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When the Rubber meets the Road

When looking for a new car, we tend to concentrate on things like the interior and exterior color, and the engine that sits under the hood. We also dwell on things such as how many miles it has or condition of the tires. Things that sometimes slip by are when the last oil change was performed or if it recently passed emissions.

Now when you add in questions such as “has it been wrecked?”, “is the windshield the original?”, “does it have the navigation disk?”, or “where are the other keys?”, we’re starting to get more thorough. That being said, I believe we have missed one very important detail here: tire quality.

The single most important part of how a car rides is between the road and the car itself. What sits between the suspension and the road is rubber! Now, you might be thinking that all tires are made alike, but you would be very misled if that was the case. Tires come in all different varieties and serve all sorts of different purposes. Take the Nissan GTR for example – this car sits on extremely sticky tires. When you look from the side, they almost look like they have no tread left on them at all. That is because the less tread on these tires, the more surface area those tires have to stick to the road. A large portion of what makes the GTR such an agile and quick car is its grip. If you throw $100 on those rims, you would be amazed at just how quickly the GTR goes from being a Corvette Killer to being just some other rough riding sports car.

There is a similar story for an S-Class Mercedes. A large part of why that car rides so smoothly, yet is able to deliver a pleasing driving experience, is due to the quality of rubber on which it is riding. Take a BMW X5, as well- the thicker tires with the larger sidewall means there is more room to absorb bumps and drive smoothly on the highway. You can even go another direction entirely, and look for off road tires with the ability to conquer the gravel roads you’ve always dreamed of exploring.

Cheap tires often cause a rougher ride, significantly more road noise, and wear out quicker than their more expensive counterparts. If you want your car to perform at its best, you have to keep giving it the parts with which it was designed. There is a reason BMW doesn’t put $50 dollar tires on their 3 series. It is because it really does matter. However, it’s not just about the money when it comes to tires. It’s about a mindset. If you spend $60,000 on an S-Class or $40,000 on a BMW X5, why would you skimp on the tires? These are expensive cars designed to deliver a superb driving experience with little road noise, smooth handling, and easy going highway driving. By putting cheap tires on them, and you take away that cusp- that edge that makes those cars worth $40k-60k. You take away what makes them drive better, feel better, and last longer than some other boring car like a Kia or a Honda. I’m not saying that Kia and Honda’s are bad cars. They are just geared for a different audience. Someone looking for an X5 should not be considering a Kia as well – they are in a different league. The Kia is able to be cheaper by not worrying so much about road noise or how smooth they can make the ride for the people sitting in the back. They also don’t equip their cars with expensive tires out of the factory. This is the other side of the coin from such Luxury Cars we were discussing earlier.

So in conclusion, if you buy a BMW or a Mercedes or even the Nissan (I know the GTR is a rule breaker) you should be prepared to spend more money maintaining its integrity. From Synthetic Oil Changes (yes, it will cost more than $20 to change the oil) to tires, naturally it will cost more to keep these well designed cars delivering the driving experience that you deemed was worth the extra money. So treat it well, give it good tires, a fresh oil change, and, frankly, just the respect the treatment it deserves. In return, it will keep performing the way it was designed to: better than the rest.

 

Lincoln Fantaski

Select Luxury Cars, located in Marietta, Ga. on Highway 41, hand “Selects” every vehicle. We specialize in the highest quality automobiles available in the market. Whether you live here in the Atlanta area or anywhere around the world, we will find the exact car you are dreaming of. If you are looking for a Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari or other high end model, begin your search here and we won’t disappoint.

Categories: Car Tech, Used Car Tips

Cadillac outdoes Ferrari?

April 12, 2012 Leave a comment

In a recent commercial Cadillac boasts about an innovative suspension technology in its CTS-V Coupe they claim Ferrari borrowed in its own 458 Italia. This technology, known as “magnetorheological shock absorption “, essentially works via a computer chip that continuously adjusts the magnetic field within the shocks to manipulate the viscosity, or ease of flow, of a fluid containing tiny iron particles.
When the magnetic field is applied the iron bits will align, and the fluid, usually an oil, will flow less freely. When the magnetic field’s intensity decreases the opposite occurs, causing the suspension to become less rigid.

