Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Assetto Corsa review: PS4 Pro Boost mode makes this more of a match for GT Sport

Assetto Corsa seems to be a game that just gets better and better. Occasionally, players get treated to new DLCs with extra tracks and cars, and now it looks some gamers can get better graphics, too. A new patch means those with a PS4 Pro are able to get supercharged visuals in Assetto Corsa, and gamers are saying there’s a significant improvement.

To be clear, the new patch isn’t a PS4 Pro optimisation update, like we’ve seen from several developers, and instead comes from Sony itself. Simply put, it’s a universal Boost Mode that gives extra power to games that aren’t specifically optimised for the PS4 Pro, and it appears to have a big effect on Assetto Corsa.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a PS4 Pro to test this out, but several videos on YouTube are reporting a solid 60fps frame rate from the game when using Boost Mode – and that’s hugely important for smoothness and the perception of speed. It’s important to note that the 60fps mode in Boost mode is also constant when there are multiple cars on track.

Because this improvement is just a product of Boost Mode, Assetto Corsa doesn’t have any additional graphical improvements – like better shading, or lighting effects, but it still looks better than it used to. Is this another reason to buy a PS4 Pro, or a reason for PS4 Pro owners to look at Assetto Corsa? Check out the Digital Foundry video below.

Porsche Pack review

Assetto Corsa has been out for a few months now, and Kunos Simulazioni has begun to add new content to the game, in the form of DLCs. The latest DLC finally brings Porsche to the mix, and as you’d expect from Assetto Corsa, the results are incredible. Below you’ll find my review of the Porsche Pack Vol 1, and after that my original review of Assetto Corsa on the PS4. I’ve now also added a section about multiplayer.

Volume one of the Porsche Pack includes some legendary cars, along with a few Porsches you’re likely to see on the road in 2016. There are the relatively tame road-going cars such as the 911 Carrera S and the 718 Cayman S – but the rest of the pack include a range of vintage, exotic – and frankly crazy – cars.

The Porsche 911 RSR 3.0 is a well-balanced classic. As soon as you select the in-car view, it’s clear that Kunos Simulazioni has paid close attention to all the cars in the Porsche Pack. Subtle touches such as windscreen-wiper smudges and dusty dials make the 911 RSR and other cars here look amazing – and slightly better than the other original ones.

Then there’s the 935/78 ‘Moby Dick’, which couldn’t be more different. It’s the most powerful 911 ever made, and streamlined bodywork means it looks amazing – but huge turbo lag means it’s incredibly difficult to control. The Porsche 917/30 Spyder sounds fantastic, and does have impressive aerodynamic grip – but its turbo response can be measured with a calendar. To get the most out of these cars, you essentially have to tiptoe around corners and point them straight – if you’re still turning when the boost kicks in, you’ll probably end up spinning into the scenery.

The 918 Spyder and GT4 Clubsport are the final two cars in the pack, and both are impressive. As you’d expect from a GT4 car, the Cayman is extremely well balanced, and invites you to throw it round. When you do take things a bit too far, it’s pretty forgiving and easy to correct.

In contrast, the 918 Spyder is a beast, but in the best way. In real life it’s the ultimate Porsche in 2016, and uses a 4.6-litre V8 along with two electric motors to create a total power output of 654kW. In the game, it’s equally powerful – and Kunos Simulazioni has really captured the ridiculous power delivery you can achieve when combining petrol with electricity. There are three hybrid modes including hotlap mode, and you can change the percentage of energy recovery per lap. The only issue? It seems to have pitiful brakes, so you usually have to brake around 50m earlier than you’d expect.

Assetto Corsa review

The Mercedes-AMG GT3 has to be one of the most brutish racing cars around, and yet here I am, threading it round the thin, tarmac ribbon of the Nordschleife. Every year, drivers coax powerful GT cars like this one through the timeless curves of the Green Hell – and attempting the feat in Kunos Simulazioni’s Assetto Corsa is an incredible experience.

I’m tiptoeing around it at first, but the more I drive, the more I understand what the car can do. That’s when I decide to push the Mercedes that bit harder; I get on the gas earlier and earlier on every exit, touching the kerbs as I launch out, confident I can predict how the car will behave. After a while I’m braking hard, turning and wrestling the Merc through every delicate twist, taming its 6.2-litre V8 and using the manual gearing to my advantage. For the past 15 minutes or so I haven’t been thinking about racing – just driving instinctively. This is what playing Assetto Corsa is like, and it’s probably one of the best driving experiences around on the PS4 and Xbox One.

If you’re primarily a console gamer, chances are you’ve heard of Forza and GT Sport, but Assetto Corsa’s probably a little less familiar. That’s because for the past two years Assetto Corsa has been a PC-only game, developed by a small dedicated studio and a dedicated community of sim-racers. However, these niche, sim-based beginnings are glaringly obvious when you first boot it up, and they’re both a blessing and a curse depending on how you like your racing games.

For example, it’s clear that Kunos doesn’t have the budget or the manpower of the teams behind games such as Gran Turismo Sport and Forza Horizons 3, as Assetto Corsa’s menus look like something from a PS1 game. They’re pretty bare, too, but you’ll still find options for Time Attack, Quick Race and Hot Lap modes, along with a Multiplayer mode for racing online.

There’s also a Career mode here, but if you’re expecting something like F1 2016’s immersive decade-long career campaign, then you’ll be disappointed. The Career mode here is just a collection of tasks you get to unlock, but it does force you to drive in different cars. There’s a Special Events mode, too, but once again it’s only a superficial selection of tasks in different cars.

While races can be close, pushing you to nail every exit and work for your track position, the AI isn’t great. It’s not as bad as early Gran Turismo games, where your opponents would all drive in single file, but they’re often good at taking you out the race completely. At tracks such as Spa, I was spun out by the AI several times – so much so that I decided to play it safe after my tenth restart.

