Test Drive: 2006 BMW M3


I test drove my buddy’s M3’s recently. In a nutshell, it’s probably on of the best all around cars you can buy for the money. It’s a car of many personalities—sports car, sedan, daily driver, etc. What is astonishing is that it does everything well.

The fit and finish was very clean. In many ways I like the boxy style better. To me it represented purity, simplicity and functionality. It looks like a normal BMW, which enables you to fly under the radar. I kind of like that. ^_^

Driving the BMW and does’t require a heavy foot to go fast. Torque is delivered at low RPMs and is instant. In fact, putting the car in “sport mode” almost makes the throttle too sensitive for novice drivers like me. When you plant your foot down, the power is immediately there, and the pull is intense. What makes the M3 astonishing is that it’s faster than you’d expect. It’s kind of like drinking a martini for the first time. Looks totally harmless until you start chugging it down.

The best part of the M3 is that it feels like a normal 3 series… so driving it around town is just so comfortable. But when you need the power, it’s there.

The ride is soft. And that’s where I’m confused. I don’t understand how the suspension can be so soft, and simultaniously handle so well. A Porsche Cayman S, for example, gives you loads of feedback… but can be kind of exhausting if you hit uneven road. The M just smooths everything out. And when you hit twisty roads, it’s pretty awesome. Just point and shoot.


So in conclusion, I think that the a 2006 BMW M3 is probably one of the best values for a car. You’re really getting two cars for the price of one. It’s a car that can be driven very spiritedly, and every day. For me, I’d get a 4 door version, just so I could actually use the back seats and share the experience.

Test Drive: Porsche 911 GTS


So I test drove my buddy’s 2012 Porsche 911 GTS this past weekend. Yes, at first glance it looks like every other Porsche… and truthfully, it pretty much is. But that’s what makes Porsches special. In each 911, their characteristics become magnified as you go up a model. The best things in a basic 911 culminate when you upgrade to an S. And the same thing happens when you bump up to a GTS.

Let’s talk about basic figures first. The GTS has 408hps, it goes 0-60 in 4.4s (manual), and costs 6 figures. It’s one step above the Carrera S, and one step below the GT3.

So what makes it different? Compared to the 2006 911 Carrera, the biggest differences I found are the steering wheel, clutch and exhaust note. The steering wheel is just a dream… I think every car should have one like the GTS. It’s that good. The exhaust note is lovely—it’s deep, rich and has presence.

Unfortunately, the clutch felt too soft for my taste. When I say “soft”, it’s probably meant to be driven barefoot. It felt like there was no resistance… like you were pressing against paper. I guess it comes down to personal taste—for me, it took a little to get used to something that light.

Power was linear, and that flat 6 engine pulled hard. The torque was smooth, but didn’t feel freakish from 0-60. The horsepower kicked in when you hit above 60mph… and that’s where you feel the difference. The upper ranges in 3rd and 4th gear is where the GTS excels. On regular roads, you won’t feel much of a difference, but I bet it’s a whole different story once you’re on a track.

And that’s exactly what my buddy does. He makes trips out to the VIR multiple times a year with this car.

So if you want a car that looks like every other 911 (but with more grunt), go for the GTS. It has everything you need for a daily driver and a track machine. It doesn’t advertise its power and capability with huge spoilers, aero kits or stickers. It’s what you call a “sleeper”.

As I’ve said, there are faster cars, but there are not many that deliver fun and excitement quite like a Porsche.

Test Drive: NSX


Okay, so I didn’t test drive it… however, my buddy took me for a ride. The NSX has a lot of history and heritage. It was once claimed to be a super car, for a fraction of the cost. It didn’t have the most horse power, braking or prestige as a Ferrari, but it could hold its own on the track and road.

So how does it ride? It felt like it was a brand new car, even though it’s over a decade old. Acceleration was linear, the ride was tight, and the handling is up there… like Porsche Cayman kind of handling.

