More Artwork...

We'd like to share some recent pieces we've just completed; these will be added to the online Gate58 shop, which will be finished soon...

Hana Bay - Triptych (Metallic Print on Acrylic)

This is a 3-panel piece, each measuring 16"x22." Printed on metallic paper and mounted to 1/4" acrylic, it floats from the wall, spaced separately, using a back-mounted hanging batton system.

Light & Trees (Metallic Print on Acrylic)

Each separate 15"x10" panel creates one image. Also printed on metallic paper and bound to acrylic, sits away from the wall using rear batton hanging system.

Laotian Waterfall - Diptych Canvas (2-panel Canvas on Gallery 1.5" Stretcher Bars)

This is a 2-panel canvas piece, each hung separately and spaced apart creating one large image. The canvas is stretched on 1.5" wooden frame, so the image wraps around, visble from all sides. Yet, when viewed from the front, you'll always see one continuous image. Laotian Waterfall is available in two sizes:

Small Canvas: Face size approx. 23.5"x30.5" with 3/4" standard stretcher bars

Large Canvas: Face size approx. 26"x34" with 1.5" gallery stretcher bars

Hana Bay (Metallic on Oversized Acrylic wtih metal fixtures)

This large 20"x30" image is printed on metallic paper and mounted to a larger 24"x34" acrylic piece. As with all the acrylic pieces above, the print is visible behind the acrylic, so the effect is as though you're looking through borderless, floating glass. This particular piece uses 4 round fixtures in each corner for mounting, common in commercial spaces.

Lahaina Sunset (Metallic Print, Framed)

This image is printed on metallic paper, in two sizes: 20"x30" or 16"x20" and framed. This finished piece will be signifcantly larger.

Tested > 2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

The 2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo-S: Not an SUV

Story & Snaps: Amee Reehal

After all these years, I still remember the advertising tagline for the Porsche Cayenne when it was first introduced to North America in 2002: “It’s not an SUV. It’s a Porsche.” Priceless. This more or less sums it up. A) We realize we’re a little late to the segment; we’re not calling it an SUV. B) We’re Porsche. We build the world’s finest cars this side of Stuttgart. We don’t need to explain ourselves. Nor should they. Call it what you wish, sport utility or otherwise, Porsche has arguably created one of the world’s most impressive 4-door performance vehicles (with exception, perhaps, to the 2010 Porsche Panamera!)—marrying classic Porsche styling with craftsmanship, along with such audacious power and performance, the Cayenne Turbo-S’ nearest competitor is still stuck in The ‘90s. When Blazers, Tahoes, Escalades, and the like, had long inundated North American driveways turn of the century, Porsche was evidently M.I.A. Even the Europeans got in on the action with Mercedes-Benz releasing the M-Class in 1998 and BMW with the X5 in 2000. Sure, perhaps they were riding it out, assessing the SUV market before T-boning the competition for leftover sales. Or perhaps Porsche values craftsmanship over market share, going against the grain, building performance vehicles and not necessarily sport utility vehicles consumers seek.

Performance

Propelling this heavy 2360-kg rocket is a 4.8-litre twin turbo V8, producing a whopping 550-hp and 553-lb ft of torque, paired to a 6-speed Tiptronic-S transmission with the Hill Holder function, offering an extra 30-hp from the 2008 Turbo-S, sharing essentially the exact same displacement as the current model, the extra power comes by way of improved airflow via exhaust and intake, along with some engine revamping (and in case you were wondering, a 260-hp bump from the entry-level Cayenne…for an extra $100,000 or so, in case you were wondering this too). Clocking a zero to 60mph in 4.8 seconds with a top speed of nearly 280km/h, the Cayenne Turbo-S is fastest SUV available. Behind the wheel, the engine feels very smooth and clean. The V8 pushes this beast of a vehicle so effortlessly, you wouldn’t know this was an SUV until you got out gawked at it for a few minutes. Virtually, no noise or vibration—just pure Porsche refinement as one would expect.

Exterior Styling

Following the introduction of the first ever 2008 Turbo-S in 2007, the 2009 Turbo-S was introduced last year at the Beijing Auto Show. While both the ’08 and ’09 models are essentially the same, including the same powerplant, the latter does see some revisions with the more notable being extra horses. But hey, a few cosmetic changes second time around wouldn’t hurt, and if your friends can’t tell that you’ve traded up, the 21-inch SportPlus alloy wheels housed in wider fender flares should give it away. Other styling differences over the 2008 Turbo-S include an exclusive grey metallic paint option, body colour matched front intake grills and wheel arches, and Cayenne GTS style sporty aluminum quad tailpipes. If this doesn’t clear it up, it’s time for new friends.

The Cabin

The interior feels sporty with no compromise in luxury. The 12-way power front seats are well bolstered and comfortable. The unique 3-spoke multifunction wheel is wrapped in leather. The updated Porsche Communication Multimedia System Management (PCM) includes an array of things including navigation system and a 14-speaker surround sound Bose system. The touch screen is nestled in the middle of centre console, surrounded by an array of dials and buttons, sitting so low that toggling your view between the road and the screen is like watching a proper tennis match—except that this is both frustrating and dangerous. Perhaps relocate the vents and raise the entire centre console with the screen placed up top.

The Ride

The all-wheel drive is equipped with 38%/62% front/rear torque split, all sitting upon a fully independent air suspension system with PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management). The slick yet useful suspension leveling and ride-height control offers a more fine-tuned drive. Other features include a Low Range gearbox with variable centre drift and the Porsche Stability Management (PSM). And for those who take the Cayenne’s ‘utility’ seriously, the towing capacity is rated at 7715-lb. More power deserves better stopping ability, especially in a vehicle this size. The 2009 Turbo-S comes with optional composite ceramic brakes paired to 14.5” vented rotors with 6-piston calipers up front, and 14.1” vented rotors with 4-piston calipers in the rear. The 21-inch alloy wheels are wrapped in 295/35 performance tires.

Safety

Some of the standard safety features include 2-stage driver and passenger airbags, side airbags integrated in the front seats, curtain airbags from the A to C pillars, 3-point front and rear seatbelts with pre-tensioners, encapsulated in a fully galvanized high strength steal body.