As for the graphics? Take a spin around somewhere such as Brands Hatch and Assetto Corsa looks nice, but it lacks the jaw-dropping visual we’ve seen in games such as Driveclub – or even the latest trailer of GT Sport. There are some nice touches – especially the reflection of the dashboard in the windscreen when it’s sunny – but overall Assetto Corsa just isn’t as lovely as you might expect for a simulation game. When combined with a total lack of Night mode, and no weather either – something most of its rivals included years ago – Assetto Corsa falls behind in presentation.

Assetto Corsa can’t compete when it comes to the sheer amount of content offered by other games, either. Where Project Cars and GT Sport put hundreds of cars and countless tracks at your disposal, Assetto Corsa gives you around 100 cars and only a few tracks.

That said, it’s probably a bit unfair to compare Assetto Corsa to the likes of GT Sport and Project Cars, because it’s a very different beast. Everything in this game caters towards those who love driving, and that has to be admired. Firstly, Assetto Corsa includes some unlikely but brilliant tracks that will appeal to petrol heads. Larger international tracks like Silverstone, Spa and Barcelona are here, but they’re mixed with legendary circuits like Nordschleife, Brands Hatch, and even Mugello.

It’s the same with the cars, too. The infamous 1989 Sauber C9 is here, and so is the Ferrari 458, a McLaren 650S GT3 and incredible Lotus 98T – by far one of the most powerful, unruly cars in the game. Each car feels different as well, and driving can often be a process of learning each vehicle.

A Mercedes-AMG GT3, for example, feels far less composed through corners than something as squat as an Audi R8 LMS car, and it’s down to you to adapt your driving style to get the most out of it. Playing with the incredible Lotus 98T is another thing altogether, and trying to coax the 1,000bhp, turbocharged car around Brands Hatch gives you an idea of just how good drivers such as Senna, Mansell and Prost really were.

If you’re worried about difficulty levels, you shouldn’t be. Like most racing games nowadays, Assetto Corsa gives you a range of assists, from ABS to traction control to an ideal racing line – and you’re able to change the last two in gradients. This game is certainly playable with a controller, but pad players will only scratch the surface of the game’s physics and tyre simulation, so you’ll really need a steering wheel such as the Thrustmaster T300RS to get the most out of it.

While you’re taming each car, you’ll also experience some of the best engine noises in any game. When watching replays from the outside, engines growl and reverberate in the stands, while in-car engine noises are even better. Kunos Simulazioni has captured every whine of the transmission, every pop on the overrun, every whistle of a turbo, and the results sound incredible.

Multiplayer

I’ve been playing Assetto Corsa for the past few months, so it’s now possible to talk about the multiplayer mode – and on the whole it’s not great. Online races themselves can be fun, frantic and enjoyable – probably because of the type of player Assetto Corsa attracts – but everything else is slightly shambolic.

The lobby is pretty confusing, so finding a game itself is pretty unintuitive.  And once you do, it’s hard to know how to get into a race. You’ll often be trapped in qualifying sessions, only to find your car moved to the grid seemingly at random. There are no replays for online races either, so even if you do have a good race, there’ll be no way to relive it – other than your recorded gameplay. Sometimes Assetto Corsa feels like a game made by a huge studio, and other times it’s clear just how small the project is. Sadly, the multiplayer reminds you of the latter.

It’s a shame really, because the Assetto Corsa console community deserves better. On the whole, Assetto Corsa racers are great at close racing, and I was rarely punted off the track – if anything the AI is much worse. The racing is great, it’s just getting there that’s the problem.

Verdict

If you’re a casual racer and enjoy games such as Need for Speed and Forza Horizon, this isn’t a game for you. Even Forza 6 and GT Sport fans might find themselves wandering, so if you’re after a Career mode and lots of content and challenges, I’d suggest you look elsewhere.

However, while Assetto Corsa isn’t the most complete driving game on the PS4 and Xbox One, it certainly offers the best driving and racing feel by a country mile. If correcting slides, balancing the throttle, and fiddling with brake bias from corner to corner sounds like your idea of fun, Assetto Corsa has no equal on consoles.

Article source: http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/games/1405068/assetto-corsa-review-ps4-pro-boost-mode-makes-this-more-of-a-match-for-gt-sport

Porsche Panamera Reviews

porsche panamera reviews

Our latest Porsche Panamera Reviews

Read all our Porsche Panamera reviews here. Porsche’s first luxury four-door sedan, the Panamera first hit the market just recently in 2010 to a barrage of criticism from the hardcore Porsche enthusiasts. Despite the noise, the Panamera continues to sell well, seeing a facelift in 2013, a variety of hybrid models, and in 2017, a wagon variant called the Panamera Sport Turismo that will likely cater more to families and less to the executive types the car was originally designed for.

First unveiled at the Shanghai International Auto Show in April 2009, the Porsche Panamera is the automakers first proper production luxury sedan. Porsche purists may disapprove of the idea of a four-door Porsche, but they also did when the Cayenne first hit the market over ten years – and the Cayenne is now the company’s best-selling vehicle. The Panamera finds a front-engine with two-wheel drive, with an all-wheel drive version also available. Three years after its Shanghai debut, the Panamera was offered in a hybrid and diesel version in 2011, and in 2013 a refreshed facelift was announced for the sedan; also a plug-in hybrid version -the e-Hybrid – began selling in the US in late 2013.

For 2018, Porsche introduces the all-new Panamera Sport Turismo: their 4-door saloon taking on more of a wagon look including seating for 3 in the back and redesigned rear styling unlike the other Panameras in the lineup.

Article source: http://www.tractionlife.com/new-cars/car-reviews/porsche-reviews/panamera-reviews/

2 new Porsche cars, 2 videos that’ll excite your soul

Are you looking for a luxury car that really stands out from the pack and leaves others in a cloud of dust? Last month at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, Porsche celebrated the world premiere of the new 2018 Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid and Panamera Sport Turismo, and announced that both models are scheduled to hit the Canadian market this fall.

We invite you to click on the link to learn a bit more about them, and also don’t miss the two incredible videos below:

Article source: https://www.auto123.com/en/news/new-porsche-panamera-videos/63587/

Assetto Corsa review: PS4 Pro Boost mode makes things even better

Assetto Corsa seems to be a game that just gets better and better. Occasionally, players get treated to new DLCs with extra tracks and cars, and now it looks some gamers can get better graphics, too. A new patch means those with a PS4 Pro are able to get supercharged visuals in Assetto Corsa, and gamers are saying there’s a significant improvement.

