Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Breaking news - New Ford Mustang fits tall people

It's true, as my 6'5" frame nestled into the new Ford mustang GT, I actually experienced a decent driving position because...wait for it, they finally added reach adjustable steering! I know, nearly brought me to tears as well.

New MINI John Cooper Works F56 is Unreal

My goodness, I sat in the new MINI JCW Hardtop launched recently in Detroit and I can say "oh help me mama" it's nice. The display model was even in a tasteful green. The model pictured was taken at the Washington DC Auto show yesterday.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Tesla S continues to impress

Inside the Tesla S at Montgomery mall in Maryland: this car is PERFECT (and has optional jump seat in back for kids). I can safely declare that the Tesla S is the future; great styling and all electric. I'm in love.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mini Cooper Countryman Wins Small Car Crash Tests

I know it's painful to see a MINI get hurt but I am rather thrilled that the Countryman got top honors in recent frontal collision, small car crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It was the only car to win the top rating woohoo!

The Nissan Leaf and Mazda 5 scored last incidentally. See the full article in the LA Times with some rather excruciating video.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

MINI Night Runs - As Close to Rallying as it Gets

yes, the classics made it out as well
I've taken to joining some local MINI club drives in the Maryland/DC area this year and most recently, enjoyed a night run following a frozen custard sampling (at The Meadows) which had us zipping through back country roads dodging deer, distracted pick-up drivers and sometimes our own shadows. It was a rare warm day as well so most of us had our sunroofs open and could hear the pop and gurgle of our MINIs in sport mode. I truly believe there are fewer greater things in life than great MINI folks and frozen custard. Central Maryland MINI Motorists were the hosts. 

blacking out the trim is becoming a popular thing these days
yes it was indeed at night

Friday, January 31, 2014

New MINI configure tool live

This is my first attempt at customizing the new MINI hardtop. Dealers are already taking orders. Good way to spend a Friday evening.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The New 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop - Yes I sat in it

And here it is!
Fortunately for me, the Washington, DC Auto Show occurs in January which means we often get to see the latest models before the masses and before they enter the showrooms in Spring. It may be somewhat obvious that I lean towards loving MINIs therefore, it should come as no surprise that seeing the new 2014 Cooper S Hardtop in the flesh was a bit thrilling. The MINI rep standing next to the car was not quite sure what to make of me as I took gazillions of photos and made no attempt to erase the permanent grin on my face. Even my daughter uttered, "Dad, you are too obsessed with cars". It got better as few people were around and I was able to linger in the cockpit as long as I wished. 

Toggle me baby
What we MINI owners immediately notice is that the speedometer now sits in front of the driver rather than in the giant circular binnacle to the right. I have to admit, with the digital readout constantly in front of me in my 2012 Countryman, I almost never look at the regular speedo. Moving it within the line of sight of the driver just makes since. The infotainment center and nav now occupy the circular display in the middle (see photo). Another obvious change is the overall size inside and out. Granted, it is still a small car but the interior is noticeably roomier and, quite frankly, seems better made. MINIs have always fit tall people but the length of the foot well in the new hardtop is even longer. And let us not forget the new toggle switch which replaces the push button start; it is gorgeous. 

Admit it, you never looked at my over-sized binnacle
The gold color is not my favorite and I would almost certainly go for an all black version, so I cannot wait until the online configuring tool includes 2014 models to give us a better idea of the color range. Additionally, the air ducts in the front seem to protrude a bit too much but this can be fixed with a better color combination in my opinion. The non-S version does not have the air ducts and actually appears somewhat more whole when compared to its sportier sibling (only the S was at the show). But who wants less horsepower over looks? 

MINI has definitely nailed the design and added a more premium interior to boot. The car appears complete and is one of the few new models this year that does not look like a body on wheels but rather, an entire finished piece. Each angle offers a bit of whimsy but also a hint of rallying history with some cheekily aggressive lines. In short, it is a hit! The rep tells me dealers are already taking orders and the 2014 models will be in showrooms April. The base model will start in the low $20s with the S model starting at around $23k, but we all know adding the extra goodies will bring the finished car closer to $30k. 

I'm still a MINI don't worry 


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