Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fiat 500EV Electric Coming in 2012

Repeat after me; the Fiat 500 is the next Mini Cooper. Also known as the "cinquecento" (Italian for 500), this little go-getter of a car has been stealing hearts of Europeans since 2007, and is poised to storm American shores thanks to Fiat's purchase of a minority stake in Chrysler last year. A combustion version will be arriving later in 2010, while an EV electric version was announced last week and is due in 2012.

Tiny and full of character much like its successful retro competitors from VW (Beetle) and BMW (Mini), the new Fiat is a huge hit in Europe, where all 58,000 of its initial production run sold out within three weeks - largely in Italy of course. Compared to the hugely successful Mini, the Fiat 500 is six inches shorter, two inches narrower but with only around 20 fewer horsepower the gas engine version should get up and go much like a stock Cooper.

And where Mini has been testing an electric version that uses up the car's back seats for batteries, Fiat's announcement of an electric version (seen here rendered in gray) will hopefully be something easier to live with, but could easily also be a two-seater. “The Fiat 500 is a small, lightweight platform perfect for integrating electric-vehicle technology," said Scott Kunselman, Senior Vice President Engineering—Chrysler Group LLC. 

No word on pricing yet, although Chrysler says it will be "competitive with similar electric vehicles in the market." Of course the Nissan Leaf is as of right now the only car that fits that bill, but we get their drift. And they'll have Chevy Volt sales figures to mull over as they decide on pricing. Meanwhile we can all look forward to the gas version of the 500 coming later this year - hopefully without the waiting lists that the Mini inspired when it debuted.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rolex Enlarges Explorer for 2010

I'm a bit of a watch nut. As such, I've always been a fan of Rolex's particular brand of understated elegance and clean design. My first favorite was the old stainless steel Submariner from the '50s, but what eventually found a place in my ticking heart was the Explorer I. With its super-clean gloss black graphics featuring a triangle at the 12 o'clock position and "Mercedes" hour hand, the Explorer is simple and uncluttered. And with its mountain-climbing heritage, it has personified understated elegance and ruggedness for generations.

For 2010, the Explorer has grown up a bit. Rolex has enlarged the face size from 36mm to 39mm, bringing it up to date with modern watch sizes, while retaining its simple beauty and proportions. The story behind the Explorer's birth is equally noteworthy, as Rolex built the timepiece to commemorate Sir Edmund Hillary's ascent of Mount Everest with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953. Ever since this particular watch - along with the 1971 introduction of the Explorer II (with white face and thicker bezel) - has been associated with outdoor adventure in the mountains and polar ice caps.

At approximately $4500, the Explorer is pricier than many other sport watches, but is priced on the affordable side for a keepsake timepiece that you can hand down for generations. And besides, Father's Day is only a few months away...

Authorized Dealers in Fashion Island and South Coast Plaza

Link to Rolex Website

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

MINI Announces Countryman Crossover Utility Vehicle

Do you love the idea of a MINI but wish it wasn't so, well, mini? If you've dreamt of a larger offering from the baby BMW company, this month's announcement should give you something to look forward to for the next year. Behold the MINI Cooper Countryman CUV.

While seemingly every other auto company's vehicles shrink and get more fuel efficient, MINI prepares to grow as they continue their counter-programming and release their largest vehicle yet at next month's Geneva Auto Show in March. Slated to arrive on U.S. shores in early 2011, the Countryman is the company's fourth model offering.

Designated a "CUV" or Crossover Utility Vehicle, the Countryman is a small SUV - just the sort of sport 'ute that Mini would create. Built on the same platform as BMW's new X1, the Countryman is both a small SUV and at the same time a large MINI Cooper hardtop... depending on your perspective. While it retains the characteristic look of familiar MINI's, it sits higher, seats more and is available with all wheel drive.

