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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Motivation Monday: Double R

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It’s Monday and I bet most of us wish we were driving around in this beautiful Rolls Royce Phantom Droptop! The days are slowly starting to warmup and soon I bet this Rolls will drop its top! The logo in the middle of the rims are actually stationary and do not spin with tire! This opulent vehicle can set you back $500,000 very easily, but to roll around this kind of luxury I’m sure it’s worth it.

Stay tuned to carzach for a new article this week on an affordable, German hatchback! Follow carzach on Twitter @CarZachdotCom, on Instagram and Pinterest at carzachdotcom! Get notified every time we post by clicking the ‘follow’ button on the top left of the page, or sign up by email on the side bar!

Exotic Car Sales Rev Up

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It may be shocking to hear, but yes it is true! Exotic car sales are revving up. The economy may be struggling to fire on all cylinders but it seems as though the “1%” are doing just fine. It’s not just the United States that is seeing this market grow. According to CNN.com, the global sales of exotic vehicles are on the rise (Valdes-Dapena, 2014). Partly, these heightened sales are due to the fact that China’s wealthy are just now getting much easier access to these beautiful machines.

With 2013 over and done with, Lamborghini says that they sold a whopping 2,121 vehicles globally last year. According to CNN, this is the third straight year Lamborghini has had a sales increase! The Italian company currently sells only two different vehicles, one – the 700hp, $400,000, Aventador and the other, a more modest 562hp, $225,000, Lamborghini Gallardo. CEO, Stephan Winkelmann mentions that the United States continues to be the number one buyer of these high-priced cars (Valdes-Dapena, 2014). Personally, I would not be shocked to see the sale numbers increase yet again at the end of 2014 due to the release of the replacement Gallardo and a rumored SUV is in the making!

Need an exotic vehicle that can carry more then two people? And do it in opulent style? Well it seems the wealthy are in need of that. Rolls Royce, the fancy and sophisticated sister of BMW is also recording high sales. The very highly regarded brand sold 3,630 voluptuous vehicles this past year (Valdes-Dapena, 2014). This marks the fourth year in a row that the company recorded record sales numbers. Look for the new two-door Wraith, which seems to be the hottest car on the market for the wealthy who want to arrive in style.

The other luxury company to roll out of England is Bentley. They too recorded sales of more than 10,000 cars last year alone. Wolfgang Schreiber, the CEO of the company says that most sales come from China and that he expects them to continue to drive up sales in the coming years.

Yet again, it’s another company from England that is setting records. Aston Martin, has seemed to capture a huge audience of James Bond wannabe’s. The company sold 4,200 cars in 2013 (Valdes-Dapena, 2014). The British super car maker hasn’t seen numbers like that in nearly six years! 

Heading back to Italy, Maserati sold 15,400 cars last year (Valdes-Dapena, 2014). Compared to every other exotic company listed here, Maserati offers the most “affordable” cars. The company even lessened its exclusivity and has released the Ghibli which will set back the buyer at least $66,000. This is the new entry-level vehicle and is meant to rival BMW and Mercedes. If you don’t want to be driving around in car that’s less than $100,000 please don’t worry as you can still buy an MC Stradale for $155,000!

If you’re curious as to why Ferrari didn’t make the list it’s because they’re actually cutting down on production. No, they’re not short on money. They just think that even if you have a few hundred thousand dollars to drop on a car, you should still have to search hard to buy a Ferrari.

With an inconstant global economy right now, who knows whether or not exotic car sales will continue to rev up in the coming years. I  certainly would not predict that any of these companies will mass produce their vehicles. They will always hold their place in society as rare, exclusive, and of course exotic!

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Reference:

Valdes-Padena, P. Exotic Car Sales Surge to Record High-Except Ferrari. CNN.com