So, what was the holdup Porsche? What took so long getting into the SUV game? Frankly, who cares—today, the Cayenne is Porsche’s best selling product. And after spending one glorious week with the 2009 Cayenne Turbo-S, I can see why. Besides, when you’re behind the wheel of the Turbo-S, the past is quickly forgotten and the future is simply the open road ahead.

For more info on the 2009 Porsche Cayenne lineup visit http://www.porsche.com/canada/models/cayenne/

Tested > 2008 Porsche BoxsterS RS60 Spyder

PORSCHE® LIMITED EDITION BOXSTER™ RS 60 SPYDER

Copy: Porsche; Snaps: Amee Reehal

The latest Porsche Boxster pays tribute to the 1960 12 Hours of Sebring winning Type 718 RS 60 Spyder

Winning against a bigger and more powerful opponent is exactly what drivers Hans Herrmann and Olivier Gendebien did at Sebring in 1960. Their racecar, the mid-engine Porsche Type 718 RS 60 Spyder, propelled them to victory in the 1960 12 Hours of Sebring and helped solidify Porsche’s growing reputation as the “giant killer.” The 2008 Boxster RS 60 Spyder, to be introduced to the public next week at the New York International Auto Show, pays tribute to the legacy of the original RS 60 with style and substance that is worthy of its ancestry.

The 303 horsepower 2008 Boxster RS 60 Spyder bloodlines are reflected in its enhanced exterior and interior design cues. The front end is taken from Porsche’s SportDesign Package and when combined with 19-inch Porsche SportDesign wheels on spacers, helps distinguish the RS 60 from the current Boxster S. When you combine this extra power and aero package with standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and a dual tailpipe sports exhaust system, the reward is confidence-inspiring performance in all conditions.

The exclusive GT silver metallic paintwork is further accentuated by the contrasting colors of the Natural Leather interior in Carrera Red with a matching red convertible top. An alternative of Dark Grey Natural Leather in conjunction with a black roof will also be available.

Interior features and equipment of the new RS 60 Boxster reflect the racing heritage of its ancestor: door entry guards made of stainless steel that show off the model designation, a race-inspired gearshift lever, special surface texture in the center sections of the sports seats and center door linings as well as on the steering wheel rim and handbrake lever.

The instrument cluster also gives the impression of a racecar as the cover has been removed, prominently displaying the GT Silver Metallic instruments which have been set wider apart. Other special features include a black windscreen frame, red taillight lenses, GT Silver Metallic center console, rear sections of the seat backrests and roll bars that blend perfectly with the seat belts finished in silver.

The RS 60 Spyder comes equipped with a VarioCam Plus six-cylinder Boxer engine, which features increased horsepower over the Boxster S. Installed just ahead of the rear drive wheels; stability, agility and control are maximized. These attributes are expected from Porsche and delivered with such efficiency that Boxster models, like all other Porsche sports cars, are certified as low emissions vehicles and not subject to a gas-guzzler penalty.

Designed to be a world-class roadster, the Boxster family can accommodate two people with cargo in a small, agile, open-top, and powerful sports car. A true engineering feat in itself, the Boxsters soft top can be operated at moving speeds of up to 30 mph.

Boxsters are all equipped with three point inertia-reel seat belts as well as six airbags. In addition to two-stage frontal airbags, Boxsters feature the Porsche Side Impact Protection (POSIP) system with torso-protecting thorax side-impact airbags mounted in the outer edges of the seatbacks and special head-protecting side-impact airbags which deploy from the doors’ windowsills.

Reflecting its model designation, the new Boxster RS 60 Spyder is limited to 1,960 units worldwide, each number displayed on a silver-colored placard on the lid of the glove compartment. Less than 800 of the 1,960 units produced will make it to North American showrooms.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

RS60 Spyder as per photos:

Manufacturers Suggested Retail :$81,800.0 (CDN)

GT silver metallic    : N/C Red Top           : N/C Self dim mirrors and rain sensor: $970.00 BI - XENON heaqdlight package : $1530.00 Heated front seats   : $ 680.00 Porsche wind stop (deflector  : $ 525.00 Automatic Climate Control       : $ 770.00 Storage Box on Engine Cover    : N/C Sport Chrone packageW/out PCM  : $ 340.00

ACE tax  :100.00

TOTAL PRICE  : 87,715.00

Tested > 2009 Lincoln MKS

LINCOLN MKS: MODERN DESIGN, LEADING TECHNOLOGY COME STANDARD ON BRAND’S NEW FLAGSHIP SEDAN

Copy: Ford Canada; Snaps: Amee Reehal

Lincoln MKS is the all-new Lincoln luxury flagship, a dynamic and elegant vision of the Lincoln design DNA that is meticulously crafted with exclusive materials.

Lincoln MKS offers the largest selection of comfort and convenience technology features of any other luxury sedan in its class, including: Adaptive Cruise Control, Intelligent Access with Push-button Start, next-generation SecuriCode™ Keyless Entry, Adaptive HID headlamps with Auto High Beam, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Forward Sensing System, Rearview Camera System and Easy Fuel™ capless refueling.

Lincoln MKS connectivity technologies include SYNC™, Next-Generation Navigation with SIRIUS Travel Link™ and a THX® II Certified 5.1 Surround Sound Audio System

Available 20-inch wheels, a new six-speed SelectShift® automatic transmission and a Lincoln-exclusive 3.7-liter V-6 engine with 273 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque on non-premium fuel provide the Lincoln MKS responsive power and a smooth, connected ride.

Lincoln MKS features a robustly strong body structure that incorporates ultra-high-strength steels, plus safety technologies that include a new Adaptive Collapsible Steering Column, AdvanceTrac® electronic stability control and Safety CanopyTM, which offer side impact and rollover protection.

Lincoln MKS, the new full-size sedan, makes its production debut, continuing the momentum for Lincoln and offering customers dynamic, modern design and some of the most sophisticated safety, convenience and comfort technologies available on any car.

