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Moving Day!

behind the wheel wood in blue sun

Dear Readers,

I have the opportunity to move my blog to the Sun Sentinel’s new website, today is the day. My new blog will be called Behind The Wheel. I will be doing weekly car reviews on all of your favorite manufactures. I hope you follow me there.

My first review for Behind The Wheel will be on the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante. It is V12 Grand Tourer that has a price tag of $322,000. Find out if I think it is worth the price by going to www.Behind-The-Wheel.com

Thank you for reading,

Jonathan Brownfield

Behind the wheel of the 2014 Corvette Stingray Convertible

The 2014 Corvette Stingray Convertible on the beach in the Florida Keys

The 2014 Corvette Stingray is such an amazing car, and the convertible version makes it even more fun! What makes it so great, is the thrill it produces while only costing around $50,000. The Stingray is faster than the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, Jaguar F-Type, Audi R8, and the Maserati Granturismo Sport. The Corvette Stingray I tested was priced around $70,000, but that is still bargain compared to the $117,000 Porsche 911 or $126,000 Maserati. It included the Z51 performance package, performance exhaust, and the magnetic ride control.

2014 Corvette Stingray Engine

The car is powered by a 6.2L V8 engine that produces 455 horsepower and 460 pounds of torque. It can do 0-60 in 3.8 seconds and stop 0-60 in 107 feet. So you are probably thinking Corvette vs Porsche, hows the handling? The car handles beautifully! It can achieve 1.03gs in cornering grip. Chevrolet was able to accomplish this by reducing weight and having an optimal 50/50 weight balance. New to 2014 is the use of an aluminum frame, and carbon fiber panels.

2014 Corvette Stingray Fishing

What is also remarkable, is that the car gets 29 mpg. No other car has over 450 horsepower and has 29 miles per gallon. Chevrolet is able to accomplish this by offering a 7-speed manual gearbox and an eco mode that shuts off 4 cylinders when cruising.

White 2014 Corvette Stingray

The new Corvette offers some really cool features, such as a heads up display, a digital dash board, and active-rev matching . Active-rev matching speeds up the engine timing when downshifting – When you are racing and begin to downshift, you want to increase your RPMs so the engine matches the RPMs of the gear it will go into.

2014 Corvette Stingray Grill

Hands down, the 2014 Corvette Stingray is one of my all-time favorite cars – It has the styling of a Ferrari California, the performance and thrill of a Porsche, and it costs half the price… Oh and the roar of the engine is so sweet!

2014 Jaguar F-Type S Review and Test Drive

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I am going to start by saying I love the 2014 Jaguar F-Type! It is my favorite new convertible for this year. Jaguar hasn’t released a true sports car in a couple decades, but this one knocks it out of the park. It is the perfect combination of sports car and luxury.

The car I test had 380 horsepower and a top speed of over 170 mph. I didn’t go quite that fast, but I had a great time!

The car fits like a glove! I felt extremely connected with the car. Especially when I used sport mode. The model I drove featured an adjustable exhaust. So the car is unusually loud when I was racing around town and usually quiet when I was on the phone.

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Jaguar has always been a gentleman’s car, which meant I had the cougars lining up to get a closer look. The cats love other cats! [Cougar is a compliment in my book]

The interior of the Jaguar F-Type S was plush. The seats were designed for a sports car, but extremely soft. Outside of the Corvette, this is the only car I have driven with adjustable sides on the seats. This feature helps you stay in one place while hugging the corners.

Despite not having a dual clutch transmission, the car shifted extremely quick. The steering was very responsive and the car was a blast to drive!

If I has an extra $81,000 I would buy it just because it is so fun to drive!

A special thanks to Alpine Jaguar in South Florida for letting me drive the car. Check our their selection http://www.AlpineJaguar.com

Cruising on the NASCAR track

Ford_Mustang_NASCAR_Track

A couple weekends ago, I took my 2011 Ford Mustang out of on the NASCAR track at Homestead Miami Speedway. The thrill of speeding around a corner at 120+ mph is like no other! My co-pilot for the day was Stephanie Rosenblatt. I used the first 3 laps to get a feel for the track. You never want to push your car to the limits unless you have a solid feel for the course. After a quick pitstop, I got back on the track and was ready to do some damage! This time I was having a friendly competition with a a BMW 335is. Homestead Miami Speedway mounted a Go-Pro in the BMW, but after a lap or two, he was way behind the pack!

Video footage courtesy of Miami Homestead Speedway

Mercedes C250 vs BMW 328i Comparison

When I think of luxury sports sedans, the first thing that comes to mind is Mercedes and BMW. These past two weekends I got to compare both champions of the road.

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The Mercedes C250 sports sedan is a beautiful car, it has great styling and a plush interior. It comes well equipped at around $35,000. The model I dove featured heated leather seats, a soft leather wrapped steering wheel, and a Harmon Karman sound system. One of the neatest features is the ability to remotely lower the windows, an extremely useful feature when the car has been sitting in the hot sun. The base engine is a 1.8L 4-cylinder turbo, which produces 201 horsepower. It is definitely not a race car.

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The BMW 328i sports sedan, puts the sport in sports sedan. The interior was a disappointment, but the 2.0L 4-cylinder engine produces an impressive 240 horsepower (impressive for such a small engine). The car handled great and the steering was very responsive. The base model, at around $36,000, lacks the luxuries you would expect from a car with that price tag: It comes with an imitation leather interior and imitation aluminum trim. The seats are also very uncomfortable with no lumbar support… I forgot. are we comparing luxury sports sedans or just sports sedans?

Conclusion:
The BMW 328i is the car to get if you want performance and need a four door sedan. It was significantly quicker while cornering and faster in a straight line.

The Mercedes C250 is the car to get if you want a true luxury sports sedan. It is quick, fun to drive, and offers a comfortable ride.

BMW X3 Review

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I rarely have bad things to say about German engineered cars, but the BMW X3 is disappointing. My friend Alex and I rented one last weekend for a day trip.

The bad:
The biggest disappointment was that this “luxury car” wasn’t luxurious. The first thing I noticed when I sat in the car was that the seats were not leather, it was plastic! What luxury car doesn’t have leather seats? Also the seats were plainly uncomfortable after sitting for a few hours. The BMW X3 also didn’t gave any wood accents (real or fake) which I have comes to love on Mercedes and Audi. Next was the info / radio / entertainment center. The screen was tiny and but the audio was decent. Like on all BMW’s the blinkers are sticky and often times get confused when using them.

The good:
The BMW X3 has lots of leg room and the info / radio / entertainment center has driver based presets. The 4 cylinder turbo engine is both quick and fuel efficient.

Lexus IS250 Review

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Ashley Cline with her Lexus IS250

I have driven my (ex)girlfriend’s Lexus IS250 a bunch times and have grown quite fond of the car. I am a sports car type of guy and usually don’t enjoy sedans, but the Lexus IS250 brought a smile to my face. The car handles like a go-kart and is spacious enough for a cross country road trip.

I was impressed by the styling and options offered by Lexus in their entry level sedan. The car featured smooth leather seats, wood grain trim, and a large screen for GPS navigation. Using Pandora on Ashley’s iPhone via the radio was fun. It even show the album cover on the screen!

The V6 engine only produces 204 HP, but what it lacks in power it makes up for in handling and styling.