Automotive Enthusiast

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
I’m a bad influence.

I had been taking a friend on the (many) test drives I’ve had these past few months, because it’s always nice to have an objective voice tell you “no, this car is crap.” But driving in so many cars with a manual transmission meant he started to get the bug, too.

Last weekend, I went with him to test drive a pair of used cars, a Civic SI and a BMW 335i. Both had over 100K miles on them. Of the two, I only got a chance to drive the Civic, and this was the only SI that I’ve gotten to drive that wasn’t completely hooned to oblivion. It’s also the only car I’ve ever driven that has such a crazy redline, but is actually comfortable near it. Yes, you can pound the thing like a hooligan and have fun revving it up and down the gears, but you can toss it in third on a back road and almost never have to shift. And the car is comfy at 5,000 RPM, not obnoxious. Surprisingly civilized car. It feels very digital, though. The gear change was a touch vague, the accelerator had very little travel, the gauge cluster even feels videogame-y. A different sort of speed, that is. Sadly, the brakes were garbage.

I’ll get back to the BMW.

Road along for two more on Monday – a new Golf GTI and a used BMW 3-series with the “X” drivetrain (4WD). That BMW was nice, but felt a bit ponderous and heavy (it also had the “M” package for the steering wheel and gear change, which was silly and writing performance checks that car couldn’t cash). The new GTI has almost been ruined. Its ride is way harsher than the last few generations. They pipe in fake engine noise that’s basically shouting at you if you accelerate even a little. Fantastic and dart-y handling, but the whole package is simply too harsh. The GTI is supposed to be the genteel hot hatch, for people who don’t want their fun car to be too shout-y. This new one is trying too hard to be a sports car.

So that brings things back to that BMW 335i. My buddy went back, drove the car again, and decided that he had to have it. I wasn’t overly impressed with the car, but that was only my view from the right seat on a test drive. Yesterday, though, I got the chance to drive it.

I didn’t realize what this car was. I didn’t realize that this 335i was the last of BMW’s twin-turbo, straight sixes. I didn’t realize that this car basically had the exact same straight-line performance as the mighty E46-era M3. And you wouldn’t realize it, either, because when normal people are told “sure, you can drive my new car,” they tend to not push the car. The 335i is a car you would never think is a brute if you drive it normally. The throttle is so well mannered, and the car is so solid, that it feels like a luxury sedan. Which it is. And if you play nice with the car, and don’t rev it to 4,000 RPM, it could be driven for its entire life as a gentle car for retired executives.

But I’m an idiot, and even though my friend had only owned the car for all of four hours, I wanted to see how the 335i would react to a little prodding.

“HOLY SHIT!”
-Me, last night

It is two cars in one. It is absolutely a luxury cruiser. It is also the fastest, scariest car I’ve ever driven. Legitimately, clench-your-buttocks fast. A few car reviewers got this car from 0-60 mph in under 5 seconds. But launching from a dead stop is not where this car is frightening. No, this thing becomes a monster when you’re casually driving in fourth gear on a back road. All it takes is a flick of the wrist; you push the gear lever into third, rev match, release the clutch, and all of a sudden Dr. Jekyll becomes Mr. Hyde.

Between 2,000 and 3,000 RPM, the 335i is all of the acceleration you’ll likely ever need. Between 3,000 and 4,000 RPM? It’s quick and fun. But once you move past 4 grand, it’s an M3. It’s scary. Posted speed limits become relative in short order. The damn thing shoves you into its seats (the Germans are funny, by the way; the posted 300 hp/300 torque is demure – this easily has more than that) and dares you to keep your foot down.

I couldn’t. I ran out of straight road. Even though there was a good 1.5 miles of it, somehow that stretch of asphalt disappeared.

Honestly? This car is a pretty good argument for limiting performance. You simply cannot drive this car safely at anything close to its potential on a public road. It’s too much car. You will be a danger to yourself and to others.

But if you count yourself a petrolsexual, find one for a test drive. You can find a used 335i for well under $13 grand now. The BMW inline six mated to two turbos is worth experiencing; a true high point for the combustion engine.

But you probably shouldn’t own one. I only glimpsed its potential last night, and that glimpse already puts you in danger of…well, let’s just say a hefty fine, at the very least.
I've been a big fan of the 335i since I first heard about the engine it used. It's very popular car among enthusiasts because you get M-level performance for half the price, and it's just as easily to tune and mod the nuts off of it. If I wanted a sleeper car that I could drive everyday and didn't have to worry about cold and harsh winters, I would definitely consider the 335i. Hell, get the 335xi and I could! But my next car will have more ground clearance, so unfortunately a 335i won't cut it. Besides, I still have my Mini which I have plans to mod is further now that I'm going to turn it into a weekend/fun car (will it already IS a fun car).
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
I've been a big fan of the 335i since I first heard about the engine it used. It's very popular car among enthusiasts because you get M-level performance for half the price, and it's just as easily to tune and mod the nuts off of it. If I wanted a sleeper car that I could drive everyday and didn't have to worry about cold and harsh winters, I would definitely consider the 335i. Hell, get the 335xi and I could! But my next car will have more ground clearance, so unfortunately a 335i won't cut it. Besides, I still have my Mini which I have plans to mod is further now that I'm going to turn it into a weekend/fun car (will it already IS a fun car).
The 335i is also larger than you'd think. My friend who bought that one is trying to figure out how to fit it into his garage (granted, he also wants to keep a motorcycle in there, but still). It's got a huge trunk, but little rear leg room, so although the proportions don't look bad, the overall usage of space is a bit wasted. And it is low; I wouldn't worry about it in snow (it's fairly hefty and the weight distribution is 50-50), but you could have some problems with steep bumps in town, depending on road quality. Still, for outright engineering performance bargains? I'm not sure there's a better one than a used 335i. It's like a drug; I want another hit of that absolutely mad power. We've gotten into this silly era of performance with hyper cars, but off the line, the 335i is on par with the old DB9, and a few tenths shy of a Ferrari 360. That's super car performance from only a few years ago. And you can find it for well under $15 grand. And it won't fall apart.

But honestly, the 335i makes me appreciate my Mini more. Yes, the Bimmer has all of that performance on tap above 4K RPM, but unless your public roads are on the Isle of Man, most of that performance is utterly wasted. My Mini also makes most of its power above 4 grand, but it's usable power. I can use most of its potential without worrying about a charge for reckless endangerment*. The Bimmer's engine is a sort of poster child for what Clarkson talked about with having too much power. The 335i belongs on a track to do it justice.

The Mini? Even though mine isn't a Cooper S, it belongs on one of those back roads that doesn't have a posted speed limit.


[*For real, in a car like the 335i, don't try to pretend you're on Top Gear driving on public roads, folks. You will hurt yourself, and it's the wrong kind of dangerous fun because you might hurt someone else.]
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
The 335i is also larger than you'd think. My friend who bought that one is trying to figure out how to fit it into his garage (granted, he also wants to keep a motorcycle in there, but still). It's got a huge trunk, but little rear leg room, so although the proportions don't look bad, the overall usage of space is a bit wasted. And it is low; I wouldn't worry about it in snow (it's fairly hefty and the weight distribution is 50-50), but you could have some problems with steep bumps in town, depending on road quality. Still, for outright engineering performance bargains? I'm not sure there's a better one than a used 335i. It's like a drug; I want another hit of that absolutely mad power. We've gotten into this silly era of performance with hyper cars, but off the line, the 335i is on par with the old DB9, and a few tenths shy of a Ferrari 360. That's super car performance from only a few years ago. And you can find it for well under $15 grand. And it won't fall apart.

But honestly, the 335i makes me appreciate my Mini more. Yes, the Bimmer has all of that performance on tap above 4K RPM, but unless your public roads are on the Isle of Man, most of that performance is utterly wasted. My Mini also makes most of its power above 4 grand, but it's usable power. I can use most of its potential without worrying about a charge for reckless endangerment*. The Bimmer's engine is a sort of poster child for what Clarkson talked about with having too much power. The 335i belongs on a track to do it justice.

The Mini? Even though mine isn't a Cooper S, it belongs on one of those back roads that doesn't have a posted speed limit.


[*For real, in a car like the 335i, don't try to pretend you're on Top Gear driving on public roads, folks. You will hurt yourself, and it's the wrong kind of dangerous fun because you might hurt someone else.]

The saying goes, "Better to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow."
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
So I came across Carfection vids while browsing Jalopnik. The one I saw was a bit cringe-y, but they get better the more you watch.



Why is it that the Brits are so much better at car shows than us Yanks? Also really wish my Mini had that rev match feature. I'm shit at getting a feel for it in mine.
The saying goes, "Better to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow."
Well, it's certainly better for your driver's license. ;)

(My buddy took the 335i out on the highway for the first time yesterday. Yep. Realized that the thing will be a speeding ticket machine.)
 

Irish_Shinobi

Metroid and Irish Enthusiast
I regret to say I have little to no knowledge of cars. Growing up I had no one to teach me or get me interested. But now that I got a car of my own (nothing fancy, just a decent milage car to get me from point A to point B), I am trying to get at least some basic knowledge so I can try to take care of it and get the most money out of it.

