Ferrari 458

photo courtesy of carpaper.net

 One of the best days of my life took place last year. What made it the best day is the 400 dollars I spent for 15 minutes. But those 15minutes were spent driving my favorite Ferrari, the 458 Italia. I was in Vegas for the week, and while walking around the City Center, I see a Ferrari f430. Being me, I went to check out the scene and snap a couple of pics. I look at the sign and it’s advertising an Exotic car driving experience. They had a list of different vehicles including the Lamborghini Gallardo, Lamborghini Aventador, Audi R8, Nissan GTR, Ferrari F430, Ferrari 458 Italia, Aston Martin Vantage, Corvette Stingray, Dodge Viper, Mercedes SLS AMG, etc. Some of the fastest super cars. Now personally, I wanted to drive an Aventador, but that was $100 more. So I settled for my next favorite car on the list, the Ferrari 458 Italia.

 

photo courtesy of autoblog.com

The Ferrari 458 Italia is such an amazing car, one of  Ferrari’s newest cars. It has 570 hp engine. Five. Hundred. Seventy. It is powered by a high revving 4.5l V8 that is mated to Ferrari’s new dual clutch 7 speed paddle shift gearbox. The 458 can reach from 0-60 in 3.3 seconds and has a top speed of 202 mph. Just reading all those numbers makes me feel nostalgic. 

Exotics Racing - Ferrari

photo courtesy of exoticsracing.com

I get behind the wheel of the supercars on a track. The driving experience program integrates classroom education, familiarization laps and on-track one-on-one coaching from a racing instructor into one comprehensive, safe and exciting driving experience. The track was 1.2 miles and I did 5 laps. To be completely honest, I did not go as fast or push it as much as I do with all the cars I’ve driven out of pure joy. 0-60 in 3.3 seconds is something that I personally in the moment could not handle behind the wheel of a 250 thousand dollar car. But thats not because I didn’t want to, I didn’t need to. My adrenaline was pumping just by starting the car and hearing the engine behind me roar.  I didn’t push the car, but I did thoroughly enjoy the experience and it was totally worth the 400 dollars. If you are a car fanatic like myself, I would highly recommend the experience.

e46 M3

I’ve already expressed my love for the fairly new e92 335 and the M3. Lets track it back a couple of years and talk about the car that started my love for Bimmers. The E46 M3 Coupe. BMW first introduced the E46 in 1998, however the E46 M3 went into production from 2000-2006. Literally til this day, I remember being a 8 year old and seeing an e46 M3 revving its engine and then tires peeling out and just smoke from the rubber burning on the asphalt as the Bimmer sped away. Obviously my parents were not impressed of the reckless driver, but man was I blown away. That right there is my porn, and at that moment, I was like a child discovering pornography for the first time. 

Displaying photo.PNGI was 8 years old at that time. Eventually time passed, and my love for the e46 m3 was replaced by the e92 M3. But then something happened. 12 years passed since I first saw an M3, and one of my buddies texts me saying I got an M3. I honestly might have been more excited than him about the car because I literally gassed it to his house and waited there for a cool 30 minutes waiting for him to come home from the dealership. I’m sitting outside of his house when I hear an engine roaring, bright xenon lights approaching, and he pulls up in a beautiful 2005 Silver Grey Metallic E46 BMW M3, pictured to the right(forgive the quality, it was taken with my phone). With beautiful 19 inch wheels, dark tinted windows, headlights smoked out, grill smoked out. And then there’s the entire. Full carbon fiber interior trim, complimented with beautiful, blood red leather seats. I instantly fell in love all over again. Before he could even get out of the car I said lets go out for a spin. I was in the passenger seat and my heart was pounding with the adrenaline rush. You know when you’re a child, and you visit Disneyland for the first time and you see Mickey Mouse for the first time and it just blows your mind away? That was me.

The next night we decided to go out, and lucky me was appointed as the designated driver(again), in none other then my child hood crush the m3. At first I was really nervous for some reason, like someone who’s on a first date. It was his second day of owning the car and I was behind the wheel. But like any successful first date, I eventually got more comfortable. We get to the Bay Bridge, I pay toll, and I let Martino know that he’s my really good friend, and what happens next is part of us being really good friends. I put the car in first, rev the engine to about 4000rpms and release the clutch and let the tires peel out, and within 5 seconds, the 3.2 liter, 333 horsepower engine reaches 60 miles per hour. That is as far as I got before I saw flashing lights in my rear view mirror. My heart went from racing from the adrenaline to just dropping cause I was not ready to get a ticket. Unfortunately for me, the Bay Bridge doesn’t have anywhere to pullover, so for about 2 miles, I had the worst drive of my life as a cop was following me the entire time, lights flashing. I pull over, two cops come on both sides of the window, tell me the windows are tinted, I was driving recklessly, and speeding. He continues to ask for registration, which was unavailable at that time because the car was bought less than 24 hours ago. Martino lets him know its his car, and that I’m just the designated driver. The cops looks back at me and tells me I have 10 seconds to give him a reason as to why he shouldn’t give me a ticket (very chill officer). What better reason is there than explaining how happy 8 year old Zeeshan would be if when he saw that m3, he would one day have the privilege to drive it. The cop laughed and let me go. That was a successful night. Almost 15 years since the e46 M3 was released, and it is still in my list of favorite cars. 

