Opinion: The McLaren 720s signals a new era in Supercars

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It’s no secret- Mclaren has quickly climbed the ranks putting out some of the best road going supercars. After producing the legendary McLaren F1  (in my opinion, the greatest car ever made) throughout the 1990’s, McLaren was absent from the street-legal supercar market. Manufacturers such as Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti and many others seemed to be the go-to brands for the super wealthy who wanted to go super fast in extraordinary style.

In 2011, McLaren made a reappearance when the MP4-12C hit the market. The sleek looking supercar had a 3.8L twin-turbo V8 pumping out about 590horsepower. McLaren had quickly captured the attention of car enthusiasts who were still in love with the brand due to the F1’s legacy. Then, in 2013 came McLaren’s biggest push into the street-legal supercar market with the release of the million-dollar P1. Exquisite styling, monstrous power and state-of-the-art technology put the P1 and McLaren at the top of the supercar world competing directly with hyper-cars from Porsche and Ferrari.

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McLaren MP4-12C

Fast forward to the present day and McLaren has a very impressive lineup. The 12C is no more but McLaren now has the the 650s, 675LT, and the 570s (540s outside the U.S.). McLaren and the P1 were still dominating the game but the supercar industry had rapidly changed from decades before. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and other manufacturers were putting out cars at an astronomical rate. No longer would a model be offered for 10+ years but instead cars would last about 4-5 years before getting rebranded and refreshed into something faster and better looking than the previous generation. This is where the all new 2018 McLaren 720s comes into play.

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McLaren 720s

The unique styling caught the world by storm. Some, weary of the new look and others in  love (the car looks much better in person than in photos). Put styling aside for a minute though and focus on performance. The 4.0L twin-turbo V8 makes an impressive 710horsepower (almost 50hp more than Ferrari’s 488GTB). The 720s will propel to 0-60mph in a blistering fast 2.8 seconds and will max out at 212mph. All for a very reasonable $288,000 USD.

There is one issue though- these are the performance numbers on paper. Ask anyone who has driven the 720s (or has put the car on the Dyno) and they will tell you that there is no way McLaren is being ‘honest’ with the performance numbers- but not in a bad way. Almost every reviewer of the supercar says the 720s is faster than the 900hp P1. Keep in mind, the P1 was made to be McLaren’s fastest, most extreme car in their offered lineup and today fetches a price tag well over $1,000,000 USD.

The P1, with a top speed of 217mph, was apart of what car enthusiasts called the ‘Hyper 3’ which included the Ferrari LaFerrari and the Porsche 918 Spyder. All three cars had both gasoline and battery powered engines that were obliterating any other supercar on the street (with few exceptions), which is why we refer to them as ‘hyper-cars’. So how could McLaren put out a car that costs nearly $800,000 less and go faster than a P1? The answer is simple- technology. Although the 720s is only 5 years newer than the P1, supercar technology is rapidly improving. From more carbon fiber and better aero among many things, the technology in late 2017, early 2018 has allowed McLaren to surpass the P1. So why isn’t McLaren being honest about the performance? Well, how would you feel if you spent well over $1,000,000 on a P1 just to have a $288,000 car be faster? Understandably so, McLaren does not want to piss off it’s most loyal, highest spending customers so for now, the McLaren P1 remains ‘faster’ than the 720s.

What all of this means for the future of supercars is that the once thought to be impassible performance numbers on the Hyper 3 is already becoming outdated technology. If McLaren can put out a car like the 720s, we know others like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche are soon to follow. They Hyper 3 had a short, yet successful run of being the worlds most extreme hyper-cars, but the tide is changing and a new era of extreme performance and better technology will soon be taking over.

Take a look at the gallery below for additional pictures of the 720s, LaFerrari, P1 and other McLaren models.