To be clear, the new patch isn’t a PS4 Pro optimisation update, like we’ve seen from several developers, and instead comes from Sony itself. Simply put, it’s a universal Boost Mode that gives extra power to games that aren’t specifically optimised for the PS4 Pro, and it appears to have a big effect on Assetto Corsa.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a PS4 Pro to test this out, but several videos on YouTube are reporting a solid 60fps frame rate from the game when using Boost Mode – and that’s hugely important for smoothness and the perception of speed. It’s important to note that the 60fps mode in Boost mode is also constant when there are multiple cars on track.

Because this improvement is just a product of Boost Mode, Assetto Corsa doesn’t have any additional graphical improvements – like better shading, or lighting effects, but it still looks better than it used to. Is this another reason to buy a PS4 Pro, or a reason for PS4 Pro owners to look at Assetto Corsa? Check out the Digital Foundry video below.

Porsche Pack review

Assetto Corsa has been out for a few months now, and Kunos Simulazioni has begun to add new content to the game, in the form of DLCs. The latest DLC finally brings Porsche to the mix, and as you’d expect from Assetto Corsa, the results are incredible. Below you’ll find my review of the Porsche Pack Vol 1, and after that my original review of Assetto Corsa on the PS4. I’ve now also added a section about multiplayer.

Volume one of the Porsche Pack includes some legendary cars, along with a few Porsches you’re likely to see on the road in 2016. There are the relatively tame road-going cars such as the 911 Carrera S and the 718 Cayman S – but the rest of the pack include a range of vintage, exotic – and frankly crazy – cars.

The Porsche 911 RSR 3.0 is a well-balanced classic. As soon as you select the in-car view, it’s clear that Kunos Simulazioni has paid close attention to all the cars in the Porsche Pack. Subtle touches such as windscreen-wiper smudges and dusty dials make the 911 RSR and other cars here look amazing – and slightly better than the other original ones.

Then there’s the 935/78 ‘Moby Dick’, which couldn’t be more different. It’s the most powerful 911 ever made, and streamlined bodywork means it looks amazing – but huge turbo lag means it’s incredibly difficult to control. The Porsche 917/30 Spyder sounds fantastic, and does have impressive aerodynamic grip – but its turbo response can be measured with a calendar. To get the most out of these cars, you essentially have to tiptoe around corners and point them straight – if you’re still turning when the boost kicks in, you’ll probably end up spinning into the scenery.

The 918 Spyder and GT4 Clubsport are the final two cars in the pack, and both are impressive. As you’d expect from a GT4 car, the Cayman is extremely well balanced, and invites you to throw it round. When you do take things a bit too far, it’s pretty forgiving and easy to correct.

In contrast, the 918 Spyder is a beast, but in the best way. In real life it’s the ultimate Porsche in 2016, and uses a 4.6-litre V8 along with two electric motors to create a total power output of 654kW. In the game, it’s equally powerful – and Kunos Simulazioni has really captured the ridiculous power delivery you can achieve when combining petrol with electricity. There are three hybrid modes including hotlap mode, and you can change the percentage of energy recovery per lap. The only issue? It seems to have pitiful brakes, so you usually have to brake around 50m earlier than you’d expect.

Assetto Corsa review

The Mercedes-AMG GT3 has to be one of the most brutish racing cars around, and yet here I am, threading it round the thin, tarmac ribbon of the Nordschleife. Every year, drivers coax powerful GT cars like this one through the timeless curves of the Green Hell – and attempting the feat in Kunos Simulazioni’s Assetto Corsa is an incredible experience.

I’m tiptoeing around it at first, but the more I drive, the more I understand what the car can do. That’s when I decide to push the Mercedes that bit harder; I get on the gas earlier and earlier on every exit, touching the kerbs as I launch out, confident I can predict how the car will behave. After a while I’m braking hard, turning and wrestling the Merc through every delicate twist, taming its 6.2-litre V8 and using the manual gearing to my advantage. For the past 15 minutes or so I haven’t been thinking about racing – just driving instinctively. This is what playing Assetto Corsa is like, and it’s probably one of the best driving experiences around on the PS4 and Xbox One.

If you’re primarily a console gamer, chances are you’ve heard of Forza and GT Sport, but Assetto Corsa’s probably a little less familiar. That’s because for the past two years Assetto Corsa has been a PC-only game, developed by a small dedicated studio and a dedicated community of sim-racers. However, these niche, sim-based beginnings are glaringly obvious when you first boot it up, and they’re both a blessing and a curse depending on how you like your racing games.

For example, it’s clear that Kunos doesn’t have the budget or the manpower of the teams behind games such as Gran Turismo Sport and Forza Horizons 3, as Assetto Corsa’s menus look like something from a PS1 game. They’re pretty bare, too, but you’ll still find options for Time Attack, Quick Race and Hot Lap modes, along with a Multiplayer mode for racing online.

There’s also a Career mode here, but if you’re expecting something like F1 2016’s immersive decade-long career campaign, then you’ll be disappointed. The Career mode here is just a collection of tasks you get to unlock, but it does force you to drive in different cars. There’s a Special Events mode, too, but once again it’s only a superficial selection of tasks in different cars.

While races can be close, pushing you to nail every exit and work for your track position, the AI isn’t great. It’s not as bad as early Gran Turismo games, where your opponents would all drive in single file, but they’re often good at taking you out the race completely. At tracks such as Spa, I was spun out by the AI several times – so much so that I decided to play it safe after my tenth restart.

As for the graphics? Take a spin around somewhere such as Brands Hatch and Assetto Corsa looks nice, but it lacks the jaw-dropping visual we’ve seen in games such as Driveclub – or even the latest trailer of GT Sport. There are some nice touches – especially the reflection of the dashboard in the windscreen when it’s sunny – but overall Assetto Corsa just isn’t as lovely as you might expect for a simulation game. When combined with a total lack of Night mode, and no weather either – something most of its rivals included years ago – Assetto Corsa falls behind in presentation.

