All posts by Ryan Ogurek

Ryan Ogurek is the founder of TDRO.us and a freelance writer and automotive journalist.

Introducing the New Mid-Engine V8 Ferrari: The F8 Tributo

It is that time of year again – with the Geneva International Motor Show right around the corner, the biggest names in the biz are beginning to roll out their latest models… and I couldn’t be more excited. In fact, this is one of those which have had me the most excited: the new Ferrari mid-engined V8 supercar, the F8 Tributo.

The Porsche 911 is widely regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, sports cars of all time. The reason for that is because the car has been improved, enhanced, reworked and reimagined over many generations since the 356 made its debut in 1963. They began with the engine in the wrong place and improved everything until they made it not only work, but work in a way that is effective, fun, and exciting.

This then, is Ferrari’s 911. Starting with the 308 GTB in 1975, Ferrari has reworked, reimagined, improved and enhanced their mid-engined V8 supercar. While they may have given each generation more dramatically different looks (and names) than Porsche with their 911, the lineage still represents the evolution and learning process of a single product line. And so, today we see the F8 Tributo replace the 488 GTB with the latest evolution of the Ferrari V8 line.

As the name Tributo would imply, this car lends tribute to its predecessors – bringing back the twin tail light cluster of the earlier V8 Berlinettas and a slotted lexan rear engine cover to pay homage to the legendary F40. Don’t be fooled though, apart from paying tribute, this car not only takes a big step forward in performance from the 488 but also introduces a new design language for future Ferrari cars.

Power in the 3902cc V8 has been increased to 720 cv (about 710 hp), which is put to the ground efficiently through an updated version of Ferrari’s Side Slip Angle Control. Weight has been reduced by about 40 kg (about 88 lbs), and aerodynamic efficiency is increased by 10% – according to Ferrari.
Those new headlights aren’t just the new look, Ferrari placed vents under them to increase brake cooling and optimize airflow through the wheel arches. Combine all the above with some aero trickery from the 488 Pista – such as that rather obvious S-duct at the front – and a new rear spoiler and it’s easy to see how the car brings all around performance improvements from the 488 GTB.

Inside the F8, Ferrari have modernized the interior while maintaining a similar feel and driver focused ideal we are used to with the 458 and 488. While it may look to be a small departure from previous cars, Ferrari says they have completely redesigned the interior to make it more comfortable and weight efficient. The steering wheel is now smaller, the infotainment is updated and the passenger gets a new 7″ touch screen display – which is undoubtedly an expensive option, however.

Ferrari claims they have even managed to make the turbocharged V8 sound “evocative.” Given the exhaust note of the 488 Pista, I’m inclined to believe them – even if it may be a bit quiet.

Overall, I’d say the F8 Tributo – while carrying on Ferrari’s latest tradition of awkward names – looks to be an excellent improvement over the GTB. I think it looks incredible. I loved the looks of the 488 GTB, and I think this steps up the aggression just enough for 2020. It maintains the Ferrari “gentleman’s supercar” appeal, while being juuuust loud and obnoxious enough to turn heads.

The F8 Tributo represents the future while remembering the past. It carries on the Ferrari emphasis on driving emotion and… you guessed it… soul. It continues the Ferrari “gentleman’s supercar” ideology while bringing in a new look and new tech. It does everything a mid-engined V8 Ferrari should, and I can’t wait to get my hands on one.

Source: Ferrari Photo Credit: Ferrari

DRIVEN: The Tesla Model S P100D – The future of motoring?

Image Credit: Tesla

A few months ago (yeah… I’ve been busy, sorry about that), I finally found myself in the driver’s seat of  a Tesla Model S P100D. Like many, I’ve read the stories of the car’s mythical “Ludicrous Mode” and imagined it as the super-sports saloon of the future… except in the present.

It isn’t that the car is some extravagant concept which will never make production that makes it seem like the car of the future. Not only is it in full production, but you have likely seen many of them on the roads by now. Rather, it seems to be a clear indication of the direction cars in general are heading. The problem is, it isn’t a concept. It is here, now.  So is it any good? Does it drive and satasfy like we expect (and hope) the next great evolutionary step of cars will?

Setting aside the fact that it is fully electric, the Model S has some really cool features that make it stand out from the crowd in the luxury sedan category. It has the option to be fully autonomous (which is disabled in the US until autonomous driving is legalized). It has a trunk in the front, and a rear hatch. It has a million odd easter eggs which are remotely enabled by Tesla. There’s only one feature that has really left an impression on the car enthusiast community, however: Tesla calls it “Ludicrous Mode.”

