Saturday, April 5, 2014

Let's Do The News! (April 5, 2014)

The big scoop today...

- With the success of the 650S, McLaren decided to wave goodbye to the MP4-12C for good and they offer 12C owners a complimentary upgrade with some bits from the 650S such as the new Active Aero software, IRIS infotainment system, rear-view monitor, and DAB radio.

McLaren MP4-12C

- has the exclusive report on McLaren's Project P13, regarding their next work due late 2015.

- The BMW M4 gets a Cabriolet version!

2015 BMW M4 Cabriolet

- Subaru teases next-generation Outback sport utility wagon, which is set to debut on this month's New York Auto Show. Like its predecessors, it will be based on the new Legacy.

2015 Subaru Outback teaser
2015 Subaru Outback teaser

- Kia Motors showcased a teaser for their Carnival replacement and its set to reveal at this month's New York Auto Show as well...

2015 Kia Sedona teaser
A teaser for Kia's replacement to the Carnival

- Cartoon Hangover streamed their "development diary" for their first episode of their new Bee and PuppyCat series coming soon on Cartoon Hangover. Check out their progress:

- PEP reports that a third rape complaint was filed against Showtime presenter Vhong Navarro.

- Dyesebel's Anne Curtis got stung by a jellyfish during shooting! OUCH!

- Pangasinan holds the world record for the longest barbecue grill set.

- Disney's hit cartoon series, Fish Hooks, recently concluded their series finale after three seasons of wet and wild adventures of Milo (voiced by That's So Raven's Kyle Massey), Oscar (voiced by Justin Roiland), and Bea (voiced by Chelsea Kane), three teen fish friends out on mindless mischief fish tank after fish tank after fish tank.


McLaren 650S

After spending three years with the 12C and last year with the limited-edition hybrid-engine wielding hypercar, the McLaren P1, the McLaren Automotive portfolio opened a new chapter by launching their newest supercar that McLaren says it sits between the 12C and the P1 but who cares? Even though this is a new supercar with a new name, the brand new 650S is the result of what happens when you give the 12C the front of the P1 and some new updates on it.

2015 McLaren 650S

So, what's it all about the newest creation from Woking, Surrey? I rather fancy the naming because look at that sounds more like it came from the pages of science fiction books but with a bit of flair on it. Even though it sounds as fancy as Downton Abbey meets Mortal Kombat or maybe Namco vs. Capcom, the name 650S refers to the power output because even though it comes with the same 3.8L V8 Twin Turbo engine as the 12C, it develops 641HP of power output. That's more than what you get from the Ferrari 458 Speciale or the Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4 and with such power, the 650S feels like it's on a class of its own. Not the bottom class or the middle class but a class of its own for the Woking newcomer that looks like a mashup of two of the greatest machines in McLaren history. It can do 0-60mph in under three seconds and a top speed of a dramatic 207mph, similar to the 458 Speciale and the Huracan even though those three are rigged with 7-speed dual clutch gearbox.

Although it may have the face of the P1, McLaren says that this is their new signature design and it seems that future McLaren sportscars will have that P1 look from now on because while the P1 is one of the best hybrid hypercars in history, it sold out quickly just as when it was reviewed by Top Gear Magazine or when Jeremy Clarkson tried one in Spa-Francorchamps so they decided to give their cars the same magic from the P1 and here's the result of all this brilliant experience they felt from the P1.

Of course, being a supercar, it has to be rough and tough as like playing a futuristic first-person shooter game in a ultra high difficulty setting in order to experience the thrills ahead but here on the 650S, it's as well-balanced and as refined like a British luxo barge cruising around Pemberley. It's majestic to drive, it fares well on the normal roads, and on track days...this is the one to have. There's loads of Formula One tech rigged on the 650S to give this car the same experience as a Formula One car because McLaren spent several man hours to incorporate their motorsports pedigree on their cars and for a fun fact, Jenson Button is one of the contributors to the 650S.