Assetto Corsa can’t compete when it comes to the sheer amount of content offered by other games, either. Where Project Cars and GT Sport put hundreds of cars and countless tracks at your disposal, Assetto Corsa gives you around 100 cars and only a few tracks.

That said, it’s probably a bit unfair to compare Assetto Corsa to the likes of GT Sport and Project Cars, because it’s a very different beast. Everything in this game caters towards those who love driving, and that has to be admired. Firstly, Assetto Corsa includes some unlikely but brilliant tracks that will appeal to petrol heads. Larger international tracks like Silverstone, Spa and Barcelona are here, but they’re mixed with legendary circuits like Nordschleife, Brands Hatch, and even Mugello.

It’s the same with the cars, too. The infamous 1989 Sauber C9 is here, and so is the Ferrari 458, a McLaren 650S GT3 and incredible Lotus 98T – by far one of the most powerful, unruly cars in the game. Each car feels different as well, and driving can often be a process of learning each vehicle.

A Mercedes-AMG GT3, for example, feels far less composed through corners than something as squat as an Audi R8 LMS car, and it’s down to you to adapt your driving style to get the most out of it. Playing with the incredible Lotus 98T is another thing altogether, and trying to coax the 1,000bhp, turbocharged car around Brands Hatch gives you an idea of just how good drivers such as Senna, Mansell and Prost really were.

If you’re worried about difficulty levels, you shouldn’t be. Like most racing games nowadays, Assetto Corsa gives you a range of assists, from ABS to traction control to an ideal racing line – and you’re able to change the last two in gradients. This game is certainly playable with a controller, but pad players will only scratch the surface of the game’s physics and tyre simulation, so you’ll really need a steering wheel such as the Thrustmaster T300RS to get the most out of it.

While you’re taming each car, you’ll also experience some of the best engine noises in any game. When watching replays from the outside, engines growl and reverberate in the stands, while in-car engine noises are even better. Kunos Simulazioni has captured every whine of the transmission, every pop on the overrun, every whistle of a turbo, and the results sound incredible.

Multiplayer

I’ve been playing Assetto Corsa for the past few months, so it’s now possible to talk about the multiplayer mode – and on the whole it’s not great. Online races themselves can be fun, frantic and enjoyable – probably because of the type of player Assetto Corsa attracts – but everything else is slightly shambolic.

The lobby is pretty confusing, so finding a game itself is pretty unintuitive.  And once you do, it’s hard to know how to get into a race. You’ll often be trapped in qualifying sessions, only to find your car moved to the grid seemingly at random. There are no replays for online races either, so even if you do have a good race, there’ll be no way to relive it – other than your recorded gameplay. Sometimes Assetto Corsa feels like a game made by a huge studio, and other times it’s clear just how small the project is. Sadly, the multiplayer reminds you of the latter.

It’s a shame really, because the Assetto Corsa console community deserves better. On the whole, Assetto Corsa racers are great at close racing, and I was rarely punted off the track – if anything the AI is much worse. The racing is great, it’s just getting there that’s the problem.

Verdict

If you’re a casual racer and enjoy games such as Need for Speed and Forza Horizon, this isn’t a game for you. Even Forza 6 and GT Sport fans might find themselves wandering, so if you’re after a Career mode and lots of content and challenges, I’d suggest you look elsewhere.

However, while Assetto Corsa isn’t the most complete driving game on the PS4 and Xbox One, it certainly offers the best driving and racing feel by a country mile. If correcting slides, balancing the throttle, and fiddling with brake bias from corner to corner sounds like your idea of fun, Assetto Corsa has no equal on consoles.

Article source: http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/games/1405068/assetto-corsa-review-ps4-pro-boost-mode-makes-things-even-better

Used Maserati Ghibli Gets Massacred During Review


If you were planning on never purchasing a Maserati Ghibli, this review will do everything short of straight out erasing this car from your memory.

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat. This here isn’t a review of a 2017 Ghibli. This is a used, 2015 model, which means
it’s missing updates such as the new infotainment system, air quality sensors or a wide array of active safety systems.

Yet, it’s still a Maserati. It still has a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 unit, good for 404 HP (410 PS) – which by the way, sounds properly Italian. However, you could say that Doug DeMuro was not too impressed.

After spending a few days with this 2015 Maserati Ghibli, he concluded that the car is by no means worth $80,000 or more. He also started to take it apart systematically, toying with its feelings as if he was a movie villain looking to ruin the hero’s life before finally eliminating him.

The thing is, we can’t exactly fault him for his conclusions – as many of his observations are really obvious and hard to ignore. And yes, the build quality can be described as questionable, especially for a car that costs this much.

We’ll let you find out everything else that’s wrong with the car by watching the clip – but be warned, it’s so brutal, you may even end up deleting the Ghibli from your virtual garage in Forza.

VIDEO

Article source: http://www.carscoops.com/2017/04/used-maserati-ghibli-gets-massacred.html

One Week With: 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE

I can’t help but think, “Who needs an 8,250 rpm redline?” as I row the long-geared Tremec unit as the glorious LT1 V-8 of the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE shouts at the world. Sure, Ford’s Shelby GT350 sounds amazing, but this LT1 is quicker to 60 mph than the flat-plane crank-powered V-8 Mustang (4.2 seconds to 4.3), and it feels as if I’m revving past 8,000 rpm even though I’m shifting at 7,000. That’s the magic of the SS 1LE: It feels like a high-dollar German sports car, and a damn good one at that.

The Camaro SS 1LE uses the same 455-horsepower, 455 lb-ft, 6.2-liter 16-valve LT1 V-8 found in the standard Camaro SS. Nothing else in the powertrain is different, though the 1LE gets a short-throw shifter. Peak power arrives at 6,000 rpm and peak torque at 4,400. Yet, when developing the base SS, like Porsche’s new turbo engines, Chevrolet allowed its V-8 to rev past peak performance to better engage the driver.