The MINI Countryman measures 161.3 inches in length, with a wheelbase of 102.2 inches (up from 145.6 and 97.1 inches, respectively, for the MINI Hardtop). As a result, you can now fit up to five people in the new ride, which features another first for MINI - four doors. Combined with the AWD and higher ground clearance, this is a MINI you can actually drive somewhere other than an urban environment. But, with its small displacement engine offerings, you won't be getting there at any earth-shattering speeds.

Inside, the Countryman features a unique "center rail system" for its center console, which lets you configure interior storage the way you want for gadgets, water bottles or other toys. Combined with full iPhone integration (a must on any car in this writer's opinion), navigation and custom lighting schemes, the interior should provide enough customization to keep MINI customers happy.

Under the hood, the new Countryman will offer two 1.6 liter engines in either a standard configuration (netting 210 horsepower) or a turbocharged Valvetronic version for the S model (delivering 180hp). All wheel drive is available on the S model only and can put up to 100 percent of power to the rear wheels if necessary.

Other options are typical of this BMW-owned company and include Xenon HID headlights, dual pane sunroof and sport wheels. And, typical of BMW, these options will quickly raise the price of your new Countryman to near-BMW levels. Pricing has not been announced, but expect to pay a minimum of $30,000 for your new Countryman.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Park Tool Pizza Cutter

If you're a cyclist and love pizza, you're not alone - they go together like, well, pizza and beer. And bikes. Anyway, for the lover of both vertical and horizontal discs, we present the Park Tool Pizza Tool, official designation PZT-2. It is the very personification of Bauhaus; form following function. And in this case the function is to cut your pizza swiftly while having fun doing it.

Built by cycling's best tool company, the Pizza Tool has a permanent place on my kitchen counter - always standing by in its blue plastic kickstand and ready for some serious pizza cuttin'. I'm the proud owner of the previous version of the tool (presumably the PZT-1), which is still razor sharp after years of cutting through pizzas big and small.

The Park Pizza Tool has two main advantages over the competition; first it is shaped like a bike, which announces to visitors and housecleaners alike that you are a lover of the bicycle and not above putting sports-related fashion statements on your kitchen counter. Secondly, Park Tools make precision tools used on the best bikes in the world by the best mechanics in the world. So you know it's sharp, and the stainless steel will shed even the gooiest mozzarella with just a quick rinse.

The clever ergonomic design allows the pizza cutter (you) to slice and dice while literally riding the little blue polycarbonate bike (technically unicycle) across your pizza pie. Just grab the rear wheel and leverage down on the saddle with your thumb and you'll make a fun - and productive - cross country ride through meat, veggies and crust alike in seconds.

It may not be the most technologically advanced gadget in your kitchen, but I bet it will be one of the most useful. And at $16 it's a great value as well. Available at your favorite bike shop, or online at the link below. Just don't try to fix your bike with it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bentley Creates Ultimate Ski, Valentine's Gift

Are you stuck on what to get your honey for Valentine's Day? Is your budget as high as your ambition to get something truly unique? Finally, do you like to ski? Well, for those looking for something completely off the chart, then one-of-a-kind "zai for Bentley Supersport Skis" might just be the answer. Not to bury the lead, these skis cost nearly $10,000.

We here love both snowsports and cars, so this particular product offering from Bentley Motors caught our eye. What better gift for the Orange County-based skier than a pair of handcrafted zai skis from Switzerland - the Rolls Royce, er, Bentley of skis?

The result of a design collaboration between Bentley’s Styling Studio and the exclusive Swiss ski manufacturer zai, these handmade skis are the perfect gift for the skier who has everything.  Only 250 of these limited edition black skis will be made with each pair carrying a unique number up to the 250 limit. We're not sure how fast they'll get from zero to sixty, but you can be sure no one else on the mountain will be sporting these skis. Zai sold just 900 pairs of skis last season, and plans to sell just 1,000 worldwide this season.

