Auto, hatchback, hothatch, Volkswagen

Noooooo! I don’t want to give it back

0 Comments 28 September 2016

Volkswagen Golf R (2016)

golf r 3 quarter view

The VW Golf R gets accused of being too tame and subtle next to the likes of the Ford Focus RS and the Subaru WRX STI. Come to think of it, is that really a bad thing? After one week with the Golf R that’s a resounding NO. Yes, the boy racer Focus RS has impressive performance numbers, clean crisp design as well as a big rear wing, while the WRX STI has an incredibly storied pedigree respected by almost every gearhead worldwide. We realized after one week of daily driving the Golf R, it offers something else; Refinement. The Golf R has a sensible, clean interior, much like those of a much higher segment car. Nothing in the Golf R feels cheap, or even out of place. What’s even more remarkable is the fact that the Golf R we drove had only one option, the 6-speed DSG transmission. What a pleasant surprise that was, as the car didn’t feel like it was missing anything. That’s rare today, as most manufacturers will nickel and dime you to death with options that should be standard. The Golf has become an iconic car for VW. With its lineage going back to the 1970’s Rabbit. Today, you still find a lot of that design philosophy in the entire Golf lineup. The front fascia is modern and elegant. The headlights are unique and stylishly designed, yet offer a signature, jewel-like look for the Golf from the front. Wheels and brakes are noticeably more aggressive and larger in size, yet do not scream for attention. At the rear, one instantly notices the elegant yet sporty set of quad-exhaust tips that in a subtle way say, this car is special. The Golf R specific exhaust tone reminded us of a horizontally opposed engine, not unlike the Subaru famed boxer power-plant. Definitely an aural enhancement to the driving experience without being obnoxious or droning.

The standard seats are superbly comfortable and easy to adjust. The thick leather wrapped steering wheel is a delight for the fingertips and the simple yet intuitive controls and switchgear offer a near-luxury feel that is not typical in this segment. Rear seat is comfortable for two, tight for three. One of our staffers is over 6’7” yet fit in the back, albeit snuggly comfortable enough for a 10-15 drive to lunch.

The dual clutch transmission; DSG in VW speak, provided amazingly crisp shifting, especially when down shifting. While in the driver selected “Race Mode”, it even downshifted with, shall we say, a bit of an attitude all the way to a stop. Definitely delivering a smile every time it did that. From 2016 on, a manual transmission is offered. We are so smitten with the Golf R that we plan on driving one with the manual just to see how it compares to the DSG. So how does it perform? Well, it’s faster than the STI but slightly slower than the RS. Don’t frown, in the real world this will probably not even be noticeable. Acceleration is linear and powerful, although one needs to go deep into the pedal to get some oomph going. Braking is direct and reassuring. Spirited cornering offers great feedback through the steering and pedals. “This is a wonderful daily driver” I kept repeating throughout the week!

Bottom line? This is a boy racer inspired, fun to drive hot hatch for a refined, more mature audience yet offering German quality and simplicity.

The Essentials:

MSRP: $36,750.00                 MSRP (As Tested): $37,570.00
Fuel Economy (observed): 23.5 MPG
Engine: Inline 4 cylinder turbo, 2 liter, 292 HP, 280 lb-ft torque, 4Motion permanent all-wheel drive
Popular Options: 6-speed DSG transmission, mojo mats

Auto, Dodge

The perfect vehicle for a 1,600 mile road trip.

0 Comments 27 July 2016

IMG_2654Dodge Durango R/T Blacktop RWD (2016)

Recently, my family and I did a week-long road trip from South Florida to Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC. I requested a large SUV or mini-van from the press fleet company and they graciously came up with a 2016 Dodge Durango R/T SUV for our use. This particular well optioned example came in a metallic silver finish, black wheels and a sumptuous fully optioned red leather interior.