And engage it does.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE rear three quarter 03

2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE rear three quarter 03

On open stretches of highway, you’ll find yourself dropping down a gear and crushing the accelerator, unleashing the Camaro SS 1LE’s fury of power and torque. But you won’t want to shift until it screams at 7,000 rpm, letting your foot stay plastered to pedal as the flood of noise fills the cabin. Power swells, but it doesn’t rapidly build as it does in a Ferrari, McLaren, or Porsche. Instead, the gradual buildup of power indeed makes the car feel like it has a higher redline, similar to the GT350 and its full stop 8,250 top end.

It’s that feeling that will make you keep coming back to the Camaro SS 1LE day after day. To get you coming back week after week though, the car’s excellent suspension befits the Camaro’s recent race-car heritage.

Before the fifth generation, the Camaro was dealt the same “couldn’t turn to save its life” plight as other ponycars. The car was a straight-line animal and not much else. Then, a rebellion. Independent rear suspension led to magnetorheological shocks, which led to the last generation’s Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve shocks (DSSV) optioned in the magnificent Camaro Z/28.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE front view 03

2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE front view 03

And while the new 1LE doesn’t use those DSSV pieces, it gets updated, upgraded, and reworked magnetorheological dampers, springs, and stabilizer bars that transform the Camaro SS 1LE from daily commuter to “holy [expletive], how am I going so fast around a turn” with a push of a button. With these upgrades, the Camaro SS 1LE ties — ties! — the last generation Z/28 around Chevrolet’s proving grounds, despite using less-sticky tires and non-carbon-ceramic brakes. But what do all these stats, figures, and performance metrics mean in the real world? How does the car make you feel?

Sunlight fading, a cool breeze wafting its way through the canyons, I’m propelled by furious noise. The Camaro SS 1LE is in Sport mode, with firmer dampening, heavier steering, exhaust baffles open. Throttle response is increased, and traction control is off. I don’t need it. The Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar tires are sticky enough and the slick electronic limited-slip differential sends power to the rear so perfectly that when I come out of a turn hot, the slide is controllable and hysterically good fun.

A puff of tire smoke trailing behind, the car lazily revs to 7,000 before I grab third gear. Vibrations, noise, and the guttural menace of the Camaro SS 1LE vibrates through the suede steering wheel, detailing the rocks and road imperfections. It’s not as communicative as, say, a Porsche 718 Cayman S, but you have to remember this car weighs nearly 3,500 pounds. Yet there’s never a sense of disconnect, letting me confidently push the car.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE front three quarter 03

2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE front three quarter 03

Up ahead, a sharp switchback with an off camber exit nears. I wait to push the aggressive six-piston Brembo brakes deeper into the turn. Nonplussed, the car shrugs and almost destructively bites into the road, nearly halting my forward momentum. The Camaro holds the radius and barely wriggles or writhes out of the turn that normally upsets rear-wheel-drive sports cars with this much horsepower. I’ve been grinning since I started my run, but after that turn and believing I — by myself and not the car and all its amazing systems — nailed that turn, the smile has become wider.

Through each turn, I make a quick glance at the Camaro’s g-meter. I know it’s pedantic and really belongs on a racetrack, but according to Chevrolet, the Camaro SS 1LE can clip 1 lateral g, and I can’t help but try to hit those lofty performance stats. I see 0.76 g, 0.88, 0.93. Close. For a road car, however, on non-slick tires and carrying a fair amount of heft, that’s hugely impressive, especially on such uneven, pockmarked pavement.

When Chevrolet unveiled the Camaro SS 1LE, chief engineer Al Oppenheiser said, “The Camaro 1LE package follows a recipe any track-day enthusiast will appreciate.” And while that’s probably true, it’s up here, in the mountains railing the Krypton Green Camaro, leaving behind a wake of summer-rated tire smoke and aural enchantment, where enthusiasts will truly appreciate just what Chevrolet has built.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE front three quarter 04

2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE front three quarter 04

Yet, everything isn’t sunshine and growly V-8s. There are two problems I’d love Chevrolet to fix: the heavily bolstered seat and the irritating “Skip Shift” transmission programming.

I’m not exactly the slimmest, trimmest, or fittest individual. Nor am I the star of TLC’s “My 600-lb Life.” Yet that’s how I felt as I tried to squeeze my 220-pound frame into the bolstered Recaro seats. The problem isn’t so much the sides as it is the thigh bolstering. The channel that makes up the seat pad is far too tight for me. I end up feeling as if I’m sitting only partially in the seat. Shifting my weight, I either have my right or left butt cheek on the bolsters. On long commutes through Los Angeles traffic, it can get somewhat painful. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I need to lay off the burgers and bratwurst. But then again, I’m not exactly Andre the Giant.

Beyond the seats, the interior offers some hard plastics and a few inexpensive trimmings, but overall it is comfortable if a bit claustrophobic. Standing outside the car, you’d expect the interior to be roomier, as the exterior’s lovely old-school looks and dimensions feel larger than your average sports car. But get inside, and everything is tightly packed. And don’t even think about putting a full-sized adult in the rear seats unless you bring a bone saw or know how to origami a person.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE fender

2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE fender

After killing The Incredible Hulk and putting his skin on as a wrap, the #Chevrolet #Camaro SS 1LE went to get breakfast. (It’s not actually a wrap, its paint, I just had to make the joke work)

A post shared by Kirill Ougarov (@kougarov) on Mar 9, 2017 at 7:17am PST

As for the long-standing Skip Shift transmission programming, it is designed to save fuel when shifting at lower rpms — 35 percent throttle or less. From first gear, the transmission gate will lock out second in favor of skipping to fourth with almost no revs. It doesn’t always feel as if there really is any rhyme or reason to when the computer decides to lock you out of the process, either. Throughout a week with the car, I couldn’t accurately find that 35 percent or less cutoff, and it instead always caught me by surprise. Yet the way this car drives as you approach the limit will make you forgive its little hiccups.

