Driving Vancouver Porsche 911 GT3 997.1 Owner’s Review

I am in love with my new-to-me GT3. Truly madly deeply. Despite the epic internet hype the 997 GT3 is the first car I’ve owned where the driving experience not only lives up to its lofty expectations but actually surpasses them. The clutch is herculean and the shifter is stiff and soon my left leg and right arm will be disproportionate in sizes. But I don’t care. This car is uncompromising, unapologetic and most importantly, prioritizes feel above all else. The steering sends so much information through my arms they are practically hardwired to the front axle. This is exactly the kind of hyper-alive old school steering feel that has become lost with modern electric power steering (991 included). The chassis communicates in a way that not only embraces the classic and flawed 911 sense of balance, but also allows me to minutely adjust its cornering attitude by pressing on or lifting off the throttle. I can rail corners while keeping the horizon completely level but unlike modern high performance cars that are at least equally proficient, the GT3 keeps me deeply involved in its conversation and is happy to steer with the throttle. The 3.6L mezger engine is not only a tool to motivate and balance the chassis, but a musical instrument to delight my soul. Under every overpass and inside every tunnel, the need to blip two downshifts and mash the throttle is instinctive and impossible to overcome. In those fine moments where the chassis is loaded up, the steering is alive and I’m dancing on the throttle and brakes and clutch the way a soccer player dances with a ball, I am utterly lost in its driving experience. If there ever was enlightenment in the automotive world, then the GT3 is it. This is the car I’ve been searching for my entire life.


Audi R8

A few images of my Audi R8 in 6 speed gated manual. A video review is long overdue, but one will be produced soon.

2014 MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster – Review

I just picked up an MV Agusta dragster today! Spent all day riding it and went through a tank of gas. Mostly urban riding, but did a bit of highway too. For some time I’ve been meaning to branch out from cars into bike reviews and what better way than with my new MV Agusta!

I come from a long history of pure sportbikes and this is my first naked/streetfighter. Prior to this, I had the ’08 1000RR, the ’07 CBR 600RR, the ’06 Yamaha R6, the VFR800. So one sportbike after another, and always Japanese made.

Here are my quick impressions. Expect a full video review to come on our youtube channel.

Ergonomics: for my 5’7/133lb frame, simply superb. The reach and the sweep-back of the bars, their relationship to the seat and the foot pegs are all absolutely spot on for me. Perfect rider triangle. My usual complaint with non-sportbikes is that bars are too high. This Dragster keeps them low and also gives you bars that are WIDE, which combined with the forward riding position provides the rider with enormous leverage over the front end. At low speeds it is effortless like a mountain bicycle. Also, there is a sense that the centre of gravity is very low, much lower than a 600 supersport, which adds to this feeling of effortlessness and lightness over the front end. Such a refreshing change from the top-heavy, narrow-handlebar feel of a modern sportbike. Ergonomically, it feels much better than the regular Brutale 800.*

Chassis: Given my weight, the default suspension set up is not quite right. It feels like it needs someone heavier to compress the suspension and get it working. However, in spite of this, what I’ve felt so far was quite impressive. The chassis is exceedingly nimble, very adjustable and happy to lean. For me, having the right ergonomics on a bike goes a long way towards making a chassis feel right and the perfect ergos on the Dragster definitely helps to make it turn. However, the front end does feel a tad light at higher speeds and does not button itself down the way sportbikes do. I need more time in the saddle to fully comment but suffice to say, I am happy with what I feel so far.

Motor/Driveline: The triple is a new experience for me. It doesn’t have the turbine-like refinement and polish of a Honda-4, nor does it have the brawly, ragged thump-thumpiness of a Ducati Twin. It’s kind of it’s own animal, but leans more towards the raw and unfiltered end of the spectrum. I do enjoy the power delivery though. Very torquey and effortless even at low revs. Haven’t really got a chance to see how it feels at the upper registers of the tachometer travel. The quick shifter is a revelation. This is my first bike with a quick shift, and it reminded me of the Porsche PDK transmissions I experienced on the 911 and Caymans which I reviewed. Shifts are a mechanical snap with no interruption to power delivery. Wow.