Made to last a lifetime, zai for Bentley skis feature unique and patented technology and materials, which make them not only ‘one-of-a-kind’ but also a world first.  ZaiƬra®, the composite material used in the skis, contains carbon fibres that are used on the skis’ top layer, in combination with natural rubber in the central part, as well as a carbon fabric in composition with chrome steel in the torsion part and long carbon fibre Reinforced Thermoplastic Composites (LFRTP).  This combination of technology and performance claim maximum performance with minimum weight as well as the ability to lie firmly and reliably in the snow, whatever its condition.

The skis’ geometric structure and acceleration power, which demands little effort of the skier, combined with these unique materials are designed to make for a smooth-running and stable ski. According to zai Founder, Simon Jacomet: “The handling of ‘zai Supersport’ is smooth and responsive, dynamic and lively.” 

Zai has also worked with the Bentley team to create two other exclusive Bentley products.  Zai for Bentley ski poles feature ExoGrid®, which is used for golf shafts and is used solely for the first time in the Bentley Supersports skis.  Its unique combination of titan and carbon fabric reduces weight and guarantees high stability. And what better way to carry your stylish skis and poles than a custom-manufactured ski bag made of leather and neoprene... complete with a Bentley quilted lining.

The skis are now available to order and retail via zai distributors.  Each pair is priced at USD $9800 and further information can be found at

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Apple iPad Announced Today: Starts at $500, Available April

Apple's highly anticipated product announcement today confirmed what most observers suspected, that the Cupertino-based company is releasing a tablet computer, dubbed the iPad.

The touchscreen tablet, which is similar to a large and supercharged iPod Touch, will go on sale in two months and be priced between $499 and $829 depending on the size of its harddrive and speed of cellular data connection. It weighs in at one and a half pounds and sports a screen size of 9.7 inches - and is just a half inch thick. The $500 base "wi-fi" model will include 16gb of storage, the $600 middle version 32gb and the $700 version comes with 64gb. Add $130 for 3G (high speed cellular) capability, maxing out pricing at $829.

I say it's essentially a large iPod Touch because it possesses the same features; cellular (3G) and/or wi-fi data (no voice) connection, a touchscreen, screen-based touch keyboard, accelerometer (to automatically switch between landscape and portrait orientation), compass, microphone, speaker... and of course all the apps that we've come to know and love on our iPhones and iPod Touches. Data connectivity (for surfing the web, media downloading) is offered by AT&T as with the iPhone, and for the same price of $30 a month for unlimited data use (no contract required). Good news is that the iPad is not locked to AT&T, so you can use any phone company you like, anywhere in the world by switching out the SIM card. These cellular connections will not work on Verizon's networks.

One of the pad's welcome features is its long battery life, estimated at 10 hours (with a full month of standby time). This is five times that of my MacBook Pro, and nearly as long as my normal iPod. Definitely a welcome feature for people stuck on long flights and for reading e-books. And for those of us typing, Apple announced an external (physical) keyboard accessory that docks right to the iPad.

Another nice feature of the iPad is its potential as an e-book reader, taking on Amazon's Kindle with their new app dubbed "iBooks," which lets you purchase books and begin reading immediately. The New York Times also went into Apple's HQ a full three weeks ago to begin developing their newspaper for the iPad, and the result is a nice e-version of the paper. Note to Apple - you should consider a feature whereby users can turn off the automatic switching from landscape to portrait mode, so we can read books and papers sideways (such as in bed). Now where was I?

In all, the iPad is going to be a boon for gaming with its large screen and fast processor, as well as a potential game-changer for artists who will welcome the vertical orientation of the glass touchscreen. Because of its size, its ability to be used in portrait mode, its accurate touchscreen and fast graphics, the iPad is destined to carve out a whole new niche of previously unseen applications and uses. I can just see a refrigerator mount being developed right now for our kitchens...

