[Apr 27-May 4] Car of the week is back. And I’m getting things going with one of the baddest supercars on the planet; Koenigsberg Agera-R. The small Swedish manufacturer has engineered record-breaking contenders. The Agera-R being the companies current flagship halo car has been on Bugatti’s heels… Continue Reading
(Jul. 8 – Jul. 14) It’s been a while since the last COTW, and I truly apologize for that. But this week, the car that gets the spotlight is the notorious Audi R8 supercar. Designed and built by Audi’s AG high performance division quattro GmbH, the mid-engine R8 racer has been more than a success for the company. Based on its sister car, the Gallardo, the R8 is almost just a sheet metal Audi body placed on a Lamborghini frame…almost. The Audi R8 utilizes a permanent all wheel drive system (quattro) and, originally, a detuned 4.2 liter v8 version of the Gallardo’s power-packed v10 engine. Well why was it detuned? Initially, the two company’s didn’t want a conflict of interest between the Gallardo and R8, thinking that a R8 with the same exact engine as the Gallardo might lure Lamborghini buyers away.
But that notion didn’t last long. In 2008, Audi released the 5.2 liter v10 R8. That’s right, it utilized the same engine of its corporate cousin. Producing 525 horses, 390 lb-ft of torque and a top speed just shy of 200mph at 197, a significant increase of power over its v8 variant. The newly revised R8 sprints from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds, improved from 4.8 seconds. The new R8 v10 has certainly raced its way into the supercar world where it rivals the likes of the Ferrari 458 Italia, Nissan GT-R, Chevy Corvette ZR1, and corporate cousins Porsche 911, undoubtedly the Lamborghini Gallardo, & some have gone as far as pitting it up against its most prominent family member, the Bugatti Veyron16.4.
Stay tuned throughout the week as we recognize one of the newest members of the German elite’s.
(Apr 1. – Apr 7.) The first American car to grace Bleu Cartel in such a long time, and its our next Car of The Week; the popular Chevy Camaro muscle car.
The Chevy Camaro was created by General Motors back in 1966 to counter Ford’s then recently launched Mustang and recognized as the sister car to the Pontiac Firebird. Like the current Camaro we have today which pays it’s retro homage to the 1st gen Camaro, these two cars were both key turning points in GM’s sales and reputation.
After being discontinued back in 2002, the Camaro made it’s returning debut in 2009 as a 2010 model. The hiatus ended, this time, as what seemed to be a response to Chrysler bringing the Dodge Challenger nameplate back. With the Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger all back in production, the muscle car war was reignited and more powerful than ever.
The Camaro, having the most sporty and aggressive styling of the bunch, dominated in popularity. But popularity doesn’t help in performance. Struggling to keep up with the Mustang GT, Chevy has created the most powerful Camaro yet, above the legendary SS; the ZL1. Stick around as we recognize the soon to be, if not already, legendary Chevy Camaro.
(Mar. 25 – Mar. 31) Keeping it in Germany for our 4th car of the week. We move to BMW’s greatest rival; Mercedes-Benz. But we’ll be focusing on the controversial originator of the 4-door coupe segment, the CLS-Class. Featured on the site a couple months ago as my 1st true experience of an AMG Benz.
Introduced back in 2004 on an extended platform used on the E-Class, the CLS was slotted as Mercedes’ executive full-size sedan. The purpose of the CLS was to give the excitement of a 2-door coupe with the functionality and comfort of a sedan/saloon. The sloping roofline and 2+2 seating arrangement are the greatest hints to it’s coupe styling.
The new and current model CLS was revealed in 2010. Most of the body language remained the same with some minor refinement, except for the front fascia which took on a more modern & aggressive design; also the rear fascia which too appears more modern and cleaner. The CLS offers different engines variants depending on which part of the world you’re in. The CLS 63 AMG, the most powerful variant, will utilize a 5.5 liter Mercedes’ signature Biturbo V8 engine.
“The Best Or Nothing” – MB
F10 BMW M5
(Mar. 18th -24th) Having recently tested the new M5 and given the 550 to enjoy for a weekend, it’s only right that this Bavarian beast becomes our Car of the Week.
Introduced back in the 80’s, the M5 was quickly recognized as the fastest production sedan in the world. The car has been so successful that each generation of the 5-series since it’s introduction has had it’s own ‘M’ variation. The recent F10 M5 is possibly the most exciting of them all. Why? Rather than continuing to use bigger engines, BMW’s M division dialed back from the V10 in the previous model, to a V8; remaining fully capable of out performing it’s ancestor. All thanks to the highly engineering twin-turbo’s utilized.
The M5 has become such a legend that numerous competition have repeatedly attempted to dethrone it; Mercedes E63 AMG, Audi S6 Quattro, Cadillac CTS-V to name a few. But the M5 proves to be too much of a car to fall so easily.
Bentley Continental GT
We move from a ferocious supercar to a more elegant luxury performance icon. This week, we look at the Bentley Continental GT (Mar. 11th – Mar. 17th)
The Bentley Continental GT (Grand Touring) were released by the British brand in the early 2000’s. Normally, brands make the 4-door variant of a model and later introduce the coupe. But Bentley bought the Bentley Continental GT coupe in 2003, and later, the Flying Spur saloon in 2005. The GT was built on a re-bodied Volkswagen Phaeton and powered by the winged B’s massive W12 twin-turbocharged engine; performance was not sacrificed even for such a voluptuous vehicle, doing 0-60 in under 5 seconds. The GT was a huge catch almost creating it’s own niche market for being such a luxurious roomy coupe. The Bentley Continental GT has become a benchmark for the Bentley brand.
With fuel efficiency becoming a major regulation in vehicles, Bentley decided to create an alternative to their W12 engine by simply dialing down to a twin-turbo V8. And while most brands tend to restyle their cars after an average of 5 years, the GT has kept it’s design since it entered the market with minor refinement. Stay tuned as we look into the one of the most promising marque’s to come from Britain.
To get things started, the first car we’ll be looking at is my personal favorite; the R35, Nissan GT-R aka Godzilla. (Mar. 4th – Mar. 10th)
Prior to its release in 2007 (Japan)/ 2008 (U.S.), no one would have ever expected Japan’s 3rd place auto brand, Nissan, to produce what will become one of the world’s greatest engineered vehicle in history; the Nissan GT-R. Previous R34 Skyline GT-R was a favorite among street racers and car enthusiast. But in 2007, the release of the current generation GT-R (“Skyline” nameplate dropped) launched the automotive world into a frenzy. Why? the twin-turbo V6 Godzilla was causing some serious damage. Put up against cars that most people thought would devour the Nissan, the GT-R ended up coming out victorious. A few names? Porsche, Bentley, Audi, Mercedes, and Ford’s Mustang Super Snake…to list a few. Even Ferrari has recently admitted they’ve tried and failed to understand Nissan’s halo car, and it is just mind-puzzlingly fast. And what makes it even sweeter is the GT-R is anywhere from half as much or a third less than its competition, costing less than $100K.
With the 2013 model still on the way, the new GT-R is not only recognized as a supercar, but capable of 0-60 in 2.8 seconds launches it to the borders of hypercar. Storming into the territory of Bugatti Veyron (0-60 in 2.7) and Lamborghini Aventador (0-60 in 2.9).
We’ll start things off slow with a look into the current 2012 model and the production of the GT-R on the assembly line. Stay tuned for more throughout the week.