2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S Convertible

Again, sorry for the lack of interesting writing, but I have been very busy with being a new dad and my career.
Most likely from here on out these posts will be photo heavy with less writing. But when I have notes I will be sure to include them!

Like a fullback in football, heavy, planted, but quick when it needs to be; beautiful looking; got more attention than Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet; suspension settings are like polar opposites, comfort is comfortable, but sloppy, sport is still comfortable but much more responsive to inputs and road feel and is preferable to me, in full comfort mode car felt big and boaty, but in full sport mode felt more tossable and smaller; can feel the heft of the car, especially in braking and hard cornering, still handled well in sport mode, but definitely suffers from the vehicle weight; wish brakes felt better, not as responsive as I would have liked; transmission in normal D is laggy, and needs a lot of pedal pressure to become responsive, found myself in situations where i needed to use acceleration and it was way too slow for the amount needed, but transmission in sport mode was wonderfully much more responsive, kept revs higher, downshifts were much quicker and responsive, overall sport mode was preferred, plus it let you hear the engine sounds much more; LOVE the sound of the V8, sounds great, deep sound and sounds bad ass at full open throttle, especially in tunnels; paddle shifter location was annoying for normal driving, kept trying to hit those when trying to use the turn signals; seats comfortable, loved the massaging feature and the two tone interior; everything was nice to the touch, metal features, beautifully stitched leather; not a fan of the dials and knobs, felt nice to the touch, but they were tiny and required a lot of manipulating to change things for some, steering wheel dial was a little laggy when trying to change settings

2015 McLaren 650s at Monticello Motor Club

While I only got to drive this car on a small autocross course, you can tell even with just the tiniest taste that this is an amazing machine. It’s fast, comfortable, and looks great. It really is amazing how McLaren was able to hone in the suspension to be so capable on the track and so comfortable on everyday roads. Their unique suspension is truly an automotive phenomenon. This car doesn’t use traditional anti-roll bars, but instead uses hydraulics to keep it stable, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that other manufacturers need to take advantage of this kind of technology. On a side note, I can’t get over how fast their professional drivers can drive. Doing a couple of hot laps in the passenger seat was amazing. I don’t think the smile on my face came off for a good hour after I got out of the car. Simply awesome!

2014 Chevrolet SS

Who can recall the last rear wheel drive 4 door SS that Chevrolet had? If you can, you’ll remember it to be the 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS. A barge of a car, the Impala SS was essentially a Chevrolet Caprice with the package that their police counterparts came with, along with some body colored bumpers, different wheels, oh, and an engine derived from the Corvette’s LT1. I must admit I was never a fan of the Chevy Caprice in stock form, but the ’94-96 Impala SS always caught my attention, to the point that I even looked for one for my first car.

10 years after the 1994 Impala SS came around, Chevrolet has introduced the 2014 Chevrolet SS, which is essentially a new and improved Pontiac G8 that made it to our shores from GM’s Australian division before Pontiac got the ax, and guess what? This car is good. It checks all the boxes needed if you’re a dad who wants to have a fun, sporty car with room for a car seat.

The SS is pretty much a 4 door Camaro SS. It has the same 6.2l V8 engine found in the Camaro SS(a little less HP, 415hp vs. 426) and the same 6 speed automatic transmission. Oh yeah, hope you don’t mind an automatic, as thats the only transmission available, but hey, you’ll appreciate it when you’re trying to stop little Timmy from hitting his brother. This car comes pretty much with no options available, but thats because it comes with the majority of normal optional features standard. However, you do have the option to choose whether or not you want a full size spare tire and wheel, as well as a sunroof.

For a price tag of around $46,000 you get a slew of standard features, some of which include such premium features like keyless push button start, an 8″ color touchscreen with navigation, heated and ventilated seats, heads-up display, remote start and a plethora of safety features like lane departure, blind zone alert, rear traffic alert, forward collision alert, parking assist, and a rear view camera. All-in-all a great set of features for what you’re paying.