There's also a 650S Spider variant as well and although it offers the same thrills as the Coupe version, this open-top version sure looks come in handy for the long journey on the open road. However, since convertibles are heavier than their hardtop equivalents due to the rigidity needs, the 650S Spider is no exception. While the 650S coupe weighs around 1330kg, the Spider weighs 40kg more and as a result, top speed is dropped by 4mph but the 0-60mph time still at three seconds. Despite the added weight, it's still worth enjoyable to drive and when this car come face to face with the 458 Spider, it blows it away like exploding hydrogen bubbles from your head.

The 650S starts at £195,250 while its Spider version is £20k more and that's a lot to pay for a car that is more of an updated version of the 12C but for the sheer driving pleasure it delivers, I have to say that the 650S truly won my heart more than the 12C or the 458. Not only it looks great, it drives better and it doubles as a daily driver. You can use it to drive at the shops but as a warning, this is worthy of being a show off because it draws more crowds than a hot celebrity tripped on a red carpet premiere.

This car is a worthy contender of being one of the best cars of 2014 but frankly, I don't hold much hope because of the steep competition but I'm sure the 650S can manage this so here's a toast for Great Britain for now...

Available colors: Blue, Silver, Pearl White, Supernova Silver, Ice Silver, Fire Black, Volcano Orange, Volcano Red, Volcano Yellow, Tarocco Orange, Titanium Silver, Carbon Black, Sapphire Black, McLaren Orange, Storm Grey, Aurora Blue, and Mantis Green.

Photo: McLaren Automotive

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The first Avenger, Captain America, is back and this time he's taking on a new world and up against a powerful enemy in the sequel of the hit 2011 movie and like all good Avengers such as Iron Man and Thor, the sequel sees what Captain America does and picks up after 2012's Avengers left off or that's the theory.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Actor Chris Evans reprise his titular role as the first Avenger, Captain America while actress Scarlett Johansson reprising her role as SHIELD's femme fatale, Black Widow and Samuel Jackson returns to play as SHIELD's big boss; Director Nick Fury. Struggle to adapt to the modernized world, Captain America is targeted by a deadly conspiracy and he and Black Widow team up to put an end to this conspiracy while being trailed by agents of SHIELD as well as his deadliest foe in the film; The Winter Soldier.

Who is The Winter Soldier? Unless you read the comic books, this mercenary's identity is shrouded in mystery but believe me, this new villain is very deadly when come face to face against Captain America but still, could be worse...

One part you will find it noticing is the scene where Captain America's normal ego, Steve Rogers, mentioned something about “Fury’s last words" and that gives us to the question; is this the end to SHIELD's big boss? If you watched that movie, you'll find out but anyway, onto the part on how this film feels like...

Like all good superhero flicks, it's off to a slow start but when it gets more thrilling, this Captain America sequel is worth promising and once you get hooked to the best parts of the film, you can't get up for a bathroom break even when the movie ends with some cliffhanger on it so in theory, it's worth every breath you take to experience the high velocity of the Captain America experience, something that its previous movie or The Avengers or last year's Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World couldn't keep up.

I believe the staff has done a very good job on creating the Captain America sequel that not only if looks good for fans but it feels good and it delivers the thrills moviegoers wanted for more.

But hey, at least with this Captain America sequel, Marvel's off to a good start as 2014 promises to be a big year and although they'll be showing up more and more flicks based on Marvel superheroes such as Spider-Man, X-MEN, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, its success can't be overlook in the middle of the moviegoer's field!

I would rate it a 4.1 out of 5, meaning that this sequel is a good one.

The New Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

The Camaro has been one of the most iconic muscle cars created by Chevrolet and while it fail to impress against the Ford Mustang and the Dodge Charger during the days of the Cold War up to post-9/11, but when it was return in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, not to mention General Motors' bankruptcy, the modern-day Camaro is all about being a new dog with old tricks and it won our hearts...just. It even landed a role on being Bumblebee from the Transformers movies ranging from the first one, Revenge of the Fallen, Dark of the Moon and the upcoming Age of Extinction.