Detroit’s reigning sports-car maker has taken a heavy, lumbering, old-world type of car and built a dominant, yet pliable, monster for the road. The Camaro’s anachronistic exterior may befuddle you at first, but the engineering underneath will make anyone a believer. If you’re thinking about getting a track-ready muscle car, one that pushes you and sounds magnificent, look no further as the 2017 Camaro SS 1LE is one of the best performance cars on the market.

Brawler. : : #brawler #NoBoringCars #growl #wakethedead #donthategetav8 #1le #ss1le #ss #camaro #camero #v8 #chevyperformance #chevrolet #getoutanddrive #drifttheapex

A post shared by Jonathon Klein (@jonathon_klein) on Apr 17, 2017 at 8:23am PDT

Show more

Article source: http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-chevrolet-camaro-ss-1le-review-one-week/

2017 Subaru Impreza review

From a distance, the new Subaru Impreza looks a lot like the old one. It has a very similar shape.

And why shouldn’t it?

Subaru owners are as loyal as they come and, to many, their cars have achieved icon status on par with the VW Golf, or even the Porsche 911. You don’t want to rock that boat too hard.

But get closer and you start to notice that the blockiness is gone, like a chiseled wood sculpture that’s spent some time on the sanding table. It seems very polished.

Expand / Contract

(Subaru)

And it is. Despite any resemblance to last year’s model, the 2017 Impreza is built on an all-new modular platform that will be used for new models of every Subaru family car and crossover in the coming years. And for the first time, it’s made in America, alongside the Legacy and Outback, in Indiana.

FOLLOW FOX NEWS LIFESTYLE ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE AUTO REVIEWS

It’s bigger, too. The 2017 Impreza has the most passenger space of any compact sedan or five-door hatchback, the two varieties it’s available in.

Expand / Contract

(Subaru)

Not that the Impreza it replaced felt very small, but it did feel a little cheap. There was too much hard plastic, and it was noisy. It may have been as reliable as a marble statue of a cocker spaniel, but it was about as refined as a tramp.

Not so, this one. You’ll thoroughly enjoy finding out how long you can drive it before it finally breaks down. The interior is trimmed in soft, top-notch materials, the background sounds have been turned way down and the ride is as good as anything in the class — better if you hit a rutty dirt road. And since this is a Subaru, you will.

The visibility is also outstanding. A low beltline and thin roof pillars offer a panoramic forward view that won’t have you wishing you were sitting high up in an SUV. But if you really need a loftier perspective,  the new jacked-up Crosstrek version of the Impreza will be available in a few months.

As always, the $19,215 Impreza comes standard with all-wheel-drive, and aside from the ancient Mitsubishi Lancer, it’s the only mainstream compact sedan/hatchback that offers it — an open secret to its sales success that, surprisingly, hasn’t caught on across the segment.

Another is its safety. Equipped with Subaru’s optional Eyesight, which uses stereo cameras to enable pedestrian-detecting automatic emergency braking, the Impreza earns perfect scores on both the NHTSA and IIHS ratings.

Eyesight also manages adaptive cruise control and a lane departure prevention system that’s as hands-off effective as anything short of what the top luxury brands offer. Of course, like many of these systems, it doesn’t actually let you keep your hands off the wheel for very long before it deactivates, but it gives you the strong impression that you could.

The one thing missing from this Impreza is power. It still uses a sewing-machine smooth 2.0-liter flat-four boxer engine that has only 152 hp and no torque to speak of. It’s very efficient, though, delivering 38 mpg on the highway in the sedan and 37 mpg in the five-door, the highest MPG of any all-wheel-drive car. If you want more oomph, wait a year or two until the next-generation Impreza-based high performance WRX comes out.

That car should be outstanding, because the Impreza is already very engaging to drive, even with the optional CVT automatic. The steering has weight to it, and the Impreza feels like it’s on rails when you give it power in a turn, the all-wheel-drive system seamlessly shuffling it around to track right down the middle of the road.

And if you buy the optional built-in navigation system, you’ll have no trouble finding new ones to drive it on. All Imprezas also have smartphone-enabled Apple and Google maps integration and a Magellan app that gives you four ways to get directions, plus whoever’s in the passenger seat. It should be the official car of the Redundancy Department of Redundancy. And there’s an eBird bird spotting app that’s probably the most Subaru thing ever.

For the past year or so, the Honda Civic has been the clear-cut best-in-class compact car, but this excellent new Impreza has clouded things.

If the skies open up, I think I know which one I’d rather be in.

———-

2017 Subaru Impreza 5-Door

Base price: $19,715

As tested: $29,260

Type: 4-door, 5-passenger hatchback

Engine: 2.0-liter flat-4-cylinder

Power: 152 hp/148 lb-ft

Transmission: CVT automatic

MPG: 28 city/37 hwy

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor. You can follow him on Twitter @garygastelu and @foxcarreport

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/auto/2017/04/21/2017-subaru-impreza-review.html

Bernhard column: Giving Toyota a run for its money at Silverstone

Porsche driver Timo Bernhard reviews the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone, where his team gave Toyota a run for its money despite its low-downforce set-up.

A six-second gap to the winner after six hours of racing: the first race of the season in Silverstone was an exciting battle from start to finish.

After the preparations in Weissach, the winter tests and the prologue at Monza, I was raring to finally start the season.

We have a new teammate, Earl Bamber, in our car #2 this year. I have known Earl for quite a while now. Three years ago he was one of the drivers in my German Porsche Carrera Cup team; we won races together and led the championship.

We couldn’t keep him in the team for long though, because he was already a great driver back then and taken up as a Porsche works driver. In 2015 we shared the garage as colleagues; he was part of the winning car for Porsche.

He’s steadily developed since then and I’m convinced that Brendon and I will be able to continue our success story with him.

This year the regulations only allow two aerodynamic packages per season, one of which is of course low downforce for Le Mans. In favour of a longer development period, Porsche decided to wait until after Le Mans with the high-downforce package – and therefore we didn’t have the ideal set-up for Silverstone.

It went better than expected though, as both cars ran seamlessly the whole weekend, which isn’t a given at the first race of the season. The team did a brilliant job!