Sent from my SM-G920T using Tapatalk
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
So because I'll soon be on month three of used Mini ownership...more long-term thoughts:

Pros:
-"Christian motoring" produces 38 mpg (mixed, not mostly highway), and that's even with some slight hooning thrown in.
-The handling really is all it's cracked up to me. "Go kart" handling is not just marketing.
-The electric assist steering gets the hell out of your way above town speeds.
-Motor actually sounds good when you push it.
-This car is practical enough. Groceries fit in the back, it comfortably can seat three.
-Looks good. Legitimately gets me glances from ladies far out of my league.
-Heated seats! Only discovered I had them last week.

Cons:
-I'm sure 5th gear exists, but it's located somewhere out over the Atlantic.
-Slight whine being produced somewhere now. Probably serpentine belt.
-Slight whine through the AUX jack, but that might be the MP3 connector, not the car.
-The passenger side window makes a little noise coming down, like the weather stripping needs some lube.
-Once warmed up, this thing hates being short shifted. All sorts of engine shudder. The first two gears are annoying as shit. Not enough gas? Shudder. Push it and shift to the next gear? Clunky gear change. So you have to ride the clutch. I despise riding the clutch for any reason, but you have to really, really baby the shift action through third. You have to ride the hell out of the clutch in first once it's warmed up.

Now that the weather is warming up, I do kinda miss the idea of putting the top down in a Miata. But the Mini is way more comfy inside - the seating position in a Miata is always a little perilous (and I'm not even a big dude). Plus it offers some actual utility and space for people and things, so I know it was the smarter choice.

Good car, overall. But the gremlins of a used car are a real thing. A new car's eccentricities are mostly hidden. They're on full display at 100k miles.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
So because I'll soon be on month three of used Mini ownership...more long-term thoughts:

Pros:
-"Christian motoring" produces 38 mpg (mixed, not mostly highway), and that's even with some slight hooning thrown in.
-The handling really is all it's cracked up to me. "Go kart" handling is not just marketing.
-The electric assist steering gets the hell out of your way above town speeds.
-Motor actually sounds good when you push it.
-This car is practical enough. Groceries fit in the back, it comfortably can seat three.
-Looks good. Legitimately gets me glances from ladies far out of my league.
-Heated seats! Only discovered I had them last week.

Cons:
-I'm sure 5th gear exists, but it's located somewhere out over the Atlantic.
-Slight whine being produced somewhere now. Probably serpentine belt.
-Slight whine through the AUX jack, but that might be the MP3 connector, not the car.
-The passenger side window makes a little noise coming down, like the weather stripping needs some lube.
-Once warmed up, this thing hates being short shifted. All sorts of engine shudder. The first two gears are annoying as shit. Not enough gas? Shudder. Push it and shift to the next gear? Clunky gear change. So you have to ride the clutch. I despise riding the clutch for any reason, but you have to really, really baby the shift action through third. You have to ride the hell out of the clutch in first once it's warmed up.

Now that the weather is warming up, I do kinda miss the idea of putting the top down in a Miata. But the Mini is way more comfy inside - the seating position in a Miata is always a little perilous (and I'm not even a big dude). Plus it offers some actual utility and space for people and things, so I know it was the smarter choice.

Good car, overall. But the gremlins of a used car are a real thing. A new car's eccentricities are mostly hidden. They're on full display at 100k miles.
That's interesting concerning the engine shudder when short shifting. I did a quick search on NAM, and found thsi thread of people having similar issues. It could be motor mounts, or perhaps clutch related.

http://www.northamericanmotoring.co...tion-when-engaging-gear-releasing-clutch.html


Glad everything else is going well for ya though. I have no experience with non-S Minis, so it's interesting hearing your thoughts on it, especially for the R56 generation.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
That's interesting concerning the engine shudder when short shifting. I did a quick search on NAM, and found thsi thread of people having similar issues. It could be motor mounts, or perhaps clutch related.

http://www.northamericanmotoring.co...tion-when-engaging-gear-releasing-clutch.html

Glad everything else is going well for ya though. I have no experience with non-S Minis, so it's interesting hearing your thoughts on it, especially for the R56 generation.
I took a drive with a friend last night, and I think they cracked it. The engine idle when cold is around a grand; when warmed up it's around 600 RPM. So if you short shift* when it's cold, the engine is still revving up to about 1,000 RPM anyways. But when it's warm? You hit a dead spot; the engine idle is set lower and you're in a no-man's-land where the engine wants more revs, so it makes that pre-stall shudder. I'm pretty sure that's what it is.

The engine is a power bottom. It wants to be roughed up; shifting at 3,000 RPM is more the bottom of its comfort zone. And since BMW had a hand in its design, it's a little chunky peanut butter in shifting gears, just like my buddy's 335i. A butter smooth drive is possible, but only if you are exceedingly gentle with the clutch release (so it's pretty much a matter of what will wear out first, the flywheel or the synchros).


[*To clarify, I mean this in practical 2,000-3,000 RPM driving terms, not in racing terms. I'm not revving up to redline every shift. I think I've only gotten it up to 5 grand so far.]
 
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Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
I took a drive with a friend last night, and I think they cracked it. The engine idle when cold is around a grand; when warmed up it's around 600 RPM. So if you short shift* when it's cold, the engine is still revving up to about 1,000 RPM anyways. But when it's warm? You hit a dead spot; the engine idle is set lower and you're in a no-man's-land where the engine wants more revs, so it makes that pre-stall shudder. I'm pretty sure that's what it is.

The engine is a power bottom. It wants to be roughed up; shifting at 3,000 RPM is more the bottom of its comfort zone. And since BMW had a hand in its design, it's a little chunky peanut butter in shifting gears, just like my buddy's 335i. A butter smooth drive is possible, but only if you are exceedingly gentle with the clutch release (so it's pretty much a matter of what will wear out first, the flywheel or the synchros).


[*To clarify, I mean this in practical 2,000-3,000 RPM driving terms, not in racing terms. I'm not revving up to redline every shift. I think I've only gotten it up to 5 grand so far.]
I think I know what you're trying to convey here, but I feel I'm missing something. I guess I just never have come across this type of situation, so it's difficult to understand I guess. It sounds to me like you're saying the car doesn't have enough oomph at lower rpms, and thus appears the car is lugging and chugging, so to compensate, you need to give it more beans?




Btw, the new Top Gear trailer came out a few hours ago. No, not the one with Jezza, Hamster, and Slow, but the other one. I got to admit, it doesn't look that bad, and I'm definitely going to give it a shot. Look at all the dislikes on the video though. That's about as bad as any Metroid Prime: Federation Force video that Nintendo puts up.

 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
I think I know what you're trying to convey here, but I feel I'm missing something. I guess I just never have come across this type of situation, so it's difficult to understand I guess. It sounds to me like you're saying the car doesn't have enough oomph at lower rpms, and thus appears the car is lugging and chugging, so to compensate, you need to give it more beans?
It's the same engine feel as stalling from a stop if you don't give a car enough gas after the clutch bites. It just happens in 2nd and 3rd if you short shift and don't baby the clutch release. I think it's more 1) most people massage the clutch more than I was taught to, and 2) I'm simply very attuned to every little issue with this car because I'm scared of it breaking down ($5 grand isn't a lot to most people, but it's a hell of a lot for me). Stabbing the clutch is always enticing, but I've just gotta be less of a hooligan.

[Also, I was researching a bit more on Minis, and since it isn't sold here I didn't know of it, but the Mini One is really the base model. The Cooper itself is already a slightly hopped up version. No wonder it feels peppy, despite not really being quicker off the line than a Mazda 3 or Golf.]
Btw, the new Top Gear trailer came out a few hours ago. No, not the one with Jezza, Hamster, and Slow, but the other one. I got to admit, it doesn't look that bad, and I'm definitely going to give it a shot. Look at all the dislikes on the video though. That's about as bad as any Metroid Prime: Federation Force video that Nintendo puts up.
Yep, watched that as soon as it popped up on google news.

It looks...not bad, really. People are on auto-hate mode because it's not their old TG. But it's not like the previous TG was fantastic early on; it didn't even have May on it. It took awhile to all come together, y'know? This one will need a little time to find its voice.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
It's the same engine feel as stalling from a stop if you don't give a car enough gas after the clutch bites. It just happens in 2nd and 3rd if you short shift and don't baby the clutch release. I think it's more 1) most people massage the clutch more than I was taught to, and 2) I'm simply very attuned to every little issue with this car because I'm scared of it breaking down ($5 grand isn't a lot to most people, but it's a hell of a lot for me). Stabbing the clutch is always enticing, but I've just gotta be less of a hooligan.

[Also, I was researching a bit more on Minis, and since it isn't sold here I didn't know of it, but the Mini One is really the base model. The Cooper itself is already a slightly hopped up version. No wonder it feels peppy, despite not really being quicker off the line than a Mazda 3 or Golf.]

Yep, watched that as soon as it popped up on google news.