Over the years, Chevrolet's iconic muscle car continues to grow and in 2012, they had their flagship ZL1 model which is the most powerful Camaro ever made but outmuscled by the 2013 Shelby GT500 by a hundred-horsepower gap but despite the power gap, the Camaro ZL1 still relies on multi-link suspension and magnetic ride control unlike the antique suspension setup from its Shelby rival. The ZL1 did won our hearts just as the normal Camaro do.

In 2013, the fifth-generation gained a minor change and judging by the looks of it, our Bumblebee's not quite looking well. The facelift made it less of a Bumblebee, more of like the fictitious Evolver from the Ridge Racer games, if you know what I mean.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

Despite the disproportionate minor change, looks like the new Camaro is getting something and it's now worth promising than ever because for its minor change, time to hark the trumpets because a familiar name has finally risen from the dead! I'm talking about the Z/28.

The Z/28 is the most iconic model in the Camaro bloodline since the first generation and for the first time in this new generation, it's back in the form of it like a GT3 RS of the muscle car craze because this is by no means the track-focused and hardcore version of the hit muscle icon. Although it can't be described as the "ultimate Camaro" because the ZL1 took credit for it, it almost feels like it is because by the numbers, it went round the Nurburgring faster than the ZL1 despite being less powerful.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 speedometer

So, how did they do it? Well, despite being less powerful than the ultimate Camaro, the ZL1, experts showed that even with the biggest engine, the 7.0L V8 engine, fitted to this Camaro, power is not the sole focus here and instead, they try to make it more track-capable for the Z/28. Tracing its roots back to the 60's, the Z/28 is made to dominate the world of Trans-Am racing and for its remake, they want to make sure it's capable of being corner-friendly much like what Ford did to the Boss 302 three years ago, well now that the Boss 302 is dead and the new generation muscle car is still waiting to be unleashed until the end of this year.

First, they've focused on the chassis development and with the help of the sleek aerodynamic styling and the exclusive Pirelli PZero Trofeo tires, not to mention it lost almost 300lbs of weight, the cornering grip is now 1.08G and for stopping power, the Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes are worth emotional, giving deceleration up to 1.5G.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

With almost 300lbs of weight had lost for the Z/28, it seems that the interior is more driver-focused than the normal Camaro because most of its concessions of comfort have been thrown away while some can be offered as an optional extra. For starters, it has only one speaker reserved for that bong sound when I open the door, there is no air-conditioning meaning that when summer's arrived, I'm going to be too sweaty while driving this car, and no radio meaning you can't listen to the music or the traffic report but who cares about it? This is how harkening back to the "good ol' days" feels like because with stripping away unnecessary stuff much like getting rid of stuff you don't need and save it for donations at the thrift store, you can almost feel its sportscar-like characteristics in it, noting that while it can't be used as a daily driver if you are on the city streets or in the highway, it's worth fun to drive in the open roads or in the track days.

Simplify and add lightness, hmmm? This is what Chevrolet managed to snatch that idea from Lotus in order to create such a lightweight Camaro but what's more enjoyable is how this engine performs. Yes, it's the 7.0L V8 engine from the old Z06 Corvette and having a big engine in the Camaro is no joke because while this engine is co-developed with Corvette Racing, it utilizes lightweight components to ensure high performance and durability, even when you rev it up to 7000rpm. It develops 505HP of power and 481lb-ft of torque and even though it's less than the supercharged ZL1, it's the most powerful natural aspiration engine ever made by General Motors. In the spirit of being a hardcore Camaro, the only transmission you can avail is a 6-speed Tremec TR6060 Aluminum 6-speed manual gearbox along with a limited-slip diff and a cooling system.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

Pricing starts for the hardcore Z/28 is an extremely high $72,705, that's almost 10,000 more than the ZL1 and if you have further explanations why this is the most expensive Camaro offered in the lineup is simple; Chevrolet took the idea from Porsche about charging more for less; the same thing that supercars do; less stuff equals more price and that Z/28 is no exception to that rule but despite the high pricing, you can afford one than the Nissan GT-R or any other lightweight sportscars above its pricing.