Now, I’ve heard a lot about the car’s brakes being soft… but the car handles so incredibly well, you hardly have to touch the brakes. No joke, my buddy did about 75 around a very hard (90 degree) turn. There was no tire squealing, no slipping, no drama. One word: it’s “neutral”. I guess that’s all attributed to the low center of gravity and mid engine. If you want to find a car that handles, the NSX is up there. It’s better than a 335, s2000, viper, corvette, 370z and probably most 911’s around a corner. The only thing it lacks is power.

The NSX is a true driver’s car and has the reliability of a honda. Can’t really argue with that.

Test Drive: 2006 Porsche 911

I test drove a Porsche 911 (997 model), bare bones model. I’ve test driven plenty of Boxsters and Caymans, but the 911 is much more intense. In terms of handling, the Boxster/Cayman feels like its on rails and the car literally pivots around your spine like a compass. See my comparison here.


The 911 has the same feeling, except that it doesn’t let go of the road… unless you’re going scary speeds. For me, I reach my personal limit before I can get close to reaching the car’s. The car has so much heritage—all the gauges, the sound, the suspension. It’s a really refined vehicle, and I can’t imagine what the newer models are like.

One of my buddies has a 996 turbo, with a couple stages of enhancements (including a roll cage, lighter seats, upgraded exhaust, suspension, etc). The power in a turbo model is just face ripping savagery. Having a car like that on a public road is a blast, but frankly can’t be used to its fully potential. Something like that has to be used on a track to full open up. Anything else would be courageous… or suicidal. 🙂


On the other hand, a standard 911 is plenty for most folks like me. It’s more than a handful, and you can easily get into trouble if you’re not paying attention. While it’s not the most powerful, there are not many sports cars that have the same kind of handling and compliant ride. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of other cars. The exhaust note is quiet and docile compared to say, a M3 or Corvette. The interior is plain as well. No gadgets, no fancy styling, and very few buttons. Its pretty focused, and I like that.

Given the choice, I’d pick the 911 for now. Once Porsche decides to install their naturally aspirated 3.8L engine into the Cayman with bigger brakes/tires, then it’d be a different story. That would be a pretty sweet ride.

For now, the 911 lives up to its reputation.

Test Drive: BMW 2007 335i


Fahad took me for a test drive in his 2008 BMW 335i coupe, and it was a blast. It’s got a very comfortable ride, and can take turns surprisingly well. The engine is very responsive, sending instant torque to the wheels at even low RPMs. It’s a nimble car, and you wouldn’t expect it to go that fast. It’s the perfect balance between a civilized sedan and sports car. For everyday driving, it feels like it has the best of both worlds.

The only bummer about BMWs is that there are literally hundreds of them in this part of town (Tysons Corner). It seems that everyone, including their mom, drives a BMW 3 series. While the vehicle is desirable, it doesn’t feel exclusive. Even Fahad said he wants a M3 now.

Nonetheless, the engine of the 335i is a masterpiece. So if you see a mom driving down the road with one, she might win a drag race at the stop light.

Ps. Thanks Fahad for the drive! I’ll buy your car if you’re selling it later in the year. 🙂

Test Drive: Cayman vs Boxster


(left: Cayman S, right: Boxster)

I had the chance to test drive a 2006 Cayman S and a 2008 Boxster Limited Edition recently, and what I can say is that they’re phenomenal. While they may not be the fastest cars in the Porsche lineup, they are very capable and affordable.

What I can say is, I love the color of the Boxster Limited edition (2.7 liter engine). While the tangerine orange may be as loud as a taxi, it really has a tasteful appearance. The ride is tight, and feels like the car is on rails. The one thing I’d mention is that it lacks a little power. It has a nice pull, but it doesn’t make you go “wow”.

On the other hand, I test drove a Cayman S (3.4 liter engine), and it’s got plenty of power. While most people will claim that it’s still weaker in comparison to a 911, I think 295hp is plenty for this sports car. Any additional power really can’t be used on the street without getting into some trouble.

Regardless of whether you like a Cayman or a Boxster, I can say… get the S model. More HP makes a Porsche feel and sound better. Also, a lot of people say that the Cayman is a new model… but it really isn’t. It’s exactly like the Boxster except it’s got a roof.

Between the two, I’d lean towards the Cayman S.