Refinement: It cannot match a Honda 600 or 1000 sportbike for chassis or driveline refinement. However, it is more raw, more feelsome and more alive. It’s the age old balance of rawness versus isolation. Do you want a refined machine that feels like an appliance, or do you want a mechanical firecracker which feels a bit crude? This bike leans closer to the firecracker.

Looks/Details/Fit and Finish: The Dragster’s looks are stunning. Its appearance in the metal is everything I expected from the press photos and more. The short tail, the sexy Diavel-style rear fender with bright LED signals, the handlebar mirrors (which are unexpectedly functional), the wide and low bars, and the wide tank. Combined, these elements give the feeling of compact, muscular aggression. Kind of like a Bumblebee from the Transformers or a grey mechanical pit bull. The Dragster oozes with virility; its styling a mixture of potency and tension. Fit and finish are very decent but not quite at modern Honda/Yamaha levels of surgical precision. I’m happy with it. It’s an exotic, not a Honda/Yamaha.

Summary/Value for Money: No buyer’s remorse just yet, but given its exclusivity (mine is the first in BC and only one of 6 in Canada right now) jumping on this bike seemed to be the only option. My other consideration was the Panigale 899 but I see those bikes almost daily (in their various displacement and trims). The Dragster comes with superb ergonomics, great handling and a raw, satisfying triple engine. Add to this beautiful — no, sensational — looks and a brilliant quick shifter and I think this is a bike I see myself keeping around for some time.

*The Dragster feels quite different ergonomically from the Brutale 800 on which it’s based. Different seat, different bars which combined produce a very different riding feel. Sit on them back-to-back and the differences are obvious. Visually, I find the Dragster far better resolved as a design.

2014 Vancouver International Auto Show Preview

A quick preview of the 2014 Vancouver International Auto Show. I spent most of my time at the BMW corner, given my interest in the new i3 and i8.

BMW M235i Review for BIMMERPOST

Sam is now an editor for BIMMERPOST! Here’s the first video he produced for one of the world’s biggest BMW enthusiast websites.

Be sure to check out the full written review here:


Subaru BRZ Winter Drifting in Super Slow Motion!

The BRZ is my perfect winter car. Rear wheel drive, limited slip differential, manual, and a chassis tuned to go sideways. With a set of Michelin X-Ice snow tires, it’s an absolute hooligan in the snow. Here’s a little winter hoonage filmed in super slow motion @ 240fps!

Consider this our Christmas greeting! Happy holidays from all of us at Driving Vancouver. We’ll see you in the new year with lots more enthusiast car reviews, including my Audi R8.

2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review! Thrashed in super slow motion.

Watch Sam from drivingvancouver.ca thrash the 2013 Mazda Miata MX-5 in super slow motion! Plus his full review with comparison to the Scion FRS and Subaru BRZ.

The Miata is the ultimate modern choice for feel and driving involvement. This video explains why.

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Scion FRS vs. Subaru BRZ Review! All the differences explained.

Scion FRS versus Subaru BRZ! Ever wonder about all the differences that separate the FRS from the BRZ? Sam from drivingvancouver.ca walks you through the cosmetic, feature and mechanical difference in this comprehensive buyer’s guide and review. Includes information on the Scion FRS, the Subaru BRZ and the 10 Series FRS.

2013 Toyota Prius C Review: An Enthusiast’s Daily Driver?

Sam from drivingvancouver.ca reviews the 2013 Toyota Prius C. Does the Prius C make a good daily vehicle for the enthusiast minded driver? Can an enthusiast live with the reduced power and response of an affordable hybrid in favour of efficiency, space and technology? Find out in this video review.

Scion 10 Series FR-S Review: a quick look at the new 2013 Scion FRS

Sam from drivingvancouver.ca stops by Regency Scion to check out the new limited production 10 series FR-S from Scion. What do you get for the extra money? Is the 10 FR-S worth buying over the regular FRS? Find out in this quick look review.