As a longtime Apple customer (I've been using Apple products since 1987), I'm happy to see another unique and elegant piece of hardware come out of the company's brain trust. The iPad is a beautiful piece of machinery, and will no doubt inspire many great new apps and uses - much the way the iPhone has. The question the buying public will have to ask itself is whether this is a product that will make their lives easier (or more fun) right now? For me, the jury is out until I hold one and use it. For now it's a curiosity, and one for which I'll be hoping success, as my computing life is definitely easier with Apple in it.

Click here to watch a video on the iPad.

New Porsche 911 Turbo Goes on Sale This Week

If you've been waiting for a new Porsche 911 to come out, today is a good day for you. With so many mid-2010 and 2011 model releases being announced right now, it's no surprise that Porsche joined in the fun today, announcing that the 2010 911 Turbo will arrive at its U.S. dealers this week and go on sale on January 30 - just three months after the debut of the Panamera, Porsche’s first Gran Turismo and sports car for four.

Porsches are a staple in So Cal, even being referred to as a "Newport Beach Chevy" when I was growing up around so many awesome cars. And the turbo is the top of the line 911, offering up a thunderous 500 horsepower for 2010, and a zero to sixty time of just 3.2 seconds - true supercar numbers.

What's surprising for the new 911, however, is its 25 m.p.g. fuel efficiency on the highway. With 20 more horsepower, and a 13 percent increase in fuel economy, the new 911 Turbo is indeed more powerful and more efficient. “We are very excited to welcome the all-new 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo into the family,” said Detlev von Platen, president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America. “More than ever, this supercar is a technological tour de force, and ... the best 911 Turbo ever.”

The 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo features the first entirely new engine in its storied 35-year history. The new flat-six boxer engine now delivers 500 horsepower, 20 more than the previous power plant, and top track speed is 194 mph for both the Coupe and the Cabriolet models.

The 2010 Turbo Coupe and Turbo Cabriolet prices are $132,800 and $143,800, respectively.

Monday, January 25, 2010

REVIEW: Lululemon Contender Jacket

Our female readers, especially those of you who do yoga and appreciate fashionable technical clothing, probably already know Lululemon. The Canadian company's line of stretchy (and sexy) workout gear has caught the eye of Southern California's women, and is showing up in more and more yoga classes, gyms and workouts all over the southland.

But here's a news flash the guys might not have gotten: they also have a men's line. I learned this after accompanying a girl friend into one of their stores last year, and was impressed by the designs, fabric and cut of their guy's pants, shorts and jackets. I made a mental note to try their clothes at some point, and was happy to receive a dark gray Contender Jacket ($108) to try out.

The jacket is a great platform for Lululemon's fabric story for both the men and women, as it's made from Luon - one of their nearly dozen featured fabrics that feature Lycra and other stretchy & breathable threads. Luon is a preshrunk breathable fabric that stretches four ways and is also used in their ladies' yoga pants. Other fabrics run the gamut from their lightweight Luxtreme to the even lighter Swift.

The Contender jacket is soft and comfortable - I never wanted to take it off. The fabric strikes a welcome balance of weight and breathability, so that I never overheated in it yet was always warm - similar to a merino wool sweater but with better shape memory. The jacket features some cool Lululemon bonuses like a cord retainer for your headphones, a zippered chest pocket so you can hear your cellphone, and mesh panels under the arms for even more breathability.

While the guys can also choose several other items (I like the Endeavor pant myself), it is the women with the lion's share of selection at Lululemon - they literally have you covered from head to toe in great technical fabrics, bright colors and flattering cuts. And that's something both the guys and girls can be thankful for.

Stores in Fashion Island and Irvine Spectrum. Tons of product and information at

Saturday, January 23, 2010

REVIEW: Dakine Rolling Backpacks

Baggage fees. Long airport lines. Even longer walks to distant gates. Ever-growing carry-on items. Let's face it; flying definitely isn't as glamorous as it used to be. I don't know about you, but lately I'm apt to carry on more and check in less - especially since my bag is like a mobile office containing my laptop, phone, ipod, converters, candy bars and sleeping pills. Plus I'm a snob about what bag I lug around the airport.

