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Range Rover Evoque Live At The L.A. Auto Show

More live coverage of possibly the hottest event in the industry this season.  This time we bring you the live premier of the new Range Rover Evoque.

Jaguar C-X75 Debut At The L.A. Auto Show

One of the most influential vehicles of the future may just be the Jaguar C-X75.  Watch its debut live at the Los Angeles Motor Show.

First Drive: 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander

Having researched a few impressions of the Outlander earlier in the week I honestly wasn’t looking forward to driving it.  This however is a true case of “believe half of what you see, and some or none of what you hear”.  I absolutely loved the Mitsubishi Outlander.

Let’s get right down to it.  I don’t know what the other reviewers are talking about.  Sure with the 4 cylinder in the ES and SE trim levels you won’t be winning any drag competitions at the local street races but of course that’s not what this car is meant for.  As far as meat and potatoes driving goes, the Outlander comes with a lot of side items.

The first thing that struck me was the standard magnesium-alloy paddle-shifters.  Seriously, paddle shifters on a crossover SUV?  Tip-tronic and sport-tronic semi-sequential gearboxes of the past could at best only aspire to be sloppy.  But the technology is now over a decade old and in many mass produced passenger cars.  Yet this is the first I’ve ever experienced one attached to a CVT Transmission; another new piece of technology that has come a long way in the last few years.

As I got in and looked around the canvas that Mitsubishi prepared I could tell that while simple and stylish were key design features for the dash of the Outlander, quality materials were not.  Then I made the mistake of adjusting the seat.  I say that because even the seat rails were noise and almost squeaked “cheap” as they moved.  Once locked in place though, they dramatically changed the tune of the 2010 Outlander for the better.

As I adjusted the mirrors, tilted the steering wheel and locked in DC 101 for my trip, I couldn’t help but notice that everything else had a nice solid feel to it.  While you may adjust a seat once or twice a year depending on how many drivers are in your family, the regularly used components of my test vehicle felt like they were more than up to handling daily abuse.  Looking at the information display between the Tachometer and Speedometer you get the feeling that you are in a large European sedan instead of an American SUV because the readout is exactly the same as more expensive VW’s and Audis.  The 4 cylinder did make a bit of noise after starting but settled in seconds after the car came to life.  From there the improvements continued.

As I moved the car to leave the parking lot I could tell that the ride was very solid and firm.  While those seat rails may have sounded cheap, again, when they locked into place they did a great job of tying the seat into the rest of the vehicle.

Pulling out into a very wide open area free of traffic I was able to allow the Outlander to come up to speed at leisure.  I wanted to get a good sense of the sluggishness many others have reported.  To be fair the Outlander does take its time to accelerate in the 4 cylinder trim due to the 168 HP it produces.  The XLS and GT packages come with a 3.0 liter 6 cylinder to solve that issue but truth be told, you really don’t needed it.  After deciding to see what the Outlander was made of I gave it a little stick and it woke up quite nicely.  The CVT transmission definitely is something to get used to as it will choose a RPM to maintain as it delivers performance based on gas pedal position.  I honestly feel that this is where the sluggish rumor comes from, because while joining the highway I was presented with a very different animal all together.

While merging I found that only having 4 cylinders could never be described as a problem with this SUV.  The CVT was very responsive, dropped several ratios and gave everything the little engine that could had.  I actually felt a slight kick in the pants from that 168 HP.  Any other time you are cruising along and are only trying to accelerate at a very mild rate the CVT only changes a little to bring your speed up.  But when it comes to the issue of passing out of necessity, simply put your foot down and it knows you mean business.  Even in the sport-tronic shift mode.

Leaving the highway there was a need to pass a slower vehicle in order to take the exit.  With just a tap of the left shift paddle I feel the CVT actually responds quicker than a regular automatic in my opinion when downshifting to deliver the desired power.  In the exiting lane you can simply brake to your desired speed and continue to downshift as needed and again, the CVT is right there in the range you need to merge back into traffic.  This was really building up my appetite for the Outlander Sport.