It looks...not bad, really. People are on auto-hate mode because it's not their old TG. But it's not like the previous TG was fantastic early on; it didn't even have May on it. It took awhile to all come together, y'know? This one will need a little time to find its voice.
Yeah, you're right concerning the Mini One as the base model, which don't get there. Hell, we don't even get the Mini One D, or the Cooper SD, which is a shame. The SD would be a real competitor to the Gold TDI if it ever made its way to the states.

And you are totally right about TG back in 2002. It really wasn't a great show, especially when you compare it to the more recent seasons. I've been watching Top Gear since Season 7 all the way back when they had their Bugatti Veyron vs. Cessna epic race back in 2005. Even during that time, the show was leagues better compared to where and how it started. Like you said, James May didn't show up until season 2, and that overweight guy they had never seemed to click with the others I think. The moment May was there from the very first episode in Season 2, I knew he was a good fit for the show.

Honestly, I feel Top Gear did not start to get good until Season 4. Season 3 had some good episodes like the infamous Toyota Hilux destruction, Simon Cowell in the SIARPC, German-themed episode, etc. Season 4 started off with a bang with their very first epic race between the Aston Martin DB9, and the TGV train. From then on, there's a steady progress in quality of the show which I think slightly leveled out during Season 9 because of Hammonds injury, but then bounced back in Season 10 all the way to season 13. Season 14 was slightly lackluster compared to previous seasons, but then Season 15 was phenomenal (the Senna tribute was one of the best TG bits ever), and then the following seasons all the way to the finale of last year were all very well done.

And TG for me was more than simply the cars, or even the challenges. It was always the banter and conversations between them. It was the little stuff that made the show so great. Some people would fastforward through certain bits like the news, but that was almost always my favorite part, them just talking about the news related and non-related to cars.

Just take this news segment from Season 17. It had everything in it from cars, comedy, anecdotes, rants, and including one of the funniest names for a car company.

 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
Yeah, you're right concerning the Mini One as the base model, which don't get there. Hell, we don't even get the Mini One D, or the Cooper SD, which is a shame. The SD would be a real competitor to the Gold TDI if it ever made its way to the states.
I had totally forgotten about the Cooper S Diesel, even though it was in that vid I posted earlier. How on Earth is that not on sale here? That is legitimately a do-everything car with very few compromises in any direction (unless you hate small cars).

Speaking of doing everything, I fit about $150 worth of groceries into the back of my Mini this weekend. There's way more room in a hatch than people think. It then had some well mannered hooning on a back road. The way this thing builds (and then maintains) speed up to around 75 mph is plenty thrilling for me.

[Also, on the regular Cooper, C&D got the R56 to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds. We really are in a golden age of cars when off-the-line performance equal to an old 3-Series is considered really pokey.]
And you are totally right about TG back in 2002. It really wasn't a great show, especially when you compare it to the more recent seasons. I've been watching Top Gear since Season 7 all the way back when they had their Bugatti Veyron vs. Cessna epic race back in 2005. Even during that time, the show was leagues better compared to where and how it started. Like you said, James May didn't show up until season 2, and that overweight guy they had never seemed to click with the others I think. The moment May was there from the very first episode in Season 2, I knew he was a good fit for the show.

Honestly, I feel Top Gear did not start to get good until Season 4. Season 3 had some good episodes like the infamous Toyota Hilux destruction, Simon Cowell in the SIARPC, German-themed episode, etc. Season 4 started off with a bang with their very first epic race between the Aston Martin DB9, and the TGV train. From then on, there's a steady progress in quality of the show which I think slightly leveled out during Season 9 because of Hammonds injury, but then bounced back in Season 10 all the way to season 13. Season 14 was slightly lackluster compared to previous seasons, but then Season 15 was phenomenal (the Senna tribute was one of the best TG bits ever), and then the following seasons all the way to the finale of last year were all very well done.

And TG for me was more than simply the cars, or even the challenges. It was always the banter and conversations between them. It was the little stuff that made the show so great. Some people would fastforward through certain bits like the news, but that was almost always my favorite part, them just talking about the news related and non-related to cars.

Just take this news segment from Season 17. It had everything in it from cars, comedy, anecdotes, rants, and including one of the funniest names for a car company.

I think TG hit its stride first with the Hilux, and then the two races (DB9 to France, Ferrari 612 to Switzerland), culminating with the Toybota. That was the real early peak for me.

But the early car-centric shows were also pretty good. I really started missing those. As good as some of the film-adventure stuff could be, I really dug when they were actually reviewing cars. I hope that's something new TG can keep doing, because by the sounds of it, the Amazon show is gonna be all-film adventures all the time.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
So this is glorious.


Not just for the nostalgic style and the Minis, but the foot cam for the manuals. Even though it's all starting to come back to me now with daily driving a manual (finally starting to reliably rev match), those dudes are in another league with the heel-toe shifting in those corners. That's surgical.

Which brings me to this:
http://jalopnik.com/the-manual-transmission-bmw-m5-and-m6-are-dead-1769251264

Part of the reason I insisted on a manual for the Mini is because it's an endangered breed. It's becoming an ever-smaller enthusiast's thing. And I can't blame manufacturers; technology marches on. Those of us who like having three pedals are a tiny little minority. It's not worth playing to us. Soon it'll be only some hatchbacks, prohibitively expensive luxury brands, and Miatas.
FFS. Hurts my heart. If you're going to be an idiot on a public road, have the decency to go someplace off the beaten path in the country.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
So this is glorious.


Not just for the nostalgic style and the Minis, but the foot cam for the manuals. Even though it's all starting to come back to me now with daily driving a manual (finally starting to reliably rev match), those dudes are in another league with the heel-toe shifting in those corners. That's surgical.

Which brings me to this:
http://jalopnik.com/the-manual-transmission-bmw-m5-and-m6-are-dead-1769251264

Part of the reason I insisted on a manual for the Mini is because it's an endangered breed. It's becoming an ever-smaller enthusiast's thing. And I can't blame manufacturers; technology marches on. Those of us who like having three pedals are a tiny little minority. It's not worth playing to us. Soon it'll be only some hatchbacks, prohibitively expensive luxury brands, and Miatas.

FFS. Hurts my heart. If you're going to be an idiot on a public road, have the decency to go someplace off the beaten path in the country.
I've been doing heel and toe techniques about since I started driving the Mini. I realized very quickly that if I want to be in the right gear all the time, I had to first learn to rev match, which wasn't particularly difficult. Heel and toe was tricky at first because of the shifting dymanics and timing of everything. It was clutch in, shift and rev-match, and let off the clutch. When you can do it perfectly, and by perfect meaning not over or under revving, it's a glorious feeling of you and the machine in harmony.

I'm not perfect at it by any means, but since I do it all the time, it's become second nature, and a such I do it anytime I'm driving a manual. Some cars though are more difficult than others. Minis are very easy to learn heel and toe on.

Here's another good video of some good footwork action:

 

BobSilencieux

Well-Known Member
So, DRL (Daytime Running Lights) has been a complete and utter f*cking failure imo. Not sure if you guys have it over there, but the law came in here in 2011. The basic premise is that humans are too damn stupid to be able to notice the 4000 pound, 60 decibel hunk of metal barrelling towards them down the highway in broad daylight unless said hunk of metal is fitted with some blindingly bright high intensity lights in the same position as where the (night-time) headlights would be.

According to the AA:

Daytime running lights must be bright enough that they can be seen clearly in daylight and as a result are too bright to be used at night time when they would cause dazzle. Daytime running lights should therefore go off automatically when headlights or sidelights are switched on.

So, the question is, for your typical (selfish dickhead) human: when he gets in his car at night time and starts the engine, and his bright DRL come on automatically, does he take an action to turn off the DRL and switch to regular headlights, giving himself slightly less visibility, but protecting the eyes of all other road users and pedestrians, or does he do nothing but say "fuck everybody else, I prefer having something akin to main beam headlights on all the time."

I think you know the answer. And being constantly dazzled and blinded by every other (post 2011) car on the road is really starting to Grind My Gears. :mad:
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
So, DRL (Daytime Running Lights) has been a complete and utter f*cking failure imo. Not sure if you guys have it over there, but the law came in here in 2011. The basic premise is that humans are too damn stupid to be able to notice the 4000 pound, 60 decibel hunk of metal barrelling towards them down the highway in broad daylight unless said hunk of metal is fitted with some blindingly bright high intensity lights in the same position as where the (night-time) headlights would be.

According to the AA:

Daytime running lights must be bright enough that they can be seen clearly in daylight and as a result are too bright to be used at night time when they would cause dazzle. Daytime running lights should therefore go off automatically when headlights or sidelights are switched on.

So, the question is, for your typical (selfish dickhead) human: when he gets in his car at night time and starts the engine, and his bright DRL come on automatically, does he take an action to turn off the DRL and switch to regular headlights, giving himself slightly less visibility, but protecting the eyes of all other road users and pedestrians, or does he do nothing but say "fuck everybody else, I prefer having something akin to main beam headlights on all the time."