Dakine to the rescue. One of my favorite bag companies since my days in the outdoor industry (surf, snow, bike and skate) Dakine (pronounced "dah-kine") has grown into my favorite luggage company for international travel. And a bag that encompasses their philosophy of durability and light weight is the Wheeled Campus (guys) and Wheeled Prom (girls) rolling backpacks (approx. $100). If you're over having to actually carry your carry-on and don't appreciate looking like a worker drone with a black rolling attache, this may the bag you need.

Designed ostensibly for lugging books across a school campus (judging by the name), this wonder of a carry-on has saved my back and shoulders on many a long trip. It is, simply, a book bag on wheels with a telescoping handle. But this isn't just any book bag, because Dakine doesn't "just do" anything. This bag has features that match $400 bags from Tumi or Briggs & Riley. Inside its ample 26-30 liters is a padded laptop sleeve and organizer pocket for phone, ipod and small items. Then there is the larger outside (insulated) pocket - perfect for keeping cold drinks cold or, in my case, laptop wires. There's a fleece-line sunglass pocket up top for easy access and - my favorite feature - stowable shoulder straps. It's simple to stash the straps when using the wheels, or pull them out when you need to shoulder the bag for a time.

Combined with the smooth rolling urethane wheels and easy deploying handle, this is all the bag I need for flights. More and more travelers have looked on in envy as I pull my bag through airports - with the bonus that I don't look like a backpacker on a Eurail pass nor a traveling salesman. And for the ladies, Dakine has designs and fabrics with a more feminine flair - this is one company that appeals to guys and girls alike. Plus it has a cool name.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

PRODUCT: BMW Updates 3-Series Coupe & Convertible for 2011

BMW has made slight modifications to their 3-series cars this year, due at dealer showrooms this Spring. Updated headlight fixtures and engines are the main changes, keeping their stalwart line of cars mostly unchanged for '11.

I go way back with BMW; one of my first cars was a '78 320i that I bought used in Newport Beach - that car was a 2-door coupe that BMW had created to replace the wonderful 2002 in the mid-'70s. It was later replaced by the 325 and 328 sedans and 330 coupe, creating one of the most successful car lines anywhere... especially popular in Orange County with everyone from students to professionals. With its classic lines and efficient size, the 3-series is both a driver's car and an affordable entry into German luxury and performance. And no one makes a well-built sedan, coupe or convertible quite like the Germans.

For 2010/2011, BMW knows it isn't broken, so they aren't fixing their venerable 3-series. With its longer lines, 2 fewer doors and upgraded performance, the coupe is BMW's sexiest small(ish) car. The 1-series may be a few inches smaller, but it doesn't possess the sexy lines of the 3 coupe - which appeals to those wanting a sportier look and image.

So what is new for this year's coupe and convertible? Most noticeable will be the slightly widened "kidney" grill, which reflects other BMW grills growing wider and bigger. Adjacent to that is a re-worked headlight cluster, with LED daytime running light "halos" to upgrade the car's aggressive eyes. Taillights have also been slightly re-worked, as car manufacturers continue their battle of the coolest and most distinctive lighting designs.

Other changes are more subtle, such as the design "toning down" since last year's departure of controversial design chief Chris Bangle. We're starting to see more and more details that preserves BMW's many lines, folds and creases in their bodywork, but add more clean lines as well. An example from their recent press release on the new 3-series: "An additional horizontal contour line has been added to the rear air dam to further accentuate the width of the Coupe and Convertible. It creates light-and-shade effects to give the entire rear end a flatter and smoother appearance."

Under the hood, the engines have been tweaked to produce the same big power (300hp from the 330i) from less gas. Using lessons from their turbo diesels, they have lighted up their engines and injected the fuel right into the cylinders with quick-spool turbos to keep up the power and lose some weight. With the addition of a diesel 335d sedan to the lineup (35 fewer hp but lots more torque), it would really be something to get a TDI 3-series coupe we'd really have something...

