Soundoff USA, Volume 1For all you audiophiles and show car owners, the Soundoff USA, Volume 1 two-disc set is for you. Filled with show footage and interviews from Kansas City and the Hot Import Nights show in Miami Beach you'll see more in-car entertainment (ICE) systems than you can shake a stick at. This un-narrated DVD shows a bunch of sound and media systems installed in show cars, interviews with various vehicle owners, the roll out of cars exiting the show, and the obligatory bikini contests. Also featured is a car hopping contest.
An added bonus is some Irwindale Speedway drifting footage provided by Live Sockets Entertainment. Out on the track are the famous RS*R 350Z and Supra, JIC S13, Signal Auto S14, and a pair of AE86s.
Disc 2 is a pretty interesting concept in and of itself. It's a demo DVD for show cars-a DVD for owners to play on their vehicles' monitors during a car show. There are several color themes to choose from so you can select video streaming images that match the color of your car. Now that's an innovative idea.
This 90-minute, two-disc set would be a good buy for A/V fans and show car owners that want to get ideas, stay up on the latest trends, and to obtain the image DVD to play at shows. Otherwise, the footage on this DVD is pretty amateur and slightly boring. (I'll admit my bias that I am not a show car or ICE kind of enthusiast so you can take that into consideration in the review.)
Check out PanDisc online for more info.
Best Motoring International, Factory FightersIf you have read our reviews before then you'll know we highly approve of Best Motor International (BMI) DVDs. They are, simply put, the best import car DVD series out there. With unsurpassed quality footage and access to Japan's finest vehicles and performance companies you are guaranteed a good viewing. Having said that, we had high expectations for BMI's 81-minute Factory Fighters DVD.
The premise of this DVD is to compare, head-to-head, Japan's latest stock performance-oriented vehicles. The intent is noteworthy, but ultimately, this DVD lacks the excitement of seeing BMI's usual tuned vehicles go at it. Comparing the qualities of the stock EVO versus Impreza is interesting, but seeing power-packed tuned EVOs and Imprezas would be even more exciting.
The first car BMI reviews is the Mitsubishi EVO VIII MR. Taking out the EVO VIII and the EVO VIII MR on the test course at Japan's Automobile Research Institute, they compare acceleration, slalom, and a host of other specs. They then bring out the Subaru Impreza WRX STi V-Limited, NSX Type-R, and the Skyline GT-R R34. On the Gymkhana Check course you can see the strengths and weaknesses of these stock-powered cars.
Notable was the exclusive footage of the EVO VIII MR aluminum roof factory. You get to see, in detail, how they shaved four kilos of weight off the EVO and how they bolted an aluminum roof to a steel frame. They then compare the EVO on the track with and without those crucial four kilos. And how much does weight matter? To determine this they also compared the EVO VIII MR stock wheels to a set of BBS lightweight wheels.
As usual, the best part of this DVD was the BMI hallmark battle. Fighting it out with near collisions and plenty of trash talking on the Tsukuba track in freezing 32 degree weather was the NSX-R, EVO MR RS 5-spd, EVO MR RS 6-spd, WRX STi Spec C, EVO MR GS-R, and the WRX STI V-Limited. With so many vehicles running I always wonder what the outcome of the battle would be if they ran a second race in reversed pole position. Would there be the same winner if you didn't have to pass so many vehicles?
After the Battle we get a little Nismo 350Z feature for all of you Nissan fans. BMI covers all the specs and development of the S-Tune GT and even take it for a test drive in the rain at the Jari high-speed test track at Japan's Automobile Research Institute. I know it's hard to find time when it's not raining in Japan, but more ideal pavement conditions would give us better information on the handling. BMI compares the high-speed stability of the S-Tune GT to a stock 350Z. What was crazy to me Japan's $33,000 sticker price for the stock Z and the astonishing $65,000 price of the S-Tune GT.
This DVD then goes on to review the Mazdaspeed RX-8 6-spd (versus the RX-8 Type-S), the Lotus Elise 111R (2ZZ Toyota engine) 6-spd, the Clio Renault Sport V-6 6-spd, and the BMW M3 CSL 6-spd SMGII (which is $100,000 in Japan, in case you are in the market).
Before you nod off to all of the specs being covered, this DVD grabs your attention back with another Tsukuba battle of factory-tuned vehicles. Competing with each other are the EVO MR GS-R, Lotus Elise 111R, BMW M3 CSL, Nismo Fairlady Z S-Tune GT, Honda Integra-R (which, notably, was clocked faster than the Clio and RX-8), Renault Clio V-6, and the Mazdaspeed RX-8. This was a damn good battle to watch and had some interesting results.
Finally, we get to the last Tsukuba battle sequence that placed all of the lightweight contenders on the track to duke it out. The lightweight battle included the Mazda Roadster Miata Turbo, Miata Roadster Coupe Type-S 6-spd, Miata Roadster 1800RS 6-spd, Miata Roadster NR-A 5-spd, Honda Integra-R (which is priced the same as the Miata), and a stock Lotus Elise. Needless to say, if you are a Miata fan or considering buying one, this is the race for you. To conclude, BMI takes the Roadster 1800RS 1.8L out on the slalom course and compares it to the EVO MR, stock Elise, and Integra-R.
This DVD would be a must for those still considering what vehicle to buy out of the group reviewed here. Consider it the Consumer Reports of Japanese stock heavy hitters. If you already own one of the vehicles this DVD reviews, however, you may want to consider passing on this BMI DVD and check out one of their others featuring aftermarket tuned cars.
Check out their series at www.bestmotoringvideo.com.