The computer chip, also known an an electronic control unit (ECU), is smart enough to detect the bumps in the road and signal the appropriate magnetic field intensity causing the fluid filled shocks to stabilize the car’s suspension. What’s even more impressive is that these calculations are performed nearly continuously – every millisecond – and are isolated for each tire, creating a smoother driving experience.
The only downside to this system is cost, but it is well worth it to a car enthusiast. Given the seamless mechanics of this suspension, it is easy to understand why Chevy has adapted it to the Corvette, Audi to the TT and R8, and yes, Ferrari to a few of its models.

Inaya Sabbak

Select Luxury Cars, located in Marietta, Ga. on Highway 41, hand “Selects” every vehicle. We specialize in the highest quality automobiles available in the market. Whether you live here in the Atlanta area or anywhere around the world, we will find the exact car you are dreaming of. If you are looking for a Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari or other high end model, begin your search here and we won’t disappoint.

Categories: Car Tech

Porsche’s Street-Legal Racecar: The Carrera GT

February 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Every so often a car comes to market so sultry, so ridiculous, so expensive that few will ever lays eyes on it. Even fewer will get to hear the howl of the F-1 derived 5.7 liter V-10 gracing such a car. Case in point…The Porsche Carrera GT. Built for three years (2004-2006) only, less than 1300 Carrera GT’s are in existence. Factor in the $440,000 price tag (new) and stratospheric costs to drive and maintain, my guess is that you won’t see one at the local gas & go. Most of these stunning GT’s are safely tucked away in the collections of the ultra wealthy.

The design and engineering on the Carrera GT is so amazing, I’m not sure where to begin. I suppose the carbon fiber monocoque chassis is worth mentioning. The subframe is made with carbon fiber reinforced plastic and is extremely strong despite very few metal parts. The carbon fiber undertray is attached at multiple points under the car. It helps keep the airflow smooth as it approaches terminal velocity. The GT’s wing automatically deploys at 70 mph preventing liftoff as you near the 200+ mph top speed. A beautiful inboard suspension with push-rod activated shocks and huge anti-roll bars also perform their duties keeping the car composed in the twisties. Huge 15″ carbon ceramic brakes bring the Carrera GT back to legal limits after each high speed run. Porsche’s street legal race car has single center lug wheels that are 19″ in front and 20″ in the rear. Let’s not forget the stunning carbon fiber bodywork that includes t-top like removable roof panels.

Mounted behind the cockpit, the heart of this beautiful machine is a 5.7 liter V-10 producing 612 asphalt melting horsepower at an astronomical 8,000 rpm. The engine was originally developed for F-1 and later continued for LeMans. A 6-speed manual gearbox is the only transmission available which works with a two plate ceramic composite clutch getting the power to the rear wheels. The scream of this V-10 is a true delight, and is something to which no video can do justice.

Although it’s DNA is all racecar, Porsche still offered some luxury features. It has incredibly supportive seats covered in leather. Bose sound with internet radio and navigation are options. The Carrera GT was available in 5 basic colors. Red, Yellow, Black, Silver and Gray. Special order colors were offered at additional cost. If you are lucky enough to ever see this stunning creation make sure you take a picture. I’m sure it will be awhile before you have the chance again.

Carguy Michael

Select Luxury Cars, located in Marietta, Ga. on Highway 41, hand “Selects” every vehicle. We specialize in the highest quality automobiles available in the market. Whether you live here in the Atlanta area or anywhere around the world, we will find the exact car you are dreaming of. If you are looking for a Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari or other high end model, begin your search here and we won’t disappoint.

Used Cars: Wants Versus Needs

February 20, 2012 Leave a comment

I had a customer visit the dealership and wanted to test drive a Range Rover, SL550 and a 750Li because she wasn’t sure what she wanted. However, test driving different types of vehicles is not the solution.  This will create more confusion instead of helping you make up your mind.  Finding the right car to match your lifestyle can be a ovewhelming experience.  A good salesperson will carefully listen to the customer’s needs and concerns to help them make a suitable purchase.

 

Shave the Fat

Before you begin your search, understand your stage in life.  If you have young children at home and are shopping for a “main” vehicle, a two seater convertible is obviously out of the question.  Don’t wast your time (or the salesperson’s) test driving something that clearly doesn’t fit your lifestyle.

There are blogs that tell you to be stone-faced and impersonal with your salesperson. (This is not my point of view).  Understand she/he  is there to gather information to show you cars that meet your needs and make a qualitative decision.