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0 Comments 12 May 2016

cq5dam.web.1280.1280Buick Cascada (2016)

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Auto, Mini Cooper

A Pleasant Unexpected Surprise

0 Comments 11 February 2016

P90187462_lowRes_the-new-mini-clubmanMini Cooper Clubman (2016)

When I received a call from the press fleet company giving me the news that I would be getting the new Mini Clubman for the week I really didn’t think it would be anything special. Being a sports car type of guy, I naturally wanted the higher power and sporty “S” version but no, I got the regular non-turbo standard model. Oh boy, or so I thought. Immediately after the call, I started to wonder if this newest version of the Clubman still had the unique Mini DNA, would it be fun to drive? Would it feel like a Mini? Read on and find out.

Auto, Bentley

Super Luxury SUV by Bentley launched at Braman Motors, Miami

0 Comments 01 December 2015

Bentley BentaygaBentley Bentayga (2016)

Miami has several high-end luxury car dealers, with Braman Motors being one of the oldest and best known in South Florida. When I received an exclusive invite to preview the all new Bentley Bentayga luxury SUV I could not say no.

Auto, Mercedes Benz

Yes, it is the ultimate luxury super sedan

0 Comments 29 October 2015

M13C882_05ercedes-Benz S65 AMG Sedan (2015)

In 15-20 years we are going to look back and realize this IS the golden age of the automobile again. We see it in almost every new model sold in the US right now, of course, more so in the high-end cars such as the Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG super sedan. The styling, the jaw-dropping performance and luxury, all work in harmony to make the perfect super sedan.


Alfa Romeo, It’s Back!

0 Comments 19 August 2015

130305_AR_4C_014C Coupe Launch Edition (2015)

My first mile in the all new 4C was a bit shocking! It is low, tight, rough around the edges and difficult to get in and out of, not to mention, the visibility out the back is mostly theoretical. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to drive this car for a week. As it turns out, I was premature to think that a few days later. Sure, all of the items mentioned continued to be true, but by the end of the seven days, I didn’t want to give the 4C back! This is the perfect toy for a car enthusiast. It’s nimble, fast, direct, connected and very much in your face!

Auto, Lexus

The best of both worlds when you own a Lexus IS350 C

0 Comments 27 May 2015

Lexus IS350 C Convertible (2015)2013_Lexus_ISC_005_EC50731F62FFE2D4AD1AC43259EE3BC8153E8F32_45742_40630_low

Smooth, quiet and familiar. This could be the description of your favorite easy chair or a convertible that quietly does everything well without creating undue attention. The 2015 IS350 C fits that description perfectly.

Auto, Mercedes Benz

Automotive Perfection, redefined

0 Comments 13 April 2015

13C1237_026Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4MATIC Coupe

Mention the letters AMG to any car enthusiast and vivid images of high-powered sporty Mercedes-Benz automobiles immediately come to mind. Thus when I received the weekly call as to what I would be driving for the week, I immediately had an ear-to-ear grin on my face when I heard the sweet words “AMG S63 Coupe” ….Wow!

Auto, Ferrari

Welcome back Ferrari Challenge to the Homestead-Miami Speedway

0 Comments 27 March 2015

IMG_2550Welcome back Ferrari Challenge to the Homestead-Miami Speedway. After Skipping Miami altogether in 2014 and changing to a hot and typically rainy late summer schedule in 2013, the event is back in the right date, glorious cool-weather March. Although some unseasonably windy and rainy weather hovered around South Florida the entire March 7-8 weekend. Ferrari does a great job mixing racing and lifestyle by getting its dealers and their clients actively involved. On the morning of Saturday, there was a swanky breakfast Hosted at The Collection in Coral Gables, followed by a caravan of over 50 cars driving directly to the track. The North America schedule consists of the season opener in January in Daytona followed by Homestead/Miami, Sonoma, Montreal, Mosport, Mont Tremblant, and the season finale, in late October in Laguna Seca, California.

Auto, Lamborghini

Driving one of the most beautiful Automobiles of 2015

0 Comments 26 January 2015

330174Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 (2015)

Like most teens in the 80’s, I had a poster of the Lamborghini Countach super-car on my bedroom wall and spent countless hours dreaming about how it would be to drive one of these exotics. This opportunity came years later, but not with a Countach. It was in the all-new Huracán, which, hands down, is one of the most beautiful cars designed so far in the 21st century.


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