It was time to stop to take a few notes.  As I noted, I noticed, a little face on one of the buttons on the steering wheel.  Leave it to a time like this for my ADD to flare up, but I’m glad it did.  A quick press revealed that it was for hands-free Bluetooth activation.  The Bluetooth system the Outlander is equipped with is quite impressive.  Before I describe why im overjoyed with it let me tell you that I am by and far NOT a technology buff.  In fact I am usually one of the last people to adopt any type of new technology or system.  But its Bluetooth, it can’t be that hard Jon.  Well I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t.  Interacting with the systems voice command it was easy to setup a new connection, have my phone sync and voice dial a call.

On the down side my listener did complain of a fair bit of road noise while I was in motion, remarking that it sounded as if I were driving with the windows down even though they were fully up.  But as far as buy or no buy complaints about a cars features goes, it really isn’t one to hold against the Outlander.

I really did go into this test drive seeing nothing but the pretty face of a revised front end chasing the popularity of the Lancer Evolution and didn’t plan on enjoying myself at all.  I am happy though that I and other reviews we’re proven wrong.  Which doesn’t happen very often, but it did today.  While there are many other reasons to check out the new Outlander, there are a handful of really big selling points that prove the 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander is one of the Crossover SUVs to buy.

One a rather serious engine that gives you performance when you need it and can be sensible every other time and deliver 23 city-MPG and 28 highway.  Solid build quality with a confident and firm ride.  Advanced technology that is up to speed with more advanced competitors.  Above all a price that won’t leave your wallet and spouse asking…”What were you thinking?!”  In fact if you drive by your local Mitsubishi dealer without experiencing the Outlander for yourself, you can think of me asking you now…What are you thinking?!”

A big thanks to the staff at Hagerstown’s Younger Mitsubishi for a fun ride.  To check out the 2010 Outlander for yourself just give them a call and schedule a test drive.  You can find all of their information here:  www.youngermitsubishi.com

New Chevrolet Camaro Convertibles?!

Chevrolet and Neiman Marcus team up this year to make one very special item for their annual christmas book.  The Neiman Marcus Edition Chevrolet Camaro Convertible.

A pretty special Camaro SS Convertible

Every year Neiman Marcus publishes its christmas book full of limited and special edition items just for the holiday season and this year they have put together a truly special product.  Too bad you’ll never have one.  At least not until one of only 100 owners decides to sell theirs because all 100 of the Special Edition Neiman Marcus Camaro Convertibles were sold-out in just 3 minutes.

At first I thought, well here we go.  Another Chevy marketing ploy.  For instance, I never wanted to own a Convirtablel Camaro, until I read about some of the features this Limited Edition Camaro comes with.

In the Spring of 2011, just after the 2011 Camaro arives in showrooms, the owners will be able to take delivery of SS model convertibles with a 6.2-liter, V-8 engine with 6-speed manual or automatic.  But the juicy bits come on the exterior package inspired by the luxury brand of Neiman Marcus itself.  Each will come with an exclusive Deep Bordeaux exterior color, accented by subtle, “ghosted” rally stripes. The exterior color is complimented by a matching fabric top and windshield frame finished in matte silver, both also exclusive to the Neiman Marcus edition.

As you can see, a truy pretty combination.  Worth the $75,000 price tag?  Who knows.  Certainly not for a Camaro, but for a limited edition of just 100 with such beautiful color combinations…yeah.  Im in.

2010 Nissan GT-R vs 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1: GT-R for the win!

After posting the anticipation one Up Shift writer has for 2012 Nissan GT-R that will debut at the LA Auto Show this year it wasn’t long before a Corvette fan had a few words to say.  And much like the Corvette his points were massively loud and didn’t get anywhere quick.

Now before you start sharpening your sticks allow me to make a few points.

I decided to go to website of Motor Trend, whom every good enthusiast knows, loves some American iron.  What I found is that there are some differences that are very small and some very between the two.  But it’s the extremes, the biggest and the smallest that made up my mind.