Don't forget that despite its high price, the Z/28 lapped round the Nurburgring faster than the latest 911 Carrera S or the deceased Lexus LFA or even the Ferrari 458 Italia!

You know what, I'm starting to like the new Z/28 as much as I did with the ZL1 because being a Camaro with some track-day essentials, I think both of them can do a 1-2 combo on the road and on the track. If you want power, go for the ZL1 but if you are a track-day boy, best with the Z/28.

Available colors; Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White, Black, Ashen Gray Metallic, and Red Hot

Photo: General Motors


In the April 4, 2014 episode of Bubble Gang...

- Emergency room gags

- Too late for work, too late for excuses...

- IKAW AT ANG INA takes on...#depressed!!!

- Tata Lino continues to lend his wise words to us.

- IKAW NA! Bubble Gang does McDonald's McSaver Meals by spoofing this commercial as WCSAVER MEALS!

Bubble Gang does McDonald's McSaver Meals

- So what's the verdict on her manliligaw, Your Honor?

- Istambay, Istambay sa Looban, High School teacher si Mr. De Guzman, babaeng student ay dinaanan, dahil nag-close na ang...PAARALAN?

- Who's starting the vulcanizing union?

- A STARPOK interview with Rey Cardona

Angelo Santos

Rey Cardona

- We check out what would a LALAKE and a LALAKUE do in various situations...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Let's Do The News! (April 3, 2014)

The big scoop today...

- A Lamborghini Aventador exotic car gets air during a multi-car crash in the streets of London.

- Microsoft showcased their brand new Windows Phone 8.1 with their take on Apple's Siri, a personal assistant called Cortana. It maybe named after a character from the Avatar movie but whoever lending this voice to Microsoft's answer to Siri, it's got to be the casting voice from Halo named Jem Taylor.

- Spider-Man meets his mini-me in the latest advert for Evian in collaboration with The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

- There was a shooting happened in the Fort Hood Army base where a soldier responsible for open fire killed three people and leaving 16 people injured before committing suicide at the same place where more than a dozen were killed in an attack five years ago.

- Lucy Hale from the hit ABC Family TV drama, Pretty Little Liars, will be joining the list of celebs who are presenting this year's Radio Disney Music Awards!

Lucy Hale from Pretty Little Liars

- Also; The Vamps, Megan Nicole, Alex Angelo, and McCLAIN will be performing as well!

- Da Vinci's Demons fans and Whovians rejoice! Tom Riley will be making an appearance in an episode of BBC Doctor Who Series 8 written by Mark Gatiss.

Tom Riley

- BBC's hit action series, The Musketeers, has been renewed for next year's season.

- The Risk board game gets a Dalek takeover as Risk: The Dalek Invasion of Earth lets players fight as either black, bronze or silver Daleks of the classic design, or red or yellow New Paradigm Daleks. It's available to order in the UK (as a Forbidden Planet exclusive), the US and Canada (on the BBC Shop).

Risk: The Dalek Invasion of Earth

- The Philippines strengthen their security ties with Singapore and their defenses in the midst of the maritime feud with the People's Republic of China.

- Reports from South Korea are circulating that a possible unmanned drone originating from North Korea (DPRK) have flew over from the Presidential Palace.

- Actress Marian Rivera served as the Ambassador for the Women and Children with Disability.

- Pork barrel queen Janet Lim Napoles stays in Ospital ng Makati but the medics from St. Luke's Hospital will go to her. Spot reports.