"The Lincoln MKS ensures a high level of comfort for all passengers, thanks to a class-leading interior package," said Brett Wheatley, Lincoln Mercury general marketing manager. "Abundant space, coupled with a comprehensive suite of features and technologies, delivers the luxury experience that Lincoln customers want and deserve."

First to Embody Lincoln Design DNA

Dynamic and clean-lined, the new Lincoln MKS is the first production vehicle to embrace the Lincoln design DNA introduced on the Lincoln MKR concept.

"The Lincoln MKS is a substantial car with a well-proportioned athleticism and several signature design cues we developed after carefully auditing the best Lincoln design elements over time," says Peter Horbury, executive director of Design, The Americas. "Lincoln design has always been more discreet, exuding a kind of understated luxury, and we've designed the this luxury sedan understanding that the Lincoln owner views the MKS as a reward for hard work, not simply an outward symbol of status."

The most striking exterior design feature is the double-wing grille, inspired by the 1941 Lincoln Continental. The grille sweeps up into the jewel-like high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps to form a single graphic element that further accentuates the face. A bright chrome Lincoln star rests prominently between the grille's wings.

Key design cues include the sculpted hood and fast-raked windshield, which forms a sleek roofline. The broad-shouldered Lincoln MKS also features a beltline that kicks up slightly over the rear wheels, another modern tribute to classic Lincoln design.

Elegant details include a polished stainless steel side window surround that finishes with a wide flourish at the front edge of the C-pillar – accentuating the tapered cantrail of the cantilevered roof. Stainless steel strips also run the length of the car, framing the available twin-panel moon roof and flowing into the tall decklid.

At the rear, exquisitely detailed LED taillamps are accented by a vertical white light strip that runs along the edge of the decklid, and a horizontal chrome strip is inset with a Lincoln star.

The Lincoln MKS Interior: Meticulous Detail

The meticulously detailed 2009 Lincoln MKS delivers a precision-crafted environment resplendent in hand-wrapped premium leather as well as real wood and metal accents.

Warm and inviting, it incorporates a more modern interpretation of the symmetrical instrument panel design that also is featured in the Lincoln Navigator, MKZ sedan and MKX crossover.

The instrument panel flows horizontally from door to door, its top portion is hand-wrapped in durable, eco-friendly leatherette with double-stitching. The instrument panel is divided into upper and lower portions by a stripe of sculpted wood highlighted by a line of chrome.

Trimmed at the top in real wood, the leather-wrapped steering wheel frames an elegant instrument cluster with gauges circled with delicate chrome rings. Details of the interior design also are accented in sculpted aluminum.

"There is nothing on the cockpit that is concentrated only on the driver," Horbury said. "With Lincoln, the business-class ride is a shared experience for all on board."

Elegant and flowing surfaces create the feeling that the interior has been sculpted, rather than constructed. The flow-through center stack is topped with an integrated information screen that also serves as the screen for the available navigation system. Standard leather seats are double-stitched and feature an exclusive Lincoln perforation pattern on the inserts.

Customers can choose from three distinct interior options, all set off by Lincoln's signature cool white lighting.

A philosophy of "guilt-free luxury" means Lincoln MKS uses materials and processes that reflect the finer things in life but not at the expense of the world around them, including:

Leather for the seats by Bridge of Weir, the same Scottish company that supplied hides for the iconic Continental Mark II. Chosen for its high quality and its organic, chromium-free tanning, this is the softest leather ever used in a Lincoln.

Ebony wood, used for some models, reclaimed from furniture makers and others sources to offer a beautiful and rare wood with minimal environmental impact. The MKS offers best-in-class interior volume of 105.9 cubic feet and best-in-class luggage space of 18.4 cubic feet, nearly four times larger than some competitors.

New Lincoln comfort seats, developed first for the Lincoln MKS, feature side bolster support designed for spirited driving. The standard heated and cooled, 12-way power driver and front passenger seats offer four-way lumbar (up, down, inboard and outboard) for added comfort on long trips.

Rear seat passengers also enjoy a luxury experience that begins as they enter the cabin, via the largest rear-door opening of its class. MKS also offers segment-exclusive standard heated rear seats.

Recessed into the front and rear door openings, cleverly designed hidden rocker panels allow for a lower step-over height, making it easier to enter or exit the vehicle. This design shields the rockers from the elements, reducing the likelihood of soiling shoes or trousers when entering or exiting the vehicle.

Largest Array of Comfort and Convenience Technology Features

The Lincoln MKS offers the largest selection of comfort and convenience technology features of any other luxury sedan in its class, including:

Adaptive Cruise Control, which allows the driver to set the car's speed and maintain it without using the accelerator pedal. The radar-based system also can monitor the vehicle in front (up to 600 feet) and adjust the speed of the Lincoln MKS to keep it a safe distance behind the lead vehicle, even in fog or heavy rain. Four settings allow the driver to set a desired distance, speed and the time gap between vehicles. Intelligent Access with Push Button Start, a first for Lincoln, allows the driver to enter the Lincoln MKS and start the engine without using a key. Drivers simply carry the special fob as they approach the vehicle, touch the keyless entry pad on the B-Pillar, open the door and with the brake pedal engaged, start the engine by pushing a button. Unlike some systems, the Intelligent Access key fob will work even if it is kept in the trunk, in a coat pocket or briefcase.

SecuriCode™ Keyless Entry Keypad, the next-generation version of a feature familiar to Lincoln owners. It allows access to the vehicle by unlocking the driver door using a five-digit code. The new system is now flush-mounted to the car's driver-side B-pillar, using technology similar to that found on portable MP3 music players to create heat-sensitive, backlit numerals that become visible once they're touched.

Adaptive Headlamps with Standard High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Lamps enhance nighttime visibility by illuminating more of the road and reducing glare from oncoming traffic. Sensors monitor vehicle speed and steering wheel input engaging electric motors that pivot the left headlamp up to 5 degrees and the right headlamp up to 15 degrees to increase the driver's field of vision.

