Category Archives: Car Musings

Deal Breakers

What you see below is the 2007 Acura TL Type S.  I will in no way deny that it is an attractive car.  It is also fairly quick, coming from the factory with a 3.5L V6 cranking out two hundred and eighty six horsepower through a five speed automatic or a six speed manual transmission.  While I don’t think it sounds as good as my VQ, it has a nice, adult tone that can be controlled with your right foot and a bit of maturity.  It’s a tone that has that classic Honda induction sound reminiscent of the NSX.  Acura’s angled design language creates a menacing look without being over the top like a WS.6 Trans Am, but stays away from the beige jellybean shape of other offerings from the Land of the Rising sun.  Like most Acuras, it is loaded with all the good technology bits.  It rides on what are, in my opinion, some of the best looking stock wheels you can get, and from the factory they are wrapped in Bridgestone Potenzas.  All in all, the TL Type S is a very capable vehicle, strong and reliable in an attractive wrapping.  And I wouldn’t spend a single penny on one.

If you drive it backwards all the time...

That is properly quick.

I have always said the N54 powered 335is have had an insane amount of potential and once someone figured out the fueling issues and created a proper single turbo set up that would work, the 335i would be ready for serious power.  The one thing that has been holding the 335i back was a twin turbo set up that was horribly inefficient above the 400whp range, and a direct injection set up that might limit fueling needs for high horsepower applications.

In the race between Vishnu Tuning (of Evo building fame) and Horsepowerfreeks (who made their name in cranking out M3s with over a thousand horsepower), Vishnu came in first.  It isn’t really a surprise, as they have been in the 335i game since day one.  While pricey, their Procede ECU is one of the best to use for tuning on the 335i with full meth integration.  It is such a system that even HPF has mentioned they’ll be using it for their single turbo 335 application.  After a long wait and many days of e90post members biting their nails, the numbers are in.  The Vishnu single turbo 335i puts down near as makes no difference 630 wheel horsepower (the proper number is 627, but I round up because I like even numbers).  Torque is at 477 ft lbs.  This is all done on pump gas + meth (my only dislike), so a race gas or E85 Map would be interesting to see.  According to Shiv, the turbo on this map still has about another hundred horsepower in it.

Oh, did I also mention this was on the N54B30s stock bottom end?  Well now I did.  Check out more of it here at E90Post, but make sure you watch the vids first!

*That all being said…I’d still rather the E46 M3.

New age muscle?

The pony cars, in years past, have  all been American. The “Muscle Car” segment has always been America’s jam and high revving, small engine cars has always been what the Asian auto companies did well. For years and years the muscle car segment has gone unchallenged by anyone. Truth be told, it’s a great segment to be in because it’s very profitable and they do sell quite well.

So let’s do a quick test here. I’m thinking of a car that has two doors, a manual transmission, rear wheel drive, and 350hp. What would you guess I’m thinking of?

Engine at the front....power out the back

Heart and Soul

She don't look like much kid, but she's got it where it counts

There she is.  My orient metallic blue over sand E46 325i.  I loved that car.  There really wasn’t anything all that special about it.  It was a stripped down budget special: no sports package or premium package or cold weather package and no nav.  Didn’t even have Xenons.  It did have a sliding glass moonroof and the Harmon Kardon sound package, but really nothing very fancy at all.  By the time I got rid of her, she had the basics: a cold air intake, Shark Injector tune, and Dinan roll bars.  At one point she had some eBay headers that I got rid of because I didn’t know anyone who could get her to pass emissions for me, and every now and then I got stupid and used a hook up to help pretend I was a race car driver and run Pilot Sports, and I also had two Decepticon stickers under each side mirror.  Like I said, really it wasn’t anything special.  The two cars I’ve owned since her have been faster, probably handled better, with a cheaper aftermarket and were easier to work on.  I would give up the Z in a heartbeat to get that car back.  I have fully donned my flame suit, and I am prepared to say it: that car had soul.

What the hell happened to Character?

I make a good deal of noise regarding the Toynadissan Camcordima.  For those not getting the joke, I simply feel that at this point in time, pretty much everything that comes out of the Asian Big 3 is the same.  Once you remove the sports cars and the SUVs from the line up, there really isn’t a point in choosing a Camry over an Accord, or an Accord over an Altima, or the Altima over the aforementioned Camry.  None of them are bad cars, not at all.  However, all three are pretty boring.  Sure, there isn’t really anything wrong with a fuel sipping reliable boring car for day to day work.  There isn’t anything right about it either.  To be fair, the Japanese aren’t alone.  I’m sure we’ve all been stuck behind a zombie driving a Chryfordvy Taurpala 300.  The sad thing is that it wasn’t always this bad.