Ludicrous Mode summons the full power of the motors for maximum torque and horsepower, bring the car from zero to sixty in an absolutely incredible TWO POINT FIVE SECONDS. (What?) Like many, I assumed that the Model S would have a sports car feel – like other fast sedans in the price range.

Well, here’s the bad news: if you think it is going to feel like a sports car because it is fast, you’re wrong. Instead, it’s a bit like coating yourself in an inch-thick butter suit and diving down a Slip-and-Slide covered in baby oil. Smooth is the only real word that applies. The steering is smooth, the gas pedal is smooth, and the ride quality is excellent. In the bends however, I quickly realized it is no “super-sports sedan.” In fact, it isn’t even a sports sedan. It’s a very heavy luxury sedan… which also happens to be really, really fast. The regenerative braking does help to slow the car without braking, but while hard braking is okay, it is no better than I would expect from any normal sedan.

However smooth and luxurious the ride may feel, the way the P100D accelerates is absolutely intoxicating. If you don’t smile, it’s because you are a passenger in sheer terror. I simply came to a full stop, set the car into Ludicrous Mode, and mashed the right pedal flat to the floor. From that point I only had time to give a quick chuckle before realizing I was doing a speed that I’d rather not advertise. while cruising around any forward movement of your right foot is an instant – but smooth – response in acceleration. No waiting for a downshift or boost, just GO.

Simply put, that acceleration is a big plus for the P100D. There are some problems, however. As great as it is, the rush of going from zero to sixty in TWO AND A HALF SECONDS does eventually lose its charm. And when it does, what are you left with? A comfortable, luxurious all-electric car that looks good and goes great right? Right – except just one problem: the Model S still has some growing to do.

While the car is comfortable and serves essentially every need you could ask for in a luxury sedan, it has some problems with build quality. You will notice some body panels may not line up right, and some features which are… not so great. For example, to control the menu there are two vertical thumb scroll wheels in the on the steering wheel. To move the menu selection up, scroll up; to move down, scroll down; to select, push the wheel in. Seems simple right? The problem is, you want to go one click, you go three. You want to select, and it scrolls down as you select the option under the one you wanted. Try doing all this while not taking focus off the road, and you are likely to end up rather frustrated. Yet another example of a less-than-fully-thought-out feature is how you open the sunroof: using that very same scroll wheel… several times. The Model S isn’t cheap either, with P100D prices starting around $120,000. That price, definitely makes what some might call “quirks” seem more like real problems.

All in all, the Tesla Model is a great luxury EV. If that’s why you buy it, you will learn to work with its quirks and you will be more than satisfied. It is smooth, fast, well equipped and extremely practical. If you expect it to be the replacement for your C63AMG – simply put – you’re going to get bored. As for me, I’ll wait for the next model  before giving it a place in my dream garage – hopefully with a few less quirks and misaligned panels.

Last but definitely not least, I’d like to give a big thanks to David at Buerkle Acura in Minneapolis, MN for making this test drive possible. Buerkle Acura has offered some excellent test drive events, and has been great to work with thus far, so please check them out (not a paid ad). They get some really great new and used cars, such as the Model S in question and a few of the new NSX.

David Marschinke of Buerkle Acura

Introducing the first addition to the TDRO garage!

That’s right! The time has finally come! The first official addition to the TDRO garage has arrived… and it’s rather German.

Not only is it German, it’s nearly a classic. As you may have guessed by now if you follow me on social media (if you don’t, you really should), it is a BMW 325i. More specifically it is an E46 325i, making it one of the all time great BMW’s (at least in my mind).  There are a number of reasons I chose this model and this particular car, but first let’s take a quick look at the E46 325i’s details.

The E46 325i began production in 2001, featuring a 2.5 liter straight-six blasting out a mind-bending 189 hp… okay, so maybe not so mind-bending after all. However, the car’s balance and cornering ability are what set it out as one of the all time greats. The combination of a well-balanced, rear-wheel-drive sedan with a manual transmission give the car a very sporty feel.

Okay so it’s no 812 Superfast and obviously, I haven’t chosen the 325 for its speed. While the M54 engine may not be particularly powerful by today’s standards, let’s keep in mind, this is a 16 year old car. In a sense, this car is nearly a classic. The E46 chassis was one of the last great designs before things began to uh… inflate. Modern cars are heavy and big. Lots of insulation. Lots of safety features. Lots of, well, everything. Not only has this made cars grow fatter and heavier, It has complicated in shrunk interiors. The E46 came just before this growth really began, and therefore doesn’t suffer the same weightiness.  The doors are thin, the cabin is spacious despite the sedan’s compact design. The dash is simple, without too much clutter and gadgets to keep you from focusing on what you really need to.