Auto High Beams coupled with the Adaptive Headlamps enhance nighttime visibility by switching to high intensity when no other vehicles are in range and automatically reverting to low beam intensity when they detect the headlamps or taillamps of other vehicles. Derived from sensing technology developed for NASA, the system can detect taillamps at a distance of more than 500 feet and headlamps at a distance of 2,000 feet. A patented filtering technique distinguishes street lights from vehicle light sources, preventing unnecessary dimming.

Rain-Sensing Wipers use an advanced optical sensing system to detect how hard rain or snow is falling and determine when to activate windshield wipers and how fast to run the wiper motor. An infrared beam "reads" the surface of the glass and sends information to a sensor mounted in the windshield shade band. Customers can program the system to their preference choosing from five different sensitivity settings.

The Forward Sensing System uses four hidden sensors mounted in the front fascia and audible beeps to help drivers determine how close they are to objects in front of their vehicle while parking. It can detect objects up to 1,500 feet away, plus objects at certain heights even out of the driver's view, such as parking blocks. It operates only below 8 mph.

The Rearview Camera System works in conjunction with the vehicle's reverse sensing system and uses the navigation screen as a display. A camera mounted beneath the Lincoln Star on the decklid is activated when the vehicle is shifted into reverse.

Easy Fuel™ Capless Fuel-Filler System is an industry-exclusive feature that provides customers a hassle-free, odor-free and more-consistent seal than a manual fuel cap. When fueling is completed and the nozzle is removed, the system automatically seals shut. The system has an invisible benefit, too – fewer evaporative emissions.

SYNC is standard on an array of 2009 Lincoln vehicles. The award-winning, industry-exclusive, voice-activated hands-free communications and entertainment system developed by Ford and Microsoft, fully integrates most Bluetooth®-enabled mobile phones and digital media players into the vehicle.

Voice-Activated Navigation System with SIRIUS Travel Link™ offers a host of convenient features including more than 150 hours of music storage. Users can browse the music juke box via touch-screen or by using voice recognition. The system also integrates the climate control and SIRIUS satellite radio into one easy-to-use, smudge-resistant, 8-inch touch-screen display.

Users can even upload personal pictures from CD to be displayed on the system's home screen. SIRIUS Travel Link™ provides users access to up-to-the-minute information including real-time gas prices at the closest stations as well as movie listings and sports scores through the vehicle's navigation system.

THX® II Certified 5.1 Surround Sound Audio System delivers true 5.1 surround sound from DVD movies and DVD-Audio music. A 12-channel, 600 watt "smart amp" delivers digital sound to the system's 16 specially-placed speakers, including a 10-inch subwoofer. The precision-tuned system uses state-of-the-art digital technology to turn the cabin of the Lincoln MKS into a theater or concert hall.

Quiet Comfort and Confident Driving Experience

The new Lincoln flagship sedan offers exceptional quietness and comfort and a confident driving experience, providing intuitive feedback to drivers along with a secure feeling behind the wheel.

The Lincoln MKS puts the driver in command. Its chassis provides isolation from road noise and harshness but doesn't isolate the driver from the road. Steering is precise and responsive, requiring little input from the cockpit.

The Lincoln MKS features a new, fully independent rear suspension (IRS) that has been designed and tuned to deliver a perfect balance of performance, handling and comfort.

A unique design places vertically mounted shock absorbers at the outboard end of the suspension arms, near the wheels. This configuration increases the motion ratio of the suspension allowing for a more precise tuning while also facilitating the larger wheels and tires that are desired by today's luxury customers.

"The setup significantly increases the efficiency of the dampers," said Jim Baumbick, Vehicle Development chief engineer. "This allows us to tune the suspension more finely across a wider range of attributes and deliver the optimum in both handling and ride comfort."

The MacPherson strut and rear-facing L-shaped lower control arm front suspension was designed to maximize suspension travel and tuned to work in harmony with the rear suspension. Together, the new front and rear suspension design can accommodate available, class-exclusive, 20-inch wheels and tires without compromising ride comfort.

Extensive development work also focused on creating the quiet isolation of the Lincoln MKS, befitting its new Lincoln flagship status.

The body structure of the Lincoln MKS was optimized for strength and stiffness. Along with noteworthy crash performance, the solid structure delivers the smooth, quiet ride luxury customers expect. Tire and bushing development focused on further tuning out low-frequency road noise and vibration.

The high-end sound package centers on a new technology that's a first for Lincoln and the MKS – an injection-molded rubber dash panel that runs from the floor, just under the carpet, up to the top of the dash and back over the cowl to block unwanted wind and powertrain noise. The same technology is used inside rear wheel wells.

A 6-millimeter-thick laminated windshield and laminated side glass, sound-absorbing carpeting and acoustic headliner round out the basic sound package.

Delivering a Smooth, Connected Driving Experience The Lincoln MKS is powered by a new 3.7-liter V-6 engine. This powertrain has been derived from the proven 3.5-liter V-6 found in the Lincoln MKX and Lincoln MKZ, which was voted one of Ward's 10-Best Engines for 2007.

Both engines share the same strong, die-cast aluminum block and lightweight four-valve heads for smooth operation at high rpms. The 3.7-liter's larger cylinders contribute to the increase in horsepower and torque. This engine delivers 273 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque and does not require premium-grade fuel.

Technologies such as variable valve timing are utilized to deliver substantial torque at lower rpms while reducing emissions. The Lincoln MKS qualifies for U.S Federal Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions and California Emissions State ULEV-II emissions standards.

"This engine is tuned to maximize the increased torque to improve performance where the driver needs it most, in standing acceleration and passing," says Michael Celentino, Lincoln MKS chief engineer. "To help manage the extra torque, the Lincoln MKS's six-speed automatic transmission is equipped with a stiffer torque converter that delivers an immediate throttle response and a more connected feel."

The MKS uses a pair of technologies that help to improve fuel economy and further reduce emissions without compromising performance:

A two-speed fuel pump that alternates between two flow settings, running on a low setting, which requires less energy, whenever conditions allow.

