Category Archives: Other Automotive

Test Drive: Tesla Model S

Let me start off by saying – I have no intentions of getting rid of my 2016 MINI Cooper S!!  I love my MINI and I plan on driving it for a long time and remaining an active member of the MINI enthusiast community.  As mentioned in my previous post, we also plan on keeping my wife’s 2012 MINI Cooper S Countryman in the family for my son to use once he gets his driver’s license.  He will be getting his learner’s permit in 2019 so we have a few years to figure out exactly what we are going to do, but there is no harm in seeing what’s out there, right?IMG_6741 Continue reading Test Drive: Tesla Model S

Free Turn-By-Turn GPS w/ Voice Prompts

Hey gang! Hope you all have been well. Thanks for the kind messages you have sent during my “time off”. It is good to know people actually read this blog :). Aside from the few MINIacs who hang out with me in person or those that I chat with regularly, I haven’t really talked much about my switch to the iPhone late last year. At first, I will admit, I thought the iPhone was stupid. Why? Because you could not add any 3rd party applications. Well once Apple opened up the App Store, the iPhone platform just exploded. There are sooooooo many cool things you can do now on that little device, it is just amazing!

So what does this have to do with motoring? Well Apple allowed the first turn-by-turn application into the App Store in December. The only problem (aside from the more-than-fair $20 price tag)? It is lacking voice prompts. Kinda silly if you ask me (Note: Apple is at fault here as they are the ones who will not allow a GPS app to include voice prompts). Enter the world of Jailbreaking. For those who don’t know, Jailbreaking your iPhone basically opens up the phone to allow the owner to install applications that are not in the Apple App Store. I refused to “jailbreak” my phone for ages, until recently. If you have a jailbroken iPhone, you are in for a treat.

Just a couple of hours ago, the first turn-by-turn GPS app with voice prompts was released for the iPhone. It is called xGPS and, oh yeah, it is FREE! The developers have done an amazing job so far. The product is in its early stages, but what they have so far is very impressive. It uses Google Maps, but saves map data locally to the phone as you encounter new areas on the map. You can also save map data from where you are going through a “map download” utility included in the application. While you may not want to throw away your Garmin just yet, if you have an iPhone, I highly recommend you check it out at the link below!

[ xGPS Main Website ]

0 To 60 in 2.5 Seconds, 10 Minute Recharge

So you think the MINI E is all that eh? Or maybe the Tesla is more your style. Well move over slow-pokes, there’s something a whole lot sweeter… Shelby Super Cars’ Aero EV.

Aero EV

Courtesy of Engadget: SSC just came clean with the details behind its All-Electric Scalable Powertrain (AESP) producing 1,000 horsepower and 800 lb-ft of torque that rips the Aero EV through 0 to 60 in just 2.5 seconds at a 208mph top speed. Compare that to the Tesla Roadster’s 0-60 in 3.9 seconds (or 3.7 for the 2009 sport model) and you’ll understand all the hubbub, bub. Better yet, the 150-220 mile battery can be refilled in just 10 minutes (Tesla takes 3.5 hours) from a 220V service thanks to what SSC calls its “Charge on the Run” onboard charging system — something that nearly eliminates (or at least minimizes) the need for a battery swapping infrastructure. The first full-scale, pre-production Ultimate Aero EV should be on the streets before June with production deliveries expected in the fourth quarter. Now we just need a price.

Paying a Premium For Premium

The past few weeks have shown the price of gas drop by over $2 in my area of South Florida. I am sure others around the country have seen the same. It sure is interesting to me how quickly these prices can drop. This past weekend I headed down to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the NASCAR season finale where I watched 43 cars gulp down some $7/gallon 112 octane fuel like there was no tomorrow. While down there, I noticed that the further South I went, the cheaper gas got. $2.01 for regular and $2.39 for premium is what I saw down in Florida City (right outside the speedway). Not too shabby eh?

What annoys me, however, is the increasing number of stations that are dropping the price of regular, and NOT dropping the price of premium at the same rate. Normally one can expect to pay 20 – 30 cents more for premium fuel per gallon. There are some stations around my house that are charging a “premium” of 60 cents per gallon for the good stuff. What gives? I know most people only look at the regular prices, but geeze! I would be interested to hear if this is happening in your local area as well. Obviously I avoid those stations as I hope others will to. Hopefully they will get the message.

Audi Driving Experience 2008

First off, let me say I had a blast at the recent Audi Driving Experience at Homestead-Miami Speedway. MINI USA could learn a thing or two from Audi with regards to putting on a FREE consumer test drive at the track. I’m not talking about setting up free parade laps and sticking 300 MINIs on the track at one time for a photo-op. Yes the AutoX course at MTTS was fun, but nothing compared to 30 minutes on an actual road course at speeds over 100mph.

Audi Driving Experience 2008

Now, before you watch the video, I have to admit, I drove the Audi a bit “hard” :). I took some turns at speed where I probably shouldn’t have, since the car in front of me was repeatedly braking in the middle of a turn, causing me to step out (sometimes off course) to avoid slamming into him. But hey – the reality is, it wasn’t my car and I wanted to see what the baby could do. Enough said?

I was very impressed with the Audi cars I drove. I started the day driving the 2009 Audi A4 on the speedway. The car handled very nice. Horsepower was “ok”, but I think my MINI had better throttle response and felt like it had more torque.
Continue reading Audi Driving Experience 2008

Video: What Is a Suzuki Swift Good For?

Well it looks like the new chat room status monitor is a big hit! Think we had a record set of first time chatters in the chat room throughout the day. For all you newbies – welcome and hope you come back often to say hello! While the topics pretty much hover around MINIs, a fair share of topic diversity is shared each night and that usually leads to some funny moments. Here is one of my favorite moments from tonight’s chat room discussion (thanks Deviant for this non-MINI, but extremely funny find):

The Disappearing Car Door

Now this is one of the coolest things I have seen in a long time. A car door that folds down under you so you never have to swing open a door again. Imagine getting this mod installed on your MINI! Those rear passengers can just slide out! Forget that suicide door. Ok – so structural integrity may take a hit – still a VERY cool idea. Thanks to Al Darko for this find!

[ The Disappearing Car Door ]