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Jumping Onto A Moving Train - Editor's Letter Dec 2014

What a month it has been.

Dec 12, 2014

I feel like this was my first real month at the magazine, and what a month it has been. Growing up would have been a lot easier if eighth-grade-me could see the Facebook feed of current-me. I survived another Monterey Car Week, witnessed firsthand what may be the symbolic turning point of the British car industry, drove some of the best affordable cars in the world, drove what might be the best car ever built and encountered a new Doctor. It was a big month.

December 2014 parts and labor BMW m5 03 Photo 2/6   |   December 2014 Parts And Labor BMW M5 03

I have been attending Monterey Car Week more on than off for the past 16 years—first as a civilian and later in the VIP hospitality trenches as a professional journalist. Early in my career, I was always a cog in a much larger journalistic machine, which meant I could make my own schedule. This generally meant full days at the track and fuller nights bouncing around the auctions. Occasionally, I would throw in a concourse and try to attend at least one professional obligation.

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This year, as the man representing this magazine's esteemed readers, I had responsibilities, obligations that came one after another and often one on top of another. The entire week has become another auto show for premium manufacturers with launches, press briefings and PR opportunities disguised as meals. Should you feel sorry for me with all this work I had to endure? Not in the slightest.

One of the high points of the week was the Jaguar Land Rover party that included a three-car reveal along with some life-changing ravioli. You can read more about it on page 44. The reveals, not the ravioli. Let me just say: I think people will look back on that night 10 years from now and realize the importance.

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With no time to recover from Car Week, I jumped directly into a Porsche mid-engine program at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca centered around the new Cayman and Boxster GTS. Spoiler alert: They're fantastic. And as they edge closer to 911 performance levels, the more their character differentiates them. For an added bonus, Porsche brought out the 918 Spyder. While I have written a brief review, what I should have focused on was the time machine Porsche must possess that allowed the company to bring this car back from the future. The 918 is of the same automotive-moon-landing scale as the 959 back in 1986. Sure, the McLaren P1 and Ferrari La Ferrari are amazing in their own way, but the Porsche is every bit the hypercar while still being able to commute back and forth purely on electric power and in total comfort. The only downside in having experienced this car will be waiting for all that amazing tech to trickle down to cars we can all afford.

The other bonus of the Porsche trip was getting to spend time with Porsche Racing legend Hurley Haywood. My journalistic approach is supposed to numb my senses to the effects of star power. However, I've been watching Mr. Haywood race as long as I've been a race fan, so sitting across from him at dinner is and always will be an exercise in hero worship. Getting to chase him around a track is even better.

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My final event before this issue went to press was a Volkswagen full line drive in Virginia. I've done a few of these full line clusters in the past and don't think it's possible to reasonably judge every car a manufacturer offers in a single day of driving. I focused mainly on the e-Golf, but also drove the refreshed 2015 Jetta, a rare V6 4Motion CC—and I can't be around a GTI and not drive it. The e-Golf is nothing short of amazing. While I still consider the Tesla Model S the best all-electric vehicle, the e-Golf is 90 percent the car at half the price.

Finally, how about Peter Capaldi? By the time this is published, we are a few more Doctor Who episodes in. But so far, I'm very impressed indeed.

Michael Febbo, Editor
european.car@sorc.com

December 2014 parts and labor michael febbo 01 Photo 6/6   |   Jumping Onto A Moving Train - Editor's Letter Dec 2014
Michael Febbo
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