Some reasonable questions may be:

Will this be your main vehicle?

Are you married / have children?

How long have you had your current car?

  • This is to understand if they are a 2 – 3 year and out “kind of person.”
  • Do they plan on keeping this car 10 years then give it to their children?

 

Add to Cart

Let me start by saying, cost is important but not the main factor in finding your perfect vehicle.  When starting your search you need to make a list of your wants versus your needs.  Take into consideration your day to day interactions, i.e. kids, hobbies or shopping.

What options are a must have?

  • Passenger seating (3rd row seat)
  • Miles per gallon (MPG’s)
  • Cargo space
  • Heated seats (rear) / steering wheel
  • 4WD
  • Backup camera
  • Navigation

What are you willing to COMPROMISE?

When searching for a pre-owned car, it may have the right options but not be the right color.  It can be the perfect color and is missing an option you really want.  You should be willing to compromise to get the right deal.  Don’t win the battle just to lose the war.

Mike Goodall

Select Luxury Cars, located in Marietta, Ga. on Highway 41, hand “Selects” every vehicle. We specialize in the highest quality automobiles available in the market. Whether you live here in the Atlanta area or anywhere around the world, we will find the exact car you are dreaming of. If you are looking for a Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari or other high end model, begin your search here and we won’t disappoint.

US Ingenuity Shines through Fisker Automotive

February 18, 2012 Leave a comment

There is no question that the everyday car will eventually transition to alternate energy sources. We have seen a number of electric vehicles released to the market, but there are few that we could see taking the place of the luxury and sport gasoline-fueled cars we know and love. That may change sooner than expected. California based Fisker Automotive was founded in 2007 with a vision of creating the first line of premium luxury hybrid vehicles.

Then the 2012 Karma was born, and was hailed as the Luxury Car of the Year by Top Gear, the world’s leading automotive magazine. What strikes many about this is the fact that Top Gear is based in Europe, and granted this award to a five-year-old American manufacturer in the face of German and Italian competition that has dominated the luxury and sports car market.

What makes the Fisker brand and its products so special? The design, inspired by the “elegant lines of windswept sand dunes,” is sure to turn heads. There are unique features such as a solar roof that captures enough energy from the sun to give the car up to an extra 200 miles of driving a year. The break pads are able to transfer kinetic energy from slowing down to the battery to allow for more efficient breaking. Finally, the dual electric motors are like nothing we have ever seen before. There is an internal combustion engine that kicks in after about 50 miles of driving, but this serves only to power the electric motors thus creating a purely electric driving experience. All this translates into a 2.0 L, 4-cylinder 240 horsepower hybrid that hits 0-60 mph in 6.3 sec topping out at 125 mph.

Fisker’s first baby isn’t perfect, though. The EPA rated the 2012 Karma to run at only 20 miles per gallon, a rate that many non-hybrid vehicles beat. But this should not discount the strides the young carmaker has made in terms of American design and engineering in creating a hybrid that can compete with gasoline-powered European autos. Creating over 700 US jobs in California and Delaware, and doing business with over 40 American suppliers including GM and Goodyear, Fisker’s ingenuity should be applauded in a time when this seemed to be lacking amidst the recent turmoil of our economy.

Inaya Sabbak

Select Luxury Cars, located in Marietta, Ga. on Highway 41, hand “Selects” every vehicle. We specialize in the highest quality automobiles available in the market. Whether you live here in the Atlanta area or anywhere around the world, we will find the exact car you are dreaming of. If you are looking for a Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari or other high end model, begin your search here and we won’t disappoint.

E39 BMW M5…. Still fast, still sleek.

February 17, 2012 Leave a comment

When we think about the year, 2012, its easy to wonder where all the time has gone. When things dated 2002 for example are already 10 years old, its hard to imagination how far we have come since then. Since 2003, BMW has introduced 2 new M5 models, each with more power than the last. But lets not forget about 2003, because at the time the M5 was the car to have!

The E39 M5 features a 4.9L V8 with an absurd 400 HP. Coupled with the luxurious interior, plenty of legroom in the back, and a solid 6-speed manual transmission, the M5 was a well rounded car that would absolutely knock your socks off.

Well, now that it is 9 years old, you can own a M5 for a fraction of the price! Prices average around 20k depending on many factors, but at the end of the day you get a 400 HP luxury sedan for the price of a Honda Accord! Thats just nuts!