I’m not going to jump on the displacement soap box because it’s a pointless debate in this comparison.  What the two power-plants produce however is not.  The GT-R gives you 485HP 153 less than the ZR1’s dumbfounding 638HP.  The GT-R will only give you 430lb-ft of torque, 174 less than the 604 lb-ft of the ZR1.   At 3,814lbs the GT-R has the curb weight of a beached whale some 490lbs heavier than the 3,324lb ZR1.  Some of that extra weight comes from the fact that the GT-R has a gas tank that is 1.5 gallons bigger.

Then there the suspension dimensions.  Don’t worry, I won’t make you put your thinking cap on.  In fact it’s pretty simple to understand.  The GT-R has a slightly longer wheelbase and a narrower track width in both the front and rear compared to the ZR1.  It’s taller as well.  So flat cornering should be thrown out the window next to the lower and wider Corvette.

Up until now you would think that I was making a case for the mighty domestic, but you would be wrong.  You see there are many ways to approach the whole idea of building a car and, to use a bit of hyperbole, the ZR1 comes from what I would call the Cave Man school of thought.  It walks heavy and carries a very large club.  But the GT-R is, in the opinion of many automotive journalists, is simply a phenomenon of engineering.  That’s why the GT-R manages 2 miles per gallon more on the highway.

But if you remember I told you this was all about the extreme differences.  In all honesty, they are the ones that matter the most as well.  The number I came across that was the smallest difference between the GT-R and ZR1 was their respective lap times on the Nurburgring.  7:26.7 and 7:26.4.

Side Note:  Rumors put a very nice compound of rubber on the ZR1 for that lap which some questioned but GM says it is OEM stock equipment, and we will honor that claim.  However its also been documented that the engineers in charge of prepping the GT-R for its laps said that the car should not have been run because of maintenance that had not been conducted on the transmission and displayed failures after the lap, though no failures could be recorded during the lap.

That having been said the GT-R was not able to beat the ZR1 that day.  Instead it had to settle for 3 tenths of a second behind the GT-R.  Now try balancing that against the other extreme.  The largest difference between the GT-R Premium, as tested, was its price at $83,040.  The ZR1’s price $106,880.  A $23,840 wallet crippling price jump for just .03 seconds on the score board.

Now I’ve seen a lot of people spend a lot of money to get more speed and more power.  Now I haven’t had the chance yet to drive a ZR1 and I think we can all agree you don’t really have to understand that 600+HP would be a blast of a drive and that the car should handle like a dream.  But you would have to be pretty desperate or out of your mind to spend almost $24K for what looks like the same outcome.

First Drive: Tesla Roadster 2.5 Sport

img_8285 You know…I just can’t do it.  I tried to write a smart- funny article about the Tesla Roadster 2.5 Sport.  Honestly though, the car simply doesn’t need it.

Would I buy one?  No.  It’s far too expensive and the level of fit and finish is just too much for me.  But it does tick every single box on the opposite side of the Up-Shift equation.

The Up Shift guys have always loved raw feedback, knife edge handling that makes driving seem almost telepathic.  That “push and pull” at the base of your spine or twitch of the steering from every pebble you drive over.  There really is so much going on under the skin of this car that it’s difficult to convey the science behind it all.  And that’s coming from a guy who has some mechanical engineering experience.

So it’s very difficult this.  There is a large difference between watching a balding fat man scream “Say hello to the world of broad band motoring” and actually experiencing that kind of performance.  So difficult in fact that I decided to simply ask Shaun Philips, Tesla Motors rep. for the Mid Atlantic region, how he would described it.  “It really is a rather bizarre experience.”  ?!  Not exactly what I was expecting but it does sum up quite well what happened next.

After a brief walk around and introduction of the info systems, which really should have its own tutorial, we were almost ready for our drive.  Shaun then tells me, “If we get the feeling that whoever is test driving won’t push it, we ask if they mind us driving.  Otherwise they won’t get a good feel for what the car can do.”  “Oh”, Shaun shares, “We have had one guy hurt his neck while testing the torque the car has.”

One of the classic components of a truly great sports car is lightness.  This becomes even more important when you’re talking about electric cars.  The first thing I noticed was the manually adjustable mirrors, which meant I had to ask Shaun to set the passenger side for me.