At this point, you might be wondering, why not an M3? It has all the good looks and charm of the 325, but with the addition of a sixth gear and another 150 hp (nearly). The answer to that is simple. First of all, an E46 M3 in average condition costs about twice as much as a 325 or 330 in excellent condition. For the cost of an M3, I can get a 325 or 330 plus enough performance parts to make it considerably faster and better on track than the M3. When it came down to it, my choice between 325 and 330 came down to the best car available. Many (if not most) E46s on the used market have at some point been heavily modified and beaten to within an inch of its life by some guy who wears overpriced sports sunglasses and doesn’t know what heel-toe or throttle blipping is. Many of these cars probably have an ebay coffee-can muffler, a light-up shift knob atop a hacksawed off shifter lever and a “cold air intake” that sucks more mud and bugs into the intake than an anteater on Thanksgiving. Okay, maybe that is an exaggeration, but not by much.

This particular 325i has under 100k miles, essentially one owner (in California) and is in unusually immaculate condition. There are of course, a few minor flaws, but they can all easily be addressed. Over time, I plan to do a massive array of performance mods which will hopefully result in a car which is as fast or faster around a track as a new M3, for around the cost of a fifteen-year-old M3. Currently the car is bone stock, but that hasn’t stopped me from having a bit of fun – which you will see very soon! Now, it’s time to start preparing to get on track!

Stay tuned!

COMING SOON: The TDRO Store!!!

 

Track Day with Ryan Ogurek is proud to announce the TDRO Store will soon be open for business!

Track Day with Ryan Ogurek will soon include a new storefront where you can purchase high-resolution copies and high-quality canvas prints of your favorite photos from TDRO.

Our canvas prints are created from gallery-quality, eco-friendly, 100% PVC free canvas, and are wrapped on a flawless gallery-depth wood frame. These unique canvas photos can showcase your love for performance cars and will compliment any setting, with professional quality and craftsmanship.

Select photos and canvases will be available immediately upon the TDRO Store’s grand opening – date to be announced soon – and additional items will be announced in the future!

The TDRO Store will be launching soon, so keep an eye out for more announcements and possible coupon codes!

Say ‘hello’ to a new Ferrari: the Portofino

That’s right! It’s a new Ferrari! Set to replace the California, the Portofino will feature a host of improvements over its predecessor, along with new styling, a new chassis and more power! The question is: Will it be a “real Ferrari?”

The Ferrari California has remained the “entry-level” Ferrari for nearly ten years. Despite the length of its life, the California was never truly accepted until it was given new turbo-charged life with the California T for 2015. In many ways, it was too soft. The California’s looks were smoothed out; the edges softened, the corners rounded. The engine made a decent noise – when compared to a Mini – but it fell far short when compared to that of the 458 Spider. Its ride was smoother, but its abilities and intensity limited. The California was a great car, but was it a “real Ferrari?” Many felt not, and unfortunately the car went largely unnoticed by much of the Supercar world. Ferrari did manage to essentially remedy the problem in 2014, by adding in a turbo, bringing an additional 101 hp, and picking up some more aggressive styling cues. Now, they have taken that lesson forward to produce an all-new car.

The Portofino, which is set for a September debut in the Frankfurt International Auto Show, will arrive for the 2018 model year as the new Ferrari drop-top GT. While it hasn’t completely lost the downturned nose of the California, it certainly does have significantly more aggressive styling, and brings with it a new color: Rosso Portofino.

Along with better looks, the Portofino features a new, lighter, more rigid chassis to accompany its turbocharged V8. While being significantly lighter than the California T, the Portofino pushes out an additional 40 hp with the help of new pistons, connecting rods, and software. The increase in power and wieght reduction means the Portofino makes it from standstill to 62mph in just 3.5 seconds. Ferrari has also spent some time “enhancing” the sound from the Portofino’s exhaust.

The Portofino has also been fitted with Ferrari’s E-Diff3 electronic rear differential with F1-Trac. Ferrari has also decided to give the Portofino electronic steering, with a steering ratio reduced by seven percent. The damping system has been improved as well, to provide a better ride and performance simultaneously. Just in case you’re not sure what all that means, I’ll tell you. It means the Portofino can corner… aggressively.