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Why the Porsche 986 Boxster is the Perfect Entry-Level Sports Car

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In 2003, a black Porsche 986 Boxster rolled off the assembly line and hit the streets. Eleven years and 64,000 miles later, this Porsche became mine. The tiny entry-level two-seater sports car has a long lineage of being one of Porsche’s most popular models- and for good reason. Unlike other models such as the 911, Cayenne and Panamera, the Boxster is not only easier to maintain but is also cheaper. The Boxster is a great starter car for those looking to enter not only the Porsche market but also the exotic car world and here’s why:

It’s cheap. A 2003 Boxster can easily be had for under $10,000. When you consider what the Porsche brand is and the prestige it represents, the entry cost is far less than rival brands like Maserati, Lamborghini and Ferrari. For example, to get into a Lamborghini, you’re looking at a price of at least $80,000- and that would be considered an amazing deal. An entry to the Ferrari brand could occasionally be done for around $30,000 for a model a few decades old. Entry to Maserati can come at a reasonable price range of $17,000-$20,000.

The next factor relates back to the price, and that is the maintenance. Like the low price, the Boxster has a relatively low maintenance cost. An oil change can be accomplished for about $120, new brakes for around $700 and a new clutch for $3,000. Those prices are more than your average car but the Boxster and the Porsche brand are far from average. The 986 Boxster is also a very reliable car and needs far less regular maintenance than other entry-level cars from rival companies.

The last reason why this Porsche is the perfect entry–level sports car is the Stuttgart, Germany crafted engine. The 986 Boxster and Boxster S are certainly no competitors of high performance sports cars with the latter of the two boasting the more powerful 3.2L Flat 6 making 258hp. The 986 without the ‘S’ package (the model I currently drive) have the smaller 2.7L Flat 6 producing 227hp. These may not be staggering numbers but the soft rumble of the German Flat 6 and the gear changes of the 5 speed manual (or PDK Automatic) transmission will bring joy to any car enthusiast. While the car may be underpowered, the handling is pure Porsche perfection and will not disappoint.

The Porsche Boxster has been a coveted car in the Porsche brand since it’s introduction in the late 1990’s. For under $10,000 you can get behind the wheel of car built by the same company that gave the world some of the best cars ever produced in the Carrera GT, 918 Spyder and GT3 RS. If you’re looking to enter into the Porsche brand or the exotic car world, the Porsche 986 Boxster and Boxster S are great considerations.

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For more pictures of my 2003 Porsche 986 Boxster click HERE.

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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 Red Horse Ready to Pounce!

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IMG_0579Lets roll back to 1999 when the super car company Ferrari stopped production of the beloved 355 and brought to life the 360 Modena. The Modena went on to have a very successful  5 year model run with a production line of about 17,500 units! Ferrari made 3 different models of the 360- the 360 Modena, the Spider and the Challenge Stradale.

The 360 Modena and the 360 Modena Spider were identical except that the Spider was missing its roof. The Challenge Stradale was the most extreme model. This special edition model   was 242 pounds lighter with a bonus 25 horsepower making a total of 425hp, compared to the regular 400hp in the Modena. In the rear of the car lay a 3.6 liter V8 engine which gave off a pitch perfect exhaust note every time.

The super car was named in honor of Modena, Italy– the hometown of the late Mr. Enzo Ferrari. The number 360 represents the supercar’s 3.6 liter engine. The prancing horse is able to launch to 60 mph in just over 4 seconds, making it very difficult for others to catch up.

Unlike most exotics at the time, the 360’s interior was just as striking as the outside. The car’s plush leather seats made long distance rides more enjoyable. The Stradale was completely stripped down of everything except the AC, making this model better off for quick runs. If you’re looking for a car with good rear window visibility then you may want to research another car. All Modena models have a very limited view of what they leave behind in the dust. One of the most notable features on the horse was the F1-like paddle shifters that swiftly change gears in just milliseconds. And of course a manual 6 speed transmission was still available for the old school.

The whole fleet of Ferrari’s had a top speed of around 180mph (the Challenge went 189mph), which for the late 90’s was groundbreaking. At the time, one could become an exclusive Ferrari owner if they dropped around $155,000 on this high-end vehicle. If you just so happened to have an extra $34,000 lying around, then you could obtain the Challenge Stradale. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to spend a lot of time at the pump, this car, or any Ferrari for that matter, is not for you… the car gets just 11mpg city and 16mpg highway. Yes, I know that’s enough to drive any Prius driver crazy!

Yes, this is me (below) driving a 360 Modena around the track at speeds over 100mph! Turn up your volume and listen to the music at the bottom of the page!

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