LandRover LR4

My mom used to drive a Land Rover LR4. Man oh man did I love driving that thing. It was such a massive vehicle on the outside, but so luxurious on the inside. I felt like I owned the road behind the wheel. Although Land Rover, with that name, is built for an off road experience, lets start with talking about the on road experience. The LR4 has a 375-horsepower, direct-injection, 5.0-liter V-8 engine, with a smooth, six-speed automatic transmission. For a vehicle that weighs almost 6,000 pounds, that engine performs wonderfully when accelerating. The cabin of the car is one of my favorite things. Theres three sunroofs for each row of seating. Also those three rows of seating are arranged stadium style, meaning the front two seats are the lowest, the middle two seats are higher, and the back seats are the highest, that way all passengers can see whats happening literally in front of them, next to them, and on top of them. The  17-speaker, 

Land Rover LR4 driving through water

photo courtesy of Land Rover US

825 watt Meridian surround sound system is just like the Mercedes c350 I mentioned in the previous post, on steroids with a lot more bass, which personally is what I’m all about when it comes to my music. Going on a road trip and you want to keep some cold drinks with you? Thats fine because theres also a built in cooler box. The car comes with everything else you would expect to see in a luxury SUV including leather seats, heated seats all around, head rest televisions, Navigation, satellite radio, xenon headlights, fancy wood grain, all that neat stuff.

Land Rover LR4 terrain response selection buttons

Terrain response buttons, photo courtesy of Land Rover US

Now lets talk about what the car was made for. Its capabilities beyond the pavement. The technology involved with the steering, suspension and traction working together make the offroad a fun adventure. The LR4’s capability off-road is enhanced by technologies like Gradient Acceleration Control, which helps make steep descents feel more assured,

Terrain Response, which reconfigures the settings so you can take on any surface with confidence, including grass, gravel, sand, and even rocks

Everything about this 6000 beast is more to love for me. The design, the technology, the drive, everything just makes me enjoy driving this car. If you want to feel like you own the road, I would highly recommend checking out the LR4

Land Rover LR4 rear view driving on gravel track

Photo courtesy of Land Rover US

 

C350

This past weekend, I came home to visit my family in the Bay Area, California. On friday night, a couple of those boys decided to get together and go to the city. I had the joy of being appointed as the designated driver. When I say joy, thats not sarcasm, I mean literal joy. One of my friends recently got a Mercedes Benz C350 equipped with the sport package, and I had the joy of driving it around the city all night. Now personally, I’ve always preferred a Bimmer over a Benz, but nonetheless, I had an amazing night driving the c350.

Sport Sedan in Lunar Blue with Bi-Xenon headlamps

Photo courtesy of Mercedes Benz USA

 Now I would say that the c350 coupe is the competitor of the BMW 335i I mentioned in the last post. However the c350 sedan has the same 3.5 liter engine found in c350 coupe so I still compared the two. The rear-wheel-drive C350 sedan produces 302 hp at 6500 rpm and 273 lb-ft of torque at 3500 rpm and reaches 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. Going back to the BMW 335 in comparison, I would definitely say I had a lot more fun driving the Bimmer, however the Mercedes felt like a car I would drive as a daily driver. Not saying I didn’t have an amazing time driving the c350. Putting it in sport mode, I would easily reach speeds of 85+ miles per hour and didn’t even realize it.

The model I was in came equipped with the sports package which included

  • Rear lip spoiler
  • Gloss Black side mirrors
Sport Sedan in Mars Red with Bi-Xenon headlamps

Photo courtesy of Mercedes Benz USA

Although the c350 sedan only comes in a 7 speed automatic, those paddle shifters made the ride a lot more fun. The vehicle was also equipped with the multimedia package, which includes navigation, 7inch screen, satellite radio, all the stuff you would expect to see when buying a 45 thousand dollar entry level luxury sedan. But the thing most noticeable to me was the Harman/Kardon LOGIC7 sound system, which was specifically engineered for the C-Class, the premium digital sound system makes it sound like you are in sitting in a surround sound movie theater.  It is equipped with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound technology, and along with the cars ambient lighting package, I felt like I was in a mini rave on that drive to the city. Another small detail that really impressed me, is on the way to the city, there was a 2 mile stretch of construction traffic. About 7 miles prior to the traffic, the car paused the music and let me know that in about 7 miles traffic is moving at a pace of about 20 miles per hour. The fact that the car was knew that and was able to let me know just blew my mind away.

