Automotive Anti-Theft System

If you are on a budget because you have already spent all your dough on your dream car, you can save a few bucks with this new security system.  I personally recommend this system for all cars 1996 and newer as the system fully integrates with the On-Board Diagnostics II computer system. The OBD II system has been included on all U.S. vehicles 1996 and after.  Thanks to Ric H. for submitting this picture to us.

Anti-Theft System

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Posted in Auto News

No More BMW X6


Chances are that if you have seen the new BMW X6, you already have an opinion about its swooping lines and “coupe” like prowess. BMW refers to the X6 as a Sports Activity Coupe but I must disagree with automakers of late referring to 4 door cars or SUV’s as coupes. Regardless of my core beliefs of what a coupe is, the popularity of the X6 has been solidified by one fact that reported on this week…there are none left to buy in 2008. You would have had to be high on the preorder list with your dealer to get a shot at one since the whole 2008 supply is nearly exhausted.

Honestly this does not surprise me with the popularity of the Infiniti FX that debuted in 2003. Infiniti single-handily blazed the trail for this segment when they threw out some of the utility and infused heaps of sport into their creation. After 5 years of the BMW X5 competing with the Infiniti FX, BMW has finally realized this segment can make some money and will now target it with the X6, a vehicle boasting similar pedigree. Bad news for BMW is the Infiniti FX starts over $12,000 less.

What does this mean to you? If you have the $40,000 – $52,000 to slide into a base model of one of these beasts, it may now be tougher to choose with more blood in the water.

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Posted in BMW

What a difference an “F” makes, the Lexus IS-F

Lexus IS-FLexus is not normally put on the same plateau as fast powerful sports sedans such as the BMW M3, Mercedes C55 AMG, or Audi S4. Nevertheless, their new offering, the IS-F, should bring this company to a whole new level.

The current Lexus IS 250 and 350 are definitely nice cars; they’re easy on the eyes, have two decent engine choices and great reliability. The 250 is even reasonable on gas, but who gets excited about that? Not me. It seems the engineers down at Lexus were getting a little bored with it too. As a result, they have done the same thing car makers have been doing for years…take a popular small car and cram a huge engine, beefed up suspension and tranny in it. Add the ubiquitous extra letter, “F”, and you’ve got yourself a truly exciting car.

It seems Lexus has aimed this new beast directly at some of the most recognizable names in this ever popular market, the aforementioned Bimmer, Audi, and Mercedes. Offering 416 HP and 371 lb-ft of torque from a 5.0L V-8, this car comes equipped with astronomical power and some cool technology to keep it all firmly planted on the road.

First up is the transmission. The IS-F will not have a manual gearbox. Instead it comes with the world’s first 8 speed (that’s right 8 speed!) automatic with paddle shifters and manual mode. Lexus claims that if put in manual mode the car will shift in 100 milliseconds; I’ll bet that’s a little faster than you or I could shift a regular manual. For perspective, that’s roughly equivalent to the Ferrari F430. Lexus’ traction control “VDIM” promises to keep you out of trouble. In sport mode it will allow you to have plenty of fun without letting things get Eddie Griffin crazy. Although I don’t foresee many runs to the ski slopes in a car like this, it does comes with normal and snow mode. With the suspension promising an adequate amount of firmness to keep track day interesting, it seems a lot of input came from Toyota’s racing departments while this car was in development. It definitely shows!

Aside from all of the performance, this car is gorgeous. Check out the official Lexus website for pics and videos. Subtle changes from the base IS, including its $56k base price, definitely makes it stand out and should put it right in line with its German counterparts.

For a brand who’s average buyer is 55+, it will be interesting to see how a tire-shredding, back-end sliding, road-eating monster like this will sell. I for one think you get the best of both worlds. With bulletproof reliability and world class fit and finish on one hand then fire breathing, muscle car performance on the other, a surefire win-win is my forecast.

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Infiniti FX for ’09, a Whole New Cheetah

I have had a thing for Infiniti for a few years now including the original Infiniti FX all the way back to 2003. Now the 2009 model is in play and is all new both interior and exterior. I will admit the new exterior is an acquired taste – which I acquired like the original FX – but the interior is a beautiful masterpiece of simple but tech savvy style.

2009 Infiniti FXWhile I have not had the opportunity to drive the new ’09, Popular Mechanics took it for a spin through the the Hollywood Hills. Naturally they opted for the FX50 with its new 5.0 liter V8 with 390 hp and 369 lb.ft. of torque. The V6 in the FX35 is a respectable 303 hp, 3.5 liter toy; nothing to cry about (especially if you are already crying about your gas bill in your Honda Civic). All models come equipped with a new, standard 7-speed automatic transmission that is reported to be smooth even at low speeds. I will reserve my judgement until the day I demo.

As usual, Infiniti packs the new FX with enough tech to keep any electronics fanatic happy for years! The spec sheet includes options such as Intelligent Cruise and Distance Control, Around View Camera System, 11 speaker Bose audio system and an adaptive front lighting system.

To see the original review from Popular Mechanics, just click here.

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Nissan Rogue Test Drive, In a Class by Itself…or not?

2008 Nissan RogueFirst look at the 2008 Nissan Rogue leaves me wanting for 1 thing, a chrome grill. On every model of the Rogue the grill matches the body colors. Maybe they chose this to be different from the new 2009 Nissan Murano; whatever the reason, it’s just lacking. However, the market that this crossover settles in is highly competitive with neighbors like Toyota’s Rav4 and Honda’s CR-V. 

