Toyota’s premium brand, Lexus, has officially introduced their new IS Convertible with the hope that it could enter a market long dominated by its European counterparts, including BMW and Audi. Characterized as a stylish convertible with luxurious amenities, the 2012 IS Convertible offers plenty of that and so much more.
The sophisticated machine capably blends the stylishness and sportiness of a convertible with the more tuned-down approach of a coupe in one package. There’s plenty to like about the car, from the easy transformation of coupe to convertible and vice versa in just 21 seconds all the way to the new Nebula Gray Pear exterior finish.
The choice of trim for the IS Convertible, whether its the 250C or the 350C, also offers a choice of powertrain, from the more fuel efficient 2.5-liter V6 for the former and the more powerful 3.5-liter V6 for the latter.
For the 2012 IS-C, versatility is the name of the game. And whatever trim option you choose, you’ll be certain to get a car that gives you exactly what you’re looking for.
Find out more about the 2012 Lexus IS Convertible after the jump.
In the world of mid-size mom mobiles, style is often a hard thing to find. When you examine the field most fit in the background as opposed to the centerfold. As Benjamin Franklin once said "A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body." Most of the luxury mid size SUV’s fail to deliver this food and fire to the consumer. This precedence of indifference ended when we walked to the parking lot and gazed at the 2012 Mercedes Benz GLK 350.
What struck us about this is the graceful angles of the GLK that set it apart from the rest of the field. Although the GLK has only been in production since 2009, it has taken lessons from others in the field. The interior looks like it can stand up to your Lab and yet also haul the kids to school in the morning. The teflon interior is very comfortable which makes that early morning commute with kids in tow that much more bearable. On top of all this utility, you actually get some sport in your SUV (imagine that!). The GLK makes the most mundane tasks like merging onto the interstate quite fun. When you press the loud pedal you are pleasantly surprised and the engine emits a raspy bark akin to Tom Waits impersonating a seal.
More details on the 2012 Mercedes Benz GLK 350 after the jump.
When Mazda first introduced its Wenkel engine in 1961, the automotive world was set alight it. Soon after, many manufacturers clamored to build their own. This engine was an automotive Gibraltar, no matter the challenges it faced, the Wenkel soldiered on. These challenges came from every angle from new emissions standards in 1970 to an oil crisis three years later, in addition to innumerable engineering issues. Mazda cultivated their Wenkel engine and planted it in their sporty RX-7 and it was an instant hit. Even when the RX-8 emerged as a successor to the RX-7 in 2001, the Wenkel heart beat on. Now as the RX-8’s production run is scheduled to end in 2011, a steady stream of rumors about the current Wenkel engine’s successor have flown past our desks.
First, we are going to ask all Mazda fans to take a deep breath. Okay, now that that is taken care of, we have some bad news according to Ward’s Auto Mazda is considering putting the new engine development on hold. The reason for this cutback was that at this time of economic woe, Mazda was looking for a way to reduce expenses and apparently this new engine program is very expensive.
We hope that even as the bean counters are clamoring about diminishing profit margins, Mazda continues to develop this engine. It provides the RX-8 and it’s successor with fantastic high performance and, in the era of pretty and almost all identical cars, Mazda offered a unique take on a sports car. We all hope that Mazda comes to their senses and keeps this iconic power plant.
The Infiniti FX is the Nissan-owned company’s mid-size luxury crossover SUV. It was released back in 2003, along with its main competitors, the Porsche Cayenne and Volvo XC90. Its first generation lasted six years on the market before it was revamped and given another chance at increasing sales for the Japanese automaker.
The second generation Infiniti FX was launched on the market in 2009, and despite the fact that it has had a less than stellar performance, its sales are still stable and have lead Infiniti in their expansion to new markets all over the world. For the 2012 model year, the FX has been revised with subtle styling changes inspired by the Essence Concept and has received an extra version in the "Limited Edition" for the FX35 AWD.
Hit the jump to read more about the 2009-2012 Infiniti FX.
When the BMW 1-series was debuted in the US as a 2008 model, comparisons were immediately made to the iconic BMW 2002. We were skeptical of this little coupe trying to cash in on the legacy of classic BMW models, but as we got behind the wheel of this BMW Mighty Mouse, we quickly realized it stuck to a successful sports car formula. This equation references classic BMW performance and yet moves the marque forward. When you get behind the wheel of the 2012 BMW 128i it’s like hearing your favorite Eagles song, it takes you back to a simpler time. This time capsule also teaches a new generation what a sports car can be.
The micro-sized sports car that is the BMW 128i has proved very popular since its introduction for the 2008 model year. The 128i is a new take on the BMW philosophy of excellent handling and superb engineering. Whereas many models in the line are now turbocharged, the 128i stubbornly sticks to the naturally aspirated inline 6. In addition to this, BMW "roots album" presents the full package for a driver that wants a car with two distinct personalities: a) a cheap and "chuckable" sports car and b) a pleasant everyday driver. These personalities always meet in the middle and never force the driver to pick which he wants.
When you buy a 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 or 2012 Dodge Charger SRT-8 you definitely will not be lacking power. These suburban bruisers are powered by massive 6.4 liter Hemi V8’s that pump out a spleen crushing 470 horsepower and 470 lbs/ft of torque. Now, what is an SRT-8 owner to do if he/she wants more power? The answer up to this point has been paying big bucks and taking it to a tuner, but now this will change.