I think you know the answer. And being constantly dazzled and blinded by every other (post 2011) car on the road is really starting to Grind My Gears. :mad:
Well, a lot of cars just wire up the normal lights, so they're on all the time, but some manufacturers (such as Audi I recall) use low-voltage LED DRL. Then again, that info I have is over ten years old, so who knows what it is these days. It is possible to buy DRL kits for your car, so everytime you do start up the car, the headlights are on, but I find it ridiculous quite frankly.

But to answer your quesiton, no DRL are not mandated by the Fed, but a lot of cars do use them. My Mini for example does not have them, nor does it have automatic sensing lights either. I choose when to use the lights, which is when I feel it's deemed necessary for the purposes of visibility with other drivers on the road. So if it's cloudy enough? Possibly. Raining outside? Definitely. Snow? Absolutely. Fog? Oh hell yes. Night time? If you don't, fuck you sideways with a ping pong paddle. Sunny? Fuck no.

I do know that a lot of racing these days uses it, but I feel that's a bit different given the speeds those guys achieve as well as the fact they only go in one direction, so I give them a pass.

EDIT: As a follow-up, I'd like to also say that I think headlights are getting brigher, but not necessarily any better though. LEDs are of course becoming the standard, and I think it's great, but the issue for me comes from the fact that I drive a car that is lower to the ground, so I get the light in my face all the time, and it's incredibly distracting with newer cars. Not to mention you get loads of people with headlights that are not properly aimed and calibrated, so one headlight could be staring right at you as if it were high-beams, and the other at normal levels.

This is why I'm very partial to the idea of more states mandating that cars get inspected every fucking year, much like a MOT inspection you guys have. It's only done in a few Counties in Wisconsin (California I believe has a state-wide inspection, but cannot confirm), and for whatever reason, my County is not one of them, which is ironic given how progressive we are compared to the rest of the state.
 
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EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
So I've had to do a good bit of driving the past few days, which has put me on a lot of highway asphalt. But when I'm not on the highway, I've been on some glorious back roads, which means I've been caning the Mini (relatively, of course - we're talking revving to 5K instead of redline, and not going the full Autobahn on straights). Went to gas up the car today, fearing the worst for the mileage.

39 MPG.

God, I love this thing. It's damn hard to adjust to another person's car now, though. The steering is never as responsive, the brakes are always squishier and far less biting.
I've been doing heel and toe techniques about since I started driving the Mini. I realized very quickly that if I want to be in the right gear all the time, I had to first learn to rev match, which wasn't particularly difficult. Heel and toe was tricky at first because of the shifting dymanics and timing of everything. It was clutch in, shift and rev-match, and let off the clutch. When you can do it perfectly, and by perfect meaning not over or under revving, it's a glorious feeling of you and the machine in harmony.

I'm not perfect at it by any means, but since I do it all the time, it's become second nature, and a such I do it anytime I'm driving a manual. Some cars though are more difficult than others. Minis are very easy to learn heel and toe on.

Here's another good video of some good footwork action:
The Mini is harder for me because of the driving position. I like to sit a bit closer (shorten the gear throws), but also a bit taller - so I can easily see the fender humps (and thus have a good feel for where the wheels are in a turn). The two drawbacks? The tach is slightly clipped by the steering wheel (no big deal, just means I don't see the line markings above the "4"), and my knee hits the bottom of the steering column if I try to heel-toe like I was taught (foot nearly sideways, toe on brake, heel on accelerator - much easier to blip the throttle for me this way). So I have to do the pivot, instead, and that's way harder to get a feel for. But it's mostly a moot point; there are very few times where I need to heel-toe on a public road. If I have to brake hard for a turn, I'll just rev match after I get through.

But it's not a heel-toe discussion without Senna's loafers, of course.


[I can see thousands of driving instructors shouting at their monitors every time I watch that. "No students, don't stab the throttle mid-corner because FFS, you aren't Senna."]
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
Speaking of manuals: http://jalopnik.com/next-porsche-911-might-might-not-come-with-a-manual-t-1771097480

Now don't let the link text fool you, because it doesn't sound like it's actually going to happen, but it is a talking point to bring up, especially when you consider how vocal the Porsche community can be. I remeber Performance magazine had a discussion when the PDK came out, and over a two-month period gave a case for both manuals and PDK, and it used people's testimonials for it. It was a very good discussion from both the Porsche veterans as well as the newcomers. It basically came down to this: older Porsche owners generally went with PDK, and the younger guys usually went with manuals.

Personally, I don't quite know what I'd go for. I love throwing through the gears as much as Donut does, and I'm sure anyone else who checks out this thread probably feels the same. But it's no surprise that it's getting more and more difficult for car manufacturers to justify in keeping the ole manual transmission, especially when a lot of sports/supercars these days are designed for speed and performance. It makes less and less of a case into keeping it, and instead is becoming nothing more than a novelty than an actual necessity in today's automotive climate.

But as the comments pointed out, those 10% of Porsche owners, like the Nintendo faithful, are some of the most vocal people in their respective communities, and make convincing cases to stay true to what they love the most.

I'd honestly have to try the PDK, but I'd likely do it with the same model and year Porsche that has both and compare the two. I say this because the older porsches have a different feel I'm sure compared to newer 911s. I've driven a 911SC before, and I won't lie, I sucked at driving it. Something at that time just did not click and I could not drive it well. I think my issue was I'd been so used to the Mini's clutch and transmission that it didn't exactly translate well. It'd be like taking a standard 8.5x11 piece of paper, folding it up into the size of a dollar bill, and try using it on a vending machine. It's not going to work well, if at all.

I'm sure if I drove a 911 today, I'd have a much better experience. I've been meaning to talk with my old neighbors who own two 911s (his and hers), and drive those in exchange I'd let them drive the Mini.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
I wouldn't be surprised if Porsche goes PDK-only. Ferrari already created this path.
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/last-waltz-the-final-stick-shift-ferrari-599/

If you're building high performance cars, auto/twin-clutch setups are better. They shift faster than a human can, and in full auto-mode, the PDK's programming is so sublime that it pretty much always picks the right gear (just watch Randy Pobst on MotorTrend's videos at Big Willow when he's in a modern Porsche). If you want to go as fast as possible while making a vehicle as controllable for a mass audience as possible, don't use a manual transmission. The GTR was ahead of its time in 2007. And not to be all "get off my lawn" on the topic, I grok the appeal. If I were to ever get my pick of a true performance car, it'd be a GTR with twin-clutch paddle shifters.

But, it's not game-set-match for autos. Because the manual is alive and well elsewhere, in other vehicles.
http://www.nydailynews.com/autos/americans-driving-stick-shift-article-1.1072784

So long as manufacturers build "world cars" running on gasoline, we'll get manuals. They'll get harder to find, and maybe you'll pay a premium for it, but they will be there.

[It's the switch to electric and not even needing gears that will doom manuals. And even then, I'm sure someone will program a car computer so that it simulates the real deal.]
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
@TheAmazingLSB
I was waiting for the Redline album (which is great driving music).

Also, had been meaning to post this, since Scion is being phased out and the old FR-S is now finally going to go by its rightful name - the Toyota 86.
http://japanesenostalgiccar.com/a-brief-history-of-the-toyota-ae86-corolla/


[I'm always amused by the people who call it "eighty-six." That's like someone saying they love Metroid but saying "Zeebs." If you're the nerdiest of the nerdiest, it's "hachi-roku," which is "eight-six."]
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
I re-watched that 86 vid last night. Both of those are left-hand drive. That means neither one is really an 86. Take it away, Regular Car Reviews.


So those are AE88. America never got the JDM "true" 86, with the correct suspension + correct engine + disc brakes all around.

=========

More Mini ramblings.

-I was unaware how loathed the R56 is amongst the people who comment "it's too big to be a MINI!" Really? The '09 R56 is 145.6" long, and 66.3" inches wide. The VW Golf/GTI of the same year is 165.8" X 69.3". Edmunds only has the Fiesta going back to 2011, which is 173.6" X 66.8". An '09 Honda Fit is 161.6" X 66.7". On what Earth is a car that's 28" (over 2 damn feet) shorter than a Fiesta "too big"?

-I'm better at rev matching, and getting a bit of feel for heel-toe shifts, but still experimenting on up-shifting this thing smoothly at low speeds and low revs. Stab the clutch? The car bucks. Gently let it out? Still bucks. Move into gear conservatively? Same as rifling from second to third. I have to remind myself that the clutch and synchros have well over 100K miles of someone else's driving on it. It's (somewhat oddly) smoother at low speed shifting when it's cold. Once warmed up? There is no sweet spot between 2,000 to 3,000 RPM for shifts; it varies by gear. It much prefers being revved way the hell up. Which is great. But I can't do Italian tune-ups every day. Car wants to be revved higher than I usually drive while commuting (peak torque at 4,250 RPM).