- A nursing student from the University of Santo Tomas gambles all of her allowance and decides to rob a taxi driver.

- Senators oppose GM CEO Mary Barra's "culture of coverups". Autoblog has this story.


A shopping mall near the Canadian border...I think

During my spring break, me and my family visited a shopping mall I'd never heard of and some say, it's near to the Tulalip Resort Casino, where we spend the night off. I'm not particularly sure what that is but this place is an hour near to the Canadian border and we came to this mall to see what's what...

Here it is, this place is called Seattle Premium Outlets and based on my observations, this is one of the Premium, branches, located throughout the United States. It's 76 miles from the Canadian border and because this is the only shopping center in the Northwest that is near to the Canadian border...

...I can spot the flag of both the US and Canada in the front! It's's the best of both worlds or in Canadian French, le meilleur des deux mondes.

This is the map telling us the location of the stores you can find on the Seattle Premium Outlets.

Unlike any other shopping malls I've been in the Northwest, the Seattle Premium Outlets is different because the lobby takes place outdoors rather than indoors that conventional shopping malls has to offer. It's fine to visit if it's sunny or fair but when it starts to rain, best to find yourself to keep yourself dry because this is the first I've ever been to a shopping center where the lobby takes outwards, not inwards. If the outside temperature is a bit chilly if you're there, best to wear some warm clothing because your shopping experience is too chilly for shopaholics like me.

We take a break at the indoor food court and for me, I ordered myself some footlongs from Subway. EAT FRESH!

Eating my own sub from Subway...Yum!

I spotted a Disney outlet! Lucky me!

Taking a look on some of the Disney merchandise sold at this branch and my sister, Elise, spends some time shopping for our baby boy Irvine as well as some other stuff.

Spotted a Hot Topic branch!

Nice! A BMO plush! Adventure Timers love to have one of these because BMO is the cutest of the Adventure Time characters.

Look at that hordes of Walking Dead merch...I can't hardly imagine that the hit cable TV show spawned so much merchandising rights and I'm starting to think that I'm quite obsessed with it.


Final thoughts? Well, this place is rather excellent and I can see most Americans, Canadians, foreigners, tourists, and others spend some good time shopping in this place and despite having the lobby outwards rather than inwards like most malls do, it has everything you need...well, sort of.

A shopping center that is 76 miles from the Canadian border...that's very unique for the adventurous people like you and me and if the weather is fine, feel free to visit the Seattle Premium Outlets anytime.

Seattle Premium Outlets
10600 Quil Ceda Blvd.
Tulalip, WA 98271 

Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

It looks like the crossover segment in the automotive industry is going to stay longer than Bruce Forsyth. and those softroaders continue to grow due to the increasing popular demand. Luxury car makers, especially Germans, are no stranger to this category either. BMW has compact crossovers like the X1, Audi has the Q5 and the Q3, and as for Mercedes-Benz...not only they had crossovers like the GLK but now, they've added a new crossover that some say it was a worthy opponent to Audi's Q3 and BMW's upcoming sport activity coupe that is smaller than the X6.

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

This is the GLA and like any crossovers based on their normal hatchback equivalents, the latest entry to the list of Mercedes-Benz crossovers has a message to the rivals and what was that message says? We may never know but it involves swearing, I think. Anyway, like any other crossovers I have ever witnessed, especially the GLK-Class, the GLA feels like an A-Class with a jacked-up suspension that was heightened to make it feel like it's taller than the A-Class.

So, what's it all about? Because this is the crossover version of the A-Class, the new GLA still retains the looks of the present-day A-Class judging by its familiar-looking headlamps, the side profile, and the rear view and if you manage to park this next to the new A-Class, you can't really tell the difference between this and the new A-Class. The same thing when their Q3 looked like the A3 perhaps but that's a different story because the new model is about 10mm higher than any midsize compact hatchback.

