Cars and Coffee

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This is a perfect platform to strip down and track a car. Gotta love the old M3′s.

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350Z with carbon hood.

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Carrera S with a GT3 body kit. I’d love to do this to my car… but I think I’m leaning towards saving up for a 911 turbo instead in the future.

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M3 with the V8 engine. Gotta love the lines… but I prefer a more neutral color.

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2002 ti BMW. Gotta love the design.

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New 2015 M3. It’s a huge sedan now. I wonder how it drives with the turbocharged 6 cylinder.

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Interior of the M3.

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Old school Jaguar. What a beautiful design.

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And then the most insanely modded car of the day…

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This guy put a lot of money and time into this car.

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I mean, seriously.

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Look at that interior. That is probably one of the most elegant things I’ve seen in a while.

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Even the gas cap is custom.

Test Drive: 2008 BMW M3

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I test drove a fully loaded 2008 M3 Coupe with a double clutch transmission this past week with Annie. M3′s have always been known as the benchmark for comfort and performance. They’re also getting the reputation of becoming more luxurious and powerful in recent years. But adding all the creature comforts and bigger engines have a price. The 2008 M3 is an incredible sports sedan that does everything well… which makes it kind of a jack-of-all-trades but master of nothing. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll astonish you, but not in the same way a 2006 M3 will.

I walked into the dealership with high expectation, kind of like walking into an highly anticipated movie you’ve been waiting to watch for years. When you put a naturally aspirated V8 (that pumps out 414hp and 295 ft-lbs of torque) into a coupe, you expect to be crushing everything on the road… especially when it’s paired with a dual clutch transmission. The truth of the matter is that when you put your foot down, you don’t get a surge of unexpected uncontrolled savage power.

Some people say that if you change the electronic settings, you can change the entire characteristics of the car. Sure, customization sounds great, but I expect instantaneous performance by default—especially with something that has the M badge. The power is linear, but left me disappointed.

Weight affects everything from handling, braking to acceleration. Let’s look at some weight comparisons between M3s.
2008 M3: 3726 lbs
2006 M3: 3415 lbs
1996 M3: 3175 lbs

The 2008 M3 handles very well, but it seems over-engineered. As a product, the M division have made a series of decisions that have created a snowball effect. Going with a V8 adds more power, but it also adds more weight and requires more fuel (which also adds more weight). More power means you need bigger heavier brakes to stop, which adds more weight. A double clutch transmission makes the car shift much faster, but adds more weight. The list goes on… and when you add it up, you have a very comfortable car that goes very fast, that’s easy to drive…

But, it also feels HEAVY.

The 2008 M3 handles well, but doesn’t seem to punch above its weight class. It just doesn’t seem as insane as the specs make it out to be.

The model I test drove was fully loaded, and it was lush. The comfort is definitely there. The only thing I didn’t like was the seating position—and that’s personal preference. I prefer a lower slung seat; something that’s lower to the ground (like a race car). That being said, for a long 5 hour drive, I’d rather have the M3 seats (or any BMW seats in general). By the way, the back seats and trunk are definitely usable. Big plus there.

Yeh, it’s good looking. The lines are perfect. Yes, the M3 excels in this department.

So as much as I wanted to love the 2008 M3, I can’t. In fact, it represents something that is the complete opposite of what I was hoping for. I expected it to be a more raw, unabridged BMW experience… and that’s where I was left disappointed.

If you want a more pure experience, go for a 2006 M3 (it’s a better value, and frankly a better car). If you want more creature comforts and a huge engine, this is a fine choice. However, my buddy (Tim) recommends that you “get it, strip it, cage it, track it”. And I totally agree.

California Pt.7: Pfeiffer Beach and the Purple Sand

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For $5, I’m not sure if this was the best beach I’ve been to… however, it was unique.

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Pfeiffer beach is known for its purple sand… but you really don’t notice anything except the strong gusts of wind.

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The combination of sand and salt water sprayed into your eyeballs was enough to make anyone turn around.

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But there were some cool things—there was this little cave, which supposedly turns gold when the sun sets.

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This was definitely was not a beach you’d just “hang” out at.

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It’s not until you walk a little further where you notice the purplish sand.

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And if you can get past being sand blasted with strong gusts of wind, it’s alright.

Cars and Coffee

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Lovely R8. The exterior still looks great.

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I’m still thinking about that V10 version in California.

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There were a ton of Ferraris out there on sunday.

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Not sure if I’d ever want to own one, but I’d love to take one out for a spin.

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Even all these years, they still look great. I just wonder what it must cost to maintain them.

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You don’t see these too often.

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The back looks just as nice.