Aggressive Deceleration Fuel Shut-Off (ADFSO) is a fuel-saving system that shuts off fuel flow to the injectors when the driver backs completely out of the throttle with the vehicle in fifth or sixth gear, such as exiting onto a freeway off ramp. The Lincoln MKS features a six-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift® that delivers smoother shifts, better fuel economy and acceleration as well as enhanced performance feel. SelectShift, making its Lincoln debut on the new flagship sedan, allows the driver to select gears manually when desired.

An all-wheel-drive (AWD) system provides for a confident driving experience in all weather conditions. The unit uses a sophisticated system of clutches to quickly distribute torque between front and rear wheels – up to 100 percent in either direction – as needed, to avoid wheel slip.

"Drive the new Lincoln MKS and its engaging and rewarding driving experience is immediately clear," Celentino says. "The power is smooth and responsive, absolutely fitting the character of the new flagship Lincoln luxury sedan. This automobile creates an outstanding first impression and lives up to it."

The Lincoln MKS Safety Story

The 2009 Lincoln MKS builds on Ford Motor Company's safety leadership.

Using Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE), engineers and designers have developed the Lincoln MKS for optimal strength, stiffness and superb crashworthiness. Its energy-absorbing front structure – with octagonal front frame rails, tunnel rails and "shotgun" front structural members – is designed to absorb and redirect front crash forces away from the passenger compartment. The new sedan also features the class-exclusive Side Protection And Cabin Enhancement Architecture™ (SPACE) designed to optimize side impact protection.

The body structure features ultra high-strength boron steel in the B-pillar for added protection in a side impact and improves roof strength. The side impact door beams also have also been configured to provide optimal protection.

The Lincoln MKS is equipped with a comprehensive package of active and passive safety features, including dual-stage driver and front passenger air bags, seat-mounted side air bags, safety belt pretensioners and load-limiting retractors and driver seat positioning sensor. Other key safety features include:

Occupant Classification System – Using a sophisticated sensor, it determines via weight whether the front passenger seat is empty, occupied by a child seat or small, medium or large occupant and can deploy the air bag as needed.

Adaptive Collapsible Steering Column – In an impact, the column will collapse, dependent on the weight and belted status of the driver.

Safety CanopyTM – Ford's exclusive side impact protection system features side curtain air bags that help protect front and rear outboard passengers in both rollovers and side impact crashes.

AdvanceTrac® electronic stability control system uses sensors to monitor yaw, the vehicle's speed, throttle position and steering wheel angle and selectively applies individual brakes to help correct skids.

Ford's Belt-Minder®, a safety belt reminder technology for the driver and front passenger that takes over after the initial safety belt reminder stops chiming.

Tested > 2009 Ford Escape XLT

The 2009 Ford Escape: More Performance with Better Fuel Economy. Seriously.

story & snaps- Amee Reehal

The 2009 Ford Escape proves that ‘compact’ need not equate to ‘compromise’ or ‘less.’ In fact, Canada’s top-selling compact SUV now offers more power and better fuel economy—yes, that’s a bit of a paradox, but one consumers will gladly accept and dare not question!

As Ron Razzano, the Escape vehicle-engineering manager puts it, “With gas prices rising, we want to offer customers even more fuel-efficient vehicles…but more fuel efficient doesn’t need to mean reduced performance. We tried to give our customers more of both, so there wouldn’t be any compromise.” The powertrain for 2009 includes a new 2.5-litre I-4 engine producing 171-hp and 171 lb-ft of torque. That’s an 11-percent increase in power over the previous 2.3-litre, 153-hp engine.

While this new engine may provide more horses, it’s the introduction of the 6F-mid-range 6-speed automatic transmission that will save you money. The new 6-speed is calibrated for cruising fuel efficiency without sacrificing launch feel and performance in lower gears, proving to be 4 to 6-percent more fuel efficient than it’s 4-speed predecessor.

Another improvement over last year is the optional 3.0-litre V6 engine creating 240-hp, with new components including cylinder heads, intake and exhaust, cams, etc. Paired to the 6F-mid transmission, also generates 1-mpg better fuel economy for both city and highway.

Aerodynamic improvements, such as a redesigned front spoiler and new rear tire spoilers, coupled with tire technology, including cooperation with Michelin to develop new low-rolling resistance tires, also contribute to the Escape’s increased fuel efficiency.

Rick Gemin, the Escape’s marketing plans manager states, “The 2009 Escape also has a quieter ride and handles better, with an engaging character and fun-to-drive nature.” A revised shock absorber and addition of a new rear stabilizer bar, coupled with the retuned steering system and a better ABS system, all contribute to increased responsiveness and car-like drivability to the Escape—a welcome addition to any SUV.

The interior is roomy and comfortable, and scores points for being ‘green’ as well; the addition of comfort-designed seats not only feel good, they include soy-based foam that substitutes for petroleum-based products to conserve limited resources and reduce CO2 emissions. If that’s not ‘green’ enough for you, eco-friendly seat fabrics are also offered.

Safety features for the 2009 Escape include:

• AdvanceTrac with RSC • SafetyCanopy, a side air curtain technology offering protection for the first and second rows • PersonalSafteySystem: seven safety technologies including dual-stage front air bags and front passenger sensor system • A tire pressure monitoring system • Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system on rear seating positions

2009 Escape Hybrid

I had the opportunity to test both the 2009 Escape XLT w/ V6 engine and the 2009 Escape Hybrid; one week each, back-to-back. While this review is solely on the non-hybrid version, the Escape Hybrid certainly warrants some discussion. Driving from Ford’s Oakville head-office, to my brother’s place on Bay Street, to Niagara-on-the-Lake, back to Toronto, and everywhere in-between, I garnered countless Kms and barely used one full tank of fuel. All thanks to the new 2.5-litre, I-4 Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine with an engine processor that enables discreet transitions between gas and electric vehicle mode. Same as the non-hybrid version, the Hybrid’s new I-VCT technology provides improved fuel economy as well. For 2009, the packaged option includes six-spoke aluminum wheels and exterior chrome accents; standard AM/FM 6CD changer; chrome and ebony interior appointments; ambient lighting, heated front leather seating surfaces, a power moonroof and retractable cargo cover area, all part of the luxury & convenience package. SecuriCode keyless entry is also offered in this package.

