01st May2017

The Driving Experience: E36 325is

by Michael Chandler

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Ahoy hoy ladies and gentlemen!  And welcome to this, the latest episode of The Driving Experience.  You’ve heard Dave trash on them, but how is are the E36 BMW 3 Series?  Gavin finds out how good of a platform the E36 generation 325is can be as a race car and canyon carver in this episode, which you can check out below!

A big thank you to Scott Michael Chamberlain for Gavin review his car.  Do you have a car you’d like to see on a future episode?  Email us!  mailbag@camautomag.com is how you get a hold of us with such requests.  Thank you for watching, we’ll see you for the next episode!

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*Article, Photos, Videos, and Audio clips are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
18th Apr2017

Audi A3 Prestige: The Little Sedan That Can

by Michael Chandler

If you follow us on Instagram, then you know that the GTI threw a Check Engine Light.  Such a wonderful moment.  After posting about the momentous occasion, and subsequently being told I don’t know anything about cars because I didn’t magically make O’Reilly Auto Parts open at 10pm and have them scan it, Toby from Makes & Models got a hold of me and told me they could fit me into their schedule the following day.  And they did.  Turns out a previous owner decided to spice things up, and cut out the screen protecting the sensor part of a MAF sensor.  They didn’t have a MAF on hand, but they could get one in the morning.  Not wanting me to limp my wounded car back to Salt Lake, Toby set me up with a loaner: a 2015 A3 Prestige sedan.  After many thank yous, I hopped on the freeway and began forming opinions and feelings about the car.

Toby told me to leave it in Dynamic, because it would be more fun.  And when I got to hustle it through some twisty backroads, it was.  Around town, going to work and to see my girlfriend, it wasn’t any more fun than Comfort or Normal.  In Dynamic, the DSG transmission wanted to hang on to gears JUST a little too long, like a dog tugging at a leash because it wants to run like its wolf like ancestors!  LET ME BE FREE MAN-BEAST!!!

Ahem.

In Comfort mode the opposite was happening.  It really, REALLY wanted to get into the higher gears and stay there.  I’m assuming this was to achieve bonkers fuel economy numbers, which the real-time readout in the gauge cluster was telling me it was hitting.  Otherwise, it didn’t want to kick down unless I really got on the throttle.  A little annoying, but that’s the mode I’d choose for a long drive.  Say to Vegas or L.A.  For a normal, boring commute like mine (fifteen minutes, mostly freeway, not a twisty road in sight), I’d leave it in Normal.  Save Dynamic for the fun roads, or if you have a more exciting commute than mine.

Take all that transmission talk with a grain of salt.  If I could, I’d shove it into the GTI in a heartbeat.  Another thing I’d shove into my car is the engine.  It’s a lot the same as the power plant in my Mk6, but also different.  The engine and brakes never left me feeling doubtful.  I had the power to pass people when I needed to, and enough brakes to reel the car in before things got scary.  The brakes were a little grabby, but I’ll chock that up to how cold it was when I had the car.  (The GTI’s brakes are the exact same kind of grabby until they get some heat in them, I’m going to say this is a VAG thing) And despite being all wheel drive, the car never felt like it was pushing.  You could tell it was a front wheel drive based car, but the understeer was very mild.  

This is a handsome little car, inside and out.  While some people would call the black on black interior “boring”, I would call it understated.  Nothing seemed crammed in, there wasn’t anything shouting “LOOK AT ME!  I AM THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN HERE!”  Everything was very German: purposefully placed, and simply designed.  And everything was easy to use.  The most difficult thing I encountered was turning the infotainment system on and off, and that took all of three minutes.

I didn’t spend any time sitting in the back, but they’re leather clad just like the front.  They look comfy…  The front seats were very nice.  Held you snugly, without making you feel like your kidneys were going to be turned into a delightful mush.  And they were heated, which made the cold days much easier to deal with.  Finding a good driving position took me a minute, but I found it.  And after that I drove it to work, then to take these pictures, and then on a fun drive back to my house.

I made sure everything had heat before I got on with the fun, and when I did I wasn’t disappointed.  The shifts were crisp, with or without use of the paddle shifters.  The steering was communicative and pretty sharp.  If you’re looking for second to none road feel, you’re looking at the wrong car.  However, if you’re looking to hustle about and want to know what’s going on with the road so you can make informed decisions: bingo, here’s your car.  The two liter engine pulls hard, surprisingly hard for a small luxury sport sedan.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, it reminded my of Ronda the Supra.  The brakes, once warm, were smooth and bit nicely.  The suspension soaked up the rough road, and didn’t leave me regretting my decision to drive it.  Definitely on the stiffer side, but not off-puttingly so.  

After my jaunt, I pulled into Rich’s Bagels.  I ordered a couple of bagels, and a cup of coffee and sat down to compile some thoughts.  After that Brendon told me that my car was ready to pick up, so I made my way to Layton.  Upon arriving Brendon and Toby asked me the same question: what did I think of the car?  WELL…

It’s a great little car.  If I could, I’d trade the GTI for it.  UNFORTUNATELY the A3 is a bit out of my humble price range, but my situation is probably different than yours.  If you’re looking for a small, luxury sport sedan I’d put this atop the list.  BMW has nothing for you in this segment (yet!), and the Mercedes CLA just isn’t as good.  It looks frumpy, and while the interior is a thing of beauty you still have to look at the iPad like infotainment screen perched atop the dash.  I know that makes it easier to replace if need be, but it looks so out of place!  Meanwhile, the screen in the A3 rises and disappears into the dash.