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Speaking of yellow lambos…

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Not sure what kind of body kit was on the back, but it looked a little different from stock.

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Heavily modded S2000.

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Really love the wheels on this AMG.

Possible Apple Smartwatch with 2.5 Screen

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Apple will reportedly launch its smartwatch as early as October, after kicking off production in July, according to a new report from Reuters. The smartwatch will have a 2.5-inch screen, according to the news organization’s sources, which will arch up from the band and be “slightly rectangular,” and it’ll feature touchscreen controls and wireless charging.

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Apple will introduce a smartwatch with a display that likely measures 2.5 inches diagonally and is slightly rectangular, one of the sources said. The source added that the watch face will protrude slightly from the band, creating an arched shape, and will feature a touch interface and wireless charging capabilities.
-Business Insider

I think I’ll hold off on the Rolex for now and see what Apple comes around with. I’m digging the simplicity of the band.

Ps. I’m very interested in their phablet 5.5″ iPhone (rumored to come out this year).

California Pt.6: More Highway 1

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Annie and I decided to drive further south from Big Sur to explore more of Highway 1, as well as the coastline.

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It’s incredible how dramatic things change every mile.

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Pretty much every few miles there was a state park.

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Just looking at this makes me want to go back there again just to spend a little more time to soak it in.

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The combination of crashing waves, beach and perfect weather felt pretty much like paradise.

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Best part was that there were hardly any people there.

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Annie and I decided to drive up this crazy steep road with insane drop offs at every corner.

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It was probably one of the most unnerving roads I’ve ever been on.

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There’s not really much in the way of death if you take a tumble. But, it makes for a great view.

California Pt.5: Big Sur State Park

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Annie and I decided to stay a night at the Big Sur State Park to explore a little more.

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I’m not sure if you know, but seeing the redwood forests in California was on my bucket list. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for years.

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As you can see, the trees there were massive, and it’s only until you put a person next to them that you understand the scale.

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We hiked upwards towards the top of the mountain. Notice the density of the forest.

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At the top, there was a nice view of the valley as well as the horizon.

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Walking around the park, we found a nice waterfall. The amount of nature surrounding us was immense, and the size of the trees made us feel like we were in Jurassic Park.

Test Drive: VW CC 2.0T

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Annie and I rented a Volkswagen CC 2.0 Turbo when we went to California. Surprisingly, this was cheaper than a Mini Cooper (as a rental)!

Given a choice, I’d rather own a BMW 328i or Mercedes C250; however, the VW CC 2.0T probably has the most refined engine and transmission for the money… and makes for a wonderful rental car.

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The specs say the VW CC 2.0T has 200hp / 207lb torque and 0-60 in 6.5s. I’m absolutely convinced that this car delivers 0-60 faster. When the turbos spool up, it feels way faster than Audi A5, BMW 328i and Mercedes Benz C250. That’s probably thanks to the DSG (dual clutch transmission). Shifts are instant and keep the turbos spooled when you need the power.

I’m actually astonished by how much power a turbocharged 4 cylinder can deliver when paired with a dual clutch transmission. I just wished they included paddle shifters on the damn thing. It’s 2014 guys!

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The brake pedal was as sensitive as all the other German cars I’ve driven. Overall handling was decent, but wasn’t nearly as refined as a BMW or Mercedes. I’d probably say the greatest flaw was the suspension setup. For whatever reason, the car took an extra bounce over bumps. Without proper dampening, I felt less confident around corners.

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I’ve read some reviews about the back seats being cramped, but I think they’re fine for people under 5’10″. The front seats are spacious and comfy. Personally, I’d like my seats to have more bolstering around my body, but these seats were decent. We drove over 800 miles in a week, and there wasn’t too much fatigue.

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I will note that the cabin is loud—for whatever reason, the noise transferred from the tires were way too loud. For that, the VW CC gets low marks.

In addition, the engine and exhaust noise were non-existent. I would have liked a little more of *that* kind of noise. It was hard to tell if I was revving the engine high unless I looked at the dashboard.

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I actually think the back of the car looks better than the front. That being said, the car is a little plain in the front. Considering how stylish the Audi’s are, I would have expected VW to push for a sportier style.

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For the price, the VW CC 2.0T is a decent sports sedan. What it lacks in styling, it makes up in its motor and transmission. I’m not sure if I’d personally want to own this car over an Audi, Benz or BMW, but for the price it’s a fair deal.

If you decide to get this car, get the dual clutch model. Also, you can stick with the 2.0 turbo—it’s plenty of power for the chassis.

I’d seriously consider buying this car if it came with flappy paddle shifters and a nicer front exterior… but at that point, the VW CC would essentially be an S4.