Making the sharp left turn to leave the parking lot was easier said than done.  Another lightness trick the Tesla Roadster has up its sleeve is a manual steering rack, which happens to be exactly what you want if you’re looking for the most direct road feedback possible.  When you have to park or maneuver at low speeds though, it will be a work out you won’t forget.  A small price to pay for sharp razor like handling though.

Shaun instructs me as we pull out of the lot, “Just hold this speed for a bit, then tap it to the floor and let back off.”

I comply, and almost lose my lunch. img_8371

It becomes immediately apparent that the 2.5 Roadster does not like to wait.  By the time my foot had fully depressed the pedal the car knew I was in a hurry and delivered all 295lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels like Thor’s hammer had just hit the rear end.  It feels as if the car really would leave you behind if you weren’t strapped in.  In fact, the forces on you are so strong I think the only way you could keep your foot on the floor is if you eased the power in.

At this point I’m sure Shaun can read minds.  He encourages, “When we get up here to a straight, just ease it to the floor and watch the speed build.”  I could tell that this would be no ordinary test drive.

What you get is no surprise, there’s a similar push into the seat but this time it comes on gradually and you’re able to maintain consciousness enough to drive the car as its picking up speed.  Until you realize an incredible noise coming from just behind your ear.

Because of the Roadster’s one gear transmission and compact electric engine, weighing a ridiculously scant 115 lbs and with just one moving part, they both sing together with a seductive whine that sounds exactly like a fighter jet taking off!  In fact the Blue Angles Aerobatic team drove the same car and said that it’s the closest thing to the FA-18 fighter that they have ever felt on 4 wheels.  A true endorsement if there ever was one.

The $129K price tag of the Roadster Sport we drove was starting to make sense.  Where it really shines though is when you’re looking at it, not as a driver but, as an owner.  Sure you can find a 911 GT3, Lamborghini Murcielago or even a Ferrari 360 Modena for a similar price in your back pocket right now if you looked.  Question is though, how often does a 911 owner enjoy getting a bill for a clutch adjustment?  How much was the last regularly, and “required”, Lambo service?  How about that $5K Ferrari brake job?  When you start to look at the numbers everything starts to make a frightening amount of sense.

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I’m sure the maintenance on the Tesla Roadster isn’t cheap either, you say?  To some degree you would be right.  Replacement batteries, for instance, retail for about $12K a pop.  But that’s not an expense you’re going to have to worry about for the first 7 or more years of ownership because the 6,831 cells within each battery pack have less than a 1 in 1 million fail Rate.  In fact nothing on the Tesla Roadster gets touched as part of routine maintenance until the 2 year mark, when Tesla suggests changing the brake fluid.  Regardless of outside air temp or how hard you drive the car the battery coolant is constantly working to keep the batteries at room temperature.  Even then the coolant doesn’t need to be replaced until the 4 year mark, but that’s it!  Which means that the only cost out of your pockets is going to be to replace tires, which you’re sure to run through if you like a spirited romp here and there.  “So when all is said and done,” Shaun promises, “your maintenance cost ends up being less than that of a Toyota.”  The average cost from dead to fully charged is just $3 to $5 as opposed to the $30 fill up I have for the family Sentra every week.  Which, if you think about it, means that this car will have paid for itself over 5160 fill ups…or 99 years…  It’s even estimated that an owner may never have to replace his brake pads.  This, however, leads to Jon Gandy’s Tesla Roadster dislike #1.  Well, not really a dislike.  Just something that takes a bit of getting used to.

The engineers of the Roadster 2.5 have done a fantastic job of using regenerative braking to recharge the batteries which helps achieve the cars full 245 mile range.  However, it does so by greatly reducing your speed anytime you’re not accelerating or holding the car at a constant speed and the effect is quite strong.  In a gas powered car this effect is known as engine braking.  In the Tesla Roadster it’s more like deploying a parachute.  A bit exaggerated, yes.  But very close to accurate.

On the positive side this does mean that the only time you really need to use the brakes in this car is in an emergency situation or when coming to a complete stop.  “I’ve gotten so used to that now that I can have people point out a spot in the distance and I know exactly when to take my foot off the accelerator pedal so that I’m almost at a stand-still when we get there.”, boasted Shaun.  Ultimately this means that every bit of energy that the engineers could possibly recover, is making its way back into the batteries.  If used properly it’s a very effective tool.  In fact after just a few minutes of driving it started to become more like second nature.

