May 2, 2012
Editor-in-Chief's Note: A phantom car company? A manufacturer is running this TV commercial right now with no brand identification. Who is it? And better yet, how about the cojones to spend ca$h without saying who they are? Check it out here (although it's not so secret on YouTube). - PMD
The Local Detroit Media. Editor-in-Chief's Note: The incessant blowing by the local media of Sergio Marchionne and Quicken Loans Inc. Chairman Dan Gilbert is reaching gargantuan proportions, this time over the fact that Marchionne is going to place 70 Fiat-Chrysler employees in a building Gilbert owns downtown (The Dime Building, which will be renamed "Chrysler House" - ugh). Marchionne is allegedly going to have an office there, which he will be in, oh, maybe a couple of hours a month - if that - but oh my, you would think that these two grandstanding media whores were single-handedly lifting Detroit up by the lapels in one fell swoop. The fact that the local media has been swept up in the hype is embarrassing and utterly despicable, especially considering these journalists who should know better are blatantly succumbing to the "charms" of a pair of master manipulators who have made their bones by selling air. Memo to the ink-stained wretches (or is it the computer-pallor minions?): The argument that the recovery of Detroit will be led by actions like these is laughable. A few ad agencies stocked with out-of-towner/interlopers in it for the money combined with yet another PR stunt engineered by a couple of traveling salesman does not a recovery make. Especially in a city where, according to Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts, only 1.2 percent of DPS graduates are college or career ready. Detroit's recovery will come from the bottom up, not the top down. It's too bad no one has a lick of sense or the ability to understand that concept. Or maybe their bullshit detectors just need to be charged up.- PMD
The 5.8-liter supercharged V8 in the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 has been SAE certified at 662 horsepower and 631 lb.-ft. of torque, which makes it the most powerful production V8 in the world. The GT500 engine generates impressive thrust throughout its operating range with 395 lb.-ft. of torque available just off idle at 1,000 rpm. More than 90 percent of the peak torque is available from 2,200 to 5,800 rpm. And with 112 horsepower more than the 2012 GT500, fuel economy is still increased by 1 mpg both city and highway, 5 mpg better than Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, as Ford points out. Ford also says that the 2013 GT500 is the most fuel-efficient car with over 550 horsepower in any segment available in America. How's that for a claim you don't see everyday when talking about fuel economy? “Our goal is to create outstanding all-around performance cars, not just stoplight-to-stoplight sprinters,” said Jamal Hameedi, SVT chief engineer. “We’ve backed up this amazing powerplant with a more refined chassis tuning that helps keep the rubber on the pavement without punishing the driver’s spine and six-pot Brembo brakes that dissipate speed with ease stop after stop.”
Editor-in-Chief's Note: Sharp-eyed readers of Autoextremist reader mail might recognize our new Northwest Coast contributor, Dave Guyette. We've enjoyed Dave's whimsical take on things from his base in Portland, Oregon ("Portlandia" as he - and the TV show - often refer to it) for years, and we thought we'd feature his musings on occasion. We think you'll enjoy it. - PMD
The 2013 Mustang Shelby GT500 on Earth Day? Why not!
By David Guyette
Portlandia. I can only only speak for the Ford brand by saying I perceive their image as: "performance without guilt." Here they are, giving us 600+ hp and torque enough to melt the tires in any gear, AND it gets great gas mileage? Better than my SUV? 5mpg better than the Chevy LT1? Wow!
That should be their slogan going into Earth Day. Yes we can. We can give you a great, powerful car, that does what you WANT it to do... AND you make the world a better place by using it, because there are worse alternatives.
The Eco-nuts of the world would have you believe that you're doomed to Hell (possibly, Hell, MI?) just for turning the ignition of any internal combustion engine. But the truth is, NOBODY can snap their fingers and cure Mother Earth. At best, we are all trying to make BETTER decisions today than we've made yesterday, and for once, wouldn't it be great to be motivated by a carrot, rather than a stick?
Ford has other products out there. They all make the same essential promise of this muscle car: they get the transportation job done right, AND they give you better (not perfect) gas mileage than you've had before.
Last year, Ford sponsored the Tour de California bicycle race, and featured its eco-boost F150 as a support vehicle. It would not be a stretch for Ford to extend its marketing to coincide with Earth Day.
Of course they don't have to, and it is understandable that every automaker keep a low profile this time of year. But however Ford markets itself, I would hope they continue to make the point:
Ford is selling carrots.
Editor-in-Chief's Note: Our "Quick Take" concerns the 2012 Audi S4 quattro MT6 Coupe. A few weeks ago I rated the three best-driving Audis currently available. First was the Audi R8 V8 6-speed. Second was the the Audi S5 Coupe 6-speed. And finally, there was the S4, which we had the pleasure of driving again this week. When I had an S4 of my own equipped with the double-clutch automatic gearbox, I thought it was damn-near the perfect combination for everyday driving. That was until I drove one with a 6-speed manual. Then I loved that configuration better. And I still do. Maybe it's the fact that manual transmissions are undeniably engaging and at least twice the fun of an automatic or maybe it's because it's rapidly becoming a lost art to be able to operate one properly, but for drivers who prefer to do their own shifting the S4 equipped with the 6-speed is a highly desirable machine. Gladly, nothing has changed since the last time we had a chance to wheel this car for a week because the S4 remains a superb all-around car for the enthusiast driver, one that can trundle about in mindless suburban crawl mode, yet when the opportunity presents itself it transforms into an urgent rocket with a decidedly (and welcomed) low profile, especially given the fact that the presence of Radar Revenuers has grown exponentially around these parts. If you want to know why Audi has been on an upward trajectory of late you only need to look as far as the S4. It's an eminently satisfying - and fun - machine in every respect. - PMD
2012 Audi S4 quattro MT6 Sedan, $54,825 (Base Price, $47,300; Audi Exclusive Color, $2500; Black/Special Silver interior (included); 3.0-liter, supercharged, direct-injected V6 engine with 333 HP and 325 lb-ft of torque, Six-speed manual transmission with dual mass flywheel; quattro with sports differential, $1100; 18" 5-parallel-spoke S design wheels with 245/40 summer high-performance tires; Audi MMI Navigation plus, $2,000; Audi advanced key, $550; Carbon Atlas inlays, $500; Front filler panel, included; Destination Charge, $875)
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