TL;DR- not the sportiest small German car you can buy, but the best small sedan.  Sporty when it needs to be, everyday transport all the time.  7.5/10, would go deeper into debt to pick one up.

Got a decent sized trunk too!  If you want to buy the car, go to here.

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*Article, Photos, Videos, and Audio clips are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

31st Dec2012

2012 going on 2013

by Trent

HNYThis year has been full of highs and lows. We’ve traveled, we’ve changed things up, added new crew members, lost one important one, and we keep striving through it all.

This year was the most I’ve ever traveled for work before. This site, believe it or not, doesn’t pay the bills. So all of our trips mostly came out of my pocket(thanks to those who chipped in). It was all worth it though, we got to meet some great people, many who are now friends, see/shoot/film some amazing cars, and generally live the dream. Between all the car sites I manage CAMautoMag was the first and holds dear to my heart even though sometimes the other sites get more attention.

This next year we will focus more on racing and hardcore motorsports to further refine what the site is about and keep our core audience happy. We always have [func-shun] for those interested in show cars and the scene surrounding it. Of course we’ll be camping out at the race track in the CAMotorhome this summer to ensure you get more racing coverage and features of those pure-bred track cars.

This year we lost our own, Johnny Northrop, and I often think about texting him or seeing a car he’d love and sending him a picture. He will be missed, and he didn’t want anyone to know he was suffering, he was always putting on a happy face, so we will do the same this next year.

More effort has been put into our Facebook page this year and it is the best place to stay up to date with us. We also maintain our Twitter and Foursquare and occasionally our Pinterest. We’re really everywhere you are. Follow along as we continue this journey.

-Trent Bray

21st Oct2011

Forza 4 Review: What I hate!

by Trent

Forza 4 Review
I have a Playstation 3. I prefer the Playstation 3. I loathe the fact that Turn 10 Studios is a Microsoft company. The only reason I have an XBox 360 at all is because of the Forza Motorsport series. This shows dedication, and in general, I love the game! But, if I have to replace an XBox once a year(not a joke) to get my Forza on, I expect near perfection. This is what I hate about Forza Motorsport 4.

The Load Times of Forza 4

This was a problem in Forza 3, and it’s a problem in Gran Turismo 5. If you want a feature-rich experience, you’ll have to wait around for awhile. As if I needed to wait to drive a painfully slow Ford Ka around a track. Every day, new technologies are being shoved at us to speed up this or that by a small amount. We don’t notice how far technology has advanced in the last few years until we load up the ole gaming console. I thought cramming my hard drive full of nearly 4 gigabytes of content would help speed things along, but no.

The organization of Forza 4

Look, not everyone wants to do the World Tour. I like it to an extent, but I love buying and modifying cars for specific events that I choose. If I want to spend an hour straight of racing a Corvette ZR1, I will. So since they provide the option, you’d think they’d make it look “presentable”. Spoiler alert: It looks like crap! Not the “Oh, this baby pooped, but it’s still kind of cute” crap. No no, this is the ugly kind(I don’t need to be more descriptive than that). Some grey, blue, and green boxes that look tiny even on my 56″ screen is not acceptable in my mind. Spice it up, would ya?
Also, menus, menus, menus. Too many to do what I want. The game is filled with content and you need a way to access it, but is this really the best way?

The difficulty of Forza 4

You can customize your experience with Forza 4 to make it as hard or as easy as you want. I’m not one who turns off every aid on Expert level and tries to lay the smack down, but the ‘Hard’ level of AI cars is surprisingly easy. Lapping cars on ‘Medium’ happens quite often even when I’m in a disadvantaged car.

No Porsche in Forza 4

Yes, this is not a Turn 10 problem. EA Sports is holding out on us since they have the exclusive rights to Porsche in video games. But with all the sales of Forza and the DLC, couldn’t they have dumped a truck-full of money and EA’s door, stormed in, and chained themselves to a proverbial tree until they got their way? I know in the first week of Forza, I personally spent $140 on it. Big deal, they have Ruf cars you say? Not the same, I don’t have the option of racing a Porsche Cayman R or a Panamera Turbo(loved this in Forza 3). Instead I have something that resembles a 911 but has none of the character of one. Believe me, the cars in the game have character.

Kinect on Forza 4

My thought is that Microsoft gave Turn 10 a bunch of money to integrate Kinect into a game that has no business having Kinect. I’ve used Kinect for Dance Central, which is the perfect example of Kinect integration. Forza does not need it and I consider it a waste of space. Head tracking is a gimmick. AutoVista is another. The time and energy could’ve been spent bettering the 4 things above.

Overall this game is a winner and I expect demand you to pick it up, but these are changes I demand in the future versions of Forza. I’m not above switching to a new game, I used to be a Gran Turismo loyalist after all. And now I’m off to kill a couple hours playing Forza.

-Trent Bray

*Article, Video, and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMautoMag.Com

11th Nov2010

Top Gear USA Preview

by Trent

top gear usaWhile down at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Mike and I had the opportunity to preview the new Top Gear program on The History Channel. The first show airs November 21st, but we got to see some of it last week. Read ahead for my impressions. (more…)

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