Changes exclusive to the convertible include the inclusion of X-drive (AWD) and new leather seats treated to retain less heat when the roof is down - lowering surface temperatures by 27-35 degrees.

Friday, January 15, 2010

PRODUCT: Bose QuietComfort 15 Headphones

I've been using noise-cancelling headphones for years; beginning with a pair I picked up for $40 in the Akihabara district of Tokyo back in '98 (they broke on a flight to South Africa) and then replaced with a pair of $70 Philips HN-110 folding headphones. But when I saw the Philips headphones on sale for $30 at a discount retailer, I knew it was time to step up, bite the bullet and get the industry's state of the art. It was time to get Bose.

I've always had a slight problem with the price premium Bose places on all their products. But, unlike some electronic manufacturers (think Sony) who charge more for essentially equal tech and craftsmanship, Bose really seems to put their money where your ears are. And so I checked out their latest offering in noise cancelling (reducing) headphones, the QuietComfort 15 ($300).

The QC 15, which replaces the QC 2, is Bose's over-the-ear style, while the QC 3 is their "on the ear" noise cancelling model. Visually the QC 2 & 15 are nearly identical, with plush leather cushioning that cradles your ears for hours, a power switch and a basic brushed aluminum look. That cushioning - and the ergonomic design it uses - is half of the appeal of the Bose units for me. I regularly fly on 12 + hour flights, and only the very best design will spare my ears the fatigue that comes from prolonged pressure. And the Bose are as comfortable as any headphone I've ever worn.

Another virtue of the Bose is their awesome bass response. If you like your music (and in-flight movies) with punchy bass, the Bose can't be beat. Combined with their clear high end and neutral mid-tones, the QC line of headphones are as great sounding as they are comfortable. Power comes from one AA battery, and the headphones must be powered on to receive audio. Battery life is rated at 35 hours, but best to keep a spare on hand, because when the battery goes, all signal goes with it.

The QC 15 boasts even better noise reduction than the QC 2s, but it's hard to quantify even in head-to-head comparison - I'll take their word for it. But since there isn't a price penalty to be paid, it makes sense to buy the new version. These headphones are also light and have a removable audio cord if you want to just use them for peace and quiet. The only downside of over-the-ear cans is the difficulty in sleeping with them on - it's the one area where in-the-ear phones have an edge.

This brings up the only real downside to Bose's QC 15 headphones (besides their price) - their bulk. Because of the way they fold (they don't really), they take a lot of space in your carry-on bag; especially if you use the included space-wasting case. But once you slip them on your head, the outside world of white noise nearly disappears. Leaving just you, your audio and and a slightly more enjoyable flight.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

PRODUCT: Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet

Mercedes-Benz introduces two noteworthy cars at this year's Detroit Auto Show, premiering their new cabriolet E-Class, and powerhouse coupe SLS AMG.

We're big fans of the new E-Class lineup, with its fresh styling and crisp lines. But for those of us lucky enough to live in sunny Southern California, the one thing missing from the line-up was a convertible version of the E-Class. Well the folks at Mercedes put things straight this week in Detroit, when they debuted their new cabriolet E-Class at the North American Auto Show. The car is due in U.S. showrooms this Spring, just in time for long drives down PCH.

The new cabriolet has nice lines and will surely be a hit with the OC beach set; one feature that will have everyone applauding is the new Aircap wind deflector and optional "air scarf." The deflector does just what you'd expect, while the air scarf directs warm air up where it's needed. These luxuries were definitely missing from my 1978 Triumph Spitfire...

Another announcement from Mercedes is the new 563 horsepower SLS AMG. With its gorgeous gullwing doors, aluminum construction and aggressive lines, this new coupe evokes the lines of the legendary 300 SL. It will definitely be a hit with the power-hungry crowd and those seeking the best handling Mercedes can offer.