For more info on the 2009 Ford Escape, visit http://www.ford.ca/app/fo/en/suvs_crossovers/escape.do?WT.srch=1;

This review is also posted at http://www.pasmag.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=947&Itemid=105

2008 Pirelli Photography Awards

Both 2008 Pirelli Photography Awards presented to samejournalist -- Amee Reehal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON  - October 23, 2008

Above: Clay Stang (judge), Amee Reehal, Derek Shapton (judge), Anthony Paulozza from Pirelli

It's been a crazy month...

If getting married in Maui and throwing a huge reception back home wasn't enough, I managed to spend a week in Toronto with my brother (also my stills producer) Rimy, sourcing studios for future car shoots. But the week started out in Niagara-on-the-Lake at AJAC’s 25th Automotive Journalism Awards Banquet where I accepted a couple awards (unbeknownst to me). It was great seeing everyone and the evening was a lot of fun!

Amee

ps. congrats to my friends Mike and Tanya who just had a baby girl!

_______________________________________________________________________________

Press Release:

Both 2008 Pirelli Photography Awards presented to same journalist -- Amee Reehal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON  - October 23, 2008

The Pirelli Photography Awards are presented to AJAC members each year honouring the best in published and unpublished automobile photographs.

Photography is part of the Pirelli culture. The company has created one of the world’s most well known photographic traditions – the Pirelli Calendar.  The calendar was launched in 1963 from Pirelli’s London office as a gift for privileged customers, its concept a take-off on the pin-up popular with automobile manufacturers. But the subtlety of its images and the quality of its photographers made the calendar a coveted collector’s item.

To his considerable credit, the same AJAC member won both major awards this year. The 2008 Pirelli Award for Best Un-Published Photograph and the Pirelli Award for Best Published Photograph go to Amee Reehal of Calgary. It’s worth noting that the judging is done with the photographer’s name hidden, which adds to Reehal’s dual win.

In the Un-Published Category, the runners up are Bradley Horn and Brian Early.

In the Published Photography category, Russell Purcell, a first place winner last year, and Justin Pritchard are the runners up.

In addition to the prestige of the awards, Anthony Paulozza, Marketing Director of Pirelli Tire Inc presented Reehal with a visit to the Pirelli-sponsored Jim Russell Racing Drivers School in Mt Tremblant as well as a collector copy of the Pirelli calendar.

The judges for the award are celebrated photographers Clay Stang and Derek Shapton of Toronto and Alana Riley of Montréal, all national and international award winners in their field.

-- 30 --

For more information contact: Anthony Paulozza, anthony.paulozza@pirelli.com  or John Morris, John@marcovitchpr.ca

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Above: 1st Place- Published Category (Performance Auto & Sound Magazine)

Above: 1st Place- Unpublished Category

Tested > 2008 Porsche Cayman

2008 Porsche Cayman: Well-balanced

story & photos: Amee Reehal

From the mid-mounted engine to the healthy mix of performance, utility, and comfort, the 2008 Porsche Cayman is simply a well-balanced piece of machinery. Not quite the 911 yet well beyond it's soft-top Boxter sibling, The Cayman fits nicely in the middle, differentiating itself with killer styling, decent performance, excellent handling, and surprisingly ample cargo space. In other words, if the 911 and Boxter had a child, it would be the Cayman... taking the best genes from both (without the inbred genetic defect stuff, of course).

A horizontally opposed flat-six, 2.7-litre engine produces 245-hp and 201 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 5-speed manual transmission with dual flywheel (The Cayman-S adds an extra 50-hp via a 3.4-litre engine paired to a 6-speed tranny). The best part? This coupe is very fuel efficient, getting 10.1L/100km (28mi/gal) in the city, and an impressive 6.8L/100km (42mi/gal) on the highway.

The handling is extraordinary, due primarily to the midengine platform and stiff/hardtop body. The firm suspension and front/rear stabilizer bars, coupled with the PSM (Porsche Stability Management) enhance handling capabilities.

The Cayman rolls on 6.5x17-inch alloys with 205/55ZR17 tires up front, and 8x17-inch alloys wrapped in 235/50ZR17 in the rear. Stopping power comes in the form of 11.7-inch vented rotors with 4-piston calipers up front with 11.8-inch in the back.

With a huge, cooler-sized cavity cargo space in the front and respectable trunk space under the rear hatch (providing total capacity of 14.5 cubic feet), the Porsche Cayman is borderline 'daily driver' material. Seriously. I had the car for two weeks, during my wedding reception mind you, so suffice to say I did a lot of running around and never had any issues (and 'sorry, it's a two-seater' came in handy too). Dropping off decorations at the venue, picking up my suit, buying loads of groceries, even loading my camera gear, I never had a problem (my only beef is the inability to load a golf bag, but that's another story).

In terms of styling, the Cayman is classic Porsche marrying smooth, sexy lines with wide, aggressive styling cues, resembling more the 911 than the Boxter.  And the 'Cayman' badging on the rear hatch adds a sense of intrigue as well whereas most are familiar with the iconic Porsche 911, and by now the entry-level Boxter as well which has been around for a decade, the Cayman, however, is still relatively unknown to most so it adds that extra sense of exclusivity and appeal without divulging it's sub-70K price point.

The interior is remarkably roomy, according to my passenger Jimmy, who is 6-ft 3-inch and 230-lbs. We’ll take his word for it, though he’s right; legroom is good and the arched roof design provides extra head space. HomeLink, cruise control, 3 power sockets, and an AM/FM/CD radio with 4 loudspeakers come standard.

Overall, pound-for-pound, the Cayman is a well-balanced sports coupe, and fuel efficient to boot. Especially at it's $65,500 price-point. Your long, flowing hair will look beautiful cruising in the drop-topped Boxter. But if you've got a bit extra to spend and value performance, handling and exterior styling, the Porsche Cayman is perfect.

For more info visit: http://www.porsche.com/canada/models/cayman/

Review also posted at http://www.pasmag.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=948&Itemid=105

Special Thanks to Tony Morris at Media Car Services

below- my brother rimy from toronto and my cousin jaimee from england were in town...so i put them to good use!