Practice on Friday went well for us and we were able to work on the race set-up in dry conditions. Brendon and myself were in the car on Saturday for qualifying, but neither of us had a perfect lap.

I made a small mistake on my first lap and had to start a new attempt, however the tyres were over the peak and in the end we qualified on the second row in fourth.

The grandstands were full on Sunday and the atmosphere at the track was great. Brendon moved up from his fourth place start to third in the opening corners on the first lap, and was able to keep up with the pace of the leading Toyotas.

He handed over the car for the second stint in second place. At my first stop, the team decided to change onto inters as it started to rain.

It wasn’t easy to find a good rhythm in the changing conditions, but I was able to keep up with the leading Toyota. The necessary change back to slicks shortened the second half of my scheduled double-stint from 29 to 12 laps.

The team passed on a tyre change at the last stop when Brendon drove the last stint to save time, which worked out well as he took over the lead when he came out of the box.

However, his tyres weren’t in great shape anymore, and in the tight battle with Sebastien Buemi in the Toyota he couldn’t fight him off and got overtaken seven laps before the chequered flag to finish second.

Due to the situation with the aero packages, both our performance and our result was better than expected. To only have a six second gap after six hours of racing between two different cars with different concepts is incredible, and exactly what we need in endurance racing.

It’s definitely an encouraging result and gives us confidence for the next race in Spa, where we will run our Le Mans aero package, which should work in our favour. The target is clear: we want the first victory for Porsche this season.

The battle with Toyota promises to make for an exciting championship.

Be part of something big


Article source: https://www.motorsport.com/wec/news/bernhard-column-giving-toyota-a-run-for-its-money-at-silverstone-896040/

2017 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK Automatic

We cycle through hundreds of cars a year, drive tens of thousands of miles, and spend hours analyzing, writing, and thinking about cars we don’t want to park in our garages. And then a Miami Blue Porsche 911 Carrera S drops by for a week.

I want one. Maybe not one as lavishly equipped as this $139,945 Carrera S. If I’m spending about $140,000 in a 911 fantasy, that fantasy definitely involves a $144,650 GT3. Math skills are especially valuable when trying to rationalize an expensive purchase. So, drop the $3140 paint, the $8520 carbon-ceramic brake rotors, and the useful, if pricey, $2590 front-axle lift system that keeps the nose from scraping the driveway, and, well, even the Carrera S’s $104,450 base price is still out of reach.

Yet the want remains. It has a lot to do with the Carrera S’s new twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six. Smooth, snarly, and wildly powerful, this Halliburton case of an engine scoots the 911 to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds thanks to the brilliant launch control built into the Sport Chrono package and the dual-clutch automatic transmission (PDK in Porsche-speak). Select Sport or Sport Plus mode, hold the brake with your left foot and floor the accelerator with your right foot, and the engine revs to 6200 rpm. Release the brake and the car launches with nearly the same surge as the all-wheel-drive Turbo.

One option we’d be tempted to keep is the $6290 Sport package, which bundles four-wheel steering, a smaller-diameter steering wheel, SportDesign side mirrors, and the Sport exhaust along with the (normally $1920) Sport Chrono package and its dynamic engine mounts, Sport Plus driving mode, Sport mode for the stability-control system, stopwatch on the dash, and the aforementioned launch control. With the Sport exhaust—also available as a stand-alone option for $2950—the 911 goes from housebroken to feral with the push of a button. Hit it once and you’re left with a smile that just might be worth three grand.

Like the Sport exhaust, the 911 Carrera S has two modes depending on where and how you’re driving. It operates with the same everyday friendliness as the four-door Toyotas inevitably surrounding it in traffic. Ensnarled in a school of sedans and crossovers, the 911 never calls negative attention to itself or annoys the driver. While the 911 mimics an appliance on your drive through Dullsville, its more intriguing side is always present. The steering has just the right amount of feedback and is resolutely accurate, the engine responds immediately to the prod of the accelerator, and the brakes cinch with a satisfying heft.

To reach our testing facility in Southern California we traverse curly strands of mountain asphalt, where the controls that feel right in a 15-mph freeway crawl start shouting “right on!” as you press the tires toward their lofty 1.04-g threshold. The four-wheel steering keeps the rear stable, and the car takes all that you can reasonably dish out on a public road. There’s not much need to slow for corners, but the 20-inch Pirelli P Zeros and the carbon-ceramic brakes will stop the 911 from 70 mph in a scant 142 feet.

Climbing the mountain, the turbo engine’s roar peaks at 85 decibels from behind the vestigial jump seats that have made the 911 (sorta) kid friendly for more than 50 years. A word about the $3200 dual-clutch automatic: We’d definitely have our Carrera S with the seven-speed manual, despite the PDK’s superior acceleration performance. This decision is not due to any issue with the automatic. The PDK is eerily prescient when it comes to downshifting and holding gears through the 100-plus corners on our way to the desert test track. We just like shifting, matching revs on downshifts, and saving money.

Spend $139,945 on a car and it should look as if it were assembled and painted by Keebler elves on Adderall. In this regard, the 911 doesn’t disappoint. Panel gaps and paint finish are flawless. This car’s Miami Blue, a turquoise hue, costs $3140 and is reminiscent of Riviera Blue and Mexico Blue, Porsche colors of the recent past. Even though a Porsche the color of New Mexico’s state gem is shockingly handsome, we’d save some cash and order Graphite Blue Metallic, a relative bargain at $710.

Clad in leather that’s part of the $3850 leather interior option, the instrument panel is largely unchanged since this generation’s debut as a 2012 model. A notable exception is the new touchscreen that incorporates incredibly useful Google search and Google Earth functionality into the navigation system.

Revealing the magic of this car isn’t as simple as pointing to its superlative test numbers. We drive many very quick cars that fail to seduce. The appeal here is deeper than how hard the Carrera S accelerates, brakes, and corners. The 911 works equally well in traffic on the way to the office, on empty roads on the way to nowhere, and circling a racetrack. Its dialed-in primary controls make it an immersive and interactive experience. A lot of care appears to have gone into building each example, and high-quality materials are used throughout, which helps justify the price.