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class interior

On the inside, it dons the familiar new Mercedes-Benz interior especially its cousins like the A-Class and the CLA-Class and you still get loads of tech gizmos suitable for the young urban professionals or yuppies. Unlike the A-Class, the GLA-Class has a bigger boot and the rear seats are okay, much okay that having a cramped space in an A-Class despite both of them have five doors exclusively. If you worked hard, you might be tempted to add this car with some optional extras such as the reversible camera, BlueTooth connectivity, Digital Audio Broadcasting, and some others.

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Even though crossovers of today are still focused on being "on the road" rather than being "off the road", the GLA is a bit okay because while some models come standard with front-wheel drive, the drivetrain conventional crossovers do come, the GLA do comes with an optional 4MATIC four-wheel drive system. When it gets rainy or snowy or when the roads get harsher and harsher, this four-wheel drive system really does come in handy. Besides, this drivetrain dons well both on and off the road not to mention the good traction and the ride comfort that is as mild as...mild language and mild lyrics. Let's hope it wasn't too Rated SPG for this until we save it to the AMG model soon.

At launch, the GLA comes with  1.6L petrol engines with three configurations, a 2.0L turbo engine, and a 2.1L diesel engine with some additions to follow later not to mention the AMG model that comes with the same turbocharged engine derived from the A45 and the CLA45 cousins. The 2.1L diesel engine generates about 136bhp in the GLA 200 CDI and 170bhp in the GLA 220 CDI. As for the 2.0L turbo engine equipped on the GLA 250, it develops about 211BHP, almost as spicy as a dijon mustard. Although the acceleration sounds can be a bit of a wuss, the top-end GLA 250 4MATIC can do 0-100kph in 7.1 seconds and it gives up the ghost when it reaches 230kph. As for the 7G-TRONIC double clutch gearbox it feels not that bad. Again, on the scale of Poor, Okay, Not Bad, Good, and Wheely Good, I would say it's on the Not Bad position because even though the double-clutch gearbox now comes with the smoother and responsive shifts, I think Mercedes-Benz could have done better than that, in fact with the update so successful, in theory, I think they might be put it to the A-Class and the CLA-Class as well but frankly, I don't hold much hope.

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Price-wise, the new GLA starts for around 29,304 Euros (estimated $41,000 or Php1.85 Million) so it's expensive to own than the Q3 and the X1 but cheaper to own than its big brother, the GLK. Is it a smart buy, could be but when you festooned it with optional extras and when it breaches, you'll need your own.

Available colors: Jupiterrot, Zirrusweiβ, Nachtschwarz, Sudseeblau metallic, Kosmosschwarz metallic, Nordlichtviolett metallic, Polarsilber metallic, Mountaingrau metallic, Universumblau metallic, Orientbraun metallic, Designo Mountaingrau MAGNO.

Photo: Daimler AG.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Driving Music (What is the name of the song on car commercial?) Vol. 61

Some of your queries may have content that is owned or licensed by whoever copyright holder behind the song as heard from a car commercial.

Your claims are not penalizing your search browsing status. Acknowledge or dispute, welcome back to the segment where solves every car enthusiasts' questions about the title of the song of car commercials...with the risk of MATCHED THIRD PARTY CONTENT on their status. Acknowledge or dispute, it's your choice. This is DRIVING MUSIC on Leopaul's Blog.

Before they can say "Dispute Rejected, Claim Reinstated", here are another set of five Driving Musics that is worth "matched third party content"...

5) Safe and Sound by Capital Cities - from the Mazda USA 2014 Mazda 3 "Dare The Impossible" TV Commercial

4) Walk And Then Run by BSO - from the Seat Leon ST commercial

3) Happy by Pharrell Williams - from the Fiat USA 500L "Mirage" commercial

2) Off & On by Findlay - from the BMW 2-Series commercial

1) Overrated by MIKA - from the Renault Samsung QM3 commercial

So, there you go. Another set of five Driving Musics waiting for you to get a copyright notice every time when you get a hold on those driving musics. 