For those who wish they could have attended the press conference themselves (complete with inspiring version of "Here Comes The Sun" to introduce the new cabriolet), we present to you highlights from the press conference:





Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Burton Outerwear for 2010

With the recent delivery of my new two-layer (2L) Burton AK Stagger Jacket ($369), I felt it was time to catch up with Burton's latest outerwear offerings for the new season. When the snow is blowing sideways and temperatures have dropped below 20 degrees, the one thing standing between you and a miserable day on the slopes is the quality of your outerwear. And, through the miracle of Gore Tex and other high-tech laminated fabrics, there has never been a better time to brave the cold, wind, rain and snow.

For snowboarders (and not surprisingly more and more skiers), nothing beats the quality, fit and style of Burton's outerwear. Year in and year out, Burton comes up with a line of jackets and pants that set the bar - and then raise it each season. From their basic 5,000mm (a measurement of waterproof and breathability, 5,000 being the minimum and 20,000 being "bulletproof") to the "Ronin" line - and their top of the line 3L (three-layer) AK line, Burton makes possibly the best snow sports outerwear in the industry.

For 2010 Burton has further refined their fabrics to be softer, brighter and even more functional. With 3 different fits (from saggy to slim) and a plethora of colors and patterns, Burton outerwear has something for everyone. Their product carries a lifetime guarantee and details many others don't offer, such as zippered interfaces with their pants, iPod cord routing and removable waist gaiters.

The 2L Stagger Jacket - along with my AK 3L Gore Tex Hover Pant - are simply bulletproof. The 3L's 3-layer Gore Tex fabric is even more impervious to wind and cold than the 2L, but carries an approximately $80 price hike for the added protection. Amazingly, the fabric's "hand" is soft and pliable, not stiff like many competitors. The Stagger Jacket is nearly as soft, and comes in several colors - I went with the Sorcerer blue. Seams are taped, zippers are waterproof and you can always find a warm fleece-lined pocket when your hands freeze.

You'll find all of Burton's latest product on their website ( as well as retailers like Wave Rave and Wherever you get it, you'll be thanking yourself for spending a few extra dollars next time you're stuck on a chairlift in a storm.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

PRODUCT: Infiniti Updates Their Vehicle Lineup for 2010

Infiniti, Nissan's luxury automotive brand, recently announced updates to their lineup for 2010, with small cosmetic updates dominating the brand's changes. This is welcome news to current owners of Infiniti vehicles, as it means another year without their late-model cars becoming outdated on the road.

In the world of luxury auto brands, Infiniti competes on both price points and features with the 3 major German brands (Audi, BMW and Mercedes) as well as the other two major Japanese luxury brands (Lexus and Acura). Fit and finish is solid on the current Infiniti lineup, with the traits luxury buyers look for in their cars and SUVs - solid construction, quality tactile interiors, powerful engines and world-class handling. For 2010, Infiniti updates are mostly concentrated on the G series, and summarized as the following:

QX – Simplified exterior color selections. On sale May 2009.
M – Revised option package selection and content, simplified color selections. On sale September 2009.
EX – Revised option package selection and content, standard heated front seats (EX35 AWD), enhanced audio and navigation system features, and revised exterior/interior color combinations. On sale fall 2009.
FX – Revised option package selection and content, standard Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System (all models), enhanced audio and navigation features, simplified exterior/interior color combinations. On sale fall 2009.
G Coupe – Revised interior colors and trim appearance, available next generation navigation system, new gauge color scheme and center console design, rain-sensing wipers and Advanced Climate Control System (ACCS) with Plasmacluster™ air purifier added to Technology Package, revised Journey model content and one new exterior color. On sale January 2010.
G Sedan – New grille, front fascias (Base and Sport) and headlight treatments, new 17-inch wheels, revised interior colors and trim, available next generation navigation system, new gauge color scheme and center console design, rain-sensing wipers and Advanced Climate Control System (ACCS) with Plasmacluster™ air purifier added to Technology Package, standard 8-way power-adjustable passenger seat and one-touch auto up/down rear windows on Base model, revised Journey model content and two new exterior colors. On sale January 2010.
G Convertible – The 2009 G37 Convertible went on sale in June 2009. Information on the 2010 model will be available at a later date.

