It's that time of year again. Yes, time to begin untangling that giant rat's nest of holiday lights and unboxing Aunt Bethany's accidental gift cat. Being an auto enthusiast, of course, you're a far more discriminating gift-giver (and getter) than most. So, to inspire your holiday shopping (or to jumpstart the thinking of your friends and family -- hint hint), we're proud to present our 2009 Motor Trend Holiday Gift Guide.
Oh, by the way, no need to buy us a thing (but thanks for asking). We're fine with cash or checks.
Like its high-end competition, Blue Tiger's racing simulator -- built for maximizing the realism of PC-based driving games -- has standard features like a bucket racing seat, a force-feedback steering wheel, controls for manual or paddle shifting, and realistic brake, gas, and clutch pedals. What separates Blue Tiger from the rest, though, is an articulating base that provides a full 40-degree range of motion. Slam on the gas and the entire setup instantly tilts backward, sending your stomach and inner ear for a whirl. Go too hot into a tight corner and the racing bucket will give you that rearward slipping sensation as you slide off the track and straight into the guardrail. It doesn't get much better than this. Currently, the system only works with a limited number of PC flight and racing simulators, but Blue Tiger is working to broaden compatibility.
$7495 (basic seat only); $13,995 (including triple monitors and computer)
Look Like A Champ
You might not be able to drive like former F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen, but at least now you can wear his sunglasses. Known best for its Swiss-made luxury watches, Tag Heuer has worked with Raikkonen on a series of sunglasses designed for both fashion and function. The most recent line of shades is dubbed Squadra and is designed specifically to be worn underneath a helmet. With a slim profile and lightweight construction, the Squadra shades lack the bulk that makes conventional sunglasses awkward when you're on the track. The Squadras are tough, too, with hingeless rubber-coated titanium arms and a shatter-proof one-piece lens that's designed to deflect wind away from a driver's face.
One Good Turn
When "Forza Motorsport 3" hit Motor Trend HQ, productivity dropped slightly. Then the Fanatec 911 Turbo S Wheel arrived, and productivity took a freefall. Boasting Porsche licensing and hand-stitched leather, the Fanatec is simply too good to be dubbed a mere videogame controller. It uses three force-feedback motors to communicate the nuances of the car and road. Further pushing the simulation envelope, the wheel comes with a gated six-speed shifter (paddles are included, too) and a clutch pedal. Check the LED display top center -- that's where you can adjust the force feedback, sensitivity, and degrees of rotation. The LEDs also double as a data readout in compatible games. Best part? The wheel is near-silent in operation. The Fanatec is compatible with the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 (hey, "Gran Turismo 5" is looming). When you want the very best.