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I Prefer Sedans: The 2014 BMW F80 M3

When the first images of the 2014 BMW M4 surfaced, I wasn’t a fan. BMWs have been aesthetically challenged for over 10 years now – gone are the boxy, compact silhouettes the manufacturer was once famous for. These days their cars have taken on a more organic look with robust curves lining their bulky exteriors. In BMW’s defense, some of that boils down to heightened crash safety regulations. Ultimately, their cars have taken some getting used to and the new M flagship is no exception.

The way the headlamps flow into the kidney grills has been my biggest gripe about the new 3-Series. From other angles the car looks very good, especially in person. I had hoped the same styling cue wouldn’t find its way onto the M3 but it has. They have gone to some lengths to make it more aggressive and with the new front bumper, it’s a definite improvement. What initially threw me off about the M4 is that it looked like a car that was always intended to be a sedan. Proportionally it looked wrong, however now that we get a glimpse at the M3, things are beginning to make a lot more sense.

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The tall fenders and bumpers feel less obtrusive with the longer body. The car’s shape is more balanced overall.

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However, things get a little suspect at the rear with a bumper that would be more at home on the X4 crossover. Still, the sedan body helps smooth out some of the more striking disproportions.

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I like the way they’ve folded the front bumper’s air inlets into one another. The curves of the M’s bumper work much better with that challenging headlamp-to-kidney grill design.

BMW M3

BMW M3

Overall a big improvement over the M4 in my opinion.

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A good looking interior as well and it’s nice to know it will come with the option of a proper 6-speed manual.

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In contrast, the F82 M4. The coupe still isn’t working for me the way the sedan is. That color is absolutely horrendous. I was left scratching my head when BMW debuted the M4 in that finish at Pebble Beach. Wouldn’t Yas Marina Blue have been a far better choice than Bile Yellow?

I’m sure I’ll gain a completely different perspective once I see the cars in person – they always tend to look better and I’m very much looking forward to that. So there you are, the 2014 BMW M3 and M4. Check out Club Lexus for more photos.

Photos courtesy of BMW BLOG.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT

Imagine if the United States where just as crazy about Italian cars as we are about Japanese and German cars…

What if we were able to import old Alfas and Lancias the same way we do BMWs, Nissans and Toyotas? Then imagine what an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT would look like modified in accordance to the current trends. It might look something like this and my god it’s good.

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I wish I knew the artist who created this render because I’d love to see some of their other work.

This lowered, caged Alfa Giulia on Work Equips is a thing of beauty. Now imagine it red with gold wheels! We’ve got it pretty good in terms of variety and availability in the US, but one area where we’ve always lacked is with Italian cars. Sure they’re notoriously unreliable, but with today’s modern suspension kits, the relative ease of doing engine swaps and retrofits, many of the issues that once plagued these classics would be no more.

I’d put this beautiful, Bertone designed Alfa up against some of the very best looking Japanese and German offerings.

Subaru’s Unicorn: The 22B

Hey Subaru, how about doing us all a favor and building a few thousand more?

Not only is the 22B the best Subaru ever made, it’s one of the best cars ever made, ask any real petrol head and they’ll tell you the same.

A WRC car for the road and with only 400 units produced, it’s the definition of exclusivity. There’s at least one of these in the dream garage I stroll through before falling asleep at night…

Video courtesy of Subaru.

McLaren P1 vs. Nordschleife

McLaren’s video of the P1 taking on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife has been doing the rounds today.

It’s beautifully shot and positively epic in the way that these types of things generally are.

The video wraps up with the narrator claiming McLaren reached their goal of a sub-7 second lap, but did they really? I have to imagine it was pretty close, otherwise they’d have no reason not to boast about their time. Regardless, the P1 remains one of the most exciting cars to come around in years and I can’t wait to see LaFerrari do the same.

Video courtesy of McLaren.

Stuck In Reverse

Funny how teams always look to the past when things aren’t going well. McLaren celebrates 150 races over 8 years.

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I’m all for celebrating history, I think it’s fantastic and absolutely necessary. However, McLaren are having their worst season in 20 years. The young hot shot Sergio Perez has just been sacked, the team are putting their faith in a 22-year-old with no Formula 1 races under his belt and they’re headed for at least another season or 2 of unpredictability with new engines and a possible retirement from Jenson Button.

Maybe the focus should be on the 5-year plan instead of the previous 8? Meanwhile, Martin Whitmarsh continues to carry on with absolute immunity and Ron Dennis wants no involvement whatsoever.

Photo courtesy of McLaren.

Wake Up F1 On NBC Sports

I suppose it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise that America’s lowest-rated network would be incapable of providing halfway decent coverage of Formula 1, but to botch 1 of 2 nationally broadcast events, not to mention the sport’s only trip to the United States is inexcusable.