Chrysler is reportedly considering adding a top end engine option for certain SRT models. According to MotorAuthority, this new engine will be based on the current one albeit with a Eaton supercharger that will push the horsepower to between 540-570 horsepower. With this power addition, these muscle cars will be put on the road with Ferrari 458-esque power. Where do we sign?! In addition, to control the extra ponies, this new engine will supposedly be mated to a new eight speed automatic gearbox. This new engine can be implemented on those SRT models which are based on the LX platform (Sorry, Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, no upgrade for you just yet). An exception may be the Dodge Challenger SRT-8 which is based on a tweaked LX platform.
This is an important step in the reemergence of the muscle car in the American market. This reemergence has ignited an automotive world war with Ford, Chevy, and Dodge, each trying to outdo themselves in terms of engineering and appeal. This new Detroit cold war has only one winner and that is the muscle car enthusiasts around the world.
My father had a habit of pointing out "it’s always the one ya least suspect." If you asked the public what they thought the Lotus Elise’s reliability was, the answer was a resounding "very good." However, now this Rembrandt of the racetrack has a small smudge and is now under investigation for a possible mechanical deficiency concerning the oil cooler.
The 2005-2006 Lotus Elise is at the center of this investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA). This problem centers on the right front oil cooler which can potentially come loose and spray inside the wheel well and the engine bay which can lead to a fire. This problem is described as" .. [Complaints centered on] an oil cooler line [that] had failed causing oil to spray within the engine compartment area, and/or near one of the wheel or brake assemblies." It is important to note that no one was hurt due to this malfunction although one person’s car did catch fire. That being said, the NHTSA has received 17 complaints and have calculated that around 4,400 Elises may be affected due to this malfunction.
An important distinction to note is that although this investigation is ongoing, a recall has not been issued for the Elise.
If you were considering a Lotus and now are suddenly running like Usain Bolt towards another sports car, think again because all of us here at TopSpeed would still love to have this pocket racer in our garage. Its combination of incredibly reliable Toyota innards and speed make the Lotus Elise a must have for any car enthusiast. Take this complaint for what it is; a small bump in the road for a great vehicle.
The Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 is back again this year, and this time it’s getting even more advanced technologies to go with that monstrous 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 engine. It’s easy to forget about all of the features of the rear-wheel drive muscle car when you have 470 HP and 470 lb-ft of torque coursing through your ride, but Chrysler is revamping the SRT8 392 so that customers will still get 23 mpg, along with a revised suspension system and shift controls from the Charger SRT8.
The new two-mode adaptive damping suspension system offers selectable suspension tuning with choices for "Auto" and "Sport" styles. Each option will automatically adapt to road and driver inputs for optimal vehicle control, while the performance SRT-tuned, fully-hydraulic steering system gives drivers more direct response and on-center feel.
The 2012 Challenger SRT8 392 also welcomes a new, exclusive SRT heated steering wheel with mounted paddle shifters and a new 18-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with innovative GreenEdge technology.
UPDATE 08/01/2011: The Smoking Tire’s, Matt Farah, spent some time frying the tires off a blue Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 with white stripes! Check out the burnout after the jump!
Hit the jump to read more about the Dodge Challenger SRT8 392.
Similar to how Henry Ford set out to make the automobile accessible for everyone in America; a small start-up company based in Santa Monica, CA intends to make the electric car affordable to all. Coda Automotive has been developing what they call a revolutionary new compact, full-electric car for less money than the competition. The past several years have been a struggle, but as with any start-up company, there are growing pains.
At the beginning of 2011, the company had already raised $76 million dollars and is looking to end with a total of $200 million. Past CEOs of this fledgling carmaker are former Goldman Sachs executives that should have no problem finding the last chunk of capital. This year, Phil Murtaugh became the new CEO and can back up his credentials with former stints at Chrysler and General Motors. “We’re getting our production tooling in order now. It all takes about six weeks to ship them over to the United States, so sometime in the fourth quarter, probably the late fourth quarter, we’ll see cars going on sale in California,” said Murtaugh.
The car itself is less than stunning on the outside, but with fuel efficiency being at the forefront of many Californian’s minds, this car could be the easy answer. It should achieve 90 to 120 miles on a single charge and charge faster than its major competition.
The Porsche Boxster has been around for about 15 years and has only seen two generations and a facelift in 2008. Luckily for the guys over at Porsche, the mid-engined roadster is doing fine without the extra renovations. For 2011, the Boxster isn’t coming at us with extra packages or additional bells and whistles, but it is arriving in style with its usual sleek and unique exterior, and its good ol’ faithful 2.9L six cylinder Boxer engine.
The Porsche Boxster doesn’t really scream incredible speed with a power output of 255hp at 6,400rpm and 214 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s 0-60mph sprint of 5.6 seconds isn’t the best time for sports cars in this class and its 163mph isn’t the best either. What is cool about this engine setup is the seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) which can minimize these performance numbers and provide a more comfortable ride.
Pricing for the 2011 Porsche Boxster starts off at a reasonable $47,600 for the base model which comes with the standard six-speed transmission. Add the seven-speed PDK gearbox and that price jumps up to $51,020. And then there’s the addition of a few "extras" that could jet propel this price to a not-so-comfortable, underwear up the butt kind of feeling.
Hit the jump to get the good, the bad, and the oooh about the 2011 Porsche Boxster.