It’s amazing to see what people drive when they don’t need to drive.
I’ve spent the past two weeks cycling and taking the S-Bahn everywhere I’ve needed to go in Berlin. It’s been punctual, efficient, healthy, and a fraction of the cost of car ownership. Berlin is no small town. With a population of 4.4 million, the capital city of reunified Germany (arguably the wealthiest country in the world today) covers a huge area, about as much as metro Edmonton. Yet, car ownership is far from a necessity. In this expansive cosmopolitan area, bicycles are not only given priority by automobile drivers, but cyclists are granted their own dedicated lanes in the overwhelming majority of the city, demarcated by a red tinged strip of special pavement three feet wide. The S-Bahn (above ground subway), which complements the U-Bahn (uh, underground subway), works in concert to provide a transportation network that whisks citizens and tourists whenever they are too tired or lazy to walk or cycle. So owning a car isn’t weird – it isn’t awkward – it’s simply a luxury.
As a result of this intricate and inspired alternative transportation network, Berliners make do with only 358 cars per 1000 people compared to an average of 570 per thousand in Germany and very nearly the same density in Canada (although personally owning two cars at home skews this somewhat). An S-Bahn pass for 5 days costs around $35, which is on its own less than the cost of the gas it’d take to travel the same distances we did, with none of the depreciation, insurance, maintenance, and interest payments associated with car ownership.
Yet despite, or perhaps because of, the obvious financial, logical, and environmental detriment entailed by car ownership, Berliners have nothing less than an eclectic taste in automobilia. Classic French icons mingle with Autobahn Destroyers, which in turn covort with British Bruisers and limited editions galore. The streets of Berlin alone are worth the trip and being on a bicycle is a great way to see them all up close.
Remember the video we showed you of the up and coming Bugatti Galibier Concept a few weeks ago? Well here’s the extended edition. But don’t worry too much, once you skip past the melodramatic narrator yammering on about the “pure, heart energy of alchemical fire” you get a lengthy tour of the up an coming USD $1.4 million ($1.47 million CAD as of 9 Nov 2009), and it looks good. While the eight tail-pipes look like something that would be on the back of a purple ’97 Civic with gold rims, the rest looks great, I absolutely love the split rear window, the front end, and the way the interior echoes that of Bugattis from the 30s. However, I still think that the whole car is going to look really silly when some butterfingered rich guy loses his time piece. Interestingly, Bugatti has yet to call this anything but a concept. Perhaps they want to make sure the economy does fully recover before they commit.
This is the first picture of the new Bugatti Veyron Bleu Centanaire. We all knew that the engineers madmen at Bugatti must have been irked about losing the “world’s fastest production car” title to the SCC Ultimate Aero, but we didn’t know that this was going to happen. In order to both yank that title back, and celebrate their 100th birthday, Bugatti is showing off a special edition Veyron at Geneva. Find out how ludicrous this car is after the jump.
Stan, Stan, Stan. How could you be so wrong about so many cars and forget so many others. Clearly, your age is showing. For starters, forget about all those old cars. Yes, they have “character”, but that’s just another word for “electrical problems”. If you want a great GT car, how could you neglect the mighty SLR McLaren? Heck, if you’re mental adventurous enough, you might even go for the one we showed you on How Hard Can It Be? And you brushed off the American and German supercars like they were dandruff on your shoulder! I’m no American stalwart, but I’ll give credit where credit it due. The Corvette is a great GT car and the ZR1 is one of the best cars on the planet with its colossal supercharged 6.2L V8. The ZR1 might lack the sense of occasion necessary in the supercar arena, but no one will argue its performance credentials. And I don’t really think that the Corvette’s trunk is that small. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s huge. Also, for all of ChryCo’s shortcomings, the Viper stands as one of their great achievements. Just look up the fastest lap times for production cars on the Nurburgring. Notice which car stands atop that list? Here, I’ll save you the time, it’s the Dodge Viper ACR. Not bad for a car you claim is “not really a driver’s car”. I could go on, easy.
I was whiling away a winter evening a few weeks ago when a friend phoned to ask what I was doing. “Shopping for cars on-line” I responded. When he asked what I was looking at, I had to be honest. I told him I was looking at new Ferraris. “Dreaming again I see.” ” Dreaming always”, I replied.
This resulted in an age old discussion, which supercar would you actually buy , if you had the means to buy one. My friend challenged me as follows: “tell me which car would you buy, with your own money and why you would buy it. I will make it simple, you can only pick one”. That made it difficult for me as my dream garage has about eight climate-controlled bays with room for expansion, of course. Selecting only one meant that I had to choose wisely, not entirely emotionally, as is normally the case for this dreamer. I struggled with the choice and, over the next hour or so, was tormented by my friend’s challenge to me. I did however make a decision, and I think a very good one. Before I tell you my story I would like to challenge you, our Car Envy readers, to do the same. Tell us about your dream car, the one you would pay your own money for and how you would use it. Be honest with this, I think it would be fun to hear about other peoples dreams. Now here is my dream car story.
You want to see depreciation? You thought your car was getting hit hard by the economic maelstrom? When you see what its like to own a hypercar like the Veyron, you’ll thank the stars that you can only afford a Ford Taurus and that the depreciation is only $5-10,000 per year. Find our how bad new Bugatti owners have it after the jump. Not that we don’t envy them or anything, because there’s nothing we want to do more than play WRC-God with a Veyron, we’re just saying it’s hard out there for a pimp.