2004 Mazda RX-8: Quick Spin Review
With only 51,000km on the clock, shimmering blue paint, and an unscathed interior, it was fairly clear that my initiation into Rotary fandom was going to be special. Here are a few quick driving impressions.
The clutch flatters - pulling away smoothly is as easy as you’d ever want from a daily driver. There’s a feathery and equally forgiving nature to the clutch and shifter, the latter of which is covered with a triangular knob that falls ever-so-readily to hand.
The brake is heavy at the upper end, seemingly out of character with the sprightliness of the rest of the driver inputs, but it quickly becomes clear how perfectly aligned it for cracking downshifts at speed. The heaviness is forgiven.
The steering is predictable, assuring, and gives just a smidge of weight for an added feeling of solidity. Overall, the helm is so transparent that’s its quickly forgotten, like some kind of utopian government.
The engine hums like a very loud version of the Renault Fluence ZE we tested in Israel. There’s no doubting that it’s a mechanical noise, but its refinement is wholly unmatched in cardom. Because the engine spools to 9,000 so effortlessly and with so little inertia, it doesn’t feel as if there are really an extra 2,000 revs to play with. The sensation is more akin to 7,500rpm in a pistoned engine.
I didn’t get much of a chance to test out the handling balance, but the minimal impression I did garner was one of a slower front end than I was expecting. Based on everything I’ve read about this car, the issue here was more my expectations than the car itself.
It’s a beautiful car, and for the meager $12,000 that my friend spent to acquire it, it’s hard to find a reason why I wouldn’t want myself.
Comfortably, my all-time favourite.
1967 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale/Details
Audi at 24hr Nurburgring: One of the most innovative and engaging social media campaigns I can remember.
A few thoughts on the Alberta Election 2012
The controversial, and far right, Wildrose Party didn’t get a single MLA seat here in Edmonton, likely on account of the social media uprising against them. In recent weeks, it came to light that some of their candidates held some fairly backwards views and everyone, in Edmonton at least, seemed fairly incensed and disgusted by them. The WP also had plans to seriously curtail funding for large capital projects here. I think the WP got a few seats in Calgary, but they were mostly popular with the rural voters, who are over-represented on a population basis in our system. The WP went from zero seats to 17, a feat that the other new party in this election, the Alberta Party, could only stare at in amazement. The Alberta Party failed to win any seats.
The Liberals, led by controversial politician/physician Dr. Raj Sherman, lost half their seats, going from 8 to 4. The NDP doubled their seats from 2 to 4, which was a big boost for the party and probably the result of defecting Liberals. The Progressive Conservatives still have a majority with 61 seats. It’s their 12th consecutive majority.
The big news stories:
1. We’ve elected a female Premier for the first time in our province’s history
2. Albertans voted for fiscal conservatism but not social conservatism
3. The popular vote was surprisingly close (PC: 44% - WP: 35%)
4. We have a new Official Opposition in the province, one that leans more towards social and fiscal conservatism than previously.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with the results. Premier Allison Redford is confident and seems willing to listen to concerns about increasing urbanization and sustainable growth in the province. Her party also knows how to lead and has experience doing so. The WP is comprised almost entirely of newbies, but their focus on fiscal restraint will be important and useful for this province. We can’t afford to run deficits the way we have the last few years and the WP should be a (if slightly deranged) voice of reason in that regard at least. Hopefully, we’re on the right track. We have all the tools and resources to be successful, now we just have to find the right balance.
And that was the Alberta Election for 2012.