This car was very well composed, a little stiff, but surprisingly comfortable. It is something you could live with on a day to day basis, but still tackle the corners when you’re all alone. Handling was very crisp, and provided pretty good feedback. The flat bottomed steering wheel was a very nice added touch to enhance the sportiness feel. With all the safety nannies on I was surprised at how well they were able to keep that rear end planted to the ground and keep the car composed when pushing it hard into turns. It reins you in pretty well in case you push a little too hard. There isn’t really much you can say about the 6.2L 415hp LS3 V8, it’s a big thunderous V8, which is quiet when you want it to be, but the burble lurks subtly so you know its ready to go whenever you are. As for the people behind you, they’ll be well aware of when you step on the gas, as it’s not a polite exhaust full out, but damn does it sound great.

Inside you’ll find all the comforts you need, from a decently appointed dash with some nice leather and alcantara touches, to nicely bolstered and supportive seats. The seats were a little wide for my body type, still very comfortable, but for your average American these were perfect. The only quibble I had was with the cheap chrome-looking pieces located throughout the dash and center console. To me they felt a little cheap, and were a little gaudy looking.

Overall the Chevrolet SS is a great car. It hits all the points in sportiness and comfort. If you’re looking for something fun and to tide over the 25 year old in you, all the while having a completely capable family sedan for a day to the zoo, then this is an ideal car for you.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette

The Corvette is an American icon. When it first appeared in 1953 as a show car, it was met with so much enthusiasm that GM decided to make it into a production model, and it came out later that year. Seven generations later, and it’s still in production, and still loved as much as back then. While many will argue which is the best Vette ever made, I’d have to say without having ever driven another version besides the Corvette C6 ZR1, this is a great American sports car, hell, maybe even an American super car.

While it’s no Ferrari or Lamborghini, the C7 Corvette is well on it’s way to being a contender for bang for your buck. For a cool $51,000 you can be sitting in one. What does that $51,000 get you? I’m glad you asked.

You’re no longer looking at cheap, recycled parts, the same steering wheel as a Chevrolet Malibu, or decent performance. No, you’re looking at a very well crafted machine, filled with luxurious touches, and great overall performance. Looking over this car, GM took in every detail, from the soft touch leather dashboard, to the knobs that control the climate controls, everything feels well thought out, and well executed. The digital gauges add a very nice touch of the future to the cabin, but don’t worry, you still have some analog gauges there as well to even it all out. The seats are very comfortable as well. It didn’t take much to find a comfortable seating position, and while you’re pretty low to the ground, it didn’t feel like it.

Previous years exterior designs were never as controversial as this one. Some may think its too aggressive looking, but I think it looks just right. It has enough aggressiveness to have people take a double take when passing by, which is what the Corvette needed. Yeah, you see Corvettes a lot more than you’ll see Ferrari’s, which is partially the reason why previous generations get overlooked easily. But this one, you need to take a look at again, just to be like, “Wait, this is a Corvette? An American car company built something so exotic looking?” And exotic it is. Over the course of the 16 hours I had this car I had people stopping me, asking me questions about it, heck, some people were even pulling u-turns as the drove by just to get out and look the car over as it was parked on the side of the road.

Now, the performance parts. How can you go wrong with a 6.2 liter V8 pushing out 455 horsepower, 460 if you opt for the performance exhaust as in the car I had. Transmission choices are either a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters, or a true enthusiasts transmission of a manual 7-speed with active rev-matching. Yes, thats correct, a 7-speed manual in a Corvette. While I’ll say that the 7-speed manual transmission in this car is pretty good, it did feel a tiny bit clunky, and many times I would find it hard to find the gear I was looking for. Trying to get from 2nd into 3rd I’d sometimes end up in 5th, and trying to go from 4th to 5th I’d sometimes end up in 7th, but most of the time, I’d end up somewhere in between. I’m sure with some more time in the car it would all become second nature to me, but it would take some time.

In the center of the car you will find a dial. On that dial you have some options. Weather, Eco, Tour, Sport, and Track. I kept it mainly in 2 modes, Tour and Sport. Tour mode is what I’d like to call your everyday mode. It’s comfortable, smooth, and just overall very pleasant. The exhaust isn’t too loud, unless you really get on it, the ride is very compliant and easy on the hind quarters. This is the kind of mode you use driving around your community neighborhood at the early hours, or if you’re on long road trip.

