfy all of those demands.
Volkswagen, meanwhile, is determined to make the EV model affordable with its range of I.D. concepts. Set to hit dealer lots in 2020, VW has said that it will cut down EV costs by using one dedicated platform to underpin everything from an electric compact car to an electric SUV.
And with all manufacturers working on either an EV or a plug-in hybrid, and VW forced to work on installing an electric infrastructure through its dieselgate settlement, questions of range are quickly finding answers.
Self-driving cars, meanwhile, also appear to be unpopular. Most respondents answered that they would be concerned about riding in an autonomous car. That said, a large proportion of respondents answered that they would not be concerned at all about riding in a self-driving car, so the subject is a divisive one.
Ultimately, the survey demonstrates that despite bullish predictions from automakers about the future of electric and autonomous cars, there’s still a lot of uncertainty about them among American drivers.


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