Driving Music from Leopaul's Blog is the segment where solves every car enthusiasts' questions about the title of the song of car commercials...with the risk of MATCHED THIRD PARTY CONTENT on their status. Acknowledge or dispute, it's your choice.

Let's Do The News! (April 2, 2014)

The big scoop today...

- IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: The Office of the Ombudsman has finally indicted three senators; Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada, for plunder.

- The McClain sisters and Maia Mitchell (Callie Jacobs from the hit drama, The Fosters) will be joining the list of celebs presenting this year's Radio Disney Music Awards not to mention Cody Simpson, Julianne Hough, Kelly Osbourne, and Candace Cameron!

- The Chilean earthquake causes Hawaii under tsunami advisory.

- As the search for the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 continues round the clock, expectations are low...

- A fishing boat from Taiwan runs aground off Batanes.

- Four senatorial candidates who lost last year's elections ask the Supreme Court to nullify the election results because of the alleged "dagdag-bawas".

- Disney's The Pirate Fairy is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray combo pack! The latest original video of the Disney Fairies saga continues as Tinker Bell and her fairy friends come with a close encounter with a pirate fairy named Zarina. This original video also stars Mad Men's Christina Hendricks as the voice of the pirate fairy, Zarina, and British actor notable for being the bad guy Loki from Thor and The Avengers, Tom Hiddleston, lends his voice as a pirate named James, who will be revealed as the villain named Captain Hook himself.

- Doctor Who veteran actress Kate O'Mara, notable for being the Rani in the classic Who, passed away after suffering from a short illness.

- The combination of unsafe speed and worn-out tires is what it's said on the LAPD official report on last year's Paul Walker car crash.

- Peugeot returns to the Paris-Dakar next year with the use of their 2008 crossover. Their upcoming 2008 DKR will have rally legend Carlos Sainz and motorcycle champ Cyril Despres behind the wheel of the French car company's 2015 Dakar competitor.

- TURTLE POWER, DUDE! Check out the latest trailer of Michael Bay's TMNT live-action movie hitting this summer.



Audi A3 Cabriolet Typ 8V

The third-generation Audi A3, the first to be applied with the Volkswagen Group's new MQB platform. It gained in size, lost some weight, and for the first time, it expanded into a sedan version aside from the three-door and the five-door sportback and overall, it handles good. Now, there is a convertible version of the new A3 and if you're in a mood for your weekend break, would the new A3 Cabriolet be your bet?

2014 Audi A3 Cabriolet

This is the open-top version to the first Audi model and the first of VW Group to don the MQB platform. If you have any doubts, this really is it so let's find out what is like to be in the open-top version of the third-generation Audi A3. Although this is much more of a compact convertible, the new model still comes with features that you get from the normal hatchback and saloon versions only this time, with the retractable soft-top roof that can be closed or open for about 18 seconds, even when travelling at a 50kph speed. However, I don't hold much hope for this because when it does start to rain, I could still get wet even after I closed the roof 18 seconds later.

2014 Audi A3 Cabriolet interior

On the inside it still feels like the other A3 variants and even this is a two-door convertible version, there is some room for two at the back but frankly, I'm afraid the rear legroom is just plain too small for the lazy ones like me, the same thing I'd expect from the three-door hatchback equivalent because it takes more than a force to push the front seats backwards by a lever to gain access to the back seats. Connectivity aside, there is an optional MMI Radio that comes with an electrically extending 5.8-inch color monitor and the MMI user interface terminal. If you're a yuppie, it takes time to learn the fundamentals because between you and me, it can be somewhat a bit complicating like the other infotainment systems equipped on any other cars today. Good thing it wasn't a touch screen one because controls are made possible by a simple rotating push switch and some other buttons in it but having a car with too much buttons can be a bit of a mess here.