This used to be considered a DD. Very few cars will ever be as cool as this...

Defining the Indefinable

So I changed my mind.  Today at work, I was approached by a coworker who is in the market for a new vehicle, and knowing my proclivity for cars, asked which of his choices I thought to be better.  Of course, I had my opinion on his two choices, but truthfully I stood there at a loss.  Instantly, I thought back to Steve’s article earlier this week and found myself trying to honestly answer the question of what better actually means.  In theory, Steve was right: there are no ties in comparisons; one must be greater than the rest.  Yet that begs the question of how to honestly derive which vehicle in a given comparison is better?  What does better mean?  How do we define which is greater than the other in any given comparison.  What I am about to do is show you that any easy answer you come up with is wrong.

Can Automotive Enthusiasts be United Enthusiasts?

I’m gonna pick on one of our readers here.  See, she never got my dad’s old lesson of never say something on the internet that you don’t want used against you.  In a conversation about selling her vehicle (a Mazda RX8) for whatever reason, she said something generally along the lines of “If I wanted to hang out with douchebags, I’d buy a BMW.”  Now, that Facebook thread has been deleted, but I saw it, and I started thinking.  I was going to write something for today about how people view certain brands and why some automotive brands are simply aspirational.  But the more I thought about it, the more I felt I needed to write something else.

Not pictured: A BMW driver. Pictured: Awwwww, little man is stuck in the mud.

Car Porn: So good it was banned edition

Mazda has a history deeply entrenched in auto racing and as many of you know they have always been fond of the rotary engine. Although I’ve never actually owned a Mazda it’s no secret that I’ve had a crush on the rotary engine since I was  about twelve. The rotary engine was spawned out of a brilliant stroke of innovation. I shan’t go into detail (I’ll save that for another post) but I will share with you the greatest rotary car ever built.

Musings on Mentality – Wood Trim

Why does everyone instantly associate wood trim with luxury?  I don’t get it.  Half the cars I’m looking at getting, even the sporty ones, have wood trim.  Its as if people are convinced that by adding heavily laqured tacky looking plastic that is painted to look like wood makes a car worth more.  Seriously, I’m at the point that I think that the Europeans and Japanese are convinced that Americans think that in order for a car to be a luxury or luxury sport car, the interior must be trimmed like a 1978 Jaguar sedan.  Forget that.  Give me brushed aluminum, carbon fiber, carbon fiber look leather, or titanium.  Body color molding would work just as well.  Lets just put an end to the nonsense that is wood trim.

Deal of the Week – Get There Before I Do Edition

I promised myself when I started this little adventure of a blog, I would do my best not to make it a BMW love fest.  The Boys in Bavaria are my favorite brand, and I could wax poetic about why for days on end.  I’m trying, I promise.  Now, back to the Deal of the Week.  The E46 M3 was released to the US market in 2002, powered by a high revving 3.2L naturally aspirated I6 pushing out 333 horsepower, which oft translates to around 285 at the wheels.  An amazingly nimble car, it was one of the best driving cars one could buy, and was equipped with either an old school six speed manual or the SMGII, an automated cog swapper that removed the clutch pedal, but was most definitely not your father’s autotragic.  The E46 M3 was quite possibly the most popular of the brand, even eclipsing the current V8 model in desirableness, and included a rare CSL model that added more horsepower on top of the Euro model’s 345 ponies and reduced weight significantly.  Fortunately, BMWs are known for having rolling values.  The cost of even used E46s peaked just before the release of the V8, and have plummeted since.  A good researcher can find an excellent condition model with a little work.

This is one of those excellent examples.  Autobahn BMW of Fort Worth is currently offering a Titanium Silver (TiAg to all you Bimmerphiles) over black 2002 M3.  It has 84k miles on the clock, and at paycheck or so over $19,000, it sits right at KBB value.  Equipped with the premium sound package and the SMGII sequential manual gearbox, she is equipped as most ’02 M3s were.  That wouldn’t necessarily qualify her for DOTW.  What does qualify her is the extensive service records.  See, as German cars age, they hearken back to their old days of blitzing and storming, ignoring their advanced years, and demand to thrash about.  This means most German sports coupes out of warranty tend to be pricey, and lack of background is a scary thing.  Not only does this M come with a very extensive and clean car fax that notes dealer care its entire life, Autobahn also has all the service records.  There are three things you need to look at: VANOS, the SMG pump, and the subframe.  Ask to see the papers on all three, take the silver arrow for a spin so you know what your missing, and offer them $19,500 out the door.  Oh, and hope that you get there before I do.

Click here to be taken to Autobahn BMW’s website and see more of this beautiful M3.

The M3 is the best, and that's that - Clarkson