European Magazines versus American Magazines: Who does it the best?
Ever since I was a kid I remember reading car magazines with my big brother Jason. He was my main inspiration for anything and everything cars. He was also one of the key people in getting me to play guitar the way that I do… That is another story though. At the time I used to read magazines with Jason I got rather partial to certain ones. Road and Track was always my favorite. Car and Driver was good, but they were sort of out of it to me, at that time. And Motor Trend? Well, they were good, but they didn’t do a lot of 0-60 and ¼ mile tests due to, at least from the legend I heard, one of the testers getting into an accident and dying while doing a straight line test.
I remember sitting down and learning about all of the hot cars of the day, looking at the amazing pictures of them racing down the roads or on the track. It was amazingly surreal to me at that age.
Now, though, I have gotten older. While I still enjoy the American magazines, I have realized that the British have the amazingly in touch articles and reviews. I see Car and Driver rapidly moving in this direction as well, as they have some great editor articles in the front of the magazine. Their car reviews have become, in my honest opinion, the best of the American magazines as of right now. Still, though, they aren’t quite on the same level as magazines like EVO, Car and Top Gear. Even though the British magz don’t usually have very good 0-60 times on their cars. It’s like they just use the stock times from the manufacture. That is no good in my book. I like to see the performance of the vehicles. But I will say that the Brits do an excellent job at conveying the level of ability and satisfaction with the cars.
With that aside, I have grown much accustom to the amazing photography in the British magazines. I have never in my life seen photos capture every essence of the situation the way that they do. You can tell that the photographers are just as passionate about the cars as the guys writing about them and driving them. The American magazines look like someone just snapped a few photos with a Kodak Easy Share camera and called it a day. Not that it’s a bad camera; it’s what I use at the moment, until I get my nicer Canon, that is. I don’t know if you have ever purchased any of these magazines and really analyzed the pictures in them, but you must. They have so much soul to them. It is almost like you are looking at a picture of yourself driving the car and you are the one doing all of the crazy driving in it. Whatever techniques the British guys use to take their pictures, and the software that they use to edit them is above the rim.
I live between two houses, so I have a couple of bookshelves at my main residence that house not all of the magazines that I have, the rest are in plastic bins waiting for me to get another book shelf and put them on there. I have now, two new book cases at my beach house to house the collection I have amassed since I’ve started living down her full time. I have one whole case dedicated to the American magazines and the other is dedicated to the Euro ones. Since I’ve been a blogger I’ve gotten more of the British publications these days. So when you look at my shelves, there is an obscene amount of R&T’s, MT’s, C&D’s, Automobile magazines, and the likes. But now you see the others catching up quickly. It’s quite funny how many of the British magazines I have amassed in a little over a year. I have finally seen the light and realized that they are the best.
It’s a shame really. The American magazines used to be so much better than this. It’s like they’ve lost their luster to me and many other people that I know. They don’t seem to have the same creative passion anymore. It was incredibly apparent, and this happens to be the moment I took Road & Track off of my credibility list, when the new C6 Z06 came out. Of course everyone was all over it. R&T did a full, crazy long review of it. They even did a cutaway review of the whole design of the car. But, the two things that stick out the most from that horrible article was a saying in the first paragraph, which said something along the lines of, “This car can almost do 60 in 1st gear!” What?! Almost?! Try it does do 60 MPH in first gear jackass. I guess the poor bastard couldn’t drive it in a straight line either because he thought it was quite fast at 4.2s to 60.
WOW!!! Every other magazine that tested the new Z06 was astonished at the amount of speed it could carry. Especially the fact that it could do 60 in 1st gear. They also all loved the fact that GM was quoting 3.7s to 60 and they were getting anywhere between 3.4-3.6s to 60. Pretty damn amazing. Also, the ¼ mile was coming up much quicker than the 11.7s that GM had said.
What’s worse is this year when Motor Trend gave the 2008 car of the year award to the new Cadillac CTS. Huh? I tested the same car. It sucked. I mean it’s good for some people, but by my standards it was bad. It really isn’t a car that Cadillac should be proud of. They are right though, when they say that it ain’t your granddaddy’s Caddy. It’s your daddy’s… That’s the way I see it at least. But they said that the CTS interior was far superior to that of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Have they seen the car? It did happen to be in the running for the same award. They said that the center console was bland, cheap and boring. And better yet, they said that they Caddy’s was nicer. Honestly, I would love to find out what they are smoking that allows them to believe such nonsense. When I do find out, I think I may start smoking it myself and make myself believe things to make my life easier, more fun and on a day to day, better. If you see a new Benzo C, stop and check it out. Keep in mind that Cadillac hired the same company that do Benz’s interior consoles to do theirs. Then go look at the Caddy interior and tell me which one feels more at home. The C won out in my book. Motor Trend was just too love struck to see that there was an American sedan that actually was neat looking.
R&T and MT credibility=0 these days to me. They could tell me the same exact truth that EVO says, and I would still not believe them and go quote the other guys.
Not all of the American publications are horrible though. Like I said earlier, Car and Driver is better than ever, Automobile isn’t bad, but even better is 0-60 Magazine. A great, no holds barred magazine. I may not agree with all that they say, but at least it’s less bullshit and even less filling. One thing I love about the British magazines is that they seem to have enthusiast based writers. Not just your average enthusiast though, no, I’m talking guys that get out there and do track days, go buy beater cars and fix them up to be strict track cars. Not the American guys. 0-60 seems like that kind of magazine though. Oh yeah, the pictures are phenomenal! They are easily on par with the best in Europe. Also, 0-60 talks a lot about buying tips, enthusiast knowledge, modding and the likes. I just figured out why. Most of their contributing staffers are from British magazines… Tell you much?
So now that we have established who is better in my mind, I want to just share with you this one crazy fact. The Euro magazines are also more dedicated to racing. Seeing as which they have a lot more racing publications than we have NASCAR magazines. That’s a lot.
While it may seem that I am just taking pot shots at the American magazines the same way I do the American automakers at times, I’m really not. I just want to see our magazines, just like I want to see our auto companies, be able to stand head to head with the other guys. I wish the articles were better, I wish the pictures made me drool, but they just don’t. Even worse, you have track times that magazines like R&T post that are slower than what the others would post. Road & Track just finally was able to get a Z06 to do 3.4s to 60. I don’t even think they actually were able to do it, I think they just copied that of Motor Trend and Car and Driver. Sad really. I want to see my old favorites come back and inspire me more the way that they used to. When I first started this blog I was reading a lot of EVO magazine, Car Magazine and Top Gear magazine. Those brilliant editorials, reviews and articles helped strike the passion in me to start really writing and wanting to get my writings out there to people. The others just don’t do it for me anymore, and God, I really wish they did, just like the old days.
Just as a quick note, out of all of the M3 pictures that Road and Track has, the best one I could find is the one I posted above. On the other hand, Car Magazine of UK had about 10 great, and I mean amazing High-Res M3 photographs that came straight out of their magazine issues and onto the computer screen.
Also, click on the pictures to see the full screen High-Res photos from Car and 0-60.