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Formula 1 is close to wrapping up one its most boring seasons since the Schumacher era. Sebastian Vettel’s dominance is certainly a factor, but race strategies heavily impacted by Pirelli’s hellacious tires, DRS and fuel conservation have produced a brand of racing most fans would likely forget entirely. The overabundance of street circuits on the calendar have also greatly impacted the sport’s entertainment factor. So without even discussing who’s broadcasting the sport, Formula 1 is a tough sell to an American audience perfectly happy with football.

When it was announced less than a year ago that NBC Sports would take over Formula 1 coverage from the ailing SPEED, the response was optimistic. A major network handling Formula 1 would bring it to a national audience and help to grow the sport domestically, or so we thought…

Today’s nationally broadcasted coverage of the United States Grand Prix was atrocious. With commercial breaks every 5 laps, spanning another 3-5 laps, cutaways from the live action to promote other NBC programming and a 13 minute technical error during the podium ceremony, it’s no wonder American’s have little interest in Formula 1. So much of the sport’s success in America is how it’s branded. Formula 1 is the most expensive and glamorous sport in the world and should be handled as such. To watch today’s broadcast live would tell a different story. NBC underestimates the intelligence of their audience. We all have Internet access and are more than capable of learning the ins and outs of a sport. When’s the last time you watched an NBA game where the announcers spent 10 minutes explaining the rules? It should be the network’s assumption that we’re well aware of how the sport works and if not, we’ll take it upon ourselves to learn. By dumbing down their broadcast, NBC is alienating the core audience to which they should be catering their broadcasts towards, the diehard fans. To be a fan of Formula 1 takes a bit of effort. There are untold numbers of technical regulations, an expansive international cast of players and an inconsistent schedule that sees races happening at all hours of the day. To follow such a sport means that the fans, especially in America, are a passionate breed who want to see their sport shown in a proper light. NBC has missed the mark nearly all season long.

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Commercials are likely to be everyone’s biggest gripe, they’re certainly mine. However if executed properly, the network can have their cake and eat it too. Instead of putting the race feed in a 1/5 PIP window, put the commercials there. Christ, even keep the audio for the commercials running. At the very least it would keep the attention on the racing so that we wouldn’t miss so much in the 3-5 lap span of a commercial break. Secondly, the broadcasters should learn when to speak. Leigh Diffey in particular is a broken record during the race – talking over radio transmissions and over commentating everything we can all see with our own eyes. Enough explaining already. Some of us would prefer to hear the cars and team radio chatter. Lastly, the cutaways for other Formula 1 tidbits and NBC promos during the race! No one cares! If we wanted to watch Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea, we would turn the channel. Why on earth would a network direct people away from the program currently airing? I think I’m right in saying that we’re all fans of Will Buxton, who is easily the strongest member of NBC’s team, but I don’t need to know what Will was up to in Austin on Media Day, save that crap for the post-race show!

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It’s easy to blame the hosts for NBC’s less than ideal broadcast of Formula 1, but this falls in the hands of the people behind the scenes – the programming directors, the producers… Until whoever is handling Formula 1 broadcasting in the United States can wake up and do it properly, it will remain a niche sport for fanatics who like to stay up all night. If you want to win the audience, Tire Talk with Steve Matchett isn’t the answer.

Wake up NBC.

Okachan’s C-SER GVF STI

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C-SER has been flying under the radar for the last few years. If you haven’t heard of them, they are Yashio Factory’s Subaru brand. While their GVF demo car isn’t exactly groundbreaking, it’s nice to see Okachan working with the new generation STI.

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The GVF is the brand’s latest demo car and showcases some of C-SER’s unqiue exterior pieces including a rear wing and front canards (which actually look great).

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The upgrades are more than skin deep including a slew of suspension upgrades and C-SER’s titanium exhaust.

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When it comes to the GVB/F STI, it’s been pretty slim pickings the last couple of years. The car never really took off in the same way as previous iterations of the Impreza and aftermarket brands have followed suit. Perhaps the $40k price tag has something to do with it?

Photos courtesy of C-SER.

Voltex S2000

This crazy Voltex S2000 has been making its way around the blogs and on Instagram lately. I hope it drives as good as it looks.

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What happened to Voltex lately? I know they’re still churning out GT wings, but they haven’t done a new body kit in forever. How about something for the GVB STI? I heard a rumor last year that like so many other Japanese shops, they filed for bankruptcy. Any truth behind that? I sincerely hope not.

Photo courtesy of Bill Kwok.

Discowagon’s Timeless STI

Who’s completely over SEMA this week? Lets get back to reality with a very clean STI on this Throwback Thursday.

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The car owned by Discowagon, is yet another fine example of sticking to a formula that works. The Prodrive wheels and Varis lip are a perfect fit.

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Cars like this will never go out of style.

Photos courtesy of luis3rd.