LOCATION SPOTTED: Harbor Marina (Springs)
- Acceleration 0 to 60 : 3.6 seconds
- Braking 60 to 0 : 101 feet
- Quarter Mile: 11.1 seconds
- Skidpad: 0.99 g
- Slalom: 74 mph
This car is one of a kind. I mean there literally isn’t anything else like it that has ever been sold to the public. Try to imagine a car that costs $440,000 new, AND has a 612 hp naturally aspirated V10 engine, AND only comes with a 6-speed manual, AND weighs under 3200 lbs, AND has 335-section rear tires AND has no available sound system, even as an option. It sounds like an actual race car right? Well, it pretty much is.
In the late 90s, Porsche was forced to scrap it’s successful 911 GT1 and LMP1-98 race cars due to Formula One regulation changes. Their replacement for both these cars, was set to use a brand-new 5.7-liter V10 engine and had been in development for several years. By mid-1999, this motor development and the integration of it into the new Formula One replacement car were scrapped because Porsche executives wished to develop their rival to the new Mercedes ML, the Cayenne SUV. This required engineering expertise to be re-directed from Porsche’s motor-sport division to this new SUV project. Fortunately, Porsche was able to keep the project of the Carrera GT going with this 5.7-liter V10 and by early 2004, the first Carrera GTs were sold to the public. The Cayenne SUV development occurring at nearly the same time as that of the Porsche Carrera GT added stress to both the motor-sports department and the regular production car department and put on thousands of additional hours of research and development on both projects. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why the Carrera GT costs so much $$$$$$$$$.
LOCATION SPOTTED: Paul’s Lane (Water Mill)
You might as well just buy one if you need to go long distances. Yes, your dignity will be diminished slightly, but going 500+ miles on 10 gallons of gas is pretty good. The Prius, introduced in 1997, slots in just below the Avalon (my grandma owns this one) and the Camry sedans in terms of interior space and exterior volume. When the Toyota introduced the Prius, it was billed as a car which will save the environment with a dramatically lower CO2 footprint generated from its exhaust. While this is true, the car is very difficult to manufacture. For example, the components for the Prius must be built in 5 different factories in 5 different countries all across the globe. This is primarily due to the batteries, as Toyota uses nickel-based batteries to keep the cost of the car down. This means that the car is ironically damaging to the environment, yet it is the first car people think of when they think “environmentally friendly car.”
That doesn’t mean the Prius is a bad car (though it should if you care about the environment), but for those of us normal people just looking to save gas on their commute to and from work each day, this is an excellently economical choice. This car enables people who otherwise couldn’t afford to drive such long distances in a normal car can now pick up a used one for like $9,000 and drive out chillin’ at 50 mpg. The Prius is not a great car, but a good one if you don’t care about the environment and just want to save gas.
LOCATION SPOTTED: Harbor Marina (Springs)
- Acceleration 0 to 60: 5.1 sec convertible, 4.7 sec coupe
- Quarter Mile: 13.3 sec coupe, 13.7 sec convertible
- Braking 60 to 0: 111 feet coupe, 114 feet convertible
- Slalom: 67.2 mph coupe, 66.0 mph convertible
- Skidpad: 0.91 g both
Harbor Marina has recently become a true haven for exotic sports cars, however, this particular selection for this blog entry, is somewhat more obscure and kind of like a wolf in sheeps clothing to the untrained eye. The 335 is arguably the best small sports sedan ever. It maintains a unique level of performance that simply can’t be matched by competetors (unless extra cash is spent i.e. Audi S4). In recent years, cars like the Audi S4 have become better, faster, and cheaper than ever before. This shoots up red flags to the eyes of BMW engineers, causing them to create a better competitor to challenge the S4. Enter, the 335is.
Some will argue that the M3 already competes with the Audi S4 and also the Infiniti G37 IPL, but not anymore. You see, ever since the introduction of the new E90, 92 M3 in 2008 and E93 in 2009, each of which with a 414 hp V8 engine, in place of the E46 M3’s 333 hp inline six, The M3 is one step above the competition, and the 335i is just on the edge of the mark. The 335is with a 20 hp bump in power and a 30 lb ft increase in torque helps fill that void in the 3-series line.
In a nutshell, the 335is has some of the major performance improvements from the M3, including transmission, suspension, and steering (the brakes and engine are not carried over). There are also a few cosmetic improvements as well, including numerous “335is” badges indicating that this is not a regular 335i, and a bespoke front bumber difuser that makes even an M-Sport 335i look like a simpleton (well, not quite but it is still cooler than normal). The 335is makes the best compromise between outright performance and practicality. It gets 18/26 (city/highway) mpg which is only 1-2 mpg worse than the standard 335i, and it crushes the Infiniti G37 IPL in the sprint to 60 mph, even though it has 30 more horsepower (at 350 hp). This 335is has a tremendous sense of uniqueness from subtle interior touches to minor performance tweeks, this car is like a svelt punch to the faces of Audi and Infiniti.
LOCATION SPOTTED: Newtown Lane by Walbaums (East Hampton Village)
- Acceleration 0 to 60: 4.7 sec
- Braking 70 to 0: 173 ft
- Quarter Mile: 13.2 sec
- Slalom: 64.9 mph
- Skidpad: 0.80 g
This car may just be the most well balanced 4-seater convertible they’ve ever made. The 5.4 liter naturally aspirated V8 makes the perfect amount of power (362 hp). The CLK55 has better balance (believe it or not) than the more powerful CLK63 with over 480 hp. this is mostly due to the fact that the CLK55 has more usable power when driven on American roads. A smaller displacement engine in the CLK55 also means lower curb weight compared to the CLK63; about 200 lbs. The CLK55 is only one tenth slower to 60 mph than the CLK63 with over 100 less horsepower.
In short, the CLK55 is a remnant of a better time, when cars weren’t as large or as packed with technology as they are today. The modern-day equivalent of the CLK-Class, the E-Class convertible, is very heavy by comparison and lacking on driver feel. Mercedes’ AMG division doesn’t even make a four seat convertible anymore. Shame.