Sport Sedan in Ash leather with Black Ash wood

Photo courtesy of Mercedes Benz USA

 

2013 BMW 335is

 

One time last fall, it was finals week and I was cramming a semesters worth of 5 classes into one week. When I wasn’t in class I was in the library. It was a long week and come Saturday I came across a conflict. I have finals in two days and my entire family is home, definitely not a study environment, and the library is also closed. Earlier that day, my dad asked me to pick him up from the Honda dealership because he needed an oil change, so I told him I would just take the car in for him. It was about a 3 hour wait, but the dealership had air conditioning, wifi, and complimentary coffee, a perfect study environment for me. So I’m at Honda, and about two hours go by, and my brain is completely fried so I decide to take a break. I step outside for some fresh air and see the BMW dealership right next door. I’m dressed in a nice polo shirt, I look like I could be in the market for a BMW so I go and talk to a sales associate, let him know I’m in the market for an M3 coupe, preferably an Alpina white one in stick, I sounded like a serious customer, but in reality I just wanted the joy of a quick test drive. Unfortunately for a brand new M3, they need to run a credit check before allowing customers to test drive. So instead I just settled for the next big thing, the 335is coupe, and what do you know, they have one in stick, in the Alpina white I like so much. 

2010-bmw-335is-review-36

The 335is coupe is such a phenomenal car. Most people who have some sort of knowledge on BMWs are more familiar with the 335i. The 335is is pretty much just a step up from the 335i and a step below the M3. Before the 335is, the 3 series was pretty much unchanged since 2007. The 335is has a more sporty body, resembling the M3. The “angel eyes” were replaced with led angel eyes. 

The 335i uses the new N55 engine, and the 335is uses a lightly reworked version of the N54 (twin-turbo) engine producing 320HP and 332lb-ft (with an overboost function boosting the torque to 370ft-lbs for 7 seconds) vs the 335i’s 300HP/300lb-ft.

Getting behind the wheel of that twin turbo engine got my adrenaline pumping. I did not treat that car well in the 10 minutes I had to drive it. As soon as I left the lot(with the sales associate in the passenger seat of course), I came to a complete stop and red-lined the rpm and listened to the car roar. The sale associate literally said “lets run it” and I was so ready. I put the car in first, foot on the clutch I revved the engine to about 5000rpm and released the clutch and the car just zoomed off. It was such an exhilarating feeling shifting from first to second, second to third. That’s as far as I could go with how fast I drove it before coming to a turn and having to shift back down. I drove it for about a cool 10 minutes when the sales associate (who also had a good time in passenger seat) said we should probably head back to the dealership. That’s when it was back to reality. I gave him my contact information and poor guy called me almost every day for a week, but I was too busy with finals to answer. I felt kind of bad for playing with his emotions but at the same time I didn’t because I know we both had a good time in those 10 minutes.

If you have about 35-45 thousand dollars to shell out on a new coupe, I would highly recommend a 2011-2013 335is coupe. However if you want the newest 2014 bmw, they discontinued the 3 series coupe and replaced it with a 4 series. Not to say that the 435i, with the same twin turbo engine wouldn’t be just as fun 😉

 

Acura NSX

I moved to California from Chicago around 1998 when my dad got a job in Redwood Shores at Oracle. Being a recent college graduate, my dad only owned one car, a 1994 Honda Civic EX coupe. I was only 6 years old around that time so I was around the age where I appreciated all the little things in life, and my god was I in love with our civic. I honestly thought it was the coolest car ever to exist. I loved that car so much that 15 years later I bought myself a 1994 Acura Integra GSR Coupe, the sister car of the civic.(Acura is the luxury vehicle division of Honda). And then one day, when I was a kid my mom and I were picking up my dad from work at Oracle, and I see the car(one of many I assume) of the CEO and founder of Oracle, Larry Ellison, worth 48 billion dollars today. I was literally crazed with excitement to see that he was driving an AcuraNSX.

Photo courtesy of http://www.topspeed.com/

Til this day I am absolutely obsessed with this car. And the fact that one of the wealthiest people in the world owns one makes it that much cooler to me. The first generation NSX was released in 1991 and continued production til early 2000. The NSX with its v6, 3.2 liter engine pushes 290 horse power and can reach 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds, and 0-100 in 11.9 with a top speed of 175 miles per hour. Unfortunately I personally have not had any first hand experience with an NSX but I do hope once I graduate and am making a reasonable amount of money, I can afford to find and own a first generation NSX, simply to fulfill a childhood dream/promise I made to 6 year old Zeeshan.

 

Acura(Honda) is re creating the NSX, but it is just a concept for now. The first generation NSX was a match to the Ferrari 348, and it is expected that the concept NSX will be a close match to the Ferrari 458 Italia and the Lamborghini Gallardo. If there are any Iron Man/Avengers out there, Tony Stark is seen driving the NSX concept at the end of the Avengers.

“Tony Stark” and “Bruce Banner” aka Iron Man and Hulk getting into the NSX. photo courtesy of Jerry Garret