Fast, Fun and Affordable

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Fast, fun and affordable. Three words that have endless meaning in the car world. When my father decided to buy a new car a few years ago, I of course jumped all over the situation and found him all kinds of cars. He wanted something that was fast, fun, and of course affordable. Another requirement was a sunroof and manual transmission. In the end, the search came down to two vehicles- the Honda Civic Coupe SI or the Volkswagen GTI.

The decision was simple once we visited the Volkswagen dealership. It was instant love. The SI was out of the picture and my dad was now a proud new owner of a 2012 Volkswagen GTI.

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Purchased for about $27,000 the GTI came with a sunroof, 6-speed manual transmission, touch-screen radio, bluetooth connectivity, 18 inch alloy rims with low-profile tires and unique plaid seats. Under the hood sits a turbo-charged Audi engine that produces about 211hp (although its only marked at 200hp). The duel chrome tipped mufflers let off a soft growl as soon as the ignition is turned on. The GTI is offered in a 4-door but this model is the 2-door, which in my opinion has a meaner look. On the grille of the vehicle is the iconic red stripe with the GTI badge proudly displayed between the stripes. The GTI  badge is also shown on the trunk of the car. The VW logo stands out both in the front and rear of the vehicle, which I think it is perfectly placed. Look through those unique 18 inch alloy rims and your eye catches sexy red brake calipers.

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Open up the doors and the first thing you’ll notice are the plaid cloth seats. This is a feature that has been passed down from each generation of the GTI. For the people who aren’t into plaid, black leather is also available. Personally, I think the seats are beautiful and help give the car a distinct look. The bucket seats are very comfortable and very sporty looking. All the stitching is red which adds to the true sports car feel. The 6-speed manual transmission is simple black leather that leads up to a steel-colored shifter knob. The touch-screen radio is the same you get in any Audi. The steering wheel, which is flat bottomed is absolutely stunning. Black leather, and outlined in red stitching it is truly sexy. In fact, it is the same steering wheel that has been used in Lamborghini Gallardo’s. The backseat has plenty of room for passengers and also has the plaid seats. The added optional Bose stereo sounds pristine!

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Clutch down and turn the key. The GTI comes growling to life. A few revs even sound pretty nice. First gear is extremely powerful making for an almost immediate shift into second gear. The car weighs just over a ton so acceleration is excellent. Anyone in the car is thrown back against the seat has the FWD quickly gains traction and launches the car. The engine gets louder and louder making for a pretty good exhaust note. The driver can conquer all 6-speeds pretty quickly.

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On winding roads the GTI really shines. With sport tuned suspension the vehicle easily handles turns at speeds of 40mph+ and remains completely flat. The low profile tires are glued to the asphalt and anyone inside the car is not roughly tossed around. The cornering in this vehicle feels as if you were driving in a Porsche. No turn is too hard to handle for the GTI. My dad often loves to take out the car on winding roads and put the suspension to the test- and it never fails.

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On an open road in upstate New York, my dad and I decided to open up the GTI. Starting in 6th gear at about 65mph we floored it. With absolutely no turbo-lag the car rocketed forward and seamlessly reached about 115mph before we braked. The speedometer goes up to 180mph which is pretty impressive. The digital speedometer kept skipping numbers as the car reached higher speeds. The vehicle handled with such ease and if this had been an open-track, the GTI would have easily topped the 115mph mark. This car is completely stock, but there are many offered upgrades, some which give the vehicle 500+ horsepower!

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Today the GTI has about 10,000 miles on it. It has been driven from Long Island to Tennessee with great ease. It has handled the snow of New York, and even a crazy ice storm in Arkansas. The vehicle is reliable and has never had an issues and VW offers great maintenance deals. The GTI is the perfect car for someone looking to add some fun to their daily driver. With a price tag starting at just $25,000 the GTI is extremely affordable for all power and superb handling it gives. Credited car magazines such as MotorTrend have said that the GTI is much better value than the more expensive R version. I would highly recommend the GTI to anyone. It has quickly become one of my favorite cars to drive and be a passenger in.IMG_3700

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A Thrilling Drive In An Audi R8

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As an exotic car enthusiast who doesn’t own any exotic vehicles, it leaves me with a lot of hopeful dreams for the future. Last year, while on a vacation in Mexico I had an opportunity to get behind the wheel of the exclusive Audi R8. Here in the USA these high-performance vehicles rarely get the chance to have someone really put the pedal down and show off their power. Luckily, I was behind the wheel on a closed track and was able to reach speeds up to 100mph. It was a bit challenging to go over 100mph due to the lay-out of the course, which featured a very small straight away and a few different turns.

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In 1997 Audi purchased the all ready highly regarded exotic car producer Lamborghini. Since then, Audi has put some of its excellent engineering into Lamborghini streetcars. In 2007, Lamborghini returned the favor and put some their engineering into the car that would now be known as the Audi R8. To date, more than 50,000 units have rolled off the production line as the vehicle continues to be a high selling, powerful exotic.

Today a 2014 Audi R8 will set a buyer back anywhere between $124,000-$173,000 (depending what on trim levels). The model I had the privilege of driving was the Audi R8 Base Coupe, which costs $124,000. The vehicle has a 4.2L V8 engine that muscles out 430hp. The car will rocket to 60mph in just 4.3 seconds. As the price increases, the more power becomes available such as the 5.2L V10 that boasts 550hp.