It was now time to take a few minutes to appreciate the styling changes made to the 2.5 model.  Styling is the most major change to the car since the 1.5 model was updated to the 2.0 and I’ll tell you, it’s had an unbelievable effect.

“The new Roadster 2.5 reflects the future of Tesla design language”, Says Shaun.

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Don’t get me wrong, for a new manufacturer with something to prove the original Roadster’s styling was amazing.  But it kind of reminded me of the cute “girl next door” of supercars.  You know, a bit chubby and adorable.  Whereas there was no shortage of more mature, sophisticated options elsewhere.  Well well well, apparently the little Roadster next door has been drinking e-milk and has shredded all the baby fat in favor of a smoking hot contender of a body.  Though I have to admit, the vents just behind B pillar, the indented sidesteps, the side vents on the front fascia and the lines from the front to rear fenders do make the Roadster look like the love child of a Ferrari 430 Scuderia and ZR1 Corvette.  But you know what, thats not at all something to complain about.

Looking back on the entire experience there was really only one true flaw.  The biggest one of all, having to park it.  Getting out of the Tesla Roadster 2.5 is probably the saddest thing I’ve had to do this month.  I look forward to stepping into and out of a lot of very nice vehicles.  Yet this is just one of those moments you look at and know that, for the rest of your life, it’s going to be near impossible to replicate.

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Check out all of the pictures of the Test Drive here:

First Drive: 2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5

Our Tesla Roadster 2.5 Sport Test Drive.

60 Photos

2010 DUB & OC Car Show

Normally you would think that a car show is a car show.  The thing about the DUB/OC show though, is its theme.  Many years ago 20″ wheels, or “DUBs” as they were known, were the hottest thing.  They were unheard of, exclusive and usually chrome with Massive lips and super low profile tires.  Since then the size of super expensive and exclusive shoes for your ride has changed so much the “DUB” as we know it is almost a thing of the past.  But the spirit of the DUB lives and is alive and well in Ocean City this weekend.

Because of this change in status more people have been able to enjoy entry into the wonderful world of Luxury, Shine and well lets face it…one of the greatest forms of automotive expression to date.  What I loved about this show is seeing well built Civics and Crown Vics next to Bentleys and “Caddy” Broughams.  The variety of cars that you find at the DUB/OC show is very dynamic which means there really is something for everyone.  From the customizable Kia Sol to a fully built drag Integra to the Rolls Royce Phantom Drop Head.

As a car enthusiast who is admittedly a little addicted to all things with an engine and wheels (sometimes without wheels) There really wasn’t anything that stood out about the show that I didn’t like.  The level of professional work that has gone into some of the ride here is so detailed and involved we talked to one owner for almost a solid 10 minutes just about the details of his build.  Now I know that on the surface 10 minutes doesn’t sound like much, but when your at a car show as large as this with so much to see 10 minutes seems more like 40.

If you missed this years OC show, I’m truly sorry to hear it.  But you can catch up in our gallery with the over 300 pictures and enjoy more of the coverage as we continue to write about some of the cars and companies we found at the ’10 DUB/OC car show.

Bentley Bethesda – Mulsanne Preview

We at Up-Shift.net have always said that our focus is not Lambos or Ferraris.  However, we have to be honest.  Who doesnt like looking at $100,000+ cars.  Theres just something about the quality and performance that demands respect and commands our attention.

Yesterday I had the privilage of being invited to preview the 2010 Bentley Mulsanne, Bentley’s new Flagship Sedan, by Kimatni Rawlins of http://www.automotiverhythms.com/.  I definitly enjoyed having the opportunity to learn about the craftsmanship behind this $285,000 car and truth be told, its worth every penny.  Hand crafted by just 98 people the car takes 9 months to produce.  Im told that one person can take up to 15 hours just to create the steering wheel alone.  Enjoy some of the pictures from the event.

Flying Volvo! – The Funniest 46 Seconds Ever.