Tested > 2009 Ford Flex

2009 Ford Flex: Dares to be Different

Story & Photos: Amee Reehal

Ford is not one to shy from pushing the envelope. Whether creating new segments such as the SUT or simply challenging existing ones, Ford consistently dares to be different. The all-new 2009 Ford Flex is a true testament to this ideology. Dubbed a crossover, but more like a minivan without the minivan stigma, in my opinion, the Flex is a people-mover with style, sport, and brawn.

The design is provocative, to say the least: a sleek, low stance; an optional two-tone roof; beefy shoulderlines with signature side grooves running the length of the vehicle; just an overall boxy, yet clean, stretched appearance sets the Flex way apart. The interior is contemporary and luxurious yet relaxed and roomy. The space is very limousine-eque with business-class comfort, but the abundance of legroom and the overall cozy feel keeps things grounded and comfortable. So whether you're sporting a suit or beach wear, the Flex has no bias and lets you know it. So, come as you are, and bring some cold drinks while you're at it because the rear console is also an insulated refrigerator. The real cool thing about the Flex is how low is sits to the ground. Another inch or two higher and it would throw the entire look off. Equally as critical to this low stance styling is the impact it makes on the road, allowing the driver to really push the Flex in the corners: a crossover with a sports sedan feel, and with surprising less roll than you may expect from a such a hefty vehicle.

Powered by a 3.5-litre V-6 engine producing 262-hp at 6250-rpm and 248-lb.-ft of torque at 4500-rpm; paired to a 6-speed auto transmission, the Flex offers great performance with decent fuel efficiency.

The Flex design is without question innovative, but this doesn't end there. The Flex is teeming with innovative technology as well, including: •    FordSYNC: developed exclusively for Ford by Microsoft, an award-winning voice-activated, hands free in-vehicle communications & entertainment platform. •    Voice-activated navigation •    Reverse camera system •    EasyFuel capless fuel filter •    Class-exclusive refrigerated console: cools up to seven 12-ounce cans, four half-litre bottles, or two 20-ounce bottles •    Exclusive SecuriCode second-generation keyless entry keypad •    Ambient Lighting: seven different interior lighting colours

There's 'being different.' Then there's 'trying too hard.' What separates the two is how you pull it off; how confident you are in your own skin and the energy you put off. And though the Flex may not be for everyone, it doesn't really matter...because it stands with poise, confidence, and definitely pulls it off!

For more info on the 2009 Ford Flex visit: http://www.ford.ca/app/fo/en/suvs_crossovers/flex.do

This official review is posted at http://www.pasmag.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=887&Itemid=105

Update: Gate58

Gate58: Travel & Destination Artwork ...just a quick update. We're currently working on the website and uploading content; the site looks really good thus far. Thanks for all the support, and stayed tuned!

Amee & Joanne

Tested > 2008 Saab 9-3 Aero Sedan XWD

2008 Saab 9-3 Aero Sedan XWD

Review & Snap: by Amee Reehal

Saab is renowned for it’s ‘jet-inspired’ design and craftsmanship. The 2008 9-3 sports sedan is no exception—clean flowing lines, jet cockpit styling cues, and of course, an incredible turbo engine. Overall, the 9-3 Aero Sedan is exceptionally refined and offers bit of variety from its European counterparts.

The 9-3 is available in three forms: 4-door sedan, the SportCombi wagon, and a 2-door cabriolet. The sedan is available in four trims: Sport Manual ($35,950 MSRP), Sport Automatic ($37,450 MSRP), Aero Sport Manual ($43,990 MSRP), and my tester version, the Aero Sports Automatic with 6-speed Sentronic ($45,490 MSRP). A 2.8L V6 turbo engine producing an impressive 255-hp is standard, but an extra $2,340 will get you the well-spent Cross Wheel Drive (XWD) System performance upgrade: increasing power to 280-hp while adding self-leveling rear shocks and 17” rims with P225/50R all-season tires.

The overall exterior styling is reminiscent of most sports sedans—lengthened wheel base; long, clean lines; a low profile coupled with a sport wheel package; dual exhaust tailpipes, so on. From a distance, you may not distinguish the 9-3 from the Audis or BMWs. But at closer inspection, the iconic Saab 3-piece front grill will certainly give it away. Some of the finer details on the 9-3 are perhaps a matter of taste. Including the clear glass taillights with a thick black trim. Or the hard, black plastic rear valance. Power sliding sunroof, Aero specific bumpers, tinted heat absorbing glass, and Xenon headlamps with washers are all standard.

The interior is spacious, the instrument panel and centre console are very clean and well laid out, and the seats are arguably the most comfortable I’ve sat in recently (the $1,850 upgrade to sport bucket seats with premium leather probably explains it!). Sport leather appointed seating surfaces with 8-way power driver seat come standard. The steering wheel is well designed and very comfortable thought the sentronic thumb-shifters proved to be in an awkward position—requires lowering the hand off the wheel in order to make a shift, if hands are at the 2 and 10 o’clock positions, as the wheel is designed.  An 11-speaker Bose sound system with 6-disc CD changer comes standard; the DVD based navigation system ($1,995 upgrade) introduces a 6.5” wide colour display to the centre console, thus, replacing the 6-disc changer with single disc. Other interior standards include auto climate control; power windows/locks/cruise control; auxiliary input jack for MP3 compatibility; XM Satellite Radio with 3-month free service; a cool ‘night panel’ feature I found myself unexplainably obsessed with (basically shuts down all interior lights and gauges except the speedometer); carpeted floor mats; and a cooled glove box, to a name a few. If you’re in the market for a sports sedan but want to veer away from the other European 4-door offerings, strongly consider the 9-3 sedan. It’s spacious, powerful, safe, stylish, and something a little different.

For more info on the 2008 Saab 9-3, visit http://www.gm.ca/ss/gm/overview.do?model=93sedan&lang=en_CA&brand=saab&contextDisplayMode=normal

Tested > 2008 Jeep Liberty 3.7L 4×4

The Liberty Gets All Squared Up...

