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I am a Washington DC based actor, photographer, car reviewer, Gay, LGBTQ issues, politics and travel blogger.

I also freelance for other publications and platforms. 

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2017 Washington Automotive Press Association Rally Highlights

2017 Washington Automotive Press Association Rally Highlights

The Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) held it's annual rally on October 12th on Kent Island Md at the Inn at the Chesapeake Beach Club.  WAPA and about 30 sponsors made the event possible.  About 200 automotive journalists and influencers we are able to drive and photograph about 55 vehicles that covered nearly every market segment from the Rolls Royce Wraith Black Badge to a more affordable Kia Rio.  The only problem was that one day is not enough time to try them all; but everyone did their best.

Jaguar F-Pace 20D R-Sport

  • MPG 26 City / 33 Highway
  • Horsepower: 180 hp
  • Engine: 2.0 L 4 cylinder diesel
  • MSRP $54,175

The torquey turbo diesel is the base engine for this vehicle and when combined with the standard 8 speed transmission and all wheel drive delivers spirited performance and impressive fuel economy.   The interior is beautifully crafted as you'd expect from this brand.  

2017 Land Rover Discovery Si6

  • MPG 16 City / 21 Highway
  • Horsepower: 340 hp
  • Engine: 3.0 L supercharged gasoline V6
  • MSRP $56,950, as tested $64,945

The larger, more luxurious Discovery now boasts three rows of seating and is capable of taking your crew almost anywhere in comfort as they enjoy the three zone climate control under the panoramic sunroof.  The beefy steering wheel still screams ruggedness!!.  This thing moves out too.  Needing only 6.1 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour.   The super charged V6 is pretty thirsty.  There is a 3.0 L twin turbo diesel V6 available for the Discovery.  The diesel get 21/26 city/highway mileage but needs 8.7 seconds to make 60 miles per hour.  

2017 Rolls Royce Wraith Black Badge

  • MPG 13 City / 21 Highway
  • Horsepower: 624 hp and 642 lb ft of torque 
  • Engine: 6.6 L twin turbo gasoline V12
  • MSRP $305,650, as tested $421,000

The Wraith Black Badge is the most powerful Rolls Royce ever built.  The potent  6.6L V-12 twin turbo engine effortlessly delivers a rush of energy that propels the Wraith 0-60 mph in just 4.3 seconds.  While driving it, its really hard to believe that anything that large can move that quickly.  The Wraith is 208 inches long and seats 4.  To put that size in perspective, a Chevy Tahoe is 204 inches long and has three rows of seats!  

I settled in easily behind the wheel of the Wraith as my co-pilot started a  FaceBook Live to document the experience.  We  did a highway loop where the Wraith is very much at home.  Smooth. Quiet.  Ample power is on demand for passing with just a slight move of the left foot.    We didn’t get a chance to drive it on backroads.  Oh, if you want the StarLight headliner (make the headliner look like a starry night sky), that will set up back another $15k but its kinda cool.

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Lusso AWD

  • MPG 22 City / 28 Highway
  • Horsepower: 280 hp and 306 lb ft of torque 
  • Engine: 2.0L I4 Direct Injection Turbo
  • MSRP $43,995, as tested $54,490

With Stelvio, Alfa Romeo reimagined the European sports sedan and created its first SUV.  The Stelvio accelerates briskly as the 8 speed ZF transmission fires off shifts.  The luxurious SUV runs 0-60 in 5.4 seconds.  It handles like a sports car due to the DNA and platform Stelvio inherited from the Giulia sedan.  Like Giulia, a Stelvio Quadrifoglio version will be produced with its 505 hp engine.  Look for it in early 2018.

All Stelvios are AWD with a rear drive bias.  100% of the power normally drives the rear wheels but 60% of power can be shifted to the front wheels when slippage is detected.  The Ti Lusso AWD package adds more luxurious seats and other interior convenience upgrades and driver assistive technologies.  Volcano Black Exterior with 19in Dark 5 Hole Wheels.

2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti

  • MPG 24 City / 23 Highway
  • Horsepower: 280 hp and 306 lb ft of torque 
  • Engine: 2.0L I4 Direct Injection Turbo
  • MSRP $37,995 - $41,995 as tested

The Giulia wants likes to be driven fast.  In traffic it feels likes its being held back, if that makes sense.  The 8 speed ZF transmission literally fires off shifts whether in automatic mode or when being commanded by the massive column mounted shift paddles.  

The Giulia is rear wheel drive only and shares the engine and ZF transmission from the 400 pound heavier Stelvio SUV.  Giulia sprints from 0-60 in 5.1 seconds (Stelvio needs 5.4 seconds). If 5 seconds is just too long to get to 60 mph, pick up a 505 hp Giulia Quadrifoglio for $73,500 and your commute to 60 mph drops to a mere 3.6 seconds.   I drove a Giulia Quadrifoglio while at the Chicago Auto Show this year around an indoor track where you really couldn’t put it through its paces; but that sound the engine makes is incredible (2.9L Turbo V6).

2018 Lexus LC 500

  • MPG 16 City / 26 Highway, est
  • Horsepower: 471 hp and 398 lb ft of torque 
  • 10 Speed Automatic Transmission
  • Engine: 5.0L 8 cylinder engine
  • MSRP $92,995

The Lexus super-coupe makes one thing perfectly clear when you start it up -- that's a potent V8 barking and growling under the hood.  Lexus engines are known for delivering power with an ease and smoothness that does not intrude on the driving experience; not true with the LC 500.  The sound track from the thumping V8 that launches the LC 500 from 0-60 in 4.6 seconds directly connects the driver with the experience of piloting this strikingly beautiful 4 passenger coupe.     I imagine that Lexus designed this car for executives who once owned muscle cars from Detroit or who remember the cars their fathers or older siblings drove.   The LC 500 sumptuous interiors and tech are exactly what you’d expect from Lexus.  The LC 500 list price is  $$92,995.  The LC 500h hybrid lists for $4510 more than the base car.  There is a twin turbo 600 hp LC F also in the works.

2018 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD in Ceramic Metallic

  • MPG 29 City / 34 Highway FWD
  • Horsepower: 146 hp
  • Engine: 2.0 L 4 cylinder 
  • MSRP $25,165

Mazda delivers great design, a sporty ride and handling and a rich leather interior, heads up display, LED exterior lights and I-ACTIVESENSE in the 2018 Grand Touring.  I continue to be impressed by the quality for the price of Mazda vehicles.  #DrivingMatters

Great time.  Looking forward to next year

Great time.  Looking forward to next year

I saw an unicorn at the 2018 Washington Auto Show

I saw an unicorn at the 2018 Washington Auto Show

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF Miata Grand Touring Road Test

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF Miata Grand Touring Road Test