The goal of our work at Up Shift TV is to show you how to have fun with your vehicle without breaking your wallet. While we dont suggest you buy an old Volvo 240 and make a home made ski jump, watching someone who has done it is priceless.

Thanks to Mischief.tv forum member Linken for sharing this. Be sure to check out some of his other Youtube uploads here:

http://www.youtube.com/Linken200#p/a

A New Leash On Life

As car guys, one of the most memorable and fulfilling things is to be able to grow up working on a car with your dad. Enjoying weekends or evenings under the hood can create a very strong bond and leave memories that last for years to come. In the world of aviation, one pilot is deciding to do a lot more.

I had the pleasure of being invited to do a little flying with private pilot Martin Hobson and his son Alex this weekend for a very special cause; rescuing dogs in need of loving families and new homes for a group called Pilots N Paws. Let me tell you it was one of the most enjoyable weekends I have ever had. Let me tell you how this weekend came about.

I’ve been a pilot since ’98 and have flown from time to time to keep my skills up, but I haven’t flown in the last couple of years nearly as much I would like to and I started to look for ways I could get in the air but offer a hand to those who needed pilots. Along my journey to find a path into the air someone mentioned a dog rescue website, www.pilotsnpaws.org, which I learned flew hundreds of dogs every year to new homes. Most of these dogs are abandoned or are rescued from pounds or animal shelters where they are scheduled to be put to sleep. Immediately I knew this is where I wanted to help as much as I could. I sent emails to several pilots in the PA/MD/VA area and let them know I was more than happy to offer my skills to help with some of these flights.

Honestly Martin had invited me twice before I accepted the ride last weekend, and as I sit writing this I am upset with my-self that I didn’t take him up on the previous offers.

I arrived in Mannassas, VA early that morning and enjoyed a quick breakfast while I waited for Martin to arrive at the airport. After a brief greeting we went to work with pre-flight checks and warmed up the Piper Archer. In no time we were off and headed southwest toward Orange County Virginia where we would pick up our pooches for this trip. When we arrived Luke, who I’m told was a mix of Irish Wolf hound and Border Collie was waiting for us on the ground.

Luke, Alex and I.

Moments later our Golden Retriever, Sammie, landed.

Alex, the family who brought Sammie up, Martin, and of course Sammie!

Sammie’s is a real heartbreaking, yet heartwarming story. In fact this is the second time Martin has flown Sammie for the Retriever rescue and she holds a special place in his and Alex’s heart. Before Sammie found a good home she was badly neglected and beaten by her former owners which left her blind in one eye and due to a car accident while riding in the back of the owner’s truck, she suffered injuries and was not taken to a vet. and loss of the use of one leg. Since being rescued she has received A LOT of love and treatment as well as therapy and does have the use of that limb again but she still prefers to stay off of it. Were hoping that with a little more therapy work she will be confident enough to rely on it like she used to.

Once we were all on board we headed north to New Windsor, NY where Luke’s new person was there waiting to take him to his new home.

Judy, Luke, Alex, Sammie and Martin

Alex was enjoying a chocolate chip cookie so there was NO WAY Luke and Sammie were going to pay me any attention now!

From New Windsor, NY it was now off to Hartford, CT to finally get Sammie to a permanent home. Once on the ground it was very easy to see that she had found exactly what she needed. The family who picked her up was very happy to see Sammie and gave her lots of love.

As I mentioned before Martin and Alex had worked with Sammie before and even had her spend the night with them until she was able to be flown to the last home she enjoyed so it was definitly a long goodbye for Martin, Alex and Sammie.

On the flight back to Manassas I had quite a lot of time to think about the trip and really reflect on the impact of how truly magnificent the day was. It’s very, very hard to arrange a transaction where everyone gets a benefit, but it happened Saturday. I was able to log some much needed time, Martin finally got to enjoy looking out the window instead of doing the busy work at the controls. Alex and Sammie got to enjoy each other’s company once again. New families got new pups and most of all, the dogs were able to get the much needed love and good homes they deserved.

Martin has offered to let me know when his next trip is planned. It was a long day in an aircraft and I’m still recovering from it, but who can turn down the opportunity to see a happy face like this…