Nissan has taken a few pages from its more upscale child, Infiniti. Granted you have to opt into a package or two for some of the “high end” options like HID (High Intensity Discharge) headlights, bluetooth phone connectivity with a very long list of compatible cell phones, intelligent key system, paddle shifters, Bose stereo and leather seating. Now if you do not opt for any options you can slide into a front wheel drive model for only $19,250 and only $1,320 extra for All Wheel Drive. 

The interior of the Rogue is oddly upscale for a $20,000 crossover. It is competently pieced together with everything working in harmony. Lets face it, it is not playing in the same sandbox as it’s $35,000 Infiniti EX cousin but it’s good for its class. The gauge cluster is a handsome blue and red combo with a center LCD info display. The LCD display in the dash does have a tendency to wash out on a sunny day with sunglasses on. The eight speaker Bose system is decent with good base response from its subwoofer and it eats MP3 and WMA disks also.

Dropping the rear seats down reveals an abundant storage area enough for a mountain bike and all the accompanying camping gear and coolers. Honorable mention is the cavernous glove box up front; I didn’t have one to experiment with but I think a small laptop could be stored inside! The front seat also has a fold flat feature to transport all those long items that you might have otherwise needed to borrow your friends truck.

All that said, this is not a sport crossover as much as Nissan markets it that way form a style standpoint. Granted it has sport paddle shifters on the up level model but it is mated to a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). This type of transmission has no “gears” and is one smooth ride. It is belt driven and constantly changes to match the engines needs at every speed. I did find on my demo drive that it felt a bit numb and obviously not sporty feeling like a standard or even a conventional automatic. Nissan has been successful with this transmission for years now and they are about the only automaker that has tackled the CVT for mass production.

The AWD is not a simple stripped down system. It is an intelligent system and will adapt to the changing road conditions of the US. To save gas, the Rogue is primarily front wheel drive but every time it accelerates from a stop, the AWD system transfers 50% of the power to both the front and rear wheels. This helps on nearly every road surface and eliminates wheel slip when racing off the line.  It also has a AWD Lock feature that can be used for short times. This is not going to let you rock crawl on the Rubicon Trail but it will help in those sketchy winter situations.

Bottom line: if you are looking into a compact car or even a small waggon, check this out.  The reliability should be good as has been historically true with Nissan’s that are built in Japan as the Rogue is. Fortunately they did not choose Mexico, like some of their cars, where the reliability often suffers.

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Posted in Nissan

Car Manufacturers in Love [Updated]

I have had so many questions in the past about who runs who. No, I’m not talking about men and women but about car manufacturers. For as long as I can remember, it has always been a tough job to figure out who is bankrolling the “other guy”. There are some long time obvious ones like Toyota owning Lexus, Honda owning Acura, and Ford owning Lincoln. Good news is and have clarified the whole picture and helped us out with even the most obscure! Below is a preview of the map of how all the auto manufacturers are tied to each other. If you would like to view the full high res copy, click the map below. Don’t forget to subscribe to us and keep up to date on through email or your favorite RSS reader.

*Update 10/23/2013*

Here is an update to some of the car manufacturers relationships. Thanks to Consumer Reports for this.


BMW owns: Mini and Rolls Royce.

Fiat owns: Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Ferrari, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Ram and SRT.

Ford Motor Company owns: Lincoln and a small stake in Mazda.

General Motors owns:
 Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC. GM owns a controlling interest in Opel and Vauxhall in Europe and Holden in Australia. (The U.S. Treasury Department is in the process of selling off the remaining GM stock holidngs.)

Honda owns:

Hyundai owns: Kia.

Tata Motors (India) owns:
 Jaguar and Land Rover.

Mazda mostly independently owned (Ford has small stake)

Mitsubishi is independently owned.

Daimler AG owns: Mercedes-Benz and Smart.

Nissan owns: Infiniti. (Nissan, in turn, is owned by Renault.)

Saab is owned by National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS).

Subaru: Owned by Fuji Heavy Industries with Toyota a minority partner.

Tesla: Toyota is a minority partner. Partnership with Daimler AG.

Toyota Motor Company owns: Lexus, Scion, Daihatsu and Hino Motors, with a stake in Fuji Industries (Subaru’s parent company) and Isuzu.

Volkswagen owns: 
Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, and overseas-brands SEAT and Skoda.

Volvo is owned by Chinese-automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, aka Geely.


Car Manufactures

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Confessions for a Porsche

I confess, it has been a while since I have had a serious case of car lust. This morning innocently surfing the web, I fell in love. I was on the Porsche website ( I was simply perusing their models, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Like David Ortiz hitting the game winning run or the first time you heard a Ferrari at 6500 RPM. The Porsche 911 GT2!! 

Porsche 911 GT2


If these pictures are not enough, then you need to watch this video.

But for those of you that refuse to bow before the 911 here are the high points:

  • 6 cylinders
  • 3.6 liters
  • 530 hp
  • 505 lb/-ft. of torque
  • 204 mph

This car is absolutely amazing! I have not had a car steal my attention like this in a long time! This is my ultimate dream car…at least until the next one!

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Posted in Porsche