Ferrari hasn’t stopped at looks and performance either. The Portofino features a new 10.2″ touchscreen infotainment system, new A/C, new seats (which Ferrari claims “boosts legroom for rear seat passengers,” although you may still have to decapitate them to close the top), a new steering wheel and a new wind deflector.

So it sounds like the Portofino could finally be a winning combination for an “entry-level” Ferrari. It’s fast, it looks good, sounds good (we expect), the top goes down and it might even fit unusually small adults into the rear seats. It sounds like, dare I say it, a “real Ferrari.” Although, I have to say, I’m still not that excited.

Those of you who who know me or have read a lot of my work will know, I love Ferraris. Ferrari is the only brand that consistently makes cars that make me want them more than anything else. I love the looks, the sound, and perhaps most of all, the way they drive. And for some reason, I’m still not that excited about the Portofino. Maybe it is just leftover criticism from the California, or maybe it is the fact that deep down I know Ferrari may never give us what we truly want: a bloodthirsty, drop-top, GT with ALL of the aggressive styling of the 812 and the very same V12 in the front.

 

Is the F430 the new ultimate bargain Ferrari?

For some time, the F355 sat at the perfect price range to be the ultimate bargain Ferrari. Now, however, the F355’s indirect successor – the F430 (following the 360) – has dropped down to the $100,000 price range. Does this make it the new ultimate bargain Ferrari?

While the 355 does certainly have some strong points, such as the absolutely delicious sound it produces with a good exhaust or the fact that finding one with a gated-manual gearbox is slightly less difficult, the performance advantages of the F430 are undeniable. The F430 presents a 108 hp gain over the F355, for a total of 483 hp from its 4.3 liter V8. While the F430 is slightly heavier than the F355, the 430’s performance numbers speak for themselves: 0 to 60 (mph) in just 3.6 seconds, nearly a second faster than the F355; 0 to 100 (mph) in 8.3 seconds, compared to 11.2 in the F355. If you manage to get to top speed, the F430 will also take you 186 mph – a whole 7 mph faster than the F355.

Having said that, we are talking about a bargain here, so of course cost is a factor; it isn’t all about the ultimate performance machine. If it was, we would just pony up the extra $100k and buy a 458, right? While 458 prices remain around the $200,000 mark, F430s have dropped to around half that price, and F355s are anywhere from $65,000 to $115,00. So, you might think well hey, I can save myself $30,000 and get the 355, right? Well, you might want to consider the fact that the F355 is a car (and a Italian one at that) born out of the early nineties. Reliability might be an issue, to say the least, and the maintenance costs are going to be quite high.

Ah, but wait! There is the 360 Modena! Succeeded by the F430, and the F355s successor, it stands to reason that the 360 should sit in the middle as far as prices go. While some can be found for as little as $75,000, the 360 still reaches prices as high as $130,000 for highly spec’d, low-mileage examples. So, unless you are a lucky buyer who has found the highly sought after gated-manual gearbox, why not get the nicer, newer, better-looking F430?

The F430 has all the looks, feels and sounds (included in the video coming soon!) of a proper Ferrari. It is a proper Ferrari. And now… it is a hundred-thousand-dollar-Ferrari. Ultimate bargain Ferrari? I think so.

Supercar Saturday photo gallery

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Here’s a collection of photo’s from the two Supercar Saturday events I have attended so far. Special thanks to MN Exotics and Supercars for hosting the event!

View the slideshow above, or click the thumbnails below to open the photos full size.

And don’t forget to check out the video!

Supercar withdrawls are real… Save yourself with Supercar Saturday

I’ve packed up my gear and headed to another Supercar Saturday in Bloomington, MN to try and stave off the supercar withdrawls for another month.

Unfortunately, I ran out of battery much faster than I anticipated, so I didn’t get to do as much vlog style commentary as I’d hoped. That’s on the agenda for next time. I also haven’t yet gotten a new gimbal, so yeah… sorry about the shakiness.

Don’t forget to like, share, comment and subscribe!

New photos and video coming soon!

A determined looking Lamborghini Huracan, hidden behind a Lotus Evora and an Aston Martin V12 Vantage. Front car is an Aston Martin Vantage GT.

The Supercar Saturday meet hosted by MN Exotics and Supercars in Bloomington, MN this past weekend was excellent. Many excellent cars were in attendance, even a few surprises. A full photo gallery and video will be coming soon! 

Until then, here’s a few teasers! Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook, and subscribe to our Youtube channel to stay up to date on the latest content!

If you haven’t already seen my short video from the very first Supercar Saturday, be sure to check it out!