My favorite mode, however, was Sport. This gave the suspension a more aggressive feel, a little more jarring, but not unbearable. It also tightened up the steering feel and made the exhaust much more pronounced. This is the mode you’d drive in when you want to hear the roar of that LS3 engine, and when you want everyone else to hear it too.

No matter which mode you’re in, planting your foot into the floor will always give you a nice rush. Plant it hard enough and that back end likes to come loose like a wet noodle. Before you know it you’re hitting 60mph, which is claimed to be around 3.8 seconds. Keep that throttle pegged, and you hit triple digits in no time. The engine just begs to keep going, and hearing the noises that it’s emitting makes it very hard to pull that right foot back. But alas, unless you’re on a track you shouldn’t be hitting those speeds, but it sure is fun trying to get up there.

So is this new Corvette a true super car. Of course not. But it’s pretty damn close for what you’re paying for.

2013 Hot Wheels Edition Chevrolet Camaro

When I was a little boy, I remember thinking to myself, “Gee, wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could shrink down in size so I could fit inside my Hot Wheels cars so I could drive them around and do the loop!” Well, since that is pretty much impossible, Chevrolet and Hot Wheels teamed up to bring us something us adults can actually fit into. For many, this is a dream come true, for others, its just another way to make some money from some suckers. While at first I was a little skeptical of this appearance only package upgrade, after driving around for a day, it brought me back to my childhood days. Now, you can get the package on any version of the Camaro, but if you want to have the most fun, I’d advise you to get it on the SS. For some pretext, I drove the original 2010 Camaro SS when it first reappeared back in 2009.
chevy-camaro-ss-2010While it was a vast improvement over the previous generation of Camaro, I felt a bunch of things lacking. The steering felt numb, the shifter was clunky, and you just felt generally unconnected to the ground and the car. While the car was plenty quick, I got bored of driving it just as quickly. It just didn’t feel like a driver’s car.

Fast forward to 2013, and with the addition of some new updated parts, I can say that the steering feel, shifter feel, and connectedness on this 2013 Hot Wheels Edition Camaro SS is much better. Overall feel for the road has increased, as well as responsiveness. Rather than feeling like I was just floating on the road, I can feel what lies beneath, and can get a better connection to the car. A nice added feature to 2013 is the dual-mode exhaust, which basically lets the Camaro be nice and quiet, until you really get on the gas, and what a wonderful sound does that make! It’s no wonder why people get into so much trouble in these types of cars, it begs to be opened up, and listened to.

One must be careful, however, as the rear end likes to break loose with any kind of overzealous right foot, even with traction control on. But if you want to leave a nice double solid black line, traction control can be defeated, and the burning of rubber can commence.

Now back to the dream as a kid driving a Hot Wheels car. Being in this car, and seeing the kind of attention it got surely felt good. The Kinetic Blue Metallic paint when properly polished up looks beautiful, and while its not Spectraflame, it sure does get the job done of standing out. This Hot Wheels car has their logo emblazoned all over the car. There are embroidered seats, aluminum door sills, and emblems everywhere to let you, and everyone else around you, know that you’re driving around in a Hot Wheels branded car. To make it even more complete, they gave this edition a nice classic Hot Wheels feature, Redline wheels, albeit subtle Redlines, that really only true Hot Wheels fans will notice and appreciate. Oh, and there’s one more thing, Hot Wheels even put into production a 1/64th scale mainline diecast car replicating the real life sized Hot Wheels Camaro, which you see in the photos.

So, is this a car for the masses? No. Will it appeal to everyone? No. Would I buy one with my own money? Sure, if I had plenty of it. It could be a great heirloom to pass onto future generations of Hot Wheels collectors. But beyond that special feeling that you are driving a true to life Hot Wheels, this is nothing more than a gussied up Camaro, which I’m sure one day, maybe, will become a collectible.