-Speaking of rev matching, is your throttle sluggish below 2,000 RPM, @Shoulder? I've had a few highway situations where people forget to merge, and if I'm in 6th and decelerating (or popped into neutral), then need to shift down to 3rd to get back up to speed, the engine just slumps when I try to rev match. Even if I completely floor it for the blip, the engine basically shrugs. I try to avoid unnecessary gear changes when slowing down, but maybe I'll have to in order to keep the revs up.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
More Mini ramblings.

-I was unaware how loathed the R56 is amongst the people who comment "it's too big to be a MINI!" Really? The '09 R56 is 145.6" long, and 66.3" inches wide. The VW Golf/GTI of the same year is 165.8" X 69.3". Edmunds only has the Fiesta going back to 2011, which is 173.6" X 66.8". An '09 Honda Fit is 161.6" X 66.7". On what Earth is a car that's 28" (over 2 damn feet) shorter than a Fiesta "too big"?

-I'm better at rev matching, and getting a bit of feel for heel-toe shifts, but still experimenting on up-shifting this thing smoothly at low speeds and low revs. Stab the clutch? The car bucks. Gently let it out? Still bucks. Move into gear conservatively? Same as rifling from second to third. I have to remind myself that the clutch and synchros have well over 100K miles of someone else's driving on it. It's (somewhat oddly) smoother at low speed shifting when it's cold. Once warmed up? There is no sweet spot between 2,000 to 3,000 RPM for shifts; it varies by gear. It much prefers being revved way the hell up. Which is great. But I can't do Italian tune-ups every day. Car wants to be revved higher than I usually drive while commuting (peak torque at 4,250 RPM).

-Speaking of rev matching, is your throttle sluggish below 2,000 RPM, @Shoulder? I've had a few highway situations where people forget to merge, and if I'm in 6th and decelerating (or popped into neutral), then need to shift down to 3rd to get back up to speed, the engine just slumps when I try to rev match. Even if I completely floor it for the blip, the engine basically shrugs. I try to avoid unnecessary gear changes when slowing down, but maybe I'll have to in order to keep the revs up.
So for the first bit, the Mini is still smaller than the majority of cars out there today. The only car off-hand that I know to be smaller than the Mini, besides the Smart Car, is the Fiat 500, which is around 1/2 foot shorter, but is a few inches taller than the Mini. So for people to say it's too big for a Mini, EVERYTHING is bigger than the classic Mini you fucks. In fact, the classic Mini was around 10 feet long, so only around 2 feet shorter compared to the current Mini. If you account for the width, the OG Mini was 55in, whereas the current one is around 66in, so nearly a foot wider. For people that say the Mini is not a Mini, even the fricking Countryman, Mini's biggest car, is still smaller than a VW GTI, and basically the length of a Honda Fit.

For the second part, I somehow get the impression there might be an issue with the clutch or something, but I've heard from some people I know who have driven Minis, don't like the clutch feel, and it feels sort of on or off, which I don't seem to recall that being the case.

For the last bit, I wouldn't say the throttle is necessarily sluggish at below 2k rpms, but I normally don't drive at those revs anyway. I'm normally at or above 2k rpms. That being said, I get the impression that BMW designed these motors (or rather the companies that built them) that love to rev, which I think is totally true. While they are definitely a bit of a city car, they are definitely more than capable on highways, and in performance areas as well. Also, with the supercharger, you get that instant throttle response compared to a turbo (which you don't have), so I feel as a result, you'll get more responsiveness at lower RPMs compared to a NA engine. And this is with little mods to the car, with only a different exhaust, and a CAI, which is more free-flowing, so throttle response (on top of a little extra power) is improved.

I don't put the car into neutral unless I am at or very close to a stop, so I almost always downshifting. I downshift a lot I've realized over the years. A simple drive to the grocery store could yield maybe 50-100 shifts on one trip (I'm purely guesstimating though) If I'm in a high gear, and have to come to a stop, I'll put the clutch in, and only put the car into neutral then when I come to a stop. I ridden with people who for whatever reason will put the car into neutral on their way to a stop (whether a few hundred feet or even on downhills which makes no sense), and then to top it off, they don't rev-match, so you get that lurch forward feeling because the clutch and engine speed are not matched in rotational speed. I cringe when I see it happening.

I'm going to sound like a pretentious person for saying this, but I have over 145k miles on my Mini, and that is all on the original clutch, so I must be doing something right, especially when I hear about people replacing clutches much earlier than that, and the fact I will drive it hard. And to top it all off, there's no real indication the clutch is going either. Starting from a stop, shifting, and downshifting is still smooth as it's always been. *knock on wood*
 

BobSilencieux

Well-Known Member
1. The NEW MINI is too big to be a Mini because, well, it is quite big, and getting bigger all the time. I just googled "big new mini" to get this image:

and you don't need me to tell you how stupid that oxymoron sounds, but what is surprising is how many results google came back with.

2. I was taught never to roll in neutral. You should have your foot off the clutch, with a gear engaged, at all times except when you're stationary or in the process of changing gear. Decelerating is the same as accelerating: you change gear when changing speed so that you're always in the correct gear for the current road speed. You lose a great deal of control over the vehicle when not in gear.

My favourite (least favourite, obvs) is people who, while braking, shift down through every gear in the box, WITHOUT ACTUALLY ENGAGING ANY OF THE DAMN GEARS! WHY ARE YOU TAKING ONE HAND OFF THE WHEEL AND GOING DOWN THROUGH 4TH, 3RD, 2ND, TO 1ST IF YOU'RE NOT EVEN TAKING YOUR DAMN FOOT OFF THE CLUTCH?!?

Idiots...
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
So I worked nights for a few weeks as crews were demoing a bridge, and also excavating soil on following weeks, and that time was quite the revelation concerning drivers. I had some hope that drivers could be salvaged, but after those few weeks? None. None whatsoever. I lost all hope.

Drivers cannot read signs, pay attention to their surroundings, understand they are in a construction zone, pay attention to signs, are constantly on their fucking phones, cannot read signs, etc. Durign one of those weeks, during a routine morning rush hour, there was a massive crash on one of the main highways because some cock-juggling asswad was eating a bowl of cereal when he crashed. It's like, "How massively goddamn dumb do you have to be to suggest that is a good idea?"

I find it funny when I would see people come up to the intersection (which had its lights switched off and the road under the bridge closed off), and would for some reason not know what to do. They just stop their car in the middle of the goddamn road, and think for what seemed like minutes trying to figure out what they were going to do. And then to top it off, I saw a lot of drivers who would reverse back where they came from, and find a different route (even though there was a detour clearly marked), or another one was people making an illegal U-turn (even when there was a State Patrol car posted). We even had a few people who tried to get into the construction zone (which was clearly clocked off with orange barrels, so that should be your first clue).

And then I see threads like this: https://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/4fvl4c/people_cant_stop_running_over_this_rock/

Again, I just get baffled to no end when I see shit like this, but at the same time, I simply laugh about it because it is hilariously funny to me. And then there's this gem:


For something like this, there's nothing more satisfying and hilarious than hearing the sound of an automobile hitting something due to the driver's incompetence. I remember at my other place of work, we have these cylindrical steel barriers at a drop-off circle so cars don't drive onto the sidewalk, and this time I'm outside, and this car smashed right into it, and the sound was so satisfying and hilarious. What made it even funnier was the driver getting all pissed off about it, "Ah, goddamn it! Fucking sonofabitch cocksucker dfsiskdjilsdhfsfsk$*&$^&*%!!!!!"

But I'm not done yet. So I was driving to work one afternoon, and of course there was rush-hour ahead. I knew this was happening, so I started slowing down. So I'm in the right lane, which had better traffic flow compared to the left lane, and there was this white Dodge Neon that did not see the traffic right in front of her, and just as I pass her, she just then sees the traffic, slams on her brakes, causing them to lock up, and screeched right into the back of another car, which hit another car. It was like 3 or 4 cars involved. I of course kept driving, but I was both baffled, and yet still laughing at the driver's incompetence.

It never ceases to amaze the levels of stupidity you'll see on the road. I think if an invading Alien race were to see what buffoons we are, they'd probably just shrug it off and say, "Yeah, we don't need to destroy them because they'll destroy themselves first. Let's get some popcorn and watch the mayhem."
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
So, I've been following this guy on Jalopnik named, Doug DeMuro. he has a very unique writing style in his article, and his videos, while are basic, are hilarious. I want to post two of his videos because they are related to each other. I encourage you to watch them in order.


Turns out the Brits were not so nice about that video...

 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
Before replying to anything above, I just gotta mention that my buddy with the 335i? Got an ECU remap.

Soooo...it's probably making closer to 400 hp / 400 tq now at the crank.

And y'know how a torque-y motor pushes you in the chest? Yeah, this one used to do that. Now it physically moves your whole body after you've already gotten comfortable, and wants to shove you through the seat. It went from powerful to savage. It has thrown the whole car out of balance, because the braking zones you were used to are now gone because you really should throw bigger brakes on this. And you might as well put stiffer springs on because what's the use of having more power if you can't carry more of it through a corner?