Before you go and say “well I dont need an M5, I’d be happy with an Accord” I encourage you to stop and think about that. While some people would be happy with the Accord, many would also love to feel the torque from that incredible V8 or hear the quad exhaust drone as you put your foot down on the interstate entry ramp. You just cant beat the smile you get when you turn the key and hear that V8 turn over in the morning, because BMW has done the impossible: given you a fun car that you can also put the family in without sacrificing comfort or trunk space.

The M5 features a first for BMW: Drive by Wire. What that means for you is instant throttle response as the computer opens the 8 individual throttle bodies faster than your foot could have on its own. Drive By Wire has become standard in every BMW ever since, and they certainly started it off right with the M5.

The engine has a 7000 RPM redline, and you feel the umph of the torque as soon as you get above 2000, so be careful letting your foot slip as you cruise down the highway! Perhaps one of the only limitations of the M5 is that it doesn’t get the most respectable gas mileage… feeding 8 hungry cylinders does take some fuel so you have to make the trade off between exhilarating performance and MPG’s.

All in all, I love the E39 M5. The feel of that V8 is something that not many new cars can replicate. Its smooth yet powerful and really shows you whose boss with all of the usable power. For it’s size, the car is very nimble and drives remarkably smoothly while still being able to take a corner at impressive speeds without even thinking twice (You might want to make sure your rear passengers have their seat belts on first though!). The car fails to show its age anywhere, its both as nimble and as responsive as you would expect any ///M car to be.

So if you are looking for a affordable performance car for around $20,000 but still want to be able to take people for a road trip comfortable, the E39 M5 should certainly be worth a fair bit of consideration.

-Lincoln Fantaski

Select Luxury Cars, located in Marietta, Ga. on Highway 41, hand “Selects” every vehicle. We specialize in the highest quality automobiles available in the market. Whether you live here in the Atlanta area or anywhere around the world, we will find the exact car you are dreaming of. If you are looking for a Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari or other high end model, begin your search here and we won’t disappoint.

Categories: BMW, Car Tech, Other Interests

Is the BMW M3 really that good?…

February 11, 2012 Leave a comment

In my 17+ year career in the automotive industry, I have had the opportunity to drive just about everything under the sun. There are a lot of very cool cars ranging in price from $20k to…well lets not go there. However, there are few cars that stir the soul every time you turn on the ignition. And going one step farther, a relatively practical car you can drive everyday. Somehow, someway BMW has found a combination that makes that morning commute enjoyable. Regardless of the body style, available in sedan (E90), coupe (E92) or droptop (E93), the M3 is a car that will always put a grin on your face.

The current generation M3 is powered by a fantastic naturally aspirated 4.0 liter V-8, that revs to 8,300 rpm, producing 414HP. It pulls like a freight train and the exhaust note will surely be your radio station of choice. It is available with two transmission choices. The purist’s get a 6-speed manual gearbox. Those that don’t want to push that extra pedal can opt for BMW’s M double clutch automated manual gearbox, which can shift faster than you can blink. Either way is a treat each and every time.

The chassis on the M3 is aggressive, yet docile. It is sharp without sacrificing ride quality and it never makes you wonder what it is doing. Add in BMW’s electronic damping control (EDC) and you can dial in this car to your exact taste. The brakes are strong with no noticeable fading. The standard wheel’s are 18 inchers, but 19’s are available. The balance of the M3 makes drivers of every skill level look and feel like the “Stig”.

We can’t forget about all of the creature comforts BMW is also known for. Some of the options you can get, include  navigation, competition package, comfort access, enhanced premium sound, heated seats, park distance control and satellite radio. The fact the BMW includes 4 years or 50,000 miles worth of warranty and maintenance (except tires) on this street legal racecar will make you feel warm and cozy when pushing this amazing machine to its limits.

Drive safe!

Carguy Michael

Select Luxury Cars, located in Marietta, Ga. on Highway 41, hand “Selects” every vehicle. We specialize in the highest quality automobiles available in the market. Whether you live here in the Atlanta area or anywhere around the world, we will find the exact car you are dreaming of. If you are looking for a Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari or other high end model, begin your search here and we won’t disappoint.

Categories: BMW, Car Tech, Featured Vehicle