It also helps that it’s a little weird looking. There’s no ignoring the matter of the iconoclastic rear-engine layout. Clearly, Porsche is wrong about putting the engine in back—even the 911 RSR race car now has its engine in the middle—but the company has made this bass-ackward thing work, in the process setting the 911 apart from an increasingly homogenized automotive world. It’s enough to make you want one.

View Photos

View Photos

2017 Porsche 911 GTS

Porsche has perfected the art of scheduling the launch of new variants of its 911 range to keep something fresh and new in the lineup throughout a model generation. Case in point: This 2017 911 GTS model of the platform launched in its initial 991 form at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show and then updated to 991.2 specs in 2015. One and a half years later, the newest GTS appears—eagerly awaited because it has been one of our favorite models in its previous iterations. It marks the most powerful 911 outside of the monstrously powerful Turbo models and the thinly disguised racer that is the GT3.

Moreover, the GTS has traditionally represented fairly good value—inasmuch as something that crests six figures can, anyway. While the entry-level, 370-hp Carrera comes in at $90,450 and the 420-hp Carrera S commands $104,450, the GTS packs 450 horsepower and is priced at $120,050. Hardly cheap, but the next rung up the ladder is a big leap away: the 540-hp Turbo, at $160,250.

The power of the three Carreras is extracted from the same basic twin-turbocharged flat-six that is mated to a seven-speed manual transmission or the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic called Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe, or more simply PDK, by the marketing department.


More Punch, Right Now

The additional 30 well-fed horses are easily felt from behind the wheel of this emotion-inspiring 911—and heard, too, since the GTS comes standard with a goodie that needs to be ordered separately on the lesser Carreras: The centrally mounted sport exhaust system, capable of emitting and amplifying an impressive range of engine noises. Porsche says the sprint from zero to 60 mph takes 3.9 seconds with the manual gearbox and just 3.5 seconds with the PDK. Subtract another 0.1 second with the extra-cost all-wheel-drive system, which adds 155 pounds but helps put the torque to the ground with a minimum of wheelspin and corrective action by the traction-control system. Given that we’ve seen the base Carrera with PDK run to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds, it’s safe to say Porsche’s estimates are conservative. The rear-wheel-drive GTS with a manual transmission is the fastest Carrera, according to Porsche, topping out at a sweet 194 mph.

The twin-turbo flat-six is so quick to respond that it’s virtually impossible to tell that you’re not flogging a naturally aspirated engine. It’s a high-revving six-cylinder, with maximum power at 6500 rpm, and turbocharging brings maximum torque to a lofty 405 lb-ft. We still love the linearity and turbo-free feelings of the old 3.8-liter flat-six, but it is essentially impossible to find fault with the new powerplant. What’s more, it is rather efficient for something this quick. Fitted with the manual transmission, it gets EPA ratings of 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, and the PDK raises the city figure to an even more commendable 20 mpg.


Shift for Yourself—or Don’t

It’s tough to choose between transmissions, both of which are supplied by ZF. The PDK commands a $3720 premium and brings a weight penalty of 44 pounds, two clear downsides to what Porsche believes is the future of gear selection. On the upside, it can shift gears in an instant, and in Sport Plus mode, the speed and ferocity with which it swaps cogs provides a proverbial kick in the posterior. Aided by the effective launch-control system, it’s no wonder the PDK-equipped car outaccelerates the manual version by a wide margin. The seven-speed stick may not be the ultimate example of a Porsche manual gearbox, but the company has taken some measures to improve on it. Its former unfortunate tendency to guide the driver into fourth gear when downshifting from seventh has been alleviated, and the ’box feels altogether crisper than before. If it were our names on the GTS order sheet, we’d go for the manual, even as we’d wish that Porsche would fit the sweeter-shifting six-speed manual it once offered and recently brought out of mothballs for the limited-edition 911 R, an exotic model that immediately sold out.

One key 911 attribute that appeals to the faithful is the distinctive manner in which the car puts its power to the asphalt: with unmatched immediacy and laserlike precision. It may sound like a cliché, but there may be no other car that feels this close to being an extension of the driver’s own body. (If there is another, it’s the Mazda MX-5 Miata.) We are happy to report that the sensation has not diminished, despite the switch to turbocharging.

Porsche’s brake-based torque-vectoring system is standard on the GTS, and it feels more natural and less aggressive than those that some competitors use, such as the Audi R8. It also has a locking rear differential (mechanical with the standard gearbox, electronically controlled with the PDK) and a lower ride height and a wider track than the Carrera S, plus a high-performance braking system lifted straight from the 911 Turbo. Even the rear-wheel-drive versions have the wide body of the Carrera 4. The Sport Chrono package and its launch-control function is standard, and, for the ultimate in lateral dynamics and stability, buyers can spec dynamic anti-roll bars and rear-wheel steering.

The GTS encourages you to control its vector with your right foot, but it won’t lash out if you do so in a clumsy manner. For a high-performance sports car, it’s remarkably attitude-free. It’s a great daily driver, with good visibility, a relatively upright seating position, supportive buckets good for long-distance travel, and an easy-to-use cockpit with its controls arranged logically. The sea of buttons on the dash and center console are starting to look a bit dated, and the next generation will surely follow the example of the latest Panamera, with large touch-sensitive screens and a more modern layout.


Many Choices, None Bad

The rear-drive Carrera GTS comes as either a coupe or a convertible. The all-wheel-drive version is also available as a Targa with a retro-themed central roll bar and an almost unbelievable weight penalty: 143 pounds more than the all-wheel-drive coupe and 44 pounds heavier than the cabriolet. It’s the only Targa with a standard black roll bar (GTS buyers can switch back to the brushed-metal look if they prefer, while the black finish will be offered on other Targas), and, as with the other Carrera 4 models, its taillights span the entire width of the car.

As for which is the best GTS, that comes down to a matter of taste. After extensive time behind the wheel of every variant, we can assure you that each one delivers a driving experience among the greatest available anywhere.

View Photos

View Photos