So...I honestly don't recommend this mod. Not for this type of car. If you can get an extra 10-15 hp and torque out of a small, relatively light car like a Miata or Mini? That makes sense. But adding 50-100 hp to a legitimately fast car that has been matched fairly precisely to the rest of its components? Not as good an idea. BMW knew what they were doing in the first place.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
There's something about a high-horsepower car that I've been a bit apprehensive about these days, and a lot of it has to do with the fact unless you are on the track, you cannot safetly use the power on tap. Sure, you may have this amount of horsepower, but how often do you track it? Or are you just clamoring to be the fastest guy on the streets, which is about as useful in life as a cock-flavored lollypop.

And when I saw this article on Jalopnik the other day, I totally agreed with him:

http://jalopnik.com/high-horsepower-cars-suck-1774742580

Perhaps this is one reason I love my Mini so much, and same with you, Donut. I can use the power given on most occasions, and not have to worry about going way overboard on the speed. On-ramps? WOT. After a nice curvy turn with a little straight? WOT. Lots of corners? fly into them, and then get back on WOT. I love that, but I also know I don't push the Mini to its limitest for obvious reasons. I'm hoping this year to take Egan to the track and really find out what this thing really is like. If I want this to become my weekend/fun car, I have to take it to track days during the weekends.

And if history is any indication, Minis are just loads of fun on the track, as demonstrated by these guys. Dem Minis man, they are faster than they look, especially on those corners:

https://www.facebook.com/Silodrome/videos/1064616390273638/

And if that weren't enough, here's an onboard video of a classic Mini owning a group of Mustangs during a race. It is simply awesome! This ivdeo is actually the same driver and car from the above video.

 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
In honor of Morley Safer, who unexpected passed away just days after retiring from 60 Minutes, here's an awesome segment he did about Lamborghini back in 1987.


I hope to one day get a drive a Lamborghini, let alone a Countach. Dat V12 sound is so orgasmic. :mlove:
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
Alright, back to a few older things...
1. The NEW MINI is too big to be a Mini because, well, it is quite big, and getting bigger all the time. I just googled "big new mini" to get this image:

and you don't need me to tell you how stupid that oxymoron sounds, but what is surprising is how many results google came back with.

2. I was taught never to roll in neutral. You should have your foot off the clutch, with a gear engaged, at all times except when you're stationary or in the process of changing gear. Decelerating is the same as accelerating: you change gear when changing speed so that you're always in the correct gear for the current road speed. You lose a great deal of control over the vehicle when not in gear.

My favourite (least favourite, obvs) is people who, while braking, shift down through every gear in the box, WITHOUT ACTUALLY ENGAGING ANY OF THE DAMN GEARS! WHY ARE YOU TAKING ONE HAND OFF THE WHEEL AND GOING DOWN THROUGH 4TH, 3RD, 2ND, TO 1ST IF YOU'RE NOT EVEN TAKING YOUR DAMN FOOT OFF THE CLUTCH?!?

Idiots...
I think that's a concept Mini for a 4x4 Paceman/Clubman. And those two "crossover"-types are bigger, but they're not huge compared to other vehicles in their segment. That's what gets me with the complaints now; Mini doesn't exist in a vacuum*. Like everything else, it exists in relation to its environment. All vehicles are getting bigger and gaining weight. So will the Mini brand (and its expansion into other models).

[*No one ever said "well the Mini isn't very small compared to a Messerschmitt KR200," did they?]

On using neutral, I share your wtf-ness with the people changing gears without engaging them, but that's when you should use neutral - while decelerating to a stop. You're not losing control because the only thing you'll be doing is going to a complete stop (you don't need to be in the proper gear to accelerate into the car in front of you unless you plan on starting a traffic accident). In fact, I'd say you're safer that way, because you're already in neutral and on the break and can automatically press harder if someone or something were to run out in front of you instead of having to reach for the brake and clutch-in. But that's the only time to really use neutral, under very specific deceleration to a complete stop (and while at a stop).
There's something about a high-horsepower car that I've been a bit apprehensive about these days, and a lot of it has to do with the fact unless you are on the track, you cannot safetly use the power on tap. Sure, you may have this amount of horsepower, but how often do you track it? Or are you just clamoring to be the fastest guy on the streets, which is about as useful in life as a cock-flavored lollypop.

And when I saw this article on Jalopnik the other day, I totally agreed with him:

http://jalopnik.com/high-horsepower-cars-suck-1774742580

Perhaps this is one reason I love my Mini so much, and same with you, Donut. I can use the power given on most occasions, and not have to worry about going way overboard on the speed. On-ramps? WOT. After a nice curvy turn with a little straight? WOT. Lots of corners? fly into them, and then get back on WOT. I love that, but I also know I don't push the Mini to its limitest for obvious reasons. I'm hoping this year to take Egan to the track and really find out what this thing really is like. If I want this to become my weekend/fun car, I have to take it to track days during the weekends.

And if history is any indication, Minis are just loads of fun on the track, as demonstrated by these guys. Dem Minis man, they are faster than they look, especially on those corners:

https://www.facebook.com/Silodrome/videos/1064616390273638/

And if that weren't enough, here's an onboard video of a classic Mini owning a group of Mustangs during a race. It is simply awesome! This ivdeo is actually the same driver and car from the above video.

Heh, that dude knows what he's doing (and I cringe at the camber some of those 'Stangs have their wheels at). He knows he's owned on every straight, but he can chuck that damn thing into a corner and maintain so much more speed. I'm surprised the Mustangs' acceleration there isn't better out of corners, but it's probably because the drivers have to temper their hooning because they know they can't get moving too quickly without effing up the next corners.

I can't find the vid, but there was something similar a few years ago, where a GTR was pitted against something like a Fiesta ST on a very narrow, very wet track. The GTR is a modern supercar destroyer of worlds, but in those conditions? Didn't matter. And that's why super high horsepower cars don't make a ton of sense in real world conditions. You can use the car to its full potential on track days or out at the salt flats, but that's about it, isn't it? Kinda like my friend's 335i, which is now essentially an M3 without huge brakes and stiff springs. I don't think I would ever put it on the floor driving that car, except first gear from a stop. That's it.

OTOH, like you, I can gun it on the Mini almost anywhere. Foot on the floor, rev it up to 5K, and I'm still below 70 mph. And because it's nearly-Miata* light, I can clean it up and get it under control in short order. I took a corner last weekend (again chasing my buddy on his motorcycle) and I couldn't believe how well the thing tucked in. I'd almost think the ESC has torque vectoring or something. But I guess that's just the benefit of being light with a short wheelbase.

[*I've come to think of the Mini as a sort of Northern Miata. It's the car for someone who lives in the snowbelt, who might have a snowpocalypse blizzard to look forward to, but no garage to park the car in. When you're gifted with three feet of snow in one weekend, a rag top and RWD make less sense for something you're parking on a side street.]
 
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Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
I finally got Egan washed, and get all the dirt, mud, and dust off of it. Felt so good to drive it clean again. :mgrin:

I also stumbled upon a fellow Miniac while driving home, and he was going at a pretty good clip, so I figured I'd indulge and "follow" him for a few miles. He didn't seem to care much, nor did he acknowledge me when I waved at him, but I'm sure deep down inside, he knew I was having fun. The man's Mini was modified, so I figured him for a Mini Enthusiast. Still no wave, but had fun chasing him. And before you ask, I did this in a safe and controlled manner on a 70mph interstate, and 55mph freeway. :mcool:

Donut, @EvilTw1n , I'm have plans to take a week off (maybe week and a half) from work this summer (maybe august?), and I'd like to head to your neck of the woods (and maybe stop by at @mattavelle1 's on the way), and have us go all Italian Job on the roads. :mthumb:
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
So does anyone else besides me actually drive like this?



Wheel shuffling as they call it. I only recently realized that I do that, which made those scenes on TG even funnier in my eyes. I am an advanced motorist, yes. ;)
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
@Shoulder - If you're ever around my neck of the woods, just lemme know.

Also, I forgot to check the calendar. It's that time of year again. If you think you understand speed, click to about the 7:30 mark of this vid and wait. Watch 'til at least the 8:45 mark. Make sure you're full screen (@Goodtwin may appreciate it this).

 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
@Shoulder - If you're ever around my neck of the woods, just lemme know.

Also, I forgot to check the calendar. It's that time of year again. If you think you understand speed, click to about the 7:30 mark of this vid and wait. Watch 'til at least the 8:45 mark. Make sure you're full screen (@Goodtwin may appreciate it this).

I never get tired of watch that vid. But then again, I never get tired talking about the Isle of Man TT. And speaking of which, it's qualifying week for the IoMTT, and next week are the actual races. I'd like to keep tabs on TT week come to think of it. :mgrin:


Btw, I did watch the new Chris Evans Top Gear just now, and...? It wasn't that bad. The studio bits left a lot more to be desired, but the films between the studio bits were enjoyable, and dare I say...Matt LeBlanc is a much better presenter right now than Chris Evans. It'll likely take a few episodes, or perhaps another series before those two hit their stride, but first impressions are it wasn't too shabby. And I was trying to rate it in and of itself, rather than outright comparing it to Slow Jezza Hamster Top Gear. I'm willing to give it a chance.