Because this is one of Audi's first to implement 4G LTE, the new model is tech-savvy and you can let your selfie-prone passenger to surf the net and post status updates on the run. I can hardly imagine what if I was in that position while someone's driving this. I could be spending the whole traffic watching much of those cat videos on the net. Get it?

2014 Audi A3 Cabriolet

My pick would be the one with the 1.8 TFSi because even though the new A3 Cabriolet may come with the base 1.4 TFSi and the 2.0 TDi diesel engine, I still prefer that top model for now because it feels like the same experience I got used to the hatchback model with that kind of engine. It runs pretty well and feels nippy through the corners even though front-wheel drive is standard with the quattro all-wheel drive system will be added in later stages. Because it weighs a bit more than the hatch and the saloon, 0-100kph time is 7.7 seconds and flatout in around 242kph. The 6-speed manual is fine for you and me then but the one with the 7-speed S tronic double clutch gearbox...that's a different issue.

As for pricing, the base starts at 30,500 Euros (estimated 1.9 Million PhP) while the 2.0 TDi model starts at 34,300 Euros (estimated 2.12 million PhP) so it's somewhat more than the normal hatchback model but I'm not a fool because this is more expensive than front-wheel drive convertibles like the Renault Megane CC but still, the A3 Cabriolet from Audi is a class of its own because no other German carmaker made hatchback-based convertible of this magnitude.

2014 Audi A3 Cabriolet

So, there we have it. The new A3 Cabriolet maybe somewhat a bit crampy on the back and a bit less taste when the roof is closed but overall, it still behaves like the same thing and the 1.8L TFSi model is definitely my pick because you can enjoy driving with it and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever until you slipped it up. It maybe an okay car to drive but unfortunately, it's gonna take more respect to give love out to this ride.

Photo: AUDI AG

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Let's Do The News! (April 1, 2014)

The big scoop today...

- NO WATER FOR HOLY WEEK! Some parts in Manila and Cavite, serviced by Maynilad Water Services, will have no water during Holy Week.

- Mitsubishi Motors Philippines buys the mothballed Ford manufacturing plant in Santa Rosa, Laguna, and plans to relocate their headquarters from Cainta, Rizal, and manufacturing begins next year.

Report: Mitsubishi to buy Ford's manufacturing plant in Laguna
The old Ford manufacturing plant in Laguna

- Japanese motoring journalists were invited to drive the prototype version of the 2015 Daihatsu Copen. Yes, the brand's kei sports roadster is back and it will be heavily inspired from last year's KOPEN FUTURE ADVANCED concept as seen from the Tokyo Motor Show. According to reports, Daihatsu will be launching their reborn Copen this summer.

【解説】ダイハツ 新型コペン 新型車解説/渡辺陽一郎 -200万円を切る価格で登場-
Pre-production model of the 2015 Daihatsu Copen

- Number of people died by the deadly Ebola Virus outbreak in Guinea, West Africa, has now risen to 78.

- Looks like Thailand's motor industry is really catching up to the top as Mitsubishi plans to establish their R&D center and test track in this country, and Volkswagen plans to put up their manufacturing plant here. General Motors is no stranger either as they announced that they have plans for Thailand to produce their own GM vehicle to comply with Phase 2 of the Thai government's eco car program.

- Vhong Navarro approves to use his mauling scene for his upcoming film.

- NATO sees no sign of the Russians pulling back from the Ukrainian border.

- There is still no sign of the MH370 cockpit transcript as the search for the missing plane continues.

- Senator Grace Poe denies rumors about her 2016 president candidacy.

- Actress Kristen Bell talks in a recent interview from that she was once obsessed with The Little Mermaid when she was a little girl.

- Manhart tweaks the BMW M135i to have over 400HP of power and calls it the MH1 400, making the almost-hot hatch even more hotter.

- The Philippine Government warns that they are prepared for possible paybacks from China including the sabotage from the country's electric sector.

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