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Video of the day

This video of the day comes from the guys over at MotorTrend who are pitting 2 Italian beauties against each other in various road tests, the Ferrari 458 Italia and the Ducati 1198S. Its a very entertaining video even if you have a good idea of the victor. Check it out:

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.

Top Gear USA Trailers

 Here are the 2 new videos for the US version of one of my favorite shows on TV Top Gear . Its set to premier on Sunday November 21st make sure you dont miss it. From the looks of the videos these guys are as gitty and excited as we all are, lets just hope its half as good as its European version.

Via: Jalopnik

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.

2012 GT-R to make debut at LA Auto Show

Today Nissan North America (NNA) announced that the new Nissan GT-R will make its first North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 17th. The latest version of the redesigned GT-R comes with with enhanced performance and refreshed exterior and interior treatments. It will be labeled as a 2012 model when it goes on sale  in the United States and Canada in early 2011. Full details on the North American version of the Nissan GT-R will be available at the Los Angeles show later next month.