And let's not forget shall we that Jezza's TG wasn't very good in its first season. In fact, it really wasn't until I think Season 4 where TG started getting properly good. So if this new Evans Almighty Top Gear can get pretty good before then, I'll consider it a decent success.


EDIT: Oh and Donut, I'm definitely and seriously considering on taking a road trip to yours and @mattavelle1 's neck of the woods, and explore the mountains there. The big thing will be managing my time since it'll be a full days drive just to get in the area, leaving me 5 or so days of more driving and meeting up with you and Matt at some point. I'm currently tentatively planning sometime in August as that is when I want to take a week off from work, possibly mid-august, but we shall see. I would like to get my suspension done, and my exhaust tips adjusted before then. Bring a couple quarts of oils, portable air compressor, a weeks worth of clothes, some hearty snacks, plenty of music to listen to, my GoPros and camera equipment, and maybe a pack of condoms while I'm at it. Have to be ready for anything, amirite?
 
Last edited:

BobSilencieux

Well-Known Member
EDIT: Oh and Donut, I'm definitely and seriously considering on taking a road trip to yours and @mattavelle1 's neck of the woods, and explore the mountains there. ... Bring a couple quarts of oils, portable air compressor, a weeks worth of clothes, some hearty snacks, plenty of music to listen to, my GoPros and camera equipment, and maybe a pack of condoms while I'm at it. Have to be ready for anything, amirite?
For use on Matt or Donut? o_O

------------

Top Gear wasn't that bad. But definitely lacking in a lot of areas that made Top Gear great recently. And yes, an American actor is quite undeniably better at presenting a British car show than a veteran British TV presenter and car nut. Who saw that coming?
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
For use on Matt or Donut? o_O

------------

Top Gear wasn't that bad. But definitely lacking in a lot of areas that made Top Gear great recently. And yes, an American actor is quite undeniably better at presenting a British car show than a veteran British TV presenter and car nut. Who saw that coming?
Why not both? :mkiss:


Anyway, as far as TG is concerned, I'll keep tuning in every week and see how it progresses. I also think if they have a third full time presenter, it might also keep some of that usual banter around.

I will say that after that USA vs. UK challenge, I'd like to see more of those.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
So this week I've been thinking a lot about Ferraris, and so I wanted to see what some particular models were going for these days. As usual, I went straight to the Magnum P.I. of Ferraris, the 308. It wasn't so long ago you could buy a Ferrari 308 for less than the price of a brand new Subaru STI. And while all the posers and side-facing hat wearing youths would easily take the STI, I'd much prefer the Ferrari. You might imagine that the 308, a car that is 30 years old, no warranty, and new parts costing about the same as , that you'd be insane to choose a Ferrari 308. But you'd be wrong. You see, Ferrari is a byword for Exquisite Soul, and Absolute Glory, something the Subaru is missing, and probably will never achieve. Even my beloved Mini has more soul than a car that prides itself on symmetrical awd and its 4-cylinder boxer engine.

Anyway, upon searching for a Ferrari 308, I stumbled upon something rather disturbing. These cars were not going for 30,000 dollars. No, try more than double that. Seriously? That's double than what I make in a year, and you're expecting me to fork over 70 or more thousand dollars when a Ferrari 246 Dino cost about the same 15 years ago?

Fuck Ferrari, and their owners who overprice them. I'll stick to my Mini...
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator

Also this.

So this week I've been thinking a lot about Ferraris, and so I wanted to see what some particular models were going for these days. As usual, I went straight to the Magnum P.I. of Ferraris, the 308. It wasn't so long ago you could buy a Ferrari 308 for less than the price of a brand new Subaru STI. And while all the posers and side-facing hat wearing youths would easily take the STI, I'd much prefer the Ferrari. You might imagine that the 308, a car that is 30 years old, no warranty, and new parts costing about the same as , that you'd be insane to choose a Ferrari 308. But you'd be wrong. You see, Ferrari is a byword for Exquisite Soul, and Absolute Glory, something the Subaru is missing, and probably will never achieve. Even my beloved Mini has more soul than a car that prides itself on symmetrical awd and its 4-cylinder boxer engine.

Anyway, upon searching for a Ferrari 308, I stumbled upon something rather disturbing. These cars were not going for 30,000 dollars. No, try more than double that. Seriously? That's double than what I make in a year, and you're expecting me to fork over 70 or more thousand dollars when a Ferrari 246 Dino cost about the same 15 years ago?

Fuck Ferrari, and their owners who overprice them. I'll stick to my Mini...
I'd never bother with an STI, but a regular 'ol WRX? Sure. Despite the owner defense club Subaru apparently employs, you can't argue with the performance. Plus AWD. So you can use it anywhere, at any time of year. And on real roads with real potholes and real oil slick? You want that instead of any Ferrari. I remember the old Top Gear (like season three?) where they had an Evo and WRX, and talked about how it's faster in the real world than any exotic sports car that can barely go over a speed bump. A Ferrari's soul will last as long as you keep it on a track.

Not that, y'know, I wouldn't want to drive a Ferrari. Because FFS, it's a Ferrari. The Italians get that cars can be theater. A bellowing V12 is like an aria for internal combustion. But...like going out for a night at the opera is an occasion, it's not something to do every night.

The Subie, OTOH? Sure, you could hoon it to oblivion, but you'll probably also lose your license in the process. Which is why you're probably right on with the Mini. Really, for actual roads? Hard to beat a Cooper S. If you buy horsepower and drive torque, a Cooper S will push you back in your seat while exiting a corner - and keep you at non-reckless endangerment speeds - as quick as anything within reason.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
It's funny you bring some of that up because I'm starting to really like the 2008-09 Bullitt Mustang. Almost to the extent of saying, "what if I drove that instead of the Mini."

I've always been a mustang fan, so as well as a Mini, it's another dream car of mine. Sure, that new Shelby GT350R with the flat plane v8 and 8000 rpm redline is nice, but Christ it's not cheap.

I'm also a big fan of the movie Bullitt, so imagine if I drove the Bullitt Mustang. And best part? Can find them for under twenty grand. Under twenty grand for a car where they only made around 9000 of them. And I LOVE that green color. Almost matches the color of my Mini. Such an understated color I think.

There's still the coffee and cars stigma with mustang owners though. All hoon, but little loony, if that makes any sense.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
I was looking for this link for awhile, and finally came across it again while deleting old emails.
http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-video/video-nissan-gt-r-vs-audi-a1-quattro


I'm sure I posted it long ago, but worth revisiting. That's not a fair fight, but it's a much more reasonable fight than taking a car out on a perfectly paved track with a mile-long straight. Odds are, in the real world, you're gonna have tight turns on a fun road. Odds are, the real-world pavement is going to be horribly uneven and the conditions may not be ideal and you won't be able to live life with your accelerator planted on the floor. Odds are, in the real world, you need nothing more than a hot hatch.

And you can watch that same Audi above get blitzed by a Mini GP2 here. Because Mini.

(...not that I'd want that one. That'd be a pretty stiff suspension for my bad back to deal with every day.)
It's funny you bring some of that up because I'm starting to really like the 2008-09 Bullitt Mustang. Almost to the extent of saying, "what if I drove that instead of the Mini."

I've always been a mustang fan, so as well as a Mini, it's another dream car of mine. Sure, that new Shelby GT350R with the flat plane v8 and 8000 rpm redline is nice, but Christ it's not cheap.

I'm also a big fan of the movie Bullitt, so imagine if I drove the Bullitt Mustang. And best part? Can find them for under twenty grand. Under twenty grand for a car where they only made around 9000 of them. And I LOVE that green color. Almost matches the color of my Mini. Such an understated color I think.

There's still the coffee and cars stigma with mustang owners though. All hoon, but little loony, if that makes any sense.
I was a huge Mustang fan when I was younger. If it was possible to own one without immediately looking like you're having a mid-life crisis, I'd seriously think on it. That Bullitt Mustang might be the one I'd really consider, though. Just look at it.



I've always gone weak in the knees for that dark, forest green / British racing green. It's spectacular. And the proportions of that Mustang are nice; the new ones look OK, but in person, their hood seems like a guy compensating for something. The Bullitt is, for a Mustang, understated. I bet it's a hoot to drive. Buuuuut...as a limited run that will one day appreciate in value, I'd never be able to park it at a supermarket. Which is a problem if you're gonna have a daily driver.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
So the Mini's check engine light came on yesterday. Because of course the Mini's check engine light came on. Why wouldn't I buy another car that would pass emissions only for it to malfunction and not pass emissions?

Took it to Auto Zone today, checked the engine code, and...

...

...

...fouled spark plug on cylinder four. Made me sweat for a few hours there, BMW. Damn you.
=====================================

So, in your "FFS FLORIDA" moment for today:
---

A Florida man was arrested during an Orlando traffic stop because white flakes found in his car tested positive as crystal meth. It turns out, the flakes were just icing crumbs from Krispy Kreme donuts.

According to the Orlando Sentinal, Orlando police were staking out a 7-11 when the saw a man enter the story then leave with an employee. They followed the man who, according to police, failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign and then drove at a speed of 42 mph in a 30 mph zone.

