The Winter (automotive) Olympic Games

The Olympics is doing it all wrong! It is a fraud, a scam and the jury is rigged!!! Okay it is not any of these things but they do reward physical strength, endurance and skill. But what if they rewarded engineering, horse power, lateral G forces, grip or fuel economy…?

Ladies and Gentleman, I present the results of the “Real” winter Olympics.

Cross Country Mass Start:

1)      Volvo V70 Turbo Wagon

2)      Audi A6

3)      Jeep Wrangler.

This year’s cross country mass start was truly a race between the Audi and the Volvo. The course was 50 kms through the rolling hills of Sochi. The Jeep could have been a contender but the tall SUV was just too unstable in the corners, constantly going off course. The Audi and Volvo were neck and neck throughout the event. Both cars have all wheel drive and advanced traction control. Volvo won in the end probably due to the fact that it started playing in the snow when it was only 500 kms old thanks to its Swedish upbringing.

Downhill Long Jumping:

1)      Audi Quattro gruppe B

2)      Subaru WRX STI

3)      Ford F150 Raptor

This was some stiff competition. The Subaru was rumored to win this event hands down as it has lots of experience in the air. Then 2 weeks before the competition rumors started circulating that the Raptor would win because its brawny 6.2L V8 was now wrapped in a lighter aluminum body. This proved false as the truck showed up on race day in stock, steel form. Nobody remembered how ruthlessly insane the Audi Gruppe B Quattro was. It had the longest jump by 8 feet. The driver also soiled his pants in terror of the machine. Subaru really earned the silver its jump was poised, straight and had a controlled landing. The big Ford was a distant third, it’s suspension is better suited to the moguls.

Speed Skating:

1)      Audi RS6

2)      Mercedes E63 AMG 4MATIC

3)      Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4

4)      Nissan GTR (DNF)

This is the spectator favorite, not so much for the sights and competition but for the sounds. These cars make fantastic noise and because the competition is inside the sounds are amplified. Audi had outside track and many suspects that is why it edged out the Mercedes on the 10,000 meter oval track. The Lamborghini was just too dramatic to be a winner. It had inside track and kept drifting into the middle track through corners, this was a big problem for the Nissan. Nissan had the race in the bag until the Lamborghini pulled an untentional P.I.T. maneuver and slammed the Nissan into a wall breaking the front control arms. It was a shame because it sounded fantastic.

Mogals:

1)      Ford F-150 Raptor

2)      Mercedes G63 AMG

3)      Range Rover Supercharged

The Ford was literally made for this event so it is no surprise that it won. The Fox suspension soaked up all the bumps like a sponge. Rumor is the truck was in neutral the whole time and the driver didn’t even touch the brakes. IOC investigated and would only confirm that it was a fair competition. The Mercedes was surprisingly efficient at negotiating the bumps, as opposed to just driving over them. The big SUV was so composed that it actually accelerated through the course. The Range Rover seemed to be a mix of the Mercedes and Fords performance. It used its supercharged engine and sport tires coupled with its ability to “drive over anything” to get a solid third place finish. It would have earned a silver but the Queen was riding shotgun and did not want to spill her tea. Pity.

This concludes our comprehensive coverage of the Winter Automotive Olympics. Now go back to cheering for Team Canada!

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North American International Auto Show 2014

I went to Detroit with a co-worker to see the auto show last week. I will report my findings after this short public service announcement to the fine people of Detroit:

I know the people of Detroit are having a tough time right now, unemployment, under employment, people abandoning in droves, etc.. Those who have stayed are trying to soldier on.  You people are GEM’S! Polite, welcoming and you laughed at our Canadian jokes.

Now on to the show:

I had departed to Detroit expecting to see a couple of cars that I would highlight and that would be it but I was wrong and pleasantly surprised. My co-worker and I attended the show and almost every manufacturer had something at that show that really made us stop and look, discuss and critically analyze.

This is fantastic news. The great product was not limited to one manufacturer, genre or country. All manufactures had something that was amazing. This shows that the auto industry is starting to pick up momentum and really start to drive the economy (no pun intended). Everyone is excited about Detroit and cars again. The proof is in the numbers: This year saw the highest attendance for the show since 2003. The numbers for the show are increasing, even as Detroit’s population fell. I suspect a large part of this is due to the surge in new/ revamped models available and less to do with the prices of Irish beer we enjoyed while at the show.

Some quick highlights from the show and things you need to know:

1-      The new Mercedes-Benz C class is STUNNING both inside in out. It grew a bit and wears the added length/width well, the interior is phenomenal

2-      The new Mustang is somewhat of a bust in my opinion. The front end looks too much like the Fusion. Is a great design but I thought the Mustang would be a bit different from the rest of the corporate styling. The back of the car looks a little saggy… this is a shame because it is the Mustangs 50th anniversary.

3-      Chrysler: you did great with the 200 interior; I will no longer make fun of these cars as being “disposable”. Good quality components, great fit and finish as well. Would it have been so hard to engineer some more interior space in the new Jeep Cherokee?! My cat would not fit in the trunk!

4-      Infiniti: kudos to you and the 25th anniversary Q50. Easily the best paint at the show.

5-      Porsche brought the 911 Targa to the show for the world primer. This was the first time anyone saw it. I peed my pants just a little bit when I first saw it. Seriously, my hangover was instantly gone the second I laid eyes on it. This car represents a stunning blend of machinery and style.

6-      Jaguar brought the F-type coupe but should call it “sex on wheels”. Best body in the business. The exhaust note also makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, raw, visceral, perfect.

7-      New GMC Yukon/ Chevy Tahoe/ Cadillac Escalade looks great and the interior fit and finish is much better. More ergonomic too!

So just to re-cap: Detroit has really friendly people, the beer is really cheap and the cars are amazing.