Following is a more detailed overview of Infiniti G-series for the 2010 model year:

2010 Infiniti G37 Coupe
For 2010, the major enhancements are found inside the G Coupe body – with revised colors and model/option package content. The 2010 Infiniti G37 Coupe goes on sale in January 2010.

Changes for 2010 include:
Revised interior colors and new aluminum interior trim appearance
New white gauge color scheme
New center console design with revised lower center stack on automatic transmission equipped models
New available next generation Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation System with all-new features, including higher resolution graphics, Zagat Survey® restaurant reviews, XM Weather® reports (in addition to XM NavTraffic®), Speed Limited Advisories and fastest-route-calculation based on statistical traffic data (XM® subscription required, sold separately)
New available Spanish language support for navigation displays and Voice Recognition functions
New rain-sensing wipers
New available Advanced Climate Control System (ACCS) – automatically shuts outside air vents when exhaust fumes are detected, while its Grape Polyphenol Filter removes airborne allergens from the cabin and the Plasmacluster™ air purifier uses charged ions to help reduce or neutralize airborne germs
HomeLink® Universal Transceiver and Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System added to the Journey model
Heated seats and heated outside mirrors added to the Journey model
RearView Monitor now standard on the Journey model
2GB Music Box Flash Memory Music Server added to the Premium Package
Revised 18-inch wheel color (lighter)
One new exterior color

The 2010 Infiniti G37 Sedan goes on sale in January 2010.

Changes for 2010 sedan include:
New grille design
New Base model front fascia with new headlight design and separated (from headlights) fog lights
New Sport model front fascia with integrated fog lights and “blacked out” sport headlights
New rear fascia
Revised interior colors
Revised aluminum interior trim
New white gauge color scheme
New center console design with revised lower center stack on automatic transmission equipped models
New available Advanced Climate Control System (ACCS) – automatically shuts outside air vents when exhaust fumes are detected, while its Grape Polyphenol Filter removes airborne allergens from the cabin and the Plasmacluster™ air purifier uses charged ions to help reduce or neutralize airborne germs
Standard 8-way power-adjustable passenger seat and one-touch auto up/down rear windows on Base model
New available next generation Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation System with all-new features, including higher resolution graphics, Zagat Survey® restaurant reviews, XM Weather® reports (in addition to XM NavTraffic®), Speed Limited Advisories and fastest-route-calculation based on statistical traffic data (XM® subscription required, sold separately)
New available Spanish language support for navigation displays and Voice Recognition functions
New available USB input plays music from a compatible iPod®, flash drive or other compatible mass storage device
HomeLink® Universal Transceiver, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System and automatic anti-glare rearview mirror added to the Journey model

Heated seats and heated outside mirrors added to the Journey model
RearView Monitor now standard on the Journey model
New Bluetooth® Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) included in Navigation Package – allow users to stream two-channel audio from a compatible device to the vehicle audio system
DVD-Video playback included in Navigation Package
2GB Music Box Flash Memory Music Server added to the Premium Package
New 17-inch wheel design and color
Two new exterior colors

Amazing Race 16 to premier February 14, 2010

With seven Emmys under its belt for Outstanding Reality Show (competition) under its belt, Amazing Race begins its 16th season in just over one month's time. I was proud to have been a field producer on this season as well, and know this upcoming season will be as much loved as previous seasons.

For those who missed season 15's finale, here's a clip:

I can't believe it's been four seasons of TAR since I posted to this blog. Well that's going to change, as I'm recommitting myself to posting more often here. Specifically I'll be posting product news & reviews - everything from outdoor gear to automotive, tech, travel and luxury goods. When they're posted on partner/client websites, I'll include those links here as well.