After pulling him over the officer noticed the driver’s concealed weapon license and asked him to surrender his firearm for safety. He complied and exited the vehicle. That is when the officer noticed a strange white substance on the seats. From the story:

I recognized through my 11 years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer the substance to be some sort of narcotic,” the officer wrote in her report.​

The driver, 64-year-old Daniel Rushing insisted that substance was just donut flakes from a recent Krispy Kreme run. However, a roadside test revealed that the substance tested positive for methamphetamines.

“I kept telling them, ‘That’s … glaze from a doughnut. … They tried to say it was crack cocaine at first, then they said, ‘No, it’s meth, crystal meth.”
Daniel Rushing was arrested, charged with possession with a weapon. He was strip-searched and jailed in December. Several weeks after his arrest the crime lab revealed that the substance was not a narcotic.

The prosecutor’s office dropped the case, but Rushing has hired a lawyer and is seeking damages from the city. According to a New York Times report citing the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab system, 21 percent of roadside drug tests given by Florida law enforcement incorrectly identified a substance as methamphetamines.

Orlando police offered no explanation as to why the roadside test revealed the false positive.

http://jalopnik.com/florida-cops-arrest-man-in-traffic-stop-after-krispy-kr-1784518992
---

Bolded portion mine.

How the fuck do you keep using a test that misidentifies narcotics at a greater than 1-in-5 rate?!
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
@mattavelle1 I know you drive a Tundra, so I thought you'd like this:


So the Mini's check engine light came on yesterday. Because of course the Mini's check engine light came on. Why wouldn't I buy another car that would pass emissions only for it to malfunction and not pass emissions?

Took it to Auto Zone today, checked the engine code, and...

...

...

...fouled spark plug on cylinder four. Made me sweat for a few hours there, BMW. Damn you.
=====================================

So, in your "FFS FLORIDA" moment for today:
---

A Florida man was arrested during an Orlando traffic stop because white flakes found in his car tested positive as crystal meth. It turns out, the flakes were just icing crumbs from Krispy Kreme donuts.

According to the Orlando Sentinal, Orlando police were staking out a 7-11 when the saw a man enter the story then leave with an employee. They followed the man who, according to police, failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign and then drove at a speed of 42 mph in a 30 mph zone.

After pulling him over the officer noticed the driver’s concealed weapon license and asked him to surrender his firearm for safety. He complied and exited the vehicle. That is when the officer noticed a strange white substance on the seats. From the story:

I recognized through my 11 years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer the substance to be some sort of narcotic,” the officer wrote in her report.​
The driver, 64-year-old Daniel Rushing insisted that substance was just donut flakes from a recent Krispy Kreme run. However, a roadside test revealed that the substance tested positive for methamphetamines.

“I kept telling them, ‘That’s … glaze from a doughnut. … They tried to say it was crack cocaine at first, then they said, ‘No, it’s meth, crystal meth.”
Daniel Rushing was arrested, charged with possession with a weapon. He was strip-searched and jailed in December. Several weeks after his arrest the crime lab revealed that the substance was not a narcotic.

The prosecutor’s office dropped the case, but Rushing has hired a lawyer and is seeking damages from the city. According to a New York Times report citing the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab system, 21 percent of roadside drug tests given by Florida law enforcement incorrectly identified a substance as methamphetamines.

Orlando police offered no explanation as to why the roadside test revealed the false positive.

http://jalopnik.com/florida-cops-arrest-man-in-traffic-stop-after-krispy-kr-1784518992
---

Bolded portion mine.

How the fuck do you keep using a test that misidentifies narcotics at a greater than 1-in-5 rate?!
I know the #3 ignition coil gets corroded on my Mini, which in turn could cause issues with the spark plug over time. I just fix that using som di-electric grease, which I also put on all of the coil connectors.

As far as that articles goes...wow. Just. Wow.
 

mattavelle1

Crunk Ain’t Dead!!!
Moderator
@mattavelle1 I know you drive a Tundra, so I thought you'd like this:




I know the #3 ignition coil gets corroded on my Mini, which in turn could cause issues with the spark plug over time. I just fix that using som di-electric grease, which I also put on all of the coil connectors.

As far as that articles goes...wow. Just. Wow.
We just turned over 220k miles on this 08' Tundra. It is literally as quite as the day we bought it. I would load it up and drive it anywhere! Man I love this truck it is my "truck brand" from now on no questions
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
I know the #3 ignition coil gets corroded on my Mini, which in turn could cause issues with the spark plug over time. I just fix that using som di-electric grease, which I also put on all of the coil connectors.
I suppose it's just getting to know the car. Anything with this many miles has its own few gremlins.

When I was troubleshooting, I did run into another Mini owner who worked at AutoZone...and that dude was waaaaaaay into his car. I mean, I dig cars, but this guy was encyclopedic and borderline obsessed with his R56 Cooper S. He had put a new turbo in it and was trying to convince me to put a turbo in mine...but that does not sound like a good idea for a non-S model. Maybe I'd consider an ECU reflash for an extra few hp, but putting a turbo on this thing would be a lot of trouble.

Also, your buddy DeMuro is moving on from Jalop. New site here:
http://www.autotrader.com/oversteer
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
I suppose it's just getting to know the car. Anything with this many miles has its own few gremlins.

When I was troubleshooting, I did run into another Mini owner who worked at AutoZone...and that dude was waaaaaaay into his car. I mean, I dig cars, but this guy was encyclopedic and borderline obsessed with his R56 Cooper S. He had put a new turbo in it and was trying to convince me to put a turbo in mine...but that does not sound like a good idea for a non-S model. Maybe I'd consider an ECU reflash for an extra few hp, but putting a turbo on this thing would be a lot of trouble.

Also, your buddy DeMuro is moving on from Jalop. New site here:
http://www.autotrader.com/oversteer
I can guarantee that you'd be better off selling the non-S, using the money for a Cooper S, and you'll save yourself a lot of extra headaches...but then introduce yourself to new headaches. :msrs:

And yes, I did read that Doug DeMuro was moving to Autotrader. Already read a few of his columns, and watched his recent videos. Love reading and watching this guy.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
So I got a text from my friend today. The dealer where he got his 335i just got a Fiesta ST in (2015, 9K miles, $19K). So I said, "alright, yeah, I've always wanted to drive one."

Went for a test drive. Nope. Completely ignored on the lot. So we went across town, where there's a brand new Focus ST. $22K (with rebates), but more spartan (no Recaro seats, but I'm good with that; the normal ST seats are plenty comfy).

So, the bigger, not-Fiesta, Focus ST? Yeah. Yeeeeeeeeeeah. Yeah, it's good. It's really good. It's almost as good as advertised. Not that it's overly powerful (I've been ruined by a 400+ hp 335i, and once you've been corrupted by a power-mad German slapping you around, 250 hp seems...adequate), but it's fun. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's practical with a nice interior (...really, I mean that, it's good) and plenty of room. It's responsible. But almost all of the important things are perfect. The shifter knob and location is perfect. The seats fit perfectly. The engine sounds nearly* perfect when you put your foot down, a guttural moan (listen to Chris Harris drive it around), and it goes away when you want to drive sanely. The suspension is the perfect balance between firm handling and pleasant cruising. The steering is very, very good...doesn't quite have the feel of the Mini, but it's damn good. Corner exit is intoxicatingly good, because the torque band is so wide (put your foot down in fourth, and it pulls/revs with very little lag). The brakes stop you like anti-gravity calipers.

So, so good.

But.

It's most definitely not perfect. Because the clutch is a gahdamn coat-hanger abortion of a pedal. You remember going to actual videogame arcades, where you could sit in the big Ridge Racer arcade cabinet with the seat and steering wheel and pedals? Remember the way those pedals felt? That's how the Focus ST's clutch feels. I know I could get used to it, but it's like if da Vinci sharpied a dick on the Mona Lisa. It's just not right. It feels digital. There is no "bite point" where you gradually release it. It's an on-off switch. Car reviews don't mention this, because when you're slamming through gears, it doesn't matter. But it does when you're driving at anything less than hoon-levels. Maybe all modern Fords are this way, but I can't believe no one has really mentioned this. It has no feel. None. Zilch. It's a real Achilles' heal.

But here's the other thing - it doesn't really handle any better than my Mini. Afterward, I drove the Mini on the same back road that I drove the Focus ST on, and I can safely tell you that the Mini's turn-in is better. The steering is better. Not "they're equal," nooooo. Better. Yes, the Focus can brake later (and boy are those big brakes nice), and it accelerates and pulls from a corner harder, and it sounds great. But that sound* is also somewhat faked, and the Mini lets you carry plenty of speed through the corner.

And the clutch feels properly mechanical. And the Mini's interior is just as good (if not as spacious).

The Focus ST is a very good car. The one I drove is even a pretty damn good deal. It's a GTI slayer, and it'll probably carry more cargo with the seats up. It's a lot of car. It's also got a flaw that I don't think I could overlook.
 
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