Gone is the overly bulbous, extremely feminine styled Jeep Liberty first introduced in 2002. For 2008, welcome a 180-degree redesigned model that actually, well, looks like a Jeep--boxy, aggressive styling cues we've come to expect. Finally, the Liberty gets all squared up!

Copy & Snaps: Amee Reehal ©

Travel & Destination Canvas Art

Canvas Art for sale...Bruce not included

For the past couple years, I've been offering my automotive & travel photography as framed prints. Double matting, UV protected glass, high-quality mouldings--the finished product is classic, subtle, and looks sharp in any room.

On the contrary, these large canvas pieces are loud and really make an impact to any space--bold colours, deep stretcher bars with wrap-around canvas, interesting imagary. My Fiance, Joanne, felt this would be a great way to get my travel work out there. And that's exactly what we're planning to do in the next little while. We're excited about it and the response to the idea has been really positive.

So stayed tuned for more on this! Meantime, below is more info on these 3 canvas pieces. For pricing & info please contact joanne@ameereehal.com

"Tulum Beach" Shot in Mexico 2006 in Tulum region

SPECS:

  • Front Image size: 75" (w) x 39" (h)
  • Stretcher Bars: Gallery Size, 1.5" deep
  • Image wraps around stretcher bar

"Koh Phangan Sunset" Shot in Thailand, 2000, on Koh Phangan island

SPECS:

  • Front Image size: 36" (w) x 36" (h)
  • Stretcher Bars: Gallery Size, 1.5" deep
  • Image wraps around stretcher bar

"Angkor Wat Sunset" Shot in Cambodia, 2000, at one of many ruins in Angkor Wat

SPECS:

  • Front Image size: 27" (w) x 42" (h)
  • Stretcher Bars: Standard Size, 3/4" deep
  • Image wraps around stretcher bar

Tested > 2008 Porsche Boxster

2008 Porsche Boxter: Designed to Drive

story & photos: Amee Reehal

With an MRSP of $58,100, the Boxter is Porsche’s entry-level offering. But make no mistake, this 2-door rocket compromises nothing in terms of refinement, performance, and luxury. The 2008 Boxter is pure Porsche at a reasonable price point. So, how does Porsche get away with offering it’s renowned engineering at a sub-60K print point? My rationale is simple: the Boxter is designed purely for driving. This means Porsche has stripped away any and all unnecessary stuff so you can focus on dropping the top, turning the key, turning up the music, hitting the road and simply enjoying the drive—a digital readout speedo, a button-free steering wheel, straightforward centre console, and a naturally aspirated engine, are just a few examples.  And if you’d like all the other luxuries, you can simply add them (or simply move up to the Boxter RS60 if you’re inclined).

The cockpit is snug yet comfortable, as it ought to be. The well-bolstered leather seats, heated seats optional, feel great in the corners; the 3-spoke steering wheel feels safe in the hands, particularly without any buttons to fiddle with; and the instrument panel is simple and easy to view. The speedometer lists speeds in 20 KM increments, but no worries, a digital read out directly below is nice for the analog impaired. Several of my passengers where unimpressed with the centre console. They were expecting something a little ‘fancier’ perhaps. I found it to be perfect: tight and compact with a straightforward layout. Again, the focus is more driving, and less dial turning. In fact, majority of the console functionality is a quick touch or push of a button so you keep your eyes on the road. Toggling between music tracks, for instance, requires a push of the dial, opposed to turning it. Perhaps I’m reading into it a little too much, or perhaps I’m just a lackadaisical and enjoy the simplicities.

Cargo space was surprisingly ample, though admittedly, I was expecting very little. The Boxter is mid-engine equipped, thus, you’ll find cargo space under both the front and rear hatches: a deep, cooler-sized cavity good for a large carry-on bag up front; and a much more shallow space in the rear—a space that leads you to believe a golf bag will fit just fine. When in fact, it will not. This is the one puzzling complaint I had: why doesn’t the Boxter fit my golf bag? Sure, it seems trivial, but I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking this. More importantly, I can only presume many Boxter owners or potential customers/golfers are thinking this as well.

Standard audio is an AM/FM/CD radio with 4 loudspeakers; my tester came with the $2330 Bose High End Sound Package—an appropriate upgrade for those who take their sound seriously, particularly on the highway with the top down. Inside the glove compartment are two CD disc slots for storage. Power is in the form of a horizontally opposed 6-cylinder, 2.7-litre engine. Producing 245-hp and 201-lb ft of torque. Transmission is a 5-speed manual with dual mass flywheel. Out of habit, I found myself constantly reaching for the 6th gear, thought it wasn’t necessary.

Suspension is in the form of a McPherson strut system, along with front & rear stabilizer bars. Standard wheel package for the Boxter include 17” alloy wheels, wrapped in 205/55ZR17 tires up front, and 235/50zR17 in the rear. For a mere $1730 extra, you’ll get the much better 18” Boxter-S wheels—without question, a significant styling and performance impact as this price. Aside from the 18” wheels and Bose system, other upgrades include floor mats in interior colour; auto climate control; Bi-Xenon headlamps; heated seats; and a wind deflector. However, if it’s performance upgrades you’re after, the Boxter-S is the step up, most notably, adding 50 additional horses via a larger displacement at 3.4-litre. Fortunately, or not, there are many ‘step ups’ in the Porsche lineup, with the third and final Boxter installment being the Boxter RS60, before you enter Porsche Cayman realm.

Some key safety features include: POSIP- Porsche Side Impact Protection with front airbags, thorax airbags in seats, and head airbags in doors, providing 6 airbags in total; a body shell hot dip galvanized on both sides with high strength steel & Boron steel safety structures; aluminum luggage lids; a stainless-steel rollover bar; ABS; a stability program, among others.

The 2008 Boxter is pure Porsche, with all the performance, comfort, elegance, and even cargo, at an attainable price point. Above all, it’s fun to drive.

For more info on the 2008 Porsche Boxter, visit http://www.porsche.com/canada/models/boxster/

Review also posted at http://www.pasmag.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=800&Itemid=105