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Besides the sleek exterior, the interior is truly exquisite. The seats were a beautiful red leather and surprising very comfortable for an exotic. The dashboard was clean, well-lit and certainly made the driver know they were in an exclusive vehicle.  Visibility out the front windshield and two side windows was great and would definitely make for easy road driving. I did not have the opportunity to check out how the view out the back, as I did not need to reverse the car for any reason. The steering wheel was light and very easy to maneuver which allows the driver to make those quick turns. The vehicle was an automatic, but did have the option to use paddle shifters (I did not).

Starting up the car was truly music to my ears. The V8 had an extraordinary rumble that not only gets the drivers adrenaline pumping but would certainly let on-lookers know that this baby can go. With my seatbelt fastened and my silly racing helmet on I tapped the gas. Wow. The AWD instantly lurched the car forward. Having to watch out for my friend driving the Ferrari 360 Modena I nervously tapped the breaks and came to instant halt.

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With the go ahead, I put the pedal to the floor and launched onto the track. The V8 screamed as the car accelerated heading into the first ‘S’ curve. With no issue at all the car flew out of the curve and continued to annihilate the open pavement ahead. Through the tighter turns the R8 remained perfectly flat and never gave any sign of over or understeer. It seemed like the tires would never stop hugging the road on every turn.

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Soon enough, my three laps of heaven was over and I was told to slow down and pull over. The R8 handled like a true super-car should. The V8 let out beautiful music but was never too loud that it would be an annoyance to the driver or passenger (I could never get annoyed at that). What Audi had done was put forward their very best in engineering and Lamborghini provided the heart of the beast (the engine). It was an experience of a life time in a car that many only dream of sitting in. When the time comes to buy my first exotic, the R8 would be very high up on my list. It was a great car, with out of this world performance!

Enjoy the video below of my thrilling drive!

Be sure to follow carzach on Twitter @CarZachdotCom! As always, feel free to share your thoughts and opinions! Stay tuned   as some big features are to come such as a peek at the Ferrari 458 Speciale and a 500hp Dodge Challenger!

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T-Rex: A Different Kind of Monster!

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A new kind of monster is tearing up the streets all over the world. It hails from Quebec, Canada but offers almost nothing to shield the driver and passenger from the cold. The car is a T-Rex from the company Compagna.

Compagna started in 1988 with a few people and a big vision. in 1995 the first ever street-legal T-Rex was unleashed into the wild. The monster has one of the most unique designs ever- three wheels, two seats and no doors. The model pictured above is a T-Rex 14R. The 16S is the the newest and most up-to-date model offered by the Canadian company.

Notice the small windshield and wide front stance.

Notice the small windshield and wide front stance.

Starting at $57,999 it is one expensive, unique and fast vehicle. In fact, T-Rex is considered to be a motorcycle. Therefore, drivers must have motorcycle license to drive it. Compagna offers eight different color options and they ship each vehicle to the customer.

T-Rex sits just four inches off the ground, making driving not only a thrilling experience but also a bit scary. The vehicle is only 48 inches tall, so no I would certainly not recommend it to tall people. T-Rex features a 6-speed sequential manual transmission that is controlled by hand, like a motorcycle. The  engine comes from BMW and packs 160HP. Now that may not seem like a lot (my Volvo has more) but for a car that weighs just 1,040lbs it is insanely fast and will reach 60mph in just 4 seconds. A driver will max out at 120mph, which being so close to the ground is pretty damn scary.

Cargo carriers on the side.

Cargo carriers on the side.

T-Rex seats two and has a few different areas where cargo can be stored. The windshield is low and only offers partial protection to the driver and passenger. Meanwhile, there are no other windows, and the side of the vehicle is completely open.To fight theft, the steering wheel is completely removable. Compagna also offers a touch screen navigation system and an incredible sound system.

No steering wheel, touch screen navigation and of course towels over the seats to protect it from the rain.

No steering wheel, touch screen navigation and of course towels over the seats to protect it from the rain.

Many would recognize this unique vehicle from MTV’s hit TV show Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory, where he often plays around in his own white T-Rex. Personally, I have seen a few on the roads of Long Island, even on the highway. Compagna does take safety seriously and T-Rex is equipped with a roll cage, specialized crash zones and of course seat belts.

In my opinion, if I had some extra cash sitting around to spend on a fun toy I would certainly buy one. I have never been a big motorcycle fan, but this is a one-of-a-kind beautiful machine that keeps pace with super-cars. I don’t think I would be all that excited to take this puppy out on the highway, but it certainly would be amazing to tear up some streets and open parking lots. The vehicle has gotten nothing but rave reviews from owners and even the guys on Top Gear BBC. The car is said to handle amazingly but the riders should be prepared for intense G-force around corners.

T-Rex is one of the most distinct vehicles on the market right now. Many people who see them, probably don’t know what it is they’re looking at. It’s far from your average car, motorcycle and even go-kart. Keep your eyes peeled for this monster shredding the roads in the nice weather!

One fat rear-wheel!

One fat rear-wheel!

Would you pay $60,000 for this toy? Would you even want to get into one? Let me know what you think! Be sure to follow Carzach on Twitter @CarZachdotCom