Thursday Snippets

It’s been quiet around here because there are a few things on my mind.

First, we have a federal election going on here in Australia. The poll itself will be held on September 7. I don’t want to be consumed by it, but I am. I’m doing my best to keep the election off this website, however.

You’re welcome.

Second, this week has seen the climax of the biggest scandal in Australian sports history. The conclusion has been six months in the making and thoroughly consuming all week.

And finally, I’ve got a vehicle inspection happening tomorrow. We’ve replaced Mrs Swade’s 9000. Now it’s time to replace my Alfa Romeo GTV6.

Here’s the car:

Porsche 944 S2

It’s a 1990 Porsche 944 S2 – cross another one off the bucket list!!

I hope the inspection goes well. In fact, after chatting with the owner a bit I’m expecting it to go well. I’ve got the best 944 mechanic in Australia looking at it so if it impresses him then I’ll feel quite comfortable with the purchase.

I’ll let you know.

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Mod Advice (Part 1)

Back in the SU days I wrote a four-part series on modifications to the 1998-2002 Saab 9-3. The cars are very tunable but they’re also quite compromised by a chassis that’s nowhere near as sophisticated as the engine Saab put into it.

In short, you have to make sure that the bits around your engine can handle the extra oomph that Maptun/Hirsch/BSR/whoever can get out of it.

I spotted this old ad for the Porsche 944 Turbo on TTAC today and it presents the case for careful tuning quite nicely. It shows all the bits that Porsche changed when the company went from the basic NA model to the turbo model.

Click.

Porsche 944 Turbo Ad

Bottom line: Responsible tuning isn’t just the addition of a single go-faster bit. It’s a whole-of-car affair if you want to do it right.

——

Mod Advice (part 2)

If you’re taking your modified car to a huge gathering of like-minded car enthusiasts, make sure the car’s legal.

If not, you might find the po-po squashing your mojo.

Queensland police have been criticised for deliberately targeting one of the largest ever car enthusiast events to be held in the state.

…. The promoters had positioned the event as a peaceful day out, with the specific instructions of “No Skids, No stupidity. Don’t give the cops a reason to turn up!”

Regardless of the exemplary behaviour of the attendees, up to 30 Queensland police officers and a special traffic task force blocked the entrance and exit to the event, which was held on private property, specifically to target modified vehicles.

It IS poor form on the part of the police, who should want to build bridges and relationships with elements of the community. Shooting these metaphorical fish in a barrel isn’t really going to help.

But it’s also poor form to drive your car in what might be an unsafe condition. Do your mods carefully and make sure the car’s legal.

All parties (police and individual owners) need to look at doing things better, I’d say.

——

Old man becomes king of the kids

The reviews are coming in and it’s emerging that what’s previously been regarded as a bit of an old man’s brand – Mercedes Benz – might just be taking over a market segment considered the reserve of the young and upwardly mobile – the hot hatch market.

Australian website The Motor Report were glowing today:

After two days in the saddle (and some scorching track time), this I declare: Mercedes Benz remarkable A 45 AMG is the best high-performance hatch ever made, ever offered for sale.

The best ever… simple as that.

And then there’s this from Wheels Magazine (Australia’s biggest motor mag), who are still on their road test right now. This via Facebook about an hour ago:

Road loop today in the A45 AMG and it’s seriously epic. F@$king epic, even. We already knew it was fast, but it’s the A45’s hungry front-end and superb power down that make you grin like a loon. It’s an easy and predictable car to drive hard, but it’s also still exciting. Every motoring hack on the launch can’t stop raving about it. 2013 is proving a great year for performance cars!

The guys at Renault et al. better get their thinking caps on. I’m sure the result will be worth the wait.

AMG A 45 2

AMG A 45

Here’s some video from Autocar in the UK, just in case you haven’t got across this new AMG model yet. It looks like a barn-burner!

Thanks to Turbin for the link.

——

Have a good week. Fantasy Friday returns tomorrow.

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15 Comments

  1. Thanks gents,

    I’m pretty happy with the idea, too. Getting the drivability and relative simplicity of the NA with almost the same power as the turbo seemed like a good option. And I’m pretty happy with the white, too, mostly because the car does seem so well preserved.

    The owner’s a partner in an accounting firm, so hopefully that means sufficient attention to detail and finances for the upkeep (the service history certainly indicates that that’s the case).

    Fingers crossed.

  2. Big fan of that AMG A45. It looks grown up, classy, and very well made, and obviously it’s silly quick – 26.5psi is pretty intense, and apparently it’s lag-free across the range. My 9-3 makes about 18psi peak on Maptun Stage 3. But it’s only a little T25, after all.

    As for the Porsche? Yes. Great car, it’ll be a lot of fun to own and drive. Slightly different to the other vehicles we’ve been going over here, but hey – as long as it puts a grin on your face! Certainly it looks in good shape, right down to the wheels. Like the interior of these a lot – look forward to more photos.

    1. I can remember a time, not long ago, when getting just over 100hp per litre was considered pretty impressive.

      This thing gets 178hp per litre.

      Madness!!!! Beautiful, wonderful madness!

  3. Drive away price here in NSW for the RS Megane is $51,640

    The Merc is $74,900.

    I’m sure the $23,260 makes a lot of difference. Also Renault is a budget brand and Merc is a premium brand so I’m not sure Renault can up the price that high. Still credit to Merc for making a great hot hatch, I’m sure it’ll drive the market onward.

  4. Very jealous. Very.
    I will never forget the time, as a 16 year old, when my best mate said…”my Uncle is coming in his Porsche 944…want a ride?” and what do you think happened next? I got to sit in the front seat!! and it blew my tiny un-educated mind right out the window. One of those moments one savours for ever.

    1. I’ve only driven a couple of 944s. One an 83 model, which wasn’t much to write home about. The other was a very very worked Turbo, which was insane. I’m looking forward to driving this one, for sure. Here’s hoping the test works out OK.

  5. The A45 AMG stretches the definition of “hot hatch” a little too much. It weighs as much as a Saab 9-5 (1998-2009).

    Nevertheless, it’s a very interesting car. When I was test-driving cars last winter, I found the B-Class to be the most naturally stable Mercedes, probably because of it’s FWD architecture. Mind you, that was in a raging snowstorm, but those a great conditions for judging a car’s balance and handling (also a great time to visit empty car dealerships). The C-Class was hilariously undriveable without 4Matic, and numb/distant with.
    What I didn’t like about the car was the fact that I couldn’t find a good driving position (I could in the C), the clunky DCT (transmission), and the cheap control for the DCT. The car also felt like MB was consciously trying to position it below the C Class, and who wants to drive a compromise? I find the A3 and A4 have the same issue: Audi wants to sell you an A4, so the A3 isn’t as good a car as it should be.

    Congratulations on the 944. Looking forward to your driving impressions.

    1. If you take the classical definition of a hot hatch (i.e. cheap, basic, practical and fast/fun) then yeah, this is stretching it. But then manufacturers are doing that. The premium hot hatch is a growing segment and the papers are saying that Mercedes might have it stitched up for now.

  6. Wow…..that A45 AMG looks like a load of fun to drive. (Best part of the video were his giggles over the first few minutes! Anything that can make a care reviewer giggle…in a good way…means the car has some soul to it.)

    The Porsche looks very nice, Swade. Hope that all works out for you!

    And was the new (to you) 9000 what replaced Mrs. Swade’s 9000? I forgot the whole rundown on all your car juggling lately. 🙂

    1. Oh, and if election season down under gets half as nutty as election season here in the US, thank you for sparing us that. 🙂

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